The tournament is three days away and I’m freaking out. For the past two weeks I’ve been avoiding Izzy because it's too painful to look at her knowing she’s practically stolen David from me. Seriously? How could she! It isn’t fair. I see them together practically every day and all four of us share a history class together. They sit on one side and me and Paul sit on the other. When I first got here I had every class with Izzy but after I talked to coach and went to the counselor explaining my need for independence, they changed my schedule up and now I also have a class with David alone, which is terrible. I'm invisible to him but he is an incredible human being and I would give anything to have him talk to me again. I'm pretty sure if he heard my thoughts he would probably think I’m creepy though, so it’s probably best we don’t talk because I would sound idiotic. In a perfect world, I would invite him to come with us to our tournament in Colorado but that can't happen. It’s already going to be weird enough with me and Izzy in the car pretending nothing is going on, I really didn’t think she would be this way.
The tournament is already going to be hectic being my first actual game with everyone, and my forward, Crystal, hates me. Everyone is relying on me to play amazing but I’m afraid I’ll be too nervous and make mistakes.
Beep Beep Beep
My alarm clock goes off early, interrupting my thoughts. "How long was I awake?" I look over to Izzy's bed and she's still sound asleep. I got up and threw clothes on and hurried out the door, right on cue I received a text.
Girls are so slowwww
I replied back to him as quick as possible telling him to relax and that I was on my way.
Me and Paul had spent almost every day together getting coffee and breakfast every morning, texting between classes, and hanging out in our free time when neither of us had anything else to do. The more time I spent with Paul, the less time I spent thinking about David and that's what I liked the most about being around Paul.
When I reached our usual meeting place, Paul was sitting on the bench seat next to the water fountain, watching the sun rise. Immediately, a smile broke across my face and I snuck up behind him and whispered "A fine day to be impatient isn't it" He jumped around quickly with a frightened expression on his face and quickly relaxed when he saw me smirking at him.
"I hate you." he said smiling and standing up
I laughed and pushed him a little "sure you do."
He put his arm over my shoulders and we walked to the cute coffee shop, sharing with each other funny things we found on the internet. We usually find humor in the same things which is great because not many people I talk to find my humor funny. When we get to Klassy's we ordered our coffee and two large chocolate chunk muffins.
We sat down at our usual table and Paul actually looked at me for the first time today
"Whoa whoa whoa, what’s wrong??"
"Nothing" I shrugged, giving him a smile and small chuckle
"Bullshit." he said lifting my chin up to look me in the eyes. “I know when my friend is upset and you my friend are upset."
I sat there quietly in my own thoughts looking down at my hands.
'C’mon Elizabeth tell me what’s on your mind, you know you can talk to me about anything."
I looked up at him and smiled.
"Elizabeth..... Paul" Our names were called by one of the employees.
"I’ve got it," I offered standing up to go get our stuff, when I got back to the table he thanked me but didn’t let it go like I thought he would have.
"Out with it, I won’t leave it until you tell me what's on your mind"
"You suck" I joked. "I'm just stressed about the Tournament that’s coming up in a few days, me and Izzy still aren't talking, Crystal is a bitch, and it just seems like everything that could go wrong is going wrong."
"Hey don’t worry about the tournament, that’ll make things worse. I know you’ll be great you’re an amazing player," he gave me a reassuring smile." As for the Izzy thing, I don't know what to say because you haven’t told me what happened but I’m assuming everything will be okay so doing worry about it."
I smiled and picked at my muffin. "Thanks Paul"
"Hey I have a joke for you"
"Okay?" I said questioningly.
"Why was 6 afraid of 7?"
"I don’t know, why?"
"Because, 7 ate 9!" Paul started laughing with a little coffee mustache
I laughed a little trying to understand "oh yeah, because 7 8 and 9 are all larger numbers than 6," I laughed between breaths, "good one."
"What?" he questioned. "No. That’s not why at all."
I stopped laughing and looked at him with a blank expression."Then why?"
He laughed at my seriousness and I couldn’t help but laugh at how cute he was with the coffee mustache still on his upper lip.
"Okay, okay" he started to explain."6 is afraid of 7 because, 7. ate.9." he said sounding broken up at the end. "Like 7,” he took a bite out of his muffin "ate" He said with his muffin in his mouth. "9. I'm 7, the muffin is 9, and I ate it. 6 is also an upside down 9 so its afraid 7 will mistake it for 9," he concluded.
"Oh!!!" I shouted bursting into laughter. It was such a simple joke but as soon as it clicked in my mind, I could picture it and the visual Paul created was even funnier. When I looked at him as I started to stop laughing, he looked accomplished.
