Winning the Game: Ch. 9

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


The next day, Karissa’s morning classes seemed to go by faster than usual. Of course, it was only the first day, but it seemed her new classes wouldn’t be as demanding as the previous semester. 

Her last class before lunch was dismissed fifteen minutes earlier than it was supposed to, so Karissa arrived at the practice field before Able. She was surprised to find that she wasn’t the only person in the stands. Many other girls were sitting the stands as well, cheering for particular players as they ran sprints across the field. 

Karissa panicked for a second, thinking she must have gotten the times mixed up. Was this a game instead of a practice?

She scanned over the field. All the players were in the same uniform, and the coach was standing in the middle of the field. She knew it was the coach because she’d seen his picture in the athletic hall next to the trophy the team had won a couple years ago. He was a relatively young, heavily muscled man who always wore shorts that seemed too small for his frame, and a whistle around his neck. 

When he blew the whistle, she noticed all the players stopped and ran toward the center of the field, gathering around the coach in a huddle.

“Hey! I know you! You’re Karissa, right?” a girl’s voice said from behind Karissa. Karissa turned around, and noticed a blonde girl waving at her from the stands a couple rows up. She recognized her as the girl she’d met in the bathroom the night of the big party last semester. “I’m Tori, remember?”

“Yes, of course! Hey, Tori!” Karissa greeted.

“Are you here to watch the practice?”

“Yeah. My friend, Able, is meetin’ me here too.”

“Awesome! Why don’t you come sit with me while you wait?”

“Sure,” Karissa said, climbing the steps to take a seat next to Tori.

“Did you ever make it to the party? I don’t think I saw you there, but it was like super crowded, so, you know.”

“No, actually I didn’t wind up going. I couldn’t decide what to wear. You know how it is.”

“Omg, we should totally go shopping sometime. I heard there’s supposed to be like this huge fourth of july party next month, and we could totally find the best outfit for it. Here, let me see your phone, and I’ll give you my number.”

Karissa hesitantly handed Tori her phone, and Tori quickly programmed her number into it. She hoped Tori wouldn’t ask her for her number in return because she really didn’t want to go shopping with this girl. She didn’t have anything against her, really, but shopping was one of Karissa’s least favorite things to do, second only to attending obnoxious, college parties.

“Okay, there, perf,” Tori said, smiling as she handed Karissa her phone back. “Text me when you’re free. I’m going pretty light on the courses this semester, so I’ll probably be free whenever you are. It will be so nice to have another freshman to hang out with finally!”

“Oh, I’m not a freshman.”

“Really? Wow, but you’re so tiny! You’re probably a sophomore though, right?”


“Yeah.”

“Awesome!” Tori clapped her hands together excitedly. “So, do you have a Soccer Sexy?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

Able arrived then, and Karissa waved him over. “Hey, Able! Over here. This here is Tori. Tori, this is my friend, Able.”

“How do you do?” Able said, waving awkwardly in Tori’s direction. “Sorry I’m late. My last class ran a little later than expected.”

“No worries. Mine let out a little earlier,” Karissa said.

“Are you a sophomore too?” Tori asked Able.

“Nope. Junior,” Able answered.

“Oh, wow! That’s so awesome! Do you know Parker then?”

“Parker?”

“Parker Johnson? Number 17? He’s my Soccer Sexy. Well, kinda. Technically he’s not my boyfriend yet, but I’m hoping he’ll notice me and ask me out finally,” Tori said. “Anyway, he’s a junior too. He’s right…there. See, you can see the 17 on his jersey.”

Karissa strained her eyes to see whom Tori was pointing out. Unfortunately, even with her glasses on, Karissa’s vision wasn’t perfect. She eventually spotted him though and realized that he was a rather hard one to miss. He was the tallest one on the team, and he was also the only one wearing brightly colored cleats.

“You see him?” Tori asked.

“Yeah, I see him. But sorry, I don’t think I know him,” Able said. “How do you know him?”

“Well, I don’t actually know-him know him. He was friends with my older brother when they were in high school, so I used to see him around a lot then, but we haven’t ever really spoken? I mean, we’ve met, obviously, but not like talked, you know? And I’m like pretty sure he remembers me, but not like sure-sure.”

“I see. Well, have you tried talking to him?” Able asked.

“No, I mean, what if he doesn’t remember me? That would be, like, so humiliating.”

“Why don’t you try talking to him about soccer? Just ask him if he’s excited for the new season or something like that? If he remembers you, awesome. If not, you can just start fresh. Introduce yourself. It’s gotta be better than waiting for him to notice you way up here,” Karissa suggested.

“You know what? I think you’re right. I’m gonna try that. Just probably not today. I just realized I’m gonna be, like, super late to my next class!” Tori stood up quickly. “Don’t forget to text me when you’re free!”

Karissa sighed a breath of relief when Tori was finally out of sight. Now she could focus on the field, and not Tori’s absent dating life.

“Freshman,” Able muttered with a chuckle, shaking his head. “How do you know her again?”

“The night of the big party. She was in the bathroom when I went to shower, and ‘enlightened’ me to how important it is to go to. I told her I would find her there, but of course I never showed. I didn’t think she would remember, and honestly I didn’t think I’d ever see her again anyway. I just wanted to shower and go to bed.”

“And now you’re best friends.”

“We are not!”

“Why not? Don’t you want a Soccer Sexy to stalk too?”

“Shut up,” Karissa said, playfully elbowing Able in the ribs.

Though in the back of her mind, she had to admit that dating a soccer player didn’t sound like such a bad idea.

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