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March 31st, 2011 (7:10 AM).
Oatmeal? Are you CRAZY?!
In the middle of nowhere.
Training for the mission was taking up lots of Alyssa’s time.
Before, she had at least gotten days off; now, it seemed she was out with her team every single day. They ran obstacle courses and did all sorts of exercises. They even played games like soccer and basketball, which Alyssa supposed were supposed to help their teamwork. Mr. McFayer was an excellent basketball player, much to Alyssa’s surprise, and he was always barking orders at everyone, no matter whose team he was on. The orders mostly consisted of things like “Karri, let someone else have the ball!” or “Other people can make baskets, too, Karri!”
As much as Alyssa hated to admit it, Karri was a force to be reckoned with. She made some of the fastest times through the obstacle courses, she was a star player no matter what team she was on, she moved gracefully yet fiercely…but Alyssa was right there with her. She hadn’t ever played much basketball, but she was pretty good at soccer; and obstacle courses were a piece of cake. Being a Ranger meant you had to be athletic, and Alyssa was.
Alyssa showed up that morning with Ziggy hanging off her back as usual and Ian at her side. Mr. McFayer and Mr. Rayman were already there, and Keith stood talking to them with a basketball under his arm.
“Basketball again today,” Alyssa noted easily to Ian. He nodded.
“Wonder which team I’ll be on?”
“Wonder if I’ll even be playing for the first few games?” Mr. McFayer liked to switch up the teams. Someone always had to sit out, of course, since their number was uneven; they had to referee.
“I hope you aren’t,” Karri said, bumping Alyssa’s shoulder as she passed by. Her long, light blue hair hung free around her shoulders, and Siami sat on her shoulder, eyes glittering at Alyssa. “It’s always so much more fun when you’re not involved.”
“Because then it’s easier for you to win,” Alyssa retorted. “I’m always your biggest competition.”
Karri’s lip twisted into a snarl; this was the look Alyssa most associated with a sharp remark, but just then, Jean came bouncing into the gym. “Ooh, basketball!” she chirped happily. “Maybe we’ll be on the same team, Alyssa!”
Alyssa laughed. “Maybe.” She liked Jean; she was much nicer than her sister, and she seemed almost comically in tune with Exis’s feelings. It was often that she looked over at Exis with a frown, asking it some strange obscure question like “But orange and purple are sunset colors, Exis, why do you keep wanting silver?”
“Now that we’re all here,” Mr. McFayer said, “I’d like to divide us up into teams. Three-on-three as usual. I’ll be sitting out. We’ll be doing boys against girls.”
“Yes!” Jean cried happily. She grabbed Alyssa’s hand. “Let’s go! Be nice, Karri,” she added in a somewhat dark undertone.
Alyssa glanced over at Karri as Ziggy slid off her back to sit on the sidelines; this was a people-only game. Karri was glaring right back. They had never been on the same team before; Mr. McFayer had always put them on opposing teams and watched them roar against each other. Now, however, they would have to work together.
Karri’s top lip curled.
Alyssa tightened her ponytail and shrugged out of her jacket as she made her way to the center of the court. Mr. McFayer made them do all their exercises in their Ranger uniforms, which mean that Alyssa’s had to be cleaned every day due to all the sweating. She tossed the jacket on a chair on the sidelines.
Karri shoved past her. “I’ll do it,” she said, confusing Alyssa. She stepped up to the center, across from Ian, who had also left his jacket on a chair.
“Karri always likes to do this part,” Jean told Alyssa. She then frowned and glanced over at Exis. “No, Exis, pi is an irrational number that goes on to infinity,” she called to him.
Alyssa chose not to ask.
Mr. McFayer stepped between Karri and Ian, the basketball sitting on his open palm. “Play a clean game,” he said, and then threw the ball into the air.
Karri leapt expertly and scooped the ball into her arms; she then ran across the court, dribbling fiercely. Ian was right along beside her, and Mr. Rayman popped up in front of her. Keith ran up to meet her near the basket.
Alyssa’s feet had started moving the moment Karri’s had; she ran the length of the court, eyes on the ball. Karri stopped as Mr. Rayman blocked her, and she looked around. Alyssa waved her arm—she was open—but Jean was the one who deftly caught the ball.
Keith was on Jean in a flash, but she dodged him and sent the ball soaring into the basket. It clanged against the backboard before falling through the net; Ian grabbed it and was dribbling up the court before they could do much celebrating.
Alyssa was the closest to Ian, so she attached herself to him. She made a swipe at the ball, but he spun out of her reach; she followed. And then, suddenly, Karri was at his other side, scooping for the ball; Ian stopped and threw it off to Keith.
