As I wait for the rest of the members to arrive for practice, I try to do some shots. Try. Because I've been missing every shot I tried to basket.
Something doesn't feel right in me. I decided so a couple of days back when I woke up with a headache.
Why does my heart beat insanely fast when I'm with Travis? I mean He's just brother gorgeous. Nothing more. So why is it that when I'm with him I always manage to make a fool of myself?
Ever since our first disaster of a date, Travis had asked me out a couple more times. I had tried to back off from them since I always managed to show Travis just how much of a kid I was. Plus I didn't want to get in trouble with Senora once more. But I simply couldn't turn him down and Travis never minded my childish antics. He would always come over to my house or gym to ask me out on yet another date. Travis's appearance to the gym skyrocketed. Dad had noticed him coming for workouts when ever it was me taking charge. Dad never asked me anything though since I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm a child in the eyes of the college kid.
I have to be honest, it was fun being with Travis. Sometimes I find myself staring at the blank screen of my phone waiting for his text or call. And when he does my heartbeat escalates.
What's happening to me? When did I start being so hopeless?
When we were out on our dates, lately my gaze had always diverted to where he was, stealing a look at him when he wasn't paying attention.
Something was definitely wrong with me. But who do I consult?
Ava was a terrible option since she'll just scream through the school announcing system that her best friend has finally come to the age of the teens. I know so.
I could ask the girls in the team but I don't want them to know I've been slacking off in practise going to dates with Travis.
What do I do? Why am I feeling so regretful?
Sighing I grab the ball by my feet and do a jump shot. The ball bangs on the rim of the basket and falls outwards.
That's the seventh time I've missed today. I'm starting to lose my grip.
"Someone seems to be in bad shape." A voice behind me.
Sighing deeply I give a nod as I grab the ball once more. I then realise that there's a person behind me. Shock and fear overtakes me as I whirl around to find Tori standing behind me.
"You don't have to look so startled. It's just me." she hobbles towards me on her crutch. "Or perhaps you didn't want us to see you practising?" She asks raising her brow curiously. The wheels behind Tori's mind start moving trying to figure me out. I always love having an audience when I'm playing. My reaction right now must have been a dead giveaway that something was wrong.
"Is everything alright?" She asks in doubt.
"Everything is fine Tori. Just tired." I reply trying to act as natural as possible. Tori and I, we're point guards. We are to have a sharp mind and wider view than the rest. To clearly visualise people's actions. It wouldn't take her much long to figure me out.
"We have come this far Judith. Don't bring us down. Please." Tori says with a sigh as she tries to support herself on the crutch. "I'm in no position to say you such since I'm not playing but please, this is the last chance for Senora and the rest of the seniors. Don't let us down. Pull us through to victory." She finishes as her eyes bore into me like lasers, tearing me up and destroying me from within.
I give a firm nod to her as I turn away from her watchful eyes.
It has to change. I have to change myself to how I was. I've let too many distractions get in the way of my dream.
I have to maintain distance with Travis.
Just the thought made me want to puke somehow. I don't know what was happening to me. Clearly I've become sick when it comes to Travis. And I can only cure myself by avoiding the said person.
And that is precisely what I have been doing for the past two weeks.
I'm sorry Travis but I have to do this.
In just another two weeks the summer league would come to an end. The games of the previous two weeks had been so hectic and fierce. It had taken everything in me to play the matches and win. With my mind struggling to concentrate I had almost lost the ball too many times. But not anymore. I can't afford to lose. I have to get rid of the diversions even if it's of someone important.
Yeah, Travis is someone who's become very important to me. I can't ignore that fact anymore.
"Heya girls." Cassy enters pulling me out of my troubled mind. "How's it going." She hollers aloud in the almost empty gym. Tori looks over at me and rolls her eyes at her friend's craziness. I chuckle before waving at Cassy.
"We're almost there aren't we? Finals." Cassy says with a bright smile. "I can feel the goosebumps already."
I nod feeling the chills in me. I couldn't wait to stand on the final stage. We have to pull ourselves that far no matter what.
"Oh right, Judy," Cassy turns to me and I perk a brow in a way asking her what's up. "Your friend. That girl who always clings onto you. She asked you to be on guard today?"
