"Whoosh!" The crowded jeered as the volleyball swam over the net, high. The ball hit the floor right next to the out-of-bounds line. The crowd waited in breathless anticipation as the refs discussed the call. A hush sounded over the hot, sweaty gym. A few seconds later, people began to get antsy. The players of both teams began to fidget, all except one. Number Twenty-six. I had been watching him the entire game. He was the best player, as far as I could tell.
Twenty-six, since I didn't know his name, stood at ease by the wall, confident that his serve was up to par and would get them the point. His long, lanky body was toned, from practice, and slightly tanned. His short black hair was a mess of curls, which flopped slightly on his forehead. He turned in my direction, and his amber eyes caught my plain brown ones. I smiled and winked at him. His returning smile was slow and steady, showing off a hint of his straight white teeth.
A whistle blew, and his eyes turned to the ref as he called out a point for our team. Our side screamed in joy, but I watched number twenty-six as he glanced in my direction with a smile and then went to find his position. The other team served the ball as I lend down to my best friend to whisper in her ear. "What do you think about number twenty-six?"
"Our team, or theirs?" She whispered back, her eyes trained on the ball as it bounced from court to court. Her head bobbed with the ball, her long brown hair swaying slightly.
"Ours," I said, as I watch twenty-six spike the ball, gaining us another point. We all stood and screamed. He looked at me again, and I smiled.
"He's alright. I like number six on their team," She said with a pout, the team's school was far away and with both of us being sophomores there would be no way for that to work.
"He's cute," I said, checking out the buff player for the other team. He had spiky blonde hair and pale skin. His eyes were a deep green, and he seemed to always be smiling.
"Out of my league," She thought out loud, clapping as the ball hit the floor and we gain another point, "We're catching up again!" I nodded, though I doubt she noticed. She was busy watching the ball volley back and forth.
Our rival team sailed the ball through the air to about midcourt where, out of nowhere, number twenty-six skidded on the floor, bumping the ball just enough for another player to set it up for a spike. They hit the spike back to us, just inside the lines. The other side screamed, as the coaches called a time out. When they got into the circle, I slipped out into the hall to talk to my friend who knew all the players names.
"Danny!" I screamed, hugging my friend quickly.
"Kelsey!" He yelled back, looking at me. I smiled and glanced back. The game was about to start up again.
"Number twenty-six. Go!"
"Mark… ummm…no… That's got to be Connor." I nodded, waved, and headed back in.
I took my place on the stands and joined in with the people chanting the school's name. Connor looked over at me, and winked, then served a perfect point. I stared in disbelief. Did he just… did he just do that? For me? I turned to my friend, but she was talking to these other girls in my grade, and had missed the hit and the wink.
I trotted up a few seats in the bleachers by my friends from my afterschool. I waved hello, and smiled at everyone. I listened to them argue over paint colors for the new set while watching Connor. He looked up to where I was sitting, and stared for a moment. Scratching his head, he hit the ball over the net. It landed in the midst of the rival team who lobbed it back, scoring a point. Connor ran a hand through his hair. I gave an uneasy smile to my friends and returned to my old spot.
"Where did you go?" My friend whispered.
I bumped her shoulder, smiled, and said, "I went to chill with Gary and them." She nodded mutely, and watched the ball hit our floor again. Connor peeked at me, thinking I couldn't tell. He sighed and volleyed the ball, scoring us a point. His smile was brilliant.
When the game was over, I stuck around, just talking to people. To be honest, I didn't know so many people liked me until now. Everyone seemed to walk up to be just to say hi. By the time, I had moved onto the courts to head outside, both teams were heading towards the locker room.
My phone buzzed, and I looked down, concentrating on the text. Typing back furiously, I paused mid-step. Within two seconds, what felt like a solid wall hit into me. I fell backwards, my phone skidding under the bleachers. I moaned and looked up to see Connor staring down at me, bewildered.
"I'm so sorry!" He mumbled, sticking out his hand to help me. I shook my head and helped myself off the ground, casting a glance at my cell phone under the bleachers. "I can get a janitor to get that."
"No, it's fine. I'll get it. Good game, by the way," I said back, my nervousness making me lose my confidence. I walked closer to the bleacher and leaned down, reaching my arm under and getting… nothing. My cell phone was too far under. When I got back up, I turned to see Connor still standing there. I gave him a confused look as he leaned down, and plucked out my cell phone. "Thank you!" I gushed, reaching for the phone.
"Nope!" He said, pulling the phone away.
"No?" I laughed, smiling up at him. "And why can't I have my cell phone?"
"I don't get a reward?" He laughed, a devilish smile on his face. I shook my head and reached for the phone. He grabbed my wrist playfully and held it against his chest.
"What kind of reward?" I raised my eyebrow at him. He smiled back and made a thoughtful face. Deep in concentration, I jumped for my phone while he wasn't thinking about it. I managed to grab it, but he was quick enough to hold on to my wrist. When I reached my other hand up, he grabbed that wrist as well. I was pinned.
"How about a kiss?" He smirked at me, raising an eyebrow back, "You are my good luck charm."
"Good luck charm? Really? And why do you think that is?" I pressed myself against the wall I hadn't know he had slowly been backing me up against. I was pinned as he slowly pressed himself against me. I gave him a come hither smile as he leaned over me.
"When you left for a minute, my serve was horrible!"
