Chapter 40 - Kung Fu Fighting
“Everybody was Kung Fu fighting / Those kids were fast as lightning / In fact it was a little bit frightening / But they fought with expert timing” – Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas
The West Side Academy girls and boys both won their games. Both games were close. Both Mr. Quirrel and Mr. Sprout thought that if their star players had been up to their usual standard, they would have won. Something that they’ll need to take care of before their teams meet again, which will probably be in the final for the championship.
“Did you become stupid as well?” I hear a voice say behind me as I’m walking off the field to head to the parking lot. When I turn, I see Peggy, Grade 12, and West Side soccer captain. Blonde hair in a messy bun, eyes with heavy dark makeup, switching out her soccer socks and cleats for expensive flip-flops. I never really liked her. She actually looks like Lisa, what a coincidence!
“What?” I say to her.
“I asked if you became stupid as well when you switched to East Side,” Peggy says, “because you sure became a terrible soccer player there. I didn’t realize that it was that bad of a school.”
“Shut up,” I say, not having the energy to deal with her right now.
“Not my fault you switched schools and became a shitty soccer player.” Peggy says, “Although it does help our cause. Every one was so concerned when they heard you were playing for East Side. I told them not to worry. Clearly, I was right.”
“My ride is waiting for me,” I say, “if you’ll excuse me.” And I turn away from her.
“We all know why you really left West Side, Arya.” Peggy says to me and I turn to face her, “How could you do something like that? Even for you, that’s low.” I glare at her, “News travels fast in a small town, Arya, you know that. It’s fitting East Side should get our scraps, but I wonder if even East Side still wants you around? What’s lower than that no budget school, Arya? I don’t think there is a worse school?”
“This conversation is over,” I say and turn away.
“Nice seeing you, Arya!” Peggy calls after me and I have to hold my wrist to keep myself from showing her a certain finger on my hand. The bitch.
I got a ride back to East Side from one of the girls on the team so I could ride my bike home. The team was tense and upset with the loss, and although no one said it, I know they were blaming me. Well, Isabella said it, but her voice has just become background noise to me now, so I don’t even listen to her. At the start of the game, the West Side girls were all over me because they saw me as their biggest threat. But when I continued to make mistakes, they knew they didn’t need to keep a close eye on me anymore and focused all their attention on shutting down Isabella which irritated me even more.
I get out of my teammate’s car, “Thanks for the ride!” I say as I close the door and make my way across the parking lot. Down below, I see the senior boys have finished their soccer game as well, with just scattered blue and green jerseys everywhere talking in groups, the junior game is about to start. I continue walking along the top of the grass hill to walk around the school to get to my bike.
“Arya, it’s been a long time.” I hear a voice from behind me. The voice I never wanted to hear again, coming from the guy that I never wanted to see again. I don’t want to turn around, I want to just keep walking and pretend I didn’t hear him. But I don’t, my body turns to him before my brain can tell it to stop. The last conversation we had was months ago, and here I was hoping I would never speak to him again. Stupid me for riding my bike to school, but I came late, and it was the only way to get in. Should’ve just gone straight to West Side and never come here today, but I was nervous about going to West Side on my own. I wanted to go with my teammates on the bus to act as a shield at my old school. He’s wearing that stupid grin of his, his chestnut hair messy from just having played a soccer game. His face looks slightly bruised, but maybe it’s my imagination. I forgot how tall he is. He has to be over six feet. “I see you’re playing soccer here.” He says, pointing towards my jersey. “Blue looks good on you, although, I much prefer you in green.”
“Thanks,” I say, “I should be going.”
“Wait!” he says quickly before I can turn away, “I just want to see how you are, Arya. It’s been a while. How are you liking your new school?” he says as he looks towards the building. “Seems like it has character.”
“It’s been great, thanks,” I say, wanting this conversation to be over.
“So, you don’t miss West Side?” he asks.
“I don’t miss you,” I say flatly.
“Ouch,” he says, putting a hand over his heart. “That hurt.”
“I didn’t know you felt emotion,” I say.
“Now you are mocking me,” he says, “I heard the secret of why you left got out.” I glare at him, “Shame you couldn’t just keep a low profile for what? Three terms? It only took you one for everything to get out.” No one is around us. No one is paying attention to us and no one can hear us. “Somehow, I knew you would go into the spotlight again, girls like you always do. How do your classmates like you now?”
