THIS IS A ONE-SHOT. People keep getting confused, but it's complete and it's one chapter, so we should all arrive at the conclusion that it is, in fact, a oneshot.
Tuesday, 3:15 PM, Gurdon Field
"Your boyfriend's slow," I say to Samantha nonchalantly.
She smacks me in the head.
"Ow!" I rub my head, loosening a few blonde hairs from my ponytail in the process and grumbling as I snap off the elastic holding it in place.
"Don't call Kyle slow," she says, crossing her arms indignantly. "He's better at sprints."
"Then why isn't he on sprints," I mutter crossly, tying my hair up again. This time I don't have a mirror, so I have no way of knowing whether or not I look like a freak with my hair up. Samantha and her over-protectiveness. Hmph.
"Because! He wanted to be with me," she sighs dreamily. I scrunch up my nose at the gooey expression that emerges on her face. When she looks at me again, I immediately smile back cheekily, not wanting to lose some more brain cells because I am the only one who has the guts to complain about Samantha and Kyle's oh-so-beautiful relationship instead of squealing like the rest of them.
It is quite cheesy, in my opinion. I expect them to be riding off into the sunset any moment now. And their PDA is enough for me to swear off relationships forever. At least it isn't as steamy as the romance novels my sister reads. Well, I wouldn't know. Who wants to see her best friend getting steamy?
I shudder, and Samantha gives me a weird look.
"First meet of the season," she squeals, bouncing up and down. "Are you excited?"
"Why am I hereeee?" I moan in response.
She ignores me and continues bouncing like the damned Energizer Bunny on crack. I grab hold of her navy blue track bag and yank her down. Her response is to stick her tongue out at me and hop off in typical Energizer Bunny fashion to suck face with her boyfriend, Kyle.
I gag silently, wondering what I'd done to get such a lovesick, loopy friend like Samantha. At least I had other, more normal friends. Like…
"My lovely fair-haired damsel!"
"Do you have to say that every time you see me?" I demand of the curly-haired brunette. "My name is Janine. Not damsel, blonde chick, bunny-poo, or what other ridiculous things you can come up with."
"Janey-poo, why are you so mean?" Lisa whines.
I groan, pulling my navy sweatshirt hood over my head in a futile attempt to block out the pitiful noises coming out of her mouth and the distinctly squishy sounds coming from Kyle and Samantha's direction. "Why am I surrounded by so many weirdos?"
"You are one."
I spin around, grinning widely. "Jamesy bear!" I squeal, Lisa-style. The one person who I have respect for out of all the track doozies who attend Gurdon High.
James clicks his tongue. "You should be nicer."
"Maybe you should be," I snap irritably. "So I can kick you down with the rest of them." Alright, maybe I don't quite show him my respect.
"Aw, that nervous, are you?" He sees right through me.
My arm shoots out from underneath my track bag—identical to Lisa's and everyone else's—but I punch thin air.
James snorts. "You're such a loser."
"You are," I retaliate weakly. "Go back to hurdles."
"I wanted a challenge," he says, grinning around the gum he was chewing. I make a face. Gum is gross. It makes your jaws all loose and your breath annoyingly minty, and it is just repulsive overall.
"What?" James catches me staring, and I gulp at the evil gleam that comes into his eyes. "Want some?" He pushes the chewed gum out of the corner of his mouth, and I almost throw up from a combination of nerves and Hubba Bubba headiness.
He laughs uproariously at the sickly expression on my face and sucks the gum back in, chewing ecstatically.
"You're repugnant," I say, turning away from him.
James decides that the only way to respond to this is sticking his gum dangerously close to my immaculate track clothes.
"Get away, you obnoxious oompa-loompa!" I yell, smacking at him as hard as I can.
He dodges, and I nearly fall over. "I'm six feet," he informs me. "Not exactly an oompa-loompa."
"I don't care," I huff. "And—"
"Shh," he suddenly hisses, and I notice that a silence had fallen over our navy blue-clad team.
There is only one reason for this sudden hush, and I know before I look. Even Samantha and Kyle have stopped doing their tongue tango to glare. James's mouth is still, for the first time in hours.
Black. Tons of black speckled with stripes of bright, blood red. I feel like I've fallen into the Underworld, and this is the enemy come to take away my soul. It's close enough, anyway. They look like a mass of Dementors who have just had a fresh kill. Soul Suckers. That is their name. The Serramonte Soul Suckers.
