(Edited) Chapter 16 Part III

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(...continued) 

Everybody stands up, holding their breath. Aiden shoots the penalty kick for the team. The ball swerves expertly, the goal keeper dives to catch the ball but misses. The ball hits the goal with an inaudible thud and bounces a couple of times before standing still.

We score the penalty goal. We won.

Excited cheers and hoots erupt from the crowd. People chant Aiden's name. He turns around on his spot, taking in the huge crowd chanting his name. 'Walker! Walker!' is all that you can hear. I can't help grinning. I feel so proud of Aiden right now. He'd been so nervous for this match. But the endless practice sessions had paid off. They'd won. Aiden had won.

I realize with a start that this is it. It's time to fulfill my promise to myself. I'd decided to head over to Aiden after (if) he won the match, and give him my answer. The time has come. It's now or never. I can't back out now.

I take in a deep breath, and get up. Sharon looks up at me, confused. I tell her there's something I need to do, and leave before she can offer to come along. I need to do this alone. I want to absorb the smile on Aiden's face when I say 'yes' to his proposal.

I head down the bleachers, pushing through the excited crowd. The cheerleaders are dancing to a victory song. I can hear their chants. I finally get off the bleachers, and see Aiden standing a few feet away, with his back in my direction.

With every step I take, I feel surer of my decision, that the decision I've made is the right one. This is what I want. This is what my heart wants. It wants Aiden. It wants him with everything it has.

I run over to him. He's just a short distance away now. My heart threatens to burst out of my chest, it's beating so fast, that has little do with my running, and everything to do with this beautiful boy in front of me.

I stop a few meters away from him, to mentally prepare myself for the conversation that is to take place. What will I say? How will I say it?

Yes, yes Aiden, I want to be with you. I like you Aiden, leave her for me. No, that doesn't sound alright. It sounds too...desperate.

Hey Aiden, I've decided it's a yes. I'd love to be with you. No, not this either. It's too enthusiastic.

I groan. This is so frustrating. What am I going to do?

I imagine how it'll go once I tell him about my feelings. I can totally imagine the dazzling smile he'll pass me, and how his brown eyes will sparkle when he'll hear about my decision. I can almost hear his laugh and feel his arms around me as he hugs me, and tells me he loves me.

I feel butterflies fluttering in my stomach. Oh screw it! There's no point in contemplating it over and over again. I just need to go with the flow.

With the butterflies still fluttering in my stomach, I take slow, hesitant steps towards him. I almost reach out my hands to touch his back.

But then I don't.

I see Hailey running into his arms, enveloping him in a tight hug. She buries her face in the crook of his neck, wrapping her legs around his waist, as he supports her. "Congratulations baby!" She exclaims, before smashing her lips onto his.

I stand right behind him, frozen; taking in the way she's kissing him. She intertwines her fingers through his messy black hair, as she kisses him harder. I know he's kissing her back.

What are they doing? Why are they kissing? Why is he kissing her?

The answer comes to me immediately. And when it comes it hits me hard, a hundred times harder than it has ever before, like someone has punched me in my stomach—hard. The realization makes my insides twist painfully. I had never thought a non-physical pain, an emotional one, could hurt a person with this magnitude and intensity. It actually feels like someone is ripping my heart out of my chest.

He's kissing her because he wants to. He's kissing her because he's with her. And why wouldn't he? She's his girlfriend. That's when I realize the ridiculousness of this situation. What am I doing here? Why am I standing here? What am I waiting for? For them to stop kissing? And what after that?

I realize how wrong this is. They are together. They love each other. And who am I? Nothing but a home-wrecker. I have no business being here. They belong together.

I take a step back. Then another. Then another. Before I know it, I've turned around and am running; away from them, away from Aiden; away from the boy that was never mine to begin with.

*

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