Sneakers over heels

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Chapter 31

If I had not overslept and if I had not been in a rush to get onto the bus and get to school on time, perhaps I would have seen the bright red mark on my neck just above the collarbone.

Last night I had been in so much shock after Travis had left that I went straight to bed without having dinner. And somehow miraculously my alarm clock had decided to play tricks on me and stopped working in the morning. Dad, who always throws water at me, had somehow been in such a rush that he hadn't come up to wake me up. And so I had been snuggling well inside my bed sheets until I was blasted awake by the ringing of my phone and a super annoyed Ava demanding where the hell I was.

Throwing the sheets aside, stumbling and falling with my forehead kissing the ground with a loud thud, I scrambled to my feet and ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Throwing a tshirt that had been lying on the ground and my jeans, I tied my sneaker shoelaces and dashed outside my house to catch the morning bus. Thank heavens Travis hadn't been waiting for me outside his house like he always does. And so I find myself at the back seat of the bus feeling tired and exhausted first thing in the morning.

As I get off the bus and make a run to school, I almost trip on air and fall.

Fuck! Why am I tripping and running so much today?

I enter the school building with six minutes to spare. Sighing aloud, I adjust the strap of my bag and make way to the lockers. I find an irritated best friend leaning on my locker, biting at her nails. A habit she has when she's restless.

"Hey girl." I call out once I'm close enough to avoid heads turning.

"There you are!" Ava exclaims as she stands straight and moves closer to me. "Where in god's name-" Ava stops at once and her eyes go wide as saucers. "What the fuck!?"

Did she have to effing yell? We were in a busy hallway for fuck sake.

Before I could scold her for being so annoying first thing in the morning, she grabs me by the face and pushes my head to one side inspecting something I had no idea of. Ava continues to stare at my poor neck and then clicks her tongue. I slap her hand aside and step back to stare at my retarded best friend.

"No wonder he was in a fucking good mood last night " Ava was muttering under her breath but I could catch on the words. I stare at her confused now. Who?

Ava doesn't really explain her confusing words. She just zips open a compartment in her bag and ruffles inside it trying to find something. She goes 'Aha!' when she's able to find whatever it is that she was looking for.

A bandaid.

"Honey," she says as she peels the outer cover off and sticks the bandaid on my neck without my permission. Did I wound myself? "You're dating now, and that means every morning you are to have a close inspection of yourself before running to school." She explains absurdly like a mother would a child. I just stare at her since I pretty much had no idea what she was going on about.

"This right here," she touches a spot on my neck, " is called a kiss bite sweetheart."

A what? Mosquito bite? That's what she said right?

"The entire world would know what a kiss bite is except you."

"What's a kiss bite?" I ask touching my neck trying to see if I can feel any bump beneath the bandaid. I scrunch my nose in displeasure at the displeasing word she had just used.

Ava sighs shaking her head. "It's when a guy leaves a mark on his girl as a sign that she belongs to him." WHAT!? "They do it cause they don't like other guys eyeing their girl or something of that sort."

Was I to be happy that Travis wanted me all to himself or fucking pissed off that he was treating me like some kind of an object?

And when did he ever leave a kiss bite on me?

Wait. Don't tell me,

Last night? When he had deliberately leaned closer to me and bit me when I was talking to him about the James and the boys basketball team. Was that when he left this mark? Was he feeling insecure cause I was speaking about other guys and he bit me?

Are humans even allowed to bite one another?

How much more complicated things must I learn in the life of a girlfriend? And is it normal to feel light as air when I'd just been informed that my boyfriend had bit me to show the world I'm his?

"Listen Judy. You must be much aware of your surrounding now. We don't want those nagging teachers to get involved right?" Ava whispers as she swiftly scans the area trying to spot any incoming danger.

"That's my personal life. They have no right to butt in." I plaster my lip in a thin line dissatisfied with what she was saying.

"Sweetheart, you're a star in their eyes. The fruit of all their efforts. You think they wouldn't involve themselves when they come to know that you're dating a college guy who's three years older than you?"

This is absurd!

