Sneakers over heels

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Chapter 33

“I almost killed someone Judith.” His words shook me. Travis whispered the words as he shut his eyes tight.


Travis remained quiet and this made me lose more of my brain cells. I needed to know what he meant. Killed? He’s joking right?

“Travis answer me!” I yelled. Heads turned but with the glare I threw their way everyone turned away.

“A weirdo had entered into our college grounds and demanded my friend to go out with him. He was a psycho who had been stalking her for months. The girl downright rejected him and the dude lost it. The creep started beating her up then without a warning and she almost lost consciousness with her face covered in blood. No one came in front to help out and so I stepped forth to defend her. I was already stressed out with my parents constant nagging over the few days and so seeing such a scene in front of me made my blood boil to an extent my vision blackened with fury.” Travis paused to take deep breaths as he curled his fists tight. His knuckled turned white and veins popped in the sides. I bet if he brought down his fist down hard, he would surely break the table into pieces. “That is when I started beating the crap out of the guy until he laid motionless on the ground.”

“Travis,” I tried to bring him back to his senses. I touched his hands gently hoping for his mind to clear up. His anger didn’t die down. All he did was grip onto my hand tight.

“I would have been sent to prison for attempt murder. But since I did it as self defense for another party, I was sent to be in juvenile center to get past anger issues.” Travis scoffed in fury at how preposterous this all sounded. “I was sent there for three weeks and afterwards I came directly home. I couldn’t bear to see the looks on the faces of the people who would surely see me as a freak.” And now he sounded hurt and broken.

“You were in juvenile. So what?” At my words, Travis whipped his head up and stared at me in disbelief.

“So what? Judith I was sent to juvenile! Not some party. Fuck, I almost murdered someone!” he realized his voice was too loud and quickly brought it down to a whisper. “And I’m supposed to be studying to be a doctor?”

Ah. So this is why he hates going back to college. He thinks he doesn’t deserve to be a doctor. This silly boy. Does he even realize the noble act he had done?

“If it had been me, I’d have danced in juvenile or the supreme court for that matter for my victorious accomplishment.” What I was saying was absurd but I managed to get a crack of a smile from the guy. “Listen Tray.” I hold his hand gently and he gives mine a soft squeeze. “When your friend had been in a life threatening trouble, no one had stepped in to help. All everyone did was be a fucking wuss as they enjoyed the show from the sidelines. But you Tray, you took matters into your own hands. You saved a girl’s life. Do you have any idea how much she would have appreciated your support back then? You didn’t murder anyone. You’re not a criminal. And even now I’m pretty sure this girl is still waiting for you to return to show her heartfelt appreciation.” I give the poor broken guy a gentle smile I could muster. He crumbled in front of me as a sob escaped his lips. A grown man crying wasn’t a pleasing sight. And it was worse cause it was Travis. I didn’t miss the tears that were starting to well up in the corner of his eyes. It broke my heart to see him in such a state.

All this time, had no one reassured this gentle soul that he was never in the wrong?

“Your parents?” I ask slowly.

“They know. They were called in as soon as the cops were called in.” He grimaced. “I bet Ava knows as well though she pretends like she has no idea what was going on and I’m her perfect brother. That child, she truly is a considerate girl.” I give a strong nod at that. Ava has always been the gentle girl who is very understanding and loving.

“You should have just told me Travis. Right from the beginning without keeping all this bottled up inside of you.”

“I was afraid you would judge me. I… I didn’t want to lose you Judy.” Travis slumped so low and his shoulders were drooping. All I wanted to do was hug the guy and never let go.

“I would never judge Tray. You of all people should know that.” He gives me a light nod still not looking at my face. “From now on, you tell me everything.” I lift his face by his chin and make him look me in the eye. “You hear me? Everything. Even if you crush an ant and is accused of murder you tell me. Got it?” Yeah, I bet I was sounding like some lunatic, but I needed Travis to know I would always be there to lend him an ear.

“Will you do the same Jude?” His eyes that were lifeless, was now sparkling with hope it made my insides wriggle.

“Sweetheart, I’ve told you everything you need to know about me. I’m practically an open book now.”

A smile dawns on his face and his beautiful eyes shine even more. “I like it when you call me sweetheart.”

Oh, so that why he smiled!

“Well that’s going to be the first and last. I’m never going to say it ever again until my last breath.”

Fuck. Why does he always manage to make me blush?

My phone starts vibrating giving an annoying sound on the tabletop. Looking at the screen I find a reminder staring back at me

~Meeting @ 6~

Bloody hell!

“I forgot I’ve a meeting in school with the girls and coach.” Travis doesn’t really hear me. Somehow he had gone back to feeling down and he stares at his drink blankly. Squeezing his hand that was still on mine, I call Senora.

“Hey Judith,” Senora answered the call. “Are you at the gym? I’ll be there in five minutes. Would you mind-“

“Senora.” I cut her off before she could finish whatever she was trying to say.


