That next week, we all get started on training for the Greek Olympics. With it only in a few weeks, we don’t have as much time to get ready. Lucky for us though, we have our secret weapon, Janice.
Janice spends the next three weeks training us vigorously. And I mean vigorous. She drills us endlessly and barely gives us time to rest during our sessions.
“This is about more than just a competition,” she says. “Our sorority is at stake. Now keep going!”
She and I meet up Friday afternoon at the gym’s outdoor climbing wall to practice her timing for climbing it. Kimberly had come through with finding out the Greek Olympics events, which gives us things to actually practice for.
After several tries I think I am finally about to beat her, but then I lose my grip on one of the rocks and drop to the bottom. I’m telling you, it’s not as easy as it looks.
Janice keeps going and hits the buzzer at the top. I think I know who we are going to be using for wall climbing.
Afterwards we practice shooting soccer balls into the net. Now this I have definitely gotten the hang of. I have managed to master my skill at kicking the ball into the net at every single angle. I have even managed to beat Janice, which I must say was no easy feat. Janice even points out that I should be the front runner for the shootout challenge. I am a bit nervous, but I am willing to give it a shot. After all, apart from Janice I am the best shooter in the group.
Lastly, we practice shooting arrows into targets. Janice is on fire. I swear, she looks like a warrior out of an action movie. I think she should definitely be the one tackling the archery shootout. Luckily for us, there is a three-challenge limit when it comes to who can compete in events. Meaning, we can use Janice more than once. That will definitely work to our advantage.
Later in the afternoon, we head to the student union building and practice some table tennis. Or yes, that was one of the events. Kimberly said it was the Eta Phi Nus idea. They apparently ruled at table tennis.
Still, I think that Janice was going to give all of them a run for their money.
Janice then gets a call from Greg and heads off to meet up with him, so I decide to go get some painting done in the art building. With my art portfolio, due in a few weeks, I want to make sure all my paintings are in order.
Just as I am walking out of the student union building, I walk right into someone I don’t want to see…Ashley.
“Abby,” she says. She is decked out in her athletic wear with her headphones in. She takes them both out when she sees me.
“Hello Ashley,” I say calmly. I really don’t feel like starting something with her right now.
Too bad she doesn’t feel the same way.
“So, I saw you and Janice at the climbing wall today,” she continues. “She made some pretty good time. Of course, it doesn’t come close to mine.” Ashley smirks. “You’re going to have to do much better than that.”
I narrow my eyes. “Well, we are still practicing, Ashley. Believe me, when we get to the Olympics, we’ll be ready.”
Ashley scoffs. “Well, Clare was right about one thing, you are definitely overly optimistic.”
Funny she should bring up Clare. I hadn’t really seen much of her or Taylor that quarter. Not that it bothered me or anything, it was just weird that they hadn’t been around lately. But I guess I needn’t worry. I would be seeing them at the Olympics anyway.
“But even you have to admit,” Ashley continued, “you guys are in way over your heads. The Alpha Beta Phis rule the Olympics. Soon your sorry excuse for a sorority will be a distant memory.”
I roll my eyes. “You guys have only been champion for one year, so I wouldn’t be bragging.”
Ashley frowns. “Oh, don’t worry, we will cream your wannabe sorority. Just wait. You’ll be wishing you never made that bet with me.”
She then turns and walks off and I resist saying anything back. She is so not worth it.
It’s a quiet drive to the art building and I enjoy watching the beautiful sunset. I then hear my phone start to ring and glance down. I light up at first thinking it is Charls, but when I lift up my phone, I see it is Brad. Big whoop. I slide the quick message that reads, “Can’t talk now, I’m driving,” and then I drop my phone back down. I really don’t want to talk to Brad right now.
When I enter into the art classroom ten minutes later, it is completely empty. I am a bit relieved. It will be nice to paint in peace and quiet.
My phone starts to ring again and this time I move the quick message that says, “Can’t talk now, busy painting,” without really checking to see who it was. I then walk over to my painting in the back and start to paint.
Just as I finish the painting and put it in the back, I hear the classroom door open.
I turn around and sigh. Brad is standing just a few feet from the door.
“Brad, what do you want?” I can’t hide the irritation in my voice.
“To talk to you.” Brad frowns slightly. “You’ve been avoiding me.”
I walk back over to my easel without looking at him. “I know.”
I shake my head. “Why do you think Brad?”
“Because we kissed?” Brad smirks. “Abby, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Yes, there is.” I sigh again. “Brad, you know I’m with Charls.”
