Chapter 1: The Jock
I snuggle closer into my pillow as I listen to the birds sweetly sing outside my bedroom window. It’s peaceful.
“Wake up sleepy head, it’s 8:00 am and you only have an hour till school starts.” My Grandma barges in and bellows at me. I wince as her voice echos loudly around my small room.
Why do mornings even exist? No one likes them, so why do we have them? I swear the universe is plotting against me.
I groan, opening my eyes and wince slightly as the sun assaults my them. Once my eyes adjust, I open them fully to see my Grandma towering over my sleeping figure, her wrinkled face scolding me.
Can’t a girl sleep in?
“Do I have to go, I’ve already missed the bus!” I whine, giving her my best puppy dog eyes.
She just stares at me sternly.
“Yes young lady, you do. Come on now, get your lazy ass out of that bed. Chop chop!” She replied, urging me up.
Groaning, I roll over and pull the blanket up to my neck, snuggling closer into my plush pillow.
Just a few more minutes of pure bliss.
I hear her sigh in annoyance.
“Fine, I guess you leave me no other choice then,” She said, with finality.
Ugh? What’s she mean by tha-
I yelp as the warmth beneath me disappears and my ass greets the cold, hard floor. My head snaps up as my wide eyes stare at her, questioningly.
Now my butt hurts! I guess it’s going to be fun walking around today.
“Gran! What was that for!” I asked, irritated. I’m so not a morning person. I don’t even know how people find the energy to get up at such an hour, let alone go for for a morning run.
She raises her graying brows, her forehead wrinkling as her light blue eyes widen.
“Excuse me? It’s not my fault that you didn’t let go of the blanket.” She reasoned, placing her hands on her hips.
Okay, maybe she was right there.
Begrudgingly, I get up from the ground, rubbing my butt as I try and dull the stinging. Forget about walking all day, how the hell am I going to sit down?
Why does the ground have to be so hard?
Probably because it’s supposed to. We can’t walk on Jell-O! I retorted back to myself.
I breathe through my nose, accepting the day ahead when the aroma of greasy bacon wafts through my nasal passage. My stomach grumbles, just realizing how hungry I am.
Gosh, that smells amazing!
A pair of fingers snap in front of me, snapping me out of my food frenzy. I turn towards the owner and see Gran’s amused face.
“I’m cooking breakfast now, as you already know, so hurry up and get dressed,” She said, pointing in the direction of my closest, a warm smile now gracing her features.
My shoulders sag. Great, now I have to wait. Gran turns around and heads for the door as she calls over her shoulder,
“Be quick or Duke and I will eat it all, and you know Duke can do it.” She warns. Boy, do I know that he can do it. I once saw him scoff down an entire plate full of bacon in under two minutes!
With food on my mind, I head over to my closet, pulling out whatever I grab first which happens to be a plain, gray hoodie and black jeans. I chuck them on and stare down at myself before carelessly shrugging my shoulders.
Who cares if it looks dull. I don’t go to school to impress people, I go to learn and, well, because it’s the law.
I grab my brush and rank it through my chaotic bed hair until its back to its normal state. I pull the thick, dark brown hair up into a ponytail on top of my head.
Gosh, I hate having to put my hair up. It feels like a damn chore trying to get it to look at least a little presentable. I’m just lucky it’s naturally straight or otherwise it’d be worse.
I quickly grab my shoes and bag before heading towards the bedroom door. I cast one last longing look towards my bed before shutting it and run down the stairs.
Why can’t school start in the afternoon? At least that way we wouldn’t be half asleep in the morning class.
Walking into the dining room I see Gran and Duke at the kitchen table, already eating. I chuckle lightly to myself.
Probably should have known she wasn’t kidding.
I pull the wooden chair out and take a seat across from her. Grabbing a plate I start to pile the greasy bacon onto it. I grab my fork and stab it into the pile of bacon and shove it into my mouth. The oily flavor burst throughout my mouth as I chew on the crisp meat.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Gran hold her hands over her mouth, hiding the grin I had seen. My brows furrow as a smile touches my lips.
“What?” I question, amused.
She looks at me, her grin widens until her pearly whites are fully visible and she has creases at the corner of her eyes.
“Your Grandpa had an appetite like yours. I swear, you could set up a table full of food and I mean full, chicken, salad, bread rolls, everything, but he could still eat every last piece!” she told me. I nod my head remembering as a small smile touches my lips. The joyful tone in her voice was everything to me in that moment.
She hasn’t talked about Grandpa since last year when he had passed away and there would always be this look of sorrow and pain in her eyes whenever she did talk about him, I always hated seeing it there. I glance over to the fireplace where the photos are placed atop of it and my eyes find the gray and white picture of both of them at prom, smiling boldly at each other while Grandpa has his arms wrapped tightly around her stomach. They were what you would call high school sweethearts and the love they had for each other never faded, not even when he died.