"So what if he's threes years older? Who gives a fuck about an age?" I ask with a deep frown. Since when has age been a problem in dating?

Ava sighs as she pat's my shoulder gently. "Some adults can be very criticizing love. That's the way of this world." The way Ava was saying it was as if she was trying to point at a certain adult she had in mind. I have no idea who that is though.

"That's bullshit Ava!"

Ava still carries the worried expression on her face and it makes me upset. Sighing I give her a reassuring smile. "I'll be careful. I promise." And that's when she relaxes and sighs relieved.

"Great. Now let's get to class. We have about-" she stops to stare at her little watch. "Ten seconds before the first bell rings."

Fuck!

"I'll catch you later Ava." I yell already running towards my first class. She calmly waves me off. Ava had never minded much about being late for class. I throw open the classroom door, earning a couple of weird stares which included the death glare of none other than Rabiya.

Ignoring her penetrating gaze, I take a seat in the front row, far away from her who was seated at the back. Mrs Potters entered the classroom as I pull out my calculus books. Giving me a secret special smile, she begins the class.

Forty minutes later, Mrs Potters shuts her book and ends class as the bell rings signalling the end of first period. Calculus was a favourite subject of mine and yet I have never been so happy to leave the class. Rabiya had simply annoyed the shit out of me during class. Passing notes and diverting my attention. If she had been seated beside me I'd have ripped her turban off and pulled out her hair. I never read the cuts of paper she kept passing though and thus her continuous annoyance. Clicking my tongue in irritation I gather my things and walk up to Mrs Potters to ask her a few doubts I had.

By the time I was done, it was time for the next bell to ring. I quickly walk up to my locker to collect some books for the next class and to my surprise I find Rabiya leaning on one of the lockers. I try to be discreet as possible as I open my locker and pull of my books. Lucky surely was not on my side today. Rabiya turned my way.

"Well? What is it?" I demand taking the girl by surprise with my rude tone of voice. She doesn't respond at once. "If there is nothing important to talk about then I'm leaving. Excuse me." I try to walk past her but she puts a foot in front and i stop midstep.

"Why do you have to be so full of yourself?"

I scoff. Me? Full of myself? Since when?

"I hate you Judith Drakeyer." She screeched. "You toy with men. You don't care about anyone's feelings. Leave James alone. You don't deserve him."

"What nonsense are you spouting?" I ask her. clearly she wasn't on her right mind.

"I have always liked James. I have known him since a very long time. Give him back." Rabiya gripped my forearm tight. Didn't know the slender girl had the strength in her, but I could have easily snapped her hand aside.

What does she mean she's known James for a long time? Did she not just arrive in Minnesota?

Why the hell am I even having this conversation with her?

I pry my hand away from her grip and she staggers back. "Now you listen here." I point my finger at her rudely, throwing a glare at her for being irritating. I couldn't go further since I was disrupted by someone who called out to me.

"Judy?"

Turning back I find my favourite giantess walking my way, her usual grin plastered on her face.

"Cassy! Fancy meeting you here."

"Yeah. I'm on my way to the library to collect some study materials. But what are you doing by the lockers? The bell is about to ring."

"I was being held back for trivial matters."

Cassy realised then that we had a third party. She stares down at Rabiya. I'm pretty sure she felt intimidated with Cassy's build and height as she takes a quick step back.

"Are you picking a fight with our Judy?" Cassy demanded. Our Judy. That felt nice to hear somehow.

"Of course not!" Rabiya squeaked and Cassy scrunched her nose.

"Egyptian." I whisper to the tall girl who I'm sure scrunched her nose due to Rabiya's accent. Cassy's mouth widens in an "O".

"Well then get to class. I'll see you around Judy." Cassy said as she clapped my back. I grin at the girl and quickly strode to my next class before Rabiya can stop me for another useless talk.




As I make my way to the cafeteria with Ava, we find the place almost completely filled up. Ava rushed in to grab us an empty spot while I rush to the counter to grab my tray of food. I prefer granola bars but Ava, well being Ava, would go on and on about my lack of nutrients and so I begrudgingly suck up on the school's cafeteria food.

