The rest of the day went pretty smoothly. I had almost all my classes with Max, and I guess we could be considered friends now. She voiced her opinions in all the classes, but nothing was as intense as this morning with Coach. I'm starting to wonder what sport she plays that is so important to her she is willing argue with a teacher. And play with a bunch of guys.
Finally, the dismissal bell rang and I was saved from hearing anymore of Mr. Merchant's rant on how the government has spies and they are always poking their noses in our business. God, I'd hire a friggin' assassin so he'd stop poking HIS nose into my LIFE. I picked up my things gratefully and headed over to my locker. When I got there, I saw that Iggy and Gazzy were waiting for me.
"Hey dude, ready for practice?" Gazzy asked me while I shoved my useless books and assorted items into my locker.
"Yep," I said as I grabbed my gym bag and slung it over my shoulder.
I really didn't need to go to tryout practices because I've been on varsity since my freshman year. Coach said I already have a guaranteed spot on varsity and he's making me captain. So, basically I am only going to see how the other players are doing, give pointers, and help coach narrow it down.
"Okay, let's go," I said as I closed my locker and locked it. The three if us made our way to the gym where we would be working up a sweat for the next two hours. Joy.
We changed into our gym uniforms and started warming up. I made a few free throws and stretched a little. I was about to work on my three pointer when Iggy walked over to me dribbling a basketball.
"Hey, man," he greeted, tossing the ball up and missing the basket by a long shot.
"Hey," I answered, narrowing my eyes in concentration as I tossed my ball up and watched it go into the basket with a satisfying 'swoosh.' Iggy grumbled something like, 'show off,' but I didn't really care. Who'd he think I was showing off for? The guys? Psh. "What did you want to talk to me about earlier?" I asked, dribbling a new ball.
"Oh that, well I was going to tell you-" he was cut off by Coach, who called us in to run a drill. He was about to give us instructions when I saw someone rush into the gym. Max.
"Sorry I'm late! What's the drill, again?" she asked, throwing her stuff down and bending down to finish tying her shoes. At least half the guys in the room were either checking out her ass or trying to get a peek down her singlet. I had to admit, I was one of them.
But after the initial shock, I'm sure my eyes went wide. She can't really be here to try-out. She was going to be killed out there! These guys won't take it easy on her, and they are sure as hell gonna give her a hard time. She's only going to get hurt.
I heard a couple guys swear under their breathe and a few chuckle at the thought of Max wanting to play with them. This earned each of them a death glare from Max, that even sent shivers down my bones. Coach was just about to say something to her when someone else came running into the gym. Max turned to face him.
"Max, what the hell do you think you are doing? We're going to be late to pick up Angel!" Ari yelled at her. Wait, why is Ari yelling at Max?
"Calm down, Ari!" Max snapped exasperatedly. "Sheesh, you freak out too much. I texted you earlier, telling you I was staying after school for basketball tryouts." She put a hand on her hip, her posture screaming 'I got attitude and I ain't afraid to use it.'
Now everyone was staring at them, focused on their conversation.
"What? Tryouts? Max, I don't think that's a-" he started, but she cut him off with a wave of her hand.
Man, she has a lot of nerve to do that.
"Well I think it's a great idea. Now go. Angel is probably wondering where you are," Max ordered, ushering him out of the gym.
"Ok fine, what time do I need to pick you up?" he asked reluctantly, allowing himself to be dragged along the squeaky wood floor.
"Um, around five. Now go! You're disrupting practice." She tried to move him out the door again, but failing this time because Ari was stronger.
"Okay, okay. Well, good luck," he said reluctantly, hugging Max. He let go and looked at us, "You too, guys. But remember the little talk we had Friday," he warned, giving us a listen-to-me-or-die look. Max frowned at him in annoyance, obviously not knowing what the hell he was talking about.
That's when it hit me, why I've been having that strange nagging feeling all day. Max was Ari's little sister. The one he informed us was 100% off-limits. Well, crap.
I felt my mouth drop open and my eyes go wide as she gave him a kiss on the cheek and said good-bye. How could I have been so stupid? I mentally slapped myself.
Iggy must have noticed my shocked expression because he walked over to me and placed his hand under my chin and closed my gaping mouth.
Then he whispered in my ear, "Well, I was going to tell you that you have a lot of guts flirting with Ari's little sister, the one we were told to not go near even with a 20 foot pooper scooper, but I guess you found that out yourself just now." He gave me a cocky smirk, and I wanted so badly to smack that stupid, arrogant grin right off his stupid, arrogant face, but I controlled myself. I wasn't one to show feelings, and Iggy knew that. I was pretty sure that was why he was smirking at me. That jackass.
I was just about to yell at him when coach blew his whistle, signaling us back into a huddle. As we made our way back over to couch I saw him call Max to come over to speak to him.
