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Her Knight


Hayley knight had a love for soccer, it was what she lived and breathed. As a young teen, she dreamed of playing for the USA but after an accident, she didn't think she could ever play again. With soulmates and new friends, Hayley tries to rediscover herself and her dream of playing professionally. (Hayley will be using sign language unless it says otherwise)

Romance / Drama
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

"Ryder hurry up eating, you're going to miss your train and I'm not driving you there" I sign to my brother who just looks at me and rolls his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah, I know I'm just finishing now" Ryder replies, taking one last bite out of his toast before putting his dishes in the sink and grabbing his bag from the counter.

"Be safe, I love you" I sign to him as he's about to leave our apartment door.

"I will Hayley, please do something today even if it's just a walk around the park I don't want you moping around the house when I'm not around," Ryder says to me with a serious look on his face.

"I was planning on kicking a ball around the field anyway, you know it helps me forget" I sign back in response, Ryder shakes his head a little and comes over to me wrapping me up in his arms while his chin rests on the top of my head.

"I know this day is tough for you and I wish I didn't have to go to school so I could spend it here with you" I hear Ryder mumble from above me. I take a step back so I can look at him in the eyes

"No you need to go to school, I will be fine here okay I call you at lunchtime if you want," I say signing to him, he doesn't reply but nods his head in response

"Now your butt out that door before I kick it out myself," I say pushing him away from myself a little, a small smile spreads across his lips as he opens the front door.

"I love you big sis, please text me today," Ryder says before he shuts the door leaving me standing in our apartment lost on what to do. I walk towards the couch and flop down, closing my eyes and reflecting on the date today.

25th September 2015.

Exactly 12 years ago today we lost almost everything and we've only got each other now. If you hadn't have guessed by now, Ryder is my younger brother, 6 years younger to be exact and I'm officially his guardian even though some days it feels like he's mine but legally the paperwork says he's under my care.

We currently live together in a nice apartment outside of Cambridge University where Ryder is studying Neuroscience on a scholarship. Yes, that means we are in England even though we grew up in the US together I decided to move with my brother when he got offered a place here.

I don't really have a job, to be honest, but that doesn't mean I don't have money, I've got a lot, maybe too much in fact so I spend most of my free time at the local homeless shelter down the street just helping out around the place, making sure it all runs smoothly and that kind of stuff. But, most my time is spent playing soccer, sorry, football as it's known over here.

I joined the local women's team here in Cambridge and over the year I've played with them, somehow, I ended up becoming captain and I love it. The ladies and the coach I play with are all great and they have really become my close friends. I didn't have many back home, they only focused on what was wrong with me and not the person that I am on the inside. Here they are different, they respect me as a player and an individual.

I decided to stop wallowing in my self-pity and actually do something productive today. I get off the couch and head towards my bedroom so I can take a shower and hopefully freshen up a little. I set up my phone to the speaker and play my music while I strip my clothes off and put them in the basket to be washed later.

I stand in the shower and turn it on, letting the warm water run over my body while the music fills my ears helping relax me. I look down at my body and see the scar that runs from my side and up around my back towards the top of my shoulder. I let my fingers touch the raised skin and think about the day it happened, all the pain that I felt both physically and mentally, I was a 13-year-old girl trying to stay strong for her 7 years old brother and it was hard because while he was coming to terms with the accident and moving on I was just blocking it all off trying to forget and it made me ill, so ill that I eventually ended up in hospital when I was 15 due to anxiety, depression and anorexia.

It was a really hard time, I was physically and mentally drained from trying to pretend I was okay, that everything in my life was okay. I swore to myself after that hospital visit that I would get better and healthier, I couldn't put my brother through any more pain it just wasn't fair. And I did just that, I got healthier and fitter, the fittest I had ever been before over that next year and that's when I finally got back into soccer since the accident happened.

I can't help but think about my soulmate too, I wonder if they have these scars that are so personal to me on their body.

I finally stop thinking about my past and get out the shower, wrapping a warm towel around my body and stepping into my bedroom. I just put on a pair of nike shorts and a plain work out top, I make sure to grab my soccer bag and head towards the kitchen. Not really having time to make much I grab a smoothie from the fridge and quickly drink it all.

I dry my hair and put it up in a messy bun, not really having the energy to make it look nice. Once I'm ready I put on my trainers, grab my bags and head out the door. I decide to head straight to the shelter and see if they need anything, I get a few stares for my choice of outfit which is reasonable I am wearing shorts and it's almost October but, fun fact I don't feel the cold, at all.

It could be snowing outside and I could go out in a bikini and start making a show angel, I guess you could see it as a blessing and also a problem. I can wear dresses on a night out in November, not pay for extra heating in the winter but it's downfallen is my body still feels the cold so if I'm not careful I could get hyperthermia. Yay, go me.

Before I know it I'm standing outside the large wooden doors of the shelter, a line of people waiting for a warm meal outside the place. I head inside, going straight to the kitchen. I walk inside and the main manager of the places stops cutting the veg to look at me.

