I changed into my practice clothes for soccer, fixed my hair up into a ponytail, then started heading to the weight room. Before entering, I took a deep breath. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be getting myself into, but I knew it wasn’t what I was imagining this morning.
I walked down the small set of stairs, a group of four boys coming into view. I saw Connor and went to stand near him. I didn’t talk with the other boys that much, so oddly enough, it felt more comforting being near him.
“Guys, you know Elizabeth. Elizabeth, the guys.”
We all waved awkwardly.
“So, how are you guys able to be down here when there’s no adult supervision?”
One of the guys answered my question.
“We’re a part of the weight room club, they kind of trust us to be here.”
My mouth dropped a bit, “That’s a thing?”
There were a few laughs, but I was still serious about my question, which they caught on.
“Yeah, it’s a real thing. We meet in the afternoons and during free periods and just work out. It’s pretty awesome, actually.”
Connor nudged my arm with his, “It really is a lot of fun though, at least we make it fun. You should join, it’ll help with soccer.”
The other boys nodded their heads in agreement, “We can also help with any soccer skills you want help with. We are all going to be on the team, most likely leading them to victory in sectionals this year.”
There were many high fives between the boys while I just stood back a bit.
“I guess, if it’ll help for soccer.”
One of the guys did a celebratory fist pump, “Our first girl! We’re becoming an actual club.”
I laughed lightly, going around and checking out all the equipment.
“Y’all have a rock climbing wall down here?! Oh my god, can we do this right now? Someone race me!”
One of the guys, Derek, was up for the challenge, and we started putting on the gear. Connor ended up supporting me with the rope, and Elijah (another one of the boys) supported Derek. The last boy, Kevin, counted us down and chose to be the judge.
Derek and I were tied for the first half of the wall, but I got tired and couldn’t keep up with his pace. He reached the top while I was still trying to climb the last few feet of the wall. I stopped for a moment, just holding on for my dear life.
“I can’t, I don’t do this physical exercise everyday like you people.”
“It’s a good thing you’re joining this club, you really need it.”
Derek basically fell back down to the ground, and since that looked more fun than being up on the wall, I decided to do that too.
“Let me down now, Connor.”
He smiled up at me, “Just let go of the wall, I got you.”
I did as he said, and then he decided to let the rope go until I was close to the ground to catch it. I let out a loud scream, making all the boys laugh while I hugged the rope.
Once I was finally out of the gear, I made sure to slap all the boys.
“We all have to go to practice, but I will see all of you later for bowling.”
I looked up from my sore hands, “They’re going too?”
Connor nodded, “That’s okay, right? I figured since you knew them now, it’d be chill.”
I nodded my head, saying my goodbyes to the boys before heading out to the soccer fields. I met up with Ellie and a few of the other girls. We started to stretch and do some simple passing drills while we waited for the coaches to show up. Ellie didn’t bring up the whole dating Connor situation, which I was thankful for. I didn’t know if I’d be able to talk with her again if that’s all she talked about.
After practice was done, I walked towards the school parking lot, heading for my car. Since the boys’ practice was still going on, I figured that I’d take a quick shower while most of the girls left. Once I was done, and less sweaty and gross, I headed back out to the parking lot. Most of the cars were gone, except for some of the soccer boys and a few of the girls’ cars.
Most girls had left, except for the ones staying to try out for goalie. I walked up to my car, throwing my stuff in the back just as I heard my name.
“Elizabeth! The guys are ready to go, are you driving your own car?”
I shrugged, turning to see Connor walking towards me.
“I thought I would, why?”
He pointed back to the group of boys huddled around his truck. “We were all going to carpool, if you wanted to join us.”
I looked from the group of boys, to Connor.
“No offense, but I’d rather take my car. You guys probably smell really bad right now, making my car seem really clean.”
Connor laughed, shaking his head. “No offense taken. You know where the bowling alley is, right?”
I nodded my head in response, and then we were off.
I parked besides Connor, and we all met up inside. We all chipped in to pay for a few games and then got our shoes.
Connor moved to stand next to me, “Here’s an opportunity to learn something weird about you. Your shoe size. I’m going to guess a 7?”
I laughed, shaking my head. “Nope, I’m actually a 9. I got big feet.”
I stuck my foot up dramatically.
“They don’t look that big. If it makes you feel any better, I wear a size 13.”
I grabbed my shoes, “Well damn kid, you have me beat.”
We all went over to our lane, typing in our stupid, inappropriate nicknames. I picked out a cool orange and black bowling ball, and yes, it was a lighter ball. The first game went by quickly, and Derek ended up winning. I’m learning that he’s more of the competitive type out of the group. I was sitting at one of the bar stools at the snack bar, getting myself a milkshake when Connor sat next to me.
“I have a quick question for you. Why didn’t you invite anyone?”
I looked to him in surprise, “Oh, I guess I forgot.”
He smiled, “I don’t believe that. You didn’t even mention it to Ellie?” How’d he know that?
“Okay, maybe I didn’t want to invite anyone else after I found out you invited the guys.”
He leaned against the bar, “And the reason for that is?”
I shrugged, “I just hate it when friends hanging out turns into everyone flirting and doing couple stuff while losers like me just sit back, watch, and regret their life choices.”
I turned on my bar stool to face Connor, “How about you? Why didn’t you invite Ellie?”
He shrugged, “I guess I just didn’t want it to be awkward between you and I. I feel like we’re actually friends for once in our lives, and I like it. This whole “friendship” thing with girls isn’t so bad. At least with you, it’s not.”
My jaw dropped, “Connor Owens, are you changing your fuckboy ways?”
He glared at me as I grabbed my milkshake, “You know I hate those terms.”
He took a sip from my milkshake then walked away, leaving me smiling like an idiot.