Gym. Freaking. Sucks.
Although, it was slightly better now, in my senior year. One might ask, Oh, why Bella? Is it because, in your almost eighteen years of being alive, you have finally come to the point in life where you have become comfortable and coordinated in your body enough to be able to play sports, if not well, to an adequate extent to where you will not hurt yourself, or everyone around you?
Why, no, imaginary question-asking person. That is not why.
It is because my vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, is in all of my classes except math. And ‘all of my classes except math’, does include gym. Which, currently, the senior class in Phoenix is not participating in. Just to let you know.
Gym is most definitely an awkward class, especially when you’re a klutz. On top of my pitiful athletic skills, the ’social class of P.E.’ didn’t help.
It worked like this: you were split into two groups.
One group are the people who are really good at sports, complete athletes, who throw themselves into the games whole-heartedly, and look good doing it.
Then there is the second group, which are those who, even if they could be good at sports, act like they’re too cool, or above playing the games whole-heartedly, only doing it with eye-rolls at friends, and contemptuous looks.
Me? I’ve always fallen in the middle. I mean, I try to play the game with everything I got, because I’m not ’too cool for gym class’, but I also suck at it. So I look like even more of a fool all the time, with both of the groups giving me ‘she’s not serious, is she?’ looks, and laughing.
And that hole in the ground has never once shown up to save my butt.
Thankfully, though, whenever I need a partner, I’ve got Edward, who can somehow make me look, if not good, better than I would normally. Or who can just play the game for me, and cover if I mess up. He’s definitely made a world of difference.
But today, it seemed, they were splitting up the boys and girls, because of the ‘disadvantages’ the gender gap would prove in the sport we were playing. Basketball. Great. Worst part was, it was a team sport. At least if it had been partners, I could’ve paired with Angela, who also fell in the middle with me. Except, she was a world better than I was at sports. So she didn’t look quite so ridiculous as yours truly does.
“Alright, I want boys on the left side of the gym, girls on the right. Chop chop!” Coach Clapp yelled, blowing his whistle. I sighed, looking up at Edward who was standing next to me, as usual.
“Are you going to be okay, love?” he asked, pushing a stray hair behind my ear. My heart sped up just the tiniest bit, as it always did at physical contact with him.
I grimaced. “Sure,” I said dully, my whole countenance slumping with impending defeat.
He smiled. “You’re the one who didn’t want to skip.”
I stuck my tongue out at him and he smirked, glancing over to make sure Clapp wasn’t looking or paying attention before bending down and kissing me quickly. “Good luck,” he whispered as he pulled away, before loping gracefully to the opposite side of the gym. I sighed, feeling much more alone, and sidled over to stand next to Angela. She smiled comfortingly at me and I smiled back, trying to hide my nerves.
“Okay ladies,” said Clapp, marching over to stand in front of the already assembled group of us. “We’re going to pair off into two teams. Captains get to pick. Mallory, Jones, you’re team captains. Get up here.” He walked away, probably going to give the boys similar instructions and I grimaced.
It’s true; Lauren Mallory was in my gym class. As if I needed that on top of everything else. But Fate hates me most of the time. Maybe that’s why it gave me Edward. That way it can do whatever it wants to me and just say, ‘But look! C’mon, you have him. He’s already more than you deserve, so no complaining from you.’
And Fate had a point. So what could I really do?
Lauren got to go first. She surveyed the small group with her normal expression of superiority and haughtiness. There really wasn’t the much to choose from, only sixteen of us, and she knew everyone and their capabilities so the ‘contemplating’ was just for show.
“Alright, Miller,” she finally called, and a tall athletic girl with short brownish black hair walked forward, none too enthusiastically. Clapp always made us use each others last names when picking teams - not that I had any personal experience with that. Something about how it was more professional, more authentic. I’m pretty sure he’s a failed athlete himself, and lives vicariously through us.
The other captain, Ashley, didn’t waste time with her false contemplation. “Harris,” she said, and a red-headed girl walked forward.
It went more quickly after that.
Finally, it was just Angela and I. Lauren sneered at me, before switching her gaze over to Angela. “Weber!” Angela gave me an apologetic look as she walked over, and I shrugged.
I was always picked last. I was used to it. Why would they want me? I wouldn’t even want me.
