A/N: Oh my goodness! I think I'm even more surprised then you guys that I was able to get a chapter out so fast! I mean, fast for me haha I had a sort of epiphany that I am much better at writing this when I should be writing something else...like say, a seven page American Politics essay or something like that… anyways, I digress. The chapter is here for you all to (hopefully) enjoy. SHOUT OUT TO THE AMAZING BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WHO REVIEWED! You are wonderful, fantastic people who can get a smile on my face like no one else. :) This chapter is a present for ya'll, a thank you present for reading and reviewing and making my life feel worthwhile. This chap is a little longer then the rest, and I really hope you enjoy. :D To the chapter!
Once again I was abruptly brought back from Dreamland by the blaring sound of my alarm. I groaned and reached my hand out of my blanket to slap it off. I stayed completely still for another thirty seconds until I realized if I didn't get up right that second I'd never be able to get up. I looked at the time on the clock and realized with a start that it was already seven. Well, looks like no shower for me this morning.
I glanced over and noticed that Jack was already out of bed, presumably showering or something of the sort. I grabbed my bathroom caddy and stumbled my way down the hall to the communal restroom. I hurriedly washed my face and brushed my teeth before running back down the hall to finish getting ready.
I opted for my favorite pair of forrest green corduroy skinny jeans and an oversize white knit sweater. I matched that with my floral pattern Doc Marten boots and my brown school bag. I threw my hair in a sloppy bun and attempted to hide the bags under my eyes with concealer.
As Adam had predicted, I had gotten little to no sleep the night before. This was common for me, to obsess about anything thats on my mind for hours at night, tossing and turning and praying to get my mind off it so I could fall asleep. It felt like I had just gotten my eyes to stay shut when my alarm rang.
Just as I was about to leave, Jack came back from the bathroom completely ready for the day. She was wearing a black, collared, three-quarter sleeve length button down the was made of a sheer material and had silver studs on the collar, paired with blue and white pinstriped skinny jeans and cute black wedge booties. I smiled when I saw her, me and this girl were definitely on the same page when it came to style.
"Ready for breakfast?" she asked with a wide smile.
I yawned. "You sure are perky in the morning," I said but I smiled nonetheless. "Yeah lets go. I need to down a few cups of coffee if I'm going to make it through this day."
We got to the Caf and went to wait in line for food. I grabbed the biggest cup of coffee I possibly could, added a tiny splash of cream and no sugar, just the way I liked it. Adam would be mad if he saw I didn't get any food so I grabbed an apple too, as an after thought.
Jack and I walked over to the table, where most of the Ducks were already inhaling piles of breakfast foods. Adam was sitting down directly across from Charlie, and each of them had one empty space to the side of them. I slid in next to Adam which forced Jack to take the seat next to Charlie, not that either of them seemed upset by this.
"Good morning, beautiful," Adam said, smiling at me. I rolled my eyes, but smiled. Only Adam could make me feel pretty after a sleepless night and practically no time to get ready. "Good morning, Jack," he added, smiling at her too.
"Good morning!" Jack replied enthusiastically. I could barely audibly mutter a "morning."
Adam frowned at me. "Lemme guess, you couldn't sleep?"
I didn't answer for a second because I was too busy sucking down half my cup of coffee in one breath. When I finally paused for air all I could do was nod my head. Adam put his arm around me and I burrowed into his side, closing my eyes. "How long til class?" I asked. "Enough time for me to take a quick nap?"
"Fifteen minutes," Charlie said. "So ten until we should leave for class."
I groaned, but kept my eyes closed. "I'll take what I can get."
I don't think I actually fell asleep but I was so zoned out I missed the conversation of my table companions. It felt like no time had passed before Adam kissed me on the head and told me it was time for class. I groaned again loudly, opened my eyes and hurried to down the rest of my coffee. I grabbed my uneaten apple and stuck it in my purse for later. I stood up, as did Charlie, Adam, and Jack, and all of us began to make our way to class. The caffeine was finally starting to kick in as we were walking, thank goodness, and I was beginning to function like a normal human being.
