I sauntered into Coach's classroom after school - looking like a complete badass - to pick up my jersey. I felt no need to look like an idiot freshmen, by running off to be first in line to pick my jersey number. I mean, come on, that just screams pathetic.
Plus, there's no need for me to rush off to coach's room. My jersey had already been held back and reserved. Being the star player on the team did have its advantages; everyone knew that number 13 is my jersey; it had been since freshman year and will be until I leave this hell hole as a goddamn legacy.
No one would dare even think about snatching up my jersey, because just my glare alone puts the fear of God in them. In case you haven't noticed, I tend to throw off this 'Don't fuck with me' vibe. But I have my reasons to. Most people just think I feel the need to always have jersey number 13 because it's superstition thing, that it's my lucky number or something, or that it's because it was the jersey I was wearing when I lead us to victory at championships. But in all truth, it has nothing to do with any of those things. It's so much more than that.
It's because it was the favorite number of someone very close to me. She meant the world to me. I remembered when I had first started basketball and made varsity my freshman year. I was the only freshman to make the Varsity team in years. I was so excited - well, as excited as someone like me can get - so I was pretty much neutral on the outside, but I was practically jumping up and down like a little school girl inside, not that I would ever admit that. I remembered she was just as excited for me, if not more.
She had been eager to come to my first game and asked me what my number was so she could find me more easily on the court, and when I told her I didn't have one yet, she begged me to request number 13 as my jersey number, because she knew it would be lucky for me. As she waited for me to answer she "innocently" whipped out her irresistible Bambi eyes, making it practically impossible to deny her request. Not that I would have.
When I agreed, she squealed with delight as I swiftly scooped her up and threw her over my shoulders, before attacking her with the Tickle Monster.
She looked so sweet and innocent as she erupted into a fit of giggle. I couldn't hide the smile that spread across my face as we continued to play, and it wasn't just the signature Fang smirk or lip quirk up, no, it was a full blown, genuinely happy smile.
She was one of the only people who got to see that side of me, the side no one else knew.
But those days were over; those things are just memories, never to occur again, because now she's go-
No. I refused to think about it. It hurt too much. Especially knowing that it's all my fault.
Now, every year I get jersey number 13 in honor of her and I feel that somehow, and some way, she is looking over me, wishing me luck.
As I silently strolled into coach's room I noticed he wasn't in there; he must have stepped out for a moment, most likely in the teachers' lounge; I heard they had free doughnuts in there today.
Instead of waiting for Coach to return, I just made my way over to the box labeled 'Varsity Jerseys' placed on his desk and sifted through them.
I started to panic when I couldn't find number thirteen. I frantically started pulling out jerseys and searching the numbers, throwing every jersey not containing the number thirteen over my shoulder, all over the room.
Fifteen, no. No. NO!
I started breathing heavily as I searched everywhere.
Where could it be?
Surely no one was stupid enough to take my jersey. I felt my throat start to tighten as I grew more and more upset. Then I felt myself relax and I let out a breath I wasn't aware I was holding as I realized that Coach must have taken it from the box and put it somewhere safe for me, so no one would take it;he knew how much that number meant to me.
As if on cue, Coach strolled in the room with an entire doughnut shoved in his mouth and another jelly-filled one clutched in his hand.
He jumped a bit as he realized my presence, nearly dropping his doughnut.
That would have been a real bummer.
"'Ang, 'at're ya doin' in 'ere, son?" he asked, with his mouth full of doughnut.
I gestured toward the box of jerseys.
"Oh, yeah, well go ahead and pick one out," he said, not before swallowing the contents of his mouth, as he made his way to his desk and plopped down in his overly stuffed wheelie chair.
I gave him a confused look as I made my way over to his desk.
"I looked through the box already, Coach, my number isn't in there," I told him calmly, as I was freaking out again in the inside.
He raised an eyebrow at me before he responded, "Well all the jerseys are in there."
