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Earth, As it is in Heaven
By: Roman Genesis
The Best Night of Our Lives
Like I said before, nothing in this world made me feel more alive than playing football. The higher the stakes were, the better I played. Me and Chad had settled our differences and the whole team was a well oiled machine. The night of the big homecoming game I looked up at the packed stadium, smelled the freshly cut grass, heard the roar of the fans, and smiled. Nothing could get better than this.
Well, maybe if Sebastian had been here.
"Okay, I want it tight this time," I yelled over the crowd noise. "Chad, go long, but watch out for their safety. Nathan, if you see him coming in, I need you to take him out as quick as you can. Got it?"
"Let's go," Nathan yelled. We broke the huddle and quickly moved over to the line. We had been having a lot of trouble with their safety, Bryce Underwood. He was one of the best safeties in the state, if not the best. He already had about five sacks on me and we weren't even halfway through the second quarter.
I watched their safety carefully. It looked like he wasn't coming in this time. "Blue sixty-two," I yelled to Chad. "Hut, hut, hick!" Right before Nathan snapped the ball I saw Bryce coming in for the kill. I had the ball in my hands and I fell back as far as I could. Bryce quickly went around Nathan and was coming straight toward me. Now if I could just get this throw off before...
I spun to the side, but Bryce had a hold on me. I began to spin, but I threw the ball as hard as I could to get it away before I went crashing into the cold turf. The flags were coming out all over the place and Bryce whispered to me before he got up, "Nice grounding."
I cursed and sat up. I knew Stillwater High was going to be a challenge, but these guys were incredible. They were running circles around us. We hadn't lost a game all year and there was no way I was going to lose the homecoming game to these guys. I didn't care how good they were.
The referee moved the line back and we got in the huddle again. "Damn, that guy's good," Nathan said.
I poked my head up and looked at the coach who was on the sideline with a disapproving look in his eye. He held up a closed fist and I knew what that meant. "Okay," I said, leaning back down into the huddle. "We're going to have to do this the hard way. I'm passing it off to Anthony so I want everyone blocking. Try and get two guys on the safety if you can."
"Damn it," Chad muttered. Everyone knew
that we were a passing team and when it came to having to run the ball,
everyone knew we were screwed. And they didn't even know how right
"You played a good game out there guys," the coach said in the locker room. I whipped my towel across my face and continued starring at the ground. We all knew that the coach was lying. We had played one of the worst games ever. The final score was 13 to 24.
"I want you all to come back on Monday and be ready to get past this. This has only been a setback. We're still going to State. I promise." He dismissed us and we all hit the showers and got changed. I suppose I would have been more upset about the game if I hadn't been so excited about Saturday night. Vanessa was still giving me a hard time practically everyday, but she was still going along with it. Going to the Homecoming dance with Sebastian was a dream come true.
After I had gotten showered and changed, Mike and I stepped out into the freezing night air and walked for a while in silence. The bitterness of defeat was still lingering in both our minds and neither one of us could find the words we were searching for. It was harder for me though because I had to tell Mike something that he wasn't going to like one bit.
"Mike, I have to talk to you about something."
"Oh no," he said, looking over at me as his face contorted into worry. "Nothing good has ever been said after a sentence like that."
I smiled to myself and we kept walking. He was going to be pissed when I told him. "Me and Vanessa won't be able to go to the dance with the team." I said it quickly, hoping to get it out of the way and move on to something else.
Mike stopped in his tracks and I was forced to stop as well and look at him. The hurt was apparent all over his face. "Why not?"
"Look, it won't be that bad. I'll look for you at the dance. Me and Vanessa just..."
"Geez, Trevor," he said, turning away from me and running his hand through his hair. Obviously this meant more to him that I had realized. I just stood there because I couldn't think what else to say. He turned back to me finally. "Okay."
"What?" I couldn't believe my ears. I thought I was never going to be able to live this down.
"It's fine. I know you and Vanessa have been having some problems and you need some time to yourselves." Mike was being so understanding. I wanted to give him a huge hug.
"Thanks a lot Mike. This means a lot to me."
Mike came up to me and placed his hand on my shoulder. "Just be safe," he said. I smiled when I caught his hidden meaning. Poor Mike had no idea. We continued walking across the parking lot of the school and saw that we were coming up next to the buses which had brought Stillwater here from the next town over. "Shit," Mike muttered.
I squinted and suddenly saw what Mike had seen. There was about seven of them standing right next to the bus and right in our path. "Just don't look at them," I said.
It was to late though. Ryan Fieldmore, their captain, saw us coming and quickly drew everyone's attention to us. "Look who it is," he yelled.