As we got to the door for AP Lit, I heard Charlie promise to meet Jack after class so they could walk to their next one together. I shot Adam a huge knowing smile but he just laughed and rolled his eyes at me. While Jack walked back to our table in the back of the classroom, I walked over to Adam's table with him. Thompson wasn't here yet, so I was going to use this as an opportunity for a tiny bit of showing off. I know it was infantile, but hey, it made me feel better.
Adam sat down in his seat, and I plopped down on his lap. "So, in order to make this already dismal day run a bit more smoothly, I'm not thinking about this whole Co-Chair ordeal until after hockey. Can we talk about it then?" I asked Adam, playing with the hair at the back of his neck.
"Sure, Darce, whatever you want," Adam said with an encouraging smile. I kissed him on the forehead. At that moment, I heard someone walk up behind us and clear their throat. I turned my head to look, and it was none other then my favorite person ever, Rebecca Thompson.
She was scantily clad, wearing an extremely short plaid mini skirt and a low cut v-neck sweater that her boobs were literally spilling out of. I gave her one glance before rolling my eyes and scoffing at her. She was ridiculous, but no way was I letting her get to me again.
"Hey Adam," she said, smiling in a way she probably hoped was sexy. "And good morning to you, Conway. Oh, Darce, your hair looks great, and really you can barely see those dark circles under your eyes! I am starting to understand why its referred to as beauty sleep, though," she added in a fake innocent voice, smirking and hoping her comment would get an overreaction out of me.
Adam's arms tightened around me angrily, but I just smiled back sweetly and replied, "Thanks, Bex, I did do a good job didn't I?" I heard Adam stifle a chuckle, covering it up with a clearing of his throat. "By the way, I just love your breasts. How much did those cost?" I said in the most innocent voice I could muster.
This time, Adam couldn't cover his laughter and let out a loud snort. Rebecca turned bright red, shot me the most evil glare, and opened her mouth to speak. Before she could, however, our teacher announced from the front of the room that it was time for class to begin and everyone needed to take their seats. I gave Adam a quick but pointed kiss on the lips and ran away to my seat in the back. I noticed happily that Rebecca sat down without looking at Adam. She did shoot me one murderous glare, however.
Jack murmured to me, "What just happened?"
I smiled at her. "Just showing Thompson where she stands with me," I replied with a wink.
The class passed eventlessly, and the homework being to read the first five chapters of Pride and Prejudice by tomorrow. Grrrreat.
At the bell Adam practically ran over to us. I heard Thompson behind him, saying "Adam! Wait!"
Adam grabbed my hand and muttered, "Lets go!" and basically pulled me out of the classroom. When we made it safely down the hallway he relaxed, although he did continue to glance over his shoulder repeatedly. I laughed at the look on his face and said, "Have a good class, babe?"
He glared at me. "No. She was fucking pissed, Darcy."
I laughed again. "Good."
Adam sighed and pulled me under his arm. "Seriously though. If we thought she was persistent before, that was nothing. She was practically throwing herself at me for the past hour."
I rolled my eyes. "I'm not letting her get to me anymore, remember? If she's gonna step it up, then so will I."
Adam scoffed at me. "I'm pretty convinced that this isn't even about me anymore, this is purely a blood bath between you and her."
"That's probably true," I replied, "but you started it."
We had been joined by a bunch of other Ducks at that point, I hadn't even noticed Charlie and Jack chatting up off to the side. God they were so cute, I loved it. I realized for the first time that I hadn't seen Connie all day, but I figured I would just talk to her at lunch or in drama.
The bell rang signaling that it was time to get to our next classes. I told Adam I would see him at lunch and went to join Julie to walk to our next class. I waved bye to Charlie and Jack as I passed and winked at Charlie when Jack wasn't looking. He scowled and held up a very offensive finger, which just resulted in making me laugh. I knew my brother a little to well.
