Stanfords soccer team wasn’t doing too great with Liam not allowed to play thanks to the fight and Luke too injured to play, they lost two of their best teammates. It was only temporary so I wasn’t complaining because it meant Liam had every Friday evening free until the end of the term.
“I’ve been waiting out here for like half an hour.” He complained and I rolled my eyes at him. It’s not my fault I couldn’t decide on what to wear. He leaned casually against his bike and he looked mouth watering good.
“Sorry.” I muttered. Gently he placed a helmet on my head and clasped the buckle shut under my chin. Before he pulled his hand away completely he bopped my nose and a big boyish grin stretched across his lips. Melting me completely.
It wasn’t long before he pulled up outside a powder paint fighting range. It was new in town so neither of us had been and at first when Liam suggested it I was skeptical because I thought we would be fighting with guns and I didn’t want it to trigger a negative reaction. But I researched it fully and we’re actually fighting with small, refillable paint grenades made from a soft plastic.
The guy who checked us in handed us two coveralls in stark white and a pair of safety goggles. After listening to all of the safety procedures I fully understood the gist of the game. Every man for himself, each starting with five grenades however there are more grenades hidden around the assault course & overhead buckets that can be controlled with the touch of a button. Each player gets ten seconds to hide.
“You want to make this interesting?” Liam raised his eyebrows at me suggestive and I smiled knowing exactly what he was getting at. This boy seriously likes to make his bets.
“If you’re more painted than me at the end then I want you to do something for me.” He shot me a small smile but didn’t elaborate further.
“And I don’t get to know what that is before I commit to this bet?” I asked. He shook his head, the knowing smile on his face only growing bigger.
“Fine. But if I win then I want you to show me your sketch pad.” His eyes widened and he rubbed the back of his neck.
Jesus, what was in this sketch pad?
“Wow. Okay.” Liam muttered slowly, obviously regretting playing these games. But both of us were too intrigued not to shake on this bet.
“Ten seconds starts now” the controller shouted from a big speaker and then there was a loud ticking filling the field. Each tick with a second gap between the next.
We scattered like glitter after a heavy craft session. Nothing but the sounds of muffled laughter followed dead silence. And then the beeper went off and the game had begun.
I decided my safest bet was to hide inside a makeshift house. It was just an empty square room but I could see the pathway from a window hole and I had my grenade wedged between my fingers in a throwing stance, just waiting.
My eyes remained peeled on the window, not blinking or moving from the path. My ears listened carefully for any footstep sounds in the distance. I was ready whenever he came by.
“What are you waiting for?” His voice announced from behind, giving me complete heart failure.
Before I had time to react a purple paint bomb splattered against my leg, marking my white coverall in the deepest shade of plumb that there ever was. My nostrils flared at the sight and my heart still raced but everything was calmed by sound of Liam giggling as he ran away.
I walked through the maze of walls, trying to find my way. Too angry to listen carefully to breathing sounds now. I was eager to get him back for this leg blob. Then I heard his footsteps, lost somewhere in the maze. I turned the corner and there he was, wide eyed and staring at me.
He backed up, backing himself in the corner and he tried to reach for one of his grenades but I was already prepared and ready to throw.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to throw it at you, it slipped.” He threw his hands up in the air letting me know he was unarmed. “Listen, think about this, you don’t really want to throw that.” I was stepping closer, wanting to get my best aim. “It was an accident before I swear! Can’t we be friends again?” He begged, keeping his blue eyes hooked onto the grenade.
I launched it at him hitting him square in the chest, it exploded green powder everywhere but I was pleased with the display he was now rocking.
“I like to think we are more than friends.” I told him as he looked down at his chest and frowned but then his hand reached for his own grenade and I made a swift run for it.
“Olivia Charles, your tiny steps can’t run from me.” His voice shouted from behind me. I laughed the whole way around the maze as he chased me hot on my trail. I felt another bomb get my back but I didn’t stop running. Instead I ducked behind a small screen, panting.
I sat for a few minutes catching back my breath. I had no idea where Liam was or what he was planning. The adrenaline and anticipation pulsed through my veins. Very quietly I left my hiding spot and made my way through the maze.
Then he hit me and I screamed. He hit me again and I screamed again. I threw my grenade but I couldn’t see through the colourful powder dancing in the air.
“Missed me!” His annoying voice shouted so I threw another one. “Not even close” he laughed.
I was covered in paint, he was winning this for sure. I ran again, heading towards and upstairs platform. I ducked down below the balcony rails so he couldn’t see me but from up here I could see the entire maze overhead. Plus there was a bucket filled with powder. I needed to get him to stand on the spot.
I popped my head up. “Liam” I shouted and then ducked. Through the railings I could see him looking around, then he started moving. Coming closer to my voice. “Over here.” I shouted again.
He followed my voice trail until he was standing just below the balcony. He prepared his grenades and looked around for me, unknowing to the fact that I was above his head.
“Liam” I said and as he looked up I tipped the bucket over his head.
Paint fell weightlessly like a colourful rainbow, as if in slow motion but he didn’t have enough time to dodge out of the way. Small partials of powder fell onto his face and continued falling until they hugged the white material of his clothes and skin, leaving only the slither of flesh behind his goggles unmarked. He was completely covered apart from a gradient fade out effect somewhere by his knees.
I threw my hand over my mouth to stifle my laughter and Liams own mouth gaped open. Each of us speechless. Then he wiped maroon powder from his goggles and I broke out in an uncontrollable laughter at the sight of Liams eyes blinking back at me.
He marched up one set of stairs but I ran down the other, making it my mission to get away. I had two grenades left and so did he, unless he managed to pick up more from somewhere around the maze.
I felt nervous but excited, that sketch pad was within my reach although I also really wanted to know what he would have wanted me to do. I felt another bang to the back so I swiveled my feet in the dirt fast and turned to face him.
He looked hilarious, covered in so many different colours but it was his face that got me the most and his hair. I launched one at him in the only white space of his body, below the knees. Yellow powder mostly covered the floor but some did get over his shoes and splashed against the bottom of his coveralls so I was pleased with my shot.
“I saw that little nod of approval you weirdo” he joked, I didn’t even realize I nodded to myself.
“Surprised you can see anything with all that paint on your face.” I mused. He tilted his head to one side and then threw another, hitting me on the hip with a blue spread.
I threw my last one and missed, letting it glide through the air past his shoulder and fall to the ground with a orange splatter.
“I think it’s safe to assume you won that game, though you wouldn’t have if you didn’t use that bucket. You throw like a girl.” He put his arm around my waist and pulled me closer as we walked to the entrance.
“So sketch pad?” I asked. He side glanced at me but then nodded.
“Come on, let’s go get pizza.” He told me.