Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chapter Three - The Athletes

Chapter 3
The Athletes

I started my week excited and ready for anything. But as the says went by, I started worrying because nothing was happening. My week so far was as follows:

Monday: I almost bumped into him on my way to the elevator. For a second I thought he was looking at me but then I realised he was trying to wave at someone already on it.
Tuesday: I didn’t see him at all. I thought he might have met someone the day before and decided to run away with her, until Sarah told me he was in Maine for a business meeting.
Wednesday: I saw him walking down the hallway, looking hot as always. As I was walking in his direction, I saw Paris come out of a meeting room – and they started talking like they hadn’t seen in each other for weeks. I should have realised that Calvin likes annoying people as opposed to boring people like me.

On Thursday, I decided to forget once and for all about the stupid horoscope. I had to go to a seminar for accounting first thing and I wanted to arrive prepared and make a good impression on John and the teacher.
A few minutes later, I was sitting in the seminar room with my notebook open, trying to solve some exercises from Friday’s lesson. After about 10 minutes, I gave up. I wonder who discovered accounting. Surely someone really mean who wanted to make people suffer. I couldn’t figure out this one question and it was really starting to bug me, but there was no way I’d ask the lecturer for help. Giggles (what Sarah and I called the overly serious lecturer) had never been able to help me with any of the accounting exercises. And besides, everyone knew that those who kept asking questions were stupid.
I ripped a piece of paper from my notebook.

I need HELP!!! Have you solved question 5? It’s impossible without a calculator! Please enlighten me as to why we aren’t allowed to have calculators with us. I mean this isn’t grade 6! :( Please agree with me. And give me the answer to question 6. I’m beyond bored! xoxo J

I folded the paper and passed it to Sarah. Like always, Giggles was sitting at the head of the table reading an accounting textbook, oblivious to his surroundings. A few seconds later, my note landed on my notebook with the following written on the back:

Dear J, Are you on crack? I’m only on question 3. You should ask Derek or James, they’re probably almost done. Look how fast they are writing! Anyhoo, g2g and finish this crap! xoxo S

I looked up at Derek and James, and was trying to figure out which one I should ask for help, when John stood up and suggested we all take a break and have lunch.
“Oh, and since everyone from marketing is here,” he said, ”I would like to let everyone know that we will have a new marketing executive joining us from. Her name is Delaney Peterson and I believe she starts next Tuesday. I’ll send out a memo with more details later. Enjoy lunch everyone.”
John left the room and I immediately turned to Sarah.
“I wonder what she’s like,” I said.
“Who?” Sarah asked confused.
“Delaney Peterson, you know, the new marketing exec starting next week. Seriously S, do you never listen to John?”
“Not more than necessary. But now that you mentioned that I do remember him saying something about a Delaney. Hmm, she could be anything from a quiet girl with social issues to an obnoxious, perfect looking bitch like Paris. But she might be nice.”
“Yea, as long as she isn’t Calvin’s type. But what if she is?” I asked worried.
“Jess will you stop obsessing over him? Focus on the plan. Oh my God there’s John! Quick!” Sarah said when she spotted John Sr. who was on his way to play soccer with some other people from the company. Oblivious to the fact that Sarah was frozen in place, I kept walking and just smiled at John Sr. when he said hello to me.
“How are you Mr. Anderson?” I heard Sarah ask.
“Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. How many times have I told you to call me John? I’m really not that much older than you, you know,” I heard him reply.
I turned around to see Sarah blush.
“Haha, sorry John. I always forget,” she said nervously.
John Sr. chuckled and began to walk away. Noticing that Sarah had opened her mouth, and fearing of what she might say, I quickly went to her and grabbed her arm before she could say anything. It was no use; she freed herself from my grip and called out to him to ask him where he was going.
Slowly, Sarah’s latest love interest turned around with an amused expression on his face and said that he was going to go play soccer.
“Would you mind if Jess and I came as well? I mean if that’s ok with you,” I heard her ask.
Mortified, I looked at John Sr. to see his reaction at Sarah’s boldness.
“Sure, why not? The more the merrier!” he replied. “I’ll see you ladies at the club in a few minutes,” he added and then walked away.

Oh. My. God.

“Oh my God, Jess! Can you believe that? Please tell me that I’m not dreaming!” Sarah said while, literally, jumping up and down.
“S, calm down before someone sees you,” I warned her. “And yes, that did just happen!” I added with a smile. “You have balls, that’s for sure.”
“Yea, well let’s see how good I am at kicking them too,” she replied with a wink.

