The squeak of shoes on the polished basketball court, the murmur of the crowd, the ticking clock; dribbling the ball with her right hand, her eyes darted around quick, taking in the seconds counting down on the clock, there was a thud in the background, distracting the players. Rachel thanked the heavens above and leaped, dunking the ball. There was a sharp intake of breath and the ball passed through the hoop. The whistle blew and the crowd erupted into synchronized applause while an army of hands patted Rachel on the back.
“Good job, Fayne” Coach Riley nodded with approval, grinning from ear to ear.
Joey was out of the bleachers and in the court in mere seconds, “There’s our champ!” she exclaimed, capturing Rachel in a head lock and driving her knuckles into her scalp.
Rachel broke free, “Thanks.”
“That last second basket was epic!” she jumped up and down.
Ben made his way to the duo, “You were awesome, Raich.”
“Thanks, Benners” Joey beamed
Ben gave her a look and the grin fell right off her face. “Thanks man” Rachel laughed.
He turned around, looking for someone. Then he leaned down and motioned vaguely towards the benches, “Shouldn’t you like go and shake hands with her?”
Rachel nodded, “You know, I never thought of her as captain material. More cheerleader to me.”
“Appearances can be deceiving” Joey muttered
“She was a tough opponent” She confessed
“Get a move on!” Ben urged
“Right. You two go on. I’ll catch up.” Rachel turned around, spotting Charlotte more easily now. The crowd had thinned out surprisingly quickly. Charlotte was in the Purple cabin and was full to bursting with energy any time you met her. She was pretty; with wide brown eyes and the shiny brown hair you only saw in commercials. For some reason, Charlotte didn’t like her, even before losing the game.
“Charlotte” Rachel waved even though she was right in front of her
“Fayne.” She nodded
“Could’ve been better” she mumbled
Rachel thought about taunting but stopped short, “Okay, Dawson. I have had enough of your crap.”
“Listen, you’re kind of brilliant, and since day 1, you’ve seemed like the person who could face anything and come out stronger. But for some reason you hate me. I just wanted to say that it really was awesome playing with your team and you did a great job and I had fun.”
“It would be nice to see you in the finals. If you make it of course.” She taunted
Charlotte’s eyes sparked back to life, “You’ll be seeing me, Fayne, count on it.” She smirked confidently, “Why do I hate you again?”
“Is it because I’m just better than you.”
“Shut up.” Charlotte rolled her eyes
Rachel looked up, “May God help you see the light, may you see me for the awesome person I am, and may He give you the strength to accept your place below me for all eternity.”
Charlotte squinted at her and Rachel laughed, holding out her hand and the girl shook it firmly.
“What took you so long?” Joey grinned when Rachel jumped
“I had to take care of a few things. Figured I’d get Charlotte to stop hating me. I mean, we are pretty much gonna be in the same place for quite a while now.”
Joey shook her head, “You just can’t take it when people don’t like you do you?”
“I don’t like it when people hate me. I’m okay with them not liking me.”
“Okay, I don’t want a lecture on that just yet, boss.” Joey held up her hand to stop her.
“Let’s get going.” She smiled and began walking towards the Cabins.
“Hey, you know who I saw at the game?” Joey began, “Wesson.”
“So, he never shows up at these games- first time in a long time that he has.” She explained.
“Why?” Rachel questioned
“Rumor has it that it’s cause you’re his favorite student.” She teased
“I just think he wants to keep an eye on me.” Rachel proposed
“Or that.” Joey agreed “Test series start tomorrow.” She reminded
“What, again?!” Rachel whined
“Every six months, bud” Joey answered simply
Rachel threw her head back, “Argh!”
“You have to score high this time, you know that, right?”
“Yeah, I intend do. Gonna beat your score.”
“Don’t look at me! I’m a B+ student. I’m talking straight A’s.” Joey insisted
“Let’s hope so.”
The girls made it back to the cabins but went to the recreation centre, where everyone was celebrating. As soon as Rachel stepped in, everyone stood up and started clapping.
It was a deafening applause; Rachel blushed and smiled back at everyone. This place, though different, was now a home.
It wasn’t what she had in mind for the year but it was good.
She was okay with what she had.
More than that … she was happy.
ONE WEEK LATER
She shifted in her seat and glanced up at the clock for maybe the twenty fifth time that day. Something hit her in the face.
After locating the attacker [who happened to be Joey], She opened up the crumpled paper that sat in her lap:
CHILL, RAICH. YOU’LL ACE IT! UR LIKE A PRO AT THIS STUDYING THING!!!!!
She passed Joey an anxious smile and rubbed the palm of her left hand with her right thumb and glanced up at the clock again.
He was a minute late.
Oh, Come on!
And then on cue, Wesson walked in, clutching 9 blue cards. Report cards.
Rachel gulped as he began his round of the class, passing out cards. He stopped a few seconds longer at Rachel’s desk. Rachel glanced up at him. He had a faint smile hinting at his lips.
She opened up the card slowly, as if something might leap out of it. Rachel almost screamed in disbelief. All A’s … except for a lousy B+ in Wesson’s subject.
Another crumpled sheet hit her face. She gave her a ‘are you freaking kidding me’ face and opened up the paper.
Maintaining B+ record :D What about you, boss? Back on track?
Rachel scrawled a quick answer and tossed it back to her. Joey managed to catch it.
Her eyes traveled down the report card and landed on the remarks:
Proud of you! :)