Tenacious Sky

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Chapter 21

The meet came faster than I expected. Before I knew it, we were loading up the bus and leaving for the next city over. Leo got his pass approved and rode with us. Luckily, Easton found out too late and couldn't get a pass. If Easton tagged along, I couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't fight with Leo the entire time. But surprisingly, Leo wasn't the only other student who came with us. The bus ride was only a few hours before we arrived at the hotel. After the rooms were divvied up, Coach Race huddled us in the lobby.

"Alright guys. Go set your things in your rooms then meet back here for dinner," Coach Race said before releasing us. My original room was with Sawyer and Dawson. As soon as we were released, Leo got a different room before finding Sawyer.

"Hey, Sky normally has night terrors so he can stay in my room since I'm used to it," Leo gave his excuse. Sawyer agreed before Leo took my bag up to our room. There was only one bed again. Leo noticed where my eyes went.

"At this point, it makes no sense to get separate beds," he explained. I nodded in agreement before stretching. My bind felt tight today. I went to the bathroom to loosen it a bit before going back to the room. Leo was waiting on the bed. I could see the worry in his eyes, but he didn't say anything about it.

"Ready?" He asked. I nodded and we met everyone in the lobby. The bus took us to a nearby restaurant where a long table already filled with food waited for us. Almost immediately, Leo started filling a plate before setting it down in front of me. I couldn't help the small smile that graced my face as I started eating. The conversations were loud and boisterous, but I wasn't really in the mood. I was excited about our first meet, but I was also extremely nervous. It would be my first time competing with guys, and I wasn't out of the woods yet.

"Eat something," Leo said quietly to me. I gave him a small smile before I began eating. Everyone was loud and talking excitedly with each other, but I just ate quietly. Of course, Leo noticed almost immediately.

"What's wrong?" He asked softly. I sighed as I picked at my food.

"I'm nervous," I admitted. Leo held my hand under the table and squeezed it lightly.

"It's your first meet. It's understandable, but just pretend like it's a practice in a different place. There's nothing to be nervous about, either you win or you don't. Then you move on to the next match," he explained simply. Leo's simplistic view on everything sounded easy. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel with the promise to meet up to go to the arena in the morning. After a goodnight pep talk from Coach Race, we retired to our rooms. As soon as the door closed behind us, I took the binding off from around my chest. I sighed in relief as I folded the bandage up. Leo sat in the middle of the bed as he faced me.

"It's bothering you," Leo said as he held his arms out for me. I caved and sat in front of him as his arms wrapped around me.

"Even if it is, there's nothing I can do about it unless I want to announce to the whole world that I'm a girl," I reminded him.

"I'll think of something. For now, we should go to sleep," he said. I laid down as Leo went to turn the lights off. After cuddling up to him in the bed, I sighed.

"Do you think I'll do okay tomorrow?" I asked softly. I felt his lips press to my head gently.

"You made it all the way here. The only thing you can do is your best, and that's good enough," he assured me. Oddly enough, his words were comforting. I respected it more that he didn't immediately tell me that I would win.i smiled lightly in the dark as I got comfortable.

"Thanks, Leo," I said before quickly falling asleep.

***

The next day, when we got to the arena, I was immediately in awe. The arena was huge. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. The huge space has about ten mats set up for matches. I looked around at all the teams warming up.

"Alright, great up and we have the center two mats," Coach Race said to us. Leo set my bag down on a nearby bench and opened it for me.

"I've never competed in an arena this big before," I smiled as I put the suit on. Leo only smirked as he handed me my face guard.

"You're like a kid in a candy store. If you start having trouble, let me know," he said quickly before I took off for the mats. We practiced with each other and even ran some drills with Coach Race.

"Okay, that's enough for today. Keep your minds sharp for tomorrow," Coach Race yelled you us. I heaved as I took my face guard off and held it at my waist. Leo helped me unstrapped my vest before packing my things in my duffle bag.

"You're really taking this manager thing seriously," Sawyer said to Leo as he came to stand with us. Leo sighed as he put the strap on his shoulder. He smiled slightly before ruffling my hair.

"It's my kid's first meet. Of course I have to take it seriously," Leo responded. Sawyer shot me a wink before we headed back to the bus. Today was just the warm up to get us used to the arena. Tomorrow, the seats would be filled with spectators, and the noises that filled the space would be electrified. Everything would be lively and exciting. I was bouncing in my seat just thinking about it. Leo glanced at me before slyly holding my hand in a way that no one would be able to tell. I ceased my bouncing as I glanced at him. He wasn't worried in the slightest about being caught, he just wanted to comfort me. I smiled before turning my gaze back to the passing city as we headed back to the hotel. With Leo, I was calm.
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