Power to the Players

By Tori M. Pack All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Drama

Natalie Hudson

“There is no way Halo 3 beats Gears of War 3!”

“The graphics on Halo 3 were so jank!”

“What? Are you blind? The graphics were amazing…and who says ‘jank’ anymore?′

Lee, Mark, and I sat back as our club members bickered between them selves about which was the better game. I groaned and looked up at the projector screen. Mark was playing Jak 3 and Lee was trying to get them all to calm down.

“Can’t believe that we’ve got 10 people in our club. 10! We should get some type of trophy for this” I exclaimed, watching him play. He chuckled and glanced over at me. “What’s on your mind? You seem kinda…ghosty,” he asked.

I arched my eyebrows at him. “Ghosty?” I repeated. “Yeah. You know, like you’re not really here” he replied, as if it made perfect sense. I just shook my head and laughed. “I’m thinking about this gi…person I met today,” I said, catching my small slip up.

“What person?” he asked, eyes still glued to the screen. “Just some new girl. Do you know a Natalie?” I asked. He nodded. “Yeah, she was in my art class. Wicked artist. She drew some picture of a dragon thing and painted it. Turned out pretty cool looking” he replied.

So she can draw. Guess I’ll have to keep that in mind. “Mark. Beck. A little help here” Lee pleaded. I sighed and walked over to our members. “Alright everybody. I’m Beck and I’m VP of this club. Lee is the President and I don’t really know what Mark is but he’s in charge too,” I said.

Mark just waved at them and continued playing. “Right. We’re all here for one simple reason, games. Some of you probably think you’re the best around and some of you probably just what somebody else who can appreciate your love of gaming. That’s what this club is for. So every Friday, at 3:30 pm, we’ll meet here until 5:30 and just chill” Lee explained.

One of the guys in the back raised his hand. “Yeah?” Lee said, pointing at him. “I’m Chase. Are you guys gonna provide the stuff or are we going to have to bring stuff in?” he asked. I nodded. “Good question. I actually am gonna bring most of the things in like the consoles or the controllers but you can bring something in if you’d like” I replied.

Chase nodded his head and someone else, a girl this time, raised her hand. Lee pointed to her and I sat back down in my chair. “What type of games are we allowed to bring in?” she asked. “Anything…just please, no K-rated games. We’re all adults here” he replied.

The members laughed and I decided to add something on. “Just nothing too school inappropriate. Mrs. Oleander doesn’t want to catch us in here playing games which, and I quote, sex, drugs, blood, or any other unruly conduct” I said, mocking our principal’s voice.

They all groaned and Lee clapped his hands together. “Other than that. We can play anything else that isn’t on that list”. They all nodded in silent agreement and I walked back over to Mark. “Can you plug in my Xbox for me? I’m gonna head to my locker and grab my things real quick” I asked. He nodded and I walked out the room.

School was always too quiet after hours. It seemed weird to me. Every now and then I would see someone at their locker or someone would walk past me but other than that, nothing happened. I passed by a window and saw our school’s lacrosse team outside practicing.

I glanced through most of the classes and kept walking. Teacher. Teacher. Janitor. Teacher. Teacher. Teacher and a janitor. Teacher. Teacher. Natalie…Natalie?! I turned back around and looking in the door.

Sure enough, Natalie was there, standing in front of a easel painting a picture. I watched as she swirled the paintbrush around some green paint and add it on to the canvas. She seemed to be concentrating hard on her masterpiece and I was a little taken aback.

She was in her own world when she painted. Completely mesmerized by what she was doing. I slowly walked toward her to get a better look but my foot hit a pencil, sending it flying across the floor and making enough sound for her to notice me.

She spun around quick and our eyes met once again. “Hey. What’re you drawing?” I asked, putting my hands in my sweater pockets and smiling at her. She looked back at her canvas and I stood beside her.

“I don’t really know yet. It’s a work in progress” she replied softly. She put her brush down and wiped her hands on a rag next to the cans of paint. “So you draw I’m guessing?” I said, wanting to start a conversation.

“I don’t draw. I paint. There’s a difference” she shot back, ignoring me. “How so?” I asked, raising an eyebrow at her. “Everybody draws as soon as there pencil hits the paper and starts making a shape. Someone paints when paint is involved,” she explained, looking over at me.

“Ok. So you paint?” I asked. “Yes. I paint”. She walked over to her stuff and I studied what was on the canvas. There was a picture or an outline of a small town. Most of it was still blank with no color but what was colored in showed two buildings and half of what looked to be a taxi.

“You’re hometown?” I asked, pointing to the canvas. She nodded. I looked back over the picture and then at her. “You must miss it there” I said out loud. “Kind of, yeah. My father got a job offer here and he just had to take it” she huffed.

“I take it you’re not too happy about that” I said. She narrowed her eyes at me. “Why have you been asking so many questions?” she asked, crossing her arms over her chest. “I didn’t know it bothered you that much. Sorry but I’m just trying to get to know you” I replied, looking away from her.

