M I D N I G H T

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v. in the air

By the time it was Monday, my soreness had gone down by a lot but I knew Nina probably wanted to do another work out at her house. I didn’t really feel like going but I packed some extra work out clothes in my bag before heading to school.

Neither Alexander or James made an appearance but no one seemed to question it. Or notice which was weird considering the huge crowd he had around him since day one.

As expected, Nina insisted on at least one more training session where I could learn a practice routine and get familiar with basic steps. She said it wouldn’t be as draining as the last one and I blindly trusted her.

So now, in the bathroom in her living room getting changed into shorts and t-shirt. I slipped the shorts over my legs and I am about to open the door when I hear loud pairs of footsteps entering the living.

β€œBaby!” I hear Nina yelp excitedly. I recognize James’ laugh.

β€œYeah, I wanted to surprise you.”

I opened the door slowly, expecting to just see Nina and James but when I spot him I go rigid.

I really did not want to see Alexander again. Especially after his weird actions in the parking lot of the grocery store. Who checks a person’s teeth when you’re not even the dentist? He just seemed like such an aggressive person, not to mention the weird feeling in my stomach.

β€œCorvina!” Nina looks at me, a large bouquet of roses in her arms.

I see his back stiffen and he slowly turns around to face me. He looks me up and down in my attire and I feel a blush creep onto my cheeks when I notice his eyes stay looking at my legs a little longer than usual.

β€œLook who’s back,” Nina finishes.

I smiled and waved at them awkwardly. Alexander breaks out of whatever trance he was in and sends me a small scowl as usual.

β€œHey Corey,”

I grimace.

β€œHey Corvina,” James smiles and I smile back.

β€œI thought I told you cheerleading was a bad option for you,” Alexander steps forward.

β€œI didn’t ask you.”

He doesn’t look pleased by the answer and I see James and Nina, watching us silently in the background.

β€œA weak little human shouldn’t do such a dangerous thing. You’re too fragile.”

Thank you, Kanye. Very cool.

I step away from him, β€œAren’t you a weak little human too?”

He chuckles and looks down at me as his face softens, β€œof course.”

What is this guys problem? I barely know him and suddenly he thinks he can tell me what I should and shouldn’t do. If I didn’t get so nervous every time i was around him I’d-

β€œAlright Alexander, that’s enough of making Corvina uncomfortable. We have to practice.”

He rolled his eyes, β€œI was joking. We’re all friends here.”

James and Alexander left and I practiced the routine with Nina. I should not have believed her. This was hard. I couldn’t memorize any of the steps and my regret only worsened by Wednesday when I realized the football team was practicing the same time as cheer tryouts.

Alexander was on the football team.

With Nina animatedly trying to boost my confidence, I left the locker and stepped onto the damp turf.

The shorts that the school for tryouts hit my hips weirdly and I kept having to pull them down. The shirt wasn’t bad, but the blue material was thin and with the frequent cool breezes that kept going by Ieft me shivering slightly.

The sky had cleared up a lot but it was still gray and gloomy.

Sighing, I glanced over to the large football field.

I scanned it and found him. He was passing the ball back and forth with James. Alex caught me staring and sent me an innocent wave while mouthing the words β€˜good luck.’

Prick.

β€œAlright, let’s separate into people who have cheered before and people who are new.” Nina’s cheery voice broke through and people oriented themselves into the respective groups. The coach then assigned partners so that the experienced people could help the inexperienced.

Nina chose me and while part of me grateful, another part of me hated it. She really was an expert. I was not. I had no coordination, no grace. I couldn’t do any cool looking tricks that defied the laws of physics. I couldn’t even keep up with the eight count.

Despite it being cold, there was a thin layer of sweat building up on my skin and just by looking around, it seemed I was the only one who was exhausted. Nobody else even looked remotely tired. How are they all in such good shape?

β€œYou.”

The coach pointed his finger at me.

β€œYou’re the flyer.”

I beg your pardon.

I’m the what now?

My mouth parted slightly and looked to Nina for some kind of help. She obliged.

β€œCoach, I don’t know if that’s a good decision. I mean, no offense Corvina-” she looked at me, β€œ-but she’s new to the sport. She doesn’t know the formation yet.”

β€œWho’s the coach?” he asked her with a bored expression.

β€œYou are, but sir I think if we waited a few more practices the-”

β€œZip it, Claye.”

I saw her nostrils flare in annoyance, but the coach didn’t care.

β€œAlright, let’s lift her.”

Before I knew it there was a small crowd around me and I frantically looked at Nina. She gave me a reassuring smile, β€œJust keep your legs straight and your core engaged. Arms in a β€˜V’.”

I felt hands grip onto random parts of my legs and arms before I knew it was hoisted into the air. I tensed my back and tried to β€˜engage’ my nonexistent abs.

β€œArms in a β€˜V’ Choi!” The coach yelled from below.

A strong gust of wind flew by and I locked my leg. I don’t know if I was supposed to do that. But I did and oh my god I think it worked. I fisted my hands and held them up in a v shape. Holy crap, I’m doing it!

From my view I could see the entire field clearly. It was actually kind of nice.

I spotted Alex looking at me from the other side and I couldn’t help the smile that came onto my face.

Perhaps this was a good choice. Maybe cheerleading isn’t so bad afterall. I lifted a leg and bent it so my toe hit my knee. Dare I say it was actually kinda fu-

The football that hit me in the stomach was able to make a graceful landing. I didn’t think I’d be able to say the same about myself. My leg started to wobble and I felt myself losing every single ounce of balance I once had.

My eyes clenched shut and felt myself fall. I braced myself to hit the turf but instead felt a mixture of sweaty skin and satiny fabric. I slowly opened my eyes again and saw Alex’s deep blue eyes.

How did he get over here so fast?

I glanced around and saw that all movement had stopped on the field and the focus was on us. The rest of the cheer squad backed up and formed a circle around us and football practice has halted completely.

He let on my feet gently.

β€œWatch out next time. The ball could’ve hit your head.”

He walked away and I watched his retreating figure, completely bewildered.

β€œThat’s a wrap!” I jumped when the coach suddenly yelled.

Nina walked up to me, muttering apologies and asking if I was okay. In the midst of telling her I was fine and asking how Alex got over here so quickly the coach walked up to me.

β€œGood job, Choi. You made the squad as our new flyer.”

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