Two: British Girl †

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The first day of lessons was a blacked out blur.

I felt like I was automatically sauntering around the college, knowing I'd left my map back in my room which I could have cursed myself for. Gratefully, I did have the buildings and rooms on my timetable which I had with me, but for the morning, I had athletics first so I couldn't have been more elated and apprehensive at the same time.

I was following a group of rowdy boys before we came to the changing rooms and they diverted their direction to the boys' side while I entered the girls' changing room. When I got in, opposite me were metal, dented lockers. To the right of me on the wall was a huge long line of wooden hooks along the stained-white walls and small benches beneath them with the door to the athletic grounds and to the left were the showers and such.

I scurried to the lockers before picking one at random which still had the key in it. I managed to pick locker 38. I retracted the key and put all my stuff on the benches by the hooks. I changed into my black gym shorts (seeing as it was quite pleasant outside) and waited for the arrival of the new tops while other girls began to file their way into the room.

"Right, my name is Coach Kate and I have all of your tops here," a female coach proclaimed, burst her way through the doors with authority as the mindless chatter between the girls ceased at once. "And your sizes since you ordered them in advance so when I call out your name, come and collect them from me." She held a huge cardboard box which was pressed against her chest.

The coach was very young – she had to be in her twenties with her long, ginger hair which was tied up messily in a bun. She was quite short- shorter than me, any way and she wore gym shorts and a polo top which had KATE written across the back of it and the number 02 under it. Obviously, she had been in a team at some point. She wore bright blue trainers which just so happened to fit with her blue polo top and grey shorts. She also wore a piece of material around her neck which attached to a clip board which various sheets on and also a stop watch.

"Verity Evans," she called out at once, holding up a folded up top in a sealed bag in prior to passing it to the girl who first stumbled up to her. This continued for quite some time until she called out, "Tiegan Smith," her tone almost monotone by this point.

I got my top and just like all of the girls before me, I turned my back and changed my top quickly to cover my sports bra I had already got on. The top had SMITH on the back of it, above the number 17 which was my lucky number, fortunately. The number was also what the coaches would sometimes refer to us as which I had read on the website.

"Right, warm up, three laps and then you can go off to do your individual training. I'll be walking round and helping for this lesson. I just want to see what all your skills are first before I can properly assess you and designate you to certain areas of improvement," she declared. She clapped her hands together and most of the girls began to put their things into the lockers so I did the same before we ambled out onto the pitch.

I got straight on the track with the other girls as Coach started the timer, running with my new Nike trainers. They were a going away present from my parents seeing as I wouldn't be seeing them very often and I was an only child which did suck sometimes. They tried for another baby many times but after me, they just couldn't conceive again.

I managed to finish the warm up of three laps before any other girl and I felt a surge of elation whiz through my veins as I doubled over, my hands on my knees while I tried to catch my breath again. The coach strolled up to me and patted a hand to my shoulder in a sort of congratulations; I knew I had stunned her and that was good. First impressions were good. Maybe I was making up for something, too.

"Well done, Smith," she praised. "I can see your expertise lie in the field of long distance running." She was gawping admirably at the stop watch before scribbling down the time on the clip board.

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