As Friday came we pushed our teams extra hard. We knew that after this week was over, we only had one more week to perfect our plays.
“Run, run, RUN!” I screamed at Maddie as she struggled to make it down the field.
She panted as she made it to the goalie box, “I am running,”
I sighed, “I know, but if you are goalie you have to improve your agility,”
It was the end of practice on Friday and while Greta had the rest of my team, Maddie and I were concentrating on her important role as goalie. She was an excellent one, but speed was a problem.
She tossed her short brown hair out of her eyes and set her face with determination, “Tell me what I need to do, I’ll work on it this weekend.”
I smiled, “That’s the way to be,”
Just then, Jayson came up, tired from his practice he hugged me and said, “Working on speed issues, are we?”
“Just a little bit, why? You have any suggestions?”
He smiled, “I might.”
“Well spit it out, I’m having problems here!” Maddie said.
He laughed, “Alright, alright. You are concentrating on distance, running the field and probably miles otherwise, correct?”
“Sure,” Maddie agreed.
“Well, all the area you really have to cover is this little box,” he said, pointing to the faded white paint lines, “so if I were you I’d be working on shuffling my feet, getting from here to there fast. And I’d work with someone firing their shots into the box, then you can concentrate on what really matters, stopping the ball.”
Maddie smiled, “Thanks! I’ll have Markus work with me on it this weekend,”
With that she jogged off, “Thanks for that dear,” I said hugging him.
“Mhm, no problem,” he said, his head buried in my hair.
“So, mom and dad are still out of town and Bella invited us over to dinner, you up for it?”
“Of course,” he said.
He dropped me off at home to shower and get ready and promised to be back in two hours. I walked into the silent house and jumped in the shower. It was a nice night, so I wore a black and white flowing skirt and a white tee shirt. My shoes were silver and matched my earrings Mason had gotten me. I glanced out longingly to the driveway, my green Mustang, Mason’s sweet sixteen present for me, sat there, almost completely undriven. Mom and dad had wanted me to keep it nice for college. Having a brother who made music for a living was rewarding. Still, I really wanted to drive it, so when Jayson got there, two hours later, I begged.
“Please, please , please!” I said, giving him my cutest smile.
He sighed, “Alright, just don’t wreck it or your dad will hate me,”
I shrieked with excitement, “Thank you!”
I sat in the driver’s seat and turned the key. I slowly backed out and got onto the main road as Jayson reached for his seatbelt.
“What’s that for?” I asked.
He laughed, “Don’t get mad hon. but you’re driving scares me.”
I shrugged, simply happy to be driving. All too soon we were at Mason and Bella’s apartment.
We walked up the three flights of stairs to make it to their door. I knew that they were looking at houses, waiting to get settled before they had kids, still the apartment bugged me, it was too small for them.
“Lauren!” Bella exclaimed, hugging me.
I smiled, “Hey, how are you?”
“Oh, great. Emi’s been having a good time with us, and Mason and her are making tacos right now,”
“Sounds interesting,” I said and she laughed.
Her and Jayson exchanged “hello’s” and soon we were all in the living room chatting. Finally, Mason and Emi announced the tacos were done.
“Let’s eat,” Bella said, clapping her hands together once.
We all sat at the dinner table and shoveled food onto our plates, then Mason cleared his throat and we all bowed our heads to pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day you have given us. For the wonderful people we are surrounded by, and the food you provided us with. Amen”
Mason and Bella had become rather religious since the wedding. Bella had been eager to share her faith with Mason and Mason had been eager to learn. Jayson went to church every Sunday as well, and tried every week to get me to come too. I assured him I would, just not yet.
The food was great and Emi sat silently through the meal. When we were done eating, I took her aside, “Hey Emi, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she said, shuffling her feet to the side.
I sighed, “Emi, you can’t lie to me, you know it doesn’t work,”
A tear ran down her face, “It really is nothing, just that, we went to the pool the other day and I had to wear a tee shirt over my swimsuit because it doesn’t fit anymore,”
“Oh Emi,” I said, hugging her, “It’s alright.”
“No, it’s not! I weighed myself Lauren.” She whispered, “I’m five foot four inches and I weigh a hundred and eighty pounds,”
I felt increasingly sorry for my sister; she was always super skinny, in dance lessons and constantly moving. But now her metabolism was slowing down and she had quit dance. Food was her new love and it showed.
I hugged her closer, “This summer I’ll help you. When you get to high school next year, you won’t look the same,” I reassured her.
“Promise?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said, smiling.
The rest of the night went well and soon Jayson and I were saying our “goodbyes.”
In the car as we were driving away, I turned the radio off. Jayson went to turn it back on but I stopped him.
“But we need music,” he complained.
“No we don’t” I said.
“You do this all the time!”
I smiled, “Want to know a secret?” I asked.
He looked at me, “Sure,”
“Alright, sometimes I turn the radio off so I can hear your heartbeat better.”
He smiled at me, “I love you.”