One minute until the final buzzer. One minute until victory was ours.
I screamed with all my might, "Go, go, go!" I watched Louis pass the ball to another player. Just like in those dramatic football movies, the score was tied and it would take just one more point to win the whole game. But with the Wild Cougars on the 40 yard line of the opposing team, it didn't seem likely.
I made up my mind and stood on a bleacher. "Make a touchdown, Potts!" I cried.
Number 34 turned around and gave me a huge smile. And then yelled, "Pass Jones!"
The ball soared from one of the players hands and into Louis's arms. He had a gigantic smirk on his face as I saw him throw Dylans and Seamus out of the way.
50, 40, 30, 20, 10 yards . . . No one could catch him!
I cheered loudly as Louis made the final touchdown. People poured out of the stands and onto the fields even though the fourth quarter still had 14 seconds left.
I was the last one down. My stomach ached with pain and it took so much effort to even take a few steps. But at last I reached the huge swarm of people down below. I weaved through the sea of red and black. My hands met others, my shouts joining in with the overwhelming noise. I pushed my way through until I reached the middle.
There he was. The star of the big game.
His necklace was all over him, kissing his cheeks, waving like she was queen.
In his hands was a gold trophy. Hands from all over were reaching out to touch it.
I grinned as he caught my eye. He gave the trophy to Jones, wretched his way out of his girlfriend's grasp, and we both slowly walked to the perimeter of the field. He stopped when we reached the gate that separated the field and sidewalk.
A loud buzzer suddenly broke through the huge chaos. "Congratulations, Potts," I said, smiling.
His eyes shone so brightly with love it made my heart dance.
He reached out and stroked my cheeks. And time stopped, as he leaned in and kissed me.
It felt so right, to be doing this with him. I was on my toes, hands around his neck.
But after a moment I brought my hands to his cheeks and pulled away. "Louis," I said. "I-" I shook my head and tears began rolling down my cheeks. He put his hands on my shoulders. "What?"
"Louis," I said, looking at my shoes. "I- I think I might not just like you. I- I-"
"I love you."
The words came out so slippery and floppy in my mouth. It was nothing like those moments you see on TV. Those three words sounded so stupid and ordinary when I said them.
Louis's hands lifted from my shoulders and he backed against the gate. He steadied himself and brought a hand to his forehead. I saw tears falling from his eyes.
"No!" I cried, running toward him and wiping them away. "Don't cry! Please, don't!" He held the sleeves of my dark green jacket. "I thought you wanted me to cry."
I shook my head. "No, never. It's too sad." Louis sighed suddenly and wrapped me in his arms.
"There's such an age difference, Grace . . ."
My shoulders slumped. I shook my head. "I'm sorry," I said, pulling away form his hug and straightening my jacket. "I'm just a stupid eighth grader."
Louis gave me a warm smile. "No," he said quietly. "You're so much more than that. You're the one person who changed my life, who gave it meaning. You're the person I look forward to seeing every week." And with more tears he spit out, "I love you."
I collapsed on the ground, sobbing. My hands were tangled in my teardrop necklace, never wanting to let go of this moment.
He swooped down and lifted me into his arms. "Age difference," he muttered, turning his head to looks at his friends on the field. "Who cares?"
My eyes shone.
My head leaned against his chest and I listened to the steady rhythm of his heart.
So he was human.
Author's Note: I'd like to thank everyone who supported me and this series. This is probably the saddest thing I will have to ever do, say goodbye to another story. But as long as love is around, some new story will come about.