They began walking towards us and we met halfway. My fight or flight mechanism was readying itself and I just hoped Mike didn't do anything stupid. I knew how pissed he was about losing our first game of the year.
"Trevor McClain," Ryan said when he got to me. "How's it going man?" He stuck his hand out and I took it in mine quickly and let go. "You all played one hell of a game. Sucks that you had to lose your homecoming game though."
"Thanks a lot," I replied. "You played well too." I looked behind him and saw Bryce Underwood, their safety, standing there with a huge smile on his face. The guy had knocked the shit out of me the whole game and he knew it.
"Enjoy it while it lasts," Mike said, attempting to make the statement a joke. We all knew it wasn't though. "Maybe we'll see you at State if you don't fuck up to bad."
Ryan began laughing, tossing Mike's comment aside like it was the taunting of an elementary school child. "Whatever," he said. He looked at us both carefully for a moment and then said, "Let's go," to his team. He turned around and they all followed him back on the bus, Bryce lingering behind just long enough to give me one last victorious smile. He knew I was going to be soar all day tomorrow. God, I hated that guy!
"Ass holes," Mike muttered. He began walking across the parking lot again and I followed him after taking one last look at the group disappearing into the bus. I hadn't minded our loss that much, but now I wanted to play them again. I wanted to show them how we really played ball.
All in good time, I told myself. All
in good time.
Vanessa floored the gas petal, nearly making us skid off the icy road as we rounded the corner. "Jesus," I exclaimed. "Don't go so fast."
"I didn't think you wanted to be late to your friend's house," she said sarcastically. I just knew she had a problem with going with Sebastian and Shannon, but I didn't realize it was this bad. She was trying to kill us for Christ's sake.
She continued to speed down the road recklessly, ignoring my pleas. "Just promise me you won't drive like this with Sebastian and Shannon in the car." She ignored me and we drove on in silence. I looked out the window at the passing street lamps and sighed. Vanessa was going to do everything in her power to screw this up for me. "Slow down," I said. "We're almost there."
I pointed to Sebastian's house and she pulled up in the driveway. I saw that Shannon's car was parked outside. Vanessa pushed her door open and stepped out, quickly pulling her shawl around her as protection from the bitter cold. I reached in the back and grabbed my tuxedo jacket and stepped out as well. I looked at my reflection in the car window one last time before walking up the driveway to the door. I could hear Vanessa's high heals right behind me.
I stopped at the door and took a deep breath. This was the moment of truth. "Are you going to knock?" Vanessa asked annoyed. I reached my hand out and knocked and quickly put it back in my pocket. I was so nervous. If Vanessa embarrassed me in front of Sebastian's mom I would never forgive her.
Mrs. Reynolds threw the door opened and smiled. "Trevor," she said as if she hadn't been expecting me. "Come on inside." I stepped in and Vanessa came in right after me.
"Mrs. Reynolds, this is my..." I paused for a second before continuing. "This is my girlfriend Vanessa." Vanessa gave me a funny look.
"Oh, nice to meet you," she said and shook her hand. "I'm Mrs. Reynolds, Sebastian's mom. You can just call me Karen though." I peered into the house to see if Shannon and Sebastian were downstairs, but I didn't see them.
"Is Sebastian in his room?"
"No, he's out on the back porch with Shannon," Mrs. Reynolds said and began to lead us through the house. Vanessa stopped once in a while to check out Mrs. Reynolds' statues and lamp shades she collects.
"These are really pretty," she said.
Mrs. Reynolds turned around and smiled. "Thanks. I've been collecting for about ten years now." I was glad Vanessa was attempting to be cordial. She had given me the impression earlier that she was going to be a bitch all night long.
We walked through the kitchen and I saw that Sebastian's dad was in there making himself something to eat. He looked up when he realized his wife was not alone. "Hello Mr. Reynolds," I said cheerfully.
He looked over at Vanessa before saying, "Hello Trevor," in his customary empty voice. He seemed surprised to see Vanessa with me. I was considering introducing them, but Mrs. Reynolds kept going. I followed her onto the back porch and saw Shannon standing by the table that was glowing with several candles.
Sebastian was standing by the window, looking out vacantly, but turned around when he heard us coming out of the house. I stopped in my tracks when I saw him. He was in his tuxedo and his hair was gelled. He looked so good. He literally took my breath away. He smiled at me and I smiled back. "Hi Trevor," he said.
"Hi Sebastian." We stood there staring at each other for what must have been an eternity, when Shannon pulled me out of my trance.
"Aren't you going to introduce me," Shannon said. I turned and looked at her. She was wearing a beautiful blue gown. It looked like velvet, but I wasn't sure. Her hair was up and she looked really beautiful.