"There, I made you really laugh" he smiled.
"Yeah yeah" I said and we finished our coffee and muffins.
When we left, he walked with me to my class and then went on his own. I walked into Algebra and spotted Jane saving me a seat. Jane is a girl I met when I switched into this class and we instantly became friends, I didn’t quite tell her anything about me other than where I’m from and I didn’t talk about anything else because I didn't want a repeat with Izzy.
"Who is that boy you're always with?" she asked as I sat down next to her.
"Oh no one, he’s just my friend"
"Liar! If he is just a friend you totally like him!" she called me out and I started blushing. "See! You’re blushing"
"Shhh!" I hushed her. "Shut up, maybe I do like him but he’s my friend and I bet he doesn’t even like me like that"
"But he might!" she squealed.
The Professor started lecturing thankfully interrupting the conversation and at the end I offered to Jane if she wanted to come to my dorm so we could tackle some of this work together. She eagerly agreed, probably hoping I would spill about Paul, and we left the class.
"This is nice, are you the only one here?"
"Nah, I have a roommate" I said sitting on my bed.
She sat with me and pulled out books and papers. My phone buzzed on my night stand and I reached over to see who it was and of course it was Paul.
Are you busy? My class just got out and I wanna go to the store, I need a speaker
I couldn't help but smile at the random text.
Ah dang, sorry but I’m at my dorm with a friend, we're going to try to help each other out with this algebra work.
"Ooo I see you smiling, is that Paul?" Jane said in a 'cute' voice. I laughed and set my phone down
"I have no idea where to begin with this stuff, ugh" I sighed and the Door opened.
Izzy walked in with an expression like she was shocked to see me. The smile on my face quickly vanished and I unenthusiastically introduced her to Jane.
Me and Jane sat and talked and worked on our Algebra. 5 Minutes later, Izzy was getting up and leaving. Awkward. Thankfully Jane didn't say anything about Izzy but we finished up our work and she left around 12 and when she left I grabbed some chips to snack on and texted Paul again.
Hey, wanna hang out before class?
Sure. I'll be over; I’m close to you anyway
He was right, it didn’t take him long to get to my room, and we left as soon as he knocked on the door. We stopped by mine and Izzy's Mail box and I only grabbed what belonged to me, specifically noticing a letter from my good friend Sarah. I put my mail in my bag and walked with Paul around campus until it was time for class.
When we walked in we took our usual seats on the right side in the center, me sitting to Paul's left. Shortly after we sat down, Izzy and David walked in together and I felt a sharp pain in my stomach so I looked away. Me and Paul passed a note back and forth and I could hear Izzy continuously giggling at whatever David was talking about. I wanted to turn around and yell at them to shut up but I didn't need the attention.
Halfway through the class, the door opened and a strange boy walked in, he looked tall with dark brown hair that swooped to the left. He was light colored with chinky eyes and his face wrinkled up in a perfect way when he smiled. I accidentally made eye contact with him and I wanted to turn around and tell Izzy but remembered I couldn't.
"Damn" I heard Izzy whisper and I couldn't help but smile, I knew we were thinking the same thing.
"Why are you smiling?" Paul asked me tilting his head to the right.
"Nothing nothing, don't worry about it."
The boy sat in the very back and was quiet the whole time. I almost forgot he was in the class except I kept thinking about the eye contact we made. When class was over I walked with Paul outside and he told me that he couldn’t come with me, he had stuff to do so I ended up walking alone. With Izzy slowly trailing behind with David. When I got in the dorm I closed the door and headed to our room so I could get changed into my soccer gear. I through my bag on the floor and remembered the letter from Sarah. I grabbed the letter and ripped it open, excited to hear from my best friend.
Hey! I decided to write you a letter just like you suggested. Isn’t this fun? How is everything there? Soccer and school and people? Have you met any cute boys yet? If you have you’ve got to tell me every little detail of course. I’ve been good here. Its weird not having you around but I do have stuff to tell you! Okay, you remember Jesse right? Of course you do. Well we actually started hanging out and talking a whole lot and ohmygosh he’s so amazing he’s everything I could have ever imagined why did you guys even break up? I’m not complaining because ugh I think I’m in love with him but I thought you would like to know. He took me out for Ice-cream the other day and it was the cutest thing, he told me that I was the only girl for him Elizabeth and I think this is really going to work out. I’m so happy!!! I hope that you don’t mind though. I know he was your "first love" or whatever but that was a long time ago, high school right? Well I have to go, I’m about to go out on a date with my prince! I wanted to write this before so I could mail it on my way out. I hope you’re having fun!!! I love and miss you!!!
