After locating the event organisers, all of the teams from the three Watches gathered at the relay area. A crowd began to form around where we all stood, waiting for the start of the race. There was a steady flow of teasing banter between us all as we prepared and stretched. I glanced ahead at the small obstacle course that started the race, the first person being expected to complete that before running to meet the next team member a little lower down. There was a short balance beam in each makeshift lane that had been set up, followed by some tyres to run through.
“I’ll go first.” Pixie grinned at me as our team huddled together to discuss the placing of our members.
I eyed her suspiciously, her joyful tone hinting at there being some sort of reason for the offer.
“Do I want to know why you’re so keen on going first?” Cain asked skeptically.
Dodger arched a brow, directing his curious gaze at Pixie, who promptly shrugged with a cocky smirk.
“I have no idea what you mean.” She said simply.
“Of course not.” I retorted sarcastically. “Okay, Pix can go first, for reasons known only to her. Cain you up for going second?”
Cain nodded in response, then looked towards Dodger.
“Third?” He asked.
Dodger nodded, then clapped me on the upper arm.
“That leaves you to sprint us into the win then bro.”
Breaking the little huddle we were in, we turned back to the others and waited for the race to start.
An elder, petite woman stepped forwards holding three batons, one green, one red, and one blue, and a tall, square topped metal stool. Her chestnut hair was streaked with natural silver strands and pulled into a high bun on the top of her head.
“Good Afternoon everyone, thank you for coming. My name is Adelaide, and I am one of the hosts of today’s charity event.” She said loudly to the crowd, standing the stool between the two lanes. “I want to say a special thank you to the men and women of the London Fire Brigade, for being willing participants in today’s entertainment.”
There was a small round of applause from the public, led by Adelaide. As it died down, she held up the batons and continued her speech:
“This event will be a straight forward, four person, relay race. Two teams will go head to head, and of those two, the winning team, will face the winning team of the next race, and so on, until we have one team left victorious.”
I could already feel my competitive streak beginning to kick in. The urge to win was always strong for me, ever since I was a kid. Perhaps not as bad as Pixie, who tended to want to win by any means necessary, but it came a close second. I began drumming my fingers against my thigh, my brain running the track already inside my head.
“The baton’s colours correspond with the team who it belongs to. For each race, I will place the appropriate batons onto the stool at the starter mark. You must pick up the correct baton, and begin the race. Should you drop it at any time, you must pick it up in order to continue, then hand it over to the next person when you reach their position.”
We all nodded our clear understanding, and watched as she placed the red and blue baton onto the stool.
“Red Watch, team one, you are up first against Blue Watch, team two.”
I smirked as I caught the eye of Ross Keats, another member of Blue Watch. He was easily their most athletic looking member, with a large, built form. His blonde hair was tied back in a bun, and he was wearing a smug grin on his chiseled face.
“Getting ready there Rebel?” He goaded.
“I’m always ready.” I shrugged, moving forwards with the others.
He turned to his teammates, and they shuffled towards the start line, three of them moving down the track to take up their positions. I made it a short way past the stool when I realised Pixie was beside me.
“Erm, Pix, aren’t you meant to be back at the start?”
She gasped dramatically, an unbelievable eye roll following the sound. I fought to keep a straight face as I watched her turn and theatrically move back towards the start, Dodger and Cain watching her progress by my side.
“How silly of me to forget my pl-” She looked over her shoulder at us and walked right into the stool, knocking it over and jumping back. “Oh dear, I’m such a clutz!” She announced, stepping around it and reaching down as the other members of Blue Watch continued on their path down the field to their places, laughing amid cocky comments on how this would be an easy win.
I could hear Dodger sniggering and Cain sigh knowingly. I watched as she crouched down, and looked up at us with a wink.
“And in three…” I whispered.
“Two…” Cain added.
“One.” Dodger laughed.
We all caught sight of her pulling a small black bottle from the place she’d tucked her top into her trousers. She stood the stool back up, and placed the batons down, under the pretense of straightening them, she moved the bottle over the blue baton, and then tucked it back into her clothes, spinning on her heel, and continuing to apologise to everyone as she took her spot.
“Well this should be interesting.” I mumbled to Dodger, as we left Cain in his place and walked further down the field.
