He took off his varsity cardigan, then his button-down polo shirt. He changed into his silver and cobalt blue football jersey shirt. He hung his uniform inside his locker.
The football team’s locker room was huge. There were couches and a plasma TV hanging on the wall. Their lockers were made of glass. It also had an air conditioning unit. Though, Xavier finds it odd. They got all the luxury of redesigning the football team’s locker room since they won three consecutive years back when Thomas Jaffray – a “legendary” player of FHS – was still in school.
“Have you been working out?”
Xavier turned to see Logan, his football buddy. Logan was just as tall as Xavier. He had short shaggy dark blonde hair, obsidian dark eyes, tanned skin, and was a little muscular. Logan liked to brag about his biceps and abs. Xavier liked to make fun of him.
“No. I was usually swimming and surfing this summer,” said Xavier, putting on his football jersey shorts.
“You’re growing some abs there,” Logan said. He opened his locker and grabbed his shoes.
Xavier put on his shoes. “Really?”
He looked away and then, “Wait, are you gay?”
Logan looked offended. He threw his sneakers at Xavier. The latter dodged it quickly.
“You’ve been commenting, mate. Can’t help it,” said Xavier, grinning.
He just finished tying his shoes. He jumped to his feet and grabbed the nearest ball.
“I’m going first,” said Xavier. Logan nodded. They gave each other a bumped their fists. He spanked Logan on the back, grinning.
He was alone in the football field. He started kicking the ball towards the goal for several minutes. But then, he got bored.
I’ve already mastered this. He thought.
So he switched with headbutt.
“Hey!” someone said. Xavier stopped. He caught the ball on his palms. He faced a pale guy with honey-blond hair. He flipped his bangs to get it away from his vision.
Xavier smiled and walked towards the guy. “Yeah?”
“Do you know where Coach Simmons is?”
“Yeah. He’s in the football team’s locker room,” replied Xavier.
The guy nodded. “Thanks.”
He started to leave. But Xavier seemed to recognize him from somewhere.
“Wait,” Xavier called
The guy turned.
“Do I know you?” Xavier asked.
The guy’s eyes widened. “No.”
Xavier knew he was lying. He saw this guy before but couldn’t remember. Just as the pale dude left, Coach Simmons arrived. Coach Simmons was a muscular man in his 40s. He had a semi-bald head. His skin was pinkish-red like he got a sunburn. His eyes had a bit of shade of red, and they were bulging. He was wearing his football coach’s jacket, long, baggy sweatpants, and trainers shoes.
“Hey, Coach!” said Xavier. “A student was just looking for you.”
“Really?” said Coach Simmons. Then he scratched his thigh. “Oh. Nevermind that.”
“B-but Coach,” muttered Xavier.
“Okay Rutter,” Coach Simmons said. “Since Will Jackson already graduated and you’re the next best striker we ever had after Jaffray ~”
Coach Simmons looked like he was about to cry as he said Thomas Jaffray’s last name.
“I’m making you captain of this team,” Coach Simmons continued.
“What? But it’s only my second year and what about the issue during the finals?” Xavier said.
“Forget about last year’s finals. You won’t be absent this year, right? Okay. Here.” He threw an armband with the words, “CAPTAIN” printed on it. The captain’s armband. Xavier caught it quickly.
“I’m also putting Fabracanté as your assistant captain. You know, your best bloke. I mean, best mate. ”
Xavier looked at the captain’s armband admiringly. He joined a lot of football clubs but he was never made captain because he wasn’t the oldest.
“All right, Rutter. Stop daydreaming,” Coach Simmons mumbled.
Xavier put the armband around his left arm. He glanced to the bleachers when something caught his eyes. Coach Simmons was muttering things. Xavier clapped his coach’s shoulders.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
He ran towards the bleachers. He ran to the back and found the doors to the school building swinging. He swiftly entered the building. He ran to the hallways, looked to his left and then to his right. He saw a figure just turned to the right. He followed. He ran rapidly until he was at the end of the hallway. Xavier knitted his eyebrows. He lost the person he was following. He walked backwards, careful he hasn’t missed the person yet. As he was backing, he bumped into someone. He turned quickly just in time to catch the girl’s books. They looked at each other in the eyes. Xavier’s heart race. He smiled.
“Hi,” he said. The girl was four inches shorter than Xavier. She had russet-brown hair, doe eyes, and fair skin.
“Hi,” said the girl. She smiled. “Xavier. You’re here.”
It was Nerine. Xavier’s childhood friend. The last time Xavier saw her was when he was eight. They were living in Perth, then. Nerine was his neighbor. They played a lot. She was only Xavier’s friend. And he was in turn, her only friend. But his family had to move to Melbourne because of Xavier’s dad’s work.
“What are you doing here?” asked Xavier.
“I transferred. I didn’t know you go here,” she said. They embraced though not completely. Xavier was still sweaty.
“You’re a lot taller,” she said.
“Yeah. I remember you being taller back then,” Xavier said. “Wow. This is amazing. Six years. So you and you’re family moved.”
She smiled. “Got a scholarship.”
“So what are you doing now?” asked Xavier.
“I was looking for this room,” she said. She showed a paper to Xavier.
“Oh,” said Xavier. “That’s just the room at the end of this hallway.”
Nerine smiled. “Thanks. So I’ll catch you later?”
Xavier grinned. “Sure.”
She left waving and smiling at him. Xavier couldn’t stop himself. He was smiling really bad. He was happy. Really happy. The happiest he’s ever had in six years. His best friend was back. He walked back to the field, grinning to himself and he balled his hands up like saying, “Yes!”. He wasn’t looking at his way so he bumped at Britt Warwick and her friends, whom Xavier did not know.
“Sorry,” he said, still smiling. He continued on. He didn’t care. He was just happy.
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