“Am.” I feel myself growing more frustrated. “I love him.”
“So, you’re really going to act like that kiss meant nothing to you?”
I turn to Brad slightly. “I didn’t say that.”
“See? So there is still something between us. You can’t deny it.”
I exhale deeply. “All right, fine Brad. Yes. When you kissed me, I felt something, something that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I had forgotten my feelings for you, but when you kissed me, it all came rushing back. I remembered what it was like to be with you. To be…in love with you.”
Brad smirked. “I thought so. So why have you been avoiding me?”
“Because I’ve been trying to figure out my feelings. How I feel about you and Charls.”
Brad raises an eyebrow. “And?”
“And, as much as I enjoyed kissing you again after all that time…it can’t ever happen again.”
Brad looks taken aback. “What?”
“You and I ended a long time ago, when you cheated on me with Clare. Brad, you were cheating on me the entire time we were together!”
“Not the entire time-”
“Most of it. There was even a sex tape of you and Clare floating around-”
“I didn’t make that!” Brad curses. “It was Clare that-”
“I know, I know.” I sigh once again. “I’m just saying that things have happened between us, things that can’t be changed.” I glance down at the floor. “Like how you made everyone think that I was the one who cheated on you.”
Brad is quiet when I say that.
“Whatever the case Brad, I still can’t be with you, because I’m in love with Charls.”
Brad frowns. “You expect me to believe that?”
I shrug. “You can believe whatever you want, but it’s the truth. I love him Brad, and I can’t picture myself without him.”
Brad looks away from me in silence. “You would really choose him over me? Seriously?”
I nod. “In a heartbeat.”
Brad stares off in the distance and then turns to the door. “You know you’re making a mistake,” he says.
I just smile and shake my head. “No, I’m not.”
“He’s not going to take you back, not now anyway. I know him and he doesn’t take kindly to girls who step out on him.”
I feel my chest begin to tighten again. Brad’s words cut like knives.
“I hope you’re wrong, Brad,” I say softly, “but even so, it won’t stop me from loving him.”
I see Brad’s fists tighten slightly and then he slowly makes his way out of the art room.
Amazingly after talking to Brad, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Even though things were still non-existent with me and Charls, at least I had finally ended things with Brad. Though, I must say he didn’t look too happy about it, so I can only hope that it won’t reflect negatively on the whole thing with the Greek Olympics.
But as I climb into bed, that is the farthest thing from my mind. I seem to drift off into other things and my mind wanders…
Soon it is not just me in my bed, but me and Charls, kissing passionately in each other’s arms. I cling to him desperately as his body presses against mine. “I love you,” he whispers to me, and I feel every nerve in my body tingle and a deep desire building within me. I wanted him. Every part of me did. But somehow deep down, I knew it wasn’t real. It was only a dream. Just a dream…
After the meeting, Abby arranged at the park, things change for all of us. The house becomes more cheerful again with everyone working hard and practicing for the Greek Games. I use the time to practice and also do some of the chores around the house. It had been a while since I had done my laundry, so I decided to get the laundry machines going and work on getting my clothes done.
I also really get working on my big Public Relations project. I am all nerves for the presentation which was only in a few weeks. Janice tells me that I am going to be fine, but I am still incredibly nervous.
I also do my best to be more attentive in class. With my grades sliding a bit, I need to make sure I do well on the next couple tests so that I can maintain my perfect gpa.
I do my best to try and put my problems aside and take better notes and ask questions. I am going to ace the next test.
Professor Farientine seems impressed with my enthusiasm and even asks me to stay after class. Although I think it may have to do with the internship.
“Miss Drake, I wanted to applaud you again for agreeing to the apprenticeship. I think it will be a great opportunity to explore your options in journalism. I could really use your assistance in the new freshman journalism class.”
I smile. “Thank you. I am honored to be chosen.”
“Well, make sure you finish the final paper work and turn it into the dean. It should be approved with no problem.”
I nod. “I’ll be right on it.”
Professor Farientine smiles. “It will be an honor to work with you.”
I try to restrain from looking shocked. I nod to him and then head out of the classroom. It is so weird. He has been so unusually nice to me since this semester started. I hate to say it is strange, but it really is.
After class, I meet up with Janice at the grounds where the Greek Olympics will be held. She said she had a surprise for me about the event I was to compete in.
I nearly faint when I see what she has in mind. The bull riding event. What on Earth was she thinking?
“You just have to stay on longer than the competitor.”
“What makes you think I will be able to do that?”
“Because I have tried it with everyone else and you are the best one!”
