CHAPTER - 1 TEAM COACHES AND FAMILY FEUDS
The baseball team was waiting for me as I went to the ground. These imbeciles apparently, will not learn from a female coach as coaches are supposed to be male. I have never heard of such an idiotic thing. The school hired a new coach in this time of the year as our old coach had retired. I made my way towards the front standing beside the new coach. Everyone stopped speaking and looked at me. I took a deep breath before speaking.
"Move your asses to practice now, before I make everyone take a hundred laps." I order with my captain voice. Riley and Harvey nod at me and rush to warm up and everyone followed them into practice. I turn towards the coach to apologize about these assholes, but she beats me to it by saying, "It's okay. This is nothing new, I face this everywhere I go and most of the women do too. You should go practice."
She was quite young. She had a medium length auburn hair and blue eyes. She had a determined look on her face but her eyes showed all that we need to see. She was upset. I hesitate before saying, "I know its normal but that doesn't mean they should treat you or anyone like that. We cannot decide your capability just by your gender. I will speak with everyone after practice. I am really sorry on behalf of the team."
"Don't apologize. I am a part of the team now. It's not just them that don't like me. You go ahead and practice." Her voice held so much pain. But I decided it was not the right thing to question about.
I went to Riley and Harvey who were stretching. They stopped and looked at me quizzically. I let out a heavy sigh.
"I apologized to her. And she seemed upset. She told me it was normal for her to be treated that way."
"That's just preposterous." Riley frowned while saying that. He looked more tired than usual. His blonde hair was messy and his green eyes were dull. He had dark circles from lack of sleep. I know he is pushing himself too much these days and he missed being with Rachel. Harvey noticed that I was staring at Riley. Harvey's grey eyes questioned me. He looked so confused by my actions. I shook my head saying that it was nothing. He took me to the side away from Riley.
"What's wrong? You look worried. Is this about Riley?"
"He is just over working himself so much. He should be looking after himself." I said the truth. Harvey would easily understand if I was lying.
"Maybe it's because of you-know-who and also because he is missing Rachel."
"Yeah, he really misses her."
"Don't worry about that. We will talk to him at home today." Harvey reassured me. He was the strongest among the three of us, not just physically but also emotionally. He was always there for me and Riley. I don't want to imagine what we would do without him. I smile at him. I am lucky to have friends like them. Harvey and I were best friends since childhood. Riley came here in high school, from then we three were inseparable. I continue to practice.
After practice I make my way towards Margot. This became a habit to me these days. From when I started to live with Harvey and Riley, I started to hang out more with Margot. At least few good things came out of this. I still remember how my parents reacted when I told them the truth.
As usual Margot was standing in the parking lot with her 'friends'. I seriously don't like them, except for Kimberly. The others are friends with her only for her popularity, just like some of my 'friends' outside the team. Her face showed a smile when she noticed me walking towards her. Her brown eyes were glinting and I understood why she was happy. She was planning a prank on someone again.
"Thought you were bailing on me today, Juls." She said and all her friends turned around to look at me. I know for a fact they were expecting to see Riley or Harvey with me so I sent them home before I came to meet Margot.
"Never in a million years. You know I keep my promises." I said and winked at her.
She gives me one of her sincere smiles which are really rare as she has to maintain this 'Queen Bee' look at school. I smiled back at her before I gestured for her to get into my car. She gets into the car along with me. I was driving to her house when she frowned and stopped me.
"I wanted go to your place today. That is if you and the boys don't mind." She pouted.
"Of course, cuz. You're always welcome." She smiled gratefully at me. I turned and started towards my home. I hummed along with the music on radio. I glanced at Margot and she was fidgeting with the strap of her bag. I chuckled and said, "I don't know why you're so nervous. I thought you got comfortable with Riley already. And you knew Harvey since we were 3 years old."
She rolled her eyes and said, "It's not about Riley or Harvey. I have something I wanted to ask you."
"Okay. Go ahead, ask me." I said skeptically.
"Do you miss Brandon?" she asked curiously.
"Yes, so much. He calls me twice a day regardless of how busy he is. And he said that he will come visit me next month."
"Oh. Umm...Do you miss Aunt Lydia and Uncle Will?" she asked carefully in a low voice.
"Yeah. Even though they disowned me after I told them about Brandon and me dating, I still love them. It's them who can't love a son like me."
"Sorry if I am reminding you of all those memories. It's just I, uh, I thought you didn't miss them after what they did." She was fidgeting with the strap of her bag again and she avoided my gaze. I felt like she was going to ask me something else but I guess she decided against it.
