YAY! i can't believe i actually finished this chapter. it took me forever.

hope u guys like it! don't4get 2 review!

Books and Balls

Chapter 1

"I win again!" Jesse caught the basketball in midair as it fell through the hoop. Holding the ball in front of his chin, he turned to his brother, and asked, "Play again?"

"Haven't you boys had enough of playing that stupid game already?" A girl whined from the porch swing. "You'll get more brain damage playing stupid things like basketball." Jaime, their twelve-year-old sister, glared at them from her swing, arms crossed over her chest in a pout. Her head whipped to look at Jeff, and she yelled, "I need to go to school sometime, idiot!"

"She's right, Jesse. School's gonna start pretty soon." Jeff glanced down at the watch around his wrist. He grinned at his twin and said, "I think one more game should do."

As Jesse laughed, Jaime hissed and stomped inside the house. A second later, a middle-aged woman appeared at the screen door and yelled out at the boys. "Get to school! You have time to play when you get home."

Jeff grumbled something about their sister being a tattletale, and picked up his bookbag from where he had thrown it in the grass. He waved a hand at Jesse, and said, "Gotta go."

The ball fell from Jesse's hand and his wide smile slipped a bit. He saluted Jeff and said, "I've got to get ready for school."

"Lucky you," Jeff muttered after he yelled at Jaime to get in the car and made his way to the small Ford explorer in the driveway. Jaime, a second later, jumped in, and immediately checked her makeup in a small mirror from her purse. Jeff smiled as he started the engine. His little sister was such a Miss Prissy. After their younger sister, June, and brother, Jacob entered the car, did Jeff sigh in a teasing manner and say, "And we're off."

Jaime, in the passenger seat, rolled her eyes and looked out the window. She saw Jesse dribbling the basketball on the driveway by the basketball hoop. He looked up and tossed the ball, shooting it directly into the hoop. He caught the ball as it fell to the ground, and began dribbling it again. Pouting, Jaime turned to Jeff and asked, "How come Jesse doesn't have to go to Eastfield like you? It's no fair that he gets to go to school at eight thirty."

Jeff backed the car out of the driveway, saying, "Well, Jesse's smarter than all of us, so he gets to go to a special school."

"He's a retard?" Jacob asked from the back seat.

"Don't use that word, Jacob, or else Mommy will rip out your tongue." June giggled. Jacob looked at her so naively that she went on to explain, "Jesse's not a retard, he's a 'genius'. That's what Mommy says." She giggled again and boasted, "I'm smarter than him at spelling."

"That's 'cause he only lets on that he can't spell." Jaime muttered under her breath.

"Will you all just shut up and let me concentrate?" Jeff yelled at them. Jaime shut up and in the backseat, June muttered something to Jacob about Jeff being a big meanie.

Gritting his teeth together, Jeff thought, I hate siblings.

Lily Brian loathed sports with a passion.


Because it was all she ever heard of. Eastfield High School, the school she attended, was famous for its competitive and skillful team. Everyone freaked out when there was some football or basketball or volleyball match coming up. And almost no one paid attention to schoolwork, even the teachers.

At home, it was almost the exact same thing. Her father was the coach of one of the town's boys' soccer teams, and her mother was a coach for girls' football. Her seventeen-year-old sister always dated jocks, being as she was the team captain of her cheerleading squad. Her ten-year-old sister Andie was a baseball champion.

The only ones that could pass for normal, non-sports obsessed people were Lily herself and her younger sister Mercy. They had often kept each other company when they were younger when their other family members went to their games.

And while things like baseball or soccer or football were among the list of things she despised, Lily's only favorite sports were running and swimming. Because baseball and soccer and football were all teams things, and running and swimming were individual sports. Lily didn't like to count on others for success; she preferred to go at things alone, that way the work would be done better and no one would blame you for messing up or hogging the ball.

"Lily, are you coming or what?" Pearl called from the door. Pearl Pinciati was Lily's best friend. They had met in the second grade after Lily moved into the town. Upon their first meeting, Pearl had been being bullied by some older students. Lily, being the headstrong girl she was back then, had defended her, ending up with a few bruises from where the older kids had hit her.

"Hold on." Lily answered absently, staring at her reflection in the mirror of the locker room at Diving Ducklings, a local center with an indoor pool where Eastfield's swim team practiced after school. Lily sighed and tied a rubber band at the end of the braid that kept her wild, curly dark brown hair in place before making her way to the door where Pearl was waiting ever so patiently.

The girls made their way to the pool, where several little children were swimming with their mothers or older brothers and sisters. At one far end of the pool, were a couple of kids from school that the two recognized instantly. Another teen was in the pool, swimming laps rapidly. The rest of the swim team looked on in amazement at the kid's speed.

"Hey, who's that?" Pearl asked some kid named Luke.

Luke shook his head and said, "No one we know. He's been here for awhile. Before any of us, anyway."

"I've been here since three." A voice interrupted. Luke, Pearl, and Lily looked down at the pool, where the teen's head bobbed above the water. He smiled at them, showing dimples, and dark hazel eyes. His hair, turned from dirty blonde to a light brownish color from it being wet, stood up on end on some regions of his head, where in other regions, it was matted down. "And now I'm leaving." He placed his hands on the tiled floor and pushed himself out of the pool. Some of the other girls on the team protested and asked if they could swim against him. The boy turned down their offer and proceeded to the boys' locker room.

"At least we can swim laps now that he's gone." Lily commented and she got ready to dive into the water.