"Hayley! It's so nice to see you today, we weren't expecting to see you till next week" Robert says as he comes over and pulls me into a hug. Robert is the owner of this building, it used to be a library but it shut down so Rob decided to buy it and make it into a homeless shelter where people can come and get fresh food, a change of clothes and sometimes a bed to sleep in.

His family is mega-rich owning multiple businesses around the world but Robert decided he didn't want to be like the rest and he uses his family fortune to help people. He has a wife called Julia, she's a lovely lady, comes in to help out on the weekends with Rob, she's a doctor at the local hospital so she sometimes treats the homeless that can't afford to pay the medical bills if they were to go there.

"It's the anniversary today Rob, I need to take my mind of it so thought helping out here would help" I sign to Rob.

"I'm so sorry Hayley, the date completely slipped my mind, you stay as long as you want okay, come and speak to me later if you want to chat honey," Rob says to me, I give him a small smile in response and go and grab my apron from the back. I check the stock in the back and see what meal I can make for dinner tonight. I notice that Rob has everything in to make my favourite, lasagna.

I grab a crate and start filling it with the mass amounts of ingredients I need. I head towards my station near the back of the kitchen that Rob lets me have to myself while all the other helpers work together on two large ones

"Hey Rob, how does my famous lasagna sound for dinner tonight" I sign towards him, he doesn't reply instead a toothy smile spreading across his face.

"Who fancies Hayley's famous lasagna for dinner tonight!" Rob shouts out down towards the line a people, a loud chorus of cheers are heard afterwards.

"I think that's a yes on the lasagne chef," Robert says smiling at me, I just shake my head at his dramatics and start getting ready for this mammoth task ahead.

While I was in the US I actually went to a culinary school for 3 years and learnt all the tricks of the trade, I loved it, cooking for people and seeing the joy on the face eating the food you've cooked for them is one of the best feelings out there. I could never go into the industry though, way to much stress for me. So when I came over here I offered my services to Rob who was more than happy to accept my help in the kitchen department.

I go to the sink and wash my hands making sure they are clean before getting started on the onions. I dice around 30 of them before grabbing three giant metal pans and setting them on the heat, I pour some oil into the bottom and wait for them to warm up a little.

I separate the onion into the three pans and stir it all around until is golden brown. I chop two whole garlic finely and put that in once the onions are soft, the trick is to not add the onion and garlic together as the garlic cooks a lot quicker so will burn faster giving you dish a burnt taste. I add the minced meat now, I like to use a mix between pork and beef, I think it just gives the dish more flavour personally.

I put them in the three pans and turn it all around until the meat has browned off, I then make 2 litres of beef stock and pour that evenly between the three, I let that simmer while I chop the veg. Normally I wouldn't put this many vegetables in a dish but we are trying to give these people all the nutrients they need so it's important that we give them there five a day.

I chop peppers, carrots and mushrooms and add them all to the meat mix, I give that a good stir before adding the tomatoes. I like to use a mix between chopped tomatoes and passata, having some visible tomatoes makes the dish taste nicer I think, one that's all combined it's probably the most important step next, spices. It's so easy to ruin a dish by putting the wrong spices in or too much of a certain one.

For a classic lasagna taste, I use oregano and basil, I try to use fresh herbs, it just gives the dish more of a powerful taste. After I've put everything in I lace the lid on top and leave it to simmer for the rest of the day.

I check my watch and notice it's 10:30 a.m, I've been here for over 2 hours. I put my apron away and wash my hands before grabbing my soccer bag.

"I'm heading out now Rob, I'll come back later to finish off the Lasagna" I sign to Rob after tapping him on the shoulder to get his attention.

"Have a good day Hayley, I'll see you later" Rob replies as I wave to him out the door. I have training at 12 today so since I've got some free time I decide to head there early and do some of my own drills. I text Ryder to let him know I'm heading to practise and that I'm okay

It's only a 10-minute walk to the field where we train, so I get there and set up some cones that I keep in my soccer bag and go grab the soccer balls that I've managed to hide in the shed near the field. I line up the balls on the halfway line and place some cones in a line beforehand, I practice weaving in and out before taking a shot on goal.

I manage to get 4 out of the 5 in the back of the net one of them hit the crossbar. I carry on doing some ball control, just dribbling around the pitch, doing some skill moves here and there.

"I don't get how you can do this before training and still kick all our butts" I hear Maddie say from behind me, I turn around and see my vice-captain come walking towards me with a bag slung over her shoulder.

"that's just because your unfit Mads" I sign to her, to puts her hand in her chest and looks at me in fake shock.

"Well that was just plain rude, not my fault that you literally sweat fitness," Maddie says as she places her back down and stands in front of me.

"do you know if coach managed to arrange transport for the game this weekend," I ask Maddie, she just sighs and shakes her head no

"he said that it was too expensive to rent a bus for us all, so in not really sure what we are doing" Maddie replies. I just nod my head in response, making a mental note to speak to coach after training. Maddie and I talk for a bit more until the rest of the squad all finally role up.

"Alright, ladies gather around please" Coach Michael ask, his clipboard in hand.

