“Oh, come on!”
“N.O. It spells no, Ceci.”
“Really? I didn’t even know,” she retorted, rolling her eyes, before turning those very eyes into puppy dog ones. “Come on! Pretty please with a cherry on top,” she pouted, jutting her bottom lip out.
I gave her a flat look. “Ceci, I’m not falling for it.”
“You know what? You’re impossible!”
I rolled my eyes at the girl on my bed, with all my clothes sprawled across it. “Ceci,” I sighed shaking my head, “I’m not going to spend any time choosing what outfit I’m going to wear, let alone trying them.” I emphasized the words to get it into her head.
Unfortunately, this was Cecilia Ramone we were talking about- she doesn’t give up easily either. She looked at me like I was an alien from another planet. “Are you even a girl?”
I gave her an incredulous look. “Of course, I’m a girl!” I threw my hands up.
“Really? Cause I’ve never seen a girl who turns down-”
“I have,” I winked at her, “Including my very own self.”
“Samantha Anderson!” she blew up. I winced as I looked at her; she decided to use the full name card. Gosh, she sounded like my mother. “What else could you have to do that is better than-”
“Everything!” I threw my hands up again as I whined like a little kid. “I could do so much! I could go for a walk! I could even have breakfast!” I gasped as that reminded me. “How could you?! You kept me in despite my hunger. I’m out and no one can stop me! Okay? My food’s been waiting for me since forever! You know, your supposed to wait for food! Food is never supposed to wait for you!” I raised my nose up in the air as I scoffed. “I’m out to eat breakfast. End of discussion.”
I was about to walk out when she grabbed my sleeve. I pouted. “Not so fast, Sam. Get back in here.”
“Please, Ceci! Please! Please, let me go. Breakfast awaits!”
“You make it sound as if I’m killing you or something...” she shook her head as a small smile played along her lips.
“But you are!”
One look and that shut me up. She looked thoughtful for a second. “Okay, fine. Go.”
“Really?” I looked up at her in surprise.
“Yes, really. But promise me you’ll be back-”
“First step to me letting you go: Let me complete my sentences!”
“You just did!” I blew her a kiss and ran away before she could change her mind and give me another hour’s lecture. I ran out the door as fast as I could. Oh lord, this was pure torture. Her making me choose my outfit and then trying them all for the football game and all.
Apparently, football games were a place literally the whole college always looked forward to going. Just like old times- high school and all.
I was running out like my life depended on it. God, going to a football game was hard enough for me considering all the bad memories that came with it let alone being reminded 24/7 that I have a match to go to.
We were granted a free day today and the football game was the only thing everyone could talk about. Why does my life suck so much? Why does everything I don’t really want to happen, happen? Huh? Huh?
“Sup, Sam,” an arm was slung on my shoulders as Brad came to view. I rolled my eyes at him.
“The football match today,” he replied in all seriousness, nodding his head with wide eyes.
I sighed and muttered under my breath, “Unfortunately.”
“So... where you going?” he asked, thankfully not hearing what I said. If he heard it, it would have led to questions. And questions I only answer to a point where they are fine with me. After that, it may not go so well and it’s bad that I couldn’t lie well either.
“To grab breakfast,” I replied simply. “You?”
“Same. Alex has been keeping me in to talk about all these different tactics and all plans. It’s a huge match today; they’re going against their rivals. Unfortunately, I was the victim that Alex absolutely tortured,” he pouted and wiped off a fake tear off his face dramatically.
I laughed softly at his actions. “Guess we’re on the same page then,” I shook my head, thinking about Ceci, “There’s a certain girl who stays in my room, but unfortunately is a maniac. She’s been keeping me in for god knows how long now. Hence my delay in eating breakfast! Can you believe it?”
Brad chuckled. “Lord, Ceci can be a handful, couldn’t she?”
My lips quirked up into a smile and I bit my bottom lip, “Just a handful?” We both burst out laughing and made our way to the cafeteria. From there, we ordered what we wanted and sat down in the almost empty area on one of the vacant tables.
“You know you remind me a lot of my friends back home,” I laughed as I remembered all those memories. “They’re all so care-free, just like you.”
“More people like me?!” Brad squealed in a high pitch like a teenage girl. “Oooooh! I want to meet them!”
I smirked. “Definitely! I’ll tell you when I call them and you can come over and have a quick chat with them!”
“Yes!” he fist-pumped into the air. “They’re people like me, you say? I like them already!”
I rolled my eyes. Trust Brad to go all crazy. “Oh god, Brad,” I face-palmed.
“What?” he gave me an extremely innocent, yet confused expression.
I shook my head at him. “Nothing, Brad. Nothing.”
