Author: Mad for Figs PM
He was the one who was chucking pigskin around the field as he got the wind knocked out of him. I was the one who was marching on the field beating a piece of plastic after he and his boys kicked up as much dust as possible. Perfect, isn't it?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Humor - Words: 3,388 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 11 - Published: 06-12-08 - id: 2530998
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a story by madforfigs (8.25.12)
He was the one who was chucking pigskin around the field as he got the wind knocked out of him. I was the one who was marching on the field beating a piece of plastic after he and his boys kicked up as much dust as possible. Perfect, isn't it?
o1. The Legacy of Toledo High School
Athletics was our shining achievement; every school in our division held us in the highest regards every time they faced us. They were scared of us; they knew they couldn't win. It seemed as if though we were unstoppable. Ever since my grade had entered the school, our athletic abilities couldn't be topped.
Football was the baby of our athletics department; aspiring NFL football players knew that they had to come here if they wanted a shot for a Division One college. Support for the football team came in all forms; money, college scholarships, pep rallies, and obviously, the cheerleading squad and marching band. It should be, without a doubt, that the best deserve the best support system. Our cheerleading squad, to say in the least, lacked the talent that other schools in our division had. Therefore, Toledo gave the marching band a tremendous amount of respect; we won competitions all over the state and even went out to the middle of Texas for a competition between a minimum of ten different states.
And yes, we won first place.
I was officially beginning my fourth year of marching; the past three years of the sport had been full of shocks and surprises. Losses that weren't expected due to my slip-ups, people losing confidence in themselves and forgetting their dots... they were all common errors. But Toledo High was supposed to be invincible; we weren't supposed to make common errors. We were a school of perfection. It was a perfection that was instilled into everything we did. Just because we were known for our athletics didn't mean that we allowed our academics to fall anywhere below par. Toledo High School was any public school superintendent's dream location.
However, being a senior in the marching band wasn't exactly a good thing. Our director, Mrs. Iffland, would push us to our breaking points. She expected us to be the leaders of the group; she expected us to demonstrate the proper manners of the marching band. Not only that, but there were behavioral and academic standards that she held us at so the underclassmen would eventually know what was expected of them over the years at Toledo. But, because I was also the section leader of the entire drum line, she expected so much more from me than the others.
Iffland's main problem wasn't hard to put a finger on; it was basically how blatantly she preferred one person over another. Once a person had one small mistake, they were forever on her blacklist. In a way, it made me feel real good to have beaten Rhys Morris, another senior playing snare, for the position of section leader. He was like me - ambitious, driven and hardworking. It still made me feel some guilt when the leadership positions were announced; Rhys and I had originally came up with the idea to be dual section leaders and split up the responsibility. But in response, Iffland sat us down for fifteen minutes lecturing us about how responsibility could not be shared. Responsibility could only be fully successful if each individual strives for their best without having to compete with the opinions of another.
Did it make sense to us? No. But did we have to listen? Unfortunately so.
From my spot close to the back of the coming-on-the-field block, I could see the cheerleaders doing their so called dance routine for the pre-game show. Well, technically, we were the pre-game show. The cheerleaders were getting the crowd prepped up for our appearance; they weren't quite at the level of respect that allowed them to be seen close to the football team. They had yet to win any competitions, therefore not yet earning the accolades that the other groups in our school had received from the administration.
"Hey, Bubble Boy." I called out, directing my words at the lone freshman on the drum line. I saw his flushed face peer out from the right side of his bass drum. I frowned, noting how he was already beginning to sweat. It was the damned pre-game for crying out loud! It was only quarter after ten and he was already dying of heat. If we were to play during halftime, what would happen to him then?
"Yeah?" he shouted back, taking off his hat and wiping his forehead with the back of his gloved hand.
"Can you get Wesley's attention?" Bubble Boy nodded and tapped the drum major's shoulders. I saw Wesley turn towards me, a big grin on his face.
"You called?" he asked, coming up besides me.
"Yeah, I did." I sighed, rolling my shoulders to relieve the tension in my back as the harness dug into my skin. "Make sure Bubble Boy doesn't collapse. If he does, get him off the field. I won't have him playing after he collapses from a heat stroke, got it?"
Wesley laughed gently, shaking his head. "Always the optimist, Callie. I envy you for it. But you have my word. And why do you call him Bubble Boy?"
I grinned at his question. Why was he Bubble Boy? It was a long story, a story that took place over the six days spent during band camp. Of course, it was an event so complicated, no words could recreate the situation. All I can say is that it involved gum, a needle, a bar of soap, and Bengay.
"Not today, Wes. Not today."
Wesley merely shrugged and walked back towards the front of the block. Moments later, I could hear his commands as the group went to parade rest, then set. My heart started pounding as the drum minor began yelling out the commands for marking time. This was my first game that I was the leader, it was me that the group was relying on. It was an amazing feeling to know that it was the group I was leading that held the rhythm together.