At the bottom of the field, talking with Samson, Richard and Malcolm, I look up and see her. But not just her, I see her talking to the striker from West Side. The one I have hated since Grade 9. I shouldn’t but myself into her business, she’s not my girl right now. I should leave her alone, but I just can’t. My legs start taking me up the hill towards them without my brain even getting a chance to tell me to think twice about it.
“What are you doing, James?” Samson calls after me.
“I don’t trust him,” I say to myself and I have no idea if any of them heard me.
I walk up to them, neither of them noticing me. I come up behind him, just catching the last of what he’s saying to her. “I did nothing wrong, Arya,” he says, “You’re the one that took things too far.”
“I took things too far?” Arya says, her voice starting to get heated. “You’re impossible, you know that? The fact that you can’t even think that you did something wrong just shows what a terrible person you still are.”
“You know,” he says, “I kind of miss your fiery side and you yelling at me.” He smiles at her.
I’ve never seen Arya like this before. I’ve seen her mad and upset, but not like this. She has a special hatred for the guy standing in front of her.
“You’re the same,” Arya says angrily, “you haven’t changed a bit.”
“Neither have you,” he says. “Still have a temper you can’t control. And still trying to maintain your ‘innocent’, ‘virginal’ personality while dressing like a slut. I saw you at that party. It’s a game for you. Even with a boyfriend, you love guys falling all over you and being a tease. It’s who you are, Arya.”
“Are you just here to annoy me?” Arya says, “because I already hate you, you don’t need to give me more reasons.”
“Hate is a strong word, Arya,” he says. “I really did want to know how you are. You were avoiding me at the party.”
“Forgive me for not wanting to chat with you,” Arya says sarcastically. “I thought our last conversation seemed to be a good fuckin’ send-off.”
He laughs. “I sometimes wondered if the slap was too much. But now, it seems it wasn’t enough since you still are an angry bitch who can’t let things go.”
“I left Henri!” Arya yells at him. “I left West Side. I left my school, my friends, my soccer team. I left everything behind. I did what your dad told me to do. I left and I told no one about why I switched schools. Some blonde bitch, that was jealous of me dating the guy she likes, somehow found out why I left and told everyone. And again, Henri, I took the fall again. Everyone thinks I had sex with a guy and then regretted it or that I had sex with a guy and then wanted more from the relationship and he didn’t. That I went crazy and accused him of rape. And I have let them believe it. I have done everything your dad has said.” Arya brushes the hair out of her face, and I can see her getting emotional. “And it has cost me everything. What more do you want from me?”
“Tragic story, Arya,” Henri says, “but you were trying to ruin my life. Maybe you should have been better at keeping a lower profile. Not hook up with that East Sider the second you transferred. Did you really think dating the ‘popular soccer star’ was a good way to stay out of the spotlight, Arya?”
She glares at him. She’s angry and upset. I want to step in, but I’m selfish. This might be my only chance to find out what really happened to Arya.
“How does Mia feel, Arya?” Henri says, “It must be hard for her to have a psychotic sister that keeps ruining her life. Are you going to cost her another high school, Arya?”
“Fuck you,” Arya says angrily.
“How is she?” Henri asks. “I actually want to know.”
“No,” Arya says, shaking her head. “You don’t talk about her. You don’t ask about her. And you don’t come fuckin’ near her.”
No. It can’t be.
“Was it worth it, Arya?” Henri asks. “Was spray painting my locker worth all this?”
“We both know it wasn’t a lie,” Arya says.
“You’re crazy, Arya, has anyone ever told you that?” Henri asks. “You have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe if you weren’t this ‘perfect’, ‘untouched’ virgin, you would know what consent is.”
“Fuck you!” she yells at him. “I don’t need to have had sex to know what you did was rape! She’s fourteen, Henri. Do you realize what you did to her?”
But it is.
“I did nothing wrong, Arya,” Henri says.
“You’ll never understand,” Arya says. “Boys like you never do. But what you did in one night is something my sister will have to live with forever.”
“She wanted it as much as I did,” he says, “I have no idea what lies she feed you about what happened. But that’s what they are. Lies.”
And that’s what she’s been keeping from me. It was never Arya he hurt. He went after her sister. She wasn’t protecting me. She was protecting Mia. I’m a bigger idiot than I thought.
