Sneakers over heels

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Chapter 30

The boys of the West View High basketball team were strong. Super strong. Stealth, defense, offense, moves, talent, you name them. The boys in front of my eyes were true players worth recognizing. Each one perfect in their position. But surely, if you ask me who the MVP was, I’d definitely point at the lanky who lacked presence. He was the true genius. A mastermind.

The kid whose name I learnt as Keon, was a true player of the shadows. His confidence as he moved to aid his fellow teammates was overwhelming. Do doubts. No confusion. His speed and stealth was beyond the reach of our eye. Even I, with my ability of wide view missed him at certain moments. He successfully drove people’s attention away from him while he supported the rest of the guys from behind. Keon was the reason the guys on his side were winning.

As the game comes to an end, the guys on Keon’s side high-fived each other. The kid almost fell off his feet as Jeremy slapped his palm. Poor guy. Once they were done talking to themselves, all six of them came running to me, who was still gawking at their speechless game that just ended.

“Well? How were we, Oh great master point guard of the Hawkettes.” Jeremy grinned as he uttered the ridiculous words which made me scoff. The rest of the boys except one silent boy, find it funny somehow as chuckle which makes me roll my eyes at the lot of them. I ignore their existence as I turn my gaze to stare at the man of the match.

“You were amazing!” I couldn’t keep the excitement from my voice. The silent guy’s eyes go so wide I’m afraid they’d pop. It’s not just him who’s staring at me. Even his teammates look at me in surprise.

“Me?” Keon asks unsurely, pointing to himself. His voice was so light. How can a guy possess such a soft voice? I give him an excited nod as a reply to his question and he flushes bright.

“But he’s the shadow? I’m surprised you noticed him.” Jonas the ass mocks and I throw a glare his way. “It’s you whom I actually had a hard time noticing.” I say monotonously. I click my tongue to express my displeasure. Jonas shuts up at once much to my delight. I didn’t give a fuck who he was. If he was going to openly ridicule someone, then I have no choice but to put him in his place.

“If you ask me, Keon isn’t the shadow but the light that’s paving a path for you all to score a goal.” My words create an impact on the dude. Keon’s eyes which didn’t have much of a sparkly, shone bright with respect and happiness. Gratefulness.

Just how much has his worth been lessened to?

“I want to see more. Please!” I can’t believe I was pleading to boys! But it was worth it if I was to be able to see more of their bad ass playing. The boys look at one another awkwardly. Keon doesn’t take his eyes off of me. He looked like a little puppy. The guys have some sort of a telepathic conversation and a second later James turned to me with a smile and nodded.

Yes!

I turn around to my bag. Shuffling through my stuff, I try to find my phone. Buried deep inside, I pull out my abandoned phone. Dialing Travis’s number, I wait for him to pick up. Two rings and he picks.

“Travis, listen,” I start and the smile which was on James’s face fades. hmm? “I’ve got something very important that came up. So I won’t be able to meet up with you any time soon.” I say in a hurry and hope he understands my words.

“Something important than me?” he asks in mock surprise and I’m pretty close to throwing my phone to the ground and trampling it.

How can a guy be so cliché!?

“Yes something important than you.” I reply dryly.

“Basketball?” and with that single word he wins me over once more. My eyes soften on its own accord. Travis knows me too well. I smile to myself forgetting the fact that a couple of guys were staring at me.

“Mm…” I hum. What Travis asks next makes me want to run to the basket and hit my head on the pole. Why god!?

“No you are not next after basketball.” I snap. “There’s my dad. Then Ava. Then the grocery man who gives me free ice cream, and the counter boy at the Café for the delicious donuts even though it’s not him making them.” I finish heaving a deep sigh. Jeremy chokes on his own spit and I perk a brow mentally asking him what’s wrong. He covers his mouth to refrain from barking out laughing. “Stop being such a drama queen. I’ll meet you at the usual. Kay?” with that I pocket my phone. I wasn’t being a bitch to Tray. This is just the way I am and I know Travis Would never misunderstand.

“You meet that guy quite a lot, don’t you?” Jeremy, who somehow managed to control his laughter asks with a lopsided grin.

“Are you stalking us, now that you know the café is our usual spot?” I demand with a frown. Jeremy lifts his hands out in surrender, shaking his head strongly.