As the drum line director Mr. Connors had said, the drum majors couldn't always be seen. Anything could block their view, the sun, a tuba, a tree, another person or anything. But us, the drum line, we could always be heard. We were the ones that were always supposed to keep the beat, we were the heart of the band.
Why do you think I stayed in this band for three years, onto my fourth year? Why do you think I stayed if I hated Iffland so much? I had no respect whatsoever for Connors either; I would drop out in a second if I had the chance to. So many chances had been thrown in my face that almost made me quit in the past years, but not once did I take the easy way out. I wanted to see this to the end.
As soon as all one hundred seven members of the Toledo High School Marching Band were situated in the opening set, the crowd burst into applause, causing a spark of fire to ignite within me. Marching band was always capable of pushing me to my highest limits; it was the adrenaline that I ran on for the rest of the day. The other schools held us in the highest regard. The Toledo High School Marching Band was a major part of the Legacy of Toledo High.
And I wanted to be a part of it.
After we had finished what I considered to be one of the best performances I had done, I was all jittery as I sat down in the bleachers, as the spectators were still applauding our performance. This always happened to me after every performance; a certain high would run through my veins and propel me through the rest of the game. It also helped that our football team was so amazing that nothing was capable of bringing me down. Unfortunately, as I looked to my left, I saw a group of freshman girls sitting there, giggling and whispering to themselves. Just because our school had such a great reputation didn't necessarily mean that we were immune to stupidity within the population.
I've never been fond of underclassmen. Most of the time, they thought they were better than everyone even if they weren't. Just by the looks of these freshmen, I could tell they thought they were some serious hot shit looking for attention.
"Don't be hatin' the freshmen already." Rhys whispered in my ear, causing me to jump a couple inches. "They haven't done anything to you yet; give it time. After they do something stupid, that's when you can hate them."
"They already exist." I snapped back. "It's a valid reason for me."
Rhys let out a laugh, un-strapping his marching band hat. His blonde hair fell messily into his eyes as he hit me with his uniform part. "You're too cool for words." Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see the aforementioned freshman gazing at him, once they saw him take off his hat. I scoffed at that, but chose to ignore them. Marching band wasn't exactly the activity that attracted the good looking people and Rhys was definitely one of the exceptions to that rule.
"I know I am." I retorted but immediately stopped as I stood up as the National Anthem played over the loudspeakers.
Let the games begin...
I sighed, leaning back against my best friend's knees, Lynn Chao, in the flute section. The temperatures were finally starting to hit at the beginning of the third quarter. Unfortunately, the other school's band decided not to show up due to the heat advisory set for the day so the cheerleaders had done another routine to keep the crowd entertained.
Entertained would be an overstatement.
Our football team was absolutely destroying the other team to the point where it seemed more like a poorly matched game of Madden. The score was now thirty-one to twelve and we had already long switched to our second and third string players. After all, our star quarterback Quinn Marshall, scored four touchdowns within the first half before the Coach Hurley decided to go easy and switch to our Junior Varsity quarterback, Paul McGuire.
Quinn wasn't quite the stereotypical jock, but obviously he still embraced some of the key qualities. He was tall, athletic, popular, but more importantly, he was kind and relatively intelligent. There were very few things a person could ever hate about him. I watched as he sat on the cool steel bench along the sidelines, running plays with Paul as the running backs and wide receivers stood behind them. His light brown hair was cut close to his head to keep the hair out of his eyes, as it usually was during the off season. It truly was a pity because longer hair suited him more.
"Yo. Marsh!" Rhys suddenly cried out to his best friend. Quinn perked up, most likely recognizing the voice of his favorite person. The two of them defied the logic of the high school social ladder. Rhys was a die hard percussionist with dreams of heading off to Julliard, while Quinn's goal was to play at Stanford and get drafted into the NFL, much like Andrew Luck. I saw Quinn smirk, seeing Rhys pointing a drum stick in his direction. "Keep it up, man." Quinn shouted back.
His eyes then traveled to me, a small smile gracing his lips. He lifted a hand in my general area, tilting his chin up to acknowledge my presence. I waved back, unfortunately, forgetting the drum stick in my grasp. The stick flew from my fingers, hitting Wes in the side of the head, who just happened to be in the way of the stick's destined projectory.
"Callie Morse, what the hell are you doing?" Wes yelled, picking up my drum stick. I blushed again, apologizing profusely as I rubbed my hand against the back of my neck. Luckily, Mrs. Iffland was nowhere around to chastise me about the proper behavior of section leaders. I would have been so screwed if she had been in this general vicinity.
I glanced back up at Quinn again as Wes handed back my belongings. Quinn was shaking his head, laughing at the scene that had just developed before his eyes. While he was explaining a certain move to Paul, who had his undivided attention, I could tell that the smile on his face was directed towards me and not towards Paul's understanding of the plays.
Our friendship was interesting as well. I was best friends with Rhys, and Quinn was his best friend as well. Transitive property states that in this case, Quinn and I should be best friends as well, which we were pretty darn close to. While we didn't frequently hang out outside of school together, I was comfortable in any one on one situation with him. We laughed, we joked, we made fun of each other, and this was the reason why I respected him the most out of everyone in the entire football team - he was the only one who didn't care for the stereotypes.