"Oh, Shannon, this is my friend Vanessa." I caught myself and quickly said, "My girlfriend." I looked over at Vanessa to see that she was giving me one of her death glares. Probably wasn't the best mistake I could make.
Shannon shook Vanessa's hand and smiled warmly. "Nice to meet you," she said.
"Nice to meet you too," Vanessa replied, before looking back at me with another annoyed expression.
"I'll go get some drinks for you all," Mrs. Reynolds said, going back inside. We all stood there for a moment as the awkwardness filled the room. Me and Sebastian kept giving each other quick glances, hoping Vanessa wouldn't catch us.
"So," Vanessa said. "How long have you two been going out?" she asked Shannon as she picked up one of the sandwiches from the table and took a bite.
"Oh, me and Sebastian aren't..." She stopped when she saw I was glaring at her intently. "I mean, about five months."
Vanessa gave her a confused look and then turned and gave me the same look. She knew something was going on. This wasn't going to be easy. Mrs. Reynolds came back onto the porch with four drinks and handed them out. "So, where are you all going to eat before the dance?"
"We have reservations at the Rose Pavilion," I said and looked down at my watch. "And we really need to get going now that I see what time it is."
"Okay, come inside for some pictures before
you go," Mrs. Reynolds said, going back over to the door.
Fifteen minutes and five rolls of film later, we were finally on our way to dinner. Sebastian and Shannon were sitting in the back and I was glad to see Vanessa was actually attempting to drive like a normal person.
"Sebastian," I said. "I didn't see your brother at the house. Did he already leave?"
"Yeah," Sebastian replied quietly. "They had really early reservations."
"You have a brother?" Vanessa asked Sebastian curiously. "What grade is he in?"
"He's a Freshmen like me." I saw Vanessa turn and look at me so I looked over at her. Obviously, she didn't know he was a freshmen. Now that I thought about it, she was probably going to be even more pissed that we were going with a freshmen. Vanessa was like that.
Vanessa pulled up into the parking lot of the restaurant and we all stepped out. I quickly looked over at Sebastian, but he was staring at the restaurant. God, I didn't want to go out to eat or go to the dance. I just wanted to be alone with Sebastian somewhere. Anywhere.
We walked into the restaurant and the host quickly seated up. The place was really lovely. It was a small place, only about ten other families or groups there. The walls were covered with vines and every table was littered with dozens of roses around a single candle.
Vanessa sat down and I took the seat beside her, luckily right across from Sebastian. "What do they have to eat here?" Vanessa asked, as if I had eaten here before.
"I'm not sure," I said, opening my menu. I began to scan the selections, every once in a while looking up at Sebastian. I absolutely couldn't keep my eyes off him. He looked so handsome.
"So," Vanessa said, looking across the table at Shannon. "What do you do?"
Shannon looked up at her confused. "I don't understand what you're asking."
Vanessa laughed to herself before explaining. "Like, do you play any sports? Are you in any clubs?"
Shannon looked back down at her menu before saying quietly, "I'm in the French Club."
"Oh," Vanessa said. "Isn't that nice." I think I was the only one that knew Vanessa was being degrading to Shannon. I reached my foot around and kicked her lightly. She looked up at me with an innocent look on her face and shrugged her shoulders. I thought she was going to leave it alone, but she just had to force her popularity down everyone's throat. "How about you Sebastian? Do you play any sports?"
Sebastian looked up at me, the light of the single candle making him barely visible. If I had to guess what he was silently saying, it would be, 'Is she going to be like this all night?'
"No," he answered her. His voice seemed to be hiding some pent up anger that I had never heard from him before. "I play the cello though." The way he said it, it was as if he was just waiting for her to make a comment about it.
"Excuse me? The cello?" She must have thought she was hearing things.
"Yes," he said, looking directly at her. I had never seen him act with such determination before. He wasn't backing down from Vanessa and I found it rather entertaining.
"Oh, that sounds... fun." She looked back down at her menu again and Sebastian looked back down at his. The whole dinner went sort of the same way. Vanessa would ask us all these questions about how we knew each other and for how long and from where, and we would usually make up some lie. As the night went on, we would make up more and more extravagant lies, making inside jokes out of everything.
Shannon was starting to really open up and be herself by the time the bill came. She must have been scared of what Vanessa thought of her the whole time, but only now was she starting to realize it didn't matter what Vanessa thought.
We were finally done with dinner and we all got back in Vanessa's car and started towards where the dance was being held. I'm not really sure why, but I was getting kind of nervous. More for Sebastian than for myself. Everyone there was going to know me, and Sebastian and Shannon were going to feel really out of place.
One thing was certain though. This was going to be interesting.