My next two classes passed, boring, standard. As was to be expected. I made my way to lunch with Ave and Dwayne, and we joined Adam, Kenny, Fulton, Portman, Russ, and Luis who were already sitting. I had a plate piled high with food and another coffee because I was once again starting to feel that sleepless night. I squeezed in between Adam and Kenny so I was in the middle of the guys.
Just as I was about to take a big bite of pizza, Kenny said loudly, "So you make a decision yet, Darce?"
I was about to slap my hand over his mouth to shut him up, but the damage had already been done. Although I had told a select few so far-Adam, Kenny, Jack, and Julie-I still wanted to tell Charlie and Connie on their own before I told the rest of the guys. I probably wouldn't even have told them until after I decided one way or another. The Ducks are a strongly opinionated bunch, and I didn't think I could listen to everything they had to say without my brain spontaneously combusting. All of the guys sitting around me stopped to listen as soon as Kenny had said that, and I knew they weren't going to let this slide.
I shot Kenny a death glare. Russ was the one who broke the silence.
"Well?" He asked. "Aren't you going to tell us what your deciding on?"
I groaned and put my hands over my eyes and my head on the table. I heard Adam mutter 'way to go Kenny' and smack him on the back of his head. Kenny let out a small yelp, but I think he realized he messed up. Adam rubbed soothing circles into my back.
I didn't take my head off the table but I muttered, "I'm thinking of running for Co-Chair."
The boys were quiet for a sec, then Dwayne whispered loudly, "What'd she say?"
I groaned again even louder and lifted my head up. "I'm thinking of running for Co-Chair. I haven't decided yet though and I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't all bombard me with questions and comments."
They paused for another beat or two, before they all started talking at once.
"You can't do that, what about hockey-"
"Who are you running with? Are you running alone?"
"Do it Darce, you'll win and then you can change the Caf menu!"
"Please don't do this to us. We don't need anymore dweebs on the team."
I couldn't even tell who was saying what. All I knew was that my head was literally going to explode. By that time, everyone else had gotten to the table. They're questions of what was going on just added to the commotion, and I knew if I didn't get out right then I was gonna have a break down. So, I got up and walked away.
As much as I loved my Ducks, they could really get on my last nerve sometimes.
The commotion got louder as everyone realized that I was walking away. I heard Adam stand up and yell, so he could be heard over the ruckus, "If anyone of you follows her or says one more word about this to her I will personally kick your ass, I mean it." That pretty effectively shut everyone up, at least from what I could tell because by then I was far enough away that I was out of earshot. As I was about to leave the Caf I realized that Adam was following me, holding both our trays of food.
"Where are you taking those, exactly?" I questioned, trying to pretend I wasn't about to have a panic attack. I was trying to take deep breaths but I had that feeling where you know you're about to burst into tears even though theres no real reason why.
"Come on, lets have a picnic. You need to get away from them for a while," Adam said, grabbing my hand and pulling me out to the lawn.
It was a bright and sunny day, although there were the tell-tale signs of winter approaching and it was clear that it wouldn't be this nice for long. Adam put the trays down on the ground before laying out his jacket for us to sit on. I cuddled up with Adam as we sat still for a minute, soaking up some delicious sun rays and concentrating on taking deep, slow breaths. After a minute or two of silence Adam kissed me on the head and said, "You okay?"
I sighed and although I still had a pounding headache I answered, "Yeah. Thats just literally exactly the opposite of how I wanted that to happen."
"Those guys can be so thick sometimes," Adam said, shaking his head. "They don't know they meaning of the phrase 'back the fuck off.'"
"This probably would have been much easier to handle if I had slept at all last night. My head feels like its caving in," I said, wincing in pain. "I wish I could skive off the rest of my classes and go take a nap but unfortunately thats not an option… I don't think I can make it to hockey."
"Maybe you should ditch. Go to the infirmary, sleep off your headache, and be ready for action by the time hockey rolls around," Adam suggested reasonably.
"But its only the second day of class, I shouldn't miss already," I pointed out.