Another reason why I was so found of him could be because of the fact that I had liked Quinn ever since sophomore year. I wasn't going to deny it and prance around in oblivion like most other chose to do. I had accepted that fact long ago, and I was more than happy to embrace it because I wasn't ashamed of it. Quinn was an attractive and incredibly nice guy who everyone loved - students, parents and teachers a like. However, I knew nothing would ever happen between Quinn and I because I knew he wasn't attracted to me in that way. Yes, we were friends, but that didn't account for anything.
Lynn was the only one who knew how much I actually liked him. I tried to keep my crush on the down low, exhibiting as little feelings towards him as possible, but sometimes it was hard. It was the little things he did that made me feel otherwise. When he'd given up his sweatshirt after a Friday night game as we waited for our rides, I couldn't stop my heart from skipping a beat. Simple chivalrous acts like that gave me some hope for the male race.
But simply put, I could never have Quinn Marshall no matter how hard I tried. More importantly, following high school tradition, he was currently dating Jennifer Flores, our senior class's most gorgeous and athletic girl. What a shocker that the two most athletically talented people in our grade ended up together…
"Yo, Callie." I perked up, hearing Wes Sadoway call my name. His hands were up in the air, ready to conduct.
"What are we playing?" I hissed at Rhys, as our drum major began counting down.
"Living On A Prayer." He quickly replied, the riffs already started. I shut my eyes, allowing the part that Rhys was playing to flow through my system. Automatically, my arms began to follow the rhythm as I let my body succumb to the beat that I had been playing for three years.
Now this... this was true love.
I sighed, throwing my uniform bag over my shoulder. The walk to my car was hot, as the sun remained high in the sky. The blacktop parking lot did a great job absorbing the heat, seemingly making it twenty degrees hotter than the original eighty-five degrees.
From my right, I saw Quinn emerge from the field house, his duffel bag slung over his shoulder as well. "Morse." His strides fell into step besides mine as we walked down to our cars together. A comfortable silence fell over us as seconds passed. The Toledo students finally got accustomed to see me with him, but without a doubt, it was awkward seeing us being so amiable. The varsity quarterback walking side by side with the percussion section leader, a garment bag slung over her shoulders.
Socially awkward, to boot.
"Good game, by the way." I said, unlocking my car as I approached it. The trunk popped open as I threw my garment bag in. "I'm sure you guys will have a good season this year."
"Thanks." Quinn grunted, throwing in his own duffel bag into the trunk of his Jeep Liberty which had coincidentally been parked next to mine. "I'm pretty happy with the lineup this year, so things should go well. We won't disappoint you this year." He gave me a haphazard grin over his shoulder as he slammed the door shut.
Last year, our team had gotten pretty far, to the semi-finals. If we were able to get to the finals, they would be played at Giants Stadium, as much of an honor for the marching band as it is for the football team. But in the semi-finals, we had lost by a single field goal, shattering everyone's dreams for the season. After Quinn had gotten over the initial shock and disappointment of losing, all of us, as in Max Noonan, Lynn, Rhys and I, had taken the opportunity to rip on him until he looked ready to spontaneously combust.
"Good to hear. You better keep your word." I jokingly warned. "Anyway, I have faith in you and the team. You have a good sense of leadership that makes your teammates want to follow you so I'm sure you'll be fine. We all believe in you. Just don't let us down this year."
Quinn stared at me from over the top of our cars. His light blue eyes bore into mine as neither of us moved. His eyes were an endless pool of blue, ones that I would never get bored of looking into. His mouth suddenly opened, preparing himself to say something, before the moment was ruined.
"Quinn!" I tore my eyes away from his to see Jennifer Flores walking towards him. He looked quickly at me, as if apologizing for her sudden appearance. "That was an amazing game." She grinned, hugging him as I looked on. "Let's get out of here. Oh, hey Callie!" Jen said, probably realizing that Quinn wasn't just talking to himself. "You guys played well as always. I'll see you Monday!"
I rolled my eyes and stepped into my car. Slamming the door shut, I turned on the engine and checked my mirrors. As I got ready to reverse, I saw Quinn and Jen openly making out in the parking lot. My heart tore a little more as I shook my head. No matter how hard I tried to get him out of my mind, little episodes like that parking lot incident would occur, making me think otherwise.
I don't even really know if I want to make this into a real story. I might just have it sit here and transform it into a one-shot about heartbreak. It depends on what you guys as an audience think and I'll put up a poll as well. I'd really honestly appreciate feed back for this one so I can decide the future of this. I need your opinions just so I can take the best actions possible.
And ugh. I hate being a girl especially around the time of month. The pain is near freaking unbearable.
This is a new, edited version. I doubt any of you realized it's been updated, but, I'm re-booting this story :) See you around! Hope you enjoyed the edits! And if any of you are wondering, I am a band geek. Heh.