My parents disowned me last year, when I told them I was a gay. Brandon was a senior last year. This year he is at college. I know that Margot was trying to ask me how I was feeling about the changes in my life. She always had a hard time conveying her feelings to anyone and I know that she is a really sensitive person even though she acts like a bitch at school. And we grew up together even though we were just cousins. Her mother, my aunt treated me like her own son. They even offered for me to stay with them when my parents kicked me out. But I didn't want to burden them. And Margot changed so much since when I left my home. I smiled a little at the brown haired girl beside me.
"It's alright. I am sure you had pure intentions. Or are you really becoming a person you act like?" I asked while chuckling at the end.
Again she stutters before saying that she is not a bad person. We reached my apartment which I shared with my two best friends Harvey and Riley. She excitedly gets out of the car before dashing for our apartment. I laughed at her childish antics and followed her. Today was sure eventful. My thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from Brandon. I couldn't stop my smile that was rising. I picked up the call to share everything that had happened today.
I didn't realize how much I missed Brandon until I heard his voice. I was waiting to meet him soon. He was telling me how badly he missed me. I sighed not really knowing how to reply to him. I didn't want to make him more upset than he already was, so I said, "It's okay. You're going to come visit me soon, right?"
"Of course, I already miss you too much to cancel my plans of visiting."
"Good to hear your college work is not affecting our plans."
He chuckled lightly. God, I missed his laugh. I knew I was going to miss him more if I didn't end the call right then. So I told him I had some urgent work I had to deal with, which wasn't a lie. I did have some urgent work, Harvey and I planned to have a talk with Riley. He said bye and ended our second phone call of the day.
"I know, right? They always do that, it's so annoying. I should have made this a rule before moving in with them." I heard Harvey's voice. It looked like he was complaining to Margot about me. I rushed inside our house to defend myself.
"Hey, I am only messy because you both have OCD." I accused.
Harvey scoffed dramatically while Margot just rolled her eyes at me. "Don't even try using that excuse. Both of you are the most messiest people I have ever met." Harvey said while pointing his finger at me and Riley.
"I don't know about him but I have a reason to be messy. I can't think of new ideas for recipes if I have clean room. I only prefer myself, kitchen, and the dining area clean." Riley exclaimed.
"Whatever. It's just an excuse for being messy." Margot said while scrolling through her phone.
I just shrugged at Riley. He goes off into kitchen to start making our dinner. I went to my room to get some homework done. After an hour or so of homework, Riley called me saying dinner was ready. I stride to the couch and notice that the three were watching some TV show. I sat on the armchair beside the couch. We got these sofa and armchair from a thrift store and these are really comfy. I remembered how Harvey cleaned these for three hours straight. All of them were completely into the show they didn't pay me any kind of attention.
"Go ahead, eat. What are you waiting for?" Riley said looking at me. I then realized that there was food on the coffee table. I nod my head and take the food and started eating without questioning. I had enough experience with Riley to know to never question his dishes; they tasted good anyways, except when he was mad and cooked food. I don't think it was intentional but his food tasted extremely gross when he was mad. Otherwise he was the best at cooking.
Some of his dishes even reminded me of my mom's cooking. I didn't know the name of the dish I was eating then, but it tasted damn good. When I asked Riley the name of the dish he said that it was called 'Käsespätzle' and it was a German dish. Leave it to Riley to cook a German dish for dinner. It mostly tasted like cheese. I finished eating and noticed that Margot fell asleep. I picked her up and put her to bed in my room. I closed the door behind me.
"I am going out for run. Don't wait for me." Riley said while putting on his shoes. We just nodded and went back to watching TV. I remembered that we thought to talk to Riley about him, over working himself. I cleared my throat and Harvey glanced at me while rising an eyebrow.
"You said that we will talk to him about him and Rachel." I whispered so that Riley can't hear me.
"Yeah. Let's do it now." He whispered back.
We turned around just in time to see that Riley was opening the door. I called him and asked him to sit and have a word with us. He looked confused but came back and sat with us anyway.
"Riley, I know that you promised Rachel that you'll give your best, but that doesn't mean you should overwork yourself. If it's about what your uncle and grandfather said, you shouldn't take it to heart."
"I....I know that what they said isn't true, but I promised Rachel I would win at the competition. I just don't know how to meet her. It's just I miss her too much. I didn't even go to her performance last week because I was practicing. And I feel guilty."
"It's okay. You don't have to feel guilty, you had a reason to miss out on that. I am sure she will forgive you if you just apologize to her. She is kind just like you. But still you should stop overworking yourself, in the end it's going to tire you out and you wouldn't be able to give your best. Take it easy okay?"
Riley just nods and goes for his run. Harvey resorts to his room for that night as it has been a long day. I think about what Riley said. He really loves his sister so much. I just wish everything works out between him and his family. He already lost his parents in an accident, he doesn't need to lose the rest of his family. If they don't want to be there for him then Harvey and I will always be there for him. I sigh and realize how tired I actually was and drift off into a deep slumber on our couch.