"You must be the new student. I'm Sawyer, the fencing team captain," he introduced himself. I shook his hand with a smile.
"I'm Sky," I replied.
"We've been expecting you. I heard you were pretty good. Your locker is over here. Your suit is already inside. You'll wear that for sparing practices when you're not wearing your gym clothes. But for today's practice, you can wear your gym clothes. We're doing conditioning," he explained, showing me to my locker. I thanked him before opening the locker and taking my backpack off. Luckily, most of the guys were already dressed and leaving the locker room. I would have to figure something out for changing in the future. Once they were all gone, I changed quick and headed out as well. In the gym, guys were already running laps around the outside of the mats. Many practice floors were set up with electronic scoreboards and sensors. This was truly a top notch school.
"Sky, over here!" Sawyer yelled to me. I jogged over and came face to face with my idol: Olympic team fencer, Race Imboden. I felt like I could cry. His spiked red hair and impeccable jawline was even more beautiful in person. He held his hand out to me.
"I'm Coach Race. After conditioning today, we need to place you on a team, so be prepared to spar with Sawyer here," he said. I felt my tears betray me as they fell from my eyes while I smiled. I hesitated before I shook his hand.
"Are you... crying?" Sawyer asked confused. I sniffled and tried to dry my face quickly.
"I guess I am. Sorry! It's just... you're my role model for fencing. I've watched every single one of your televised matches," I tried to explain quickly. I could feel my body shaking. Coach Race smirked as Sawyer laughed.
"Never meet your heroes kid. I'm tough on my students, and I'll work you hard so be prepared," Coach Race said as he pay my shoulder.
"Come on, let's start running," Sawyer chuckled. We ran, did squats, crunches, relays, pushups, everything. By the time we were done conditioning, I'd successfully worked off my excitement from meeting my idol. As everyone else left, I grabbed my mask and knickers from my locker and went back to the gym to put on the sensored jacket. I pulled on my gloves and put my mask on before taking blade and doing a few practice jabs.
"Alright, take the mat,"Coach Race said. Sawyer and I each took a side of the mat before the sparring began. I dodged and jab to the best of my abilities. By the end of the match, I won. We stepped off the mat and I took my mask off. I was exhausted and panting, but I was happy I could show my idol what I was capable of. Coach Race smirked as he nodded.
"Not bad at all. We'll put you on team one. You've actually got skill. Go back and shower and be ready for practice the day after tomorrow," he said before sticking his hands in his pockets and walking out of the gym. I sighed before setting the sword down and taking off my gloves.
"You're really good. I wasn't even holding back," Sawyer said as he unstrapped me from the jacket. I set it aside before unstrapped his jacket.
"Thanks," I replied. We went back to the locker room and took off the knickers, putting our gear back in our lockers. I left my gym clothes on and put my uniform in my backpack.
"You're not going to shower?" Sawyer asked. I shook my head as I put my backpack on.
"Im just going to shower back at the dorms so I can wash my gym clothes," I excused myself. He shrugged.
"Suit yourself. Hey you're at dorm one right?" He asked. I nodded. We exchanged numbers before I started walking back towards the dorms. I pushed my hair out of my face as I sighed and watched the sky.
"Leo! Would you just wait a second!" I heard someone yell. My shoulder was bumped from behind as someone walked past me. I stared at Leo's back as he stalked towards the dorms. I felt an arm go around my shoulder as someone panted as they hung onto me. I turned my head curiously.
"Easton?" I said in surprise. Easton sighed and shook his head before standing up straight.
"Leo's having another one of his episodes," he rolled his eyes.
"Episodes?" I tried to follow along. Easton nodded.
"Almost at least once a week, Leo's inner diva surfaces and he ends up throwing a major fit and running out of the pool," Easton said as we walked towards the dorms. Something told me that his accident was nothing simple.
When we got back to the dorms, I went up to my room and walked inside. The entire room was dark and all I could hear was heavy breathing. I flipped the lights on and saw Leo curled up in a fetal position on the floor near the couch.
"Leo?" I asked cautiously.
"Just leave me alone," He panted. I grabbed a change of clothes and went to take a quick shower. When I came back, Leo was still curled up and panting on the floor. I sat next to him and put a hand on his back.
"Leo?" I asked cautiously.
"I said, leave me!" He yelled. He was hyperventilating. I wrapped my arms around him tightly and rubbed his back gently.
"Leo! You're hyperventilating. If you don't calm down, you're going to pass out," I said quickly. He hesitated before his arms went around me in a vice grip.
"Now breath in... and out... in... and out," I instructed calmly. He tried his best to follow my instructions until his breathing finally calmed down. We stayed there a moment longer before he pulled away and sniffled. Without thinking too much, I brushed away his tears with my thumbs.
"Are you feeling better?" I asked. He looked at me like he were just realizing that I was there before he pushed me away and stood up. His legs wobbled as his eyes closed briefly. I stood quickly to catch him and sit him down on his bed.
"I didn't need your help," he snapped at me. I just felt sorry for him. For a moment, I forgot I was supposed to be a boy.
"You're sick. How long have you been doing this?" I asked angrily.
"Why do you care?" He snapped at me again.
"Because no one else does!" I yelled back. I sighed and took a second to calm down.
"I know I haven't been here even a day, but it's clear what you're doing. You're pushing everyone away when you need someone the most. I don't know what happened to you, but it's clear that it was traumatic. And instead of leaning on the people around you, you're pushing everyone away and dealing with it by yourself. And if you didn't know, panic attacks indicate that you're not dealing with it very well," I explained. He only glared at me.
"Stay out of my business," He seethed before he locked himself in the bathroom. I sighed and decided to let it go. I grabbed a mug and filled it with water before setting it on his bedside table. I grabbed my dirty clothes and took them to the laundry room to give him some space.