What? Sarah is with Jesse are you kidding me? She knows for a fact I still had feelings for him, just a month before I left we talked about me seeing him in the mall and how I couldn’t help the flood of emotions that washed over me every time I looked at him or thought about him. How could she do that to me and brush it off like its no big deal. Isn't that in the girl code? Not to mess with your best friends ex? How could she be such a bitch!?!?!?
As I kept thinking more and more about the situation, I kept getting more pissed off. I could feel the heat in my cheeks as my blood pumped with rage and I had an overwhelming need to hit something or someone. I quickly threw on my work out gear and grabbed up my cleats and stormed out of the room slamming the door. Izzy and David were sitting in the living area talking. They quickly got quiet and stared at me as I walked out of the Dorm slamming doors as I left.
I marched up to the field, and luckily for me, who was there waiting with her groupies for coach to arrive while everyone else was warming up? Crystal. I sat down on the bench so I could put on my cleats.
"Well, well, well, look who it is. The outsider." Crystal remarked.
"Look crystal, I’m not in the mood for your shit right now." I said looking up at her and then turning my attention back on my cleats.
"Oh" she said sounding surprised "little miss goodie two shoes said a bad word? Aw she is growing up in the world. What’s wrong? Daddy issues?" She said mockingly
That's it. I finished tying up my cleats and jumped up right in her face.
"I told you I’m not in the mood for your shit. So back off and leave me alone." I said, staring her and her little friends down.
"Oh I’m soooo scared" she said. Then she had the nerve to shove me and my temper completely snapped and I attacked.
I balled up my right fist and swung up towards her nose as hard as I could. As soon as my fist made contact with her face I felt a warm liquid against my hand and heard a crunching sound. Crystal let out a shriek and after that, I heard nothing. I was after her for many reasons. I was angry at her and everyone else. I wasn’t going to stop until I let it all out. I kept punching her repeatedly in the face and soon enough we were wrestling on the ground. She got a few good scratches and a lucky punch right in my face. Great, I'm probably going to have a black eye. I stood up so I could start kicking her. She needed to learn a lesson and my kicks hurt a lot worse than my punches. I faintly heard the sound of a whistle blowing but I was too blood thirsty to realize what it was. I kicked her in the side repetitively and she stayed on the ground crying. I was about to kick her face in with the spikes of my cleats when I was lifted up off the ground and a screeching whistle was being blown right in my ear. Great, it was the coach. I was still angry though and was thrashing around in his arms so he'd let me go. I couldn’t think straight, I just wanted Crystal to feel my pain and nothing more.
"Elizabeth! Elizabeth calm down!! What happened here!!!?" coach boomed.
"She provoked me coach, it’s not my fault." I let out in an irritated tone.
"Elizabeth, I don’t care who started it, you could have nearly killed her!! Is that what you wanted?? That type of behavior is not tolerated on my team, we will discuss this later. As for now, I have a practice to run," he paused slightly "and so do you, you’re running the whole practice until I tell you otherwise. As for you," you directed at Crystal and her groupies, go on to the nurse, it appears your nose may be broken; you’ll receive your punishment later. Girls take her there and come right back, we don’t need anyone else missing practice."
I did what coach said, I ran the whole time. As I was running, I felt the fire in my lungs and tasted blood in the back of my throat but I never stopped. I deserved the punishment plus some but I was also still angry and running was helping me release that stress. I wanted to play soccer though, knock through everyone and not let anyone get passed me. More specifically I wanted to lay against Izzy because she was the real challenge on this team. I wanted to feel pain and get stronger, better, faster. I felt like I wanted to take over the world and prove myself.
The last five minutes of practice coach made me stop running and do pushups for the rest of the time. My legs were burning and felt like jell-o from the run and the pushups were making my arms feel weak and wobbly. Tomorrow I knew I was going to be sore from being hit repetitively, the run, and these pushups. I can't say it wasn't worth it though. Hitting her felt unbelievably refreshing. Like when you're on the verge of drowning because you're out of air, and you try to reach the surface but the waves keep crashing down holding you back until finally you make a breakthrough and air fills your lungs.
"Elizabeth, do I need to kick you off this team?" coach asked as I was finishing up the pushups.
"No sir, I’m very sorry that happened." I said standing up.
