o7 | varsity and vienna

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The varsity and junior varsity basketball teams were posted outside the gym, and Brooklyn's knee was bouncing up and down with nerves. He was on junior varsity last year, and he knew it was hard to get onto a varsity team, especially when they're expected to win the state championship. Mackenzie had told him he would make it, but he couldn't rely on her these days. She's told him a lot of things that weren't true.

"When do you find out what team you made?" Mackenzie asked, looking over towards Brooklyn, who's pencil was tapping his desk. He shrugged, even though he knew the answer. "Come on, Brooklyn. You can't be mad at me forever."

"I can, and I will." He scoffed, rolling his eyes, looking away from Mackenzie. "Since when do you call me by my actual name?"

"I don't know, I just figured since you were mad at me, you wouldn't want me to use the nickname I gave you." Mackenzie shrugged, resting her head on her hands. "Please, I'm sorry that I was obsessing over an eleventh grade boy. He's a jerk, anyway, so I guess I learned my lesson."

Brooklyn sighed, unsure of how he wanted to take this. He knew Nathan was a jerk, and Mackenzie would have to see it for herself. "I forgive you." He mumbled, "and the teams are posted at the end of the day."

"Thank you," She smiled, "-Bridge."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Next time you leave me alone at lunch I'm tossing you into the garbage can." He retorted, packing up his books as the last bell rang.

It was time. The time that determined Brooklyn's position on Weaver High School's basketball team. He rushed out of the classroom, not even bothering to wait for Mackenzie. He raced through the hallway, to the billboard that hung outside the gym. He turned the corner, and froze, as Mackenzie slammed into his backside.

"Bridge! Go!" She laughed, shoving him forward.

"I can't, look for me." He chewed his lip. Mackenzie shook her head, walking past him and eyeing the two lists written on loose leaf paper. Her eyes scanned the junior varsity list, where his name wasn't listed.

VARSITY:
LOGAN HANNIGAN
FINN ANDERSON
NATHAN JAMES
KYLE FELL
MICHAEL SCOTT
BRANDON KELLER
ANTHONY BALDWIN

Mackenzie's finger ran down the page, stopping at the final name.

BROOKLYN BENDER

He made it.

"Bridge, you made it!" She shrieked, running towards the lanky boy. Brooklyn stood frozen, at loss for words.

"You're serious?" He asked, as Mackenzie nodded vigorously. "Oh my god." He smiled uncontrollably, pulling his best friend into a hug, spinning her in a circle. "This is the best day of my life."

"I'm proud of you, Bender." Mackenzie sighed, shoving the boys shoulder. "I just wish I was playing alongside you."

"You and me both, kiddo." Brooklyn gushed, ruffling the top of Mackenzie's head. "You playing point guard, me playing center. We would never lose a game."

Mackenzie chuckled, following Brooklyn into the gym, where he sat on the bleachers tying his sneakers. Her eyes gazed from Brooklyn to the gym doors, where the rest of the boys were entering.

"I guess that's my cue to leave," Mackenzie shrugged, getting up from the bleachers. "I don't wanna see Nathan." Brooklyn pulled her wrist so she stayed seated.

"God, forget about him." He snapped. "Promise you'll stay and watch my first varsity practice?" He added, his tone of voice quieter.

"Fine." Mackenzie huffed, pulling her backpack towards her legs, fixating her hair into a side braid. She watched as Brooklyn greeted the other boys, giving each of them a high five, or a chest bump. Coach Martin nodded towards Mackenzie, giving her a soft smile, as he handed each of the players a pinnie. It was simple, a red mesh sleeveless, with the words Weaver Basketball written in white across the front.

Mackenzie pined for the day she got to dribble the basketball across that court in a Weaver uniform. The crowd cheering, the clock with only seconds to spare. Her body stopping half-court to making the winning shot and -

"Hey, you're Mackenzie, right?" A small voice spoke from behind her, shaking her out of her daydream.

"Yeah." Mackenzie replied, turning her body to face Vienna Sawyer, Nathan's so called, 'girlfriend.'

"I'm Vienna. But that's beside the point." She tucked her blonde-brown hair behind her ear. "I wanted to warn you about Nathan. He's an asshole, and is definitely not the guy for you. I've been cheating on him for god knows how long. That boy is oblivious, let me tell you." She blabbed on, "Anyway, steal clear of him and Matthew. They're such pigs."

"Aren't they all." Mackenzie rolled her eyes, looking back onto the court. Coach Martin continued to yell at Nathan for covering Brooklyn, when he was told to cover Kyle. She turned back towards Vienna.

"They should all be like, what's his name? Brooklyn? He's sweet. Cute too." The cheerleader continued, before she was being called back to her squad, who were desperately waiting for their co-captain in order to begin practice. "I'll see you around, I guess."

Mackenzie adverted her eyes from her fake red-headed sister who was tumbling across a blue gymnastics mat, to the basketball court. Coach Martin looked towards the bleachers, motioning for Mackenzie to come over.

She didn't respond at first, not quite sure if that meant her.

"Smythe!" He called out, and Mackenzie rose from her seat, coming down onto the gym floor. "Please, tell me you know how to guard someone."

"I know how to guard someone."

"Good. Now go cover Kyle, because apparently Nathan has no idea how too." Coach added, pointing to the blonde boy who stood beside Brooklyn. She waiting for Coach to blow the whistle before guarding Kyle, eventually stealing the basketball from his grasp.

"See? That's how it's done. Thank you, Mackenzie." He rolled his eyes, pointing at Nathan. "Sit out for now, Nathan."

Mackenzie watched as Nathan rolled his eyes at Coach Martin, kicking a basketball across the gym and pushing the doors open, making a grand exit.

"Mackenzie, how would you like to play point guard?"

x

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