As I place my tray on the table and take a seat opposite to Ava I could feel the gaze of someone. Looking left and right I try to find whoever it is that's bold enough to keep staring at me and then I find the culprit.

Leon whom I notice was staring at me gives a sheepish smile as he walks up to my table. Ava who had been busy ranting on about something which I'm sure wasn't important stops as she stares at the guy standing in front of her.

"Hello Judith." He almost whispers. Thank God I was so close or I wouldn't have heard him.

Who the hell is this!? Ava mouths trying to go unnoticed. The fool. I'm pretty sure the guy can see her lip movement well.

"Hey Leon. Whatsup up?" I ask him with a smile.

You know his name!? She mouths once more. I throw the juice carton at her to stop her from embarrassing herself any further.

"Well, I just wanted to apologize. For uh... My sister."

"Sister? Do I know her?"

"Rabiya."

"Wait... Your Egyptian!?" I counter in shock. He looked very American. Not that I'm being judgemental.

"Um no. I'm American." Hah! "My mom remarried her dad." He explained so I wouldn't grow weird ideas in my head.

"Ah. So that's why she's in America now. Annoying the shit out of me." I didn't mean to say the latter out loud. Oops. Leon had a look of guilt on his face.

"You have nothing to feel guilty of Leon. It's fine. Really." I give him a smile so he could ease up but he doesn't.

"Rabiya isn't all that bad. She's just got a little thing for James. Partially my fault since I had spoken so much about him to her. She had met him at our parents registration party and ever since sported a crush on him."

Yeah it's obvious since she's coughing threats all over.

"Well you can tell her that I haven't got a leash on the guy. So she can stop threatening me and talking shit as if I have gotten the guy wrapped around my fingers."

Ava drops her mouth wide open with the way I was referring to Leon's sister right in front of him. Leon doesn't mind though since he chuckles. Wow. How rare.

"I'll make sure I'll tell her that. I'm sorry anyways on her behalf." He apologized once more.

"Don't worry bud. It's cool."

"I'll be coming." He said out of the blue.

"Hmm?"

"Tomorrow's match. I'll be there to watch. Well to be precise the team will be there. We want to watch you girls play." He says with a shy smile, his eyes drinking at the ends.

"Oh. That's... Nice of you guys?"

"It's as an appreciation for the notes you gave us. It was really helpful Judith. Thank you very much. Even Jonas found those helpful. He was very grateful though I'm not sure he'll accept that in front of you."

That sly fox. I'm sure he'll act arrogant in front of me.

"I'm glad they we of help." I'm actually surprised they were helpful. I had just jotted down my opinion on the guys flaws. Didn't think they would accept it.

"So I'll see you later. Bye." And with that he quickly shuffled away and joins his table of guys. I let my eyes following his steps and when my eyes meet the team they all give me a smile. Jonas a smirk of course. But James doesn't even look my way. Shrugging I get back to my food.

"Alright.spill. what the fuck was that?" Ava, who had remained silent the entire time of my conversation with Leon finally interrupts me. I look to the front at her and find her face pouting at being left out of something.

"I watched their playing and gave them pointers on their flaws. I'm surprised they find it useful though."

"WHAT!? and you didn't call me?" She demanded furiously.

Of course she'd feel left out since this is about boys we're talking about.

"They ambushed me right after practice Ava." That made her shut up. Ava stares at her box of salad for sometime and I use this moment of peace to gobble up some food.

"What's going on with James? He seems distant?" She finally asked like I had interpreted. Sighing I drop the fork and look at back at her. I tell her on everything that had happened yesterday after practice and the conversation with James which had gone wrong.

"Did you talk to him yet?" Ava asks as she slowly takes a peak at the guy's table.

"I didn't. Travis asked me not to just yet."

Silence.

Ava grows silent as she stares at me dumbfound

"Wow." That was all she gave me.

"What?"

"No it's... Nothing."

"Ava?" I give a threatening tone.

She sighs. "It's just that, I never thought you'd actually listen to anyone who wasn't your coach. I mean don't you respect the words of your dad and coach only? Hell you don't even listen to me. But now you tell me you're listening to the words of my brother? I'm sort of surprised."

