Sneakers over heels

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Chapter 2

"So tell me. What does it feel like to be the first midget to get into the infamous Hawkettes team." My best friend, Avangeline Heatherfield said with an annoying grin.

I'd have beaten anyone who calls me a midget, but she's an exception.

Ava's been my best friend ever since I picked a fight with her in elementary.

She wasn't like those snotty bitches who talk down on me. No, Ava was different. She motivated me. She always backed me up.

And I'd kill anyone who tries to make her cry.

I was walking home with Ava, and telling her of what had happened at the gym court earlier today.

"Wow, the coach sounds like a pain in the butt. You going to be okay?" She asks with genuine worry lines crossing her gentle features.

I laugh at her and she scowls.

"Girl, is there any human being out there who can handle me? " I ask and Ava grins.

"But this one sounds like an alien from planet mammoth"

I burst out laughing even more.

Okay, so we're being rude. But I simply couldn't stop my mind from comparing her to Manny the mammoth in ice age animation.

"She'll have you run a 100 laps if she hears you," I whisper in a mocking tone.

"Pfft... I'll talk to her about science, she'll be the one running." Ava says with a proud flick on her brown hair.

Ava wasn't a nerd, but she loved science.

I guess since her parents are both doctors, she's got their scientific brains.

"After all aren't sportive people only muscles without brains." She says but then she bites her own tongue when she realizes what she said.

She turns to me with a nervous laugh. I perk my brow waiting for an apology.

"Not all sportsmen or sportswomen are idiots. I happen to be at the top of our class. Remember?" I say and Ava grimaces at my tone.

I hate when people mock the ones who love sports 100%. They might not be good at studies, but that's only cause they want to get even better in their sport and spend more time practicing than studying.

I've been a girl who spent her time only practicing and studying all her childhood. Which was why I got into Westview high school.

I never fail to allocate time for my studies. They're important. Not as much as basketball, but studies are vital.

"Okay okay, I'm sorry. " Ava says with an exasperated sigh.

"I forgive you," I say and she rolls her eyes at me.

Ava and I have never fought. We never will because somehow we understood each other so well.

"Forget that. James Howell was totally giving you the eye when we were in the cafeteria." Ava says with excitement. She's always excited when a boy is interested in me. I don't even know why.

I look at my friend with a lazy expression and her expression turns sour.

"Come on Judy. Are you going to be single your whole life? We've spent two years of our high school life boyfriendless." She's whining now.

"I never asked you to not get yourself a boyfriend. I just don't want one. My life is busy as it is. I don't want a guy who'll start making me fall out of routine." I say.

I wait for the signal to turn green for the pedestrians and then cross. Ava simply follows not caring if the light is green or red.

One day this girl is going to crash herself when I'm not with her. I think with a sigh.

"How can I get a boyfriend when my best friend doesn't? Aren't we like a package deal?" She's definitely using her doe eyes now. I didn't have to look at her to know.

I hate the idea of dating. It's just a waste of time. Maybe it's fun for the ones who have all the time in their hands. It's not the same to me.

I have studies to take care of. My workouts. Help dad with him job. And then practice, practice and more practice at basketball.

Let's not forget my street basketball matches

I remain silent and Ava groans aloud.

A passing lady stares at us and I scowl.

"It's all your fault if I end up not having a boy to take to prom when I'm senior," Ava says pointing a finger at me rudely.

I stop to look at her now.

"If it helps, I'll dress up as a guy for your sake. If you don't mind stooping to dance that is." I say and I'm pretty sure Ava was about to rip out her hair.

Oops.

"Look, I don't mind if you get yourself a guy alright? Help yourself. Just don't drag me with you. I DON'T WANT A BOYFRIEND. End of conversation." I say air quoting the "don't want a boyfriend".

She throws her hands up in frustration and I can't help but smile at her.

She's a wonderful girl who has always been beside me despite my annoying personality.

"Oh and one more thing," I say as I pause in front of her house. "Who is James Howell?" I ask genuinely confused.

I don't get a reply but utter shock from my best friend.

Oh well, she'll start yelling the answer in a few seconds once she calms down.

I start walking towards my house and sure enough, Ava starts screaming as to how retarded I am.

I love her so much.

I open the front door and quickly make my way to my room to quickly get out of these jeans and put on shorts so I could go for a run.

