Nobody seemed to miss me when I didn't show up to dinner that night. My excuse for Emily was that I was too tired when really the pain in my shoulder was to blame. I had no idea what to do but I knew I had to come up with something fast Allie had me again. Why was she even doing this to me, I had simply ignored her at a swim meet and now she had become a thorn in my side.
I was lying on my bed in darkness with so many thoughts running through my head. Emily, Allie, Whitney and my shoulder all occupied my subconscious. I suddenly thought back to my parents, I had been here for three weeks and I had only emailed them once. That in itself wasn't that unusual when I was away at Danby I would only have a five-minute phone conversation with my dad before a meet and they only visited me once on campus in my first year.
I reached over to my bedside table clicked on the small lamp and placed my computer on my lap. I booted it up and checked my emails; free WI fi was such a godsend. I quickly composed an email to my parents, which included some of the pictures from my trip to Berlin. My mom had always had a soft spot for history and architecture so I knew she would appreciate my tourist snaps. I then checked my inbox and opened up an email from Pru.
"Hey bestie, I've not heard from you since your mini meltdown on Skype. How is it going? Swimming hard I hope. I have some great news for you, I found us an apartment about five minutes walk from campus! I can't wait to get away from smelly Sophie, remember my old dorm mate? I know you won't say no so I've already paid the down payment. It has two bedrooms and a lounge area with couches and then a small kitchenette. Please contact me soon I want to hear all about the girl trouble and which one you are chasing. I love you cheerio xoxox".
I had always wanted my own apartment but Pru was never my first choice roommate. I knew what she was like bringing a different guy back to her dorms every week. If we were going to share we definitely needed ground rules I thought to myself.
I heard the door unlock and a smile crept onto my face, Emily was back.
"Hey Em" I called out.
"Hey, I was looking for you at Dinner. Zoe's worried about you" Emily said whilst closing the door.
"She is? Why?" I gulped.
Emily took a seat on the end of my bed and had her hands behind her back "part of me was worried because I thought you would be gloating about beating me earlier. Then I figured it was because you were embarrassed about how bad you were in our second race" Emily said with a grin. I wanted to wipe her cheeky smirk from her adorable face.
"What have you got behind your back Em?"
"If you want it you'd better come and get it" Emily giggled and quickly got to her feet. I lunged across my bed at her hoping to catch her but I missed and slammed face first into the mattress.
"Too slow McCullers" Emily added her sweet laugh was playing havoc with my heart. Before I could get up she sat squarely on my back pinning me to the bed.
"If I move you have to promise not to get me back for this, ok?" even though I couldn't see her face I knew the raised eyebrow expression she would be giving me.
"OK" I could finally breathe when she got off me. It's not that she was heavy it's that the contact was making my heart rate increase. If only she knew the affect she had on me. I pushed myself to my feet and ran at her, this was a mistake Emily was like a ninja and had me pinned up against the wall. She pushed my hands up above my head and held them there. This caused a sharp pain to shoot through my shoulder but being this close to Emily got me through.
"Tut tut McCullers you broke a promise" I swear for a second I could see her brown eyes darken and a hint of lust linger in her voice. With her free hand she moved the strands of my auburn hair that were covering my face. The touch of her fingertips made my breath hick, she must have noticed because the distance between us closed and her lips were millimeters away from mine. Instead of her luscious pink lips touching mine I felt the pain aggravate and I let out a cry. Emily stepped backwards and her look of lust was replaced by a look of trepidation, she resembled a deer in headlights.
"It's ok, I just hurt my shoulder earlier" I said whilst placing my hand on her shoulder trying to comfort her.
"Paige that can't be nothing. I barely touched your shoulder" Emily said suspiciously.
"It's nothing I can't handle," I mumbled.
"It's not about handling it, take off your shirt and let me take a look"
I slowly pulled off my grey v-neck t-shirt and stood in the middle of the room in my tracksuit bottoms and black sports bra. Why did I have to be in my most unappealing underwear when Emily saw me like this? Emily turned on the big light and I spotted her eyes linger on my bra. She stood in front of me and began to carefully touch my left arm. I was stood in front of Emily Fields in my bra and now she was massaging my arm, a heart attack seemed incredibly likely. She moved from my forearm to my bicep without any problem. She continued to massage my arm without any pain until she reached where my arm meets my shoulder. The contact made me shudder; Emily immediately took her hand away.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you" a worried expression lingered on Emily's face.
I knew this was a serious injury from the look I was getting. This was my dream and it was being taken away from me. Tears formed in the corners or my eyes, I breathed in deeply so they couldn't escape.
"I...I don't...know what...to do...this means...everything...to...me" I said in between tears.
"Awh honey, don't cry. I want to hug you right now but I don't want to hurt you" Instead Emily reached across and grabbed both of my hands. We stood in the middle of the room hand in hand.