Well, they're actually the Serramonte Sharks, but Soul Suckers is close enough. We eye them, and they eye us back rebelliously.
"You'd think they'd have a bit more respect for us, since this is our turf," James mutters.
"Soul Suckers don't have respect for anyone," I say.
"That's true enough," he concedes. "We need to beat their asses."
"You say that every year," I grumble. "We haven't done it yet, and we're seniors now."
"This is our first meet. We analyze the enemy, and then we own them at the last meet in El Corro," James tells me.
"I see you've developed a game plan this year," I say sarcastically. "If only that were enough."
"Well, well. Look who it is. The Gurdon Geekraffes."
"Mandy's back," I hiss to James. "With clever puns about our mascot."
"You think I couldn't tell?" he hisses right back at me. Everyone's attention is now riveted on the short blonde, dressed in bright red shorts and a black T-shirt that says Serramonte Doesn't Surrender.
Why didn't we have shirts like that? All we have are boring shirts with a giraffe in lumpy shoes and the words Gurdon High Track & Field.
We didn't stand a chance.
"Where are her warm-ups?" I ask James urgently. "Coach makes us do push-ups if we don't have warm-ups!"
"She's a champion pole vaulter," James answers dryly. "I don't think it really matters."
"Mandy, get back in line," says our star pole vaulter, Lindsey Adams. "We have enough obnoxiousness from you to last us a lifetime."
Mandy sneers at her. "I see you haven't run off from pure inadequacy, Lindsey. Still getting those threes?"
"Not really," Lindsey says aloofly. "You try to do fours yet?" Mandy's face contorts before clearing again into Barbie-ness. "We'll see how good you are at the pits," she snaps. "At least our distance isn't as forsaken as yours."
I gasp indignantly, but James slaps his hand over my mouth. "Do you want them to target you?"
"Abernathy!" Lindsey barks.
"You'd rather they targeted you?" I ask, smirking, before James is pulled away from me to the front of the team.
"Remember James Abernathy? Four-fifty-five on a bad day," Lindsey taunts, James standing next to her like a showy vintage car. He isn't too bad of a model, though, with his streaked, dirty blonde hair and tall stature. I see a couple Soul Suckerettes eyeing him appreciatively and resist the urge to strangle them while screaming at them, That's my best friend you're licking your disgustingly plump lips at!
"Really?" Mandy looks mockingly downcast. "That's really too bad, since…" And she turns back into the glaring team of Soul Suckers and beckons one out.
I could've sworn that all of the girls' jaws dropped. Samantha's does, anyway, and she has a boyfriend.
This boy is quite the looker. I wonder if Mandy has hired a college runner to strike fear into us, because he certainly looks more mature than the rest of the pimpled, squeaky-voiced males in our team. His black hair ruffles in the wind, and I catch a flash of green eyes.
Another reason the Soul Suckers are on top. Their guys are drop-dead hot. I'd thought that ever since Jay Hayden, their sexiest senior sprinter—and now college freshman—graduated, they'd get unlucky and have their fair share of pubescent teenage boys.
It makes me sad that I am so utterly wrong, as I ogle this epitome of male perfection along with the rest of the girls on my team. I'm not one for conformity, but when I get a load of that kind of eye candy, you'd have to bribe me with about a thousand bags of Hot Cheetos to get me not to look.
"Meet Zane Edwards," Mandy drawls, sliding a possessive hand over the new guy's bicep. He isn't wearing warm-ups either. I don't like him. "On a bad day? Four-fifty-three."
A gasp echoes among us as the Soul Suckers continued staring stonily, as if this were nothing. It's only two seconds, but on a mile, it makes as much difference as an hour.
Zane looks completely unruffled by all the attention, and that just makes him hotter. I sigh, more anxious about the meet than ever. We always have to go against Serramonte for the first meet, and it does nothing for my nerves for the rest of the season.
James, being the best friend that he is, could sense my anxiety from miles away. He moves back into the crowd and slings an arm around my shoulders, squeezing me tightly. I smile back queasily. I notice Zane watching his movements intently. He catches my eye and the impassive expression he's been toting turns vain in a second, as he smirks like he's God's gift to women, to which I can only say that he does look the part. Hot jocks are all the same—arrogant, conceited, vain, and irresistibly sexy. It's an unfair endowment.
Lindsey and Mandy are still glaring at each other, all geared up for a fight right in front of the dark blue doors leading to our track. I briefly wonder if we're going to go West Side Story on each other, before I hear a voice bellowing, "Break it up!"
