Under No Circumstances


Sofia has always loved the first day back to school.
From the first day outfit to the new classes to the new people she’d meet. As she got dressed in a pretty new sundress that she had picked out just for this day, she wondered what exciting things were going to happen this year, junior year. She heard her brother, Lucas,

shouting for her to hurry up.

“I’ll be right there!
Cálmese!” (Calm down!) Sofi shouted. Her mom was a first generation American, born right after Sofia’s grandparents moved from Mexico, and her father was from Spain, so she grew up hearing and speaking Spanish.  She put on some mascara quickly, giving herself a  once over to make sure that she looked alright. She would be seeing her crush, Matthew Martin, for the first time since the last day of school.  Matthew was the quarterback of their high school football team, which, in their home state of Texas, was the biggest accomplishment that could happen to any athlete. He was one of Sofia’s kind of friends. They sat at the same lunch table, as they were both athletes, and had French class together last year where they sat right next to each other every day. He even came to a few of her soccer games, where she was the star player. She exhaled and tried to push her worry away. She knew that he would either like her or he wouldn’t. Either way, it would be fine. That’s what she told herself, at least.

“Sofia!” her brother shouted again. She rolled her eyes as she trudged down the stairs. She walked over to the kitchen, grabbing an apple from the counter and some money from the fridge that her dad had left for lunches. She found Lucas at the kitchen table with his best friend, William. Liam was acting like he was at his house, which, she guessed, wasn’t too far off. Liam was always over at their house, hanging out with Lucas during all of their free time. The boys were both seniors this year, but they had senioritis since they were freshman, never doing their homework or studying for important tests, so they were always together.

“I’m here.
” she said annoyed.

” Liam replied, smirking. He was always picking on her, Sofia thought. It was never very offensive, just slightly irritating in the same way that Lucas teased her. She rolled her eyes, making her way toward her brother’s car. She had her own car, due to her father’s great job, but they always carpooled to school.

Lucas and Sofi were close, bonded by the years and years of them growing up together with only a year separating them.
She hopped in the front seat of his car, sticking her tongue out at Liam when he opened the passenger side door to get her to move.

“I will pick you up.
” he threatened. She raised her eyebrows and pointed to the back seat, a smirk finding her face when he huffed and went behind her.

The car ride to school was about fifteen minutes and filled with fights over music and annoying pokes from Liam in the back seat.

“How old are you?
Five?” she asked. She honestly couldn’t believe that he was one of the most popular guys in the school. He was on both the football team and the baseball team, ever the athlete and ladies’ man. 

“Maybe.” he responded. He grabbed the aux cord from in front of me, plugging it into his phone and
playing some stupid rap music.
Sofia turned around to glare at him because of his song choice, but he just
smiled sweetly back.
When they finally pulled into a parking space, people were hanging out to left and
right of their spot.
Sofia opened her door and grabbed her bag out of the car. She moved toward her best
friends who were hanging out in the front lawn of their huge high school.
She passed the designated
parking space for the quarterback, a real thing in her Texas hometown, and saw Matthew laughing with his
He glanced at her from his spot on the back of his truck, smiling and waving when they made eye
Sofia squealed internally but calmly waved back. She tucked a couple strands of her wavy dark
brown hair behind her ear and continued walking toward her friends.

“Hey, girl!
” her bestest friend, Isabella, greeted, hugging her quickly and firmly. She greeted her other close
friends in her innermost circle, Jessica, Ellie, Luna, Chris, Mark, and Ben.
She hugged all of them and they
told each other about their summers.

“Okay, okay, enough about that.
Sofi, did I see the Matthew Martin wave and smile at you?” Ellie asked
Sofia giggled and nodded. Her cheeks were burning a little as she thought about how long she
had liked Matthew.
Freshman year. He had picked up her books after they fell out of her locker. He had
been a sophomore and so charming.
He knew her brother, as he was in the same year, but he didn’t seem
to care that she was Lucas Sanchez’s  sister.

Her and her friends made their way inside the school as the first warning bell rang.
Sofia looked down at
her printed schedule, seeing that she had English first period, and groaned.
English was her least favorite
class because of how stupid she found the strict interpretations of books and the long, boring essays.
walked with Jessica, as they had the same class, and walked into the room.
The class was full of annoying
first day rules and get-to-know-each-other games.
When the class was finally over, she sighed in relief and
walked to her next class, French.
It was a senior French class, with plenty of people who knew her brother. 
It’s Sanchez’s little sister!” one of them yelled when Sofi walked in. She rolled her eyes but smiled. 
Her brother was at the top of the food chain here at Cedarville High School, and because of her familial
relation to him, everyone knew and loved her too.
It was a sort of obligation love. They loved her brother,
and her brother loved her, so they kind of had to love Sofia.

She saw Liam talking to Matthew in the back row of seats and headed that way, where she tried to
inconspicuously get them to invite her to sit near them.
It worked.