Several minutes later, Lily had been asked to race against another member on the team. She obliged and had won, beating the other member by ten seconds. After that, everyone went back to the locker rooms to get ready to leave. The only ones left were Pearl and Lily.

Pearl stretched her arms in the air and asked, "Aren't you leaving yet?"

Lily shook her head, wading her legs in the water. "Mom and Dad are at work. And Mary's at a football game that will end near six. Then she'll come and pick me up. Which gives me another half hour before I have to leave."

Pearl waved as she walked away. "I'll see you at school tomorrow then."

Lily waved back and sighed, looking at the clock on the other side of the room. The Diving Ducklings would close at seven, which was only an hour and a half away, so that gave her plenty of time to swim more.

She got into the diving position and plunged into the water. The coldness of the water made the hair on her arms to stand on end, giving her goose bumps. She swam as fast as she could to the other end of the pool and back to the side she had dived from. She did the same thing for the next half-hour, enjoying the rush from the swimming. When her arms and legs were starting to tire, she stopped and started to get out of the pool when a pair of feet landed before her.

When Lily looked up, she found the boy from earlier smiling down at her. His dimples shone brightly as he said, "You're really good."

Lily blushed in embarrassment; she wasn't used to receiving compliments from better swimmers. He extended a hand to help her out of the pool, but she shoved him out of her way and got out on her own.

"You come here often?" the boy asked. Lily didn't answer. She took out the rubber band holding her hair and ran her fingers through it to help ease the tangles that made her hair even messier than it originally was. The boy watched her with the same smile plastered to his face. He stuck out his hand and said, "I'm Jesse Eten, by the way."

"You're supposed to introduce yourself before asking me questions." Lily took his hand and shook it three times before going back to her hair. "Do you come here often?"

The boy wagged his finger at her. "Ladies first."

"No." Lily answered defiantly, staring into his eyes with her own midnight blue ones.

Jesse looked somewhat perturbed, then, quietly, he asked, "Will you race me?"

"What?" Lily asked, looking at the clock.

He followed her gaze and told her, "It won't take long, I promise. We'll do three laps and whoever gets back to this side first wins. I can even have someone time us."

"A race? With me?" Lily looked at Jesse in disbelief. "Why?"

Jesse, placing his hands on his hips, gazed out over the water with intense eyes. "I don't get to race people that much. Usually I'm busy doing something for school or an extracurricular. I hardly get to swim as it is." He turned his gaze to her, staring her down with the intensity. "So, will you?"

Lily blushed under the stern watch, and while pushing a strand of loose hair behind her ear, nodded without saying a word. Jesse smiled once again—didn't the boy ever stop smiling? It was becoming contagious as Lily could feel the corners of her mouth lifting— and called down to someone at the other end of the pool. "Janice! Come here!"

Lily watched as a girl near her own age sauntered up to Jesse, a bag hanging on her shoulder. Her bored eyes stared at Jesse as she asked with much attitude, "What?"

"Will you time us, Janice? We can go home after this, I promise." Jesse pleaded with the girl, who rolled her eyes and agreed, getting a stopwatch from her bag.

Jesse got into a diving position next to Lily and asked, "Ready?"

Lily nodded, and looked at the water, feeling her face heat up. Jesse's hazel eyes were boring into her, and she was starting to become very self-conscious. It wasn't only until he turned his head away and said, "Okay, Janice, start whenever you feel like it." that Lily felt okay again.

The two swimmers got into diving position and dove into the water once Janice pulled out a stopwatch from her bag and uttered in a very bored tone, "On your mark. Get set. Go."

Jesse was a worthy opponent. He swam almost twice as fast as Lily. His strokes were perfect and elegant, so perfect that Lily almost stopped swimming to watch the boy in awe. But she kept on, no matter how much she knew she was going to lose to this swimming god.

The boy swimmer won by seven seconds. It amazed Lily that she was almost beat him. He was a fast swimmer, and she had thought she was going to lose by more than two seconds. Luckily, after the second lap, her female pride kicked up and urged her to go faster, to test her limits.

"Good job," Jesse said to her, his smile present as Janice handed him a towel that he draped over his head.

"I should be saying the same to you. You're a great swimmer." Lily complimented, bringing a pink tinge to the boy's cheeks.

Jesse gave a nervous laugh and a lop-sided grin. "I wasn't that great. It was only seven seconds, after all."

Janice rolled her eyes and asked rudely, "Can you stop talking to your little girlfriend and take me home already?"

Lily could feel color rising to her face. She wanted to say that they weren't dating and that Janice had made a mistake, but the younger girl was already heading towards the lobby of Diving Ducklings. Jesse shook his head, his cheeks and ears turning a darker pink. He gave a small smile to Lily and explained, "Don't mind her. She didn't mean what she said. It's just that her favorite show is on in an hour and I'm keeping her here."

The girl swimmer nodded, relieved. She didn't like it when someone presumed her and some random guy were boyfriend and girlfriend. It irked her to no end.

"I'll see you around." Jesse said with a wave of his hand. Lily nodded and waved back as he disappeared into the men's locker room. She looked at the clock. She still had an hour to kill before she could go home. Getting into diving position, she figured she could practice more. Maybe, if she practiced long enough, she could get herself to swim as fast as Jesse.

i actually wanted to add more but i figured that it was already taking me forever to finish just this chapter, so i pushed everything i wanted to put in here to the next chapter. i hope it was ok. personally, its not 1 of my best, but its something.

like i said b4, don't 4get 2 review please!!!!