Author's Note: Well, here it is! The part I've been dying for you to read! This part of my AYATC story is really special to me and I hope you enjoy it. I'd like to dedicate the song "The Rain" by Joe Hisaishi to Louis for this "chapter" because it helped my set the mood for my writing.
I roamed the football field. Weaving under the bleachers, walking the track.
Where was he?
My footsteps slowly led me to the parking lot and then to the sidewalk which led to the high school. I glanced up toward the dark, gray sky while my eyes slowly closed.
Dear God, let me find him!
I broke into a run. I went into the high school parking lot to find a banged up white van. My finger tips ran across the trunks of cars until at last my fingers traced the edge of bent, white doors. I peered inside, seeing nothing. Well, no Louis. There was a big white bag though, and when I peered closer I could see soccer cones sitting inside.
He was on the soccer field!
My heart leapt as I ripped myself from the window and flew to the soccer field just around the corner.
In the distance, I could see a tall figure shooting soccer balls furiously into a net.
"Louis!" I cried, running down the steep hill. I slowed as I approached him.
It took me a while to figure out what he was doing. He was shaking head to foot, making uncontrollable gasps for air.
He was crying.
He turned from me in shame as soon as I looked him in the eye.
"Oh, Louis," I said softly. I reached out and touched his black and blue eyes. His lip was busted, his nose bloodied. His handsome face was distorted into a red and black mess.
I felt warm tears run over my hands.
He buried his face unto his palms and fell to the ground at my feet. He lay there, shaking, not making a sound. I blinked and I made a move to touch him but suddenly he threw his head back and screamed. A scream full of emotional PAIN.
My hair fell forward as I crouched down beside him.
He shook his head back and forth and pushed me away. "Don't look at me," he sobbed. "Don't look, don't look . . ."
I fell back onto the grass and sat there in silence, listening to his sobs.
"Louis," I said and tried to sit next to him once again. "You can cry. Please cry." I chuckled softly. "It's the only reason I come to your games."
Louis curled into a ball. "Go away," he growled, unable to look into my eyes.
"No!" I yelled, shoving him in the shoulder. He turned around, sitting up, and shook me. His monstrous face had sadness etched into its bruises and cuts. "Go away! Go away! Go away!" he screamed, shaking me harder and harder.
"Please," he sobbed. His hands stopped moving. "Please!" He pulled me into a hug. I felt tears falling on top of my head.
I buried my face into his shirt. "I'm here, Louis," I said, tears now falling from my eyes. "I'm here."
His hands fell and his head dropped into my lap, crying his every breath out of his weary soul. His tears stained my jeans. I stroked his hair with one hand and cupped his cheek into the other. My tears fell into his eyes, but he didn't blink them away.
After seconds, minutes, hours, days, we grew silent. My hands still stroking his hair, his breath coming out in short gasps.
I heard the buzzer from the football stadium signaling the end of the third quarter. My head turned to look at Louis. His eyes were closed but there was a small smile of his face.
He took my hand, squeezed it, and stood up. In the lights from the stadium his bruised eyes were swollen and red. His jaw was locked and he found my other hand.
"Is Coach worried about me?" he asked. I looked deep into his brown eyes. "Yes," I said slowly, "But I'll just say you got sick over the weekend." His eyes swam with tears once more and he pulled me into another hug.
"Thank you, Grace. Thank you."
I hugged him back and we broke apart.
"Are you coming to the championship in two weeks if we win this one?"
I smiled. "I don't know . . . I already saw you cry!" His face looked shocked.
I laughed. "Of course, I'll come."
He put his arm around my shoulder and we slowly walked to his white van, leaving a trail of tears behind us.