Come sit over here!” Matthew called. She turned around with an award-winning smile.
Sofia knew she was pretty.
She never told anyone, but she knew. She knew because her brother looked
very similar to her, and everyone told him how attractive he was.
And, besides, she had plenty of people
ask her out.
She heard their nervous voices and saw their shaky hands. She wasn’t the type to be arrogant
and act like she was better than anyone else.
She just knew that she was good looking.

Not for the first time, she hoped Matthew found her beautiful.
She practically ignored Liam when he
nodded his head in greeting and sat on the other side of him, the only open spot near them.
Sofia leaned
over Liam and began talking to Matthew.

” she said, all calm tones and confident smiles. 

“Hey, Sofia.
” he replied, the urgency that was there when he called her over was gone, and his charm was
back on.

“Oh, hey back, Sof.
” Liam teased, moving his head so it was in between Matthew and Sofia. She fake smiled
at him, then pushed his head out of the way.
She saw him roll his eyes from the corner of her eye, and she
almost smiled in victory.

“How’ve you been, beautiful?
” Matt asked. Sofi fought her blush and grinned internally at him
complimenting her.

“I’ve been pretty good.
Totally depressed that school’s back, though.” she said, still smiling flirtatiously. 
“What’re you talking about?
You love the first day of school.” Liam interrupted. Sofia glared at him, wanting
to flip him off and yell at him.

“I like the first day of school better than any other day, but I wish it was still summer.
” she said pointedly.
Matthew just laughed and lightly pushed Liam toward the back of the chair.

“So, you coming to the back to school party this weekend?
” he asked. Her heart beat faster as he himself
turned flirtatious.

“Thinkin’ about it.
” she responded, thinking it’d be better to leave him wondering. 

“Please, like Lucas would let you go to that.
” Liam interrupted yet again. 

“Lucas doesn’t control me.
” she responded, gritting her teeth and clenching her jaw. Liam just scoffed and
shook his head.

“Well, listen, if your brother, you know, ‘let’s you go’,” he said, using air quotes.
“I would love for you to be
You know where my house is, right?” he smirked. If Sofia was unsure about whether Matthew was
flirting with her, her doubts were wiped away.
Sofi looked down at the desk and then back up at him, a shy
smile playing on her lips.
Matthew’s eyes quickly went down to the smile on her lips before jumping back
to her eyes.
Sofi swore she saw the tips of his ears turn red for a second, which she found ridiculous. He was the star quarterback and one of the hottest and sweetest guys in town. Her making him blush was surely just the product of her wild imaginations. 

All through the class, she saw Matt glancing at her and Liam’s eyes judging both of their every moves.
thought that French might very well be her favorite class this year.

At lunch, she headed over to her lunch table and sat on her side.
Normally, the most popular people sat at
one side of the table and the less popular people sat on the other side, her side.
Sofia was popular because
of her brother and her incredible soccer moves.
People respected her for more than just her family, which
was the only thing that kept her from going mad in the shadow she lived in for all of her life.

Today, however, as she made her way toward her side of the table, she saw an unfamiliar addition.
crush, the Matthew Martin, was sitting on her side and laughing with her friends.
He smiled at Sofi as she
made her way toward the table, surprise filling her facial features.
He had never looked so attractive. She
saw some of the other more popular people come join on her side of the table, but one spot was left open.

The spot right next to Matt.
Her smile grew.

She saw her brother and his best friend sit down across from Matt, looking protective.
Sofia moved faster
toward the table, worried about what Lucas would say to the guy who had stolen her heart.

“So, Matt, why’re you sitting over here?
” Lucas asked as Sofi sat down.

“No reason.
” he said, while glancing over at her with a big smile on his face. This time, Sofia didn’t fight the
It took over her face, making her feel hot and uncomfortable. Matt’s smile turned soft, and he
brushed a piece of hair behind her ear.
It certainly didn’t help her blush go away. Lucas and Liam stared a
hole into the hand that was hovering near Sofi’s ear.
Lucas cleared his throat loudly, forcing Matt’s eyes
away from her.
She rolled her eyes and glared at her brother, shooting both of the boys a questioning

“Seriously, bro, why are we here?
” Lucas asked, voice getting more aggressive. 

” Sofia said under her breath.

“Sofia Emilia Liliana Sanchez!
” Lucas growled. Sofi pouted and put her head in her hands in

“Pretty name.
” Matt said under his breath. This only made Liam angrier.

“Hey, lover boy, we’re talkin’ to you.
” he growled. Sofi looked up from her hands and glared at him.

Stop! Matt hasn’t done anything wrong!” she exclaimed. He, for the first time, brought his harsh
look to her.

