Ch. 1: Animals
Disclaimer: We do not own Twilight or the Angels.
A/N: Hello loves!! We're back, A Dinosaur's Story!! Just kidding! Does anybody actually remember that movie? Anyways, this is our second story. Thanks to hgbkwrm for betaing this story and canibeyourmemory for letting us bounce ideas off of them. There is a quote in here, as in our other story.
"Alice, you know nobody ever wins those things. I don't even know why you bother." My roommate, Alice was convinced that she was going to win this contest on the radio from KCAL to get free tickets to an Angel's game, a meet and greet with three of their players, and the opportunity to throw the first pitch of the game.
"Bella, I just have this feeling that I'm going to win and you know that every time I have 'the feeling,' it always happens." We were driving back to our little house in Yorba Linda, a small city in Orange County, CA. Alice had just come from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, or FIDM, to pick up Rosalie and me up from California State University Fullerton.
"It's true," Rosalie agreed with Alice. "Her little premonitions are always correct."
"There's a dial tone!" Alice squealed as she drove one-handed.
I was still skeptical, "And the next thing you'll hear id the click as they hang up on you."
We were listening to KCAL with Daryl. "96.7 KCAL, what's your name and where're you calling from?"
The scream that erupted from Alice's tiny frame was deafening. "This is Alice and I'm calling from Yorba Linda!"
"What are you doing right now?"
"I'm driving my two best friends home from school!"
"Right on, right on. Well, you're caller 96, so you get the tickets to the game this Sunday."
"That is so awesome!"
"Tell all the listeners out there what station is sending you and two friends to the Angel's game this Sunday."
"96.7, KCAL rocks!!"
"No, you rock!"
"No, you rock!"
"No, you rock!"
I couldn't believe she had actually won. I should have known never to bet against Alice.
"Told you," Rose quipped.
Rosalie and Alice were my two best friends. We have known each other since we were in diapers. My parents, Charlie and Reneé, are friends with their parents, Carlisle and Esme. Alice was small with short black hair that stuck up in every direction. Rosalie was the epitome of perfection. She is tall and statuesque with blonde hair that hung in perfect waves down to the middle of her back. They were both adopted by Carlisle and Esme when they were babies. Our parents had set up play dates for us from the time we were in diapers. We grew up in a small town in Washington State called Forks.
After we all graduated from high school, Alice decided to come to California to pursue her dream as a fashion merchandiser. Rosalie decided to follow her down here to go to school for engineering. She may be beautiful, but she was definitely not stupid. Rose was smart and dominating in a field predominantly ruled by the male population. As for myself, I am a softball player with the hope of, someday, making it to the Olympics. I have played ever since I was five years old and continued throughout high school. I didn't start pitching until I had been playing for a couple years. Once I started, I couldn't stop. When I step on the mound, everything just falls into place and I feel at home. I was able to get a full ride scholarship to Cal State Fullerton and am the starting pitcher for the school's team.
After Alice had gotten the details on where to pick up the tickets, she hung up the phone and started planning what she was going to wear. The three of us had always been baseball fans because our dads were always glued in front of the TV whenever the Angels played. We grew up loving them and didn't just jump on the band wagon after they won the World Series in 2002. After moving down to Yorba Linda for college, it was all too easy to go to the games now. "I'm going to wear the pink jersey that I got last time. Bella, I know you hate it, but you have to let Rose and I help you get ready."
I whined, "Ali, do you have to? Why can't I dress myself for once?"
"Because we are going to be meeting the three best Angels players!"
"No, I'm not going to do it."
"If you let me do it this once, I promise you can have a reprieve from Bella Barbie for the next month."
"Two months," I bargained
"A month and a half and no more. Take it or leave it."
"Fine, deal. Pinkie promise." We stuck out our pinkies and linked them together. We may be twenty years old, but we still had some of our childhood tendencies.
