The big announcement
Kate parked the car just three minutes before the school starts and without glancing at each other we rushed inside the school. As we walk through the hallway making our way to our lockers I see Henry approaching us in his white jacket with black sleeves and blue jeans. Mine and Kate's locker stand next to each other, mine is filled with books and photos and hers is loaded with cheerleading stuff. Henry is our most reliable friend or mainly like my brother. We met when he joined the badminton team for a while but soon discovered that it was not his kind of stuff so he is now a member of the football team and one of the most handsome guys in school.
While I am busy talking to Kate about the tournament and taking out my books from the locker I feel a huge and heavy hand on my shoulder crushing me and by the look on Kate's face, I can tell that it's Henry. I turned to look him in the eye warning him to drop his hand but he doesn't, he loves to tease me.
"Hello ladies," he said as he looks at me and Kate.
"Hi, Henry" I replied and Kate nodded.
"So concerned about your selection for the tournament? " he asked
"No, not really I am certain that this year I am coach's first preference" I said and it was not something to just say but it's the truth, last year Mei was the best of us all but this year the tables have turned. I worked my ass off to exceed her and finally, it has happened and also because she was busy with her boyfriend Jack. She is a Chinese American girl. Her grandparents shifted here many decades ago. She has always been the best in our team but not anymore.
"Hmm" Henry mumbled as I was lost in my thoughts of surpassing Mei.
"But how do you know about the tournament," I asked as I never told him about it.
"Noah told me" he replied, curious to see my reaction. Well, how could I forget that when Noah first came to school Henry was in charge of showing him around and they have been friends since then.
"So he's taking it seriously? " I asked
"No, you know he never takes it seriously" he answered like I already knew it, and actually I did. Noah wants to become a neurosurgeon and playing badminton is just a hobby but he's so good at it that he can almost beat everyone in our team and this is the thing that pisses me off the most if you are not taking it seriously then you have no right to take away others chances. Badminton has never been a popular game in America mainly because of its lack of wins but I want to change it all my dream is to win an Olympic gold medal so that one day every child will desire to play it.
"Hi, Kate" Bao shouts from the back as he approaches us.
Bao is the most annoying person that ever existed. He has a crush on Kate from the sixth standard and proposed her three times and rejected continuously and most foremost he is Mei's brother.
"Hi, Bao" Kate says as he stands by her side giving a creepy look to Henry like asking him to get lost. Henry and Kate dated for two months in the ninth standard but it didn't work out so they resolved on remaining friends. Bao is a person most girls would prefer to stay away, he's shy and gives a creepy feeling but Kate has always been so kind and gentle that she even thinks of Bao as a friend. Almost all the people who passed by said hello to us all accept Bao, girls in a sing-song manner when they saw Henry.
"Let's go to the class " Henry said as we have our first lesson together. This is the only class that I don't have with Kate, she has trigonometry and I have algebra.
"See you soon" Kate said as she made her way in the opposite direction with Bao.
"We should get going too" Henry said as I grab my book.
Just as I turned after closing my locker and started walking observing Henry flirt with almost every girl in the hallway, Noah passed by seeking the attention of all girls which Henry had at a time making my whole body shake a little as a sudden cold breeze has just passed. This is the effect Noah has on me, just by looking at his perfect face fills me with an entirely different feeling, a feeling never experienced before, a feeling I want to experience again and again and with the same person. I still remember when I first met him, he was standing in the hallway talking to Henry when I and Kate ran into him. I was walking backward talking to Kate, not aware of his presence and as he was new I didn't even know him but just heard some hot guy has appeared in school, when accidentally I tripped off and landed on the floor and started laughing seeking all the attention towards myself that's when I saw Noah for the first time. He was staring at me with his green eyes as I started back, for the first time looking in someone's eyes made me feel lost, his eyes were as green as a whole forest was residing in it and I was wandering in it with no clue how to get out. His light brown hair complimented his eyes and milk-like skin shined due to the sunlight falling on his face. For some time he kept staring at me perhaps wondering what to do whether to laugh at me like others or offer me a hand. Finally, our eye connection broke when Henry helped me up and introduced us to Noah Phillips.
Henry and I always sit next to each other in the last row of the class as we don't like maths that much and it gives us the advantage to sleep. Our maths teacher is Mr. Jacob Mathew one of the best teachers in the world because he does not care the slightest who sleeps in his class. When we enter the class all seats almost full except ours. As we make our way to the seat many girls wave at Henry telling him that they are interested and he most probably already has there numbers. While I went straight ahead to my seat he stopped to talk with some boys. I still don't understand how I became friends with the most popular people in our school.
Whit the second bell Mr. Jacob entered the class and Henry rushed to his seat beside me. I went to sleep as he started his boring lecture and Henry started his act of studying. It had only been ten minutes since the class started when suddenly the school speaker busted in my coach's scary voice, sometimes I think that he would have been more successful if he did something with his voice, he could have been a storyteller or something. Having an announcement in the middle of the class is not at all normal and it has to be something very important and sleeping is no longer possible.
"All the players of the badminton team are required to assemble in the court within five minutes" he announced and it's finally time for the team announcement. Henry looked at me and I looked at him as we both smiled, he gave me two thumbs up mainly one from him and another from Kate.
"Rock it baby" Henry said as I closed my book.
