Chapter 38: Christ, We Are A Bunch Of Sadists
Today it’s sadly ponytail day. I wanted to pull that hair tie and slip my fingers through her curls. I silently watch as Lia smacks Julian’s head for whining over something.
“Luke, we got only one match today right?”
I nod at Alex. We were exploring the town after eating breakfast since our match was in the afternoon. Coach told us to roam around and relax before our game, but not before warning us to be back on time.
Max was walking next to Alex, texting on his phone. My face contorts in guilt as I look away. If there is one thing I wish right now, that would be to tell Max I like his sister. The guilt’s been ruining this trip for me. Because of this guilt, I am acting nicer to everybody. Usually I just ignored the guys.
My head has been giving me red alert, but my heart can’t stop me from seeing that girl. Every strand of guilt vanishes as I look at her. Her ponytail bounces with every step, as she looks into shops through the window. My mind captures every expression that courses through her face. Curious, confused, realization, admiration, happiness.
She was walking in front of me with Julian, while Dylan and Ian were bickering behind us. My heart raced as I heard her tinkling laughter.
God, I am so smitten..
I feel like a stupid puppy, wanting to just follow her around. This morning since the elevator was full, she and I took the stairs, where I got my morning kiss. The way she urgently moved her lips against mine told me, she had missed me.
I admire everything about her. She was kind yet took no shit from anyone, tough as nails, independent. Everyone knows she can take care of herself. The boys were also chill in front of her. Selfish part of me wanted her all to myself.
Her sneakers barely touched the ground as she skipped along Julian. She was wearing a faded denim jacket above her summer dress. I feel blood rushing south as I remember the curve of her waist, the feelings I got when I slid my arms around her. She runs her fingers through her ponytail smoothening it out. The thin gold and silver rings sparkle in sunlight.
She meets my eyes and I watch in fascination at the changes that overcome her. Her blue eyes brighten up, mischievously twinkling at me. Her grin widens, dimples digging deeper in her cheeks. Her shoulder lift in happiness and then she turns around.
My lips involuntarily curl into a smile.
“Max, go talk to the referee. Just casual talk. Ask if there’s anything you need to look out for” Coach quickly orders. Everybody was changing and getting ready for the match. Some boys glance at me as Max runs off. I ignore them.
People think, I would be jealous of Max. That I must resent him for being captain when I could have also been it. But they were far from being right. I know I don’t deserve the captain position, because it’s not that important to me. The Coach makes me work just as much as Max. It’s not in me to disrespect teachers so I do what they ask, but otherwise I only play because it’s a good release. But Max plays like he is made to play. Max is dedicated whereas I’m just responsible.
We both were aware of what everybody thinks but we had talked it out and I had made it more than clear that I have no such problems and I am only happy that Max got the well-deserved post of captain. Max also knew I had my heart in computers and coding.
I was done earlier so I quietly slipped outside to look at the new surroundings, because Ian and Dylan were pinching and poking each other and there squeaks were irritating me. I was not far away, when I see Lia coming out from a corner.
“Luke!” she happily exclaims, jogging upto me.
“Baby why are you roaming alone?”
“I just went to the washroom. Coach said I could sit in the bleachers.”
“Good. You can enjoy the match” I tuck a loose hair strand behind her ear.
“Yes. I got to go. So all the best” she smiles and raises on her tip-toes and presses a kiss to my lips.
“Lia, honey you have to be careful. People might catch us” I whisper in concern. She gives me a cheeky smile and disappears. I unconsciously smile at her disappearing form. I make my way back in when I hear Coach telling us to gather around.
Max was standing next to him with a serious face. When Max becomes serious, everybody loses their jokes and pays attention.
“Is there a new plan coach?” one boy asks.
“Yes. We are going to take some lotion and tickle their balls” Coach says sarcastically. We all clench our jaws and keep straight faces.
“The fuck you dare to ask that! We play like we planned, like we practiced. We are going against Blue Valley itself. And I will be near to make sure it’s a fair game. You twerps just give me the best game you can” Coach booms his voice resonating in the room.
“Yes sir” we all shout in unison.
“You two” Max says pointing at Dylan and Ian. “No fighting on the field.”
