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Chapter 5 : Football practice of which I play goalie
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“We got dibs a year ago,” said one of the twins (I think it was Abe).
“Ok, that’s it boys,” I said taking off my glasses, “No one has dibs on me, because women—”
“—are people not items” chorused the McCarthy twins. “And can do anything men can do.” They looked at each other and rolled their eyes.”
So maybe I have been laying it on a bit thick.
“Except for being a carrot,” said Meggie. “Women can’t be carrots.” My life is so sad, not even little kids take me seriously.
“I can tell you’re stressed,” said Madeline as the kids left. “You should call my mum, I’m pretty sure she can help you with your relationship problems.” Remember, she’s the one with the psychiatrist for mum. “The fact that you obsess over not having a boyfriend, and that you haven’t had physical contact with a boy since that bloke Percy and you broke up, doesn’t help with your blood pressure.”
I was humiliated. “I’ve had several other boyfriends, Madeline,” I said, trying to not look at Oliver smirking to himself.
This must be some sort of nightmare. And if it is I would like to wake up now. Ok to wake up I need to pinch myself.
OW! That hurt.
And I’m still here. I guess I’m not dreaming. Shit.
“I’m going to go get a book,” Jennifer said to Oliver, “and please don’t ask her out. Next time she reads, I don’t want images of you sticking your tongue down her throat.”
I hope he does… ask me out, not snog me. Although now that I think about it… No. There are children about.
“Whatever,” said Oliver, “now go, and please hurry.” Jennifer gave me a smile as she skipped off
“Look I can explain,” I said very quickly.
“Explain what?” He asked looking genuinely confused.
“The fact that I told you I work at a club…” I really need to start keeping track of all my lies in a notebook. “And you just saw me reading to the little kids, one of them being your genius stepsister,” I said this all at a very fast pace.
Look, don’t blame me for what happened next. I was going to tell the truth, but then there was this awesome alibi that he provided, and I wasn’t about to not take it.
“Oh, I just guessed that Athena needed your help and you came over.”
“Yeah,” I said slowly, avoiding eye contact by looking at his hairling. “You nailed it perfectly.”
“The kids seem nice,” said Wood, changing the subject. “It must be great for Athena to have such an easy job.”
“Yeah, it must be real nice.” Ha! Easy job my arse. These kids are nightmares determined to make me suffer until the day I die.
“So, you hang out here an awful lot, don’t you?” said Oliver. Well duh I work here.
“Yeah, I’m usually here… or the park. Maybe the football field.”
“Actually— wait. what’s football?”
“You know, football. With the kicking and goals and black and white ball?” I asked in disbelief.
“Nope,” said Oliver. “Is it like some sort of book?” Because, you know, all books involve kicking.
“Well, it’s a muggle sport. Kind of like… like Quidditch sort of. Although there’s no snitch, or brooms, or bludgers. We just kick the ball with our feet and try to get it into the net past the goalie—who’s kind of like a keeper.”
I don’t think I was doing a good job describing football. “I’m on my University’s team I play goalie” I said shrugging my shoulders nonchalantly. I’m actually vice captain of my team, but I didn’t want to brag.
“There’s a team for that kind of sport?” Oliver just looked amused.
“It’s very competitive. Takes a lot of energy.”
Oliver looked dubious. “How hard can it be?”
“You should see one of our practices they’re hard core.” I was attempting to prove football’s incredibleness. It wasn’t working out to well. “I was late once and my coach made me run four laps. Hard core stuff,” I repeated.
“I highly doubt that,” said Oliver, raising an eyebrow, “but see you around Clearwater.”
“Yeah, Wood, see you around,” I said trying to sound as though I didn’t care if I ever saw him again.
6:02 pm (exactly). Do you see that? Exactly.
“Clearwater!” barked Coach Robin. He was angry.
With the last name of an adorable bird, he’s nothing like it. He’s been arrested numerous times for beating up people who bug him. People who have bugged him this year. He’s sixty.
