Fearless

The player. The bad girl. The dork. The diva, and the counsellor. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right? Well, let me put it into more of a better perspective.
The popular playboy who's set as an outcast in his own family and tries to make a name for himself in the outside world; the foreign rebel who tries to forget the painful memories of her past and puts on a fake smile just to get through the day; the quiet one with his nose in a book who tries to focus on the good while living in a world of bad. The openly gay who is still afraid of judgment and being cast out as a 'freak' or 'mistake' and not being accepted by society, and the girl who tries to fix everyone else's problems but can't fix her own, stuck in a world where everyone expects her to have the answer.
Five completely different teens, each living and leading their own lives. But what happens when one night turns into something that none of them will ever forget. *COVER BY Cheba

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5. *5* Soccer Match

Like Mikayla, Elliot hated being the center of attention. And when he played his favourite sport in front of hundreds of onlookers, he couldn't help but feel about the size of a mouse. All those beady eyes watching his every move make him nervous and anxious, and his anxiety didn't help with it at all; the thing about sport, however, was that all those people that were watching vanished. Metaphorically speaking of course. The more he ran around and played the game, the more distant and remote the crowd was and the better he felt. All there was was him and the ball and the goal - and about twenty-one other players on the field (excluding the substitutes and including the goalies).

When the tender and sentimental moment between him and Mikayla was over, Mikayla stayed around a bit longer before she had to go and they both had to get ready for Elliot's soccer game against the Dallas Skyline Raiders.  Knowing Elliot, he was already organised for the game later that day - his uniform was already in the boys locker room at school so he wouldn't make the mistake of forgetting it. He had a few hours to himself to do whatever he wanted until his mom got home from a twelve-hour shift at the local diner and could take them down to the school in time for the game. Gabby - Elliot's younger sister - was already home from her friend Taylor's house and was currently in her room on her phone, doing who knows what. It was fine with Elliot, he just had to make sure she was fed and didn't burn the house down.

Usually before a soccer game, Elliot would run his own mini fitness course in his backyard to get him prepped and pumped for the game. However, since it had been a crazy week of school and he was practically swimming in a butt-load of homework, he had to do one or the other and school work always came first according to Elliot. Boring, yes, but Elliot liked to aim high and try his hardest to be the best he could whilst also helping out and organizing around the house while his mom worked her butt off 24/7. His life was nothing like a walk in the park - it was more like a hike up and down Mount Everest about twenty times. No time for rest, otherwise one wrong move and you go tumbling back all the way down to the bottom.

After enduring several painfully boring hours of homework, Elliot decided to take a break and refresh his mind. He would've had to leave soon for his game anyway so it better to take a break now so it wasn't so cramped with equations and phrases from his study books. Elliot went to the kitchen and grabbed himself an apple and glass of water to rejuvenate his senses and get hydrated. Gabby came out of her room as well to get herself something to eat so she opened the fridge and began scavenging for anything edible she could digest.

 

"So," Gabby said with her head in the fridge. "What time do you think mom will be home?"

 

Elliot sighed and glanced up at the clock which told him that the time was five-thirty. Fifteen minutes before they had to leave and get down to the school's soccer field.

 

"Hopefully soon," Elliot replied. "She should be getting off of work any second now."

 

Gabriella sighed and shut the fridge door, unsuccessful in finding anything to eat - so she grabbed a banana. "Eli, face it. She's going to be working out late again so there's no point in saying that she'll be home 'any second'."

 

Elliot didn't like to admit it, was Gabby was pretty much ninety-five percent right. Their mom had raised them both by herself since Elliot was eight and a half and Gabby was three - nearly four. She had struggled at the start but still managed to feed them, dress them, clean up after them and all other motherly things she had to do to make sure they were raised right. But also since she was a single mom, she had to have more than one job and work late most of the time, so it was Elliot who mainly raised Gabby and helped her get ready for school and etcetera. They didn't have much but it was enough to help them get by and to Elliot, it was all they needed. A roof over their heads, food to fill their stomachs and a bed to sleep in. It was all Elliot could ask for and he was grateful for it.

They both went back to their previous activities as time ticked by, both of them waiting impatiently and patiently for the sound of an old 1990 Ford Sedan putting into the driveway; with the sound of squeaky doors opening and shutting as their mom walked up the front steps and entered their house - tired and exhausted but still managing a smile on her face when she sees her children. But, like most days, that didn't happen. As time slowly passed by and five forty-five drew nearer, there was still no sign of their mother.