Once I’d placed myself at the cone marker set up for my place in the lane, I turned to face the start, able to make out Pixie in the distance. I glanced across to the other lane where Blue Watch member Dylan Canes stood, bending slightly forward, his hands braced on his thighs, and his eyes focused on his starting team mate, Chad. A few seconds passed, before a shrill whistle sounded, and Pixie and Chad ran forwards, reaching the stool and snatching up their batons. I watched as Chad’s baton slipped straight out of his hand and landed on the grass, whilst Pixie gave a happy skip and continued on, over the balance beam. I burst out laughing, watching as he attempted to pick it up and promptly dropped it again. I could hear Cain and Dodger laughing too as she reached the end of the tyres whilst Chad rubbed his hands on his t-shirt and finally managed to pick up the baton. He was hot on Pixie’s tail, but she reached Cain, passing the baton effortlessly, and remaining in his place as he ran towards Dodger, the entire Red Watch screaming encouragingly. Chad’s exchange went less smoothly as he passed onto Ross, who instantly lost the baton in the same way, with it flying out of his grasp and landing on the field.
“You cheats!” Dylan called over to me, his mouth agape, before he descended into laughter, watching the great hulking figure scrambling to pick up the escaping Baton, whilst Dodger received ours from Cain.
“Hey, that hurts!” I replied with mock sadness, preparing myself for the sprint that I was about to have, as Ross finally made his way towards the next member in blue.
“Incoming!” Dodger yelled as he got nearer, his arm outstretched with the red baton held out towards me.
I turned my body halfway, my knees bending ready for the off. The moment that I felt the cold metal against my fingers, I wrapped them tightly around the baton and flew from my place. I’d always been a fast runner, and I loved every second of it. My eyes fixated on the finish line, the field all passing as a blur. My heartbeat rose with each passing stride, my arms swinging past me, driving me forwards and building my speed. The sound of approaching thuds told me that Dylan was coming up behind me, but I didn’t worry about being caught as I ducked my head and soared over the line, holding my hands up in victory as I slowed to a stop a short distance past.
“Pixie I take it.” Dylan panted as he slowed to a stop a few steps ahead.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I shrugged happily, falling into step beside him as we made our way back up to the top of the field.
Dylan nudged me goodheartedly, his blue eyes shining with glee, and giving away the fact that he didn’t believe me for a second.
We rejoined the group at the start line, the guys from Blue Watch giving them a playful hard time.
“I know it was you.” Chad laughed, pointing an accusing finger at Pixie.
“I’m shocked that you could think such a thing,” She replied, “ It’s very unfair, Butterfingers.” She added with a wink.
A rumble of laughter went through the group, and Blue Watch headed back to the rest of their Watch, whilst we walked back to the rest of ours.
“Okay, spill.” Dodger demanded as we regrouped.
“I have no idea what you mean.” She lied, taking a bottle of water from Will.
“We saw the bottle Pix.” I laughed, taking a bottle from Rosie, who held it out with a smile. “Thanks.” I added to her, with an appreciative nod.
“Fine!” She sighed, “I may have just put a light drizzle of lube over their baton.”
She reached into her clothes and held up the bottle so that we could see the writing etched onto it. With a roar of laughter, she was pulled into the heart of a mass group hug.
The afternoon fun didn’t end there, and soon enough we were up again, this time minus Pixie’s lube sabotage. By the end of the event Red Watch stood proud as we narrowly beat Green Watch’s team two, to scoop the win. As everyone began to wander off, ready to enjoy the rest of the event, I found myself alone with Rosie, who sat on the ground re-tying her laces. Her face had a pink flush to it from the race, and her hair was a little messier than this morning, but in my eyes, she looked simply beautiful.
“Come on.” She said, holding out her hands. “Help a girl up.”
Chuckling softly, I rolled my eyes, and took hold of her small hands, pulling her up from the ground. The force from the pull drew her in a little closer than intended though, as she bumped into my chest, unable to stop herself in time. Her breath skimmed over my lips, so gently that it was like a whisper of the softest breeze. Her silvery eyes met mine, sparkling like moonstones in the sun, and still, I held onto her hands, ignoring everything else around me as we just stood there, neither one of us making any move to distance ourselves.