“I hate that café. The guy waiter with the glasses sucks. He’s an annoyance and a real pain. The way he keeps glaring at me and the way he takes my orders is the worst.”

Only one waiter wears glasses at the Café and that is our good ol’ Harry.

“Harry is a fine person just so you know.” I say strongly backing up the guy who was being wrongly accused.

“Why are you defending the dude?” Jeremy asks frowning, confusion written all over his face.

“Well, because he is a gentle soul who helps people when they are in need. He lends me his pen whenever I ask for it without complaining. See what a gentle guy he is?” I plant my hands on my hips and I glower at the tall basketball player in front of me. I bet I look like a minion right now with my pose.

Okay, so Harry never lets go of his pen without a fight. And now he even hides it from me. But Jeremy needs not know it right?

Jeremy chuckles at me while shaking his head. “You are one peculiar little thing Drakeyer.” His blue eyes held amusement in them.

“Can we please get back to the game boys?” I almost sounded like a coach. The rest of the boys who had been ignored all this time throw a grateful sigh and get back to the inner court for another match.

The sun goes down and the court gets dark. The boys pant as they finish their third consecutive game. Yeah, I had gotten greedy and asked for another match. Unlike the first one where I just watched them play, in the second and third match I took down notes on each and every one of their game play. Their moves, and the microscopic flaws they had in them hoping it will be of use to them. I get off the bench which was starting to hurt my butt. I stretch front and back letting my tensed muscles lossen up. I walk up to the guys who were flat, sprawled on the floor.

“Thanks a lot for the games. I enjoyed myself very much. You guys are amazing. Every one of you.” They brim with delight and their smiles make me feel awkward. “So uh, here’s just a couple of stuff I jotted down. Hope they be of help to you. Good luck boys and I’ll see you around.” I hand over the book to the Captain who starts reading it at once. The others push each other aside to get in there as well. Pulling my bag strap over my shoulder I turn to walk out.

“Thanks for this Judith. Good luck to you and the Hawkettes for the upcoming match.” The captain says with a smile and the rest follow him in saying their good luck. I give a sheepish grin and continue walking towards the door.

“Hold on Judy. I’ll walk you home.” James who had been busy reading, said at once taking me by surprise. He gets to his feet and jogs to his bag, pulling out a new t-shirt.

“It’s fine James. I don’t live that far. Thanks anyways.” I try to walk out but he refuses to let me leave.

“I insist.”

How am I to say no to this guy?

“Alright. I’ll wait for you outside.” And I leave ignoring the whistling of Jeremy. Ten minutes later James and I wave good night to the rest and we walk a different path to them as we make our way towards my street.

As we walk in silence my phone starts ringing. Only one person calls me at this hour and it wasn't the ringtone I'd assigned to Ava.

"Hey Tray." I say before even looking at the caller ID. "Just left school."

I wished with all my heart James wouldn't notice my flushed face but to no avail since he had his eyes glued to me.

"I'll be home in a couple of minutes. Almost there. I'm sorry we couldn't meet up at the cafe." I pause and wait for him to speak. "No you really don't have to come. I'm sure. Why not come over to the gym? I'll be there for an hour until dad locks up. Yeah. I'll see you in a while then. Bye Tray." And I pocket my phone.

"Uh..." James coughs slightly before speaking. "You two seem close." He says and I heave a deep sigh. So much for wanting to keep this a secret. Not that I have a need to. I was being considerate but I think it's best that I reveal the truth before James finds out from someone else.

"I'm dating him James." I say but James remains silent. "He's my boyfriend."

James stops walking and his expression morphs into something unpleasant to the eye.

"What do you mean dating? You said you don't do dating. What changed? Weren't you too busy with basketball." He was whispering and I remain quiet. "How could you betray me Judith!?" He blasted, his outburst making the few passerby's turn their heads our way.

I was furious. How dare he accuse me for something that wasnt even a fault.?

"Stop yelling James!" I snap. "I didn't have a person I liked back then. Now I do. And so we're dating. Stop accusing me so brutally". I try to remain calm but my blood was boiling up.

"I'm leaving". That was all he said and he turns away from me.