“No, seriously, what?”
“Is there something on my face?” he asked and took out a mirror from the back pocket of his dark wash jeans, examining himself and looking for something. When he found out there was nothing, he winked at his reflection and tucked it back into his back pocket. Meanwhile, I gaped at him with my jaw dropped open. I mean, what type of a guy has a mirror everywhere he goes?!
“Brad, are you okay?” I reached out to touch his forehead, to see if he had a fever or something that was causing him to act mental. He swatted my hand away and furrowed his eyebrows before he smirked cockily.
“Of course, I am!” he leaned closer to me to say something so that only I could hear. “But those girls over there aren’t. They’re dying from how attractive I am.”
I looked over to where he was pointing and sure enough, there were a few girls staring right at him and giving me hateful glares. Others were drooling. Pathetic. Like, seriously, girls? Get a grip on yourselves.
I turned my head back to Brad and rolled my eyes, “Oh, get over yourself, Brad!”
He huffed and sank deeper into his seat with a scowl on his face.
"Way to kill my ego,” he grumbled under his breath.
“I’ve changed my mind- I don’t want to go,” I whined as Cecilia gripped my shoulders tightly and sat my stubborn self on the bed.
“You’ve got no say in this anymore, Sam. Shut up and sit still before I make you,” she threatened, staring right back at me with an intense look that made me shut up. Crap. She was actually serious.
“Now wear what I picked out for you and you better- and I mean it- better not make a sound. Not even one. Understood?”
I nodded mutely and went into the bathroom to change. Once I was in, I sighed. I definitely wasn’t expecting this decision to be easy, but it was way hard than expected. I slid down the door silently until I was completely seated on the floor with my back pressed on the door.
I had my own reasons to avoid football and the only thing I actually wished for was that football wouldn’t be in this college. Why was it like this? Why was my fate always against me?
Today, I was going to face one of my only fears. And internally, I was breaking. No one knew what was the matter with me- and I felt better knowing that- but sometimes, just sometimes, I wished someone knew. I wish someone could hold me close and whisper soothing words to me. I wish someone could take all those memories and I wish I could go back in time.
But that’s not the way things work; I realized that a long, long time ago.
I shut my eyes for a brief second, hoping that everything would go just fine and I wouldn’t break down and got up. Looking at myself in the mirror, all the determination came back to me.
I have to do this.
“I have to do this. I have to do this. He wanted me to do this, so I will. I will do this,” I chanted slowly. I let out a breath through my lips and looked back at the mirror with a much more determined expression. I was doing this for him. All for him. For me and him.
Not Alex, not Ceci, not my boys back home, not Gabby, not even my parents! This was for him. He wanted me to do this, so I will.
I wore what Ceci gave me and surprisingly, I really liked what she picked out for me. Thank the lords she went for comfy! A genuine smile spread across my features and I took a deep breath before finally walking out the door.
“Ooooh,” a smirk formed on Ceci’s face as she took in my sight and wiggled her eyebrows, “I guess the long wait was worth it, cause girl you look good!”
We both burst out laughing. “Thanks, Ceci. I love how you chose comfy skinny jeans and a casual top for me.”
She smiled and offered me a small smile. “It was the least I could do,” she shrugged, her lips pressing into a thin line, “for dragging you to the game. I know this is hard for you and that was the only thing I could think of to make it easier for you.” She had her head down, looking at her feet as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.
I laughed lightly. “Thank you, Ceci. For being a wonderful friend,” I hugged her tightly. “However, if there’s anything you can do for me today, it would be appreciated that you never leave my side.” I gave her a weary expression and she chuckled before saluting with two fingers.
“Roger that,” she winked. “Now if we may, shall we leave?” Her pathetic attempt at a British accent, needless to say, failed terribly.
I clicked my tongue as I paused dramatically and holding my head up, I turned back on my heels. I went back to my side of the room and grabbed my purse, opening it slightly to see if the picture was still in it. When I made sure it was, I walked back to Cecilia who was waiting for me, confusion written all over her face with her hand still held out. “We may,” I took her hand, going with the flow and trying the British accent as well.
Hand in hand, like best friends, we took off laughing. It was until we saw Brad, that we let go off our hands and walked towards him with a smile on our faces. “Hey!” all three of us greeted simultaneously.
We broke out into huge grins. “Alex getting a lecture from coach?” Ceci guessed.
“You know it,” he winked, “But what is this I hear about you getting the front seats? That’s not fair! You got a personal invitation from coach himself to sit by him! Half this university is jealous of you right now!” he whispered harshly, yet a playful tone still resting in it.