Elliot looked at his watch and sighed. As he stared at the small clock hands ticking along, he could help but feel slightly disappointed that his mom hadn't shown up again. But he understood of course and knew that she usually always came during the second half of the game. He could always count on that.

Just then, there was the sound of car horn beeping out the front of their house. Marking the page in his book, Elliot stood up out of his chair and went over to the kitchen window to see who it was sounding the horn. A smile grew on his face as he recognized the car almost immediately.

It was Xavier with Mikayla in the passenger seat.

 

Elliot quickly turned and grabbed his jacket and phone that was sitting on the dining table. "Gabby let's go! Xavier and Mikayla are here to take us to the game."

 

His little sister's footsteps thundered down the hallway as she tucked her phone into her pocket. "I told you mom wouldn't make it," was all she said with a hint of sadness and disappointment in her tone as she walked past Elliot, towards the front door.

 

Elliot just sighed and followed her out to the car, shutting and making sure the door was locked behind them. The both made their way to the white Toyota Camry.

 

"Hey you guys," Mikayla greeted as she turned around in the passenger's seat to face them as the got in the back. "How you doin'?"

 

"Good," was Gabby's response as she clicked in her seatbelt. "School sucked, though."

 

"Doesn't it always?" Xavier said as he adjusted his fringe in the review mirror. "I mean, none of the cute guys in my year level don't swing my way or just aren't cute and it sucks. Like, what did I do to deserve such torture?"

 

"Oh for the love of - shut up, Xav," Mikayla groaned while trying to suppress a smile. "You are such a whiner!"

 

"But it's true!" Xavier retorted and sat back in his seat as he changed into first gear. "Gabby, do you have cute boys in your year level?"

 

Elliot looked over at Gabby in the corner of his eye and saw her go wide-eyed from Xavier's sudden question and tried to make it seem as if she was distracted by something on her phone.

 

"Oh my God!" Mikayla exclaimed and slapped her brother on the arm. "Don't tell me that you're going to me a creepy pedophile who spies and stalks on little boys?"

 

"What? No!" Xavier retorted as he drove along, keeping his eyes on the road. "I'm just asking in case she needs some guidance. You know, seeing as I am a guy myself and I could help her understand the male species."

 

"Some guidance? Really, Xavier? You do realize that she has Elliot for that?"

 

"But he's her brother and that'd be just... weird, though. Getting boy advice from another boy."

 

"Xavier, you're weird. Now shut up and keep driving."

 

Elliot chuckled quietly to himself as he turned to stare out the window and watch as the scenery went past.The car went quiet of all conversations and only the light purr of the engine and music playing from the radio was all the noise that there was. He liked moments like these. Quiet times where there was barely any noise around him and he could think as loud as he wanted, without anyone disturbing him.

They soon arrived at the school and Xavier parked the car in a good spot, seeing as they were one of the dozen or so other cars that were already there. The four of them exited the car and Elliot waved goodbye to his sister and other the other two as he jogged towards the locker rooms where he was going to get ready in his school soccer team uniform and prep with his team before the game. His nerves jittered in his system and he felt thousands of ferocious butterflies flutter around in his stomach as he thought about the game and other things where his train of thoughts wandered around to. He was nervous for tonight - more nervous than usual - and the game wasn't the only reason why.

__________

 

The world was quiet. A bead of sweat slowly dripped down Elliot's forehead as his breath came out in heavy amounts as his lungs tried desperately to gather air so he could breathe. His legs ached and a pain in his shoulder was forming from an old injury that usually reoccurred when he pushed himself too hard at any physical exercise. His knees and uniform were stained with grass and dirt from skidding and tripping onto the grass, and his throat felt dehydrated. But none of that mattered. All Elliot was concerned about was the black and white ball heading down to his end of the field. He was aware that there were people in the bleachers, screaming and cheering for them - Mikayla, Xavier, and Gabby with them - but he shut them out. He shut them all out and only kept his focus on the ball. Just like coach told him.

 

"Eyes on the ball and nothing else. You don't want to loose sight of the main focus of the game. The ball is all that matters. Forget the players. Forget the fans. Forget everything. It's just you and the ball."

 

Just me and the ball... Elliot recited in his head. Me and the ball.