“Of course not Max!” they both look offended. “You know we would never lose focus in game” Ian frowns. Max gives a satisfied nod.
“C’mon kiddies. Where’s your game?” Easton smirks. I ignore him and pass the ball to Julian, who was stupidly left uncovered.
Easton was the captain of Blue Valley’s. He took a special liking to me and has been trying to shit-talk to me all day. Much to my team-mates amusement, he would grumble and storm away when he failed to get a rise from me. I found his behavior entirely childish and it would anger him further when I gave him a pitied look.
The ball was now in Max’s hand but he had four guys in front of him and could not make the shot. Half time was in like 30 seconds. I run to his right while Alex was on his left. With a blink of the eye Max passes the ball to me. I quickly make a shot surprising the goal keeper who had been watching Max.
Everybody hoots in happiness while Max comes and picks me up then throws me down, happily guffawing.
“Dude” I groan but it gets lost as everyone crowds me, and happily slap and ruffle my hair. I spot Lia in bleachers screaming her throat off and jumping. I guess everybody was too happy because score had been 0-0 making everyone desperate.
“Very good all of you” Coach claps as we all sit a little and drink water. “Now just keep the same game up. Good teamwork Wright and Anderson.”
I pour water over my face. My shirt was already drenched in sweat. Before I could let myself crave for a shower I busy myself in Max and Julian’s discussion over fouls.
“Anybody bleeding to death?”
We all turn our attention towards Lia who raises up her Band-Aid box, showing the Red Cross like a light of Divination.
“Yes my sweet Natalia. I scraped my knee” Riley, a guy from my Literature class, shows her a miniscule wound. Lia tosses him the box muttering, “Go nuts.”
“Good shot there Wright” she comes over to me and punches me.
“Thanks” I tilt my head making her smile.
“And you” she turns towards Max. “I thought you bullied people to make yourself the Captain. But you can actually play, Big Brother. And may I say ‘Pretty-Damn-Good’ too” Lia grins.
“Thanks” Max says sarcastically.
“What about me?” Julian asks eagerly.
“You might as well sit down” Lia shakes her head.
“Hey! Don’t judge” Julian scowls. “It’s a tough game. And I’m a beginner.”
Lia is happily grinning now that she successfully annoyed Julian.
“Chill Julian. As your Leader, I’m telling you, you are doing excellent today” Max thumps Julian’s back. “Don’t listen to her. Her tiny brain doesn’t know anything.”
I bite back a smile at Lia’s indignant face.
Everybody holds their breath watching Alex struggle with two guys. He manages to pass the ball to his left but no one was there. I raced towards the ball as someone from the opposite team reaches at the same time.
I see Ian in my peripheral and just toss it towards his direction. Ian immediately starts working his way towards the goal. I run to follow him but two guys are running in my direction. My legs automatically run to avoid them but they run right into me.
That is when I feel a strong punch in my ribcage. All air knocks out of me, as my eyes shut due to the sudden pain. I fall on the grass, dots forming in my vision. I hear distant screams as I cough roughly. Once my head clears I see blood on my hands. The rusty taste in my mouth told me I had coughed blood.
“Luke can you hear me? C’mon man” I hear Alex’s desperate cries. Some of my team members are surrounding us looking concerned. I see Coach running towards my direction.
“The fuck you mean you did not see him coming?” I hear Max’s infuriated snap.
My eyes find him and Dylan along with the rest of the team members shouting and angrily barking at Easton and his team mates. I know any second now, Max would start showering punches.
“Stop him” I manage to say.
“Luke you don’t have to..” Alex says gently.
“Stop him” I say more firmly looking at Alex. He silently gives a crisp nod and runs towards the angry mob. Ignoring the helping hands I stand up and dust my clothes with my clean hand.
“Luke are you alright?” Coach reaches me finally, gripping my elbow and examining me.
“Yes sir. I just need to sit down-”
“You coughed blood!” Coach’s eyes widen as he sees my hand. My eyes worriedly goes towards Max and Dylan. Much to my relief, Alex was urgently talking to them both in whispers.
“C’mon mate. Lets get you in” Ian takes my hand like I was an 80-year old woman. I see the referee coming towards me.
“What happened?” he gruffly asks.
