"Wake up!" Dad yells as he throws a cup of cold water over me.
I sit up straight like an effing robot, shivering from head to toe.
Don't worry. My dad wasn't being an ass. This is just how he wakes me every day.
At fucking 5 am!
Some Psycho wanted to start his gym training at 5 in the morning and so dad had to go down to be in the gym.
Me being the irresponsible girl I am would definitely sleep the entire day if someone doesn't wake me up.
So this is how my dad wakes his poor, exhausted daughter.
I glare at him, wiping my drenched hair away from my eyes.
"That was extra cold today," I say through gritted teeth.
"Sorry. I'll be going now. Breakfast is made. Take care, Judy." And he gives me a quick peck on the head and leaves.
The usual every day.
I get off my soaking bed and pull my curtains open.
I've directed my bed in a way so that the afternoon sunlight would dry up my bed every day.
I pull my messy hair into a bun and replace my hoodie with a t-shirt. Grabbing my running shoes, I lock the door behind me and sit on the doorstep to put on the shoes.
The morning was cold, despite the fact that it was summer now. My skin broke out hives when the cold morning air brushed my skin.
I start jogging to warm myself before taking off in a sprint.
As always, the boy delivering milk grins as he sees me running down the street. I wave at him and continue.
Passing Ava's house, I find her curtains closed.
Of course, she's sleeping. She always wakes up half an hour before school and somehow manages to get to school in time.
I could feel my body warming up and it felt so good.
I needed to do more morning exercises now that I'm on the basketball team. I can't slack off anymore.
I check my phone and the screen shows 7:30 a.m
That's enough running.
I need to get back to do some workouts and then run to school.
I get back home and gobble the pancakes dad whipped up for me, before walking to the bathroom to get my morning shower.
It's not like I have a princess wardrobe. My clothes are limited. And I like it that way.
I put on my blue jeans and a tank top, grabbing my jacket from my chair I put it on, tie my shoes and quickly sit down for my morning study revision.
I go through the stuff we're to learn today in each class. And soon dump the books inside my backpack and leave the house with my sports bag.
Westview wasn't really far. I had to ride the bus for fifteen minutes and then walk for another ten minutes. Five if it's running.
I stand by the entrance, leaning on the wall when Ava comes running like some madman is chasing her.
"Am... Am I on time? Tell me I'm not late!" She gasps for breath.
Geezus. This girl really needs to do more running.
"You're actually early by ten minutes. Congrats Ava." I pat her back and she beams proudly.
Shaking my head I enter school premises, Ava following close behind and then matching my steps.
"So ready for your first practice today?" She asks letting out a wide yawn.
I glare at her. I hate yawning. It makes me feel sleepy.
"I'm sure I'll survive," I say with a shrug.
"Of course!" She sings as she drapes her arm through mine and drags me towards our locker.
Some guy with blue eyes calls out to my best friend. She asks me to go ahead and stops to chat with the dude.
I scowl at him and he stares at me weirdly.
Dumping my stuff inside my locker, I shut the locker door and then scream.
"Sorry. Oh my god. I'm sorry. Did I frighten you?" This guy who I've never seen before stands beside me.
"What the fuck? What are you trying to do first thing in the morning dude?" I didn't mean to snap but I always end up being extra bitchy to guys.
I swear I'm not doing that on purpose. I just naturally snap at any guy who stands before me.
I'm innocent right?
The guy seemed taken aback at my outburst. He takes a step back.
I wait for him to tell me whatever it is that he wanted to say first thing in the morning.
Or perhaps he's at the wrong locker.
Yep. That explains it all.
I turn to walk away but then he says my name and I know I was wrong.
He's at the right spot.
"Judith Drakeyer right?" He says and I only stare at him.
How does he know me? I'm pretty sure we don't share a single class.
"Who the hell are you?" I ask. Once again I didn't want to sound rude. It just happens!
"Uh well, I'm James Howell." He says and my mouth turns to a grin.
"No way! You're James Howell?" I was practically yelling in the guy's face.
Now he stared at me confused. The dude gave me an unsure nod and my grin widened.
Now I can tell Ava I know who James Howell is!
But then I remembered what she had told me yesterday. That he had been "giving me the eye".
I lower my grin and stare at him.
The dude is amazing to not have run away with the way I kept changing my expressions.
"You're the one who joined the girls' basketball team right?" He says with a smile. He wasn't mocking. He gave a real smile.
"Congrats." He continued.
I'm not really sure what to do so I just stand there looking like a kid getting praise from her teacher.
How does he even know that I made it to the team? Does news travel that fast?
