The Girl Called #11: Training
FOR THE next few weeks, Hanna practiced harder and harder. While the team was on a break from practice, Hanna started making friends with the other girls—all except Kari. The girl acted like she didn’t have any friends and it made Hanna feel sorry for her.
Speaking of no friends, Erica Rhode seemed to grow meaner and meaner as Hanna became adjusted to the new school. Once, she left crayons in Hanna’s locker that were supposed to be used for a poster. And the next day, the whole locker was of many colors; red, blue, purple, green, pink, you name it. Erica smirked as she passed by. At first Hanna was horrified but was glad when several kids said it looked creative and ‘hipster-ish’. Erica pouted because that her plan didn’t work.
After school, Hanna went to ride her bike back home when she realized her tires, peddles and seat smelled strange. She gasped as she realized that it was urine!
“Maid!” Hanna said to herself.
When she told Nicky and Tony this, they both held their noses and walked away slowly, saying that it wasn’t that she smelled like her bike.
“I need to use the restroom,” said Nicky. “I mean, not that you smell like it or anything—anyway I gotta’ go bye!” She quickly left, briskly and fast. Tony’s excuse was even worst:
“Uh-oh! It seems my pet mouse just wet his cage—” at this statement Tony slapped himself on his cheek, then quickly hurried away. Hanna sighed. No good could come out of this.
And none did.
So, Hanna had to walk her bike home wearing the janitor’s, Mr. Gerald, gloves on her handle bar, just in case. She didn’t know how Erica could get Maid to go that high. After she got home, Hanna went to her room to do homework. She had just finished when there was a knock on the door.
“Go awa—“But before Hanna could finish, in came her little sister, Kayla. She mostly looked like Hanna but still had her older brother’s nose plus her dad’s eye color. Hanna’s were brown while hers were hazel. As Hanna examined her, Kayla wore a red shirt and blue tights, green sneakers with pinks laces. What is my sister wearing these days? Hanna thought to herself.
The room was silent as the two sisters looked at one another.
“Well, what do you want?” Hanna exclaimed.
“Oh, nothing,” Kayla said, then, as if she had just remembered something.
“There is this cute boy outside; I think his name is Corbin Blu* or something, maybe Caleb Bobs. I don’t know, but anyway he wants to see you—”
“WHAT!” Hanna screamed. “I'm laying on my stupid bed while Cory Bruce is outside waiting to talk to me?”
“Well move, I want to talk to him!”
“Fine, I’ll move. Keep your socks on.”
But Hanna didn’t have any socks on, so she rushed out the door with only her flip-flops, almost slipping down the stairs, while making sure her pony-tail was nice and straight. Then, she knew she was ready to meet him. Or was she? Hanna silently opened the door. Cory peeked his head from beyond the crack.
“Um.. hi.” he said.
“Hey… Would you like to come our house?” she asked.
“Sure.” As Hanna let him in, Kayla walked down the stairs. Hanna quickly hid behind her sister, then darted upstairs. “Oooh!” Kayla exclaimed. “So this is Corry Bobs?”
Cory chuckled. “Naw. It’s Cory Bruce but close… kinda… Alright, not really—you weren’t close at all. Anyway, do you know where your phone is? Mine’s dead.”
“Our house phone is on the island in the kitchen,” Hanna called from in her room.
“Thanks.” said Calvin. He quickly went over to the kitchen, took the phone out of its base and dialed the number. A few seconds later a voice was on the other end.
“Bruce residents, this is Carol can I help you?”
“Yeah, Mom. This is Cory—”
“Oh Cory! Where have you been?”
“Well, what happened is my bike got a flat tire, so I’m at a friend’s house.”
I can’t believe it, Hanna thought to herself, Cory called me a friend! I think I’m going to faint. But she didn’t.
“So can you or dad pick me up?” Cory continued.
“Well, I’m at the Ladies Meeting and your father is at work. Could your friend drop you off?”
“Let me check—hey, would it be okay if your mom dropped me off at my house? I have a key.”
“Yeah that would be okay,” Hanna said. “I’ll go ask my mom.” Hanna quickly ran to the garden where her mom was planting flowers. “Hey Mom, would it be okay if we drop a friend off at his house?”
