The volleyball slammed into the blockers’ hands and flew behind me, out of bounds. My whole team came together in the middle of the court for a cheer and huddled quickly to discuss our plan to conquer. This was it. Game point, of our season finals. If we won this game, we went to playoffs, and then on to the championship. If we lost, we went nowhere.
Ruthie Bernhard backed up a great deal before the serving line, and after the whistle blew, she fiercely did a jump approach and sent the volleyball flying over the net with a loud crack. Unfortunately, the other team received the ball well and I readied myself for an outside hit. But just as my feet were about to move, I noticed the setter’s head in front of me… it was tilted back. I then looked to the outside hitter, prepared and ready to attack.
‘They’re faking us!’ I thought quickly and screamed “Back hit!” As loud as I could. Being an outside hitter, I saw that by this time everyone had gone to defense for the opposing team’s outside hit; meaning everyone but me was going to block the wrong hitter. I gulped as I heard my coach telling me to cover the outside hit. However, as the set went up in the air, I felt relief in my stomach that I turned out right. This was THE play. The last thing I could do to help my team, and my school. It was one-on-one time; me and the hitter. As I saw the hitter start to attack, I bent my knees and started to jump. I braced myself for the impact of the ball against my hands and then I felt it… Like a bullet, the volleyball came slamming against my hands. However, much to my delight, the ball went flying, and dropped directly behind the hitter; right on the line.
As I came to my feet, the numbing of my hands from the contact of the ball seemed to get decrease as the realization of winning the game took it away. My entire team started screaming and they all came rushing over to hug me. I felt tears running down my cheeks as every one of my teammates congratulated and celebrated with me. Finally, respect.
After the celebration party that night, my face showed nothing more than immense fatigue.
“Ah, bed sweet bed!” I yawned.
I was just about to pull down the covers, when a knock sounded at the door. My eyes flew to the clock and saw the time. 2:30 am. Who in their right mind…? For a moment I stood still, wondering if I should ignore the door, or answer it. As the knock sounded the second time, I decided against myself and went to answer it. At first, I only opened the door about an inch, just so I could peek out. Then, as my eyes saw who stood in front of me, I winced. There was no reasonable way that I could actually make myself look even half as presentable as I wanted to in front of this guy…
Freddie was looking down at the floor and when he heard the door open he looked up and saw me almost hiding behind the door. He flashed that wonderful smile and said quietly “Don’t hide. I won’t hurt you…”
There were so many words I wanted to say to him right now. I remembered a time when I thought that I could forgive him anything, anytime. I guess I was wrong.
The extent of amazement that I felt for Arianne was nothing worth writing in words. When I saw the way she played that game, it made her look so…in place. It was like she really belonged there; she felt she belonged there. The evidence of that confidence while she played made her somehow even more beautiful to me than she ever was before.
It was game point and I couldn’t believe that I was getting this nervous for a game I had never took much interest to before. When I saw Arianne make that point and I saw her face; shining and so very happy, it made my heart dance with delight. After the game, I had tried to get her attention, but she was so taken by her team and the after party, that I felt it was best to wait until she got back to her dorm. So I quietly walked back there to wait, in silence.
Little did I know, my little princess wouldn’t be coming home at the stroke of twelve. As I waited for the sound of her soft footsteps in the hall outside, my heart seemed to grow heavier and heavier. Here I was, waiting for this girl, this wonderful girl who seemed to hate me. What in the world was wrong with me?
Two hours passed and I was starting to find it difficult to stay awake. I was just about to give in to the temptation of sleep when those footsteps I had been waiting for finally sounded in my ears. I nearly jumped, and waited for her door to shut. There was no use in startling her in the hallway… However, I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling of being a wicked stalker, ready to attack.
I opened my door quietly, and shut it equally softly. I crossed the hall quickly and took a deep breath. Then, I knocked. The wait seemed to take hours. I was in agony, waiting for this girl and I didn’t even know why. The fact of the matter was; I NEEDED to be around her. I was almost convinced that I was falling in love with this silly little spitfire.
I was looking at my toes when the door opened and I looked up instantly. I strained to see her face through the door, and smiled when I realized she was hiding from me. Why?
“Don’t hide.” I grinned. “I won’t hurt you.”
Arianne opened the door a little bit more and it was then that I realized how tired she looked. She had the formation of bags under her eyes, and I couldn’t believe how selfish I was. But in any case, I was here, and I wasn’t backing out.
“Sorry to bug you right now…” She said nothing, and I continued. “I just came over to congratulate you on your block tonight. It was amazing, you did really well.”
Arianne smiled lightly and even THAT made me go crazy.
“Thanks, Freddie.” She said carelessly. Her nonchalant attitude almost decked my happiness a little bit, but when I saw that glint in her eyes; I knew she was fair game. Somehow, I could read her eyes like a book, and I knew she didn’t hate me that much. I voiced my thoughts:
“Look, Arie, I know that you don’t hate me as much as you pretend. It’s in your eyes, even right now.”
“Wh-what?!” She protested shifting her eyes away from mine. “You’re crazy, Freddie. Okay, so I can’t even make eye-contact with you without you criticizing me? That’s bull.” She didn’t make eye contact again, but I could see that she was hurt, and as she turned to go back to her room, I reached out and grabbed her shoulders gently. She seemed shocked by this as I turned her to look at me, because she suddenly froze.
If she was feeling what I was right now…wow. My entire body was pulsing with temptation right now. I had her in my grasp, I could’ve brought her to my lips right now, but something stopped me. Respect for her? Maybe.
“Arie, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound.... Just…just look at me.” When she shook her head, I pleaded with her again. “Please? Just…come on.”
She finally consented and I almost jumped when her hazel eyes connected with mine. I don’t know if she felt it, but there was a definite connection there. Like a magnet…
“There we go. Not so bad right?” I saw her smile a little and I continued, “Look, I have to see you. More than just passing through the hall or in class…”
“Freddie…” She started, but I cut her off.
“No, no. Really, Arianne. Please? Meet me tomorrow by the fountain outside the library, ok?”
For a moment, Arianne looked doubtful. She was still looking straight into my eyes and it was making me feel a little bit…let’s not go there! I could see her struggling with herself in them. Like she was having an inward battle of whether or not to say yes, or no.
“Fine!” She suddenly said, a little louder than expected. So I was right. She was battling. “I’ll go. What time?”
“ 2:30.” I said enthusiastically. I felt like a little boy who just received a puppy. I grinned broadly and, as much as I didn’t want to, I let go of her shoulders. “Goodnight, Arie.”