"But its only the second day of class, what truly important information are you going to miss out on?" Adam counteracted.
He was right, of course, and nothing sounded as amazing right now as a nice cozy bed. I had Ducks in all my classes who could get me the work, and the nurse would write me a pass.
"Okay, you're right. And as much as I enjoyed this picnic I think I'm going to ditch you, too," I said. "Sleep is what I need, now."
Adam chuckled. "Okay, Darce. I love you, I'll see you at practice."
I kissed him quickly before practically running to the infirmary. I told the nurse about my lack of sleep and my headache, so she handed me some painkillers and all but pushed me into the bed. It was surprisingly comfortable for an infirmary bed, and I was asleep before I could count backwards from ten.
I had set an alarm for ten minutes before I needed to be at hockey practice, and as usual I was jarringly brought back to this dimension. I sat up and stretched. I was groggy, but I felt about 3 million times better. My headache was gone, and I felt like I could walk without passing out in a heap on the floor. I got my excusal note from the nurse, thanked her and left.
When I got to the locker room, everyone was already there. It got really quiet when I walked in, as I expected. Everyone was just staring at me, waiting to see if I was mad.
I sighed and rolled my eyes, before reluctantly letting out a big smile. "You guys are such idiots," I announced as I walked over to my locker.
Everyone laughed and I received a few slaps on the back as I walked by. Adam was smiling at me from across the room, and I winked back at him. Kenny came up to me, shuffling his feet and looking pretty guilty.
"DJ, I'm sorry," Kenny said, looking me in the eyes. "I didn't even think about what I was doing."
"It's all good Kennyman," I said with a smile. "I was over tired and thats why I reacted like that. Normally I would have just been regular-annoyed."
Kenny smiled. "Thanks for not hating me. By the way, Ms. Faye passed out a list of all the information we need for elections, so I picked one up for you. I explained where you were and she said it was fine as long as you don't make a habit of it."
"Thanks Ken!" I said, grabbing the paper from him. "Campaigning starts on Monday? So soon," I said worriedly.
"Don't worry about it, Darce, we've got the weekend to do everything we need to do."
I nodded, knowing he was right. And I guess I would know either way by tomorrow what I was even going to do!
Kenny left me alone then to get ready for practice. Suspiciously, not one of the guys had said anything to me about running for Co-Chair. I suspected Adam had threatened them again. I knew there was a reason I loved that boy.
I glanced around the room looking for Connie, but she must have already been on the ice because I couldn't find her anywhere. "Hey, Guy," I yelled across the room. "Is Connie out there already?"
He cleared his throat awkwardly. "I, um, don't know," he replied. "I haven't talked to her at all today."
"What?" I said, shocked. "Why? What happened?"
"We got in a fight last night and kinda broke up…" he answered, looking appropriately upset. I rolled my eyes. Those two were more off and on then a light switch.
Oddly enough I also hadn't talked to Connie all day. Now that I knew what happened between her and Guy, I felt pretty guilty about it. How had so much happened since the last time I saw her? I resolved that her and I would have a nice long talk after hockey.
When everyone got out to the ice, Orion split us into two teams for a scrimmage. It was me, Luis, Fulton, Kenny, Guy, Dwayne, and Goldberg against Adam, Connie, Charlie, Portman, Averman, Russ, and Julie. I tried to make eye contact with Connie from across the rink but she was not looking at me at all. I sighed and squared up to play.
It was a good game, a really good game. Guy won the initial face-off against Adam, and I think it kinda threw him because the first third his game was a little off. He was starting to get angry with himself, I could tell, and this was having an even more negative effect. Coach had us treat this like a real game so I couldn't talk to him during the breaks.
On the opposite end, I was having a great game. I scored two against Julie, which was a personal record for me. Julie was the best goalie out there, that was for damn sure. By the end, we were tied four to four, and Adam had yet to score. This was so unlike him it was making me nervous. I wonder if something happened?
