Lane 4

Life On The Track

"You must first understand the beginning to understand the ending."

Last Day of Junior Year

"NEVER again" I thought as the guys and I raced down the bleachers with the shouts of Mr. McConnor echoing around us.

"Starr! O'Hagen! McDowell! Blithers! Blithers! Just you wait until I get my hands on you! Detention, Detention, DETENTION! You're Toast, you hear me?" The small portly man yelled at us as he hopped down after us.

"Nice one Jase man. Just what I needed: detention the last day of my junior year with Crazy Lacee. And for what you may ask? A stupid sign. Jesus fucking Christ." Michael, one of the redheaded Blithers twins, told Jason O'Hagen. I had to secretly agree with Mike. I mean, if it wasn't for Jason's stupid, idealist plan, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

Laughing Jason replied, "Calm down Mike, damn. He'll forget about it as soon as we pass the mess Kendra and Shelly made of the art room. That was classic!" As the boys snorted I thought briefly of the reason why the fight happened while not sliding on the gym floor.

"No Street shoes on the floor!!" Coach Daniels' voice rang out at us as he swept, effetely distracting me from my current thought. On impulse we all turned our course and ran for the sidelines: Every kid in school knew of the Shoes Rule. The gym floor was Coach's second child, I swear.

Kendra and Shelly had once again been fighting over a boy, I suddenly recalled as soon as I was safely off the court. They were 'best friends' and the worst of enemies. They made good of the old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. From the guy's story I got, they'd ended up flinging paint and art supplies at each other and doing the name calling thing occasionally. Almost made me glad I hadn't dated a guy since 9th grade.

"Quick, out this door!" Tyler – Michael's identical twin – told us, pushing open a door. A door I knew that belonged to the Boy's Locker Room. I also knew there to be a sign posted quite clearly on computer paper below the Brail plastic sign thing all school doors have.

"All girls entering will be duct tapped, toilet papered, and harassed.

No exceptions

Bring it on

Varsity boys"

"Tyler – "I started. I hate to admit it, but I was suddenly afraid to go into the boy's locker chamber. My death was sure to come. Especially since they know I was the one who'd hung their shoes form the ceiling yesterday as Jess lured them out.

Last week, well, this week too, the Varsity girls had been sneaking into the guy's locker room. We switched locks, tied left out shoes together, took out all the towels and lipsticked the mirrors among other things. They'd toilet papered our showers and let a stink bomb off in return. We'd currently been slipping notes and bugs through their locker doors. We were saving our grand finale for tomorrow. Coaches didn't care because for us girls, it was only thing we could do without fighting and operate as a group. Coach Daniels just laughed and said that his smelly boys deserved what they got.

Ha. I laugh at thee.

"Chill Melly. We've got your back." He said distractedly as the smell of sweat, body wash and …. male drifted to my nose.

Shaking my head, I walked in, looking at the floor so I didn't slip on anything or accidentally see anything that would blind me for life. I trusted the guys not to let me get hanged by the showerheads. Of course by not looking up, I didn't notice we were surrounded until I got a towel snapped at me.

"What the HELL?!" I yelled as I whipped around, ready to bolt out the door and get my few girl friends. Jason, who'd been chatting with Bradley Morgan, shouted a quick "Whoa!!" causing the guys to stop any further assaults.

"Who the fuck brought in Starr?"

"Girl? Where?"

"Get her!"

Oh dear. I heard Tyler gulp.

"Hold fire!" Jason bellowed ahead of me. While he may not have been in athletics, everyone knew he had great basketball skills and brains, a deadly combination with these guys. Plus he got brownie points since he didn't go around flaunting the fact that he could easily take the current captain's spot if he found time to play.

While I stared them all down (okay, glared sullenly) I saw that they had gotten faster at detecting a member of the opposite sex in their midst. Besides sneaking in when the guys were out, the track relay team had gotten daring enough in the past, oh, 3 days or so, to venture in when the locker room was occupied. Last time I'd come in I had to tap Bradley on the shoulder for him to know we were leaving. They wouldn't have even known we were there the first time if it wasn't for the fact that we did our signature move: writing "STICK IT" with a picture of a relay baton on farthest wall in blue and red lipstick. Just goes to show how clueless some guys are. And here I was thinking that they were supposed to be very protective of the safe havens.