"Max, I understand that you love basketball and played pretty well at you old school, but this isn't your old school. These guys won't care if you are a girl or not, and they will not go easy on you. You're just going to end up getting hurt and I don't need your brother chewing me out for it. I just don't think you should try out. I'm sorry," Coach said, giving her a pat on the back.
Boy, if anything set Max over the edge, that did. I could practically see the steam rolling off of her.
"What?" she practically screeched, "That is so unfair! I can play just as well as any of these guys here! You haven't even seen me play yet!" Her beautiful face was turning red from anger. Not that it took down the whole beautiful factor. In fact, she looked cute with her cheeks so rosy...
"I'm sorry, Max, but I don't want to see you get hurt either mentally or physically," he told her sternly, trying to put his foot down, but Max was having none of it.
Max grew even more upset, and said, folding her arms resolutely, "Then set me up against your best player here, and we can play one-on-one. Then you can see if I am worth keeping around. If I beat him, you let me on the team."
This girl just didn't know when to let it go. Coach seemed to be torn. He frowned, his eyebrows creasing in that deep-in-thought expression he had. It reminded me of when he was thinking of a game plan for the finals.
"Ok Max, I'll have you play a quick one-on-one game with my best player. If you show potential, I'll let you play, but if you don't you leave and let me get on with my practice. Deal?" It was a pretty good offer, all things considered. He stuck his hand out, and, if possible, it made him seem more intimidating than when he was screaming at you. You know, scary-rich lawyer intimidating.
Max, however, didn't seem to find him the least bit threatening, which, I have to admit, impressed me. He used to scare the crap out of me my freshman year but I quickly got over that. This girl has spunk, you got to give her that.
It was damn hot.
"Deal," she said, smirking in triumph and accepting her hand.
"Fang, Max, take the court," Coach ordered, grabbing a ball a throwing it to me. I caught it easily, without looking. Instead, I was staring, stupefied, at Coach. Was he an idiot?
"Wait, WHAT?" I asked my eyes widening, "I can't play Max! What if I hurt her?"
She walked up to me and stole the ball, her eyes narrowed. "Don't flatter yourself, Fang. I can deal with it. Now get your ass over here and let's start the damn game."
"No. There is no way I am playing her," I told Coach, crossing my arms.
"Fang-" Coach started, looking sympathetic, but I shook my head.
"What if I hurt her? Ari would kill me for sure!"
"Ha!" Max snorted, giving me a wicked grin and a wink. So hot... "I think he's just scared of getting his ass handed to him by a girl."
Okay, that did it. There is no way I was going to stand there and get insulted by a girl. She so asked for it.
"Fine, let's do this," I ground out, making my way over to the middle of the court. Max grinned in triumph and did a few quick stretches.
"Okay, first to ten wins!" Coach yelled, taking the ball from Max and getting ready to toss the ball up to start the game.
We took our places, facing each other. She gave me a smirk that made my heart skip a beat. I tried to shake it off because I need to focus. Plus, I really hoped to survive 'til college at least, and having Ari murder me was in no way part of my plan.
I really didn't want to do this but I had to. I guess I'd just have to take it easy on her.
Coach tossed the ball up and… she got it. She actually got it. I was so shocked I couldn't move. I just stood there in the middle of the court with my mouth hanging open, watching her make her way down the court.
Finally, I snapped myself out of it and ran down the court to try to steal the ball back. By the time I finally made it there, it was too late. She threw the ball up and with a 'swoosh' it went in.
Oh well, I can just say that was her free point. Now that she feels good about herself, I was gonna pull out the big guns. No more playing nice.
We made it back to the center of the court to continue the game. She gave me a gloating grin. I have to admit she was pretty good for a girl, but she was going to get eaten alive if she tries to play with the guys. It's best to put her out of her misery now.
"Ok, I hope you know I was going easy on you just then," I warned, trying to redeem myself.
She snorted and told me, "Good, because so was I."
I gave her one of my famous death glares, to knock her down to size but it didn't seem to faze her.
I got the ball and made my way down the court. When I was close enough to the net I bent my knees and threw the ball up watching it go in with ease. She glared at me and we continued the game. I had the ball again, I threw it up, but she intercepted it. She grabbed the ball and took off for the opposite side of the court.
I followed her and when she realized I was gaining on her she stopped dead in her tracks. She look from me to the next and then back at me. All of a sudden her lip twitched up and she was smirking at me. She was stopped at the 3-pointer line.
Then it hit me what she was planning on doing. She couldn't be serious. She couldn't be that stupid to think she could make it so far away from the net as the 3-pointer line. She was going to make a fool out of herself for sure. There's no way she would make it.