As the spherical object rolled closer, Elliot sprung into action. His legs and feet moved with a mind of their own as they dodged the other players and headed straight for the ball as it rolled along the grass. The opposing player who was controlling the ball saw Elliot heading for the ball and started to kick it the other was, but Elliot was smarter than that and quickly predicting the player's moves and acted swiftly as he pounced on the ball and stole it from the Raider. Cheers came from the crowd as Elliot made his way down the field, the goals getting closer and closer with each step.

Skyline Raiders ran towards Elliot, determined to get the ball away from him. Elliot dodged and weaved through them as best as he could, but when about three players charged Elliot at once, he looked for the nearest opening and spotted Ryan Carver a few meters ahead of Elliot, running towards the goals as well.

 

"CARVER!" Elliot shouted and kicked the ball as hard as he could to him.

 

The ball zoomed past the three Raiders and sped towards Ryan who turned just in time to see the ball speeding towards him and took the ball between his feet as he pushed harder into running towards the goals. Elliot slowed down his pace to catch his breath as he watched Ryan running with the ball and kicking towards the goals once he got close enough.

But the goalie was quick and stopped the ball before it could get anywhere near the goal.

A wild roar of cheers came from the Skyline Raiders bleachers while the Martin Warrior supporters all let out various noises of disappointed and a few loud curse words here and there. Elliot sighed and ran his hands down his face in frustration; this was one of the toughest games he's played so far this season. Elliot glanced over at the scoreboard and saw the score 15-09. Their goalie was good, he'll admit, but he knew his team was better if they just put their minds to it. He knew they could win this.

The halftime whistle suddenly blew and both teams made their way back to their benches to get refreshed and catch their breath. Elliot grabbed his bottle of water and took large gulps as the water ran down his throat and re-hydrated him. He then took the bottle away from his lips and squirted it on the top of his head which cooled him down. Elliot shook his wet hair and ran a hand through it as he took heavy breaths. The game was tiring him out quick, but he knew he could pull through.

 

"Eli!" Mikayla called from the bleachers and gestured for him to come over.

 

Elliot put his bottle down and jogged lightly towards the three of them who were all lucky enough to get front row seats for the game. He smiled as he approached them and slowed his paced as he reached them.

 

"Hi guys," Elliot breathed out. "Liking the game?"

 

"Dude, you're killing it out there!" Xavier exclaimed and patted him the shoulder. "And so is Adam Voscow. I mean, he is definite eye candy."

 

Elliot noticed Mikayla rolling her eyes but not being able to suppress a smile at her brother's childlike behaviour towards his teammates. Elliot couldn't help but smile as well. Mikayla's smile was incredibly contagious and most of the time, Elliot couldn't help it smile as well.

 

"Oh my gosh, Xav!" Mikayla groaned while grinning. "Shut up!"

 

Xavier just poked his tongue out at his little sister and Elliot chuckled lightly. They were children, the both of them, and Elliot wondered if they had ever actually grown out of being five-year-olds.

 

"Hi everyone," said a familiar feminine voice to Elliot's right. "I hoped I haven't missed too much?"

 

The four of them each turned their heads to the sound of the voice and Elliot saw a familiar woman in her mid-forties standing there with graying dark chocolate-brown hair, soft green eyes with dark bags underneath them and wearing a nurses uniform. She had small wrinkles in the corners of her eyes from age, but the small smile she had playing on her thin, pink lips made her looked ten years younger.

 

"Mom!" Gabby exclaimed and pushed past Mikayla and Xavier to reach her and Elliot's mother as she engulfed her in a tight embrace.

 

Jodie Mitchell chuckled slightly as she hugged her daughter. "Hello, sweetheart. How was your day?"

 

"Good," Gabby replied as she pulled away to look up at her mom. "I got chosen to be in the school play!"

 

"Oh, wow!" Jodie said with a grin on her face. "That's amazing, Gabs. You'll have to tell me all about it later, okay?" Elliot's mom looked up and her smile grew bigger once she saw the Evans siblings. "And look at you two. You both seem to get more and more beautiful and handsome every time I see you."

 

Xavier dramatically flipped his hair. "I know I do. Thank you, Jodie," Xavier said with a hint of his sass coming into play.

