The game with Cornwall was a huge deal, for everyone, and considering that she was friends with three players Chloe knew that there was no way that she'd be able to get out of going to the game, even if she'd really wanted to. There was no way that the guys wouldn't hunt her down for being so "unpatriotic" like that. Anyway, she knew how important this game was for Duke. Apparently there'd been a huge fight with Cornwall the last time they'd played, and Duke had apparently left the goalie of the other team, some guy named Justin Drayton, crying. While this game was a "friendly" game and whose outcome wouldn't truly affect either's position in the upcoming championship held between the schools in the region, there was apparently a very strong rivalry between Illyria and Cornwall, and she knew that each side would be playing their hardest. This was important for them, and that was why she was standing by the players as they eyed the visiting school's team walk onto the field.
She would've worried about finding a seat up on the bleachers (which was FILLED with people) but she had some friends saving one for her. That was why she was risking being down with the others while Coach Dinklage wasn't looking.
"Oh my god." Toby stared up at the stands. "Eunice is up there." His wide eyes turned to Chloe. "Why is she up there? She never comes to the games!"
The blonde grinned at him. "I asked her to. Thought you'd like it."
"I could hug you right now!" Toby did just that before he pulled away, looked up at the bleachers, and puffed his chest out. "We are so gonna kick Cornwall ass tonight!"
Andrew and Duke shared amused looks.
"GO JUSTIN!" A girl yelled from the stands.
A blonde guy raised his gloved-hand and waved as he smiled at the girl while on his way to the goal post.
Chloe's gaze went to the guy, who had to be Justin Drayton, and raised an eyebrow. She hated to admit it, but the guy was hot. Really hot. Not like Duke though. And where Duke was insecure and adorkable, this guy was all sorts of arrogant and self-assured. She could totally tell from the way he walked and smirked.
Making up her face, she turned to Duke to find him watching her watch Justin. The girl in boy's clothing moved towards Duke and leaned down over the sitting boy's shoulder, her head close to his and her voice lowered so only he could hear her. "He's kinda cute."
Duke tensed. "If you like the preppy asshole look."
She liked teasing him. "I might."
He turned his head to face hers and brought their faces close as he glared at her. "You're joking, right?"
She grinned. "Totally."
He shook his head and chuckled darkly as his gaze went to find Justin Drayton watching them. "I'm going to kick his ass and make him cry, again."
"Hopefully not physically kick his ass." She pursed her lips. "We don't want you to get a red card before the championship even begins."
He turned to face her once more, eyes wide. "You know about red cards?"
She grinned brightly. "I haven't just been ogling your hot self on the field all these times you forced me to come watch you play, you know." She felt quite proud of herself. "I actually have a working understanding of the game."
"Is that so?" He grinned up at her.
"Don't put me to referee or anything, but yeah."
Their gazes locked and they smiled that smile they only had for each other.
"Simmons!" Coach Dinklage's yell had Chloe jumping up and turning to face him with wide eyes. "You're here."
She nodded, somewhat terrified of the man. "Yes. But I'm about to leave. Right now."
"You're watching the game." That sounded like an order.
"Y-yeah." She pointed up to the stands. "I am."
"Good." He glared at her, hands clasped behind his back. "You're Duke's lucky charm so you better not go anywhere. We need you tonight to show these Cornwall bastards their place. Beneath our feet!"
"Yeah!" The players cheered.
"L-lucky charm, coach?" Duke stuttered.
"Don't think I don't see that you've been playing better since this kid has come along, Orsino." Coach Dinklage shot him a look as if asking if Duke thought he were an idiot. "Don't think that I don't know what's going on here."
Duke went pale. "Coach, I don't know what you think—."
"Mr Belch and Mr Aguecheek have told me everything." Coach stormed closer to them, his eyes on Chloe. "They say that you have been forcing the three of them to eat healthier and have been giving them massages to help with their muscles." He narrowed his eyes, voice harsh. "In other words, you've made yourself the unofficial team physician." He slapped Chloe hard on her back and sent her stumbling a couple of steps forwards. "I have seen an improvement in those three since you've come along. I approve." He motioned his thumb towards some of the other players. "Keep it up and I'll hand over a couple of other guys who need a strong hand."
Chloe's eyes widened as she realized exactly what the coach wanted from her. "Uh, I have no training whatsoever."
"Of course you don't, you're in high school you numbskull." He rolled his eyes. "This will be experience! Much better than training!" He clapped Chloe once more on the shoulder. "Go on now, off with you. But stay on the bleachers!"
"Y-yes sir! Coach, I mean!" She shot Duke a little look, mouthed: 'Kick their butts!' and hurried up towards the bleachers. She excused herself passed the people already seated and moved to where Olivia, Maria, Eunice and Malcolm sat. "Thanks for saving the seat for me, you guys!"
