Amore And Pizza

Hey, I'm Avery. I thought I had it figured out, ya know? I thought I had distinguished the difference between love and imagination. I was SO sure that no one could ever love me. Especially someone so extraordinary like Niall. But for once in my sob story of a life, I WANTED to be proven wrong. But I was right. Again.

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6. Tables,Tacos, And Orange Cones

     I woke up Monday morning with a knot in my stomach. It was going to be an eventful day. Along with forcing my friends to sit with Harry, Liam, and Louis today, I'll be staying after school for tryouts. I'll be with Niall and Harry in soccer (both Liam and Louis only play football) then I'll meet up with Kalley for volleyball. After that, we'll both head down to choir. This year, so many people signed up they had to do tryouts for that too. It's really THAT big of a school. The chances that I could make all three weren't very high. But I had to be on the soccer team. Soccer was my life. And maybe because I wanted to be on Niall's team.

     I hadn't seen him since Friday. I was hoping he would text, but he didn't. Kalley assured me he's just warming up to me. Harry hadn't either, which surprised me more than disappointed me. He was a lot more forward than Niall.

     I sat up in my bed and rubbed my eyes. Groaning, I got up and made my way to my closet. I decided on a light-gray blouse with sleeves that went to my elbows. I paired it with my favorite blue jeans and ugg boots. I put my hair in a fishtail braid, since curling it would be pointless when I have tryouts later. Tryouts. I groaned again and made my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. 

     "Aves can you come here?" My dad yelled from the living room. I walked in and plopped next to him on the couch.

     "What's up daddy?"

     "I need help with this tie..." I laughed at my dad's confused expression and tied it for him. I swear, if he didn't have me and his Blackberry his head would fall off his shoulders. "You're tryouts are today right?" I nodded. "You'll do fine. That school in Miami played elite and you got on their team." I sighed. Dads never got the full picture.

     "Daddy at those schools I never made friends like I did here. I'm afraid I'm going to embarrass myself."

     "Seems like you're making more than 'just friends'." I laughed.

     "Yeah, maybe."

     "Just remember-"

     "I know, I know. Your pol-i-cy." I used my fingers to emphasize. "It's not like you're making friends here too, dad. A certain red-haired woman with green eyes, happens to be the mom of my best friend..." My dad gripped me in a head-lock and gave me a knuckle-sandwich. "Hey! I didn't say it was Sarah! I could have been talking about anyone! Ow!" He laughed and let me go. "You should be reported to Social Services." We laughed. I got up and grabbed an orange out of the fridge. I made myself eat even though I felt sick to my stomach. I heard the familiar roar of Zayn's camaro.

     "Bye, daddy." I ran up to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

     "Good luck, honey."

     I walked outside but ran to the car. Kalley got out and hugged me. She leaned in to whisper in my ear,"I got us both some spandex to wear today. I convinced Zayn to make Niall come and watch after soccer." She grinned at me, while I gave her a horrified look.

     "They're going to come watch?" She nodded. "Fantastic." She rolled her eyes at my sarcasm. 

     "Don't worry so much!" She let down the passenger seat while I climbed inside.

     "Hey."

     "Hey, Avery. Excited for tryouts today?"

     "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't." I grinned.

     "I can't wait for coach to see that you beat me in a run! Me! I'm like the awesomest person on the team!" I laughed.

     "Be ready to give that title up." We laughed. I noticed Zayn and Kalley smiling at our little encounter. Honestly. Might as well tattoo to my forehead, "I'm Avery Jackson and I'm destined to be with Niall Horan." I would probably have to shorten it a little, but you got my point.

     When we got to school Niall and I walked to Writing. I thought I might have gotten some slack since I was new, but I was wrong. We were all given an assignment to write about a period of our life, and write it like an actual book. Nothing was coming to my mind.

 

                                                                    ***************************************************

 

     Lunch came quickly. I got in line by myself, looking for Kalley. I was happy to see that everyone was already sitting together at a table towards the center of the lawn outside. Since my idea on Wednesday, Harry, Kalley, Zayn, Niall and I have sat together at lunch. Today was the first day everyone was there. And the first time everyone sat there without me enforcing it first. Wow.

     I approached the table. It was a circular table with benches on each side. On one bench sat Zayn, Kalley, and Niall. On the other sat Louis, Liam and Harry. On each side of Niall and Harry were open spots obviously for me. I tried not to make it awkward as I sat by Niall. Harry looked away for a brief moment before smiling.