"What took her so long?" I grumble to James. Coach Jeffries strolls leisurely through the crowd, and we part for her like she's Moses. She's close enough, anyway. Our track team was barely staying out of the quicksand until she'd whirled in and brought us out of our slump and closer than ever to the Promised Land, also known as the NCS Regional Championships.
"Sportsmanship, girlies," she chastises. "I don't think your coach wants this either, Mandy. Right, Dave?" And we notice who is following behind her.
"Of course," I hear someone mutter. "She was with the enemy."
It is ironic that Coach Jeffries and Coach Erickson are so close. Close enough, actually, to be engaged.
Yup. Engaged. It's creepy watching them and having a pretty good idea of what goes on behind the scenes. There were rumors once that one of our throwers had seen them making out on top of the high jump mats. If Jeffries wasn't such a terrific spokesperson and trainer, we would have all boycotted the team so we wouldn't have to suffer through the generally disturbing element of the situation.
Especially since Serramonte and Gurdon hate each other's guts. As could evidently seen by the way my teammates are glaring at the backs of the enemy as they saunter towards the track, as if wishing their black uniforms would burst into fire and leave only a pile of lifeless ashes behind.
We could all dream. I, personally, don't have as strong as a grudge. I am no outstanding runner, and track in my opinion is just a method of toning down the jiggle in my belly. Nothing more. I am satisfied with my five-fifty minute mile, and I'm not going to be aiming for the Olympic trials anytime soon.
Considering the intense rivalry between Serramonte and Gurdon, though, I'd be stoned if I didn't at least keep up a façade. It isn't too difficult, though; the girls from Serramonte are lacking quite a bit in the mannerisms department. The first meet I had, one girl in lane one shoved me all the way to lane eight before returning to her lane and continuing on her merry way almost one minute ahead of me.
Since freshman year, I've been terrorized by domineering Serramonte girls who just had to flaunt their I'm-so-speedy status over everybody, including girls like me who are at the tail end of varsity and bordering on JV.
I huff, dropping my track bag on our bleachers, but I feel a bit cheered when I see where they've been assigned to sit. I smirk when I see the Serramonte kids tripping on our bad bleachers. Although they're right next to ours, the bad bleachers, or the Gappy Wonders, as we like to call them, have huge slats between every row of benches. There is nothing to keep wayward duffels and dangling spikes from toppling over the edge and into the mud beneath.
We always get a thrill out of giving those bleachers to the visitors. They treat them like a death threat, and that makes it all the more enjoyable. I settle my bag into the floor beneath my bench, reveling in the safety of our gapless bleachers. James joins me, slinging his bag off his shoulders and digging out his water.
I notice how Zane Edwards easily maneuvers around the pitfalls and am a bit bothered, but I chortle as I hear a shriek from one of the Soul Suckers, probably because of her Gatorade dropping into the deep unknowns of the squishy stuff below us.
"Victim number one," James notes, taking a sip of water. He proffers his chewed granola bar towards me. "Want some?"
I notice it's a Clif Bar and snatch it out of his grasp. "Don't mind if I do," I garble through a mouthful of squishy peanut butter goodness.
He wrinkles his nose. "You're disgusting."
"And proud," I say, making sure to chew with my mouth open so he'd get his fill. This is my revenge on him for his gum snapping.
"First call, all 1600 meter runners," Coach's voice blares through the speakers.
I start regretting snarfing down that Clif Bar so fast.
"You'll be okay," James soothes. "I'll warm up with you. But please don't heave on me, you know I don't want to be covered in peanut butter granola."
I grin, dancing away. "You're the best I ever had, the best I ever had," I sing as he rolls his eyes. A bunch of our teammates stare at me weirdly, but they shrug and turn away in moments. Track is a breeding ground for strange monkeys like us.
We run onto our turf and start our routine two laps around the field. "So what do you think of that Zane guy?" I ask James.
"He looks serious."
"He's hot," I note, just because I tell James everything, and it wouldn't be fair not to tell him that I think the new guy is a smoking piece of sausage.
"And he's coming this way."
I drift from my daydreams of country breakfasts and stare at him with wide eyes before looking ahead. Sure enough, Zane Edwards is rapidly approaching, his leg muscles flexing and unflexing as he nears us, his face intense and focused.
I gulp because he looks like the next James Bond.