"No prob, bro!" Malcolm took in a deep breath and shook his knees in an obviously nervous trait. "I don't usually come to these games. This is my first one."
"Me too," Eunice whispered.
"We usually don't come either, but Cody's right, we need to support the home team." Maria passed Chloe a 'GO ILLYRIA' personal flag.
"Thanks." Chloe smiled at her and gave the flag a little wave. "Thanks you all, guys. I know the team really appreciates the show of support."
Olivia, on Chloe's other side, grinned. "Thanks for inviting us."
Of course she'd invite them. It would be boring to be in the stands by herself, and Olivia cheering Duke on would make him play better.
The girl in boy's clothing bit back the bitter taste that returned to her mouth, and she forced a smile as she turned to Olivia. She leaned in and whispered: "How have things been with Malcolm?"
Olivia blushed slightly as she ducked her head and leaned in as well. "He's actually almost completely stopped stalking me. He's too busy, I think. I mean, even when we're in the same group, like now, he's usually busy talking to Eunice or Andrew or you or even Maria."
Chloe grinned. "That's good."
Olivia nodded. "Thanks."
Malcolm leaned forwards in his seat and gazed passed Maria to Chloe. "You'll never believe what I found out today."
She leaned forwards as well. "What?"
Malcolm raised an eyebrow. "Sebastian Hastings is returning to Illyria."
"Really?" Maria turned to look at him in shock.
Olivia blinked. "I haven't heard anything about that."
"He's so cute," Eunice gushed. "How do you know this?"
"I'm the Dorm Director, of course I know these things." Malcolm puffed out his chest in pride at knowing the news before everyone else.
Chloe thought about it for a moment before she realized where she'd heard that name before. "Wasn't he Duke's old roommate?"
Olivia nodded. "He was a nice enough guy I suppose, just really into his music and nothing much else."
Maria gave a little smile. "I liked his music."
"I did too, don't get me wrong, but there has to be more to life than music." Olivia shook her head.
Intrigued, Chloe spent the first part of the game wondering about Sebastian Hastings, but when Duke scored the first goal she was all into the game again and got up and cheered along with the rest of the Illyrian crowd.
Duke looked up at the stands as he jogged away from the goal post, his team mates slapping his back. His gaze met Chloe's.
She grinned down at him and gave him two thumbs up.
He grinned back, large and happy, before he jogged to his place as the cheering died down and game started once more.
All throughout the game Duke found his gaze heading towards the bleachers, and while sometimes he found Chloe in conversation with someone in her group, most of the time his eyes met hers and he was gifted with a bright smile and a thumbs up or an encouraging wave of her mini flag. Every single time that happened he pushed on harder, and it was only after the second goal that he realized that he wanted to impress her. He wanted her to continue yelling his name out like that, one voice in the multitude that somehow seemed to make its way to his ears despite it all. He didn't glance at Olivia or anyone else, not once. Every single time his gaze went to the bleachers it was like a heat-seeking missile towards Chloe, and every time she smiled brightly it gave him energy and desire to do even better. To prove something, though he wasn't even sure what.
Maybe Coach was unto something. Maybe Chloe was his lucky charm.
The thought made him smile as he stole the ball and sent it flying towards stupid Justin Drayton.
Illyria beating Cornwall was celebrated long and hard, with Duke as personal champion considering he'd scored three of the five goals which had decimated their opponents. Everyone had declared how Duke had been on fire that night, with praises also going to Toby and Andrew, who'd scored the other two goals respectively. Chloe had received another hearty pat on the back from the ever intimidating Coach Dinklage and she was a little worried that because the three players she was "taking care of" had scored the goals that night, that he'd start assigning others to her. She did not want to be a sports doctor and knew that there was no way that her interference in the boys' normal lives was the reason for their apparent improvement. They loved "the beautiful game" as Toby called it, and she knew they practiced their butts off.
Even though the celebrations seemed to be planned to extend into the early morning, Duke had retired relatively early, and Chloe had left with him despite the fact that everyone else (even Eunice and Malcolm) had stayed to party hardy with everyone else.
As soon as the door closed behind them Duke grabbed Chloe by her hips and lifted her in a twirl.
Hands on his shoulders, the blonde laughed. "You were amazing tonight!"
"Did you see the tears in Drayton's eyes?" Duke crowed as he finally lowered her. "He wasn't so hot then, was he?"
"He definitely wasn't." Her laughter was bubbly as she gripped him tightly, a little dizzy. She then remembered something and gave Duke a mischievous look. "Who's last name is Belch? Toby or Andrew?"
"Toby," Duke snickered. "Just don't tell him I told you."
"Oh my god." Her shoulders shook with her laughter.
Duke's expression was wicked.
"Poor Toby!" She decided she wasn't going to tease the poor boy over such an unfortunate last name.
"We call him Belchy sometimes." Duke was all sorts of playful tonight.
She loved it. "You people are horrible friends."