However, we’ve never lost a game with him as coach. He has never missed or had to re-schedule a game or practice, so we all think he’s great. When he’s not yelling at us at least.
“Where have you been? You’re two minutes late! And not even in uniform!”
“I know Coach, I’m sorry,” I said. “I had to take the underground. I’ll just get changed and be out in a minute.” Actually I was enwrapped in my book that I didn’t notice to apparate to the field until 6:01.
Lying to him isn’t too bad. If I told him the truth I’d be stuck in Azkaban.
“Hurry it up!” He called after me as I ran to the locker rooms.
“Your arse is on the line,” said one of my teammates as I ran in.
“Tell me some more obvious things Daniel” I said slamming the door behind me.
My football team is made up of ten immature boys and me.
There’s Harold who has been on the team the longest and is probably my favorite teammate, but he can be dumb sometimes. He’s the captain of our team and is the one that eggs the other teams fields. He’s got brown hair that makes him look like an overgrown sheepdog when he doesn’t get it cut, he also has blue eyes and is about as religiously devoted to football as I am.
Then there’s Chester who is Harold’s best friend, is a lot smarter than him, and a lot smaller but with a bigger mouth. Meaning that Harold has to get him out of a lot fights with the rugby players and boxers. He’s smallish with a blond buzz cut and green eyes. Sometimes he reminds me of a cat.
Gerard and Jacob have known each other since preschool and are best friends but are always fighting. Jacob is a religious Jew meaning we can’t schedule games on Saturdays and he wears traditional clothing with his uniform. Gerard is a bass player for this garage band that everyone doubts will make it out of the garage. Jacob has really curly hair, is skinny and tall, while Gerard looks the same except he has straight tbrown hair.
Daniel is known for his good looks (here’s where I puke) and it’s because of him that most of the people that come to our games are girls begging him to take his shirt off. He would if it wasn’t for Coach, he’s that cocky but in a nice way. He’s very muscular with chocolate colored skin and dreadlocks.
Mikey is a junior at the college and is a terrible cheater but you can never catch him cheating he’s like a ghost. He’s skinny and has glasses that never seem to fall off or get broken.
Then there’s Jim, Charlie, Alex, and Steven who I don’t know very well.
“Ok” said Coach when I ran back onto the field. “I’m going to give it to you lot of rubbish straight. First of all, Clearwater if you’re going to have freakishly long hair, I want it in a braid—and stand up straighter. What are you? Deformed?”
“Yes coach,” I said standing up straighter.
“Now, Clearwater, not next century,” said Coach Robin throwing me a rubber band. “For the rest of you namby pambies, if you want girls hair”—that’s what he calls long hair—“then get the hell out of my sight.”
“Yes coach,” said the rest of the team.
“Harold, what’s with the sheepdog look?” Asked Coach.
“Sorry coach I’ll get it cut,” said Harold, whose hair was down to his shoulders and his bangs were in his eyes.
“No. You’ll cut it now” said Coach Robin hurling a pair of scissors at him.
“Can I at least have a mirror?”
“Are you such a girl that you need to worry about you looks?”
“I certainly hope not,” Coach Robin growled. “Now for the rest of you, line up for five laps from the batting cages and back. Move it.”
We lined up and waited for his signal. He blew his whistle and we were off.
I have one advantage in this team: my speed. I’m not agile, so Coach never puts me in the field (fine by me), but I am fast. Hence the whole me being the goalie thing. The only reason I’m on the boys team is because of my speed and because I have good blocking system. Oh, and I got kicked off the girl’s team for “rolling my eyes too much”.
“Who do you think coach is yelling at?” Asked Jacob as I waited for him to try to kick the damn ball into the bloody goal already. It’s not that hard. You have a foot, attached to a leg. Use them.
“Jacob, I said. “If you try to distract me one more—”
The ball then went right past my ear. Shit.
I always hated that kid; he was a damn good distracter. One game he started dancing in front of the opposing team’s goalie in order to score the winning goal. And the opposing goalie was so stupid that it worked!
