At Any Cost | Book One of Exafortespent

By Alma Azura Celia All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Drama

Forty One: The Deal

“Ashley, come here!” Coach yells. I catch the ball Brodie throws at me and keep it inside my glove, glancing at coach who's standing there with his arms folded in front of his chest, his stares piercing through me.

I throw the ball back to Brodie and the ball gets into his glove with ease. I nod my chin, telling him silently that I should go to coach, and he nods his head, allowing me to go. I jog towards coach, slipping my hand off of my glove and come into a stop in front of him.

“Yes, coach?” I look at his expressionless face, nervousness build up inside me as I ask myself what makes him calling me.

Did I do something wrong? Did I do something that I don't realize that makes him mad? I hope I didn't because I just join this team for a few weeks. And if he kicks me out of the team, it only makes Matthew even more happier and would make me suffer in this world even more.

He unfolds his arms and his stare still boring into my eyes, not even blinking once since the first time I got in front of him. He finally blink his eyes and relaxes his body.

“So, I’ve been watching you practicing," I nod, anxiety building up inside my body as I wait impatiently for him to continue his words. "And I guess you are ready for tomorrow.” A faint smile appears on his face and a gasp comes past my lips.

What? Did I just hear the right thing or am I just misheard it? It can’t be possible if he wants me to play tomorrow for the match. I’m not ready yet. And the match tomorrow would be an impossible thing to do if I join them playing in it.

I could probably make my team lose. And the worst thing that could happen: Matthew would begin to give me those cold stares after days he's not really doing that to me.

Coach's eyes wandering around the field, searching for something, or someone to be exact, until his eyes stop at someone and I turn around and find Chris already staring at my way.

“Chris, come here!” Coach yells and my eyes widen in shock as I turn around quickly and look at him who seems like didn't really care if he scares me to death. I don't even understand why do I get so shocked.

I turn my head, slowing my breathing and see Chris, standing there in front of me and Coach, too close to me, and almost making me jump backward in shock, again.

What's wrong with me?! Why am I so jumpy right now?

"Yes, Coach?" Chris that was looking at coach with confusion smiling at me, stifling his laughter. I glare at him only to make his smile stretches wider on his face.

“Are you okay with Ashley playing and you stay?” Coach asks, making me spin my head around and look at him with wide eyes, perplexed.

I can’t believe he asked Chris to back off and give me a pass to play. I mean, how can he lets go of one of his best players and change it to me? It’s just sounds like he's committing a suicide for this team to me.

Chris looks away from me and Coach hesitantly. His eyes searching for the ground as he thinks about his answer, which are letting me play or not.

After a brief moment waiting for him to answer Coach's question anxiously, he finally look up at coach, hint of sadness in his eyes, and he let out a sigh.

“Yes, coach. It’s fine.” He smiles at us approvingly, but in his eyes, sadness still glinting it it. I look at him, with an uncomfortable feeling started to form inside my body.

My heart decides to wipe out that forced sad smile on his face by make him take his chance for the few times and play, but my brain tells me to play so I can get my revenge on Matthew.

So which one should I follow? My heart or brain?

And I think about him again, the look of disappointment and sadness on his face disturb me the most. It won’t come out of my brain. His face keeps getting imagined by me and make my heart throbs a little.

I’m afraid that I could ruin his chance on playing tomorrow after he has practiced his ass off for a couple of weeks for the match. And if he’s actually hurting on the inside when he lets me play. I can’t forgive myself.

“Really? Don’t you want to play too?” I frown, staring at him with doubt. He lets out a sigh, the smile on his face fades away as his stare averted to the grass once again.

“I want to.” He shoves his hands into the pocket of his pants, a little frown on his face. After a few seconds standing there doing nothing but staring at the grass, he bring his gaze back to me and smile. “But you haven’t played at all so I’m fine.” He shrugs his shoulders.

He sacrifices his chance to play and win for the team, and I should use this chance he gives me as best as I can. I can't let him down. I can't let him regret his own choice for giving me his chance. I have to make him proud as little as possible. And this is also a chance for me to prove Matthew that I'm better than him. I have to prove him that I, a girl with no experience in baseball, can do better than him that already have a lot of experiences on the field.

I should be proud of myself that I can play in this game and have a chance to win this game against Beverly High team with such great players in my team as the boys.