Oh. Now that she mentions that. She's right.

Why am I listening to his words?

I must have started looking distressed and deep in thought since Ava shakes my hand to help me clear my thoughts.

"Forget all that. It's not really important. Since you've a game tomorrow you have no practice after school. Thankfully. Let's go shopping." Ava suddenly grows excited with her eyes twinkling.

"Shopping? For what?"

"Well now that you've started wearing the clothes I got you, we should restock on them!" She exclaimed in great happiness and glee.

"Forget it." I deadpanned. "Those were emergency attires. I've locked them up and they won't be used ever again."

Ava clicked her tongue quite rudely. "I should get uncle Jack to burn her pants and tshirts."

"What was that Ava?"

"Oh. Nothing..." She drags too cheerfully which makes me look at her in doubt. "I was just thinking of meeting with uncle Jack since I haven't seen him in a while."

"Uh Ava? You met him just yesterday morning when you barged into my house for breakfast."

She chuckles and flicks her hand as if she hadn't done something outrageous.

"So let's hang out." She says and I feel my gut sinking.

"I'm sorry."

"And why is that?" She squints her eyes at me.

"I was supposed to meet up with Travis yesterday. You know that. But then practice. And the other stuff that happened. I promised him I'll meet him up after school." I apologize sincerely. She groans.

"You two have got to stop ignoring me like this!" She whines. I felt bad at once. I never wanna make Ava feel left out.

And so I'm about to text Travis to apologize, when some guy I'm not aware of walks up to our table and asks Ava if she's free after school to hang out at the mall with a couple of other kids.

And she agrees in an instant!

Who is ready to leave again?

Once they're out of her sight she gives me her attention. Finding me staring at her she perks a brow and shrugs.

"I've always wanted to hang out with him." She says so coolly and I groan at my best friend. "You can hang out with my brother. I give you permission since I have something in my agenda now." I look at her sceptically. Did she agree to go out with that dude cause she wanted me to spend time with Travis?

I don't ask her since Ava doesn't like me questioning her when she does something on my behalf. And so I just gobble up the dried up pasta and pray I don't choke and create a scene in this crowded cafeteria.

As the bell is about to ring I pick up my stuff and giving Ava a wave, I walk out the cafeteria and the first person I find before me was someone I didn't want to see. I stop in my track and ponder over my conversation with Leon.

I need to talk to her. Clear the misunderstanding. For Leon's sake atleast.

"Rabiya." I call out. She turns to my side and at once scowls as she realises just who had called her.

"What do you want!?" She snapped rather rudely.

"Well certainly not a fight. Stop being on guard like that." I sigh. She loosens her tightened posture but the glare remains.

"So?" She asks impatiently. I sigh once more.

"I'm dating someone." I say and the fists she had been clenching were unclenched. "He's not in this school. But I have a boyfriend Rabiya."

"Why are you saying me this?" She questioned, her gaze narrowed up on me.

"Because I don't want to be the center of a misunderstanding. You've got it all wrong if you think I have James wrapped around my fingers. I clearly told James I'm seeing someone else." Rabiya remains quiet as she listens to me without any interruption. "I don't know what dating is to be honest. Until I started going out with Travis I didn't even know what a date means. So I'm no pro to give you any love advice but, if you like James then say it to him without picking fights with me from the back."

Rabiya still silent sports a look of guilt as she realises just how stupid her actions had been.

"We're not some characters in a novel where there's a villain for the protagonist. I'm no main lead and you are no villainess. I know your a good person. I trust Leon's words." Rabiya's eyes go wide when I mention her stepbrothers name. "Let's end this feud. Okay?" With that I walk away not waiting for a response. I had spoken out the words I wanted to convey. It was up to her to accept my sincere words or throw them away.

"Judith," a hesitant voice called out. I don't pause but I slow my pace. "I'm sorry." There was reluctance in her tone but she still came out with an apology. I don't turn back to give her reply. I just raise my hand as a sign to show her I heard her loud and clear.

Words weren't necessarily needed right now. Actions could convey much better.

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