thirteen

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My heart was beating furiously as my gaze wandered over the field's stands. When I was used to seeing them empty and only a few seats occupied with my teammate's bags, they were now filled with family members and friends who were all waiting impatiently for the game to start.

They were cheering while all I wanted to do was find a dark corner and cry my guts out.

"Excited for the big game?" Gene asked as he suddenly appeared next to me. Trevor stood right next to him, as usual.

It wasn't hard to get that they were best friends. I had gotten used to seeing Gene walking around alone in the hallways at first, but now it was a rare occasion to spot him without Trevor at his side. They were inseparable, really.

I wondered if Gene knew about the Trevor thing.

"I'm fine," I shrugged, trying to hide my nervousness. "It's just new. I've never been on a sports team before."

Gene flashed a smile and pat my back. "I'm sure you'll be great out there," he said reassuringly, his touch warm on my uniform.

"I don't think I ever asked," Trevor chimed in, "where do you come from, Kiri?"

Before I could answer that question Gill was suddenly by my side, slinging her arm around my shoulders and pulling me closer which probably looked pretty weird due to our height difference.

"He comes from the big, scary city," she replied with a smile. "He's not used to us small town people, so be gentle."

Gene raised a brow but Trevor just laughed. "That's funny! I've just been on a trip to London. The city's huge, really. That's also why I only came back this week."

"Interesting," I lied.

"Sounds fancy, and I'm sure you have a shit ton of things to tell me about it, and believe me, I'm literally dying to know all the details, but I'll have to borrow Kiri for a second," Gill said with a forced smile.

She pulled me away from Gene and Trevor, and soon enough we were back at her little friend group. Sam was tying her shoes while Asher was on his phone. When he noticed us, he tossed it back into his bag.

"Trevor's for sure going to give another one of his speeches," Gill mumbled, her brows furrowed. "He always does that."

"He's the best player, it's expected from him." Asher shrugged, then his gaze fell on me. "Excited for the game?" he asked, causing me to roll my eyes.

"Why does everyone keep asking me that? Is it really that obvious?" I replied in annoyance. "No, I'm not excited. I'm close to shitting my pants, and for once it's not because of something I ate."

He smirked a little. "You'll be fine. Just remember what I said."

"Keep my eyes on the ball and don't touch it with my hands," I repeated, my gaze drifting back out to the field. We were in the small hallway in front of the two locker rooms, almost every member of the team gathered and ready to go out. The coach hadn't announced the game's start yet though, so everyone was hyped and impatient.

"Don't trip over any feet," Gill added. "And don't foul others, or you'll get beaten up by the other team."

I glanced at her, my gaze filled with fear. "They do that?"

She shrugged. "Wouldn't be the first time."

Asher sighed and pushed her away a little. "Stop talking. Kiri, calm down. Being nervous won't help you now."

"Wow, thanks for saying that. I'm suddenly so calm and relaxed, how did this happen?" I asked in annoyance.

"Kick ass, whimp," Sam said to me. "Metaphorically. Or they'll kick yours. Literally."

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