I had spent the last forty five minutes hearing Tia complain about her college professor who kicked her out of class for being late. My iPhone felt warm against my cheek and my hand had pins and needles.
“So Zak’s playing against Liam tomorrow.” She told me. “Anything you would like to share about that?” I bit back a smile and looked in Lolas direction to make sure she wasn’t paying attention.
“No.” I replied a little too happily.
“So there’s no news to tell?” She inquired again.
“Uhm... No, not that I can think of at the top of my head.” I lied again, wondering how she could possibly know about Liams deal when I was the only one who knew besides his coaches.
“Then why are we driving down to Stanford tomorrow to surprise Liam after his game?”
“Wait, you are?” The shock was not lost in my voice.
“The whole gang! We couldn’t not celebrate Liam getting signed, this is huge.”
I smiled to myself, I felt so happy for Liam and extremely proud of him. My heart was bursting and over this last week I haven’t been able to shake the goofy smile from my face.
“Liv, you still there?” Tia interrupted my thoughts.
“Yeah, but I gotta go. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.”
Reece did her makeup in a small vanity mirror and Lola rooted through Liams closet, holding his hoodies against her body and checking herself out in the mirror. I sat on his bed watching her.
“His clothes smell divine.” Lola said, grabbing a different hoodie and trying it on. She didn’t bother to hang the last one back up she just threw it on his bed.
“Why do you do your makeup like that?” I asked Reece who now had patches of red and black dotted around her face.
“It’s war paint. A Stanford tradition, paint your face in the colours of the team you support. Here, you can use some.” She passed me over the face paint and mimicked instructions with her fingers. I had fun painting dots in a Mexican wave around my eyes and lines on my cheek.
“Hello?” The door sprung open and in walked Jordan, Tia and Ben. “Fancy, we don’t get shit like this in our dorm.” Jordan pointed out. He pushed the pile of gathered hoodies onto the floor and bounced down on his bed. He bounced a few times testing out the firmness of the mattress.
“I’ll wear this.” Lola decided on one of Liams black hoodies and because she was so small it came down past her ass, so naturally she removed her pants and wore the hoodie as a dress. “Now gimme that war paint, I’m gonna support Zak’s team.”
I stood up to give the paint to Lola and Jordan lay down in Liams bed, making himself comfortable beneath the covers and taking my space. “So this is where the magic happens huh Olive?” He joked.
“What’s this?” Tia asked holding his sketch pad in her hand. My eyes widened and I grabbed it from her before she could open it.
“It’s his private property.” I told her straight.
“Oooohhhhh is that where you keep all of your dirty pics?” They all teased. I just shook my head at their stupidity.
“Right come on, you’ve messed up this room too much already. Let’s go to this game.” Reece was the voice of reason.
We split up so Liam wouldn’t notice them during his game. I sat with Lola and Reece but the others sat elsewhere. Jordan and Ben opted to support Zak’s team with green and white war paint but Tia used red and black on her cheeks to support Liam.
“He looks good in that little uniform.” Lola pointed out and I smiled hugely at him from across the pitch.
“Yes he does.” I fully appreciated my view.
The stands were filled with rowdy people bursting with adrenaline and anger. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them. It was weird watching this particular game. Liam would have the ball and I would wholeheartedly be cheering him on but just as he attempted to score Zak would knock the ball away from the goal and I cheered him on too. My boyfriend and my friend pitting against one another made for many mixed emotions.
It was an intense game. Zak’s team scored and we shouted profanities at the players as loud as our voices would carry. Liam had ball again, chasing it up the pitch but Luke was hot on his trail.
Suddenly the stands went quiet. Nobody was cheering or booing. In fact everybody seemed confused.
“What is he doing?” Reece asked nobody in particular.
Luke tried to tackle the ball away from Liam but failed and the pair of them continued running up the pitch towards the goal. Luke was saying something to Liam, he wore a smug expression and sly smile but I couldn’t see Liams face to gauge his reaction. After the failed tackle people all around me erupted in boos and unwelcoming chants.
At this point I don’t even believe the other players knew what was going on. They surrounded Luke and Liam following the ball but not making any attempts to remove it, though they probably could with ease.
Then Liam stopped.
Froze dead in the centre of the pitch, letting the ball carelessly roll away. Everybody else stopped too and the crowds fell quiet once again. Liam grabbed Luke by his T-shirt and pulled him closer to him, squaring up to his face intimidatingly. Then a punch followed, Liams fist crashing right into Luke’s face.
Luke retaliated just as fast, landing one back on Liam and they broke into a full blown fist fight. Other players soon joined in, like a pack of animals in the wild, set to destroy one another.
“Please proceed to the nearest exit in an orderly fashion.” The security guard stood at the end of the row and waved each person out. I hovered, turning my eyes back to the blur of bloodied bodies fighting on the grass. I couldn’t find Liam in the masses but I could see Zak fighting one of his own players and things didn’t look good all around.
I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to climb down these steps and get onto that pitch but there was no possible way I could. Lola grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the exit. It didn’t take long before the others appeared somewhere mixed with the crowds.
“What the hell was that about?” Jordan asked.
“Well first Liv flirted with Luke for a free drink, then he was the one that made Reece tell Liv she kissed Liam. Then Liv kissed Luke and they’ve pretty much hated each other ever since.” Lola spoke for me and I peered at her with narrowed eyes, hating her candidness at this very moment in time.
“So that is Luke.” Jordan drew all the dots together.
“Will he loose his deal for this?” I asked, suddenly feeling nauseous about the whole ordeal.
“He shouldn’t do. Unless his coach is a real dick and ships him in. He has already signed it, it would take something major for them to retract it. Like Luke filing charges, which of course might happen but Luke doesn’t know what Liam stands to lose so hopefully he won’t feel compelled to do so.” Ben spoke up, he is studying the business side of soccer because one day he wants to become a manager so I trusted his knowledge.
It felt like we waited forever before Zak and Liam finally came out. We lingered outside the exit and watched every last soul leave until it was like a ghost town. Jordan had came prepared with red and black helium balloons and a poster stashed in his car and as I stood holding a congratulate poster up I prayed Ben was right, that Liam wouldn’t lose his contract.
The doors opened and they both walked out together, black eyes and all. Liam blinked at us a few times before his eyes allowed him to truly take in the scene. Zak beamed at him with pride and as I looked around at Liams friends we all wore the same expression.
“Liv you told them?” Liam asked as he approached us.
“I didn’t tell them.” I said in defense.
Liams eyes darted to Jordan and he shook his head at himself like he was stupid to not question Jordan first. I didn’t even know Jordan knew until Tia brought it up in conversation with me and I couldn’t confirm or deny what she was saying. A big boyish grin stretched across Jordan’s face that showed he was feeling extremely pleased with himself. Liam echoed the smile.
“You don’t just get to have us there when you’re flipping out on someone, we want to be there for the celebrations as well. Speaking of which, what was that out there?” I didn’t miss Liams eyes flick up and down my body for a split second before he turned back to Jordan.
“It’s not important.” He muttered angrily.
“Come on, let’s go to the beach and party.” Jordan said, he clasped Tia’s hand in his own and led her off towards the beach. Liam slung his arm protectively over my shoulder and followed.