I turned my head at Ceci in a flash and gave her a confused look, my eyes widening and jaw dropping open. “Ceci?” I questioned, wondering why I didn’t know about this.
She laughed nervously and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “I-I-I...” she stammered, before completely losing it, “Well, you know that coach invited us! I’d told you that yesterday itself, but what I didn’t even know was that he booked us VIP for some odd reason and I was so excited! I mean, I was told that it was a huge thing getting into the football match and since it was my first time, I wanted to go with you and coach came in and you know the rest. But, he called me at night and confirmed that we were coming and told us how we would be sitting with him and all that, and I squealed- not loud, of course- since you were sleeping but I still squealed and I said ‘yes’ without thinking, but when I saw your panicked expression today I was just, like, shit. And I know I didn’t do the right thing by not telling you, but I was ashamed that I only thought of myself by that offer. I’m so, so sorry!” she finally breathed out. She should have been a rapper because all that talking was done in one breath. Smooth, right?
I blinked. Once. And then twice.
“What was that?” I gave her a weird look.
She bit her lip. “Oops?”
I rolled my eyes. “I was okay with that, stupid. Nothing to apologize about. I mean, I definitely would have preferred if we blended into the crowd with the others, but I guess this was fine as well. But all I know, was that I never asked for that long of a explanation.”
She gave me an apologetic expression. “Sorry you had to hear all of that, but we’re going to be late if we don’t get moving,” she grabbed both mine and Brad’s arm, taking both of us by surprise and dragged us, “and I hate being late.”
I sighed. That was Cecilia for you people! Very, very unpredictable. Or sometimes we may actually be able to predict her, but you know what? Whatever. Actually, I’m rambling. In my head. God, I am this nervous, aren’t I?
We were walking towards the exit when the sounds came in to us. I gulped. It got louder as we went closer until we could hear the whole crowd chattering, shouting, yelling, holding up boards for their favorite teams and laughing. I bit my lip in pure nervousness as we went closer.
“Hey, you okay? You look a bit pale,” Brad commented. Well, Brad, that’s because I am pale you stupid, stupid doofus! I didn’t tell that to him, of course, because he was just checking up on me- but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to tell him that.
“Fine,” I nodded, gulping, “I’m perfectly fine.”
Cecilia shot a worried glance at me before grabbing my hand and smiling sweetly at Brad. “Okay, cousin. We’ll be leaving to the front seats now,” she told him in a teasing manner. “You can go catch yours at the back.” She winked.
He pouted before turning around grumpily, stomping his way out and muttering obscenities under his breath. Cecilia and I kept our laughter inside us as we shook our heads at her cousin’s immature behavior. I’d say that a one year kid is better than him any day!
“Ah! Samantha! You made it!” Coach cried when he saw us as he kept a fat grin placed on his face. We met at the front seats where you could see the field clearly. It was weird to see him grin this big, much less smile, because he always had that grumpy look on his face. I offered him a smile as he escorted me in. It seemed like it was only then that he recognized Cecilia was there, too. “Cecilia, am I right? Thank you for coming.” The sidelines were right in front of us. That’s how close we were.
Cecilia seemed to have ignored the fact that he forgot she was there along and smiled sweetly and waved it off. “No, thank you for inviting us. It’s a pleasure.”
He nodded in response. “I’ll be back in a minute. Got to check up on the boys to make sure that they’re all ready.”
We both nodded, a smile plastered on our face in politeness and he made his way out and to wherever the boys were.
I only noticed then that my hands were shaking and I was kind of trembling. Ceci shook me. “Hey, Sam? You okay?”
Obviously not, I wanted to spit out but I kept it in. Instead, I nodded. It was the only thing I trusted myself to do.
“No, you’re not,” she stated. “Listen, I want you to know that I’ll be sitting here with you all the time. You’re not alone, okay?” She patted my back and rubbed circles soothingly on my back trying to lessen my tension. It didn’t do any good, but I forced a smile on my face for her sake.
“Thank you,” I said. It was hard to say anything, to be honest, we were more like yelling to hear our own voices above that of the crowds. She sighed and kept her hold on my hand and sat back into her chair while I tried to calm myself while she wasn’t looking.
But she didn’t know anything. She didn’t know how many painful memories came along with this sport. Memories I’ve tried to forget, and so the sport going away with it. It was hard. Very hard.
She doesn’t know a thing. I’ve lost so much on these very fields that she has no clue. The only thing is that I can’t tell her. I’m trying to forget. But how can I forget if the sport doesn’t leave my side wherever I go?
How could I?
The only thing I could remember then was that I had agreed to do this. I was challenged.
And Samantha Anderson never backs down from challenges. Ever.
Time to let the game begin.