There were ten seconds on the clock, all tied up, and our side was in possession of the puck. Connie was on D, and I saw her skating up the ice to block Fulton's shot. I rushed over to her and attempted to get in front of her to stop her, but I was going too fast and I couldn't stop. Before I realized what had happened, I had knocked Connie flat on her back and I was on top of her. I heard the cheering that signified Fulton had made his shot, and our team won.
This kind of thing happens fairly often during practice, so I was laughing as I moved to get off Connie. A few guys came over to help us up, and once we were safely standing Connie pulled her helmet off.
"What the hell, Darcy?!" Connie said, shooting me an angry glare.
I was taken aback. "I'm sorry? Are you okay? I was just going a little fast," I said, trying stay calm. I was mostly confused, why was she so mad? It's not like it really hurt with all those pads on.
"I didn't realize winning was so important to you that you would plow down your best friend," Connie said sneering at me. "If we're even still best friends."
My mouth dropped open in shock. I looked around, and the faces of my teammates were all pretty similar. Cat was standing looking between us with a worried look on her face, and Adam had his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Orion was skating over to see what all the commotion was about. Charlie looked like he was getting ready to intervene, but he was holding back.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, completely bewildered. "We play hockey for christ's sake, you're going to get knocked over sometimes."
"You really think this is about that?!" Connie yelled. "If you really don't know, then I guess we really aren't best friends."
"Alright everyone break it up!" Coach finally decided to jump in. "Off the ice, now. JV practice is about to start here in five minutes and we need to be gone."
Connie scowled and rolled her eyes at me before skating away to the locker room without saying another word. I looked around at the guys around me, who all had varying degrees of confusion on their faces.
"Can anyone enlighten me about what just happened?" I asked, still bewildered as to what had just transpired. I knew Connie could be dramatic, but this was a different story.
Everyone just shrugged and made their way to the locker room.
Charlie hung back. "Did you and Connie get in a fight or something?" he asked me, looking concerned.
"Not that I know of!" I said exasperatedly. "I haven't even spoken to her today. I don't fucking get it." I furrowed my brow and sat down. Connie being angry at me had made me angry right back at her, and the stupidest part is I don't even know what we're fighting about.
"Maybe you should go talk to her," Charlie suggested, sitting down next to me.
I humphed and crossed my arms, looking like a stubborn little kid. "Why should I have to go talk to her? She's the one who should apologize to me, she just totally blew up for no reason," I said angrily.
Charlie ran his fingers through his hair nervously. "Darce, its Connie. You've been best friends since we were five. One of you is going to have say something first."
Just then, the JV hockey team filed in for practice. "Well, then, lets hope she does," I said, standing up and walking to the locker room. Charlie followed out behind me.
The guys had all showered and were in varying degrees of clothing, and Connie and Julie were already gone. I should probably try talking to Julie, she probably knows whats going on.
When I was finally ready I walked out of the locker room, and noticed Adam sitting on a bench. He looked distracted, and he had his brow furrowed like he was mad. He looked up at me and blinked when I sat down next to him, obviously he hadn't seen me coming.
"Hi," I said, but he wasn't really looking at me, he still looked really distracted. "You okay?" I asked worriedly.
He finally made eye contact with me and his glare softened a little, but he still had a worry crease between his eyebrows. "Yeah," he answered, but there was something underlying there. I gave him a pointed look, and he added, "Just thinking about practice."
And it started to make sense. Adam was a perfectionist when it came to hockey. Sure, he had a ridiculous amount of natural talent, but still, he had to work really really hard. He was harder on himself then any coach, even more then his strict father who was extremely hard on him. I know he was beating himself up over his sloppy (by his standards) game. I wanted to roll my eyes, to tell him he was being ridiculous and that he was the best player on the team. But, I've dealt with this before and I knew that wasn't the right approach to this. So, I stood up, grabbed his hand, and started pulling him back towards his dorm.