“Great.” I roll my eyes.
Janice then pushes me into a practice outfit and I climb on.
“You at least need to stay on for three minutes. Now, go!”
The machine then starts and I start to thrash around all over the place on the mechanical toy.
Janice stands on the sideline and cheers me on. The first time around, I manage two minutes, gradually moving up to three. My legs are becoming sore, but Janice keeps at it. Why is it that she had to start at intermediate and then move quickly to expert?
“If we keep doing this, you should be able to stay on. We just got to work at it.”
I manage to stay on for almost four minutes, before being booted off.
“Maybe, I just hope I can beat whoever I’m up against.”
“I think you will at least stand a chance. You are much better than you think you are.”
Another twenty minutes and I am totally fatigued. Janice finally lets me go and I head off downtown. It’s a nice walk and I end up at the comic bookshop. This time I go inside and scan the shelves of the comic books. Michael is still nowhere in sight. I know it was useless thinking, but I really am feeling deprived of him. I miss him, so much.
As I look through the shelf, I see the comic that Michael had once suggested to me, Legend of Ara, but volume 2. I pull it off the shelf and check the back. It’s about twelve dollars.
Tucking it under my arm, I walk over to the counter and pay for it. I then leave and continue my walk downtown.
As I head on, I spot Kendal standing not too far away. I take a deep breath. This was probably going to be my only time to talk to him since he had been avoiding me.
“Kendal,” I call, and walk up to him.
He looks a bit surprised, but turns to me. “Hello Elizabeth.”
“How are you?”
“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you.”
Kendal looks down. “Yes, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you. I have been a bit busy.”
“Really? Then why don’t I believe you?”
Kendal sighs. “Elizabeth, let me explain-”
“It’s not necessary. I’ve been down this this road with you before, last year.” I smile. “You know, it’s funny. I’ve been thinking about how this whole situation has felt familiar to me, but I couldn’t figure out why. Now I know. It’s because you did the exact same thing to me last year.”
Kendal looks confused. “What are you-”
“Last year, when that tape of me swimming in that pool spread around the whole campus, I was horrified and had no one to turn to. I tried to call you for support, but you wouldn’t answer me. And when I finally did get a hold of you to find out why, you ended our relationship.”
Kendal swallows nervously. “Elizabeth-”
“You wouldn’t listen to anything I told you, because you had already made up your mind about me.” I shake my head. “I was distraught and so hurt, but I found a way to pull myself together. With the help of my family and, well, Michael.”
“I know why you’ve been avoiding me,” I say, cutting over him. “You heard about the fire at the Greek formal, didn’t you?”
Kendal opens his mouth and then closes it. I then know that I am right.
“You heard about the fire and the rumors flying around about us. So now you’re trying to distance yourself from me. Just like you did last year.”
“No, that’s not true-”
“But it is.” I lift up my hands. “I know it is. You went from acting like you were still having feelings for me, to not even wanting to be around me. Did you think I wouldn’t notice?”
Kendal sighs. “Elizabeth, I’m so sorry.”
“I know you are Kendal. You were last time too. And just so you know, someone started that fire. Someone tried to burn down our sorority house to get back at us for getting our probationary charter. Not that I think you care.” I chuckle slightly. “You see, this is why you and I can never…be together.”
“Elizabeth, please don’t say that.”
“But it’s true! I will always be afraid that I’m going to do something to disappoint you. Something that will change your feelings for me. I can’t live my life like that.”
We are both then quiet and Kendal just looks at me in silence.
“I-I don’t know what to say,” he says finally.
I shrug. “There’s nothing really to say, Kendal. It’s just how it is. I’m sorry.”
I am about to leave when Kendal stops me.
“You know, when we parted last year, I didn’t think it was really over between us. I honestly thought we would find our way back to each other.”
I smile. “I know. I think a part of me thought so too, but then, I realized who I was really meant to be with.”
Kendal looks tense. “Michael.”
I nod. “Yes. Michael.”
“I should go,” I say, stepping back from him. “I’ll see you around, Kendal.”
I then turn and leave. I can feel Kendal watching after me as I walk away, but I pay him no mind. I feel like a log has been lifted off me. Like I have been freed from a spell. Kendal and I were finally over.
When I get back to the sorority house, I get a sudden burst of inspiration. I immediately hurry up to my room and boot up my laptop to my story. I then spend the next two hours retyping up the goodbye scene between George and Serena, feeling satisfied when I am finished. Amazing how life can reflect what you write about. Another thing I love about being a writer.