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Pen Your Pride

Chapter One: All Work, No Play

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Something about his smile made me stare

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Something about his smile made me stare. It caught my attention so suddenly, causing a mid way halt to the sweat mopping,  which had been brought on by a late evening basketball match. Placed between a pair of only just dimples,  his teeth seemed to shine through the grime of the lockeroom.  A grin like that belonged in a toothpaste commercial.

   "Listen up,  boys," our coach,  a large man wrung with muscles,  said. "This is Blake.  He's a representive of a rising sports company known as Titan. They've been looking for a college to sponsor,  and have decided to consider us in the running.  I know it's late.  I know you're all tired.  However,  I need one volunteer to stay behind tonight. I can't stress how much of an opportunity this is.  It's a chance to prove what a great place this is,  and your dedication won't go unoticed. James,  you'll do it won't you?"

No, I thought to myself. The only thing I wanted to do was return home and discover the land of sleep.  A good rest was always the perfect antidote for a long day. It would be understandable to decline after scoring half of the teams winning points , apologise,  and head for the exit like the other boys had started to do -- as if they knew my response before I did -- but I couldn't.

   "Of Course," I said.

   "Good lad." He gave me a hard pat on the back before turning to the guest.  "You're in good hands."

   "I'm sure I am," Blake retorted firmly. He straightened the collar of his shirt and stepped forward. Before I could internally flog myself for giving in so easily,  his ice eyes were cooling in front of mine. They sat,  calm,  under a head of tousled dirty blonde. It was styled in soft waves.  "Lead the way."

It was mesmerizing.  Although,  what exactly held my focus was unknown. The simplest look from the man had a powerful rule,  driving me deep into a daydreaming like state. It was the sound of the door,  slamming as the last person left,  that alerted me to the fact I was staring again.  What was wrong with me?  It wasn't a normal or comfortable feeling that I could blame on tiredness.

   "This is the lockeroom," I choked out,  hoping beyond hope that the strange fixation wasn't an obvious one. "There's two more around the college.  Male and female students do share the same facilities,  but never at the same time. Lessons are spread apart so that never becomes an issue. This one is for students who have taken part in outside activities.  Football,  track,  lacrosse. There is one by the entrance,  which is used for all indoor sports,  except swimming,  which has it's own place to change on the top floor."

   "Titan really wants to get behind a single programme. We've heard your swimming teams are the best in the country.  For a small town,  that's impressive."

   "We've definitely been winning at a lot of medals lately,"  I told him.

Blake smiled.  "That's what we like to hear.  Show me the pool."

He pointed for me to start the tour. There was a somewhat demanding tone,  caught ever so slightly slightly on the cusp of his voice,  which made me feel uneasy. As I passed where he stood,  our bodies brushed close.  So close,  I could taste the salty Cologne he was wearing. He certainly smelt better than I did.

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