I detested football.
I didn't understand it, and didn't want to either. I stood by Carl. Who was snapping away on his camera.
'They're on form tonight.' He crooned as he watched Lucas Knight score a second goal in less than half an hour; causing the crowd to go wild. 'He's got it all hasn't he.' He breathed as he stood watching Lucas, my eyes following his gaze. My hair whipped around my face as I moved it away, tugging my hood up around my face as I caught sight of the legend that was Lucas. He had messy dark hair and facial hair that made him look older than he was. He was drenched in sweat already, as he jogged after the ball without skipping a beat.
'Oh Carl, not everything is as it seems.' I said kindly, noting the look of envy on his face. Carl wasn't bad looking, it was more the lack of confidence that he seemed to struggle with. He shrugged, shaking his head to snap out of his reverie, before taking more action shots. I didn't know much about Lucas, other than the fact he was known to be a bit of a bad boy. His arms were covered in ink, although he never stayed still long enough to see what it was of. He wasn't overly tall, but hardly short either, his reputation much bigger than he was.
'He's been in loads of fights and won. He could have any girl he wanted. He is the star player both in and off the field, and he looks like that.' Carl pointed out as I rubbed my arms, which were now covered in goosebumps. It was October, and mild considering. This was my favourite time of year, anything that involved blankets, duvets, hot chocolate and books. The cheerleaders were going crazy when Lucas suddenly got hold of the ball again, gracefully moving between the opposing team to score a third goal.
He jogged away, high fiving his teammates as the whistle blew for half time. I watched as the teams huddled together, a bundle of sweaty dark and blond hair amid blue football kits. It was hard to tell them apart, all hairy legs and football boots as they all leaned forward to listen to their coach.
'The afterparty, can I come with you?' Carl asked as I tore my eyes away from the field.
'What? Oh, I'm not going.'
He gaped at me as I reddened, knowing my boyfriend was not going to be happy. But the way I saw it, I was here, for the game. I didn't mind parties, and loved to let my hair down as much as everyone else; but I had emails to attend to.
'I'm not feeling great.' I lied, wondering when I got so good at it. 'Girl problems.'
It was Carl's turn to blush as he looked away, clearly gutted he didn't have a way in to the party.
'I'll ask Todd for you.' I smiled as he nodded gratefully, pushing his camera into its pouch.
'That would be great. Thanks Harper.'
That was me. Helpful Harper.
Soon enough the game ended, and I waited until Todd made his way over to me. Out of breath and dripping in sweat.
'Well done!' I gushed, kissing him lightly on the cheek. The other players moved around us, not before I saw Lucas.
'Hey, you did great. Truly amazing.' I smiled as he nodded at me.
'Ta doll.' His voice was deep and rough as he ran his eyes over me briefly before nodding at Todd.
'Good game, bro.'
They clapped hands and I noticed his eyes linger on me before he walked away, a feeling in my stomach I wasn't familiar with. His eyes were a deep green, and I hadn't realised how full his lips were until he was standing directly in front of me. I turned back to Todd who had his arms folded, a sneer on his face.
'Truly amazing.' He mimicked as he pushed past me, shaking his head. 'But embarrassing, don't you think?' He muttered, as Bruce walked up beside him, staring from me to Todd in confusion.
'Trouble in paradise?' He quipped as I rolled my eyes at him, chewing on my lip as Todd shrugged.
'Nah she was just creaming over Knight.' He said, kicking the floor with his foot.
'Like all the others.' Bruce said quietly, shaking his head at me in disapproval. 'Never mind bro, theres a party to get to. Anyway, blondie only has eyes for you.'
I lifted my eyes to meet his as I stared at him in confusion. Was he actually defending me? He dropped his cool gaze from mine, turning towards the changing room before any of us could say anything else.
Todd turned to follow him as I called his name, knowing I was about to make the situation a thousand times worse.
'I can't make the party. I'm so tired and I don't feel great...'
He nodded stiffly as he watched me, his handsome face etched with anger.
'So I'll see you tomorrow?' I said cautiously as he forced a smile.
'Yeah. Get well soon. How you getting home?'
'Dad.' I mumbled, avoiding his eyes. He kissed the top of my head briefly, before turning back to the changing rooms.
'Love you.' I called as he lifted a hand to wave, without responding or turning back around.
Ah well. At least the night couldn't get any worse.
'Harps! Did you ask him?' Called a breathless Carl as I felt myself groan inwardly.
'He isn't in the best mood. I'm sorry.'
'Nah it's cool, don't worry.' He smiled, putting on a brave face. He wanted to be one of them so much, I felt so bad for him.
'Lucas, great game. Any words for the paper?' I heard him yelp as Lucas emerged from the locker room. I tried not to stare at his wet hair, the thin grey hoody over his shorts as he grinned at Carl.
'Uh, its Carl.'
'Oh, sorry man. I dunno what you want me to say, I just played.' He shrugged as I decided to leave, before my boyfriend came out and saw me gawking at Lucas Knight again. I walked around the side of school, noticing a couple of kids skulking about as I did. Part of me wanted to join in, just sit with them and hide from my life as a faceless being for a few days. They were younger than us, and glared at me as they caught me staring.
'Todd Masters.' I heard them whisper as they stared at me, clearly judging me before I'd even spoke.
Something we were all guilty of, I guess.