About twenty minutes later, Sarah and I were walking across the soccer field of a nearby fitness club. The teams were already selected and ready to start the game. Needless to say that I was chosen last. At least S and I were on the same team, which was better than nothing.
While I was putting on our team’s blue jersey, I looked over towards the track and saw a familiar figure warming up.
I swallowed hard. It was Calvin. What the hell was he doing?
I saw him walk over to a group of guys and realised that he was meeting up with them for a run; right next to the soccer field. With me running back and forth, al sweaty and out of breath, wearing the most unflattering outfit of all time.
I should have known. That’s how life is. At least that’s what it seems like, for me at least.
This time, I was grateful that he wasn’t looking in my direction. I quickly went over to the bench and sat down in a spot where I could hide for the next hour.
“Get your butt off that bench, right now missy!” Sarah yelled at me.
“S, c’mon,” I pleaded. “Didn’t you notice? Calvin’s at the track?”
“We’re “athletes”, Jess. You promised,” she replied, dismissing my excuse.
And she was right. I had already promised her I’d do it, and if it meant embarrassing myself in front of the man of my dreams, well then so be it! We had a game to play!
As soon as I ran to my spot on the field, John Sr. blew his whistle and the game begun. Crap! What were the rules again?
I could see people running back and forth like idiots. I knew that the point of soccer was to get the soccer ball in the net (something I learned while fighting Josh for the remote every day after school). The problem, however, was that the ball wasn’t staying in one place – like I was.
Which meant that I had to chase after it, I was sure of that much. I watched the ball for a while and then started running (I guess not fast enough) after it. Sadly, the only thing I accomplished was to arrive to where the ball was last, seconds after it had been kicked somewhere else.
Oh, man! Couldn’t it just stay still for a few seconds? Long enough so that I could kick it just once?
Sarah gave it her all. And I must admit that she did a great job. She was keeping up with the ball, passing it to other players many times, and overall she seemed to be having the time of her life.
From the corner of my eye, I saw John Sr. was watching her with a pleasantly shocked expression and from time to time, would wink at her or give her amused looks. The plan was going great. S was a genius!
Suddenly, the ball was coming right at me. Not hesitating, I used my torso to intercept it (something else I learned from Josh) and then I kicked it as hard as I could.
“Good one, Jessica,” someone yelled.
Good? Had I just actually done something right? It seemed like it cause someone was giving me a pat on the back. Awesome! I immediately wished that Calvin was watching me.
The ball was coming towards me again. I tried getting it again, and I succeeded. I started running with it and then passed it to someone else.
“Good job, Jess”, I heard someone shouted. “Keep it up!”
Hmm, I guess it wasn’t all that hard. Or was I born to play soccer and just hadn’t discovered it yet?
I was running across the field, excited and happy. I had finally found something I was good at. Maybe, Calvin and I would practise together. We’d meet at the soccer field when no one else was there and we’d play together. And then, we’d take showers together, and we’d...
Oh! There was the ball again. I needed to go after it right away. Rule number one for professional soccer players. I pushed Paris – who, to my great pleasure, screamed and ran away – and went after the ball, running at full speed.
There was nothing between the ball and me. We were one, moving across the field, through all the players. I could hear people cheering me on, and best of all, I could heard people shouting from the track. This, obviously, meant that Calvin was cheering for me as well. He and his friends were surely watching me now.
My horoscope, I thought excitedly, as I kept running with the ball. Everything it said had come out true! There I was, drawing my soul mate’s attention and impressing him – by trying a new sport. I would never doubt my horoscope again!
By this point, I was really close to the goal post. Nothing was in the way of me and the net. I stopped the ball, and then kicked it as hard as I could – and it went in. Right in the center of the goal post! YAY!!! GO ME!!!!
“GOAL,” I yelled excitedly, and raised my hands in the air.
I turned around to receive my teammates’ congratulations. Paradoxically, silence prevailed.
Clearly they’re all jealous, I thought bitterly. I looked over at the track, at least to take pleasure in a look of amazement from Calvin.
And to my joy, he was looking right at me; both he and his friends. Then, one of his friends burst out laughing and gave me the thumbs up.
“Nice Jessica!”
Ok, something wasn’t right. Why was no one looking at me in awe? And why did they all just look shocked and confused?
“Um, right,” John Sr. said. “1-0 for the red team, after Jessica’s own goal.”
Shit! Had I actually scored in my team’s net? UHH!!! Of course I had! I scored against my own team – what a stupid, useless, psycho, pathetic, loser...
“Don’t worry Jess, it’s alright,” John Sr. said trying to comfort me. “What matters is not giving up! You did good out there!”
“Don’t give up!” What the hell was wrong with him? Seriously! Did he not realise what had happened? I had just embarrassed myself beyond repair in front of Calvin, the man of my dreams. And all he could say was, “don’t give up”? My God, what an idiot! UHH!!!

