Frozen under Liams broken gaze.
It was 4:30pm, Liam would be in warm ups right now preparing for tonight’s game.
I on the other hand eagerly waited by my front door as my parents car drove into the driveway. I was so glad they’re home even if it is only for three weeks. I heard the familiar sound of dads keys in the lock and the faint sound of my moms voice on the other side of the layer of wood that separates us. They’re finally home.
My mom caught me up into her embrace right away, I inhale the comforting smell of lavender laundry detergent and tropical shampoo. Moms home.
“Missed you so much Liv, come to the kitchen and help me prepare dinner. We can get caught up on all of the stuff I’ve missed.”
“Mom, you’ve not missed anything, we video chat every night.”
“I know but I want to hear about it all over again.”
I peel potatoes whilst mom chops vegetables, I can’t remember when I last had a hearty, home cooked meal. I usually just grab something and go. It’s so good having my parents home, it fills the house with so much warmth and love, just like it should be. I know their work is important so I don’t make a big deal out of being by myself most of the time but sometimes it just gets lonely.
As we prepared the shepherds pie we spoke about their successful business deal and how they negotiated for a company merge, we spoke about my school life and how I’ve been bothered less these past few days. I found myself avoiding all conversations about a certain blue eyed beauty though and they stared clear of ‘boy talk’ anyway.
Ahh. Liam. It was now 5pm, kick off would have officially started.
We sat down together at the dining table. Together as a family.
“I’m happy with your report cards so far Olivia, I’m pleased to see you’re maintaining your grade point average. You’ll have a great shot with any college you apply for, I’m sure.”
Dad said as he piled some green beans onto his fork. Conversation didn’t always flow easily between my dad and I, there was no tension I just don’t think we really knew what to talk to each other about. He’s very business minded and keeps on top of my grades, it’s a little unnerving but I know that’s just how he expresses his love and shows he cares.
With my mom it’s different. She’s more outgoing and likes to make sure I’m getting the proper high school experience. She’s supportive of my decisions but she does try to push me into being more social. Which is hard considering the kids at my school don’t want to be social with me.
Both my parents are young, high school sweethearts who got pregnant long before they planned to. They’re madly in love but don’t over do it with the P.D.A which I’m thankful for. They work together in a lawyers office and deal with the legal side of collapsing businesses who aim to merge with other struggling companies.
I tuck into the fluffy mash coated on top of minced lamb, delicious. Closing my eyes, savoring all the flavor I realize how much I’ve missed this.
“Don’t they do a soccer game at your school every Friday Liv? Why didn’t you go?”
Gulp, the warm food slides to bottomless pits of my stomach.
Liam. It’s 5:45pm. The whistle will be blowing for half time, the cheerleaders will be on the pitch and Liam will probably be huddled up with his team going over the tactics. Or watching the cheerleaders. I don’t like to think about the latter.
“Yeah they do. I don’t really go to them often, only when Tia forces me too. But today I wanted to be home to spend time with you both. I’ve missed you guys.”
Mom shoots me a welcoming smile as we continue with dinner. Finishing off the last bite I excuse myself because I can’t take it any longer. Pulling out my phone I text Tia.
What is the score? X
I anxiously tap my foot against my desk awaiting Tias reply, I surprised myself at how interested I’ve become in soccer these past couple of weeks. My phone vibrated against the white pine desk and I practically pounced on it.
Chestington High 1 - Alderidge High 1 it’s tense. xXx
Who scored? X
Ben, second half starting now. xXx
Not who I wanted her to say but a goal is a goal I knew they would be playing for around another forty five minutes, maybe longer if it went to penalties. My whole body ached with a competitiveness that I never used to feel, especially towards the soccer games. My mind drifted to thoughts of Liam running around the pitch with his red soccer uniform on, completely devoted to the game. It made my heart twinge that I wasn’t there to watch him in his carefree, boyish nature that he only processes when he plays. I felt a pang of jealousy towards Tia, knowing she’s sitting up there in the bleachers watching him right now.