My breath started speeding up as the realization hit me. Someone took my number. Fucking asshole, I'm gonna kill them...
I quickly sifted through the jerseys again making sure I hadn't missed it. It wasn't there.
"Someone took my number?" I said dumbly as I had trouble trying to comprehend what was happening.
"You know its first come first serve, Fang. Just pick a new one," Coach suggested, with no emotion what so ever.
"But Coach, you don't understand, I need that number! I've had it every year since freshman year!" I said, my voice continuing to rise with every word as I grew more and more freaked out.
"I get it, Fang, it's your lucky jersey, you've lead us to may victories with it and now you're worried you'll start sucking. Well, that's just not true, son, you're our best player and a stupid jersey won't change that. Pick a new one and make that your new lucky jersey," Coach said, trying to give me a little pep talk.
News flash, Coach, NOT WORKING!
"No, Coach! That's not even why I want it. You just don't understand. I need that jersey," I practically screamed at him.
He grabbed his bag and made his way toward the door with keys in hand. He stopped as he passed me and said, "Just pick a new one. They're all in that box. I have to go, just turn off the lights when you leave."
And with that he was gone leaving me completely and utterly confused, shocked, and extremely pissed.
I left out an aggravated growl as I couldn't contain my anger any longer.
I snapped my wrist back and punched the wall, hard.
I let out a hiss as my hand throbbed in pain. I slowly pulled my hand out of the gaping hole in the wall. I winched as I took a look at my bloody gashed up hand.
Nice going Fang, leave a giant hole in the wall and almost break your hand the day before the first game of the season. Smart, the annoying voice hiss in my head.
Shut it, Random Voice.
I quickly shifted through Coach's cabinets to find the first aid kit while cursing profoundly under my breath. I quickly and carefully cleaned out my cuts and tightly wrapped my hand with bandages.
When I had everything cleaned up I made my way over to the giant whole in the wall to evaluate it.
Maybe they won't notice it, I thought, unconvinced, to myself.
Right, just like no one would notice if you showed up to school tomorrow wearing a bright pick leotard while twirling and singing "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts".
I mentally groaned at the voice. Why must you be so cocky?
It's my job, plus you would be miserable without me.
Wanna test that theory out?
I waited a moment for a response but everything was silent in my head.
Oh, god. I did it again; I was talking to the voices in my head.
Well, maybe they'll send me to a nice mental hospital, one with a view.
I gave up on trying to cover up the hole after several failed attempts and figured it could be fixed easily by a janitor tomorrow.
After a great deal of swearing like a trucker, I finally decided on number six because it was still a number that reminded me of her.
I made my way out of Coach's classroom and shut the lights off as I left.
Tomorrow someone is going to feel the wrath of Fang. I hope their little stunt was worth getting a beat down by yours truly.
The next morning I woke up (not that I could really sleep last night) extremely giddy and excited to see Fang's reaction.
This was going to be a very interesting day.
I quickly got ready for school and shoved all my basketball things in my gym bag for tonight's game, so I wouldn't have time to come home. I then made my way down stairs and caught sight of my little Angel, sitting at the island eating a bowl of Lucky Charms and humming to The Pussycat Doll's Don't Cha.
Maybe it was a bad idea to let her listen to my IPod. Oh, well, might as well go with it. Right?
I chuckled as I started singing and dancing next her. She started giggling, and jumped down from her seat to join me.
We had just gotten to the choirs when The Hypocrite walled in raising an eyebrow at his two little sisters whom he was just so protective over, singing, "Don'tcha wish ya girlfriend was hot like me, don'tcha wish ya girlfriend was a freak like me, don'tcha?"
Ironic, don'tcha think?
"No, can't say I do, because that would just be weird, a girlfriend that looks like my sisters? Can you say gag?" Ari said sarcastically, obviously trying to lighten the tension between the two of us.
Angel giggle as she gave him a hug wrapping her arms around his legs and he pat her head affectionately as I just glared at him, not willing to forgive and forget. I'm weird like that.