Or maybe one of the girls who got kicked out was crying that I had taken her place.
Happens all the time.
"Oh sorry. You must be wondering how I know. My sister is in the team. She's a senior." He explains and it finally clicks.
"Señora?" I ask and he shook his head.
"Tori Howell." He said and I gave him an "I-have-no-idea" look.
"Uh, she plays for the team. Top five. You'll meet her. I guess."
"Okay look. What do you want?" I ask.
Why hasn't the darn bell rung yet?
"Nothing!" James says holding his hands up in surrender. "I just wanted to congratulate you on getting into the team. I think you're awesome." The guy looked embarrassed complimenting me.
Why is he even doing it then?
"Uh, thanks? I better get going. So bye." I turn to and walk towards my first class for the day.
"I'm in the boys' basketball team." He shouts after me.
I don't turn, but I wave just so the dude doesn't feel like I dissed him and walk away.
Mrs. Potters, my Calculus teacher stops me outside the classroom door.
She's my favorite teacher at this school.
"Hi, Mrs. Potters. How are you today?" I ask with an extra grin. She smiles at me.
"I'm good Judith. I wanted to speak to you before class."
"I heard from the teacher in charge of the girls' team that you've made it to the team. Congratulations dear."
I beam at her.
"Thanks, Mrs. Potters."
"But make sure you don't drop in your studies alright?" She says with a playful wink and I laugh it off.
I'll never slack off in either of them. I'm going to do my best to excel in both.
I give her a nod and she opens the door and enters the classroom.
I enter after her and take a seat at the front of the class.
"Turn to page 35." Mrs. Potters says to the class and I follow her instruction.
"Why have you stopped running laps?" The coach barked from the other side of the court. I look behind me as I'm jogging and find a redhead almost collapsing to the floor.
"You can't even run 50 laps?" She yells as she makes her way to the newbies.
I always kept wondering why the tryout had been easy.
She tortured the new kids during practice until the girls left the team themselves.
This is how the Hawkettes had only iron-willed players.
I didn't mind running. It was my favorite workout.
But I wouldn't say the same to most of the other girls. Some were panting so loudly I felt sorry for them. Some had left.
There were 23 new girls in total. Two left and I'm pretty sure the redhead was going to be next.
I stared at the team that were playing a match. There were 19 girls in the hawkette official team, with the top five sitting out and letting the subs play the match.
I catch Senora's eye and she looks my way. She gives me a light wave and the rest of the players on the team look my way.
I give Señora a shrug and wait for the coach to blow her whistle for us to continue running our laps.
As expected, the redhead dropped out and we continued.
"Next 20 push-ups and the Captain will check your layups." The coach said once we were done with our laps.
The girls groaned as they pushed their bodies to do push-ups as the coach ordered.
This is why being a gym coach's daughter comes in handy.
I finish the push-ups and wait for the rest to be done. Another girl with dark hair and grey eyes finish along with me. So far she's the only one who had been able to keep up with the torment training without grumbling.
She looks at me and gives me a vague nod. I don't respond. Just stare at her.
"How's the first day Judith?" Dark hair girl tenses but the voice that says my name actually ignites my passion.
Señora stands in front of me with a ball in her hand.
"It's fantastic actually. Love the training." I say with a grin and she cocks a brow at me wondering if I'm bluffing or being honest.
"Follow me, girls." She says and we follow her to the other end of the court.
She passed the ball to the dark-haired girl and she catches it swiftly.
"You go first," Señora says and the girl moves to the front.
I hear one of the girls whispering to another asking what's a layup.
Are you fucking kidding with me!?
You're doing basketball without knowing an important move?
I glare at her and she flinched when she finds me shooting daggers her way.
"What?" She asks with an annoying nasally voice almost eating away my eardrums.
"Why are you trying for basketball when you don't even know what a layup is?" I ask. She sneers at me as she looks me from head to toe.
"If a brat can be here, then I think it's fine if I'm here as well." She says and the girls on both her sides snicker.
I'm about to pound her in the face when a ball almost hits her on the face.
She stares dumbfound and I realize it's the dark-haired girl who had thrown it.
"Cap says your next."
This is the first time I'd heard her talking. She had a rough edge to her tone.
I like that!
I look at her and find her already looking at me.
I give her a thumbs up and she just shakes her head.
Since the nasally bitch had been so busy picking a fight with me, she hadn't seen what the other girl did and so she kept staring at the ball trying to figure out what a layup is.
"Hurry up! We don't have all day. I need to get back for the next match." Señora raises her voice.
