Damage Control

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Deer In the Headlights

“C’mon Seb! You got this!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. My throat felt parched, and my voice was raspy from screaming for the past half hour. The entire night, the scores had been tied. Each time any of the players from our team made a goal, the opposing team would follow with the same. This continued on for the entire game, with each team retaliating with a goal of their own.

The constant battle for the ball was keeping everyone in the stands and the field on edge, and I couldn’t help but feel angsty as my eyes shifted back and forth between the players and the ball.

Easton, Cole, and Sebastian all had their fair shot and goals tonight, but the ball was now in Sebastian’s corner, and it was up to him to put in the winning goal.

“If he doesn’t make the goal, I’m disowning him.” Sienna leaned over to whisper as I kept my eyes glued to the field.

“After all the bragging he did this morning, we’re going to have a problem if he doesn’t.” I answered back as Sienna let out a loud laugh.

Shifting my gaze over to Easton, I watched as he kept his eyes glued onto Sebastian. His hair was soaking with sweat, and was plastered across his forehead. His jersey that was once free of any stains was now covered with dirt. Despite looking filthy for lack of better word, he still managed to make it work.

At least, that’s what the group of girls sitting behind me were thinking.

Taking a deep breath in, I watched as Sebastian maneuvered the ball towards the other end of the field. The goal keeper on the side of the field looked prepared as Sebastian dodged other players before making his final kick into the goal.

I held my breath as I watched the ball barely miss the goal keeper who now laid on the floor. Cheers erupted in the stands as everyone began to celebrate. Sienna and I immediately turned to one another and began jumping up and down as everyone on the field began to celebrate.

“He’s cocky, but he’s never wrong about it.” I said to Sienna as we maneuvered our way out of the stands. Sienna was ruthless when it came to large crowds, and she never hesitated to push anyone out of the way to get us through. It was good considering I was the mere opposite and was the one getting shoved around.

“I know, and all it does is feed his already large ego.” Sienna joked as she rolled her eyes. We were both headed to the locker room to wait for the guys as they showered and freshened up.

“How are you getting to the afterparty?” Sienna asked as we both took a seat on the wooden bench outside the locker rooms. We had finally escaped the large crowds, and were finally in a silent area. Although attending games were fun, they always managed to damage my eardrums and voice.

“Sebastian wanted Easton and I to carpool with him and Michelle. Something about ‘saving the turtles’“. I answered as I shook my head. Sebastian was truly a work of art, I sometimes couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he made it this far in high school.

Sienna let out a loud laugh from beside me as we continued talking about random things. It felt like forever since Sienna and I had hung out, despite us seeing each other nearly everyday in school.

Since developing feelings for Cole, I tried my best to keep my distance from them when they were together, but since they were together nearly all the time, it meant that my time with Sienna was limited too. At the time it was the best way for me to cope and forget about my feelings, but lately, seeing Cole hasn’t made me feel the way it once did.

It was a scary, yet exciting thought at the same time. I was glad that my feelings for Cole were going away, but did that mean that my heart and mind was beginning to grow attached to someone else?

There were so many thoughts running through my mind, but I couldn’t pay any mind to them because I could hear the guys exiting the locker room one by one.

Sebastian came out first with his hands raised up and the biggest smile on his face. “What’d I tell ya? We schooled them!” Sebastian cheered as the rest of the guys followed. I could see a smile lining both Easton’s and Cole’s faces as they headed over to us.

“Good game guys. You nearly gave us a heart attack about fifty times throughout it, but good job.” I said to them as Sienna also congratulated them. Michelle had now joined us, and was talking to the side with Sebastian.

Sebastian looked like a schoolboy as he stood there happily with a bright smile on his face while he and Michelle stood in front of one another.

I watched as Easton walked over to me with a small smirk on his face, “So, what’d you think about the goals I made?” He asked as with a cocky look on his face. Deciding that I needed to bring it down a notch, I pretended to furrow my brows in confusion.

“Wait, you scored today?” I asked him as I feigned a confused look on my face. Easton had scored a few times throughout the game, and I knew it would irk him if I pretended I didn’t know.

I watched as the smirk dropped on his face and was replaced by a pouted frown. “You’re a bully.” He stated as he crossed his arms across his chest like a small child.

Finally dropping the serious expression on my face, I let out a laugh before shoulder bumping Easton. “C’mon, you know you heard me cheering for you.” I said to him, as he uncrossed his arms.