"What...If...this is it for me" I stuttered.
"Then I will win a medal just for you" Emily joked which caused a smile to form on my lips.
"I don't want you seeing me like this Em" I added with a hint of shame in my voice.
"Like what? In your bra or crying?" Emily's dimples made a welcome return.
"Just one of those options" I wanted to see if she got the hint that she could see me in my bra whenever she wanted.
"You best put this back on...and I'm sorry for what almost happened back there" Emily blushed and tossed my t-shirt at me.
"You do realize you need to go talk to coach and see the doctor," Emily stated in a more serious tone.
"I know and thanks Em. Can I do it tomorrow I would much rather just watch a film now?"
"Ok that seems fair...We are totally watching the dark knight rises though. Here I brought you back some dinner" Emily added with a pout.
"You are obsessed with batman films...does batman need to come save you?" I joked.
We were interior decorators for the next five minutes or so. We moved the two bedside tables that were in the way and pushed our beds from the opposite sides of the room together. This was now the norm for movie nights, we would place a laptop in the middle of us and watch films or TV shows. Emily would usually fall asleep before the credits rolled. This was my favorite part because it meant I could gaze at her without her knowledge. I liked to watch her chest expanding and contracting. It was adorable watching Emily squirm every time Bane popped up on the screen. Two hours and forty minutes later and Emily was still awake this was the first.
"Whoa Emily Fields stayed awake through a whole film. What is the world coming to?" I said in a faux shocked voice.
"Charming McCullers, In case you didn't notice Anne Hathaway was cat woman" She poked me in my side.
"I had no idea you had a soft spot for leather and felines" I said and put my hands up to surrender.
Despite Emily's best effort at puppy dog eyes, I left her where she was and went into the bathroom to change into my pjs. It became increasingly uncomfortable to wash my face and brush my teeth before bed. Emily was right I had to get help with this. When I went back into our bedroom I heard Emily snoring softly, she was adorable when she slept. I watched Emily's chest slowly expand and contract and then pulled the duvet over her body. I made no attempt to push my bed back; I then turned out the lights and got into my bed next to Emily.
I couldn't seem to get to sleep I tossed and turned but whichever position I lay in I was unable to drift off. I tried counting sheep and even played some music to no avail. I could hear the sound of the rain drumming on the roof and trickling down onto the windowpanes. These relaxing sounds usually did the trick but tonight nothing seemed to help.
I crept out of bed, put on a pair of sneakers and grabbed my room key. I headed towards the cafeteria in the hope of locating some ice. The sleeping quarters were eerily quiet and the hallways were filled with darkness. The cafeteria was pitch black, I felt around on the wall for the light switch. I weaved past the long wooden tables and benches and went around the counter to where our meals are prepared. I noticed a large silver freezer chest in the corner; I opened it and found a blue ice pack at the bottom. It was an ice pack usually used in a picnic basket or lunch box but it would be perfect for my shoulder.
"Fancy a midnight snack McCullers?" a voice called out. I dropped the ice pack out of fright.
"Erm...I needed some water" I turned around and saw Zoe standing in front of me.
Her eye's fell to the floor "Ice?" Zoe questioned.
"I was just about to put it back" I couldn't help but lie.
"Paige be honest what hurts?" the usual smile was vacant from Zoe's lips.
"My..My shoulder...I think I've pulled something" I mumbled.
"Oh Paige, why didn't you come to me? Which shoulder is it?" Zoe said sympathetically.
"I'm scared...I can't lose this chance" I took a deep breath inwards and dared myself not to cry.
"Don't worry it's probably nothing" Zoe stated trying her best to reassure me; she even mustered up one of her toothy smiles.
"I just want some ice then it will be fine"
"Let me take you to the doctor?" Zoe stepped towards me and I took a step backwards.
"I don't want any fuss, just some ice and sleep please," I begged.
"OK but I need to tell Carter so you get it checked out tomorrow" Zoe's bright smile was replaced with a look of worry.
"Please don't say anything. It will be ok tomorrow"
"Paige don't ask me to do this, its my professional duty" Zoe said and moved a few pieces of her blonde cropped hair from her face.
"I promise I will if it gets worse"
"At least cover the ice with this" Zoe pulled a tea towel out of a wooden draw and handed it to me.
I took the blue and white-checkered tea towel and ice pack back to my dorm room. I turned the key quietly and crept into the room being careful not to wake Emily. I slid under the covers and placed the ice pack on my left shoulder, after half an hour or so the cold had successfully numbed my shoulder. It was either the ice or the sight of Emily. The girl looked incredible when she was awake but she was on a whole new level when she slept. I stayed awake to watch Emily's outline in the darkness and then I drifted off to sleep.