"I know. Now give me back my phone, and I will think about your reward," I winked at him. He yanked my phone and sprinted into the locker room. I stared after him in disbelief. I guess I was stuck here. I couldn't leave without my phone. I took a seat on the bleachers and stared off into the heating and cooling vents in the ceiling. The circular metal weaved around the gym in a crazy disarray with random jets blowing slightly less humid air.
I had spaced off so much I hadn't noticed when Connor had come back into the gym, freshly showered and in jeans and a volleyball shirt. The scent of soap overwhelmed me as he came over, my phone nowhere to be found.
"Come on," He said, his hand outstretched for me to take, "I'm taking you out for a celebratory ice cream, my good luck charm." His eyes bored into mine, I was hypnotized. Then I blinked.
"I need my phone back," I said sternly, a smile on my face. He nodded and reached into the pocket of his tight jeans. My blood rushed around my body in a swarm of emotions. It felt like all my emotions were coming back to me from being absent during the game and our little meeting afterwards. I swayed slightly, and reached for it.
He pulled it away. "Do you promise to call me?" He asked. I nodded, smiling shyly as he dropped my phone into my hand. He smiled, cleared his throat and announced, "My name's Connor, by the way."
I slipped the phone into my pocket, shook his outstretched hand, told him my name and headed out of the gym, not looking back. Once I was in the May air, what had just happened seemed to crash into me. Some guy, Connor, had given me his number. I didn't ask for it. He gave it to me! I floated in the air practically the whole way home. I was beyond giddy and my dad could tell. He didn't say a word all dinner, or after as I cleared and cleaned the dishes. Something I never do.
"What happened today?" He asked, looking straight into my eyes. I smiled, and shrugged. He didn't ask again.
Dancing with my iPod on, I barely felt my phone vibrate an hour later. I looked down at it, not recognizing the number. I flipped it open and press the send button.
"Hello?" I said tentatively, turning my music off.
"Kelsey? This is Connor. I think I gave you the wrong phone."
"The wrong phone?" I asked, a note of worry slipping into my voice.
"Unless I suddenly gained a friend named 'Bethany The Greatest Person To Grace Your Life', I have the wrong phone," He said quietly.
"Please tell me you did not read that text!" I whispered, deadly calm, anger rising slowly like molasses through my body.
"No, of course not. But I think we should switch phones… and maybe get some ice cream?" He whispered the last part. He was trying so hard. I couldn't resist.
"Really? Sweet! Okay. I'll pick you up in my car? I just need your address." After I gave him my address, I hung up and told my dad that I was going out. He nodded his approval. I quickly got dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I slipped my converse on as a nervous pit began to fester in my stomach. Today was turning out to be something else.
When he honked, I was sitting in the kitchen, nervously chipping my black nail polish. I hopped out of my chair, yelled a good bye to my father and headed outside. Connor was standing outside his car, a flower in his hand. I paused for a second then headed over to him.
"This is for all your help during the game today," He said, handing me the yellow rose. I smelled it and smiled.
"Thank you, roses are my favorite." Connor opened the door for me and then closed it before jumping over the hood to the driver's side. He pulled out and drove out of town.
"Roses are your favorite?" he asked, after a moment of comfortable silence.
"Yes, especially yellow ones."
"I'll remember that," He smiled, turning the car onto a side street, "So Kelsey, what is your favorite type of music?" He flipped some CDs over to me. I pulled out My Chemical Romance, and handed it over. He nodded his approval and stuck it in. The rest of the car ride we sang loudly to the blaring My Chemical Romance. When Teenagers came on, I turned it up.
Connor paused it, and looked at me. "Is this your favorite song?" He asked, pulling into a small ice cream store a few towns away famous for their homemade ice cream. I nodded. "It's mine too!" Connor climbed out of the parked car, and opened my door for me. After buying me ice cream, we sat on his trunk as talked about everything. We had everything in common it seemed. He enjoyed reading as much as me, and he told me he had seen me act and thought I was wonderful. I gushed over how good of a player he was.
An hour later, he parked in front of my house, and opened my door for me again.
"You don't have to do that, you know?"
"But I want to!" Connor replied, "Here's your phone, by the way." I thanked him for the phone and the ice cream then headed up my driveway.
I smiled to myself as I took slow steps. "Kelsey," I heard Connor whisper. I turned around to see him standing next to his car. I walked back to him. "Do you mind?" He asked, pushing my hair behind my ear. I shook my head and stared into his eyes. He smiled at me and leaned in to kiss me. I backed into his car, and he pressed his body against me. His lip touched mine, ever so gently. My lips curved into a smile under his as I tangled my fingers into his hair. He wrapped his arms around my waist and deepened the kiss.
I pulled away first. He glazed into my eyes, not stepping back. I hugged him and whispered into his chest, "I have to go."
"So soon?" He whispered back, like being any louder would break the sweet silence of the cool night that had surrounded us. I nodded into his chest, and squeezed him, then let go. He stepped out of my way, as I floated up my driveway again.
"Wait!" Connor called. I turned back around. Connor ran up to me, pecked me once more on the lips and then whispered into my ear, "I'll call you later." I smiled at him and then went into my house. When I lied on my bed, my head spun around thinking of Connor. I couldn't stop smiling; it was like someone injected Botox into my face. As I drifted off, my phone vibrated. I looked to find a text from Connor.
Good Night, Kelsey. :]
I fell asleep happy.