The Moment of No Return

Published by Constance in the journal Constance's journal. Views: 608

[BCOLOR=transparent]The crisp autumn air didn’t bother Constance as she raced down the small hill that led to the High School football field below. Tonight would be the night. The school’s biggest game of the season fell on this particular evening. Two undefeated teams would battle until only one champion remained. The matchup was to be the fifteen-year old’s first championship game as a cheerleader. She could feel the tension build up inside of her small body as she made her way through the dry grass which ran between a few large evergreen trees just on the far side of the field. It seemed as though the towering flood lights beckoned her on. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Reaching the edge of the field, Constance could see the ever growing crowd as they filed into the stands. The haphazard sound of the marching band as it warmed up filled the air. Nearby, a few burly members of the football team practiced rushing plays. Constance stopped for a moment and took in all that was unfolding around her. A slight breeze wrinkled the short skirt of her royal blue and white cheerleading uniform. Slowly a clamor of cheering and whistling rose from the bleachers as the crowd began to spot her. Raising her pom poms in acknowledgement, she put a large grin on her face and began to race across the field. Midway through the turf, she daintily pushed off with one foot into five consecutive forward handsprings and ended with a flawless front flip. The crowd erupted in a loud roar and Constance stooped in a graceful bow before sprinting to the corner of the metal bleachers. Turning, she entered the darkness shrouded area behind the stands. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]As Constance stepped into the shadows, it took a moment for her eyes to adjust. The solid rear surface of the bleachers combined with the positioning of the flood lights created a cloaked area, perfect for skullduggery. Tiptoeing forward, she made her way toward a hidden, heavy-set young man who just then stepped out to meet her. He was a shorter boy, just a few inches taller than Constance. His brown hair was slightly messy and wet from sweat. He wore the blue and white football uniform of the school and, in one hand, he carried a rather large bag. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]An excited smile came rushing to Constance’s face as she saw him and she raised her hand in greeting.[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“Preston! I’m so glad you came. I thought you might cop out in the end, but you brought the equipment.” [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“Cop out?” The boy’s face seemed to sink. “...I can’t believe I’m doing this...This is bad. Very, very bad.” He shoved the bag rather roughly into her arms as if he thought it a disease and began to mutter quietly. She managed to catch something about ‘Pastor and Mrs. Kitlyn’s daughter being squashed to death by Preston haters’. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Carefully opening the bag, Constance peered inside. In the dim light, she could make out a fresh new football uniform along with shoulder, hip, thigh, and knee pads. Finally, at the very bottom, she spotted a helmet with the school’s familiar logo painted on it. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Looking up, Constance gracefully stepped forward and gave Preston a small hug. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“You’re practically my hero today. Not many quarterbacks could give up their spot during a championship game.”[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Preston pulled back a little from the hug and only half-heartedly patted her on the back with what felt like two fingers. “Yeah...and I’m probably going to regret this for the rest of my life. Do you realize what your parents would do to me if they find out I helped you in this insane and very...harmful plan. Mostly harmful to you, although the repercussions could be quite disastrous to myself.”[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“I’m not going to die or anything. It’s just a football game.” Constance struggled to pull the bulky protection pads and uniform over her cheerleading outfit. Surprisingly, they fit quite well. Preston had certainly done a commendable job finding equipment in her size. Tying the last cheat to her left foot, she stood up and beamed with excitement. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“How do I look?”. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]To answer, the boy sputtered in unbelief. “Just a football game!? That...is…” He heaved a few breathes in and out. “I think I’m having a panic attack. I’ve never had one before, but I’m pretty sure if I did, it would feel a lot like this.” [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“I asked you… a question.” Constance piped in, ignoring his obviously wholly unwarranted antics.[/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“Uh…” Preston abruptly stopped mid-ramble and stared at her. “You look...fine. Not very much like me, but no one ever pays attention to me; so we’re good…Did I just say ‘good’? Nothing right now is remotely good. This is disastrous. Question: why did I agree to...this?” [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Scooping the football helmet into her arms, Constance pointedly avoided his inquiry. She could hear a brusk voice over the stadium’s speakers announcing the players individually as they ran onto the field. The moment was nearing. Pulling her wispy golden locks into a small, messy bun, she gently placed the helmet on her head. Aside from being rather stuffy, it gave her a feeling of security and peace. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]As she heard the announcer call Preston’s name and introduce him as the quarterback, she turned one last time to face the boy. A look of genuine concern rested upon his face. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]“I need to go now... Wish me luck!” With those few words, she twirled around and started for the field. Before she made it beyond earshot, she heard Preston’s faint voice call out something about ‘having a nice life’. [/BCOLOR]

[BCOLOR=transparent]Awkwardly waving one last time in response, Constance raced out from behind the bleachers and moved in the direction of the field. A loud roar flared up from the crowd the moment she made it to the turf. She had been calm up to this point, but the blinding lights of a hundred cameras along with the thunderous noise sent waves of tension wracking through her body. The moment of no return had arrived. [/BCOLOR]
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