Eight: Late Night Practice †

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There had been some sort of a notice shoved under my door last night from Coach Kate.

There was practice tonight for the long-distance runners at seven until eight thirty. The long-distance training would be on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I had packed some water and a sports drink into my bag and trudged all the way to the changing rooms. In there, only a couple other girls were there. None of them, on the other hand, seemed somewhat shocked to see me there.

"Where's Coach Kate?" another girl questioned, striding into the changing rooms like she owned the damn place, authority leaking off her. Her tone was snobby yet it held influence and power.

I placed my stuff next to some girl who I recognised to be Verity Evans who was the first to accept her top. I shot her a glance, nodding my head subtly at the girl who strode in, strutting her stuff before chucking down her bags on the other side of the changing rooms.

"Her name's Ruby," Verity whispered. "You know Jason McCann right?" After my nod, she perused, "She's friends with his girlfriend, Lea. They're like best friends."

I turned around to look at Ruby properly. Ruby red lips – to match her name and crystal blue eyes in the centre of heavily applied mascara and eye liner, somehow making her eyes pop in a beautiful way. Her darkened hair was styled in ringlets around her face, falling down to her stomach as she occasionally swished her wavy fringe to the side of her face, out of the way. She had few blemishes – just a beauty spot applied voluntarily. Her jewellery consisted of a golden pendent circling her nick, a crystallised R suspending off it and two wrists full of bracelets, thread and metal combined. She wore hot pants on the top of tights and nearly-knee-length boots with a baggy top over, tucked in slightly that hung low on her chest.

I turned back to Verity. "Does Lea act like her?"

Verity shrugged carelessly, slipping her top over her head that ended up being on back to front. She flushed a bright cherry colour before quickly turning it around, retracing her arms and rapidly shoving them back in the correct holes.

"I have no idea. I try to stay away from them. But Jason is gorgeous," she gushed, clasping her hands together in a dramatic motion.

All through our conversation, we were both getting changed and now I was sat on the bench, forcing my feet into my bright green Nike trainers. I tied the laces, pushing my knee up to my chest before glimpsing at Verity quickly.

"How do you think he managed to get Lea? Do you think they came from the same school or something?" I asked.

"Definitely," she replied, pulling her long, pin straight blonde hair up into a high pony tail so nothing would be falling out. "They probably came together. She couldn't bear to leave him because she knows how hunky he is and that he can get any girl."

Just talking about Jason somewhat quietly so Ruby wouldn't heed caused me to be reminiscent to when he winked at me before inundating himself into Lea's room which was only a few doors down from my room. And he said that I had wit and that he liked it. Just ruminating about all of this caused a wave of happiness ripple through me.

"We all need to get on the track," Ruby announced when I had strung my wavy hair up into a pony tail, too. "Coach Kate will be waiting for us outside."

Ruby sounded like the manager type of person who always took charge and bossed people around. I followed suit, diffidently, slightly indignant due to Ruby's domineering directives. Verity walked by my side, ambling stridently onto the track as Coach Kate watched us from afar.

"Right, stretch it out," Coach Kate announced. Her eyes landed on Ruby; there seemed to be some sort of high influence from Ruby and Coach Kate had already picked up on it. "Willows, why don't you lead the stretches today?" Ruby Willows?!

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