Picking the Wallflower

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Chapter 4

Excerpt

Blog post 2044, 15 November

Football – Do’s and Don’ts

So, football season is in full swing, and I’ve compiled a list for those of us who care enough about the whole thing. So, here are tips for the supporter and players.

Do: Play well. No sense in disappointing your adoring fan by being a poor player. Yes, I did say fan, singular, since we all know the only person who supports you is your mom.

Don’t: Be an asshole. Nobody likes a sore loser, or a sore winner. Seriously, just don’t.


I was back at school the next morning, far too early for my liking. But it was better to be early than to be totally late. I sat in my car, thinking about the previous day. The football players hadn’t returned, which was a good thing. While they never did anything malicious, it was usually done in phases. Things like attempting to fill my car up with water was on the more severe scale of what happened, along with throwing things at my house.

But all of this wool gathering was doing little to calm my nerves. As always, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown before going into the school. This wasn’t new, and was one of the main reasons I had worked to buy myself a car. The school bus came right past my house, but I chose to drive because I then had a chance to keep calm. Hard to do that when somebody is trying to cut your hair from the seat behind you.


I slunk into the school, keeping my head down. It was two minutes before the bell was supposed to ring to signal the start of the day, and I had just enough time to go to my locker and fetch my books. There were people milling around, and I caught snatches of conversation as they passed. The most prominent word was football, so I knew they were talking about the blog post from Em the night before.

I took my books out my locker, and hurried to my first lesson. I didn’t want to be late. At the last possible second, I slipped into the classroom, hurrying to my seat in the back. It was English, my favourite lesson. Once the bell had rung and the class settled down, Miss Partridge stood up. “Good morning, class. Today we have a new assignment.”

I listened as Miss Partridge, a young lady with a bright smile, explained the study we would be doing of The Great Gatsby. We were to look into the Decline of the American Dream as it is portrayed in the book, and I had to work to contain my smile. Until Miss Partridge got to the end of her speech. “We will be doing this in pairs.” She glanced pointedly in my direction, and then back at the class in general. “I will assign the pairs to prevent what happened last time.”

A general mutter of Oliver went through the class, and I sighed a little. Although we were evenly spread between boys and girls, it was hard for any of the teachers to get anybody to work with me. Not without coercion. But nobody wanted to work with Cassandra Oliver. Right now, Miss Partridge read off the list of names, pairing a boy with a girl. She paused at my name, and I inwardly cringed. “Cassandra Oliver and Michael James Beiring.”

MJ Beiring. Oh crap. Not only was I not happy with the pairing, but this was the worst possible day for me to be paired with the quarterback. The same one who had left my house the previous day looking like he had urinated a lime green sports drink directly into his pants. There was an audible sigh of relief, and I swallowed hard. The room was closing in, and I tried to take deep breaths. But nothing was going in. I tried to stand, startling the class, but stumbled and fell over. The world turned black around me as my knees crumpled.

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