Immediately, Karri was in Keith’s face. Not to be outdone, Alyssa was there too, making him stop. He threw the ball to an open Ian, who scored.
Jean grabbed the ball, but Mr. Rayman stole it halfway up the court. Once again, Alyssa and Karri ambushed him; he threw it off to Keith, who scored. Again, Jean got the ball; again, it was stolen; again, Alyssa and Karri ambushed the ball-holder; and again, he threw it to an open player, who caught it and scored a basket.
“Stay out of my way!” Karri yelled at Alyssa.
“Stay out of my way!” Alyssa yelled back. “You’re making us lose!”
“Me? You’re the one who—”
“Stop it!” Jean yelled, grabbing Karri by the shoulder and snatching her away from Alyssa. “If both of you don’t get a grip, we’ll lose!”
“It’s her fault!” Karri snarled, pushing a finger in Alyssa’s face. Alyssa knocked it away, and Karri’s eyes bulged; she leapt toward her, fists clenched, and Alyssa tensed, ready for a fight.
“Time out!” thundered Mr. McFayer, striding across the court. He grabbed Karri’s upper arm and snatched her away from Alyssa. “Both of you sit out,” he yelled. “Go! We’ll start a new game. Ian, be referee—Jean, you’ll be on my team. Everett and Keith, team up.”
The game started up, and Alyssa sat on the chair with her jacket, fuming. Ziggy attempted to lighten her spirits, but she couldn't tear her eyes away from the game that she wasn’t allowed to play.
“I can’t believe you got me kicked out of the game,” Karri snapped from her seat.
“It’s your fault we’re not playing,” Alyssa retorted. “You attacked me.”
“You pushed my hand.”
“You put your finger in my face. That’s rude.”
“Foul!” Ian called as Jean bumped into Keith. “Mr. Rayman and Keith get a free throw.”
“Good call,” Alyssa said, nodding.
“Are you kidding?” Karri snapped, much more loudly. “That was a terrible call—Keith ran into Jean.”
“It may not have been quite on purpose, but Jean hit Keith.”
“Anyone with a brain could have seen that it was Keith’s fault!”
The rage Alyssa had been attempting to suppress bubbled up to the surface. “You’re the one without a brain.”
And then Karri was in front of Alyssa, her face inches away. “You wanna say that again?”
Alyssa stood, slamming her hand into Karri’s shoulder to make her back off; Karri stumbled back in surprise, and then, with a yell, she leapt forward, bringing her fist towards Alyssa’s face. Alyssa ducked and grabbed the girl around her waist, picking her up and throwing her into the chairs. Karri recovered quickly and came at her again, this time landing a hit to Alyssa’s stomach; Alyssa’s breath came out in a woosh. She cocked her arm back and slammed her fist into Karri’s jaw.
With a yell, Alyssa went to hurl herself at Karri again, but something peculiar happened; she was lifted off her feet, hovering helplessly in midair. The same appeared to have happened to Karri. They were both surrounded with a strange, pinkish-white light.
“Thank you, Exis,” said a satisfied-sounding Jean. She stood there with Keith, Ian, Mr. Rayman, and Mr. McFayer, who looked livid. His arms were folded firmly across his chest, and Rhunso hovered threateningly near him.
“We are on a team,” Mr. McFayer said, his voice coming out calm and precise despite the anger on his features. Somehow, this was scarier than if he yelled. “If you two cannot get past your own differences, you will compromise the mission and possibly destroy the entire team. If you cannot act civilly and work together, I will kick you off.”
Karri glared at Alyssa. “You hear that?” she snapped. “If you can’t be polite, he’ll get rid of you.”
“You are as much at fault as Miss Thompson,” Mr. McFayer told her. “Your smug attitude is dragging down the efficiency of the team as a whole, so you are one to talk of politeness. Perhaps I should rephrase my earlier threat—if you cannot work together, both of you will be off the team. Dismissed for today,” he added. “Think about it,” he told Alyssa and Karri; Exis let them drift back to the floor. Alyssa’s fists clenched and she turned away, heading for the door.
Ian was at her side in a moment. “Don’t let her get to you,” he said, lifting Ziggy to place him on Alyssa’s shoulder. He had her jacket over one arm. “Hey. Hey,” he said insistently, grabbing her upper arm. She stopped and looked at him. “Once this mission’s over, you won’t have to deal with her anymore. You’ll have to deal with all sorts of people when you’re a Ranger, okay? Just ignore her.”
Alyssa sighed. “That’s easier said than done,” she replied. “Thanks for getting my jacket.” She took it from him and walked away, towards her apartment.
I am so angry. I hate hate HATE Karri Danes with every fiber of my being.
Sorry I can’t write more…I’m too full of HATE.
Love (and HATE),
Joined Aug 2009
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