The light beaming through the curtains caused me to stir. I stretched my arms out hoping I would touch Emily's warm golden skin. When I didn't feel anything, I opened my eyes and she was gone. I looked around the room for the small clock I had on my bedside table, it was hard to locate as the furniture was all over the place. It read 8:30 am that meant I was missing breakfast and I had no control over what Zoe would say to Carter. I rushed into the bathroom, washing and dressing at warp speed.
When I arrived at the cafeteria most of my teammates had already left. I wasn't really in the food mood instead I opted for a glass of orange juice, I then took a seat opposite Emily.
"Why didn't you wake me?"
"Oh believe me I tried" Emily smirked.
"Have you seen Zoe this morning" I questioned.
"No, Paige a normal greeting is hello or good morning. Its too early for twenty questions" Emily rolled her eyes.
I bit down hard on my lip; there was something incredibly alluring about Emily when she rolled her eyes.
"How's the shoulder this morning?" Emily said.
"It's fine, I told you not to worry" I averted eye contact.
"It is so obvious when you lie. You can't even look at me".
I ignored Emily, something else took my attention. I spotted Allie and Coach Carter talking in the corner of the room. They both looked over at me Allie was of course giving me her death stare. I felt sick to my stomach; not eating was a good idea. If she told him I would be out of here, part of the agreement we signed said that if we got injured we had to seek medical assistance. If we broke any of those rules we could be thrown out of here.
I had to stop this; I got up but felt a hand pull me back. Emily had grabbed my wrist "What are you doing?" I said angrily.
"Stopping you from doing whatever you're thinking"
"I'm going to tell coach before Allie does"
"Wait...What? How does Allie know?" Emily said with wide eyes.
"She saw me in the changing rooms after the meet yesterday" I stated.
"That girl is everywhere...here is your chance coach has just left" Emily was looking over my shoulder to the cafeteria doors.
I left the nearly empty cafeteria with Emily's encouragement and made my way through the narrow corridors to Coach Carter's office. The last time I was here I had been moved to Emily's dorm room, I felt sure the end result here wouldn't be so positive. I tentatively moved my hand into a fist shape and knocked three times.
"Come in" a muffled voice called out. I turned the doorknob and to my surprise found Zoe and Carter staring at me blankly.
"Ah McCullers take a seat" I did as I was instructed.
"Do you need some assistance?" Carter questioned.
"I...erm...have injured my shoulder" I whispered. It was far harder to say than I expected.
"Sorry I didn't catch that" Coach said impatiently.
"I've injured my shoulder," I said more audibly than the first time.
"Ok, let me see" Coach stood up.
"Stand up and show me where it hurts McCullers" I was wearing grey sweat pants and a white t-shirt which gave easy access to my injured shoulder.
I pulled my t-shirt sleeve up so it looked more like a tank top.
"What does the pain feel like?"
"It feels like its at the front of my shoulder but now I can feel a pain going down to my elbow" I saw him glance over at Zoe as If he knew exactly what was wrong.
"Ok Paige can you lift up your arm?"
I tried but the pain was too much.
"I think I know what it is but I will get the team doctor to check it out Paige. If you just take a seat this won't take long" Coach reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. I heard the buttons beep and he held it up to his ear "Hello Paul, its John. I have a girl here with a rotator cuff problem. Can you come now?" "OK that's great see you in five".
I waited for what seemed like an eternity. We were stuck in an awkward silence and I was relieved when I heard the door open. A short balding man arrived with a first aid kit. I crossed my fingers and hoped this guy had medical training. Coach told him my symptoms and then the doctor took a look at my shoulder for himself.
"So it hurts when you lift it?" the doctor said without even looking at me.
"Yes" I said glumly.
"OK John and Zoe she appears to have tendinitis also known as swimmers shoulder. She needs a sling; Ice packs 4 times a day and pain medication. She needs to stay out of the pool for at least 2 weeks" this guy had a terrible bedside manner.
"There are two plans of action the one of recommend the most is that she goes back to America" my heart dropped was this over for me?
"Which college do you attend Paige?"
"Excellent the rehab they can provide her with will be first class," the doctor stated.
"Is swimming over for me?" Zoe, Carter and the doctor all looked at me.
"McCullers this should heal, once you get the all clear you can catch the first flight back again," Zoe said reassuringly.
"You need to go say goodbye and pack, I will get you on the first flight out of Germany" Carter said. Even he had a look of relief on his face.
Hello guys, I'm sorry this update has taken a while. I've been bogged down with uni works. My aim is to get at least one update done a week.
Cici: I like your idea about the drugs similar to what happened on the actual show. You will have to wait and see whats going on with Allie...I need to tease everyone somehow ;)
Ruthie92: I hope you enjoyed this next chapter and its answered your questions re Paige's injury. Let me know what you think :)