Now that Alice has her tickets, we turned the radio to our usual radio station, KIIS, and started singing along with all the songs. Soon enough, we arrived back at our little house. It was a three bedroom, three bathroom home. There was a large backyard for Mo to run around in, which was a must and it was a quiet neighborhood. It wasn't much, but it was home. Mo must've heard us pull up because howling could be heard from behind the closed door. I grabbed my softball bag from the back of Alice's yellow Porsche 911 Turbo and headed up the walkway to the door. I unlocked the door and was greeted by Mo. He was my graduation present from my dad with the hope of "protecting me". He did his job and, on more than one occasion, my Husky has helped me get rid of scumbags. It took a while for him to warm up to people, but once he did, he was your friend for life.
"Hey Buddy!" Mo answered with a traditional Husky talking. He followed me from the front room up to my room to drop my bag off. I walked back downstairs and plopped down on the couch next to Rose, Mo at my feet. Alice was on the floor with a bunch of magazines and a pair of scissors in front of her working on a project for one of her classes.
"So, how was practice today?" Alice asked as she found a picture and cut it out.
"Eh, same old, same old. I worked with Nicole again today. I've been having trouble with my slider, so she was helping me with that." Nicole DiSalvio has been my pitching coach for the past few years. She is eccentric, outgoing, and a little crazy, but I couldn't have found a better pitching coach if I tried. We sat talking about the game that was coming up in two days.
After about an hour, I got up to go start making dinner. I wanted something simple, so I made spaghetti, Clearman's bread, and Caesar salad. Mo had, once again, followed me and was lying in the middle of the kitchen. I loved being in the kitchen, it always relaxed me after a long day at school. Alice and Rosalie both knew to never offer to help in the kitchen because I preferred to cook alone. Not long after I started, I was calling them in to eat.
"What the fuck, James!" I yelled as I jogged after the ball that James threw away. We were working on the pickle situation, where a runner gets caught between two bases and the defense attempts to tag him out. The douche bag made a rookie mistake and threw the ball miles over my head so I was unable to reach it.
"Let's run it again!" Coach called.
Everyone was getting antsy in anticipation to go home so we were making mistakes that we shouldn't.
"Come on guys!! As soon as we get through this play we can go home! Get it together!"
John Lackey, the pitcher, threw another, hopefully last, pitch to Bengie Molina, the catcher. Shawn Wooten, the runner, took off from first, in an attempt to steal second. James was covering second as Bengie threw the ball down to him. He caught it and Wooten turned around to try to go back to first. James "attempted" to throw the ball to me, but, once again, it went sailing over my head, allowing Wooten to successfully steal second.
"God damn it, James! How hard is it to make a throw from second to first?! Its ninety fucking feet!"
"CULLEN! BENCH! NOW!" Coach Griffin yelled.
"WHAT?! Why?!" I threw up my hands in aggravation.
"Because you don't know how to keep your damn mouth shut! If you keep arguing, you can forget about starting this weekend. Scott is more than willing to fill in for you." Scott Spiezio and I traded off starting games at first base. This weekend, it was my turn to start and there was no way in hell I wasn't going to not start this weekend. I parked my sorry ass on the bench and sulked like a two year old. The only good thing about being benched was not having to deal with James. Just thinking his name sent shivers through my body.
James was newly recruited to the team this year. He played minor league for The Lake Elsinore Storm before he was signed with the Angels. Honestly, I have no idea in hell how Artie Moreno, the owner of the team, thought James would be an asset to the team.
I watched the rest of the team continue to practice the play. It fucking pissed me off to no end when James threw a perfect throw right into Spiezio's glove. "Fuck," I muttered under my breath. I stood up from the bench after the rest of the team went to the locker room. James was the last one in and I followed after him. The coaches never came into the locker room after practice, so I took advantage of my opportunity.
I shoved James from behind and took joy in watching him stumble over his own feet.
"What the-? Oh, it's just you," he spat.
"What the fuck was that?!"
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said as he kept walking.
"The hell you don't. You made me look like an ass with your little stunt out there. Why did you do it?"
"You need to be benched, you arrogant son of a bitch."
"Who the hell are you, telling me when I should or shouldn't be benched. That is none of your damn business. What have I ever done to you?" I asked, incredulously.
"Oh, gee, I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that you just shoved me."
"That was one time and besides that, I've never touched you. Hell, I barely talk to you."
"Just watch your back, Cullen." With that, James walked into the locker room like our whole conversation never happened.