On guard? What does that even mean? What was Ava up to now?
I couldn't call her since Coach Harlot enters the gym taking the three of us by surprise.
"What the fuck is she doing in here so early?" Cassy whispers to me. I shake my head wondering the same thing. Coach has never come this early. She looks our way and gives a vague nod before writing down something on her writing pad.
"How's your leg doing Howell?" Coach suddenly asks with a high voice making us flinch. Tori who was midway in taking a seat on the bench paused in a weird position making me hold back my laugh.
"I'm doing fine Coach. The rehab is going well and the cast will be taken off soon hopefully." Tori replies and Coach gives a nod once more. She then jots something down on the pad once more.
What the hell is she doing? Taking down notes on us?
Thankfully before she could question Cassy and I, the rest of the girls start showing up one by one.
Cassy sighs relieved beside me. "Saved by the girls." She whispers grinning.
"Get changed quickly girls. We don't have all day!" Coach yells aloud and the girls who were taking their own time walking in scattered everywhere trying to find a spot to throw their bags and get ready asap.
I pass the ball to Senora before running over to join the circle that was formed around coach Harlot. Senora drops the ball by the benches and joins us.
"Tell me girls. How have we been faring so far?"
We all stood silent with our lips sealed tight. Coach looks at our faces one at a time. Her lips in a thin line.
"Well?" She presses waiting for a reply. Senora, being the captain decided to speak up on our stead.
"We weren't on our best Coach." She says as she looks at coach's face.
"And why is that?" Coach asks making the gym suffocating with her questions. It was like an interrogation room. We were all doing nothing but standing and yet we were sweating profusely.
That's the kind of impact coach Harlot had on us.
When no one makes a move to reply, coach harlot bangs her pen on the clipboard and I'm sure the pen must have broken in half.
"You call yourselves the Hawkettes? Be ashamed!" She yells at us making us all flinch at her outburst. I clench my fists to my side feeling the heat rush to my head.
Why were we being yelled at? Yes we played bad but we still won. We emerged victorious in those fierce matches. Coach has no reason to scream at us so violently.
"We will do our best in the next match Coach." Senora affirms trying to gain coach's approval. Coach remains tight lipped.
"The matches had been tough." I say making heads turn my way. "It means we've more formidable opponents to clash with. More opportunities to prove to the onlookers that Hawkettes are strong. That we walk out with victory. We may have not been the best but we still are the best out there." I finish, taking a deep sigh to contain the fire that's started burning inside of me.
"That's right coach. The games are getting tough, but that's because we're moving forward to the finals. We are facing strong schools. We're bound to make a mistake or two, but we will still bring victory home." Senora says firmly, holding her ground. I must have lit the fire in her as well and it didn't stop. The others stood straight as well forgetting to cower in the eyes of the coach.
"We're not invincible coach. But we are still the best out there. No one's managed to beat us yet and we will not let anyone beat us down." Who knew Cassy had it in her to say such words. I must give her a pat in the back for that.
Coach who had been fuming and discontent, loosened her grip on the board. We seemed to have gotten through to her. With a grunt and a nod of approval, she heads over to drop the clipboard and grab her whistle.
The rest of us jog to the corner of the gym to do sttetch-ups.
"Thanks for the lead Judith." Senora whispers so the rest wouldn't hear our conversation. "You were a life saver back then."
I only grin since I've nothing better to reply with.
"It really sucks to admit," Kaera startles us when she speaks up. "But we barely beat Meadows High in the last match"
"Yeah, I'm gonna need way more practise if I'm to be better than I was back then." Rekha voices to the rest of us.
"I ain't quitting until my shots start going in the damn basket ." Nora mutters, grinding her teeth tightly. In the last match she had almost missed all shots.
"I'd kill for some ice cream."
We all turn towards Cassy who was leaning on the bench in a carefree manner as she stretched her legs. She looks up and finds us all staring at her.
"What?" She questions and the rest of us topple over laughing at how crazy this girl was. Tori hits Cassy with the edge of her crutch and the latter glares at her friend for trying to give her a brain damage.
"Come on girls. Let's start with layups." Senora orders and the girls get to their feet to go grab them selves a ball. "Judith, you can get the other basket to yourself. Practice shots." Senora adds as she turns to me. With a nod I pull out a ball from the cart and walk towards the other side of the court.