He stops in front of us. "Hey," he says to James in this amazingly deep voice that caresses me all over, even though he's not even looking at me. I take this moment to fully appreciate his stature. I also notice that he's wearing a pair of Adidas that I've always wanted my future boyfriend to wear.
James eyes him cautiously. "Hey."
"You're going to lose," Zane Edwards suddenly says.
Shoes be damned, I am going to pummel this boy until only his head is sticking out of ground.
James has to latch onto my hand to keep me from springing onto him and beating in his ridiculously good looking face. This time, Zane looks right at me, and I nearly fall over and pull James down with me.
"Good luck anyway." Zane Edwards sticks out his hand, but his eyes remain on me.
"Thanks," James says, tugging me behind him and ignoring Zane's hand. "But I don't need the luck." I peek around his back and glare at Zane.
Zane shrugs. "Have it your way." He carries off running, and I check him out for a moment before turning to James and saying in a deadly voice, "You have to beat him."
James shrugs in a manner that somewhat resembles Zane's, and I wonder if that little man-on-man rahrah he had with Zane has gotten to him. "We'll see."
He's quiet the rest of our warm-up and I know he's thinking about something, so I don't bother him about it, but he gives me a quick arm squeeze when Coach yells, "Last call, varsity girls 1600, second call varsity boys 1600!"
I shiver a little in my thin uniform, since I need to shed my sweatshirt and sweatpants for the actual race. First I'm hot, now I'm cold. I know which Katy Perry song to sing to James after I'm finished.
Coach Jeffries smiles at me as I get into line. I'm in the last lane because this is varsity, and I unfortunately was not able to wheedle the Coach into letting me run JV. So now I have to suffer.
Coach had told me that she kept my best priorities in mind. I don't think being last is my best priority here.
I'm put beside a Serramonte girl, and her lip curls as she takes me in. "Figures a Gurdon Geek would be last," she sneers.
"It's an alternating order, and you would be last if it wasn't a requirement that a visiting team runner has to be in the first lane," I inform her.
Her face turns red. "We'll see about that," she snaps.
I have no idea how that would happen, since these are the rules. So I shrug and listen to the other girls squeal about Zane Edwards. Apparently he's new this year and got kicked out of his previous school because he's too much of a sexy badass.
I come in second to last; Angry Girl in Lane Seven comes in last. I look at her solemnly as she comes in behind me. "Good run," I say, because Coach has reminded us of good sportsmanship so many times, I think I'll throw my sneakers at her if she says it again.
Angry Girl glares at me, well, angrily, and stomps past. I tried.
James is stretching, and I sneak up on him. "Good luck!" I holler, jumping on his back. He springs away from me, and I roll onto the turf harmlessly.
"Well," I say, pretending to look hurt.
"Sorry, Janine," he apologizes.
"It's okay, my little oompa-loompa," I say lovingly. "You'll be great." I smack a wet kiss on his cheek and he glares at me, wiping at his face.
"Get a room," one of the sprinters yells.
"You're just mad because we have more endurance than you," I yell back. Then I realize what I just insinuated and flush accordingly. James finally laughs and rumples my hair.
"See you at the finish line, Squirt," he says, jogging off.
Zane comes walking past me after James has gone, and I automatically stiffen.
"You did well," he tells me, and I try not to faint because he uses "well" instead of "good" in his sentences. Grammar geek I am not, but I do enjoy IMing people who do not confuse "you're" and "your" more.
"Thanks," I say coldly.
"Shouldn't I get something for that compliment?" he asks me. "A hug, or a kiss?"
I scramble to get my chin off the floor. Did one get nerves of steel from being so attractive?
"Maybe you should just drop out," I say snarkily. "It's not like you have a chance."
He raises an eyebrow. "Then who'd be there to beat your boyfriend? Tell you what. If I beat him, you owe me a kiss."
I glare at him. "No. And he's not my boyfriend."
He sighs. "I guess you don't believe he'll win after all."
I bristle, beyond annoyed that he could question my friendship like that. Never mind the fact that he thought James was my boyfriend and doesn't seem to care that I cleared up that little misunderstanding. "Fine," I say. "You'd better go find someone else to console you after the race then."
He grins. "Wait for me, sweetheart." Then he saunters past, pausing to spit his gum out into one of the trashcans.
I officially hate him.