The girl drops the ball and it dribbles and then stops.
"Whatever. I'm out of here." And the bitch walks away.
"What is the meaning of this?" Señora yells and the official team members turn to look at the commotion.
The rude bitch doesn't give a fuck as she grabs her pink sports bag and walks out the door, banging it behind her.
Her two friends look at each other and they too pick their bags and leave.
"Good riddance," Señora muttered but I caught it. She looks at me and then shrugs like she hadn't said anything offensive.
I grin and she chuckles.
"Judith go next." She says and passes me the ball.
I was confident with my shots. I've practiced and drilled it it into my body and mind.
But layups? Yeah, that's where everything goes down. It had always been a challenge. A one-handed shot that's done from a close range to the basket.
I dribble the ball a couple of times and then hold it in position to shoot it.
I didn't have my left hand for support. The ball was firm in my hands but shooting it so it'll go through the hoop is what's making me sweat.
I flick my wrist back and then shoot with a little jump.
The ball wheezes high and then bangs on the backboard of the hoop and rebounds.
The ball comes falling back to me and I catch it with both hands and before Señora could say next or whatever, I position myself further from the basket and shoot once more.
"Uh, Judith. That's a normal shot. Not a layup." Señora states.
"Who cares? I got a basket!" I say with a jump in my step.
She shakes her head and sighs as she asks one of the girls to pick the ball and go next.
"You're awfully confident aren't you?" It was the dark-haired girl.
"Well I've been holding the ball since I was one and I've been practicing to shoot since I was six. I think I deserve to be confident." I say with a carefree attitude.
"I'm Nora." She extends her hand.
I thought she'd backtalk and say I'm being arrogant. I didn't expect her to introduce herself.
"Judith. Just Judy is fine." I say as I take her hand.
"Are we done with the pleasent introduction ladies?"
Crap. That's one awful voice I don't want to be near to.
I peer to my side and find the coach's hard gaze on Nora and myself.
"I need you to perfect your layup and show me tomorrow." The coach directs this to me.
"I'm sorry but that's not possible."
Yeah, I just talked back to the coach.
"Excuse me?" The lady was red in the face. I guess no one's ever spoken back to her.
"Judith. Stop." Señora whispers standing next to me.
The coach waits for me to continue and so I do.
"I don't think I can do a perfect layup in just a day since I haven't been able to do that for the past six years coach."
She smirks. The huge lady actually smirks.
She looks like a serial killer.
"Then you are out the team." She says pointing her thumb to the door.
"No, I'm not."
I'm not being an arrogant bitch. I just don't want this lady to think she can rule me.
Her smirk drops and replaces a glare.
"Tell me coach, is a perfect layup most vital in a basketball match?" I ask.
"All players of the Hawkettes team need to perfect all the moves irrespective of it being vital or not." She says through gritted teeth, anger boiling off of her body.
"I'm sorry, but I can't do layups. I can't shoot when close to the hoop." She's about to say something but I raise my hand to show her I've still more to say.
"But, I can assist, steal the ball from the opponent with my size being an advantage. I've never missed a distant shot for the past three years. I've been in track and field during middle school. I can keep running for hours and not get tired. I'm confident that I'm fast. And I'm a good three-point shooter. And let me tell you, coach, I never go under pressure. Ever."
I take a step in front. I don't have the intention of sizing up on the lady. That's never going to be possible with my five-foot height. But the step I took was meant to show her I wasn't backing down.
"So tell me coach, am I not suitable for the team?"
A hand drapes around my shoulder taking me by surprise.
And she's smiling.
"I don't want her out Coach. I want Judith on the team." Was all she said to make my insides fly high.
The Captain acknowledges me.
That's what I need. Acknowledgment.
The fact that even I have talent in a sport that's a disadvantage to me.
The coach, who had been so close to grabbing me by the collar and throwing me out, now had an impressed look in her eyes.
Like she hadn't expected me to fight back and win.
"Let's see what you're capable of kid." She says and the teams who had been having a practice match shrugged.
"I want to try out as well." It was Nora who spoke up.
The coach looks at the two of us intrigued.
She turns to the rest of the newbies but none asks to play a match.
And so Nora and I find myself in the center of the court in a team of five.
The other three in the team were two seniors and a sophomore who had joined in her freshman year and made it to the team in her sophomore year.
The opposing team was all seniors.
The top five sat out as usual, but now they paid attention to the game with utmost interest.
Even the coach seemed expectant.
You've got this Judith. Prove to them your more than what your height defines you.
The whistle is blown and the center player of both teams try to get the starting ball.