“You saw what happened?” Max snaps. “He was punched!”
“If you don’t calm down I’ll be giving you a yellow card” he threatens.
Before Max could further shout I speak up, “Sir, I am in much pain. I need to sit down before talking.”
He nods and dismisses everyone.
I am led towards the changing room. I felt a stab every time I moved my torso. Behind me their were excited agitated discussions over what happened.
“Now Luke, I can’t allow you to play” Coach announces as soon as I sit.
“What?” I stand up ignoring the fresh current of pain. “No! I am fine Sir. Just give me 5 minutes-”
“No Wright. Even if you feel alright, I can’t allow you. You need to go to hospital” Coach gravely mutters.
“Honestly sir I-”
“Your parents will have my head if I let you play in this condition. Not to mention the school.”
I sit back down in defeat.
“Now tell me, who punched you?”
Now I know if I say someone punched me, the boys will create a mob and go beat up the guy. Not to mention the hostility that would develop on the field. I figured no good would come out from my complaint so I automatically answer, “No one punched-”
“Don’t you dare lie Luke” Coach interrupts me harshly. “Tell me you felt the punch.” I nod in remorse cursing my moral compass that forced me not to lie.
“You saw their faces?” Coach turns to Max. He nods coldly.
“Coach do you think it was planned?”
“What do you mean, I think it was planned? Of course it was planned! Those fuckers did this so that we lose a vital player and they lose an average one” Coach fumes out. “Wright go with Natalia to the hospital while I’ll go and see what I can do. C’mon rest of you, on the field.”
“We are going to crack their heads open” Ian says through his teeth.
“Count me in” Max responds. Everyone nods along.
“Would you all stop?” I snap irritatedly. “I am not that hurt.”
“Yes you are and no we won’t stop” Alex replies. “Luke it’s not just about you, it’s about their audacity to hurt one of our team members.”
I drag a hand over my face in exasperation. Everybody ignores me and start planning gruesome scenarios following Coach into the field. I never noticed Lia who had been standing behind all the time. Once they all left she came in front of me kneeling down.
“Don’t” I shake my head, seeing her stare at the dried blood on my hand. “I need to rinse my mouth” I get up, not waiting for her to help me.
“Wait” she stops me as I stand in front of the sink.
Lia hands out a bottle towards me. “Don’t bend. You’ll get more hurt” she mumbles. I take the bottle muttering a thanks. After spitting out the blood I wash my face and hands. Lia hands me a towel. I look at her quizzically.
“It’s yours. I know your bag” she mumbles. I bite back a smile and take the towel walking outside the toilet.
“Luke tell me who was it?”
“No” I firmly shake my head. Lia crosses her arms, distracting me for a second with her breasts that get a more defined shape. I look at her face to keep focused. She was glaring at me.
“Just point him out Luke. I’ll make that lad regret the day he was born” Lia growls.
“Why is everybody in such a bloodlust? Lia stop checking the first aid box for knives. You are freaking me out” I sigh seeing her rummage through the kit.
“Well something good ought to happen with me dragging around this box.”
“Goodness Lia stop it! I’m perfectly fine” I protest.
She gives me an annoyed look and sharply jabs my ribs, making me double from pain. “I thought you were on my side” I groan clutching my side.
“Oh I am on your side sweetie. Just tell me who did that” she scowls harder.
“He got a yellow card! I mean a measly yellow card” Coach enters grumbling. “Trust me, I would have banned him from the field forever!” He stops on seeing us. “Why aren’t you at the hospital?”
“We are going Coach. Luke wanted to fix his appearance” Lia shrugs. This time I give her an annoyed look.
“Well get going fast. Hope it’s not a broken rib Wright” he utters picking up his phone and leaving us again.
“C’mon lets go” Lia takes my hand.
“Where? You don’t actually think I need to go to hospital?”
“Luke seriously, don’t be stupid. You coughed out BLOOD! Who knows, you might have a punctured lung” she explains.
“All I need is a good rest. I don’t need to go to a hospital” I reply stubbornly.
“Fine, but you see Coach ordered us to do so. Are you going to disobey a teacher Lukey?”
I know she’s teasing but I find myself struggling. Lia grins on seeing my inner turmoil. I clench my jaw and say, “Yes.”