I will never forget Jacob doing a chicken dance… never.
I looked up toward the bleachers and I saw Coach Robin yelling at two boys. He may be old, and he may be short, but that man can scare the shit out of anyone.
“Probably enemy spies,” I said shrugging my shoulders. “They’re a bunch of idiots if they think they can get past Robin the bloody.” Just a little joke between us Octopi.
“Yeah,” said Harold who now resembled a hedgehog with his newly cut hair, “but why isn’t Coach punching them out?”
“Strange,” I said kicking the ball back in the field and watch the boys scramble for it like seagulls attacking my lunch. Stupid seagulls.
I had just blocked Gerard’s kick when Coach called for me. “OI! CLEARWATER! GET YOUR ARSE OVER HERE!”
Wonderful man my coach is, a wonderful man.
“If you’re lying kid I’m going to kick you so hard that your guts are going to be all over the grass and you’ll be coughing up your liver,” said I heard Coach Robin say as I ran up to the bleachers.
“No I swear she’ll vouch for me,” said a boy.
“You better hope so” said another voice. “I don’t want to cough up my liver. I enjoy it being inside of me.”
“You’ll be coughing up your pancreas as well if you don’t shut up,” said Coach. I paused and thought about how gross that would look on our nice field. Good to know my priorities are in the right place.
“Yes Coach?” I said standing up straight.
“This butterscotch says he knows you and that you can tell me that he’s not an enemy spy,” said Coach Robin.
I was so distracted at the word “butterscotch”, that I didn’t notice who it was until I turned toward him. It was Oliver Wood and someone that might have been a friend. He always comes at the best times doesn’t he?
That was sarcasm.
“I know him,” I said pointing to Oliver. “His names Oliver Wood he isn’t on any other football team so don’t worry about that coach.”
“What about the other one?” Asked Coach Robin.
“Dunno” I said.
Oliver opened his mouth to talk but Coach held his hand to silence him. “I don’t want to hear from you butterscotch.” Coach then yelled toward the field; “HEY HAROLD I THINK YOUR BOYFRIEND’S HERE TO PICK YOU UP!”
I could see Harold cringe in embarrassment. “I’M NOT GAY COACH!” He yelled back as everyone else laughed.
“WELL WITH THE TIME YOU SPEND ON YOUR HAIR YOU COULD BE!” Said Coach.
Oliver looked in amusement at his friend and his friend looked like he was praying for the ground to open up and swallow him. I know that feeling.
“I’M NOT GAY!” Harold yelled back.
“So this is football” said Oliver lightly as if we were simply having a conversation over coffee instead of listening to my coach harass Harold over hair and/or sexual orientation issues.
“This is football,” I said. “I play goalie, it’s sort of like keeper.”
“Only with one goal…. Interesting.”
“Well, is it good enough for you?” I asked.
“You could say that,” Oliver said mystically, completely missing my sarcasm. “Why are you the only girl on the team?”
“Because our teams aren’t co-ed, and I was good enough to get on the boys team.”
“She’s the fastest,” said Coach Robin with a hint of pride in his voice. Just a hint. “So if you dump her, butterscotch, do it after the game. I don’t want a depressed goalie.” Oliver’s friend coughed with amusement.
“We’re not dating,” said Oliver quickly. “I just know her from school.”
Coach Robin wasn’t listening though. He was looking at Oliver’s friend as though he was regretting not punching up his pancreas.
“And what do you mean by that pancake?” Asked Coach Robin.
“I mean that from what I’ve seen, she’s not that fast,” said Oliver’s friend who was probably trying to pick a fight because he had been made fun of. Just so you know, picking a fight with bloody Robin is not a good thing.
“I mean Wood here could definitely beat her,” said whatever-his-name-is.
“Please shut up, Derek,” Oliver said, closing his eyes in exasperation. So that’s what whatever-his-name-is! What a stupid name.