     "Hey!" He gave me that cheeky grin. I returned it.

     "Hey, Harry." I gave my 'hey's' to everyone else. Louis, Liam, Zayn and Kalley were all talking about a football game Friday night.

     "Avery, you watch football don't you?" Liam teased.

     "I'm American, aren't I?" Liam laughed.

     "Good. We're planning on hanging out after the game. All of us." I smiled as everybody nodded. Progress. A lot of progress.

     "As long as we're going to Pizza Hut."

     Harry laughed. "You know it." We spent a few more minutes talking about carpooling plans and who's paying. Both were assigned to Louis. Zayn would drive himself and Kalley, which made me the only girl in Louis' car. Fun. I looked down at my tray and realized I hadn't taken a bite out of the tacos we were served today. I knew my performance wouldn't be very good if I went with only an orange in my stomach. Niall noticed too.

     "You okay, Avery?" Harry turned and noticed my sour expression and full tray. He looked at me with concern. He added onto Niall's question.

     "You look like you're going to throw up."

     "I'm fine. I'm just a little nervous about tryouts."

     Niall laughed."Avery, please! On Wednesday, you beat me running! Me!" Niall looked at me like that was a huge statement.

     "That's impressive." Harry nodded. "But soccer isn't just about being fast, you have to be good with the ball." I glared at Harry, already knowing where he was going with this. "So tell us Avery, are you good with balls? Hmmm?" I felt my cheeks ignite. With any other guy, I would have laughed it off. But for some reason with Harry it made me nervous. By now, everyone had their eyes on me, waiting for an answer.

     "I wouldn't know. I've never had a boyfriend." Harry, Louis, and Liam gasped.

     "Never? How is that humanly possible? Look at you!" I flushed at Louis comment. Liam looked equally astonished, but Harry. He looked, how do I put it, happy?

     Kalley saved my life. "Yep. Avery hasn't met anyone...yet." She smiled at me pointedly then nudged Niall. Oh, for pete's sake. I was going to a tattoo parlor after school. Harry wasn't oblivious to the gesture. He looked down and wouldn't meet my stare.

     "Well, Avery, you're going to do just fine. I'll quit if you don't get on." Niall smiled and grabbed my hand and squeezed it. I jumped at his touch. But it made me feel loads better. The rest of our lunch entailed more plans for Friday, and inviting the boys to Kalley's and my volleyball tryouts. I noticed a lot of people looking at our table with a mix of shock,jealousy, and interest. It was a new thing for this school to mingle the way we were. I hoped this would rub off onto other cliques. Niall finally coaxed me into eating all of my food, holding my hand the entire time. Harry didn't eat the rest of his lunch, and left early, saying he'll see us at tryouts.

     "See ya guys after school." Niall nodded to everyone and got up with me.

     "I'll see ya at volleyball, Avery." I smiled at Kalley, then said my goodbye's to everyone. Niall let go of my hand but walked with me to my locker.

     "I'll see ya later okay?" I nodded and got my books for my next class.

 

                                                                 ***************************************************

 

     I walked into the locker room that was closest to the soccer field. I pulled out my black running shorts and put them on. They came to about 4 inches above my knee. Next, I put on my bright blue tee with the sides cut out, exposing my black tank underneath. I put on my black and white Nike cleats. With my long blue socks and shin gurads on, I was ready. I followed another girl out the door. She told me her name was Olivia. I hadn't seen her once since I've been here. She was shorter than me, with blonde hair that was extremely curly. She told me she was a sophmore, trying out for a spot on defense. She was nice, but a little shy. I hoped she made it on the team.

     We walked to a group of students sitting on the grass. Everyone was just chatting. I noticed Harry and Niall with a group of other people practicing on the other side of the field. They were already on the team, so they didn't have to try out like I did. Harry noticed me and waved. I waved back and sat down by Olivia. I looked up at the man who was walking towards us. "That's the coach, Mr.Hughes. He used to be a pro." I widened my eyes and sized him up. He was a tall, broad man with brown hair and brown eyes. He held a clipboard in one hand. He wore a red baseball cap, a whistle around his neck, black jogging pants, and a red sweater.