I was fuming on the inside as I stalked into the locker room. Thankfully, my locker was on the opposite side of James'. I sat down on the bench, my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands.
"What's up, Man?" my friend, Emmett, asked. Emmett was tall and built like a tank with short, curly dark hair. He may look intimidating, but he was almost like a teddy bear.
"Fucking James," I said, loud enough for said person to hear.
"Ah, no need to say anymore."
Just then, my other friend, Jasper came up asking what was up.
"James," Emmett and I said in unison.
"Ah." Jasper was tall and thin, but still muscular. He had long, shaggy blonde hair.
The three of us made up one-third of the starting line-up. Emmett played third base, Jasper took over center field, and I was in charge of first base.
Once I had cooled down, I changed back into my jeans and white, short-sleeved shirt and ran my hand through my hair a few times, making it messier than usual. I threw my riding jacket over my arm, while my helmet was tucked under the same arm. My Ducati was my baby. I splurged on it after my first year with the Angels. I have a shiny, silver Volvo that my parents got me as a graduation present after high school. I still drive it, but I prefer my Ducati. It's a Superbike 1198 in a blood red color.
The three of us walked out of the locker room like the fucking Three Musketeers. All we needed was our theme song playing in the background, Animals.
We walked to our vehicles, it was an unspoken rule among the team that nobody was to park in "our" spots except us. Jasper has his 1966 Mustang that he restored himself. Emmett has his behemoth of a jeep. And, of course, I had my Ducati. All our vehicles just happened to be red.
"What time is the game tomorrow?" Emmett asked.
"The game starts at 7:05 so we need to be here by 3." Jasper replied.
"Alright, see you guys tomorrow." I zipped up my riding jacket, threw on my helmet, hopped on my bike, and sped off. All I wanted was a good night's sleep.
Saturday morning, I woke up early and took Mo for a walk. Every Saturday morning, Mo and I would walk down to Juice Stop and get a Half-Nelson. Every once in a while, Alice and Rose would join us. Today was one of those days. We set out for the two mile run at seven in the morning.
"Oh it's so pretty out today!" Alice exclaimed with a big smile playing across her face.
"Yes it is. What are you so excited about?" I asked.
"Um, hello! Tomorrow we get to go to the Angel game!"
"I know. I can't wait. Charlie is going to be so jealous that we get to go."
"Yes he will, along with Carlisle. They can sit at home in rainy Forks watching it on a small screen, while we get to actually be there." Rose added.
It took us about twenty minutes to get to Juice Stop. I stayed outside with Mo while Alice and Rose ordered our drinks and pretzels. I found an empty table, tied Mo's leash to my chair leg and sat down, enjoying the sun beating down on me.
"Here we go, three Half-Nelsons, coming up!" Alice exclaimed as she and Rosalie emerged from the shop, drinks in hand.
"Thank you, Ali." They plopped down into the seats next to me, sipping their drinks.
"So, I was thinking about your outfit for tomorrow. We're going to put you in that jersey that we got from the last game, denim shorts, and your white Converse. Rose will do your hair so it will be in soft waves and I will do light makeup; just mascara, eye liner, and lip gloss. What do you think?" Alice asked with enthusiasm.
"Sounds good. I'm just looking forward to this being the last time I'm going to have to play Bella Barbie for a month and a half."
"Don't be such a poop," Rose said.
"What are our plans today?" I asked in an attempt to change the topic from my demise.
"I have to finish that project I was working on for my design class," Alice said.
"I'm going to work on my car." Rosalie was restoring a blue 1966 Mustang. It was her baby and if Alice or I even got near it, she was sure to throw a fit. We both knew what Rose was capable of and didn't want to chance it.
Their plans left me with the perfect opportunity to practice my pitching. "I was thinking about calling someone to catch for me so I could work on my slider. I'm determined to have it down before the next game on Tuesday. Are you guys coming?" I asked as I took a bite of my pretzel.
"Of course, when have we ever missed one of your games?"
"Never." It was true; ever since I started playing softball when I was five, Ali and Rose had been there to support me. I don't know why I ever doubted them. They always came through for me.
