Jessica Sheldon’s white, lime green labeled jersey flashed as she raced down the field. Her black cleats dug into the ground as she spun around to kick the black and white spotted ball away from a boy in a light blue jersey. Her blonde hair flew out in a ponytail so straight and shinny it would have made mirrors ashamed. Her dark brown eyes flashed with determination as the ball flew through the air and then rolled under the boy’s feet, he spun around but by that time Molly Renalds already had the ball.
Clara gripped the metal bleachers hard in anticipation as she watched Molly gracefully roll the ball lightly between her feet. She wore the same black shoes as Jessica Sheldon but her’s had a pink swosh on them. Her shiny black hair was pulled back in a tight bun. Her almond eyes were just a bit darker than her olive skin but none the less they were still the perfect oval shape. They were still beautiful.
Molly smirked as the same boy who had tried to take the ball from Jessica earlier approached her. She let the boy get just close enough before spinning around and kicking the ball to the last girl in the trio, Julia Hills.
Julia’s straight raven black hair was pulled back in the same ponytail as Jessica Sheldon, only her’s fell flat on her back. Her almond brown eyes flashed with a mix of determination and excitement as she was passed the ball.
Julia’s cleats shot out fast and she passed the ball between her feet making it harder to steal, but the blonde boy seemed to refuse to give up and now some of his team mates seemed to share that. They’d surrounded Julia.
Clara gulped the game was almost over, and they were down by one. The Georgeville Gekkos needed to score a goal and soon. She paused for a moment as she always did after her team’s name was mentioned to think that they really needed to get a better name because there was nothing scary or interesting about small lizards. She supposed that the Bayard Bluejays wasn’t much better but at least Bluejays were somewhat intimidating.
Two boys and a girl were approaching Julia, Clara didn’t know much about soccer but she knew Julia better make a pass and fast. Julia smirked and looked behind her. Clara stared puzzled she wasn’t quiet sure what Clara was going to do, but as she followed her gaze she felt her gut turn. And she realized that Julia wasn’t going to pass the ball she was going to try to score a goal.
She wanted to shout at Julia to tell her it wasn’t worth it that she should try to pass, but she couldn’t instead she watched. She watched as Julia kicked the ball and it flew through the air. She watched as Jessica Sheldon and Molly Renalds stared at the ball as it flew through the air. She watched as hope appeared on their faces, on Julia’s face and she watched as the ball sailed past the goal and out of bounds.
The buzzer sounded and she heard the mumbles of disgruntled fans as they shifted in their seats and shuffled down the rows of metal benches towards their cars. Clara watched as Julia turned towards her and shrugged, as if to ask How was I suppose to know it’d fly out of bounds? Clara returned Julia’s questioning glance with a glare.
Clara Williams huffed and gazed at the clock. Julia had told her that she’d be out of practice by 3:00. It was now 3:20. My dad’s going to be pissed. Clara thought to herself. Her father had taken a job as a janitor at a local office firm on top of his job as a mall security guard. Clara hadn’t wanted him to take the job and he hadn’t wanted to, but he’d told her it was the only way to keep her little brother Jake in the pre-school for kids like him who had autism. And so, Clara had grudgingly agreed it was the best option.
Since her father was working longer hours he’d told her she needed to pick up her brother from daycare at 4:00. It took twenty minutes for her to bike to her house and another twenty get to the preschool on foot. She was running late and that was something she couldn’t afford.
Clara sighed and turned back towards the notebook she’d been sketching costume design ideas in. After her father had suggested she join an after school group Clara had signed up for stage crew. She’d always loved to draw and create things and so it seemed like the perfect idea. The only problem was stage crew only met twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. Clara’s dad didn’t want her alone at home early and so she had to find some other way to stay at school for an hour.
With Julia’s practices they’d been unable to walk home together and so Julia had suggested that Clara sign up for the homework club which ended at 3:00, that way they’d be able to walk home together and Clara would have her after school activity.The only problem was practice usually got out late meaning Clara had to rush to her home and then to the preschool to pick up her brother.
Clara heard a buzzer go off , the coach yell something and then the steady squeak of cleats on the smooth gym floor. A few minutes latter Julia emerged from the gym with a group of girls.
Clara hastily closed her notebook and stood up, swinging one strap of her backpack over her shoulder, letting the other hang limp against her back. The two girls who were with Julia giggled and muttered something to each other before turning to Julia.
“See you Saturday?” The blonde girl asked. Clara stared at Julia puzzled, they’d planned to go to the park that Saturday.
Julia glanced at Clara before shrugging.
“Maybe I don’t know.” She told the blonde girl.The blonde girl frowned and nodded.
“Okay.” she paused for a minute bitting her lip as if there was something more she wanted to say.
“Well I hope you can make it.” She told Julia before walking down the hall away from them. The curly black haired girl followed her and Clara frowned as she watched them go.
“You’re late.” she told Julia.
“Yeah sorry practice went long.” Julia said apologetically.
“Yeah I noticed.” Clara teased as the two began to walk down the hall towards the double doors that lead outside.
“Sorry coach wouldn’t let me leave early.” Julia added.
Clara shook her head, “It’s fine. What was that about anyways?” she asked.
“Oh well it’s our last game of the season, so coach wants to make it a good one.” Julia informed her.
Clara shook her head again, “No I meant with those girls-”
“You mean Jessica and Molly?” Julia asked.
“Yeah whatever their names are. I thought we had plans to go to the park on Saturday.” she gazed at Julia expectantly.
“They’re nice, and they offered to have us over after the big game I thought it’d be fun.” she explained sheepishly.
“Fun? With those girls?” Clara raised her eyebrows questioningly.
“Yeah they’re nice you should give them a chance.” Julia told her defensively.
“I thought we agreed not to hang out with the popular girls.” she muttered.
“Well, maybe we were wrong.”
Julia suggested.Clara shook her head, she could see that Julia had made up her mind arguing about it wasn’t going to get her anywhere.
“Maybe you’re right.” she relented.
The walk to Clara’s house was at first a bit quiet but soon they started bantering and everything went back to normal. They chatted about which autumn leaves were the prettiest and Julia talked all about how she was going to bike through her neighborhood this weekend and look for the prettiest leaves for an art project she’d seen online, while Clara just nodded her head.
They soon arrived at the long winding drive way to Clara’s small bright yellow one story house. Julia said goodbye and continued walking towards her house. Clara sighed and began to climb the driveway. As she watched the leaves fall she couldn’t help but think about how things always seemed to change. Even when you didn’t want them to.