She backs away surprised. “Are you scared of needles?” she whispers.
“No. I just don’t want to go, because it is really unnecessary” I answer blankly. She scans my face closely for lies. I let her see I was saying the truth.
“Alright” she says defeated. “But you’ll explain it to the coach.”
“That won’t be needed. We’ll say we went to the hospital and they gave me painkillers.”
“Oh my my.. You are such a naughty boy Luke” Lia teases. “Disobeying direct orders. Lying to the teacher. What next?”
I don’t respond but just go to my locker. After removing my sweat drenched t-shirt, I put on a fresh one.
“You should give a warning before doing that” Lia says shakily. I look towards her to find her face blooming in red making me chuckle.
She’s so cute..
“C’mon since I am not allowed to play, we’ll watch the match” I take her hand and guide her outside. Lia stops me, “I got a better idea.”
“I’m not liking this. Let’s go.”
“Shush..” Lia quietens me. I watch in foreboding from between the steps. Apparently we were here for revenge. Lia had taken me to the opposite side. Not to the bleachers but under them. See the whole thing was a wooden structure with beams supporting it. So the area beneath those steps was hollow, allowing us to slip in without getting noticed. I could hear footsteps echoing over my head.
We were waiting for Easton to come out from the changing rooms. From changing room to the field there were hollow steps. You can say they just nailed some planks of wood in ascending order to make stairs. We could put our hands in between and hold someone’s leg to give them a fright.
“I know he always stops at this step to analyze the field” Lia whispers. I get a little irritated that she was watching some other guy so keenly. As if sensing my mood change she slips her hands through my locks and softly plays with them while keeping an eye on the steps. I find myself calming down. I always feel sleepy and relaxed when she touches my hair.
We see someone running up the stairs making sand fall around us. “They are about to come out” Lia excitedly whispers.
“Let me do it” I offer not liking the idea of Lia doing it.
“Puh-lease Luke” Lia rolls her eyes in good humor. “You are too much of a gentleman to do something like this. Don’t argue” she says on seeing me open my mouth. “You could not even sleep in the same bed with me without my permission.”
My mind wanders to the night she came to me after fighting with Mel.
“It wouldn’t have been right to do so after you fell asleep” I mumble sheepishly. Lia chuckles and then kisses my cheek.
“Easton, want me to punch that Ox of their captain. I have been wanting to do it so badly” someone says standing on the stairs. My fist clench on their own as I step forward.
Lia keeps a hand on my chest and makes me go back warning me with her eyes. I comply with difficulty. It was dark and her eyes were glowing reminding me of ocean in the night.
“I want that too. But not today Dan. I think one is enough for today” Easton laughs wickedly. We both watch Easton’s lazy stroll into the field. Just like Lia predicted he stops on a step and stands there. Through the gaps I could see his smug face watching our side.
Lia quietly ties his shoelace together. Old-school pranks never get old. I watch as Lia tightens the knot and steps back. We wait in anticipation. Earlier I wasn’t mad. But now, hearing him say that he wanted to hurt Max I feel differently.
Christ, we are a bunch of sadists..
Easton takes a big step forward and goes tumbling down like a bag of potatoes. Lia and I quietly fist bump each other and make our way out. We could hear Easton’s angry shouting and the crowd booing him. But we raced out before someone sniffed us out.
“That felt satisfying” Lia sighs happily.
“You were planning this prank even before I got hurt” I say watching her. She had the grace to blush.
“Would your prank-planning pretty ass like some pancakes?”
“Is that a tongue twister?”
In response I grab her hand and take her outside the school campus.
After my exams, my friend and I had a Harry Potter marathon. To be honest, I’m craving to introduce Dragons and Horcruxes into the story. But no, before any of you react let me say nothing like that is going to happen cuz I know this is not that kind of story. Most of you must be relieved and must have put away your slippers (I know you all are a violent bunch), and some potterheads may even be sulking, but nope, not gonna happen. No matter how much I want to make Luke’s eyes bluer than the sea and give him owl glasses. Sorry I am done. I won’t torment you further.
PS: One more thing, Daniel Radcliffe is really yummy. He made me momentarily forget about Henry Cavill. Okay now I am done.