"We have our first qualifying game this weekend so we need to be on top form, I think we have a real shot at winning the championship this year." Coach says, we all just nod our heads in agreement trying our best to listen closely.

"Today we are doing fitness" Coach says making everyone groan but me, I don't really mind fitness, to be honest, I find it quite enjoyable. He makes us all line up ready for the bleep test, most people drop out at around 14 but a couple of us carry on, it's currently 17 and just me and Maddie but she doesn't make it to the line before the next bleep so she's out, I carry on going till I hear the tape end.

"honestly you are like not real, how can you beat the bleep test," Maddie asks panting hard between each word. I just look at her and shrug my shoulders. The real reason is that I spent my whole life after I ended up in the hospital being as fit as a possibly could, no one knows about that time in my life except my brother I want to keep it that way.

We carry on for a couple more hours working on sprints and reaction time a lot. We finish and everyone is sweating and panting hard, some are throwing up by the sides. I do some stretches to help my muscles cool down a little.

"Good session today girls, I'll see you all in two days" Coach says, there are a few mumbled responses but most people just grab their bags and go. I walk towards coach in hopes to sort out our travel situation.

"Hey, Hayley what can I do for you?" Coach asks me.

"Maddie said that we couldn't get the bus for Saturday due to money" I sign to Coach as slowly as possible, he's not the best at sign language but he's tried for me which is nice.

"Yeah, unfortunately, we can't afford it with our budget this year especially with the new kits coming in" Coach explains to me

"don't worry about the money side of things Coach if you need help you let me know okay, I'll order the bus and kits" I sign back in response while grabbing my bag

"Hayley I can't ask you to do that, it's not fair" Coach Micheal says trying to argue with me.

"I'm the captain coach, I need to lead this team and if that's in helping make sure we have everything in order to play our best on game day then that's what I'll do" I sign trying my best to explain to coach my side. He doesn't reply just sets his hand on my shoulder

"I'm glad you came here Hayley, your a great captain and leader, I know you will go far with your football, you can take me word with on that" Coach says to me, I just chuckle a little shaking my head.

"I'm serious kid, just wait until a scout comes and next thing you know you'll be playing professionally," he says smiling at me, I just grab my bag and wave goodbye as I start to make my way back home.

I get back to our apartment and see that Ryders not home yet, so I just dump my bags and take a quick shower before I make dinner for the two of us. I step out the shower and hear the front door shut.

"I'm home!" Ryder shouts from the living room, I just put an extra-large jumper on and some knickers before stepping out of my room. I spot him on the couch watching the TV, probably some reality show, for some reason he lovers British reality TV but not American.

"Hey sis, how was your day," Ryder asks looking up at me.

"It was good, went to the shelter this morning and had practise this afternoon so it's been a pretty busy day. How was yours?" I ask him in sign.

"You know the same old, learning more about the human brain, that kind of stuff" Ryder replies, he gets off the couch and walks towards me planting a quick kiss on the top of my head before heading into the kitchen.

We talk for a little bit more while I get our dinner ready, he starts talking to me about what he's currently learning on his course.

"We were studying speech today in class and about how people have different accents and why some people struggle to speak, the part of the brain that's controlled by speech is damaged can cause people to stutter or flat out not be able to form words, but our professor was telling us about this new shock therapy treatment that you can have on that part of the brain, it almost reboots your system and helps link everything back up. I went to speak to him after class and he said there is a course going in now that you can sign up for to volunteer-" Ryder starts to explain but I cut him off.

"Ryder just stop okay. I'm never going to be able to speak normally why do you think I sign every day, I know you only want to help but I don't want to get my hopes up so please don't tell me anything else" I say back to him, a little annoyed that's he's brought it up but I know he's only trying to help me, he's doing neuroscience at University for me, in his words 'I want to be able to help you as you helped me'.

I take my meal and head to my bedroom shutting the door behind me. I sit down on the bed and place my food to one side setting my head down into my hands. I guess I should explain things a little

Well, you know how it's been 12 years since 'we lost everything' well our everything was our parents. I remember we were all in the car driving to go out for a meal because dad just got promoted at work. We were all laughing and having a good time, but we got to an intersection and another car ran a red light slamming into us. It hit the front corner so my parents got the most impact, our car flipped in the air and landed on it's roof. I don't remember much after the crash just lots of noise and bright lights but after that my life was never the same.

I woke up from a 5-day coma to find out I had no parents and I couldn't speak properly. During the crash I had hit my head and stopped breathing for a minute, the lack of oxygen to my brain as well as the head injury lead to me having brain damage. And that part of the brain happened to be where your speech is controlled, I can speak but I only stutter and it takes a lot of effort to try and speak properly, I have to try really hard to get a word out and it does get tiring. That why I sign, it's quicker and puts less strain on my mind.

The funny thing is when I play soccer it disappeares I don't have any speech problems, my stuttering goes completely away and it's like no one would ever know that it takes me almost a minute to order a coffee from Costa. I'll explain some more things later but right now my dinners getting cold so I'm going to eat that thanks.

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