“Why?” she asked, not relinquishing her glare. “Because…because I’m just trying to be nice. You didn’t seem to have a problem with it today in Government” I replied, getting a little smug towards the end. Her glare dropped and she looked at the ground.

I looked at her, trying to read her facial expression but she moved to quick and grabbed her things, heading toward the door. “Wait!” I yelled, running behind her. She stopped in her tracks and I walked in front of her.

“Maybe we just got started on the wrong foot huh? I’m Beck, you’re Natalie. Why can’t we just…I don’t know, start over again?” I asked, softening my gaze as she shifted back and forth on her feet nervously.

“There’s nothing to start over about. I’m happy alone” she replied. My heart jumped at her words and I smiled. “No one is happy alone. That’s why God invented strippers,” I said. She giggled a bit but still wouldn’t look at me.

“Why are you here?” she asked randomly. I had totally forgot about going to my locker. “Oh yeah! Um…my friends and I started a Video Game club and today is our first meeting so…” I replied in slight embarrassment.

She looked up at me with a small smile on her face. “Seriously?” she teased. “What? I’m a nerd, I know!” I exclaimed, smiling back at her. She laughed and started walking beside me down the hall. “Why are you here?” I shot back.

“Wanted to finish that painting but didn’t have time in class. So I asked if I could stay after and finish it,” she replied. “But it’s still not done yet” I said; motioning toward the classroom we just left. “Well duh! You came in and I lost focus,” she said, rolling her eyes at me.

I frowned. “Sorry. You know, you didn’t have to run out of there. You could have just told me to leave,” I mumbled. “No. I’m not that rude” she said, looking over at me. I smiled and stopped at my locker. “Why are you so interested in me Beck?” she asked.

The sound of my name coming out of her mouth almost made me moan but I quickly bit down on my tongue. I rolled in my combination and opened my locker door. “Um…don’t know” I replied quickly, pulling out my book bag and relocking the door.

“What do you mean ‘you don’t know’?” she asked, leaning against the locker next to mine. “Well, why did you grab my thigh today in Government?” I teased. She looked back at the ground again. “Don’t know…” she mocked.

I groaned and put my bookbag on my right shoulder, heading back toward my previous destination. I noticed she was still walking with me and I smirked at her. “What?” she growled, smirking back at me. “Nothing. Nothing…just wondering why you’re following me” I mumbled.

“I’m not! The way toward the lobby is this way!” she exclaimed, pointing toward the exit. My eyes widened and I ran my left hand over my neck. “Oh…” I said in embarrassment. We walked in silence for a bit until we got to the lobby doors.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow” I said, heading toward the classroom. “Beck?” I turned back around and looked at her. She bit her lower lip and then walked up toward me. “Thanks for uh…being nice to me today” she said timidly.

I just shrugged. “No need to thank me,” I said, trying to forget about how close she was to me. She nodded and wrapped her arms around my neck. I was kind of surprised but then I realized she was just giving me a hug. I wrapped my arms around her waist and hugged her back.

“I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye”. She let go of me and strolled out the doors toward the student parking lot. I stood by the doors and watched her get in her car and drive away. There was something about her I just couldn’t put my finger on.

I walked back down to the classroom and saw the members sitting around talking and playing on Lee’s PS3. Mark had plugged in my Xbox 360 and I put my bookbag down on the floor. Mark noticed me and frowned. “Jeez, took you long enough Beck” he groaned.

I chuckled and sat down next him, noticing that he was now playing Final Fantasy XII. “Sorry. Bumped into Natalie on the way to my locker” I explained, picking up a controller. He raised an eyebrow at me. “What was she doing after school?” he asked.

“Finishing up a painting she started on in class,” I replied. “The dragon one?” he asked, clicking the pause button on the controller. “No. It was a different one” I replied, plugging in my controller. He nodded and hit the pause button again, restarting the game.

“She seems, I don’t know, different,” I said. “She kinda is. She’s not like a lot of the girls around here” he replied bluntly. We played in silence for a few minutes but then I had to ask.

“Mark, do you like Melody?” I asked. He frowned. “Beck, I’m with Hope. Of course I don’t like Melody” he replied. I groaned. “Not like that! I mean, as a friend. She thinks that you guys don’t like her,” I repeated.

He thought about it for a minute and then sighed. “It’s not that we don’t like her. It’s just that…it’s kinda like, she looks down on us. I know she’s always been the ‘popular’ one but…it’s hard to explain,” he said.

“Oh. I was just wondering because…I guess, I hoped that she would get along with you all” I said honestly. “Yeah I know Beck. But think about it. Do her friends like you?” he asked. I frowned. “Hell no! I hate those bitches” I replied angrily.

Mark laughed and I tried to calm down. “I guess you both just don’t like to share each other. She doesn’t wanna share you and you don’t wanna share her. The bad part is that you still want us to be friends with you and she still wants them to be friends with her,” he explained.

He was right. I was happy to say it but he was right. “Are you sure you’re a sophomore?” I teased. He just laughed and continued. “Beck! You wanna get in on this GOW 3 action?” Lee asked from across the room.