Adam unlocked his door and his room was thankfully empty. It was almost comical how obvious it was which side of the room was Adam's. The bed was made, the clothes were all put away, and his desk was neatly organized. Portman's side, on the other hand, was in complete disarray, bed unmade and clothes everywhere. It was funny because my own room was more similar to Portman's side, but I guess thats one of things that showed how perfectly Adam and I balance each other out.
Adam plopped down on his bed face down after throwing his bags unceremoniously on the floor. I set my own stuff down, kicked off my shoes, and scrambled up next to him. He wasn't talking at all, but I knew that if I pressured him to talk it would make him even more reluctant. I knew he just wanted me to be there, so thats what I did. I laid on my side facing him and played with his hair while I waited patiently for him to say something.
After sitting in that position for a couple of minutes in silence, Adam rolled over so he was on his side facing me. "I had a talk with coach before practice, before you got there," Adam said, finally opening up.
"Yeah? Did he have anything interesting to say?" I asked, trying to gently probe without forcing him to talk.
"He said that there would be scouts at the first game, which of course I was expecting, but more specifically there were about five schools coming just to see me. He said Harvard was going to be here," Adam said, looking me in the eyes and making me understand everything at once. Harvard was Adam's dad's alma mater and he had been pressuring Adam to go there all his life. "So basically, I totally choked during practice because it was all I could think about and I'm totally gonna choke at the game and I'm definitely going to screw up my entire future."
I waited a second to say anything because I wanted to give him a chance to calm down. They say actions speak louder then words, so I bridged the tiny bit of distance between us and pulled Adam into a comforting hug. He burrowed himself deep into my arms and just stayed there for a while. I loved being able to comfort Adam just as much as he comforted me, it reminded me that this relationship really does go both ways.
"Adam," I said softly. "It's gonna be okay. You're an amazing player. Any school would be so lucky to have you. You're going to play wonderfully at the game next week because you know you can do it. I know you can do it. You're going to get offers from a bunch of different schools, and Harvard is one of them, thats great! But if they're not, Adam, its not the end of the world."
Adam scoffed a little bit. "Try telling that to my dad. He's been pounding that into my brain since I could talk."
"But is that what you want? Its your life, Adam, you're going to have to make decisions for yourself," I said, trying to sound reasonable. I was also trying to not talk smack on his dad, which I knew he wouldn't appreciate.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems that had arisen in our relationship was that his father was a little less then approving of us. Of course, over the years he has come to tolerate it. However, I had accidentally overheard enough conversations about me being "a distraction," "not what Adam needs right now," and (my personal favorite) "just a silly little girl." I was always perfectly polite, never rude and definitely never "silly" in front of Mr. Banks, but I guess he had some sort of complex against Adam having a girlfriend. I know he just wanted Adam to succeed, but it honestly hurt a little sometimes. And sometimes it hurt more than a little. On the upside, his mother adored me and was almost always on our side when Adam and his father fought about us. I hated it when they fought about me, but Adam had made it very clear to his dad that I wasn't going anywhere.
Adam flopped onto his back so he was no longer looking at me but at the ceiling. "I… honestly don't know. I know thats what I'm supposed to want, but…" he sighed. "The future just seems like one big blur right now, its hard to see past it. I just really don't know."
I knew exactly what he meant. Thinking past today was hard enough, how could I possibly imagine what I would want a year from now? "Luckily, nothing has to be decided right here and now," I said, scooching closer and putting my head on his chest. He snaked his arm around me and held me tight. "You just have to do your best, and everything else is going to work out like its supposed to."
He kissed me on the head, and I tilted my head up so I could get a real one. It was a slow kiss, and I could practically taste the insecurity and doubt. He leaned his forehead against mine and said, "God I really hope you're right."
A/N: Woop woop! Chapter seven down! I know there's kind of a lot going on in this chapter , but I've kinda been setting things up for more storyline down the road. I will try to have another chapter up as soon as possible, but no guarantees about when that will be! I love you all for reading, and please please please review. Your opinions mean a lot to me :) Thanks guys! xxxxJanee