We sat and talked until our drinks were long gone. Mo was more than pleased when I gave him pieces of the pretzel. On our way back to the house, we took it easy and walked. Once we stepped into the house, we split off to our designated destinations: Rose to the garage, Alice to her room to work on her project, and me to the kitchen to call someone to catch for me.
I picked up the phone and dialed the one person who I knew would always say yes. He picked up on the first ring. "Hello?"
"Hey! It's me. Would you mind meeting me at Travis Ranch Park to catch for me?
"Yeah, no problem. When?"
"Can you be there in fifteen minutes?"
"Can do. See you there."
I hung up the phone and ran upstairs to grab my bag and headed out to my car. When I graduated, my parents, Charlie and Renée got me a GMC Acadia. They were proud that I kept a 4.0 GPA while taking advanced classes and still playing softball.
I sped over to the park and was, luckily, able to find an open softball field to practice on. I grabbed my glove and a ball and tossed it up and caught it while I waited. Five minutes later, my catcher caught sight of me. "Hey Bella!" He had his bag of catching gear slung over his shoulder. I ran up to him and gave him a hug.
"Hey, how have you been?"
"Good. How 'bout you?" He asked as he put his bag down and started taking his gear out.
"Just trying to get through college. How's the team doing?"
"I think we're doing better than we did last year. I have a feeling that we're going to win the World Series this year."
I scoffed, "Yeah right, the Angels have it in the bag. Have you seen their record for this season? They're 4-0 so far."
"That's going to change tomorrow. We're going to kill them."
"Oh, speaking of the game tomorrow, Ali, Rose and I are going."
"Yeah. Alice won tickets on the radio yesterday. We get to do a meet and greet with three of the players and then Alice gets to throw the first pitch."
"That little pixie has the best luck ever, doesn't she?"
"Yes, she does."
He finished putting his chest protector on and tucked his helmet under his arm. "All set."
I tossed him the ball. He caught it with ease and threw it back as he backed up to put more distance between us. We threw the yellow ball back and forth a few times before I determined my arm was sufficiently warmed up. "You warm?"
He crouched as I walked back to him and stood two feet in front of him to do my wrist flips. I backed up so I was forty feet away from him and did my windmill warm ups soon after that. "Alright, I'm warmed up now."
"Go for it," he said as he put his helmet on.
I walked to the mound, which was forty-five feet from the plate and threw a few fastballs, change ups, screwballs, curves, rises, and drops. Before I would throw the pitch, I would call the placement on the plate, "Drop outside!" My catcher responded by dropping his glove and moving it to the outside of the plate. I did that for each pitch and, each time, I hit my targets.
"You ready to try that slider?"
I took a deep breath and agreed, "Yeah." I stepped onto the mound again and attempted the pitch. The first one I threw landed in the dirt.
"Just try it again," he encouraged.
Pitch number two didn't go so well, either. I got it out of the dirt, but was too far outside. He threw the ball back and I tried it again. The ball spun down the middle of the plate but didn't break enough. Obviously third time wasn't the charm. By now, I was getting frustrated. I took another deep breath and set up for the pitch once again. This time, I accidentally released too late and the ball sailed over his head. "Argh! I'm never going to get this."
"Just relax, Bella. You're thinking about this too much. Breathe."
I did as he said and attempted it one last time.
"Finally!" The ball appeared as though it were going to head straight down the middle of the plate. At the last second, it broke to the left and dropped so it would have been just below the batter's knees. A perfect slider. "I'm stopping on that note."
He stood up and I ran up to him and embraced him in a hug. "That last pitch was perfect! Did you see it?"
"Of course I saw it, I was behind the plate. I think my catching expertise helped also," he added, an arrogant air to his voice.
I shoved him playfully, "You are so full of yourself, Jake."
A/N: Thanks for reading. The song in this chapter is "Animals" by Nickelback, it's extremely dirty but oh so good! Ok, Clearman's bread is the BEST bread to have with spaghetti! It's a cheese spread that you put on sourdough bread, it's SO good! I don't know if they have it anywhere else besides Southern California but if you find it, you HAVE to try it. If anybody has any questions on baseball or softball or whatever, don't hesitate to ask. We'll be alternating updates between this story and LRTS, so each story will probably be updated once a week. Thanks for reading!! Reviews are greatly appreciated!!