"Jase. Hey man. Wha's up with you bringing in the bitch huh? Can't cha read the sign on the door? No girls. And Starr there counts, even if she does hang with bros. "Jackson grunted at Jason, looking at me with an odd glint to his eyes.

Now, I took offense to that. Sure I hung out with guys most the time, but only because I had no classes with Rachel and then we both hung out with those losers. Jeez. But I'd never actually say that Jack's face. Oh, hell no. Dude's the biggest guy in high school. 6 foot 5 inches and about 250 pounds, all of it muscle, broad shoulders and dark hair clipped close to his head. Jackson was the center of the basketball team and played practically any position on the football field – he wasn't a bad quarter back, but he's just a tad bit too big.

"Calm down Jackie, we're just passing through. I promise to personally see her out and that she doesn't touch anything. Scouts honor," Jase said. I always hated it when he said that – he was never a scout, so it didn't matter if he broke that promise.

"Better see to it then. Brad's almost outta the shower. He'll go bonkers if he catches her in here" A voice came from the many shadows surrounding us.

I, for one, was ready to get outta there and go home. Fucking Jason and his brilliant ideas. Not to mention Tyler for coming in here. Smiling brightly I said to the guys "Well, it was simply lovely to see everyone again, but I think I'll take your advice and scram. Have a great summer." Here I turned to my guys and said to them, "I'll be out side if you're looking me. Prolly with Rach." Avery McDowell saluted me – the smart ass - and calmly walked out the door, trying not to look at the shirtless 'men' as I passed.

Finally making it to the hallway, I walked to the double doors leading out of the athletics hallway. I passed a few junior high kids (our school's small enough that junior high was on one end of the building and high school on the other.) who waved at me. My classmates may not like me all that much, but at least the little kids looked up to me.

I took in the old cheerleader made posters for basketball season and the few football ones that survived the year. Confetti covered the ground from the last senior-freshman war. Paper was all over the usually clean floor. I passed the commons and front office, stuck my head in the bad hall to say hello to my few band geek friends. I saw Jason talking to Brad. He winked at me and made the universal sign for "call me" and made a bowling motion. At least I think it was a bowling motion. I hope so. My poor virgin eyes couldn't take it other wise.

As I passed the art room I could hear Mr. McConnor – Jason was right. He was absolutely furious at Shelly and Kendra. Our sign wishing that the seniors didn't screw up in the 'real world' and didn't trip as they walked across the gym floor to get their diplomas look like child's play. I really don't think Dev was worth the destruction of the art room. Mrs. Lacee is already crazy enough without the help of her precious art work being turned into abstract crap.

"Good thing McConnor forgot about us." I thought as I packed my backpack with the lasts of my things. "Now I don't have to come to school to serve detention." Since I passed my finals, I was excused from the last half day of school.

"So, how'd Project Sign go?" A voiced asked behind me while shutting my locker door for me.

I turned around to see my best friend Rachel Weston leaning against Josh Daniels' (Coach D's first born) locker. I smiled at her and simply replied, "Well, so far it's still up. Thank God for art room fights though. We don't have d-hall tomorrow. 'Course I did have to go to the locker room."

"I swear, you're gonna get killed doing that. You see Ashley in the band hall?" She asked me, looking at a piece of her dark brown hair. "Oh, and Madley said that the prank was off tonight. Seniors want to have a last look around to say goodbye or something. She doesn't want any steam from McConnor."

I nod my head as we walk back toward the band hall to see if Ashley was done in there yet. We were supposed to be meeting Vivian, Trish, and Gabi, for something. Ashley was trying to bring us all together for some reason. I think it has to do with next year, but I'm a bad guesser.

As we talked to Ashley and promised to meet at the bowling alley - now I knew Jase did a bowling motion. I can sleep now - at 9, I thought of my summer. Another track camp to help me get first again next season at State and show me new things to stay in shape and get stronger. I'd probably be hanging out with Rachel every now and then while meeting up with the guys when we weren't feeling anti–social. A nice, relaxing summer, that's all I wanted. I might even try and find a summer fling – "Not that that's ever worked" I thought. But it was worth a try. It'd be fun, and then we'd be top dogs come August. I couldn't wait.