Learning to Let Go

Annalise is a volleyball all-star. One who will have the ability to go to the Olympics. It's just a natural talent. At 15, two years ago, she got involved with Seth. A sweet guy, really. But she stopped focusing on volleyball. After breaking up, she swore she wouldn't date until making the Olympics. So much for that, now she's got a new crush, one that she's trying to keep hidden. It's bad enough she has one problem, but she's moving down the block to a bigger house. Why? Because three years after her father's death, her mom is ready to marry again, to Ryan Kennedy.The worst part? Annalise has trouble getting along with Dylan, Ryan's 14 year old son.


1. Prologue

"Annalise!" My coach yelled as I walked in three minutes before practice ended for the millionth time that month. "Where have you BEEN?!"
"Sorry, I lost track of time," I lied. Truth was, I'd been with my new boyfriend, Seth.
"Don't give me that crap, Annalise Roselyn Simpson. Where were you?"
"....With Seth," I said guiltily.
My coach rolled her eyes. Her daughter, Jenna, another player, had dated him and was late for every single practice while she was dating him, like me.
Just then, the woman who owns the gymnasium called, "Practice over! Everyone out!"
Everyone rushed to go to the locker room. I turned to go, but Cora caught me. 
"Annalise," she said, her voice dangerously low. With her dark hair and piercing black eyes, she's quite intimidating. "I warned you to stay away from him! He doesn't care about your personal lives. All he cares about is getting closer and closer to any girl he can. He and Jenna almost got too close."
"But that's not him! He's changed!"
"Annalise!" She yelled over me. "You have a choice. You have the possible potential to go to the Olympics, it's a shame to see it wasted. Either dump him and get to practice on time, or date him and play volleyball elsewhere."
"You're kidding," I said, but by the cold look in her eye I knew she was serious.
"Now, you're going to break up with him, after you get your butt on that court!"
She kept me two hours after to go over what I'd missed. Practice is supposed to end at 9:00 and I get home at 9:15, but instead I got home at 11:15.
As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a wrestler in a knock out.
 When I woke up, I stretched lazily. It's Saturday! The sun was shining, I'm homework free, I had a date with Seth... Oh crap. Memories from yesterday came flooding back like I'd been hit in the head with a hammer.
I slowly got out of bed and dragged through the hours before our picnic date, dreading what I had to do.
We met at Rosewood Park. He was sitting under a tree with a picnic spread out before him. Seth saw me coming and got up to greet me. He tool my hand and pulled me into a kiss, his lips tasting of watermelon. Probably been snacking before I got here.
"Let's sit," I said, "Look, I really like you, Seth," I began.
He smiled really big, his big, bright brown eyes glinting in the sun.
"But, I'm…I'm breaking up with you," I said really fast. I had to get it out. I looked up at him, his expression turning from shock to turning cold hard.
"Look. Volleyball is my life! The coach said I need to pick, you or the Electric Shockers. It's only been a month with you, and a year with them. I have to pick volleyball, it's my life! I need to play, and being with you gets in the way of that, a lot. I'm sorry, Seth, but it's the way it has to be."
His reaction was NOT what I was expecting.
"What do you mean, it gets in the way of that! It's not just a month for me, Annalise! You can't do this to me! I've been waiting since 5th grade! I've liked you since then! I tried dating other girls, but nothing worked. I need you, Roselyn!"
I was crying now. "You didn't know me in fifth grade! We were in different classes! How can you have liked me since then?!"
"It's a lot easier then you think. I saw you in the halls, at lunch, it just sort of happened. You have to be mine!"
I shook my head. "No, Seth. I'm sorry."
He turned on his heel and walked out, leaving me to deal with the picnic. I thought my problems were over, I did it! Pfft, so much for that. 
He turned back with absolute hatred in his eyes. "Any guy who dates you after this better watch his back," he threatened over his shoulder.
So I vowed never to date until I made the Olympics. It did two things, kept my mind on volleyball and protected the guys in my school. For two years, anyway.

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