I felt a gaze on my back and instinctively knew it was Edward. I’d been paying attention to the boys names being called while I waited to be picked last, and heard that Edward had been selected first, which had made me smile. Frankly, I was surprised he hadn’t been made into captain, but maybe Clapp was just intimidated to talk to him face on. Most people were. Still, it made me happy to know that one of us was pick-worthy. I certainly wasn’t that person.
And even though I was far too used to it to even care, every once in a while when this would happen I would get a tugging at my heart and a tightness in my throat, that told me that I didn’t want to be this way. Didn’t want to be picked last. Didn’t want to be the ‘drag-on’ for the team. Didn’t want to hold everybody back. Perhaps Edward and I were similar in that aspect, except he was wrong about himself.
Ashley eyed me furtively a minute, before finally caving in to the undeniable truth that I wasn’t a bad dream, and wouldn’t disappear in a minute. “Swan,” she said dully, and I walked over. I felt bad for her - she was pretty nice, and I knew the fact that I was on a sports team would bring anyone down. It brought me down, certainly.
Before the game started play, I glanced over at the boys and caught Edward staring at me intensely, concern in his eyes. I smiled at him, and then looked away.
Forty-five minutes later, after a lot of trips, scrapes, bruises, and glares at Edward to stop him from rushing over and catching me, I limped out of the locker room, where my boyfriend was already waiting.
“Are you okay?” he asked, wrapping an arm around my waist and lightly touching the rapidly forming bruise on my arm where Katie had grabbed my arm to keep from falling after I ran into her.
I rolled my eyes, and tried to make light of the situation. “Am I ever okay after coming out of gym?” I teased. “Honestly, Edward, it’s like you don’t even know me.”
He frowned, and helped me into the Volvo when we reached it. He didn’t say anything, but I could see a serious look on his face as he settled behind the wheel.
“Are you okay?” I mused, watching him.
He glanced at me quickly before looking unseeingly out the windshield again. He started the Volvo, and pulled out, making me think he wasn’t going to answer. I sighed and settled into my seat while he maneuvered skillfully through the busy student parking lot, and out onto the main road. Alice was skipping today because Jasper wanted to spend more time with her.
“It’s just,” he started after a minute or so, startling me. “…I didn’t like them picking you last.”
I stared at him, before cracking a smile, shaking my head. “C’mon Edward,” I berated. “I’m me. Honestly, when it comes to sports, would you pick me first to be your team?”
He turned his head to look at me, making my heart race out of fear of his eyes leaving the road. I still wasn’t quite used to that yet, though I didn’t voice my concerns. “Yes,” he said so firmly I couldn’t argue. “I would always pick you first Bella. No matter what. Teams or otherwise.”
He turned back to the road again, as I sat there, speechless. Finally, I found my voice. “Well that’s you,” I whispered. “But it’s hard to blame them. I suck at sports Edward, I’m used to being picked last. It’s no problem really.” I shrugged.
He processed that for a moment before speaking slowly. “I don’t think that’s quite true. I saw your reaction Bella. I think you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t care, but your body betrays you. When you were standing there by yourself, your cheeks and neck went red, and you bent your knees a bit, like you were trying to be less noticeable, or sink into the floor. And you cross your arms and hunch your shoulders, like retreating into a shell.” His frown deepened. “That’s why I hate it. You don’t deserve to feel like that. Like you're not good enough.”
I was shocked by his observations, but also a bit happy that he cared enough to notice. I unbuckled my seat belt and scooted closer to him. I wrapped my arms around his waist and ducked my head into his side. “It’s okay Edward,” I hummed. “But thanks for caring. I really love you.”
I looked up at him as he glanced down at me, his eyes smoldering. He wrapped one arm around my side as he pulled over to the curb on an empty stretch of road.
“I love you too, Bella,” he whispered, tilting my head up with his finger. “I wish that I could always be there to make you feel as special and amazing as you are.”
I blushed, looking down. “I’m glad you think so,” I mumbled. “I love you,” I said again, reaching my neck up to kiss him.
He bent his head, his lips barely brushing mine. “You’re extraordinary Bella,” he whispered, before bending down the rest of the way to thoroughly kiss away all my inadequacies, worries, and hidden feelings of rejection.
He made me believe him. He made me feel like I was special. He made me feel beautiful.
He made me worth all that I was.