Needless to say, the rest of the game I sat on the bench praying the game would finish soon so I could go back to the office. My career as a professional soccer player was officially over.
Unfortunately, we lost 2-0, despite Sarah’s hard work and enthusiasm, which lasted until the end of the game. As we were walking away from the field, I heard John Sr. call her over to talk to her.
I walked alone to the change room, not daring to look at the track. I would never even dream of looking at Calvin in the eye again.
And I’m sure he wouldn’t want to look at me either.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, I could hear Paris and London bragging about how well their team did – walking around like they owned the place. And when they walked by me, they started laughing. And, then, Paris turned to me:
“Thanks for the help, Jessica.”
“Oh, no problem,” I said with air. “It looked like you needed it.”
Stupid cows. They didn’t even care that their team won. They didn’t even touch the ball. Probably, because they were afraid that their nice outfits might get dirty.

“To be honest, I don’t get why you took it to heart,” Sarah said when she came to the change room.
“You and your damn horoscopes,” I replied.
“What do my horoscopes have anything to do with this? Besides it was your horoscope, in case you don’t remember.”
“They have everything to do with this! If it weren’t for horoscopes, I’d be quietly sitting on the bench the entire game, as opposed to, suddenly trying to impress you know who.”
“Your soul mate,” S said.
“Exactly. The whole point was to get his attention and impress him. Ha! How could I have been so stupid?”
“Ok, listen to me. First of all, horoscopes had nothing to do with this. You were just trying to help me in order for me to impress John. This means that you were being really nice and thoughtful, not stupid. Right?”
“Yea, I guess,” I said thoughtfully. “But it was because of the stupid horoscope that I suddenly decided to try a sport.”
“Secondly,” Sarah continued, “you can’t just blame your horoscope, when what it said turned out true. Your horoscope said that you would get the noticed by your soul mate. And that is exactly what you did.”
“Yea, but it also said that I would impress him,” I added peevishly.
“Oh, please,” she said, “details, details, details.”
There was no point in continuing the conversation. Her mantra was “be optimistic and think positive thoughts”.
“What did John want?” I asked changing the subject.
“Who?” S asked carelessly, while brushing her hair.
“I saw him ask you to go talk to him. Spill.”
“He said that I am really good at soccer.”
“Wow, S! That’s awesome! It’s a good thing right?” I asked after seeing her expression.
“He suggested I teach Adriana how to play,” she replied almost angrily. “Get it?”
“No, not really,” I answered.
“He wants me to teach his girlfriend how to play,” she explained. “Don’t you get it? He just wants to use me. He doesn’t recognize the fact that I am a mature woman with a busy schedule.”
I decided to keep the fact that she was neither a mature woman nor really busy to myself. There really was no point in focusing on little details. What S needed was comforting.
“So you probably feel like shit right now, right?” I asked compassionately.
“Why would I?” she asked nonchalantly. “I don’t like him anymore.”
“You don’t like him anymore?”
“Nope. Why should I waste my time with an immature guy like him, who doesn’t recognize a mature woman, even when she’s right in front of him?”
“Don’t forget amazing athlete,” I added.

We gathered all our stuff together, and started to make our way back to the office. I took comfort in the fact that it was Friday, which meant that we got to leave at 3 pm, and it was already 2pm.
“Maybe Calvin thought you were irresistible,” Sarah said thoughtfully. “It’s a known fact that most guys like girls who are helpless.”
“I wouldn’t say so; this was completely different.”
“Because, then they seem big and powerful,” she explained. “The own goal might be a dream come true for all men.”
“Calvin isn’t like that,” I said. “He’s a believer of emancipation.”
“How do you know?”
“You can see it from his eyes.”
“Uh-huh,” S said.
We turned on the corner and arrived at the Starbucks by our work. And we both knew that we deserved a treat.


  1. The story definitely has potential, but there were a few times over the course of the three chapters that I had to go back and re-read because I just couldn't follow it. Take your time! Other than that, I think it has much potential!

  2. I have to agree with Stephanie. Take your time. It did seem a little scattered. Like, the most recent post started on Thursday I thought and then it was Friday by the end. And the class and soccer game, that was all part of the work day? You referenced "the club". Is there like a fitness club at the business? Is this a normal Friday at work?

    I think the premise of the story can definitely work, just need to take your time and develop the characters. I couldn't remember if Derek and James were co-workers or Calvin's friends from the other night. And do those friends work at the same place, or was it different friends at the track?

    Now I'm rambling...just trying to give you food for thought. Found you on the bedroom blog. Thanks. mum

  3. Thank you both so much for your comments!!! They really do mean a lot to me :)
    I've gone back and made some changes (catching some spelling/grammar errors on the way!) so hopefully, it flows a lot better!

    I said that the friends are from the customer care department in the first chapter to help readers remember them from the restaurant for the "soccer" scene. And I also added "fitness club" so that it's obvious that John goes to a fitness club by the office during lunch time.

    Thank you very much though!

    And "mum" please continue to "ramble" it's actually a good thing :D