Fallen (The Transformed Prequel) (Chapter Five, page 2 of 6)

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I walked a little closer to the game until I was near the bleachers. I took a seat, trying to be inconspicuous. It didn't work because Tanner looked up and saw me, running into another player, who shoved him. Tanner looked back at me and then to the other player and hit him. The other one hit Tanner back, and soon they were rolling around on the ground wrestling. Tanner's helmet had come off and the other guy was taking shots at his face.

The coach blew his whistle and several of the other players ran to them, trying to pull them apart. After they did, the coach ran over and yelled at them, pointing to a bench. The two of them argued as they walked off the field to the bench.

When the practice was over, I walked up to Tanner who looked thoroughly embarrassed.

"Sorry you had to see that. I'm surprised you stuck around after that."

"Why? It was obvious that the other players were being rude to you on purpose. I don't know how the coach couldn't see it."

"He chooses not to."

"If you'd rather, I won't watch you practice anymore."

His heart picked up speed. "You can watch anytime you want. I was just surprised when I saw you and then I ran into the biggest jerk on the team."

"Do you want me to let you get cleaned up? Then I'll meet you at your car."

"I usually wait until everyone else has cleared out of the locker room before I go in there. Like I said, they treat me pretty bad since those rumors went around."

"You have to fight back, like you did on the field."

He shook his head. "They're not worth it."

"They're making you miserable. You're worth it. You want me to take them out for you?"

Tanner laughed, obviously unaware of what I was truly capable of. "No thanks. I'll fight my own battles."

I ran my fingers over a bruise on his chin. "I could always hang on you and be your groupie. Then maybe they'd leave you alone, seeing that you-what's wrong?"

He had tears in his eyes that he was trying to blink away. He cleared his throat. "Nothing. Why would you offer to do that for me? Why do you care? You're more beautiful than any other girl in the school and I'm obviously just some loser that nobody likes."

His vulnerability awoke emotions from deep inside that I wasn't even aware were there. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and protect him, take care of him. I was confused by the strange, selfless emotions. "You're nothing of the sort," I whispered, pulling him to me. The smell of his sweat combined with dirt and grass wrapped itself around me. "There's something special about you that none of those idiots can see."

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