Thank goodness we've two baskets or I'd be forced to do layups.
Coach blows her whistle and we all begin.
Four hours later we all fall all over the court groaning and panting. Cassy wobbles over to the benches while Nora does somersaults to keep her tiredness at bay. Said it was a usual to her.
I roll around the gym pausing in certain spots to let the girls walk past and then I resumed rolling.
"That was hell. Hell I tell you. Pure torture." Cassy cried out as soon as coach left. "She was so taking revenge on us for talking back to her earlier today." She whined as she throws a towel over her sweaty face.
"I'm outta here. Have fun for the rest of the evening girls." Tori says grinning as she hobbles away.
"Darn you Tori. You're mocking us. You know very well we're just gonna go home and sleep!" Cassy yells at her friend and runs after her with her bag. Senora shakes her head as she puts the balls away. I walk up to her and she turns to me.
"Can I stay a while longer please?" I request. Senora clicks her tongue in disapproval.
"You need rest Judith. Go home." She scolds as she turns away.
"I'm not going to practice. I swear. I just wanna stay a while longer to be safe from my best friend. She's planning something." I pass waiting for her to say something. "Please."
Sighing she turns to me once more. "No practice. Lock up and make sure to hand the key to me first thing tomorrow morning."
Everyone leaves and finally it's just me and the eerie court.
I promised Senora I wouldn't practice and so I just sit on the bench and dribble the ball.
What did Cassy mean when she said Ava asked me to be on guard?
Why would she be planning something?
What was she even thinking?
Ava doesn't usually leave clues as such. Something was certainly up . I just can't put my finger on it.
The time ticks away and nothing happens. I don't even get any call or message from Ava.
Did Cassy hear right? Or was she making things up?
Fuck this all! I'm going home.
I pick up my bag and stash my phone inside. Grabbing the ball to put away I pause when the doors are thrown open.
What in the world?
"What- what are YOU doing here?" I try to be calm as possible but my heart was literally close to jumping out of my chest.
Travis marched towards me.
Was this what Ava had meant when she asked me to be on guard?
Fuck it Ava! You could have been a little more detailed.
"Why are you ignoring me Judith?" Travis questions as he stops a couple of feet from me.
I stare at his face. How long has it been since I last saw him?
"Answer me Judith!" He snaps making me come to my senses.
"I wasn't ignoring you. I've just been busy with practice." I reply dribbling the ball to keep my cool.
"Too busy to even reply to the messages you leave as seen?" He presses making it difficult to concentrate on the dribbling.
I remain tight lipped. Something inside of me was tearing as I ignored Travis's intense gaze.
I was starting to get sick once more. My heart was beating fast. It was fine until just now. My heart has its own life when in front of Travis.
"I need to concentrate on practise Travis. I can't be spending time with you." I say trying to sound less bitchy. I didn't want to hurt Travis.
"Say that to my face Judith. Why are you not looking at me?" I could feel Travis shift as he takes a step in front.
Don't make this so difficult darn it!
"I can't talk to you anymore! Alright?" I didn't mean to yell but I was being desperate. Travis stopped all movement.
"But why? I don't understand."
I don't understand myself!
"I feel sick when I'm with you. Something is happening with me and I'm not sure what it is. I hate when I'm not in control of myself Travis." I can't believe I was sounding so dejected.
"I still don't get the point Judy." Travis sounded upset and my heart clenched making it difficult for me.
"It's because my heart is about to explode when ever I am anywhere near you." I finally mumble dejectedly.
Silence follows as I don't get any response from Travis. I'm afraid to even look behind me.
Footsteps. I hear footsteps behind me. Shoes squeaking on the polished floor.
Travis walks past me and then turns to face me with only a feet in-between us.
Travis was holding his breath before speaking, and the words that left his lips took my breath away.
"Do you like me Judith?"
Hey everyone. So I know everyone is going through some tough times right now. Let's not forget to keep our spirits high. I'm sure we'll pull through. Unless of importance PLEASE do not leave your home's.
Let's defeat this Corona once n for all!
Stay safe guys ♥️
Lots of love