Ten: A Trip to the Nurse's Office †

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I was already half way through changing when Ruby sauntered into the changing room with her usual authority she believed she owned when Verity staggered in behind her.

Ruby hadn't bothered to hold the door open politely for her so the door nearly smacked Verity in the face. She plonked her stuff down next to me, already cussing Ruby out.

"Girls," Coach Kate began, striding fearlessly into the changing room. "Tonight we have to share the athletic grounds with the boys for soccer so I want you to prove to them you can beat their asses at anything."

I was gawping incessantly at Coach Kate, incredulous by her choice of words. Verity was doing the same, her jaw hung ajar, separating her ruby lips. Coach Kate was unmindful to our flabbergasted stares as she spun around and bowed her head, diverting her attention to her clipboard as we continued getting changed, finally able to break the severe revelation.

"Two laps to warm up, girls. I want you stretching by the time I come out. Work in pairs – I want everyone to have someone watching over them."

I instantaneously turned to Verity who was already nodding amusingly in my direction. I had my shorts and personalised top on with my Nike trainers already which just left me to string my hair up into a high ponytail so it wouldn't bother me so much. Verity tied hers up as we left for the athletic grounds. We marched all the way to the track, at the beginning where you'd normally start before commencing to stretch.

I had my front to the changing rooms so I saw that as soon as Ruby made it into the circle of long-distance runners, she scoffed and crossed her arms over her chest. Another girl tapped her shoulder and she turned around, her long hair flung over her other shoulder as she stared quizzically at this timorous girl with red hair.

The girl with red hair spoke but I was out of earshot so I couldn't hear. But Ruby shook her head, pouting slightly as she turned back around and began stretching on her own. Coach Kate took one glance at her and shook her head, mumbling inarticulately to herself.

When we had finished stretching, Coach Kate began a small pep talk before we began to line up at our markers she assigned to us differently every extra long-distance track. This was a wrong time to speculate such a thing, but it was still so confusing to remember to say track and soccer instead of football and especially in front of Jason because I didn't want to seem like I knew nothing.

"3... 2... 1!" she hollered, starting her stopwatch histrionically.

I raced off into fifth place to start with but by the time the first lap was over, I was already running into first place. I knew this race would be harder in the concept that it was only two laps but easier due to I could keep up a quicker pace all the way round as opposed to if it was a longer distance because then I pace myself.

Just before the home straight, I felt a little tingling in my foot because of a stone had seeped through somehow. I clenched my jaw, trying to block out the constant pain whenever I placed my right foot on the track and instead, focused on accelerating down the home straight.

It was crazy to think that one day I won't be ever as good as I am now. This should be my prime time to running because I'm only eighteen so I'm young and healthy. Perhaps in about ten year's time, I might have to have surgery on my knees or something and then I'm weaker and more vulnerable. I will be slower and it panics me to think I won't be able to run as well then.

Coach Kate quickly glanced down at her stopwatch hung around her neck just as I was about to cross the finishing line; I was too busy dwelling on my future of running to notice I had sped up and already nearly completed the home straight. Before I could cross it in conquest, however, I only had time to register being hit in the side of the head by a soccer ball, knocking me sideways to the right, the ball flying into the distance somewhere. And I was so close to the finishing line.

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