"James." I call out and at once he stops. I figured he would just walk but he doesn't. He stops and turns his head my way slightly giving an ear to what ever it was that I wanted to say. "I like Travis." I pause as I find him curling his fists, his knuckles turning white."We're dating and he's my boyfriend." I repeat but gently now. "I never gave you hope James. I turned you down from the start. You're a precious friend and that is why I'm trying to level up with you. I'm sorry if this is upsetting but this is the truth." I finish. James remains silent. He doesn't say anything, and the with a low grunt he walked away leaving me all to myself.

I sit outside by my house as I stare at the night sky. What in the world happened? It was such a good day. Why did it have to end so crappily?

I heave a deep sigh as I pull out my phone to text Tori. It’s better to let her know what’s happened so she’ll be ready when James confronts her.

“If I had known you would be staying out foe me, I would have definitely come faster.” A teasing voice which I’ve started to love listening to, came from my right side. Looking up I find Travis smiling down at me with a twinkle in his eyes. Clad in just sweat pants and a hoodie, he looked absolutely gorgeous. But somehow I couldn’t find it in me to smile back at him. Travis takes quick strides towards me and squats down in front me. “ What’s wrong?” A sense of worry in his voice. This adorable and gentle guy doesn’t even have to worry about me. But he does.

Why is the world am I surrounded with so many boys?

“Jude?” He presses. I give him a light smile as I get to my feet, pulling him up as well.

“Let’s get inside first. It’s chilly out here.” I unlock the front door and step inside motioning Travis to follow. He enters and looks around.

“First time coming in here.”he remarks with a smile. “So this is my girl’s house.”

Fuck. Is he deliberately trying to make me blush?

“We live in the same neighborhood Tray.” I try to lighten the mood so it doesn’t start to get awkward.

“Yeah, but you are my girlfriend now and this is the first time I’m visiting my girlfriend’s house. It’s important to me. So let me enjoy the moment.” He says as he caresses the side of my face sending chills all over my body.

“Come here.” He takes me by the hand and pulls me down on the couch. “Tell me, what happened?” his tone turning serious now. Flirting left aside. Sighing I rub my temple as I sit cross-legged.

“James. He went over the moon when I told him about us.”

Travis’s jawline tenses as his eyes harden. “James? Why were you with him on a Sunday?”

And so I begin with the practice. My talk with Senora and how I had been asked to watch the boys game. Travis lets out a relieved breath much to my surprise as he scratches the back of his head.

“Don’t worry too much. He’ll come around in a couple of days. Don’t go in search of him until he’s ready to face you.” Travis ruffles my hair to make me smile. And I do so.

We remain silent afterwards and I appreciate it. I contemplate over the events of the day and heave a deep sigh.

“You’re being rude to your boyfriend by thinking of other men.” Travis almost sounded like he was whining.

“Stop that. First of all, I do not see them as men. Second, stop sounding so weird.” I say throwing a cushion at him which he swiftly catches and chuckles as he moves closer.

Dad would be back in forty five minutes. I had always waited for him to return. I always grumbled when ever he was a minute late. But today, for some reason I was hoping the time would go slow and my time with Travis would extend much longer.

“Ava doesn’t stop nagging me about how I am to treasure you.” Travis says rolling his eyes. I feel warm as I hear that. To Ava I was more important than her brother. Or perhaps the warmth is cause Travis was so close, draping his arm over my shoulder?

The vibration of my phone gets me to my senses. Swiping the screen unlock I find a message from Tori.

James just got home. Guess cats out the bag with the way he went up to him room furious. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. Get some sleep Judy. Good night –T

Before I could type back a reply to Tori, the phone is pried out of my grip and placed on the coffee table in front of the couch.

“Take your mind off of James Howell.” Travis whispers in my ear. I’m pretty sure it’s turned red. Travis edges closer, his face almost touching mine. My heart leaps out of my chest as I feel his lips graze my neck. And then there’s a sharp pain.

Fuck!

“Ouch! Travis did you fucking bite me?” I ask in horror as I push him back. Rather than feeling regretful, he chuckles.

“That’s what you get for thinking of other guys in my presence.” He thenleans in front once more. I shut my eyes tight.

A soft peck on my forehead.

As I open my eyes, I meet with dazzling green ones. Travis bumps his head with mine softly and then gets to his feet.

“I’ll leave now. You should rest. Don’t worry too much and head straight to bed after dinner. Understand?” He waits for a reply. I absent mindedly nod and he leaves after giving me a warm smile.

As I lean back on the couch, I realise one thing perfectly.

My brain has stopped functioning.

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