“No, let wimpy here continue blabbing,” Coach Robin growled. “Since you think anyone could beat my best runner, let’s organize a little race. Your boy against mine.”
“I’m of the female gender,” I said. No one noticed.
“Fine,” said Derek. “Whenever, wherever.”
“If she loses,” said Gerard who had been listening as he got some water. “Everyone on the team will give you five pounds.” Is there a metal post around that I can bang my head against? No?
“And if Wood loses, I’ll give you each five pounds” said Derek.
“You’re on” said Jacob who was also listening. “I love gaining money.”
“So,” said Coach Robin. “I’ll see you two boys next week around six thirty for this race.”
“You’re on,” said Derek shaking Bloody Robin’s hand. Well this is just bloody brilliant.
Later, I was sitting on the couch, completely freaked out over a race that was happening next week and Athena was telling about how stupid the whole thing while trying to teach Einstein how to sit (a futile thing if you ask me), when the phone rang.
“It’s your dad,” said Athena checking the caller ID.
“Hi dad,” I said in a monotone picking up the phone.
“Well don’t you sound happy,” said my father.
“I’ve got a big race with this boy I know,” I said. “But enough of my life, what’s up?”
“Who’s this boy?” said my dad
“Some bloke that went to Hogwarts,” I said.
“A straight boy?” asked my dad.
“Dad!” I said. “I am not fifteen. Now what’s up?”
“Well, I have a pretty big case that I need to leave town for and I was wondering if I could leave Jason with you” said my dad.
“Are you INSANE?!” I asked. “Are you out of your mind?”
“What is it?” Athena asked.
I have one little brother who is the bane of my existence he lives to torture me. Shall we look at the evidence?
When I went to Hogwarts, he told everyone that would listen (most of the people in our neighborhood) that I had gone to a school for kids who had mental problems (he even said I heard a voice in my head that I called Linda).
I couldn’t talk to anyone in that town without them asking how Linda was.
When I (finally) got boobs he told his friends and their older brothers I had had plastic surgery. Because I had been so flat chested that it was abnormal.
I really would have loved to throttle him.
He fed my Hogwarts Homework to the stray cats outside by stuffing the homework in raw fish. Do you know how stupid I felt telling Professor McGonagall that a cat ate my homework?
I think you get why I hate my brother now. And now that I’m finally free of that little monster he wants to stick him on me?
“Can’t you leave the devil at home?” I asked. “He’s fifteen; it’s not that big of a deal when Audrey was three her parents would just lock her in the pig pen and leave her there all day.”
No seriously, they did. Audrey grew up on a farm in northern Maine and is the only one in her family with both a college education and (as her parents put it) a fancy accent.
“Do you remember the last time we left him alone for an hour?” My dad asked.
I winced. Of course I remembered. He had been using a chemistry set that was “supposedly” for ten year olds and somehow he was able to create an acid that ate through wood and put a gigantic hole in our ceiling.
All in the span of an HOUR.
Needless to say, I understood how dad didn’t want him to be left alone for a week. But why me?
“What about that nice drill sergeant across the street?” I asked. “You know the guy that has lived through a world war and can still carry a car across the street on his shoulders.”
“I did ask him,” said dad. “He said no.” Damn.
“Fine,” I mumbled into the phone. “I’ll do it.”
“Thank you Pen I knew I could count on you.”
“Athena?” I called as I hung up the phone. “Do we have insurance?”
“Why?” asked Athena. “What happened? Did Sergeant Gedi die?”
“Not yet,” I said.
“Damn,” said Athena. “That man is older than Merlin.”
“We have to watch my brother,” I said.
“Dear god no.” Athena looked horror stricken. “Why don’t you just stick a fork in my eye and twirl it around a couple times that sounds less painful than watching Jason.”
Next week was going to be the worst week of my life. I could just tell.
An: What was the best part? You're favorite quote? Character? Be sure to tell me with a review! Anyway next chapter coming soon! I hope you like this one.
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