“Oh I know. You’re secretly obsessed with me.” He winkled at me as he pulled his duffle bag higher up on his shoulder. All the guys were now dressed in their regular clothes, and Easton in particular was wearing a hoodie he had stolen from my house the other day. It was twice my size, and it was my favorite jacket, but he insisted he needed it.

Before I could comment on the hoodie, I saw the rest of the group heading our way. Sebastian, who looked giddy earlier, now wore a defeated expression on his face as he stopped in front of us.

“The party is cancelled. Doug’s parents came back early from their vacation.” Sebastian told us in a depressed tone as he wore a deep frown on his face.

To be completely honest, I didn’t care too much about attending the party, I had only agreed to go because Sebastian wouldn’t quit bugging me about it the whole day at school. He was looking forward to it because he had mustered up the courage to ask Michelle to go to the party with him, which meant it was an opportunity for them to spend more time together. Michelle and Sebastian were odd in the sense that they rarely interacted in school. Aside from small flirty instances, they rarely walked to class together, or spent lunch together. I tried asking Sebastian about why things were the way they were, yet he too was clueless.

“So, I guess that means we just head home then.” Cole piped up as we all began nodding our heads. I knew that deep down, nobody truly wanted to attend the party. Sienna had mentioned in the car that she wasn’t too ecstatic about it, and I was simply felt too lazy about conversing with people for the remainder of the night.

Despite me being secretly happy the party was canceled, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Seb. I watched with a frown on my face as Sebastian and Michelle said their goodbyes to us and headed towards the parking lot. I was secretly hoping that Sebastian would muster up the courage to ask her to still hangout tonight despite the change of plans. If he didn’t do it this time around, I would certainly be having a talk with him about taking the risk of asking Michelle out, and spending more time with her.

“Hey Mal, do you have a ride home? Your house is on the way, if you need me to drop you” Cole offered as Sienna rummaged through her purse for her keys. She and I had carpooled to the game, and figured Easton and I wouldn’t need my car since we were planning to ride with Sebastian.

I hadn’t planned for the party being cancelled, so Easton and I were pretty much had no ride home.

Before I could answer, I heard Easton speak up from beside me, “It’s cool, she’s riding with me.” He said with a slightly clenched jaw. I could feel some sort of tension between Cole and Easton, and I wondered if it had to do with the incident at school the other day.

“Oh yeah! I forgot Mallory and Easton were next-door neighbors.” Sienna piped up as I kept a smile on my face and forcibly nodded my head. I had no idea how Easton expected the two of us to get home, but I trusted his word and went along with it.

Waving our last goodbyes to Sienna and Cole, I waited till they were out of ear shot before slapping Easton on his shoulder. I ignored the loud ‘ow’ he let out as I put my hands on my hips.

“Why would you say no to a ride home? I didn’t bring my car!” I scolded him, while he continued to look unbothered.

“How do you expect to get over him if you accept rides from him? Easton asked as my mouth dropped open.

There’s no way he was being serious.

“It’s just a ride home, Easton. Not him asking me out on a date” I flatly stated as Easton continued to stare at me. I knew that he was being dead serious by the expression on his face, and it only made me want to swat him more.

I watched him with squinted eyes as he put his arm around me and began pulling me towards the front of the school. “Just trust the process, Mal. We’re going to get home the old school way.” He said as I followed him reluctantly.

“Taxi?” I asked him, causing him to let out a deep sigh.

“By foot, Mallory. By foot.” He explained to me as if I was the dumbest person in the world.

“Seriously, Easton? You could’ve just accepted the ride.” I whined loudly. It had been a long day, and the last thing I wanted was for us to be walking home. I didn’t live too far, but I was simply lazy, and did not want to get any exercise tonight.

Easton ignored my complaints and continued walking with a content smile on his face. Despite playing an intense game for two hours, Easton did not look tired int he slightest I on the other hand was a couple steps behind him, and glared daggers into his back. He could probably feel the intensity of my glare, but simply chose to ignore it as he peacefully made his way down the road.

“Nice weather out don’t you think?” He casually asked, as I threw the middle finger up at him. It was particularly cold tonight, yet Easton still managed to find a way to make me suffer.I eventually caught up to pace with Easton and we were now walking side by side in silence. I couldn’t deny the fact that the cool air felt refreshing, but it didn’t help the fact that my fingers felt numb.

As we continued to walk, I realized that Easton never revealed why he needed me to drive him around in the first place.