"I know Crystal has been picking on you since you got here but you took it too far, you have three chances and then you're kicked off this team. That little stunt you pulled is counting as two strikes because you need to understand that fighting is not tolerated here. You will also be running for the whole first half of every practice from now until our first tournament which you are suspended from the first half. As well as having to do pushups the last five minutes of every practice until the tournament."
I looked down at the ground, tears threatening to pour. "Yes sir" I responded, looking up at him so he knew I meant it.
"You’re free to go now Elizabeth"
I grabbed up my stuff and ran towards the dorm, I was sore but I wanted to get in the shower and just go to sleep. I needed to wash off the dried up blood and relax in the bath. I wanted to call Paul and tell him everything that happened and how I was suspended. The worst thing imaginable, not playing soccer. When I reached the dorm Izzy was there with David, just as I left them I didn’t want either of them to see me like this but sure enough they both did. They had a clear view of my dirty blood stained clothes, my face, and the tears that were pouring down my face. They both looked shocked and I rushed into the bathroom.
I took my time washing my hair and the scratches on my face and washing off the blood from my nose. A bruise was already forming on my left eye and it hurt to touch it or blink for that matter. Luckily I had extra clothes in the bathroom because I wasn’t sure if David was still here and I didn’t want to go to my room in a towel with him still here.
I finally stepped out and Izzy was sitting there, obviously waiting for me. David was gone to my surprise and relief and I was about to escape to our room so I could text Paul but Izzy stopped me.
"Hey, Elizabeth, what in the world happened to you?" she asked, clearly worried about me but I wasn’t about to give in to her sweet caring side. It was time to just knock out two birds with one stone.
"Why do you care?" I asked bitterly
She seemed surprised. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me, I damn well didn't stutter, Why. Do. You. Care. Oh, you don't really. You're just trying to get into business that you don't belong in"
"Elizabeth what the heck is your problem, what in the world did I do to you?"
"What did you do to me? Are you seriously asking that? You know damn well what you did to me so don't try to act all innocent. You where so nice when we first met and then you turn around and stab me in the back? Excuse me if I don't want anything to do with you or anyone else because apparently friends are hard to come by in any country."
"Elizabeth, come on seriously I have no idea what you’re talking about!!! Talk to me!"
"I am talking to you Izzy! Open up your ears and listen to me!!!! The first time we went out and saw David and Paul at the restaurant before the accident!!!" I saw her cringe but continued “That’s when it all started Izzy!! You knew exactly how I felt about David but you still insisted on flirting with him!!"
"You’re seriously confusing me girl! David? What about David? I wasn't flirting? We were just talking! We had a lot in common. Not like you should care about that though because you were the one flirting with Paul!!"
"Paul? No, I wasn’t flirting with Paul. We were talking while you and David made loving faces at each other."
"Are you jealous Elizabeth?"
"Of what!?!?! A bitch like you!! Of course not!!!" I watched as the pain wiped across her face at my words like I just slapped her and I couldn't help but feel a little bad.
"Look here Elizabeth, I don’t know who you think you are but you can't talk to me that way."
"Then how would you like me to talk to you hm? You're a back stabber Izzy!! Just leave me alone okay!?"
"You still didn't tell me what happened to you today, the hell if you think I’m going to just let that one go!!"
"I fought crystal okay!?!?! I was already irritated and she was pushing my buttons as usual!! You weren’t there though were you? No. So you wouldn’t even know because you haven’t been there!!!!"
"What? Are you blaming me? I haven’t been at practice because of the accident we got into remember??" she pointed to her injury. "Which you caused!!!!"
"Wow, you blame me for that, seriously? I wasn’t even the one driving!!!!"
"You were distracting me though, and it hurts too much to go to practice and watch everyone have a good time while I'm miserable here trying to get better!! Which David has been helping me with by the way!"
"Oh okay, Just rub my nose in it. David David David!!!!! You and David!"
"Do you like David Elizabeth; is that what this is about?"
"Of course Izzy!!! You know that already why do you sound so surprised!!!!!!?!??! I like David and I have ever since the plane ride. But do I talk to him anymore? No because you stole him!!!!!!" she looked surprised as I was yelling at her about David. “Ugh, IZZY I LIKE DAVID AND I WISH YOU WOULD HAVE BACKED OFF, It's too late now though isn't it, I'm sure he likes you too and I don’t even care anymore!!!!!!!!"
Izzy stood there in shock; I grabbed my phone and stormed out. I quickly sent a text to Paul to meet in our usual place and he replied back right away.
I sat down on the bench crying, waiting for Paul, and let the darkness consume me as all the stress caused me to faint.