Rachel opened her eyes and blinked. Twice.
Her room was dark and the curtains were still drawn. She checked her phone and saw that it was 2 o clock in the afternoon. Rachel rolled over and hugged her pillow; if no one had knocked on the door and none of the cabin members had come barging in yet, Rachel was going to take full advantage of this rare opportunity and sleep until she couldn’t anymore.
She unlocked the phone and all thoughts of sleep went out the window. There was a half typed message waiting in the chat box. She had typed that last night and dozed off, phone still in hand. The message was for Connor. Rachel didn’t even read the whole thing and erased it all. Out of sight, out of mind.
Rachel tossed and turned for a few minutes before deciding to get up and get dressed and an appearance in school.
She bounded down the staircase and was out the door before she realized that the TV was blaring in the living room. Rachel walked backwards and into the room. Jess was reading a book, Joey and Gavin were playing videogames, and everybody else had chosen who to side with, cheering or booing accordingly.
“Why aren’t any of us in school right now?” Rachel spoke up
“Ah, the dead have finally decided to rise.” Jess smiled from over the book, “Today’s off remember?”
The pillows ceased flying, and her best friends paused their game.
“Rachel!” Connor sounded offended
“Did you hit your head somewhere?” That was Joey
“Seriously, short term memory loss or something?” That was Ben. Ben for crying out loud.
“Freaking what guys?”
Mark rolled his eyes, “The final’s today.”
Rachel’s bag fell off her shoulder and her eyes widened comically. She opened her mouth to say something … and then darted out the door.
“Should I worry?” Gavin muttered to Joey
“Yeah, I think the memory thing is serious.”
“Yo, Raich!” Charlie, a member of her team, called out as she entered the court.
Rachel was a sweating mess, she aimed for the basket and the ball arced gracefully through the hoop, “Yeah?” she turned around.
“Missed you at Lunch.” she pointed out, snatching the ball and dribbling it.
“Not hungry.” She said quickly and snatched the ball back.
“Pumped about the final?” she asked, grinning
“More tense than pumped, Charlie.” She replied scoring another point.
Before she could grab the ball again, Charlie jumped in front of her. The ball thumped away and Rachel looked at it over Charlie’s shoulder, watching it bounce a few more times before stopping.
“Chill out, Raich. You’ll be great.” Charlie assured her.
“Why aren’t you practicing, red?” Rachel asked. Charlie had dyed her hair a bright shade of red a few months ago. She was the Green cabin’s head. Rachel started calling her red just to annoy her.
“Spent all morning in court, boss.” She reported as she walked over and picked up the ball, spinning it on her forefinger. Rachel watched it for a few seconds as if mesmerized.
“Nah, almost the entire team. You were sleeping, Princess.” She teased
Rachel gave Charlie a dark look “you were supposed to wake me up!”
“Nah, think of it as another present from us.”
“I’ll consider it a present when we win.”
Charlie let out a chuckle and passed Rachel the ball.
“Rachel, bench, NOW!” That was Mark, yelling at her to take a break. Rachel really wanted to win this, and it showed from her unrelenting behavior. She was going to over work herself before the match and then she’d be sulking her way through the award ceremony when the other cabin won.
“I’M THE CAPTAIN” she wanted to yell, but stayed quiet.
Giving him an annoyed glare, she stalked off to the bleachers and sat down on the bottom most row. Almost magically, Joey and Gavin showed up on either side of her; one handing her a bottle of water and the other passing her a towel.
She arched her eyebrows.
“Tense?” Joey jerked her head in the direction of the court
“Yes, Captain Obvious”
“You’re taking this too seriously, bud.”
“Am not. This is my first final in this place and I intend to make sure we win.”
“First final….” Gavin pondered over her choice of words
Rolling her eyes she continued, “I’m not working too hard, I just really wanna win.”
“This is the first time I’m gonna be watching the match instead of being down there. And from someone who has been down on that court since I moved here, I can tell you – breathe, woman!”
Rachel laughed, “Alright, fine. I’ll lay off it a little.”
“Hey – what about Wesson?” Gavin spoke up.
Rachel looked from him to Joey, confused. Joey did an inward face palm and glared at Gavin.
“What about Wesson?” Rachel echoed
“Nothing, it can wait.”
Joey sighed, resigning. She extended her hand to Gavin, his cue.
“You have to talk to him.”
Gavin continued “Well, you’re his favorite and…”
“I am not his favorite! Sheesh!”
“No but Joey told me that Wesson never comes to these games but as the cabin’s head he should be here to support you guys at least.”
“And you want me to-?”
“Go and convince him to show up at least! For moral support.”
Rachel looked at both of them incredulously
“You’re creative, you’ll think of something.”
Rachel finished the bottle she was drinking and stood up, the duo high fived. She grabbed Joey’s arm and hit Gavin with the empty bottle.
“Joanna, you are coming with me.”
Rachel knocked on the door, waiting for him to tell them to come in.
Rachel dragged Joey in and they sat down in the chairs opposite Wesson’s desk.
“Hi!” Joey breathed
Wesson looked from Rachel, flustered and in basketball uniform to Joey, looking like this was the last place she wanted to be. He let out a small chuckle and took off his glasses.
Rachel narrowed her eyes at him; he looked different without the glasses. Almost a little-
“Rachel here was wondering-“, Joey began but stopped short when Rachel’s head snapped to her.
Sighing, she continued where her best friend had left off, “Sir, tonight is the basketball final.”
“I am aware of that, and?”