     "Alright, listen up. I'm Mr. Hughes. I may or not be your coach depending on your performance today. I'm going to do roll-call to make sure everyone who put their name on the sheet is here." He called everyone's name-there were about twenty people-then continued. "I will test you today on three skills. Endurance, speed, and ball control. By your name are three boxes for each category. I will mark each with either a line, check mark, or star. You will get a line if you did not meet my expectations, a check mark if you do, and a star if you exceed them. You must get at least two checkmarks if you are to be on the team. First, I need to know who plays what. If you play forward, please raise your hand. I raised my hand along with 5 or so other people. He took our names and continued with the rest of the people. "Okay, first on the list: endurance. Four laps." He gestured to the field. I felt a twinge of panic in my gut. I can do this, I can do this, I said to myself. This was nothing. A little over a mile. I imagined myself running the way I had with Niall last week. I imagined everyone else around me was Niall. I had to beat them. I picked up my pace pushing my legs to do what they were good at.

     I finished and jogged my way back to Mr.Hughes. I turned and realized I was the only one. Everyone else was a good twenty seconds behind me. They looked at me with envy. I looked towards Niall, who gave me a thumbs-up. 

     "Very good. Sit down, please." I obeyed as Mr. Hughes marked something by my name. Pretty much everyone returned and sat down. Three people finished about ten seconds after them, panting and sweating. I could tell those people had gotten a line. I felt bad. "Alright next on the list. Speed. Everyone line up in four lines, where the orange cones are. I joined the second line with Olivia. I watched as Mr.Hughes went to stand at mid-field. There were four identical cones by him. "Listen up! Each line should have five people in it. You will run with the adjoining people in each line, competing to be the first one to your cone. You will get three tries to do this. Alright, begin!" He blew his whistle and the first person in each line took off. I was second, which made it my turn to run. I bent my knees and put my left leg forward. I was a lefty. Mr.Hughes blew his whistle again, signaling us to run. I ran as fast as I could, but I wasn't first. I cheered for Olivia, who got second. It was time for me to run again. I ran full throttle, but I still wasn't the first to finish. I mentally kicked myself. I had to impress this coach. And, Niall, I thought.

     When the time came again for me to run, I focused completely on that orange cone. I would win. I heard the whistle and blasted off. I didn't look anywhere but the orange cone ahead. I reached it and immediately turned around. It was close, but I could tell that I had won. I grinned and sat down.

     "Okay, now we're on to the last section of our tryouts: ball control. If you are a forward, you will be competing against our top defenders. Mid-fielders against mid-fielders, and defenders against our top forwards. Forwards first." I got up with 5 other people. "Perfect, we'll have two groups." He pointed to me and two other guys. "You'll be our first group. Center line" I followed them to the middle of the field. I picked the side so I would be facing Harry. He smiled at me and mouthed, 'you're dead'. I rolled my eyes and looked at the coach. "You have one shot to get past the defenders and score." He didn't elaborate on that. Instead, he blew his whistle and we started jogging down the field. The boy in the middle had the ball and passed-quite terribly-to the boy on his other side. They continued to pass back and forth, leaving me out completely.

     "Hey, I'm here too!" I yelled. They tried to get past the defenders but were effectively shut out. I fumed. "Well just, terrific!" I stormed off the field and sat down. 

     "You. Just wait." Mr.Hughes pointed to me and gestured for me to stand up. "Let's see some one-on-one with Harry over there." I looked at Harry. He gave me a cheeky grin.

     "You're never getting past me!" 

     I grabbed a ball and went to the center. Mr.Hughes nodded to me and I started jogging. I watched Harry's feet. I purposely favored my left foot, watching how he slightly leaned towards my left. When I was about five feet from him I bolted to my right, hoping to leave him behind. But he was quick. I criss-crossed my feet, trying to find a way past him. He smiled.

     "Keep trying." I  kicked the ball up, over his head. He wasn't expectating that. I bolted around him before he could figure out what I was doing. I trapped the ball and gave a good, hard kick with my left foot. It went sailing over the goaly's head. He was obviously not expecting me to get past Harry. Everyone cheered for me. 

     "Hah." I stuck my tongue out at Harry, revelling in the moment. He put his arm around me and laughed.

     "I guess you are good with balls Avery Jackson." I laughed and joined the rest of the group.

     I didn't pay much attention to the rest of the tryouts. Olivia did great, I'm sure she'll be on the team. Everyone was done and Mr.Hughes told everyone to sit down. Niall found me and came over. "You did great!" I said thanks and listened to Mr.Hughes.

     "I'll be posting a sheet tomorrow in the gym of who made it and what string they are. Great job,everyone." I got up and headed to the locker room. I changed into the neon pink spandex-courtesy of Kalley-and made my way to the gym for volleyball.

 

     

     

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