"Of course but just don't forget to take my book with you if I didn't come back in time" I replied with excitement dripping all over my face.
"That goes without saying but just don't die of excitement on your way" Henry shouted as I made my way to the door. I turned around to give him a smile. Kate's class is on the way to the court and that's perfect because she would have killed me if I didn't visit there before going. There are almost twenty people who call themselves a part of the team but most of them are just there for passing their time only a few are there to be called players and the selection is between them. As I walk in the hallway to reach Kate's classroom I see almost all the people who even for once have stepped into the court most of whom were there to bunk their classes.
"Jack, Jack!!" I shouted as I saw him walking in front of him. Jack is the best player in our team even better than Noah and I don't know how I would have survived in the team if he wouldn't have been there. When Noah first joined the team I was so concerned about how I looked while playing that I almost started to restrict myself of giving my fullest and started giving more importance to my looks. At that time my game took such a turn that I even started to lose to the people who have just begun to play but thanks to all the gods that Jack noticed it and made me understand that I play for myself and not to look good in someone's eyes and if someone thinks that I look ugly while playing then that person was never meant for me.
He turned around and smiles slowing down a little for me to catch up with him. He is the only person who will make it to the team without a question.
" Heading towards Kate's classroom " he said with full confidence making me wonder if I am that easy to understand.
"Heck yeah!! she'll kill me if I didn't " I answered with a smile. As we continue to walk further, the corridor was starting to fill with a great number of voices some praying while some shouting with confidence and these are the people who are themselves certain that they won't be going anywhere and this is the common scene every year. This competition is very important due to many of its benefits after all its the National Junior Badminton Tournament which is held every year by the government to extract out the players of the future. If you grab the first position in any of the categories you are sure to represent the nation in one championship or the other and the most beneficial aspect is the camp which is held for three months for the winners and also the prize money.
We reached Kate's classroom after a while and I started to peep inside from the back door as Jack leaned on the wall waiting for me. She was sitting in the first row fully drowning in the lecture. Sometimes I think that I and Kate became friends because she has no brain and I am filled with her share too. She knew that I would be coming before going for the announcement but still, she was sitting in the first row and now how the heck am I going to let her see me, I cannot shout or else her teacher would kill me, after all, she is not called fatso-demon like that and even if I try to pass on a message to her from the back no one would listen as not even one person has dared to look away when she's teaching but I gotta try something.
"Shh! Sh sh" I tried to call out the last person sitting in the class next to the door but he just ignored me like he never heard a sound and that's exactly what I was expecting. After being ignored I turned back to look at Jack and I saw Noah staring at me in confusion and I would have fallen on the ground due to shock if Jack hadn't caught me in time. While I was stabilizing my balance Noah had already turned around and started walking but I saw his lips crooked in a smile just as he left.
"Well, what was he staring at" I asked Jack as I had no idea what I have done to make Noah stare at me.
"Well you see your ass was in the wrong angle" he said and I could see that he got a little embarrassed as he said that.
"Noah was staring at my ass" I almost shouted with a little smile on my face and I know that it shouldn't be there but I can't help it.
"Not exactly he was looking at the strange things you were doing" he replied breaking all my hopes at once.
"He did smile though" I answered with pride as if I did something great.
"Well this is not the way Noah would take to reach the court so maybe you think that he's here to see me" I said cutting his words as he was about to speak something.
"Your imagination sure is high now finish this up real quick or we'll be late" he said which gave me a great idea.
"Just run as fast as possible when I am done talking" I said with him still looking a little confused as he was not able to understand what I am saying but never mind. I peeped inside the class one more time and then started shouting
"Kate I know you wanna wish me good luck and I already received it I will surely make it this time you too are studying hard keep going" as soon as I finished I started running without even looking at her reaction or of anyone else but I am sure they all were shocked and fatso would be burning in anger but I had no other option. I turned around to look at Jack and he was running at the same speed as I was and laughing loudly which made me laugh too. We both slowed down and finally headed towards the court.
When we reached almost everyone was already lined up and my couch was on the stage holding the mike checking it countless times. He was accompanied by the principle and a few other teachers. When we joined the line he handed the mike to the principle who started with his boring speech which I have heard a hundred times. While he was delivering his speech my eyes got fixed at Noah who was in the third line. Then finally the moment arrived when he opened the sheet in which all the names were written and started announcing. First, he announced the category of boys singles and doubles, and as assumed Jack was the first preference but something shocked me to my core the second name was not of Noah but it was Richard. At that moment I knew I should be happy for Jack but the only thing I felt was hurt, hurt that I won't be able to go on my last trip with him and I wouldn't see him in court playing when we practice. Soon he started to announce the girl's category first, he announced doubles and then came to the singles. My heart began to race but as he announced the names it soon began breaking apart the first preference was Mia and second, was Rachel. For a moment I felt like I was dead, the whole world started fading and the surrounding started to get blurry and Jack grabbed my hand pressing it tightly to make me feel comfortable and it was then that I realized that tears were flowing down my cheeks and I started to wipe it off roughly with frustration. Everything I and dad have planned for my future got crushed in front of me, my dreams and dad's hopes everything ended in front of me. Jack's handgrip didn't loosen a little bit as he continued to hold my hand. The principle then came to announce the name of the mix double pair and when he announced it I knew that this tournament was done for because the pair was me and Noah.
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