“I’m sorry, but I’ll be late for the meeting.” Senora remains quiet for a couple of seconds. And then she sighs. I continue before she decides to give me an earful. “Travis is having a bit of an episode and I don’t want to leave him alone. Is it alright if I come in a little late? I promise I’ll be there. I’ll even talk to the coach.”

“Try to get here fast. I’ll cover up for you.” And she cuts the line.

Thanks Senora. And I’m sorry.

Travis and I don’t really talk and we remain in a comfortable silence while holding onto each other’s hand. Fifteen minutes later Travis stirs slightly and I straighten my back.

“I’m sorry for keeping you from attending your meeting.” He apologized. He sounded faint and hurt it was upsetting.

“It’s fine Tray. I stayed back voluntarily.” My words make him give me a watery smile.

It’s not fine. I’ve never lied. I’ve never missed practices or anything that had to do with basketball. Yet, now I’m doing it all. I am falling out of rhythm. Falling out of place. Basketball is my life’s one true purpose. My goal. The sweat, hardwork and time I had put into it to get where I am today. And now, I am pushing it aside for a boy.

But Travis. He wasn’t just any boy. He is someone I could not take my eyes off of. I could not ignore him.

“Come. I’ll drop you at school.” Travis says suddenly as he gets to his feet. He walks over to the counter to pay for our drinks.

“You don’t have to Tray.” I quickly say once he’s back. “I need to stop at home to get a quick change. No way in hell am I going to meeting in a skirt.”

He looks at my skirt and then back at me confused, most certainly wondering why I had to change if it was just a meeting and not practice. Travis had once said I looked good in a skirt and so occasionally I would wear one when we were on our dates much to Ava’s joy and excitement.

“Alright. Let’s do that then.” He takes my hand in his and walks me to the exit. I turn around on impulse and find the counter boy smiling as he waved. Harry gave a salute in a childish way. We weren’t even acquainted, yet these two were like friends rather than a café’s employees.

When we reach my house, I quickly run to my room and change into a pair of track pants. Getting rid of the t-shirt, I replace it with a sweatshirt and grabbing my favorite baseball cap I run back downstairs and out the door, locking it up behind me. Travis was tapping on the steering wheel while deep in thought. As I get inside, he steps on the pedal and speeds up to school.

“I’ll pick you up. Drop me a text once you’re done.” He says as he cuts the engine. I wanted Travis to go home and get some rest. He needed it after the mental exhaustion he faced today. But the pleading in his eyes kept me from saying no. and so I give a nod.

I hurry out the car and shut it loud behind me. I was about to sprint across the school grounds and rush to the gym before I could get into trouble for being super late but Travis stops me from doing so. He calls me over to his side. I lean in closer and as light as the night wind, Tray leaves a soft kiss on my cheek.

“Have fun.”

I didn’t have time to swoon and melt and become a puddle. I give him a shy nod and then turn around and run towards the gym like a madwoman on a chase. I stop just outside the big doors to catch my breath and then slowly, quietly, quite expertly like some thief, I pull open the door without making a single noise. The light pours out into the darkness as I slip inside and close the door.

“Good evening Drakeyer.”

the voice beside me sent chills down my spine and the fear kept my mouth sealed from yelping out at how close the coach was standing.

“How is your stomach?” are you feeling better now since you’re back to your old ways of creeping past people.”

“My stomach?” I ask confused trying to forget the fact that Coach Harlot was making me sound like a thief.

“Senora informed you were having constipation problems. She said you were stuck in the bathroom.” Coach says with a straight face I have a strong urge to pull her face to see if she’s laughing underneath. But I’m too much in shock to do anything.

Seriously? Constipation? Of all the excuses in the world, our captain came up with constipation?

I play along so Senora and I wouldn’t get into any trouble. “I’m fine coach. I was indeed stuck in the bathroom. It was quite the battle. The enemy had refused to come out of hiding. Not to worry though. I got everything under control. I handled it smoothly.” I finish my grand tale and wait for a crack of a smile from the giant but she just deadpans.

“Join the team without spouting nonsense.” She orders. I grin and run up to my girls who were in waiting to ask me if I was alright and if Coach had chewed me out for being late. I look at Senora. She doesn’t scowl nor look displeased. She just gives me a smile and I truthfully appreciated the gesture. I once more share my extraordinary tale with my fellow friends and everyone burst out laughing. Even Nora. Until all of us were silenced by the booming voice of our Coach.

The meeting wasn’t much. We had just sat in a circle while Senora and Coach spoke to us about the next couple of teams we were about to face. Coach Harlot pointed out our flaws from the previous game and gave us individual training menus.

The meeting was only an hour long and as it came to an end I texted Travis to come pick me up.