“I’m done with this conversation,” Arya says, visibly upset. Neither of them has noticed me because they are so deep into their conversation. When Arya turns away from him, he grabs her wrist and pulls her back to him.
“This conversation is done when I say it is,” he says to her face and she just glares at him. “What? No smart ass remarks now, Arya? You know I love them. Don’t disappoint me now.”
“Keep your hands off her,” I say, finally making my presence known to them. He lets go of her and then he just smiles at me as I stand next to Arya.
“James,” he says, “How are you? I see you didn’t play up to your usual standard today, thanks for making it an easy win for us. Good to stay fresh for the finals.”
“I can assure you, you won’t be winning in the finals this year, Henri.” I say, “It’ll be just like last year and the year before that.”
“There’s always room for change.” Henri says, “The only thing your school has over us is athletics, imagine if we take that over too?” Henri looks between Arya and I. “I’m sensing tension between you and your boyfriend, Arya.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Arya says and it hurts to hear it even though it’s technically true.
“Oh,” Henri says, “Did he break up with you when he found out why you left West Side?” I clench my fists unconsciously and then he looks at me. “Don’t worry, James.” Henri smiles, “If you’re scared Arya is going to do to you what she did to me, don’t be. I think Arya learned her lesson last time.” Henri turns to Arya, “Didn’t you, Arya?”
“You raped her sister!” I say so fast, so heated with anger, the words tumbling out. Henri turns to glare at me, registering what I just said to him, and then he turns flared nostrils and angry eyes to Arya.
“You fuckin’ lying slut. What did you tell him?!” Henri yells at her and when she doesn’t respond immediately, he takes his hand and closes it around her throat, “What did you tell him, bitch?!”
I grab his wrist, pushing him away from Arya so that I’m the one that is facing him, and Arya is behind me. “Don’t you dare touch her,” I say to him, now more aware of his height over me, his anger radiating off him.
“Don’t believe whatever that whore has told you.” Henri says, “She’s just a psychotic bitch looking for attention.”
I punch him. It’s like my arm had a mind of its own and it couldn’t stand to hear one more thing come out of Henri’s mouth. Henri feels his jaw where I connected it with my fist, turning back to me. “She’s not worth this, Fox,” Henri says and I see him prepare to give me the same punch I gave him, just worse.
“Hey!” a voice calls in the distance. Henri stops at the sound of the voice and we all look to see the coach of the West Side soccer team jogging up the hill towards us. “What is this?” he says.
I look at Mr. Carrow square in the face, remembering vividly the last time I saw him. He looks at me and within an instant he recognizes me, and his look turns menacing. “What are you doing here, Young?” Mr. Carrow says to Henri angrily.
“We were just talking…” Henri begins.
“To her?!” he yells at Henri in a voice that frightens me and probably anyone that’s within hearing distance of us. This once two-person conversation has now grabbed the attention of almost everyone outside.
“It’s nothing…” Henri tries to say.
“Leave.” Mr. Carrow says sternly to Henri.
“I said leave!” Mr. Carrow says in a voice that means ‘do not make me repeat myself’. Henri obeys, turning away to go towards the parking lot to get into the super expensive car his rich daddy bought for him.
“Can’t just leave the boy alone, now can you?” Mr. Carrow says to me menacingly.
“He’s the one who came up to me!” I argue.
“They should have transferred you to a school across the country,” Mr. Carrow says, “only then would all our minds be put at ease.”
“So you can protect your precious superstar athlete?” I say accusingly and Mr. Carrow glares at me.
“What happened here?” Mr. Quirrel says, jogging up behind Mr. Carrow.
“Your soccer player here punched my striker!” Mr. Carrow says, gesturing towards James.
“Is this true?” Mr. Quirrel asks James as if he didn’t hear about or see the punch before he got here.
“He put his hands on Arya and was insulting her!” James pleads his case to Mr. Quirrel.
“Of course she had something to do with it!” Mr. Carrow says, glaring at me. Mr. Quirrel looks at all of us, knowing he has to make a judgment call that satisfies the West Side soccer coach.
“Arya, James,” Mr. Quirrel says, “You’ll have to go to the principal’s office.”
“What about Henri?” James says.
“That’ll be for Mr. Carrow and West Side Academy to deal with,” Mr. Quirrel says, “not us.”