A memory of us together flashes across my mind. Grandpa was going to the local football game with Gran. It was the last game of the year and he wanted me to go with them, but I didn’t want to go because a bunch of teenagers from school were going to be there. He tried to persuade me to go but I wouldn’t change my mind, so they had left without me, I was expecting to see them later that night but instead, I got a phone call. Something had happened that night that ended up with Grandpa in the hospital. A few months later he passed away. After his funeral, I started going to the football matches and ever since then I haven’t missed a single game.
My chest constricted painfully as my eyes started to sting slightly at the memory. Turning around and blinking repeatedly, I see Gran staring at the same thing I was just moments ago, with distant eyes and a small smile playing on her lips. We finished breakfast in comfortable silence, only exchanging a few words here and there. When we had finished, we got up and both cleaned up the table. I grabbed the plate with the leftover food on it and walked over to Duke’s bowl and scraped it in there.
“There you go, big boy. hope you enjoy that.” I murmured softly to him.
Grabbing the rest of the cutlery of the table, I made my way to the kitchen sink and started rinsing them off.
“Kido, you don’t have to finish them I can do that for you today. You need to get to school anyway or otherwise your going to be late,” she said whilst she grabbed the dishcloth from me.
Looking over to the wall beside me, the clock said 8:40 am. I only have 20 minutes left until school starts! leaving the dishes, I rush over to the table, quickly chucking my shoes on and grabbing my bag. I hurry back over to Gran and kiss her on the cheek.
“Thanks, I will do the dishes tonight instead, okay? Have a good day.” I said.
“Sounds good, Kido. Oh! Before I forget, there’s a football match tonight that I didn’t tell you about.” she rushed out.
An annoyed sigh left me. Great, I was hoping to... you know what, never mind, I’ll do it tomorrow. Weirdly enough, I actually like going to the matches, I don’t know what it is? Maybe it’s all the pumped-up excitement, but it’s grown on me this last couple of months.
“Okay. I gotta go now but I’ll see you after school.” Waving goodbye, I head towards the front door.
Once I’m out the door I grab my phone out of my back pocket, turning it on I see the time is now 8:45 am. Quickly flicking through my playlist I pick Lovely by Billie Eilish. With music blasting through my phone I start sprinting towards the school’s direction. I should have gotten up earlier this morning! That way I wouldn’t have to damn well run! I could have just caught the bus. Who cares if it’s filled with annoying teenagers! At least it’s better than this!
Three blocks later, I’m finally in front of Riverside High School. Breathing raggedly but still, I made it before the bell, and with five minutes to spare. bonus!
Wheezing, I jog through the football field, desperately trying to avoid getting hit by a ball. Surprisingly, I make it to the other side unscathed. The only pain I’m feeling right now is my aching muscles. I don’t think I have ever run for so long! Walking to the back entrance, I hobble inside the corridor and make my way to my locker. Nearing it, I slip my bag off my shoulder, getting ready to unload my books into my locker. It’s only the start of the day and I’m already exhausted!
As I’m staring down into my bag looking for my science book I roughly collide with something. stumbling backwards, I catch myself on the lockers beside me, digging my fingertips into the grooves as I try to stabilize myself.
“Gosh! You stupid idiot! Don’t you watch where you are going” A girl seethed.
I look away from the floor and up to the owner of the voice. You have got to be kidding me, right? The girl fixes her straight, glossy black, ponytail and glowers at me with her light brown eyes. Teagan Dallas.
The universe really is plotting against me.
I shove my hands deep into the pockets of my jumper, ignoring her stares. The crowded corridor goes quiet as everyone is now focused on us and our next move.
“Sorry, I’ll make sure to watch where I’m going next time,” I mumble, emotionlessly.
She crosses her slender arms over her red and white cheer-leading uniform, scoffing.
“I’m sure you are, but you still run into me,” she said, coldly.
My brows furrow. And what am I supposed to do about that now?
“Okay... so what?” I ask, raising a brow.
“Gosh, do you even have a brain in that thick head of yours? Because it’s a pretty easy answer!” she said, frustrated.
I squeeze my fists shut, my nails dig into my palms as I roughly grind my teeth together. Do I have a brain? I think she needs to look into the mirror sometime soon. At least she’ll have her answer then.
She looks down at me, disgust clear on her pale features. she steps closer, now invading my space.
“You probably don’t eve-” Teagan was suddenly cut short.
“Hey Teagen, do you mind if I have a word with Avery for a moment?” A deep voice asks.
We both turn our heads to the side. My eyes widen slightly and my fists unfold once my eyes land upon the person in front of me.
Seriously! What does the universe have against me?