“Waiting for Mr. Boyfriend?” Cassy teased as she threw me a wink. I just laugh it off as I put on my cap and sit on the bench. One by one the girls leave after shouting a “goodnight girls” and then it’s just me and the gym. I heave a deep sigh as I close my eyes and massage my forehead.

What Travis had revealed to me earlier had in fact shook me. It was hard to believe he had so much anger inside of him. But something inside of me kept forcing me to forget everything and just accept and embrace the gentle guy in front of me.

“That’s quite the expression you’ve got on your face Jude.” Tray’s voice enters the silent gymnasium. I smile at the floor and then get to my feet, turning to find mesmerizing green eyes looking at me captively.

Travis stops suddenly and his brows pull together in a confused frown. I take a few steps towards him wondering what happened all of a sudden.

"Why... Are you wearing my cap?" He asked confused and in surprise.

"Um no? This is mine". I touch the tip of my baseball cap to point out what I was talking about.

"Can I see that?" He asks and doesn't wait for a reply as he takes it off my head. Travis looks at it and then the insides. He then removes the inner side of the cap.

"What r u-"

He shows the inside of the cap to me. In a swirly handwriting almost faded out with years was a tiny T H.

Travis Heatherfield.


"I've always had this with me. You can ask Ava. I've had this cap since elementary. I never even knew you back then!"

This is preposterous. What is going on?

Travis stares at me trying to figure out the same thing. How in the world was I in possession of his cap?

"Your that kid!" He screams so suddenly I stagger back alarmed.


"The kid who was crying in my backyard at Ava's seventh birthday party. That was you!" Travis stares at me in disbelief. His eyes wide in shock like he couldn't believe what he was saying.

He was in shock? I was out of this world! I'm literally mind blown.

What was he talking about?

"I met a kid, a girl in my backyard. Someone who had come to Ava's party. The girl was crying. Mourning for her-" Travis stops as he stares at me when realization dawn's on him. "Mom. The girl was crying because she didn't have a mom when all the other kids present had one."


This can't be.

"I wasn't sure how to console you and so I just sat with you. Suddenly you stopped crying and went JuJu should not cry anymore." I cringed at that. Dad used to calle JuJu and I always spoke in third person when I was speaking to myself. To think Travis had heard it. "You were trying to hold in the tears. Your face bright red and your eyes all puffed up. That's when I plopped my cap on your head to conceal your face. You had run back inside and by the time I came back you had disappeared, along with my cap.

Goodness. Am I living inside a novel?

"I never saw you again. Or perhaps we did meet, only I wouldn't have been able to recognise you since it had been dark in my backyard and I had barely seen your face though the steel grey eyes of that little girl is still on my mind. Stubbornness, an attitude and a spark." He finishes as he runs his hand on the side of my face staring into my grey eyes.

"And now?" I have no idea why I asked such a question. But it somehow came out.

"Determination. Will power, and the gentleness that sets my Judith apart." He replied as he pushed back a strand of hair that had come loose from my messy pony tail.

His Judith. It had a nice ring to it.

"You're not going to say something as cheesy as destiny now right?" I tease. I felt overwhelmed. I wanted to change the topic so it would get easier for me to breath. Just his gaze was making my insides flip.

"I have never believed in destiny Judy, but perhaps I wouldn't mind just this once since it brought me to you."

How? How can one be so perfect? How could Travis be so gentle?

I felt a sob stuck in my throat as my eyes were starting to brim with tears.

I like this boy. So much that my heart aches.

"Can I kiss you?"

I couldn't believe what I was asking. Neither could Travis. He widens his eyes in surprise. I know Travis had wanted to kiss me the entire time. He had been obvious with the hints he's been dropping all over. Only I pretended to never notice them since I was not ready. And Travis never pushed me. But now, the urge to kiss him was so strong, it was trying to push open the lid of my emotions.

Travis started stepping in closer. But legs felt like lead sticked to the ground. I couldn't move a muscle. I wanted to run away.

This was definitely strange. My body was trembling.

"Your hair looks funny. Did you drive with the window open?" What the hell am I saying?

My heart was beating a mile a minute.

"Wasn't the latte tastier today?" We hadn't even tried it. "Oh, and about the cap-"

Travis held my face gently and smiled. "It's alright Judy."

With that he planted his soft lips on my trembling ones.

And just like that the nervousness in me washed away. Why was I even scared?

Travis drew me closer to him as he bent down towards me. I had to stand on my toes to get closer to his face.

There were no sparks. No electricity. No a hundred elephants stamping in my stomach like the way Ava had exaggerated how a kiss would feel.

"I didn't have to stop breathing" I mutter when our lips come apart.

"You would die doing so. Please don't." He chuckles

"Kissing... isn't so hard."

"No." A gentle hand on my cheek. "It's not."

And he makes a move towards me once more his eyes glued to my lips. I tilt my head to the side so he could get better access to my lips.

What is this entirely new feeling?

I felt content. Satisfied.

I felt whole.

I felt myself falling for Travis Heatherfield.

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