Liams just scored. 2-1! xXx
My phone pulled me back into the present and instantly plastered a smile across my face. Go Liam! I felt a sense of relaxation knowing that Chestington was in the lead.
The other team just scored. 2-2 xXx
Another vibration sent my way made me re-tense. Ugh! This is playing with my emotions. Come on Chestington! Tia didn’t text anything for a while and I was left alone to listen to the pounding in my own chest. I couldn’t relax, finding myself viciously tapping on the desk or pacing the room waiting for her score updates. I wasn’t all that into sport but the way I was looking and feeling right now was like I was some crazy soccer fanatic.
Liam just scored the winning goal! 3-2! xXx
And there it was. The text to end the emotions that bubbled up inside. Of course he did! He was so good at his game, I don’t think there has ever been a game he hasn’t scored a goal since he made the team. Acting on impulse I checked the time 7.05pm, Liam was probably in the changing room showering right now then the whole team would head out to that diner Liam took me to whilst we were handcuffed. He told me they go there to celebrate their victory.
I headed back downstairs to spend some time with my parents. We watched the first Bourne movie together, mom and I wanted a chick flick but dad said no chance and we all compromised on Bourne because we all love a bit of Matt Damon. We planned to watch the sequels the following nights. We settled on a good old fashioned board game after that, Cluedo. Yes we’re one of those board game families, when my parents are home we really soak up the family time.
“Peacock, Ballroom, Dagger.” Dad called out claiming the winning title.
I’ve been watching the clock all day thinking about what Liam could possibly be up to but the last few hours had flew by, it was almost midnight. I said goodnight to my parents and headed upstairs to get ready for bed, stepping into silky red shorts and a matching camisole that showcased black lace around the edges. As I gripped the curtains I noticed the smallest of lights flickering at the back of the garden again.
The tree house.
This was really starting to annoy me but it reminded me to mention it to my parents. I left my curtains ajar and went to find my dad.
“So I’ve been noticing a light flickering in the garden a few times I think it’s coming from the tree house. This morning I thought I saw someone leaving our garden, but I’m not sure. I’m going to go up there now and check it out.”
My mom and dad looked at each other with concern etched across their face.
“You’re not going up their Liv, anyone could be up there. I’ll go check it out.”
He searched around his tool box looking for his torch.
“Dad, you’re heavier than me. It’s an old tree house, do the math. I’ll go, nothing will happen to me with you watching from the back door.”
I could see him thinking about it, but he reluctantly nodded his head and handed me the torch.
The Earth was cooling down from the extortionately hot day we had experienced today. The sky had opened and rain down poured in cold, big splatters that pummeled my skin. But I ignored it, shining the torch towards the tree house which now lay in darkness. I was feeling brave. Determined as I gripped the wet ceder and climbed higher up the bark.
“Careful Liv” I heard my dad shout from several meters away.
Every inch of my body was soaked as I reached the top, preparing my new found confidence to look inside. Rain fell thicker and Lightening blew up the sky shooting rays of white everywhere like a camera had just flash fired in my face. Illuminating the tree house, exposing all of the secrets that lay inside.
And there he was.
“Anyone up there Liv?” My dad shouted again.
Like a deer that just got caught in headlights, the lamb had spotted the lion. In that moment time stood still as I stared deeply into lost, ocean blue eyes communicating unspoken words. Liam cowered at the back of darkness, wrapped up inside a tatty, grey sleeping bag and stayed mute as sad eyes blinked blankly in my direction.
“Liv, is anyone up there?” Dads voice pulled me out of my subconscious.
“No dad.” I lied not taking my eyes off Liam.
“There’s a lightening storm you need to get down.”
I couldn’t move, frozen under Liams broken gaze.
“Liv” dad called, concern climbing in his voice. I ignored him.
“Liv, don’t make me come and get you.”
Liam broke eye contact, he flinched backwards at my dads remark and shot his eyes past me in the direction towards my house. It gave me time to regather myself and climb down.
“sorry dad... I just got caught up in my memories.” I lied again.