 

Jodie just laughed. "Oh, Xavvy. You are so immature. Please, don't ever grow up," Jodie gave Xavier a quick hug before moving onto Mikayla. "And look at you. Don't you look nice tonight, Mikayla?"

 

It was true. Mikayla did have seemed to have dressed up a bit more nicely tonight. She was wearing black, lace up, heeled ankle boots, black skinny jeans that complimented the curves on her legs and hips (not that Elliot was really fussing over that. He didn't think of her that way), a loose hanging, maroon shirt with a black, leather jacket, and cross earrings with a plain chain necklace for accessories; her makeup was minimal. It made Elliot slightly suspicious about if she had changed her mind about going to Chase Richards' party after the game. She had said she didn't want to go without Elliot but he was started to think she might have come to the decision to go alone.

If that was the case, Elliot's worry meter went sky high.

 

"And now for my little sports star," Jodie Mitchell's expression softened as she went over and kissed her son on the top of his head. Gentle and sweet. "How you doin', Superman?"

 

A small smile grew on Elliot's lips as he looked up at his mom, her emerald eyes looking back at him with compassion. He loved it when she called him by his little nickname he had adopted when he was six.

 

"I'm good, mom," Elliot said. "The game's not going to well right now but I'm sure we can pull through."

 

Elliot's mom looked above his head, seeming to look at the scoreboard, then returned her gaze back to him with a lopsided grin. "Well, I'm sure you can pull through. I mean, you don't have all those trophies in your room for nothing."

 

Elliot chuckled soundlessly and looked away, embarrassed. He hated (but secretly loved) it when his mom teased him about all the awards he had won for soccer. He wasn't a big fan of being acknowledged for his accomplishments and never knew how to respond properly. It was just... awkward. Like, how to respond to something like that? Elliot had no clue, so he just stuck with his tactic of shying away with a grin on his face to hide the fact that he was blushing (sometimes of course).

 

"OI, MITCHELL!" Coach McKnightly shouted with his abnormally large vocal range. "GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE AND PLAY SOME SOCCER. AND, MIKAYLA. STOP DISTRACTING HIM!"

 

Mikayla just laughed loudly while Elliot just chuckled nervously. "Sorry, Coach!" Mikayla replied then turned to Elliot. "You'd better go and see him, Eli. Don't want him to blow his head off now, do we?"

 

Elliot shook his head. "No, totally. Of course not," Elliot said sarcastically which just made Mikayla giggle. "See you guys after the game."

 

"Good luck, Eli!" his mom called out as he turned and headed towards his team.

 

Okay, now to get his head in the game.

__________

 

Elliot was exhausted. His legs felt like jelly and his lungs felt like they were going to burst. Sweat stained his jersey which caused it to stick to his back after all the running he had done. His breathing was slightly heavy but he was recovering at his own pace as he took deep breaths. The boys soccer team bustled around the locker room around him as Elliot focused on getting himself back in order before getting changed and heading home. As Elliot began to undress as he took off his shirt, some boys walked out of the locker room while one boy walked in - but he wasn't apart of the team.

 

"Hey, Eli," Xavier said as he came and leaned on his shoulder against one of the lockers. "Good game tonight."

 

Elliot flashed him a small smile as he reached up and stuffed his soccer jersey into his bag so he could wash it tonight and return to school tomorrow so it was ready to go again for the next game. "Thanks, Xavier. Pretty close, wasn't it?"

 

Xavier just nodded his head. "Mmhmm, totally."

 

By the end of the last quarter, Elliot's team was only down by one and there was only seven minutes and thirty-six seconds left on the clock. It was a bit of a 'hot potato' (as Coach would call it) as the ball went back and forth between each team constantly. Eventually, though, the Martin Warrior's got the ball and brought it a fair way down to their side - but the guy with the ball tripped over his own feet and lost the ball. Elliot was quick and took over as he brought the ball between his feet and with only a few minutes left on the clock, his team needed this point and another one to win. So Elliot brought it close enough to the goal and kicked as hard as he could. The ball went flying through the air, above the goalie's head, and it seemed like it was going to sail right past him.

But it hit the top pole instead and ricochet off back into the field.

Elliot felt disappointed and suddenly started having this panic feeling that he had failed his team and that they would hate him. He considered quitting first thing on Monday. But low and behold, the ball went through the air and hit one of the opposing team's players in the head and while the goalie was recover from the jump from before, the ball bounced off the guy's head and passed the goalie as it rolled into the goal. His team had never cheered so loud.

