Part Sixteen

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                After a few more days of me hanging around the hospital with Shawna, the doctors let her go home. Her Dad teased that they just wanted to get rid of me, but either way, I was glad she was home.

                “Put on another one,” Shawna sighed, stretching her arms above her head. She was sprawled out across the couch in her living room, her legs resting across my lap as we finished watching another princess movie. Man, was she lucky that I loved her otherwise I would not have sat through that movie. Or the last three.

                I drummed my fingers against her leg, even though I knew she couldn’t feel it, “I think I have to go.”

                Her eyes widened, “Why?”

                “Football practice.”

                She groaned, “You would rather slap your team’s butts than watch a movie with me?”

                “Of course not, but I promised Coach I would play one more game before I was done.”

                “…What?”

                I paused, realizing that I hadn’t remembered to tell Shawna since I had been so preoccupied with all the hospital and professing my love stuff. “Oh,” I looked over at her, not quite meeting her eye. “On the day of your um, accident, I told Coach that I was quitting the team.”

                She gasped, “You did?”

                “Yeah,” I swallowed. “That was the news I texted you about.”

                “How’d he take it?”

                I shrugged, “He tried to get me to stay, I said no, but eventually he convinced me to play in this big game against our school’s rivalry team in a few days.” She stretched her hand out towards me and I took it, pulling her up so that she was sitting, moving her legs off of my lap for her. “Will was pretty upset, actually.”

                “He was? Doesn’t he hate you?”

                “Yeah, but he’s got scouts coming to this game and I don’t know, it seemed really important to him.”

                “Hm…” she looked thoughtful, “Why’d you quit?”

                “Because of you,” I told her, and she looked surprised at my statement. “I figured you’d be so desperate to spend more time with me that I would need to quit my extracurricular activities to find more hanging out time for us.”

                Her jaw dropped, “Mark! Why would you--? You shouldn’t have…I don’t want to be that girl—that’s not what I wanted for—“

                I laughed, covering her mouth with my hand, “I’m kidding. I quit because I wanted to. Remember I told you I didn’t actually like football that much? This is me giving myself a chance to start over.”

                She pulled my hand away from her mouth, “Okay,” she smiled softly, “I’m really happy for you then.”

                “Good,” I grinned. “I’ve got to go, though. I’ll talk to you later.” I stood up and grabbed my sweater from where it was draped over the arm of the couch. “Do you want back into your chair?”

                She shook her head, “Nah, I’ll just be a butt and watch more TV. Do you want to come over after practice?” she looked up at me with a hopeful expression.

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