Twenty-Five: The Preparation †

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"So wait, he's readily offered to cheat on Lea?!" Johanna gasped, her voice screeching by the end. "Is he a mental patient?"

I raised my hands, gawping at the door quickly before turning back to Johanna. I silenced her. "There are people out there!" I whispered. "Don't be so loud. Our pictures are on the door," I scolded. "But yes," I began, dropping my arms to the side of me and nodded, calmer now, "he offered. Although, he didn't actually say he was going to cheat."

I was sat on my bed, my knees pulled up to my chest whilst I leaned back against the wall. I was in my long pyjamas and leaver's hoodie since it was night time now. Johanna was sat on her bed in comparable articles of clothing, even though she was sat up straight.

"Oh, my God," she breathed, running both her hands through her hair.

"You can't tell anyone," I replied, pointing my finger at her, even if the sleeve was too long and covered most of my hand, only seeing a stubble of a finger poking through the hole. "If this goes round, we're both dead meat."

"But wait, you agreed," Johanna spoke. Had this only just occurred to her now? I mused. "That means-"

"I don't know how I feel," I articulated. "I thought I'd be more excited to kiss Jason and instead, I'm kind of hoping he doesn't score the winning goal."

Johanna shrugged, agreeing with me. "It's understandable." Her eyes drifted off into the corner of the room as her speculative conduct swept in through her. "I mean, you'd be kissing him while he has a girlfriend and while you're getting closer to Scott and meeting him this weekend, right?"

Which reminds me, I thought, I need to text him.

I leaned across the bed and knelt on all-fours. I plucked my hair-tie from my table and my phone. I wrapped the hair-tie around my wrist before beginning to text Scott. Once finishing punching in the words, I discarded my phone next to me and I began to tie my hair up in a high ponytail since it had gone a little weird tonight.

"What were you doing?"

"Texting Scott. He said I needed to text him tonight so he had my number so we could arrange a time. He was going for a shower and he didn't have his phone on him so he thought it would be easier to do this," I answered.

"So you're confused about both your feelings for Scott and Jason?"

Why did I feel like a patient and she was the therapist? She was merely a training scientist, for Pete's sake. How can she comprehend all of what I'm saying? Maybe it's something in biology she's learnt. Then again, I should be trying to figure this out on my own since I do Psychology.

"I guess so," I concluded. "I don't know how I feel about being the other woman. I hate cheating. I don't want him to do it but..."

"But what?" Johanna pressed on. She was just waiting for me to say it.

"But he doesn't seem happy with Lea," I declared. "To me, it sounds like he's more of her carer... her mediator, watching over her to make sure she doesn't become what she used to be."

Johanna dipped her head. "I know what you mean, Tiegan, but if you really like Jason – which it seems that you do – don't you want to at least see what happens. I mean, this bet sounds awfully precise and for him to make such a proposition is intriguing. He was either so confident that he will so he can kiss you, or it's all just a front and he never wants to speak to you again. But surely it won't be the latter with how close you two are getting. I mean, you're both smitten."

"You should really stop saying I'm smitten," I interjected.

"You sound it."

I sighed in prior to collapsing on my bed, my head on my pillow. I wrapped myself up in my duvet like a burrito and turned back to Johanna. "I just... the game is on Friday. I don't want to think about this bet until then. Then, I'll guess we'll see what happens."

And with that, the tension in the room diffused into silence.

***

It was now Friday: the day of the game.

Today would be the deciding round of whether I'd be kissing Jason or not.

Candidly, I was petrified.

I met up with Verity on the grounds before we started ambling up to the stands. I felt like this was my hardest walk to face. It felt like my wedding day walk, except, without the church panorama and the guests all waiting for the sealed kiss and the reception afterwards. This was surreal and to be picturing my wedding day already was incongruous.

"Where should we sit?" Verity asked, turning around to ask me.

I gesticulated to a random part of the stands. "How about there?" There was a place where we'd get a good view of the game... especially the goals.

I followed Verity to the stands where I indicated and she plonked herself down next to a posh student. She glanced sideways at Verity, cringing before shunting away to the right to get away from her. I felt awkward as I sat down knowing Verity was unconscious of that but didn't inform her of it.

Everyone began to talk their places in the stands when the coach jogged out onto the pitch, wearing his legendary grey tracksuit. A reserve came trotting into view before handing the coach a microphone. The reserve trotted back off again, his cheeks flushed crimson and the coach began to commence his proclamation.

"I'd like to thank you all for coming down again to yet another soccer game which we can hopefully win again," he began, "before going on to seizing the trophy at the end of the year! Tonight's game is important because it decides the next round of matches so I hope you're all ready to shout some encourage to North Vale High's soccer team!"

The coach began to march off the pitch pompously, as the team sauntered on. Jason led them in their crimson uniforms this time and my last presupposition at the game was validated as correct. Even from this distance, when he turned around, you could see his dog chains draped around his neck, pocking out from his uniform. I couldn't help but smile.

The other team came onto the pitch as I began to eavesdrop onto someone's conversation in front of me – they were two boys who seemed like the geeky type being obsessed with computers but actually knew quite a fair bit about soccer in this college.

"They're having all the games at this college this year," the ginger boy clarified. "Each year they do all the games at a certain college and exchange every year and this year, it's our turn."

"I'm so glad it's this year to be our turn," the dark haired boy replied, jiggling his head.

The speakers erupted in the coach's voice again as the players all took their positions. Jason managed to flash me a smile before he made his way across the pitch. Not many people turned around at that point, already deducing it would be Lea in my place.

"And let the game... begin!" hollered the coach.

The whistle sounded.

My nerves began to race, trepidation surging through my veins. My throat was itchy and dry and my hands were clammy.

And yet, I still didn't know if I wanted him to score the winning goal or not.

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Author's Note:

This was mainly just a filler chapter until the game, but let me know in the comments how this soccer game will go! Do you think Jason will win the bet and him and Tiegan will have to kiss?

Thank you :) x

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