I watch James disconsolately as he slumps off the track. A couple guys pound him on the back and say bro-like things to him, but I'm waiting with a hug when he approaches. I wind my arms around his neck and squeeze him as hard as I can, and he buries his head in my neck, his breathing still coming hard and fast. I'm not going to tell him it was a close race and that he was only seconds away from beating Zane or that he's still second place in varsity, because I know he doesn't want to hear it.
"Let's go," I tell him, clutching his arm as I try to lead him away.
We pass Zane on the way, surrounded by admirers, and I resist the urge to push all those fawning girls away and claw out his pretty forest green eyes. His eyes find mine, and he mouths, "You owe me."
My blood boils, and I quickly drag James off. I can't stand this guy.
It's almost time to go. I pack up my things and watch James sadly. He's sitting on the bleachers, elbows on his knees, staring off into the distance. I don't know what to do. He didn't smile even after I offered him some Wrigley's that I scavenged from Lisa.
My heart hurts for him.
Zane had a lot of nerve, walking - or running - all over my best friend like this. I stomp over to Samantha's bag, suddenly incensed. She's hiding in some dark corner with Kyle, of course, so I freely go through the contents of her track bag.
I find what I'm looking for in the side of her bag and smile grimly. It's half open, but it'll do.
Zane Edwards is going to get what's been coming for him, but good.
My teammates and the Soul Suckers are all crowded around the track, waiting for the last event, the four-by-four.
I'll be joining them in a second, but right now, I have a job to do.
I creep over to the other side of the bleachers and swear when I stumble on one of the gaps and almost drop what I've been holding. I tiptoe across the metal, hoping nobody sees me and that I'll find what I've been looking for. I see it then.
Zane Edwards in red lettering on a black track bag. Bingo. I slip the little package into his bag, right on top of his water bottle, so that it'll be sure to fall out later when he takes it out. Then I run back to join James and wait.
I hear the roar from Coach Erickson ring across the stadium, and I bury my head in James's chest to stifle my laughter. Confused, he brings a hand to my hair, lifting my head up and staring at me inquisitively.
"Just listen," I whisper, before dissolving into a fit of giggles into his stomach again, but not before I see Samantha muttering shit shit shit and frantically digging through her bag.
"What is the meaning of this, Edwards?" Coach Erickson bellows, flinging the package around for the entire world to see. "You are not to bring this sort of thing to school! Definitely not to a school meet! Do you want to be expelled for this type of behavior?" We're too far away to hear Zane's calm reply, but Coach's enraged panic attack is enough for us.
James's stomach starts vibrating, and I know he's chuckling. "Did you plant those condoms in his bag?" he asks me.
A new wave of laughter overcomes me, and I can only nod.
"Where'd you get them?" He sounds suspicious all of a sudden. "They're Trojan Double-Ribbed, too..."
"Samantha," is my smothered reply. I don't know if I'm even coherent.
"Ah." He turns his attention back to the scene on the opposite side of the field, and when I peek up at his face, he's smiling.
I slide my bag strap over my shoulder, ready to go. Thinking about the condom incident with Zane Edwards makes me want to snicker all over again, but I refrain from it. I'll get in trouble if anyone else knows.
The negative results of the entire situation are that Samantha's mad because she'll have to make another secret trip to the 7-Eleven before the weekend, and now the girls are all over Zane Edwards, believing him to be some sort of sex machine because he carries condoms around when he doesn't even have a girlfriend.
Yes, I did indeed learn that he doesn't have a girlfriend that he is cheating on by telling random girls to kiss him if he comes first in a race.
No, I do not care. I'm actually very glad that he hasn't appeared to plant one on me. And I hope I never see him again. I resolutely decide to skip the next meet we have against Serramonte.
I follow James out of the field, grinning happily, but a bit anxious to get out of here.
And then, as we pass one of the shadowed structures, somebody pushes me against the building.
Zane Edwards stares at me for a long moment, his eyes intense, before he kisses me harshly on the mouth. His lips move fiercely against mine, and his hot breath makes me feel woozy as his arms and legs pin me against the wall.
Then he pulls back and smirks infuriatingly as I go as red as Angry Girl did earlier. "Call me up if you want to try out those condoms you gave me," he tosses over his shoulder as he blends in with his black clad team again.
A/N: I realized how massively jerkish it was of me to end this story the way it did, but I had no idea how else to do it. Sorry, guys. Maybe I might write a story off of it, but probably not. The good thing is that you're all free to imagine Zane shirtless or beaten up or whatever you want. Because that's the beauty of an unwritten story!