I grab an apple from the fruit basket on the counter and then close the door behind me, pocketing the keys.

I stretch a bit and then start jogging towards the lake at the end of my street.

The scorching sun was making me sweat double than usual. Sweat kept blurring my vision and I had to keep wiping it off.

It was mid-May and summer was really starting to show in Minnesota.

I stop for a drink at a water fountain that was built by the lake.

"God that feels so good!"

I splash my face with the cold running water and wash up my sweaty arms and neck.

I sit on the bench and stare at the wide-open lake, stretching out in front of me.

"I got myself into the team. But will I be able to make it to the top five players? Or will I be just a bench warmer?"

I was starting to feel worn-out with worry when my consciousness started scolding me.

Did you practice so much and wear yourself out, almost passing out every day just so you could feel inferior?

​​​​​"I'm not feeling inferior. There's just so many girls I need to compete with. Not to mention the existing team members."

It doesn't matter. You've done your best until now Judith. Are you really going to give up just because there is more competition? Is this how much you value your dream? Your dad's efforts? Pathetic.

​​​​​​And I snap.

I am never giving up on my dream to be the best in basketball.

I'm not going to let down dad anymore.

"Thanks, conscience," I say to myself.

Yeah, I talk to myself whenever I feel down.

Is that so weird?

After the heart to heart with myself, I felt good.

I turn back to run back home and prepare dinner before dad gets home.

I run past Ava's house. We live in the same street. There's a Porsche parked in the driveway.

Looks like Mr. Heatherfield's gotten himself a new car.

I run past her house and get into a sprint, rushing towards mine.

Dad will be home in ten minutes.

I've to prepare something before that.

I put in the key and turn the lock, taking off my shoes, tripping on thin air almost breaking my nose, I take off my sweaty t-shirt and throw it on the couch.

Rushing to the kitchen, I grab open the fridge door when I hear the click of the door and dad walks inside.

I groan aloud and he stops to stare.

"You're supposed to be back in ten minutes. What are you doing coming back so early?" I demand the poor exhausted man.

"Did you forget that my gym is right next door?" He asks with a perked brow.

My dad was a gym coach. A very fine one at that.

He had plenty of students who come training near him. Perks of being a gym coach's daughter, I get to use all these workout machines.

For free!

"I'll prepare dinner. Go wash yourself." Dad says, coming into the kitchen.

I don't leave and he sighs.

"I don't want a sweaty daughter making me sweaty dinner." He states.

I scoff.

I wasn't that sweaty!

"And please take your t-shirt with you." He points at it sticking out of the other side of the couch.

I roll my eyes at him and go to my room with my t-shirt.

I fall back on my bed and sigh in happiness.

How I'd love to fall asleep.

I hear dad start cutting something and quickly sit up.

I need to help him.

I grab my towel and run into the bathroom for a quick shower.

I lived in a single-parent household. My mom died when I was only one and ever since dad was my only parent.

There has been plenty of times when people had asked him to remarry, but he didn't want me to feel out of place with a new Stepmom and so he never did.

For my sake.

Which was why I excelled in my studies. To make him proud. To get into a good college and reduce his burden.

For dad's sake.

I wash my blonde hair well to get all the stickiness away. Rubbing my body and then quickly washing up, I dress in shorts and a hoodie and run back to the kitchen.

"Sometimes I really think I have a toddler in the house. Go dry your hair, Judy." Dad says not even turning to look at me.

Yeah, he knows I ran here right from the showers.

With dripping hair as always.

"Forget that. Do you want to hear how it went at school today?" I ask. He doesn't miss the excitement in my voice.

He stops whatever he's doing to pay attention to me.

"I tried out for the team today," I say with a wide grin.

"And you got in." He says lazily. But his lips turn up in a soft smile.

He always knew I'd get in if I'd tried.

"Thank you. For believing in me." I say with all the emotion I could muster.

My dad was a role model for me.

"I did nothing Judy. The only thing I did was give a one-year-old girl a basketball and look where it's turned out. She's in the team of Minnesota's best female team. It was all your hard work. I did nothing. " Was all he said before he turned around to get back to cooking.

There was definitely pride in his voice.

I smile at my dad's back and lie my head on the countertop to think back to the events of that day. To the Auburn haired captain. To the crappy coach. The smell of the court. The ball in my hand. The swish of the hoop when I shot.

And slowly I drifted off to a deep sleep.

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