I arched my eyebrows and looked over at my bookbag, noticing that it was unzipped. “Jeez, you just couldn’t wait could you Crazian?” I groaned. He laughed and I walked over towards him and sat down.

“You know how I get about GOW,” he said, handing me the wireless controller. I just laughed and we started to play.

I sat on my computer, staring at my Facebook profile and the picture of me with my orange hat on, smiling at the camera. I scrolled down the page and looked at my most recent activity. Nothing was really on there except friends that I had added.

A box popped up in the lower left corner and I looked over at it. “Natalie Hudson has sent you a friend request?” I read outloud. I clicked on the name and wanted for the site to load.

There was the picture of a town where the profile picture should be and I stared at the photo. It looked pretty familiar. Where had I seen this picture before? I thought about it for a while and then remembered Natalie’s painting.

Oh duh! Of course it was Natalie! It said her name right there! I sighed at my temporary lack of brains and clicked the “accept” button. I scrolled around Natalie’s page and clicked on “info”.

Sex: Female

Birthday: January 8, 1992

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Parents: Richard Hudson- Father. Katherine Hudson- Mother.

Relationship Status: Single

Interested In: Women

Looking For: Friendship

Political Party: Does it Matter?

Religion: _

Like and Interests:

Activities: Listening to music, hanging out with my friends, PAINTING! : P, watching movies, spending time alone.

Interests: Music, painting…nothing else really

Music: Rock & Roll, R&B, Some metal.

TV: Don’t watch much

Movies: Ask and I’ll tell

Books: Don’t read that much anymore

Quotes: _

About Me: I’m Natalie Grrrrr!

I found myself laughing hysterically and I almost fell out of my chair. At least I knew more about her now. Wait! What was that?

Interested In: Women

Women? Maybe I do actually have a shot with her…I mean, if I was interested! Right. Yeah. If I was interested.

I decided to play with her a little and clicked on the “chat” button and “Natalie Hudson”.

Me: You trying to stalk me now?

Natalie Hudson: I didn’t know it was stalking to add someone as a friend.

Me: I just read your info.

Natalie Hudson:…And?

Me: It was pretty funny actually.

Natalie Hudson: What’s so funny about it?

Me: I’m Natalie Grrrr! Lmao.

Natalie Hudson: Well, I am Natalie.

Me: Yeah but you’re nowhere near intimidating.

Natalie Hudson: I can be intimidating when I wanna be!

Me: Yeah, I’m sure you could.

Natalie Hudson: Well…I read yours too. So ha!

Me: There’s nothing funny about mine.

Natalie Hudson: Oh yeah! Clears throat My names Becca but I hate being called that so please call me Beck. Anybody who wants to know more, hit me up! Peace! Lmao.

Me: What? There’s nothing wrong with that!

Natalie Hudson: Hit me up? Really Beck? You should give me your password so that I can clean your profile.

Me: Nah. I don’t give my password to total strangers.

Natalie Hudson: Ouch. That kinda hurt :(

Me: You’re just mad because you know that better than ‘I’m Natalie Grrrr!’

Natalie Hudson: Actually it was just embarrassing.

Me: I didn’t know you were into girls.

She didn’t reply for a few minutes, so I started scrolling around and listening to music on my ITunes. Finally, she wrote something back.

Natalie Hudson:…Does that bother you?

Me: No actually. I don’t really care what your sexual orientation is.

Natalie Hudson: Oh….I was just wondering.

Me: So, are you gonna tell me why you gave me a hug today?

Natalie Hudson: Do I really need to have a reason for hugging you?

Me: Oh, so you just wanted to?

Natalie Hudson: Yes…I guess you could say that.

Me: So, are we friends now? Does this mean you’re going to be nice to me now?

Natalie Hudson: We were friends were I sent you that request. And I’m already nice to you.

Me: You tease me. How’s that being nice?

Natalie Hudson: It’s friendly teasing! And you know you like it!

Me: Whatever Natalie.

Natalie Hudson: Whatever Beck.

I smiled as we continued back and forth. We must have talked for a while. When I logged in, it was close to 6pm. Now it was around 11:14pm. I yawned and looked back at the clock, not believing how late it was.

Me: We’ve been talking for 5 hours and 14 minutes!

Natalie Hudson: Have we really? :o

Me: Yeah! I don’t think I’ve ever carried a conversation with someone for 5 hours and 14 minutes!

Natalie Hudson: So have you ever carried a conversation with someone for 5 hours and 13 minutes? ;)

Me: Ha-ha. Very funny. But no. It’s getting pretty late though.

Natalie Hudson: Yeah it is. I’ll talk to you tomorrow Beck.

Me: Alright. And Natalie?

Natalie Hudson: Yeah?

Me: Uh…Good night.

Natalie Hudson: Good night Beck. Sweet dreams.

She logged off and I leaned back in my chair and sighed. I could honestly say that I liked Natalie. I was definitely interested in her. But was she interested in me?

“Beck! Are you still on that computer?” My mom yelled from downstairs. I shut down my computer and climbed in bed. “No mom! Good night!” I yelled back. I turned off the lamp next to my bed and looked up at the ceiling.

Relationship Status: Single

Not for long.

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