Mrs. Anderson stood up from her work. “And who is he?” Hanna blushed.
“Just a friend.”
“Mmmhm. And his name is….?
“The star player for the Wolves?” asked Mrs. Anderson.
“And why is he here?”
“Well," Hanna began, "his bike blew a tire and he needs a ride home. We could put the bike in the back of the van. Is it okay?”
Mrs. Anderson studied her daughter. She was pretty tall for her age; and responsible too. Mrs. Anderson thought she could trust daughter's instincts.
“Okay. I’ll take this... Cory Bruce to his house.”
“Yes!” Hanna cried. She hurried back in the house but turned when her mother called her.
“But only on one condition.”
“What?” Hanna asked.
Mrs. Anderson smiled. “You help me with the flowers when we get back. Kapeesh?”
“Okay,” Hanna said.
~ * * * * ~
The whole ride to the Bruces’ was one word:
Mrs. Anderson sat in the driver’s seat while Hanna and Cory sat in the back. The whole ride was quiet except for Cory telling Mrs. Anderson directions to his house. After Mrs. Anderson knew where she was going she didn’t say anything. But, from then on it was Question Time.
“So, Cory. How old are you?”
“Hmm.. And what grade?”
“Oh, so you just had a birthday?”
“Hey Mom,” Hanna said, making it look like she wasn’t a anti-social girl,
“maybe we could invite Kari over sometime?”
Even more quiet.
This is going to be a long ride, Hanna realized.
After they got home, Hanna got her dirtiest sweat pants and garden hat, wore her garden gloves and set out to work with Mrs. Anderson. They worked for a couple hours then after she was finished, Hanna took a shower and went to her room to read her Prairie River: Journey of Faith** book. As she was about to open her door, she heard something that almost made her ear redder than the roses that she just planted.
Today, I actually bumped into Cory Bruce!! You know, the star player for the William Rhode’s Wolves (and probably the best looking). He asked me out to a game.. Well, it wasn’t really asking it was more like… telling, yeah more like telling me about the game. Anyway, I hope he realizes I’m his biggest fan—”
“Alright Mike, get out of my room!” Hanna cried as she stormed into her room. Her older brother was sitting on the floor with her diary in his hands.
He quickly dropped the book and rushed out of the room, but poked his head back in and said:
“I also read about how you love to look at his cocoa eyes!”
~ * * * * ~
The next day after as the girls were going back to class after practice, Hanna came up to Karri while she was getting her history book out of her locker.
“Hey Kari,” she said.
“Oh, hi Hanna.” Kari replied and continued gathering her books. Okay this is a little awkward, Hanna realized.
“I was hoping you would want to come over to my house and help me do a little more drills? How about it? After school?”
Kari looked at Hanna. “You actually want to invite me over at your house?
"How come?” Hanna shrugged. “I guess because you seem like you need a
friend.” Kari nodded.
“It seems I do.”
~ * * * * ~
“Alright, you ready Kari?” Hanna asked.
“Okay, here it goes!”
Hanna kicked the ball, which flew into the air. Kari knocked it with her head, making it fall in the grass. She quickly passed the ball among herself, keeping an eye on Hanna who was coming at her with speed. Kari realized she needed to do something quick, but before she knew it, Hanna had passed her and the ball now in her control.
“My turn,” Hanna called proudly.
“Not if I can help it,” Kari said catching up with Hanna. They raced against each other. They were neck and neck. Quick as lightning, Kari took the ball from Hanna’s grasp but was dismayed to realize that Hanna had gotten the ball back from her. I’ve gotta’ get it! Kari thought to herself. Then she suddenly remembered what Hanna had said to her earlier. Watch how their feet move and their timing. That gives you a good advantage of being short—oops! I mean smaller than average height—ugh! (sigh) Never mind.
Hmm… Karri thought. ‘Watch their timing’. And she did. Hanna’s pace was 1-2-4-5, 1-2-4-5, 1-2-4-5. Finally, Kari found the opportunity and stole the ball from Hanna. “Hey!” Hanna said. “Get back here.”
“Yeah right!” Kari laughed.She ran faster and faster till she finally made it to the goal (between two trash cans) and scored. She raised her fists in the air and ran around in circles. Hanna stopped and smiled. It seemed that her plan was working.