❝Life is short, smile while you still have teeth.❞
The minute the doors to the gym closed, silence filled the area. I slowly turn around to find every eye on me again, making me feel nervous and self-conscious. They stared in curiosity, some in wonder. I avert my gaze from them and stand awkwardly by the doors.
“Miss Simpson,” a hard voice speaks out, breaking the silence. “Can you explain to me why you’re late?”
My head snaps up and my eyes connect with cold green ones that seem to stare deeper than my soul. I stand straighter, closing my fingers tighter around the strap.
“I, uh, I had a little accident which prevented from moving faster,” I answer, holding out my injured ankle.
His eyes downcast to observe me thoroughly, I can’t help but do the same. His stance was tense and he stood tall about about six foot five or four, his figure was strong and muscular, his eyes narrowed, facial expression was blank. His brown hair pulled back in a low ponytail. It was then that he grunted, I snap my attention back to his eyes.
“I see.” he finally says, “Since you won’t be able to participate in today’s activities, go sit on the bleachers.” he nods over to the light brown bleachers that were off to the far right against the wall.
I nod, biting my bottom lip, and began to limp in the direction he pointed. A shiver runs down my spine and I glance over to see none other than Xavier gazing at me intensely, I feel my cheeks burn and beside him I see Samantha; she waves and I raise my hand in greeting.
I make it to the bleachers, and slowly and carefully sit down, placing my book bag on the floor beside my leg.
“Alright class, listen up!” the coach finally spoke, his voice booming, “Today we’re going play a little game,” he says, walking over to a set of balls that laid beside a black bag.
He tosses the ball in the air, before catching it in his palm.
“I’m aware everyone is familiar with dodgeball?” he smirks, the action completely changing his face.
Hoots and hollers erupted within the gym, echoing around and smiles were painted on the faces of students.
He chuckles, “Good. It’ll be boys against girls, boys go to one side of the court and girls to the other.” he instructs.
Everyone immediately do as they’re told, separating, creating a wide-open space between them. Once settled, coach strides toward the middle, five balls underneath his arms, he sets them down along the white line and moves back to the sidelines.
“I would say make it a fair game but. .” he pauses, “Go all out.” then he blows his whistles.
In a blur everyone moves towards the middle, sneakers scraping against the polished wooden floor, a girl with brown skin tone makes it to one ball before bouncing back at a safe distance before reeling her arm back then shooting it forward releasing the ball.
I gape as the ball hurdles with inhuman speed toward one of the boys and strikes him right between the legs. I jump, startled, when he lets out a high scream and falls to his knees gripping himself.
The girl who threw the ball grins as she turned and gives a high-fives to the people behind her. The game continued for about ten minutes, Samantha was the third to last person to get out. She made her way over to me, taking a seat next to me.
I grin, “Hey Sam.” I respond back.
She flicks her hair over her shoulder before pulling it back into a loose ponytail, sweat dripping down the sides of her face.
“How come you weren’t in school yesterday?” she asks, turning toward me a bit.
“An accident at home,” I say, sticking my ankle out for viewing, my eyes locked on the game.
Two girls and two guys were left, one of the boys was Xavier. He wore a cut sleeved gray shirt with blue shorts, I watch the muscles in his arms bulge with effort as he throws the ball. I let my eyes travel along his face, watching his jaw clench in concentration and his eyes narrow; focused on the game.
I jerk, whirling my head around, staring at a smug looking Samantha.
She leans back, her arms crossing. “What were you doing?” she asks, a grin plastered on her face.
“Nothing,” I say quickly, my cheeks flushing a deep red.
Her eyes flickering over to someone in the court then back at me, “You were checking out Xavier weren’t you?”
I shake my head, “No. I wasn’t.”
She laughs her grin widening. “You wereeee!” she teases, poking my shoulder.
I feel my face heat up more while I turn away from her, knowing I was caught. It’s not like I’m interested in him.
“Nice work today everyone.” Coach Rex says.
Everyone begins to pack up, some going into the locker room to change back onto their clothes. I continue to sit and examine my ankle, hoping for it gets better already.
“Hey Abby, I’ll like for you to meet a friend of mine.”
I gaze up and lock eyes from the girl at the starting of the game, she frowns at me and I tuck a lock of my hair behind my ear.
“She smells exactly like a—” she was cut off when Sam elbowed her in the gut.
She shoots the girl a glare and all she does is roll her eyes and pushes her hair back from her face.
“Sorry, My name is Riley Fox.” she introduces, holding her hand out.
I reach my own and shake hers, “Abigail Simpson.”
She nods, her brown eyes twinkling, soon after the bell rings throughout the gymnasium and she let go of my hand.
“Wish I could stay here and talk but I need to get to class. Lunch, maybe?”
I nod in agreement watching her smile and turn on her heel, blending in with the students that glow out the gym.
“She seems nice.” I say to Samantha.
She chuckles a bit, “She really is. Need help?”
I smile shyly and she grabs ahold of my hand and carefully pulls me up, steadying me a bit.
“Say?” she pauses. “You never told me what happened to your ankle,” she comments, as I reach down and pick up my book bag.
“You wouldn’t believe me even if I did tell you what I really thinking happened.”