“You don’t understand, Sof.
We’re making sure he doesn’t hurt you.” he said stone faced. Sofia rolled her

“I’m not going to hurt her.
Listen, Sof and I are good friends.” Matt explained, effectively confusing Sofia.
“Don’t call her that.
” Liam ordered. That one Sofia understood. Those two boys had been calling her “Sof”
for as long as she can remember.
It was a nickname she only liked for a few people to call her. So when
Matt looked to her to defend him, she shrugged.

“It’s kinda a personal nickname.
” she said apologetically. Matt rolled his eyes, but she saw Liam's small
She had to hold back her own smile. She can still remember when Liam and Lucas started calling her
“Sof” the day before she started kindergarten.
They were calming her fears of school. 
“You’ll be fine, Sof.
” Lucas promised.

“Yeah, Sof, we’ll be there to protect you.
” Liam had added. She had smiled for the first time that whole day
and hugged them both.
She always felt like she had two brothers: Lukey and Will.

Matt touched her hand to bring her out of her reverie.
Her heart rate shot up and her breathing got

“Are you okay?
You kinda zoned out for a minute there.” He shot her a crooked smile to which she just

“You know what?
Maybe we should just switch seats.” Lucas suggested. 

No. He’s fine.” Sofi demanded. Lucas and Liam started their own conversation but kept glancing

back at the two “friends”.

“I’m so sorry about them.
” she whispered.

“Totally worth it.
” he whispered back. Sofia blushed wildly. “You’re so cute.” he added, almost shyly. Sofia
was now tomato red and hiding her head in her hands.

“You’re embarrassing me.
” she groaned with a laugh. 

“And you’re way too pretty to hide your face from me.

She looked up quickly, smiling wide.
She turned her face from him to hide her happiness at his
She caught Liam staring at her, no anger apparent in his face. Instead, he looked confused
and little… sad?
Sofia couldn’t quite place the emotion as their eyes locked. She cocked her head to the
side, but Liam just shrugged sadly.

She turned her attention back to the gorgeous guy beside her. His blond hair looked brighter due to the
summer sun and his clear green eyes looked bright as he took her in.
He was insanely strong, his arm
muscles stood out of his short sleeved t-shirt.
He was wearing blue jeans that made him look even taller
He was already six foot three, so looking taller was practically impossible.

“So, ready for your first game in two weeks?
” Sofia asked the handsome football player.

“Yeah, actually, really ready.
Practice has been going really well. You gonna be there cheering me on?” he
Sofia leaned in a little, noticing that the closer she got the more his pupils dilated. 

“I don’t know…” she drew out the words with a seductive gaze.
His breathing hitched.

“Oh, get a room!
” her friend, Luna, yelled.

“Uh, no, don’t get a room!
” Sofia’s brother exclaimed.

“Oh, calm down, Lucas.
She’s not a baby anymore. She’s a grown-ass woman.” Luna argued.

“Luna, thanks for taking for me, but I got it.
” she turned to Lucas. “I’m not a baby anymore, Lucas. But Matt
and I are just friends.
” Sofia didn’t sound very convincing, but she saw Matt shift away a few inches. 
She really couldn’t win, could she?

She ignored the boys for the rest of lunch. She just talked to Matt, even when he stopped flirting and was a
little colder than at the beginning of lunch.

“Matthew, are you okay?
” she asked him, worried that he was no longer interested. Her brother always
drove all of her past boyfriends and dates away.
She didn’t want Matt to go away.

“Yeah, fine, Sofia.

“You can call me Sofi, you know.
” she said with a small smile.

“Oh, I can, can I?
” he asked rudely.

Only my brother and Liam have called me Sof since I was five. I’m sorry, but it’s not that big of a
” Sofia explained. 

“Logically, I know that.
It’s just that...” he began before lowering his voice to a whisper. “I don’t like the way
Liam looks at you.
Talks to you. You mean something to him. And clearly he means something to you, too.
he complained.

“Matt, he’s like a brother to me.
I’ve known him since I was born. He’s family.” Sofia explained.
Matthew visibly exhaled.
Sofia secretly liked that he was jealous. It meant he cared, and she liked that.
” she asked. “Do you like me?” Sofia asked with a burst of confidence. Matthew didn’t answer for a
while, and her confidence went away quickly.
She looked down at her hands. Matthew took a finger and
put it beneath her chin, lifting her eyes toward him.

“Sofia Sanchez, I do like you.
I like you a lot.” he admitted. Sofia’s heart raced and her eyes lit up. “Do you
want to go out with me sometime?
Like a date?” he asked.

“I would, actually.

“Well, that’s good.
” he said. They were being jokingly casual. They leaned into each other. Sofia was excited
beyond any past excitement.
She had been waiting for this for years. 

But when she looked away for a split second, she saw Liam’s face fall.
And she couldn’t for the life of her
figure out what emotion was in his eyes when he started at her.

She thought it was close to longing, but she knew that would be insane.

Liam didn’t long for her.
He didn’t want her. 

And she didn’t want him.


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