"Nah, we need to keep him humble." Duke leaned in, lips curled in a smile.
Chloe stared up into his face and wasn't sure who moved first, only that she had moved, and met Duke halfway as their lips crashed hungrily against the other's. Her hands cupped his face while his arms curled around her and he kissed her desperately. She smiled into the kiss, loving the feel of his need, and opened her mouth to the kiss, urging him to do the same as she curved in his hold and tilted her head to grant him better access to her mouth.
Duke made a strangled sound in the back of his throat at the first flick of her tongue, and Chloe laughed into the kiss when he backed them against a wall and responded with a flick of his own. He pinned her against the wall with his body, his hands slowly making their way down her shoulders. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him closer before she spun them around and pushed him hard against the wall.
Duke's eyes widened, darkened, and his lips parted. Feeling on fire, Chloe reached up and yanked him down so that their lips could meet in a hungry kiss. She didn't know if it was the excitement from winning the game, or whether seeing Duke so playful and carefree, so comfortable and carefree, was a total turn-on. All she knew was that she needed to kiss him, to touch him, to be as close to him as possible, and if the way he pulled her closer had anything to say about it, he wasn't complaining.
In fact, Duke's whimpers were low and pleasure-filled as he pulled a move similar to what she'd done minutes ago and swung them around so that she was the one once more pressed against the wall. His fingers clasped through hers, their fingers sliding against each other's and clasping tightly into fists which he pinned up above her head as he leaned in closer and took the kiss deeper.
She could hardly think, pleasure and need racing in her stomach as she shifted her body deliberately against the semi-hardness she could feel against her abdomen.
He cried out into her mouth and she could feel him growing harder.
The fact that she could do this to him was a heady thing, and she moved provokingly against him. Despite this she wasn't prepare for when he bucked against her, and this time it washim swallowing her cry as shock and pleasure raced throughout her body.
Duke's lips left hers as he sighed deeply, closed his eyes tighter, and rested their foreheads together.
She stood there, staring up into his face, impressed at his self-control. She could feel against her stomach how affected he was, and yet he'd slowed down and was obviously trying to regain some semblance of control over himself. "You don't need to practice on me."
"I do." He kept his eyes closed.
"But Duke," and it was hard for her to say this, "you're an amazing kisser. Olivia—."
His eyes opened and he stared down at her. "Don't hate me."
Chloe blinked as she looked up at him. "Why would I—?"
"I—uh—I don't—uh," Duke was back to stammering as he licked his lips. "I don't really… I don't want… I'm not into… I…"
Chloe stared up into his face in confusion. "Duke." She reached up and grabbed his chin as she forced him to face her. "What is it?"
"I didn't mean to… I just wanted… Even when I thought…" He closed his eyes tightly once more. "I'm a horrible person."
She blinked, and then blinked again. She didn't know how she knew what he was trying to say, it was a mess for crying out loud, but somehow she did. Her heart skipped a beat and her eyes widened as she stared up at him. "You like me."
He nodded while he kept his eyes closed tightly.
"Since when?" She frowned. "Since we've kissed?"
"Since I thought you were a guy."
She had no idea how to react to this shocking discovery. "What?"
"I thought I was gay." Duke's voice was mournful. "I nearly went insane."
Her heart began to race. "What about Olivia?"
"Do you remember what you told me that night at the cinema?"
She looked up at him. "That you needed to try harder with her?"
"The other part." A dark blush climbed up his neck to the tips of his ears.
For a moment she didn't know what he was talking about, and then she did, and a blush started to climb up her neck as well. "Oh."
"Yeah." He tightened his closed eyes further and lowered his head. "I really was only paying attention to you. And not to Olivia."
"But you two clicked that night, you actually talked."
"We talked about you, Chloe." His voice was agonized. "And about how much we didn't like Dinah. That was our topic. You."
She had no idea what to say to that. Her heart raced like crazy and she could hear it beating like drums.
"I know… I know that you're only doing this to help me…" He couldn't look at her. "I know I'm a mess… I can't talk… I can't express myself… I'm a total mess." He cleared his throat. "I'll understand if you don't feel the same—."
Chloe pressed up on her tip toes, grabbed the front of his shirt, and kissed him deeply, interrupting him with her lips.
His eyes widened and then they closed and his hands were on her arms, gripping her tightly as he returned the kiss with clumsy eagerness that curled her toes.
Duke woke up to find Chloe sleeping next to him on his bed. They were both fully clothed and nothing had happened, but he couldn't keep the cheesy grin off of his face as he looked up at the ceiling. While she hadn't exactly said she liked him he figured her actions from the night before were enough to go by. She liked him enough to make out with him against a wall, make out with him in his bed, and trusted him enough to fall asleep there.
Considering today was saturday, Duke closed his eyes and let himself drift back to sleep. He would sleep in today, and enjoy it fully.
Of course, he had no way of knowing what would happen later that day.