Feeling particularly nosy, I decided to ask him.

“So what exactly led to me becoming your driver in the first place? Did you get your license confiscated or something?” I causally asked him in a joking tone. I saw Easton’s steps slightly faltered, as he slowed down for a bit. I could tell he was a bit taken aback by the question, but quickly hid it as he shrugged his shoulders.

“I just decided to take a break from it for a bit.” He vaguely stated as I hummed in response. I got the feeling that this was a sensitive subject for Easton, and he he wasn’t quite ready to talk about it, which I respected.

It was silent for a bit, but thankfully we had reached my street. “So, what’s the plan for tonight?” Easton asked as he wiggled his brows, breaking the silence between us.

Walking up my driveway, I raising my brows at him before answering, “Sleep.” to which Easton let out a groan.

He continued to follow me to my porch as he wore a childish frown on his face “How lame. Let’s watch a movie or something.” He suggested as we reached the front door. Glancing down at the time on my phone, I saw that it was barely 10 p.m, and that Easton would be relentless if I said no.

“Fine. But you need to be quiet, my mom’s asleep.” I warned him as we stepped into the house. The house was silent, meaning everyone had called it a night just as I had predicted. Ushering Easton up the stairs, we tip toed into my room as I quickly shut my bedroom door.

Letting out a sigh of relief, I kicked my shoes off before falling onto my bed. Easton quickly joined me too as he plopped down on the foot of the bed with the remote to my TV in his hand. I watched silently as he scrolled through various movies, before choosing ‘A Walk to Remember’.

“Well, this is a surprise.” I commented as Easton made himself comfortable.

“Are you judging me, Ms. Evans?” He asked in a serious tone, as I let out a small laugh. I made sure that we spoke in hushed tone, in order to keep my mom from waking up. The last thing I wanted was for her to barge in on Easton and I watching a sad romance movie.

“Not at all, it’s a great selection. Plus, Landon is hot.” I replied, as Easton hummed in response.

“He looks like me.” He casually stated as he kept his eyes glued on the screen. I had to keep myself from saying anything offensive, but couldn’t help but snort at his comment.

I watched as Easton turned to me with an offended expression on his face, “Is something funny?” Easton asked as I placed a hand over my mouth to conceal the smirk on my face.

“Not at all, I was admiring how cute their star gazing date is.” I randomly came up with some lie as I kept my eyes glued to the TV. I could tell Easton was ready to fire back at me, but I simply ignored it as I watched the movie.

“Too bad nobody ever took you on a date like that, or any date for that matter” Easton shot back at me as I held the middle finger up at him. He was right, I had never been on a date, but the moron didn’t have to rub it in.

I watched as realization settled in Easton’s eyes as his eyes widened dramatically.

“You’ve actually never been on a date? I was just joking!” He whispered at me as I began swatting him repeatedly.

“Screw you!” I hissed at him as I began delivering pillow punches to him. Easton was now laughing loudly as I continued to abuse him. We had both become so caught up in our own antics that I barely heard the sound of footsteps approaching my door. Quickly shoving Easton onto the floor, I motioned for him to hide under the bed, as my door swung open.

My mom wore a sleepy look on her face as she popped her head through the doorway. I watched her scan the room briefly before her eyes landed on me. She gave me a small smile before speaking, “You doing okay in here? I heard noises.” She asked as I rapidly nodded my head.

“Yup, I got a little excited watching the movie. Sorry for waking you.” I answered as she nodded her head. I couldn’t read her expression, but by the looks of it, she seemed to buy my excuse.

“It’s okay. Goodnight, I love you.” She said as she began edging away from the door.

“Love you too.” I said to her as I watched her begin to close my door before opening it back up.“Oh, and goodnight Easton.” She called out with a smirk on her face as I stared at her like a deer caught in headlights. Despite our efforts at being quiet, we had miserably failed, and now I would have to face the embarrassment from my mother tomorrow morning.

She was never going to let me live this down.

Before I could even say anything to explain myself, I could hear Easton’s muffled voice answering, “Goodnight!”

Smacking a hand to my forehead, I flopped back down on my bed, ignoring the sound of both my mother’s and Easton’s laughter.

Hey guys!

This update is very long overdue, but I’ve been swamped with exams, quizzes, and assignments.

I’m enrolled in a heavier course load this year, so writing has been put on the back burner for a bit.

But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you all, and still intend on getting updates out!

Much love, and stay safe!

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