In the end, the game was a tie, but Elliot's team had never been so excited. They cheered and hollered all the way to the change rooms and promised that they'd celebrate on Friday since tonight was a school night.

Which made Elliot think of Mikayla and whether or not she had decided to go to Chase's party without him.

 

"Here, let me help with that," Xavier offered as Elliot was beginning to take off his shoulder bandage that braced his shoulder and held it in place after he broke it after falling out of a tree when he was thirteen. It had healed but the doctors said he had to bandage it up for any sports he played.

 

"Thanks," Elliot muttered in response as Xavier helped him. "Hey, Xav?"

 

"Mmm?" Xavier hummed.

 

"What's your opinion on Chase Richards?" Elliot asked.

 

Xavier chuckled slightly, seeming to find it amusing. "You're asking for my opinion on a guy? Have you not met me, Elliot Mitchell?"

 

Elliot just smiled and breathed through his nose as if he was laughing. "Yes, I have met you, Xavier Evans. I've known you for practically the entire duration of my life span."

 

"Well then you should be aware of my sexual interests," Xavier replied. "Unless this is your subtle way of coming out of Narnia?"

 

Elliot scoffed. "What? No. That's preposterous," Elliot retorted. "I'm am utterly sure that I am completely and hundred percent straight as a ruler."

 

"Aww, Eli," Xavier whined. "Not even a little bit gay? Even for me?"

 

Elliot looked at Xavier who had a ridiculous pout on his face and sad eyes. Elliot just laughed. "You are so idiosyncratic."

 

Xavier let out a frustrated sigh and groaned. "Oh my God! You and Mikayla with your nerdy words! News flash, you two; some of us don't read a dictionary in our spare time."

 

"I've actually read one about three times," Elliot said nonchalantly while Xavier looked at him like he was an extraterrestrial being. "What? I was bored, okay?"

 

"You were bored so you read a dictionary?!" Xavier exclaimed, causing a few other guys in the locker room to stare at them, making Elliot self-conscious since he wasn't wearing a shirt.

 

Elliot shrugged. "I had nothing else to do," he turned and grabbed his casual shirt out of his locker and put it on. "Anyway, back to Chase Richards."

 

"Oh right, yeah," Xavier mumbled and sat on one of the nearby benches. "Well for starters, he's hot."

 

"Obviously, according to all girls in his year level and you."

 

"Duh," Xavier smirked and kept going. "He's cute, strong, got good - no, amazing abs, perfect hair, a jawline that slays and could cut a diamond, umm, what else?" Xavier paused for a moment as he thought about it. "He's actually pretty good at English and History."

 

"English and History?" Elliot echoed in bewilderment. "Since when?"

 

Xavier shrugged as if he had no clue. "I don't know, but it just makes him ten times hotter. I wonder what he looks like in glasses...?"

 

"Xav, focus," Elliot said, trying to keep Xavier on the subject at hand. "Anything else about him? Recent hit and ditches, rumours, anything like that?"

 

"Rumours? There's definitely a few of those going around," Xavier said as he pulled out his phone and ran a hand through his hair.

 

Elliot tensed for a moment before continuing on getting his stuff packed into his bag to take home. "Like what?"

 

Xavier crossed one leg over the other and started tapping on his phone. "Well, I've heard that he's having a party at Dwayne Manor tonight. I know, totally unexpected for a school night - then again he is full of surprises. And he's 'apparently' meant to make a move on his next target, who I have no idea who it is, but they get to sleep with Chase Richards so I'm automatically jealous."

 

Elliot froze. After everything that had happened all week, he knew exactly who it was, and that wasn't good. If Mikayla went to the party by herself, something severely bad could happen to her and if Elliot wasn't there to make sure she was making the right choices, all hell would break lose.

He knew what he had to do.

 

"Xavier, can I ask you a favour," Elliot said as he shut his locker and turned to face his best friend's brother.

 

Xavier looked up from his phone and noticed Elliot's expression. "Elliot, is everything okay?"

 

Elliot pursed his lips and shook his head, his gaze falling to the floor. "I'm not sure, but I need you to do something for me. It's important."

 

Xavier shut off his phone and put it in his pocket. "Yeah sure. What's up?"

 

Elliot told him everything and what he planned to do. He only hoped Xavier would agree to it.

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