I started to make my way to her again, preparing myself to snatch the ball when I saw her bend her knees, position her arms and shoots with a helluva lot of power. I have to admit I wasn't expecting her to be so good.
I watched the ball soar up in the air. Everything seemed to be in slow motion.
The ball when up soared over to the net and, "swoosh' in the net. I couldn't believe my eyes. She just made a 3-pointer. Half the guys here couldn't even make a shot four feet from the net, let alone a 3-pointer.
I heard a few people gasp in shock and other staring at her in disbelief. I stole a glance at coach to see his mouth hanging open like an idiot. Okay, I couldn't really talk 'cause I really wasn't any better.
I stood there with my mouth gaping, trying to take in what had just happened until Max made her way other to me and closed my mouth.
"If you keep your mouth hanging open like that, you'll catch flies," she said, smirking at me.
That seemed to snap me out of my thoughts.
I cleared my throat. "Um, yeah, let's get on with the game, shall we?" I asked, trying to seem unfazed by her mad basketball skills. I think I may have underestimated this girl.
"We shall," she agreed cockily.
Our game went on pretty much like that for a good 30 minutes. Every time I would get the ball she would find some way to snatch it from me. I would steal the ball from her and then she would steal the ball from me. I'd make a point and she would counter my act by making one for herself. She was really good at defense, too. It seemed to go on forever. I have to admit, she was doing really well for a girl. Hell, she was doing really well for a guy. She could easily beat over half the boys here.
Finally, after we had been playing for what seemed like hours, we were tied. Nine to nine. In order to win you have to win by two. I was thinking about how I could do this when Max stole the ball from me. Crap, I thought to myself frantically. There is no way I am going to let her beat me, I would never live it down and Iggy would make it his job bug me about it for years to come.She was almost to the basket ready to shoot when I zoomed up past her and grabbed the ball. Without a second of hesitation I made my way back down to my side of the court. I was at the three pointer line when Max finally caught up to me. I had to make a decision and I had to make if fast.
Before I even registered what was happening, I was bending my knees slightly and getting ready to shoot. I pushed the ball with all the strength I could gather at the time, (what? I was whipped out; I had been playing this girl for what seemed like hours now). I felt the ball leave my finger tips and I held my breath as I watched it make its way to the basket.
Come on, come on. Make it.
The gym grew so quite you could hear a pin drop. Everyone watched wide eyes as they watched the ball soar in the air.
It was almost there and, 'swoosh". It made it in the basket! Score! The gym began the roar with cheers and screams. I had just won 11 to 9.
Everyone came running over to me patting my back and telling me good game. I stole a glance over at Max and saw her frowning in defeat. I couldn't help but feel bad.
She saw me looking at her a quickly plastered a fake smile on her face. She stuck out her hand waiting for me to shake it and said, "Good game. You're an awesome player."
I accepted her hand and replied, "You're not so bad yourself. I can see why you were being so pig-headed about coach letting you play. He would be stupid not to. You're better than half the guys here." As I spoke, I wiped my face with a towel, drying it of the sweat there. I tossed Max one and she caught it gratefully.
She caught it with one hand and replied, "I prefer the term 'resolute' to 'pigheaded'." As an afterthought, she added, "Thanks."
I could tell that her thanks were for both the towel and my compliment to her, though she would never admit it.
"No problem." I said, taking a swig of my lukewarm water then handing it to her.
She hesitated for a moment, debating about whether or not she should take it.
I smirked at her and said snarkily, "It's okay, I haven't had cooties since the third grade."
At this she smiled at me and nodded in thanks.
She was about to say something to me when coach made his was over to us and interrupted her.
"Max, you have some really advance skills for someone of your age and-" Coach started, but then shut up, which was probably wise if he was going to say what I thought he was going to.
"For a girl?" she finished, narrowing her eyes dangerously and crossing her arms over her chest. She looked **. But I could see underneath her annoyance she was giving Coach a major I-told-you-so look. And she looked positively gleeful about it.
Coach seemed to read her look because he looked down guiltily before responding. "Yes, and I'm sorry for making assumptions before I got to see what you could really do." The wimp, he was AVOIDING EYE-CONTACT. Sheesh.
She gave him a shrug and said nonchalantly, "Eh, it ok, I probably would have done the same thing."
"I would be honored to have you as part of the varsity team," he told her, mumbling slightly.
"Sounds good to me," Max said noncommittally. But then she smiled evilly. "Can't wait to see the guy's faces when they get smashed by a girl.
God her smile is beautiful.
Wait, ignore that.
I gave a small chuckle and rolled my eyes at her. She was a sassy one.
"Great," Coach said, clapping us both on the back, "Now let's get on with practice."
He blew his whistle and shouted, "Okay, guys, now that we have had our little fun, I want 20 suicides from you!"
We all let our protesting groans and sighs. This was going to be a long few hours.