“Thank you.” I smile.

“Sure. But that mean you have to be the pitcher.” I gape at Chris, shocked. I cover my mouth with my hand quickly.

“What?” He does a little shrug and nod his chin toward Coach. I turn my body and looking at coach questioningly, searching for answers for him. But all he does is just standing there before me.

“Coach, I can’t be a pitcher. We could get lost.” I panic at the thoughts. He keeps staring at me, his stare is cold and make me even more panicky and anxious. A laugh comes out from him and he reaches out for my shoulder, placing his hand there.

“You’re not going to. Chris place will be replaced with Matthew and you can take Matthew's place which is the first base.”

“Oh.” I stand there, staring at the grass when the words sink into my head and make my head snap up at Coach and look at him wide-eyed.

I can’t take the first base. Or anything! I’m not ready yet to do fielding. Not yet.

“But I can’t. The first base is kind of the decider they would win. If I can’t take them down on the first base, that mean they have a lot of chances to win.”

“No, it’s the easiest one.” Coach retorts. “The harder one is if you have to take the third base. You failed on taking the ball, then they could win. If you missed to take them down on the first base, there’s still two base left for them to pass. And for the plus point, the home base. But still, without anyone else, it would be such a waste. All the positions in this game are important. You're supporting each other to defense your team from losing and so you get to win.”


“No buts, Ashley. Do you want this or not? If you want to, Chris can’t play. And vice versa.” He stares seriously at me, and nervousness form inside me all over again.

Do I want it or not? Do I want it or not?

I let out a sigh and let my stare fall to the grass beneath me as I fiddling with my own hands. “Of course I want it, coach.”

“Then tell me. Can you do it?” I gather all the courage in me and look up at him. Taking a deep breath into my lungs, I nod my head. “Yes coach.”

“If that’s so, continue your practice.” I nod my head again at him, a little too vigorously. “Yes coach.”

“Matthew!” I make a run toward him and halt a little bit too close to him, almost crash into his back. I take a step back quickly as he turns his body around. I stare up at him and my eyes meet his blue eyes staring at me coldly.

“What Ashley?” He crosses his arms, his height towering me and suddenly make me feel so small in front of him. I take in a deep breath, and try to talk calmly to him, not like I always do, snapping at him.

“Hear me out.” I say calmly, though his freaking face looking so annoying I want to punch him hard.

“I’m listening.” He says, still looking annoying as he was before, or I could say, like every other day.

“I want to make a deal with you.”

We stand there with silence between the two of us. I wait for him to respond to my words, maybe he would snap at me and telling me it’s such a stupid thing I’ve ever said to him or maybe yelling at my face and leave. But no, he just stand there, staring at me boringly just like nothing really matter to him.

“What deal?”

I take in a deep breath and begin to talk, trying to stay calm while his annoying face looking down at me.

“Okay. So, If I can do at least one home run, you have to apologize to me for everything you have done to me and you have to do what I want you to do. But if I can’t do a home run, then you can do whatever you want to me.” I explain.

“Well, too bad for you. You’re going to lose the deal you make yourself.” He frowns and click his tounge, looking at me with underestimation that showing clearly on his face.

“Don’t be so cocky with your words. You’ll regret it.” I smile at him, ignoring his words.

“No, I won’t. Now excuse me, I need to go. Far away from you.” He narrows his eyes at me angrily and turns his body, begin to walk away from me as what he told me before. But before he even walk further away from me, I walk up to him.

“Wait, so, do we have the deal?” I hold out my hand, offering it for him to shake. He turns around again and look down at my hand, and just stare at it for a second and look back at my face.

“Deal.” He says, not even mind to shake my hand. I pull my hand back awkwardly and look up at him. I open my mouth to say something but Matthew beat me on that.

“You will lose this shit, I know it.” He lets out a scoff, mocking me with a smug look on his face. I groan at him, feeling annoyed by him again.

“Just fucking go already.” I roll my eyes at him and fold my arms in front of my chest, staring at him boringly.

“Well, I was going to before you make this damn deal with me.” He says, and now it's his turn to roll his eyes at me.

“Well, I'm sorry I waste your time, princess.” I roll my eyes again at him, getting more annoyed by his act. He rolls his eyes at me and walk away.

Just watch out boy, or that big ego of yours will make you regret yourself born in this world.

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