"I don't know, Ari, wouldn't the universe just be evening it's self out if you had to gag just like I had to, seeing what I saw two nights ago?" I spat, hitting him where it hurt.
His face fell noticeably and I, being the gal I am, decided to take it a step father, "And why does it matter what she looks like, Ari? It's not like you would notice what she looks like, right? She was just your flavor of the week, only here to give you want you want then she's gone. All guys are horny and have one thing on their minds; they want is to get into girl's pants, if I remember correctly you're the one who told me that," I said bitterly, quoting my big brother exactly from his little talk with me just days prior.
Betcha didn't that think was going to come back and bite you in the butt, did you, Ari? HA!
He winced at my tone and looked ashamed.
GOOD! YOU SHOULD BE, ARI!
Angel looked up innocently from her bowl of cereal looking confused and asked sweetly, "What are you guys talking about? Why did Max gag? Is she sick? And what do boys want? If they need something can't you just give it to them, like share?"
Shit, I completely forgot Angel was sitting there. Oops, my bad.
If this wasn't so serious I would have laughed at the face Ari made. It was a cross between shocked, disgusted, confused, pissed at me for saying that in front of Angel, and a bit worried. Plus his eyes got so big I thought they were going to pop out of his head. It was quite the sight.
"Karma is a bitch," I mouthed at him when Angel's back was turned. He made a face at me, but then proceeded to stand there for a moment with his mouth hanging open so wide in shock it could have touched the ground. To snap Ari out of it I threw my bagel at his head, because we all know I was not about to have this discussion with my baby sister. Plus I don't clean up the messes; I just make 'em.
He quickly regained his former stance and walked over to Angel to answer her question.
"No, sweetie, Max isn't sick, she just ate a cookie too fast and choked on it. You know Max, she doesn't chew, she inhales," he said sweetly to Angel, making her giggle a bit at his blow to me. I just glared at him, not risking having to finish the explanation to Angel, which would probably happen if I opened my mouth.
I think Ari was hoping his 'funny' bash to me would distract Angel from her other questions he let unanswered, but I know my Angel, and that wasn't going to happen. She looked up at him expectantly and waited for him to speak again. Ari let out a sigh of defeat and continued.
"Boys want everything, Angel, just remember that. And some things you really shouldn't give them no matter how much they ask for it. I know they teach you to share but there a some exceptions where you get the bend that rule a little, okay, Ange?" he asked, pretty much begging for her to buy his little explanation so we could end this discussion and get rid of this topic once and for all.
She looked up at him with a skeptical look as if she wasn't buying his story but she decided to drop the subject, at least for now. "Okay, Ari-bear," she smiled, and went back to eating her cereal.
I gave a chuckle at his nickname and he glared at me.
"Hey, Ange? Why don't you go get your school stuff and wait for us in the living room. I need to talk to Max alone, okay?" he said to Angel as she slurped up the remaining milk in her bowl.
I taught her well.
She shrugged and agreed as she hopped down from her seat, running off to her room.
When she was out of sight Ari gave me this look I couldn't describe and stalked over to me.
Oh, crap, this is bad, this is really bad. I felt the smirk fall right off my face and it was replaced with complete terror.
When he was right in front of me he spoke; "Max, we really need to talk about what you saw - and stop trying to change the subject or avoid me, because we have to talk about it sooner or later, so we might as well get it over with."
I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest, giving off an 'I'm only here 'cause I have to be' stance as I propped myself up to sit on the counter top.
"Fine," I huffed making it known I was not happy about him cornering me like this.
He took in a big breath before starting again; "Okay, Max, I know you think I'm a hypocrite for telling you one thing and then doing the exact opposite, and... you're right."
I gave him a shocked look, but it didn't seem to faze him as he continued, "I shouldn't have done what I did, but it's true what I told you, boys have one thing on their mind, and, well, Max, in case you haven't noticed, I am a guy. I have needs, too-" holy hell, he did not just say that "-but I shouldn't have acted on them that way and you certainly shouldn't have had to see that. I'm sorry, Max," he finished, and I could see he was being sincere, but I couldn't help but still feel angry at him.