“You never show up, Mr. Wes!” Joey spoke up suddenly, “I’ve been here for years and you never showed up at any game. Ever.”
“We wanted to invite you to the final. It’s the last game this season and our Cabin hasn’t won in ages, I’m told.”
“Then, how is this year any different?”
Rachel held her head up a little high, “This year, you have me as Captain. We’re gonna win this.”
“You’re awfully confident.” He smirked
“Determined.” Rachel corrected, “But we would love it if you were there. Keep the team spirit high and … you know, moral support and stuff.” You’re creative you’ll think of something, Raich! As if.
Wesson fixed them both with a steady gaze, “I’ll think about it.”
Rachel nodded and got up but Joey muttered, “All the other Cabin Heads will be there…”
Joey whooped with joy and took the cap off her head and placed it on his head. She smirked.
Wesson glanced at the hat on his head.
“A little team spirit, sir.”
He laughed and Joey bolted past Rachel, yelling something about telling the other members.
“Thank you, sir.” She was beaming.
Wesson fixed the cap over his head and stood up. As he did, the lone photo frame that sat at the edge of his desk, toppled over. Rachel bent down to pick the frame up from the floor. She turned it over in the process and froze.
Her brow furrowed in confusion, her heart beat kicked up a few notches and her gaze travelled between the photo and Wesson, and then back again. The color had drained from her face, but she looked calm as she placed the frame back on the desk.
Wesson watched her carefully; she took a breath and tucked her hands in the pockets of the jacket she had over her basketball uniform. He waited, but the girl stayed quiet. She didn’t move either.
Rachel opened her mouth but closed it right after.
He waited for a minute, and then another.
“You-“, she laughed bitterly, “the hair and the glasses make a lot of difference, y’know?”
“Rache-“ he began
“No.” she pointed a finger at him, “You don’t get to talk now. I’ve been here almost two years. Years, WESSON.” She spat his name like it was an insult.
“Rachel, l” he pleaded I can explain
Rachel shook her head, “Nope.” The time for explanations was long gone, “explain, what exactly?! You didn’t think about telling me? Not even once? You know something like … oh I don’t know,” she shrugged, “Hey, Rachel, I’m your DAD!”
Wesson – no, Davis Fayne looked at his daughter helplessly. This was not what he had planned.
“Did the thought even occur to you?!”
“Of course I did! I wanted to tell you the minute you walked through that door but I couldn’t risk it! I’m sorry!”
“Oh this oughtta be good.” She was laughing. Her voice was shaking now but she stood completely motionless. Staring down the man who, without those lenses, beard or that hair, was Davis Fayne, “Let me guess,” she held up a hand, “Nate knew too didn’t he? All these years, he actually knew that my FATHER was alive!”
Davis nodded slowly.
“Can’t say I’m surprised … Of course he knew.” She ran a hand over her face, “Where the HELL WERE YOU!? You don’t … you’re not my father. I didn’t even know what my parents looked like until that pointless assignment! THAT I GOT a B ON BECAUSE THE INTERNET KEEPS SAYING YOUDON’T EXIST!” her fists were clenched, her eyes were completely dry as she glared at the man, trying to communicate years of rage to him, “15 years. I was three when you left. Nate and Nanna raised me. Not you. NOT YOU!”
Davis wanted to go to her and wrap his arms around her and let her cry and scream and shout and even punch him. He wanted to embrace his daughter, but the hate that was emanating from the eyes that she got from him, was too much.
Davis took a tentative step towards her, and then another.
“STAY AWAY FROM ME!” she choked out and stumbled backwards, “You’re not my father. You didn’t teach me how to ride a bike, Nate did. My first day of school sucked! But Nate took me for ice cream later. I broke my arm when I was ten and he flew all the way from DC to make me feel better! Nate was a more of a father to me than you could ever be!”
Davis snapped, “RACHEL!”
“WHAT?!”, she yelled back
“EVERYTHING THAT I-“, he huffed and lowered his voice, “Rachel, everything that I did, I did to protect you.”
“Protect me from what?”
She was staring at him, eyes finally glassy, expectant.
Davis stayed quiet.
Nodding slowly, Rachel flashed him a watery smile, “Stay here. Don’t you dare show up at that bloody game.” She turned her back on him and walked towards the door. At that particular moment it seemed liked the door kept on stretching further away. The room was eerily silent and she could feel Davis’ eyes on her, pleading.
“Turn around this instant, Rachel.”
“Don’t walk out on your father!”
Rachel snorted, “Like hell I won’t.”
The door knob was finally in her hand; she twisted it and stepped outside, slamming it as hard as she could. Joey, Gavin and Connor stood outside the door, standing there awkwardly, trying there damndest not to look guilty.
Blinking away the tears and fisting her eyes, she looked from one person to the next.
“Are you o-“ Connor reached out to her
“Don’t.” she laughed again, “I might just punch you.”
“She actually might.”, Gavin absentmindedly touched his jaw. The doorknob turned behind them and Rachel sprinted away from the Staff Block. Pushing through the door and running away from her father and her friends as fast as her legs would let her.
Davis Fayne stepped out of his office, glasses slightly askew, hair wild like he’d been running his hands through it repeatedly. He was rendered speechless once again when he was met by two of his students and Gavin standing there gawking at him and the faint sound of Rachel’s pounding footsteps fading in the distance.
“Pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Fayne.” Connor’s voice was ice cold and his glare was no less.
The boys stalked off but Joey stayed, “Don’t show up at the game please.”
Joey turned to follow her friends and added just as she left, “Fix this.”