i felt sweat tickling the back of my neck as i bent forward slightly. my breathing was heavy, uneven; but it turned out my stamina was better than i had expected it to be.
there was no way this person was going to let me win, and i was half expecting it the moment i set foot on the field. even with hoseok and jimin telling me i got this from the sidelines.
i wiped my forehead with the back of my hand. the score was 40-15 on the third game of the second set, and because i had lost the first two games, it clearly meant that i was about to lose. i tried to focus and not let my nerves take over.
however, when she raised her racket and hit the ball once again, serving it to me, i was nervous all over again. we hit the ball back and forth, back and forth, and i felt the muscles on my legs starting to give in.
but i could hear their voices.
taehyung and my mother had insisted on accompanying me to my first tennis game. i had told them countless times that i sucked and i was definitely going to lose, and they had ignored me and told me they would come anyway to cheer for me. and cheer they did.
"c'mon anastasia you can do this!" i heard the sound of my mother's voice. suddenly, my legs felt stronger again.
i hit the ball with such force that i knew it was impossible for the other girl to hit it. and there it was, 40-30.
i breathed in as people cheered and hoseok ran over to me to give me some water.
"you got this, one more point and you're tied, you can still win this set," he spoke as i practically chugged down the bottle of water.
"and what if i don't?" my eyes landed on jimin who had also come.
"if you don't, it's alright. she's state champion anyway. bad luck for your first game," he smiled reassuringly.
i huffed and bit my bottom lip. "so you won't be mad?"
"not at all, please," hoseok patted my shoulder. "you'll get better. this is just a bump in the road towards tennis excellence!" he clapped his hands excitedly. it made me chuckle.
"now get back in there," jimin motioned as the two of them returned to the sidelines.
i held on to my tennis racket tighter. i can do this.
although i had won that game, i had eventually lost the whole match, two sets to zero. it had been pretty embarrassing, but at the same time what mattered was that i had had fun.
as i exited the locker rooms after a well deserved shower, my mom and taehyung were waiting for me.
"there's my champ," my mom walked up to me and hugged me tightly.
"mom, i lost," i rolled my eyes playfully.
"but you still rocked that field!" she held on to both of my cheeks and squeezed them, as if i was a child still. i laughed and she let go of me.
the sun shone over us, and still i couldn't think of anything as hot as taehyung. he was wearing a pair of ripped jeans and a white shirt, with that goddamned loose tie around his neck. his usual gucci headband pulled his hair from his features, black colored sunglasses covering his eyes. he had his hands in his pockets, but he quickly took them out to hug me as well, pulling me to his chest.
"i'm still proud of you, baby," he whispered against my ear, making me shiver. he pressed his lips to my forehead and pulled away, wrapping his arm around my shoulder instead.