I hopped off the counter to stand in fount of him and retorted, "Ari, that still doesn't justify what you did. You still did the exact opposite of what you told me to do in that very long and painful talk of yours. What you did was no different than what these guys are 'supposedly' trying to do with me," I said frostily, finishing my speech by putting air quotes around supposedly because so far no guys have tried anything, which I find odd. Because I mightn't be the prettiest girl out there, but guys were guys and they still hit on anyone - or thing, even - with legs. Including other guys. And possibly tables.
Ari let out an aggravated sigh and looked me straight in the eyes pleadingly. "I know, Max, and I'm really ashamed about that, but you don't understand." I raised my eyebrow at him, and he went on, "Max, it's different. You're my little sister and I love you. I don't want to see you get hurt and I would rip whoever's face off if they ever hurt you. I don't want to see you end up with some jerk who is just going to break your heart. I can't stand to see you broken like that."
I felt my face soften and I suddenly felt really bad for being so cold toward my brother.
I wrapped my arms around him and have him a quick squeeze.
"Ari, that's sweet and all, and I understand why you did what you did, but I'm not a little kid anymore. I'm all grown up and you can't protect me from everything. I have to learn and experience things on my own. That's how life works," I said firmly. "Also, Ari, do you really think I'm gonna go through high school, boyfriendless, just to appease you? Seriously, no way in hell would I do that. If I like a guy, and I think he's alright, you should be able to trust me on the fact that he is alright. You can't protect me from everything," I repeated.
He let out a sigh of defeat.
"I can damn well try," he muttered sourly, like a little kid.
"Ari, your gonna have to knock it off. I want to experience life. It's not fair that everyone else gets to, and I'm like Rapunzel, locked up in some castle as my life flies by. You can't stop me from dealing with the world around me. Eventually you're going to have to let me date, because I refuse to still be living at home and become the forty-year-old virgin. That's just NOT going to happen. I mean, girls have 'needs', too! I'm almost seven-freaking-teen years old and I still haven't been on my first date yet! It's not fair, Ari! I'm responsible, and I can take care of myself. I know when a guy is a dud. And do you really believe I'd let a boy mess with me? I would kick anyone who even tried from here to next week. And I've got an over protective brother like you to back me up."
"Max, I'm sorry, but I'm not ready to let you date just yet. Wait a little while and we can talk about this later, okay? We're going to be late for school if we don't leave now."
Ari ducked around me and started rummaging around all the crap on the bench, trying to find his keys. I sighed in frustration, slinging my back over my shoulder.
"Fine, but we're talking about this later." I gave him a Look, telling him we were gonna talk about it - whether he wanted to or not.
After fixing Angel's bag up, we made our way to his car as he finished locking up and I put Angel in her booster seat and buckled her in.
About halfway down the road - to Angel's school - Ari started the conversation; "So, today's the big day, huh? First game of the year. Are you excited?" he asked me.
"Um, duh. I am so going to kick arrogant jock butt!" I enthused, grinning. I didn't want to say anything too over-the-top to him - I wanted
Ari to know I was still pissed at his protectiveness. Ari and Angel both smiled. "You guys are coming, right?" I asked, hoping like hell they were.
Ari nodded as Angel shouted, "YES! I made a poster and everything for you, and Ari said he would buy me some pompoms!"
I could see her smiling brightly and I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight, although the pompoms thing worried me.
"Good, now I'll be able to pick you out in the crowd."
We said our good-byes upon reaching Angel's school, and she told me she would see me later tonight at the game.
I gave her a hug and a quick kiss on the head and then I sent her on her way to another exciting day in kindergarten. Um, sarcasm there.
When she was safely inside we pulled out of the parking lot and headed to school to face the interesting day ahead.
Once again, let's hear it for cheesiness!