Hey guys! Sorry for the wait, but here's chapter 7! Enjoy!

Chapter 7: Tryouts and Offers

The rest of the morning passed uneventfully, and before I knew it, it was free period, and time for the Tourney tryouts. I walked out to the field with Mal after our last class, planning on meeting up with Evie and the boys over by the bleachers. Neither of us talked much, walking in silence from the classroom outside the building. I felt awkward, feeling the need to just start rambling about something - anything; I'd never done well in quiet situations.

"...Your hair is pretty…" I blurted out randomly, silently cursing myself for opening my mouth at all. She blinked, seeming both shocked and slightly weirded out.

"...Thanks?" she responded finally, avoiding eye contact. I nodded, keeping my focus on the field straight ahead.

"You're welcome." I'm such an idiot, could I be any more awkward?! We finally walked over to the bleachers to see Evie already standing there, talking to Doug. Or, at least, I think she was, as that's what it looked like, but she made her way over to us as quickly as she could.

The three of us took a seat near the center of the bleachers, a few rows behind where the coaches were standing. The team had been set up on either side of the field, half of them in blue practice jerseys and the other half in white. Both sides were either stretching, practicing, or some of them were standing around, silently freaking out. Off to the side of the field were the cheerleaders, including Audrey and Autumn, as they began their stretches and practicing their backflips.

I scanned my eyes across the field, spotting Ben's mop of blond hair almost instantly and waved to him. He smiled back, raising his bat in quick greeting before joining his side of the team.

"Look, there's Jay and Carlos!" Evie said, grabbing my arm and dragging my attention to Ben's left to see Jay wearing the same jersey as Ben, standing off to the side with a bored expression on his face. Carlos wasn't too far off, holding up a shield in front of his face and I could practically see his knees knocking together from where I sat.

"How do you think they'll do?" Mal asked, and I shrugged.

"I dunno," I admitted, "I've never gone to any of the games before; I don't really like sports, so I really don't understand Tourney."

"Wait, so, if you don't like Tourney, then why are you here?" Evie asked, and I felt my cheeks heat up.

"I said I'd be here for… support! At Jay and Carlos' tryouts." I said, trying my best to ignore Evie's snickering, "Besides, I don't have anything else planned…" Mal snorted.

"Sure you don't." I ignored her, rubbing my cheeks to try and stop my blush from fully forming. I decided to just focus my attention on the field, watching as the guys all put on their helmets and positioned themselves on the field. I wasn't sure what was happening, once they started moving, but from what I could tell, Jay seemed to be doing okay.

I think.

Is it against the rules to knock over your teammates like that? I thought to myself, watching as Jay barreled past everyone towards the goal, knocking them to the ground and running them over in his pursuit to score. I laughed louder than I should have when I saw him knock Chad Charming aside, and even louder when he took another hit that knocked his helmet clean off. Evie gasped beside me.

"Oh, do you think he's okay?" she asked. I shrugged.

"If he's lucky, yes," I answered, "If we're lucky, however, he sustained just enough brain damage to take his arrogance down a notch." I looked over at her, brow raised, "Why do you care?" She didn't answer. I studied her face, observing her as she looked nervously at Chad on the field. Oh no.

"Tell me you're not crushing on Chad Charming," I groaned. Evie blinked, giving me a wicked grin.

"What?" She defended, "He's a prince."

"He's a jerk," I said, turning back to the field, "He treats girls like tools, telling them what they want to hear so he can trick them into doing his own work for him." I saw her glare from the corner of my eye.

"How do you know?" She asked. I shrugged.

"Look up the 'School of Secrets' videos," I said, "You'll find your answer." She started hard at me for a moment, but quickly turned her attention back to the field where Jay was doing some dorky victory dance. The coach then yelled to him, and everyone on the field ran over to him.

"Well, that's about as much of this as I can take," Mal said, standing, "I'm gonna head back to our room. Evie, let's go." With that, she stood and began walking away; Evie stayed another moment, giving Chad a flirty wave before quickly walking after Mal. I shook my head – poor girl has no idea what she's getting into…

"Hey!" I turned to see Jay running toward me, "You actually showed."

"Duh," I snorted, rolling my eyes, "I said I would, didn't I?" He smirked, resting his forearms on the railing. "How'd you do?"

"I made the team," he said, smiling brighter and leaning closer on the railing. I smiled back at him.

"That's awesome, Jay!" I looked back over at Ben and Carlos, who were still standing off to the other side of the field, "What about Carlos? How'd he do?" Jay shrugged.

"Ben's workin' with him," he said simply. I nodded, then jolted when I heard the bell ringing.

"Guess that's our cue," I said, gesturing for him to follow, "C'mon, one more class, and then lunch!"

I ended up walking with Ben after lunch, following with him as he, Audrey, and Chad walked out to the lockers. Off to the side, I could see Mal in front of her locker, which was now sporting a – rather impressive – spray painting of Maleficent, the words "Long Live Evil" plastered on top.

"Come on, Chad," I heard, turning to watch Ben and Chad. Audrey huffed, taking Ben's hands and pouting her bottom lip.

" Oh, no offense, Benny-bear," she started, and I rolled my eyes, "but you're just too trusting." I walked away, heading over to talk to Mal. And hopefully, I won't embarrass myself this time…

"Hey, Mal," I said, leaning against the locker to face her with Ben and the others behind her, "How's everything so far? Not too horrible, I hope." She made a face – kind of a wide-eye look with a closed mouth smile – but turned to me anyway.

"It's great," she said, "Every bit as princess-y and pink as I expected." I nodded.

"Yeah, it's always been like that," I agreed, "Not a lot of spontaneous around here. At least, not until you guys got here." She raised an eyebrow. "That's good! That's good, we need spontaneous! It's… I'm making it worse, aren't I?"

"No please, keep going. It's highly entertaining." I chuckled, turning to lean on my back.

"Sorry," I said, "You're just a bit more intimidating than I'm used to around here."

"I'll bet." She glanced at me from the corner of her eye, and I could see the hint of a smile on her face.

"It's refreshing, that's for sure," I admitted, and watched as Ben came over to join us.

"Hey," he said, smiling at Mal.

"Hey…" she replied, turning back to her locker. I smirked, watching the look on Ben's face become more unsure with each second.

"How was your first day?" Ben asked. Mal shrugged.

"Super." She continued with her locker, finishing switching out her books. Ben coughed, and next to us, Jane squeaked and shuffled past us into the girl's bathroom down the hall.

"You should really think about taking this talent off the locker and into art class," Ben tried, looking increasingly more awkward, "I could, uh, sign you up. What do you think?" Mal closed her locker, smirking up at Ben.

"Way to take all the fun out of it," she said, nose scrunching. With that, she walked away, brushing past me to follow behind Jane into the bathroom.

"Huh." Ben stared after her, a small smile gracing his face. I know that smile…

"You like her?" I whispered, shaking him from his thoughts. He stared down at me, green eyes wide.

"What? I don't kn–" I raised a brow at him, unimpressed, "...Is it that obvious?"

"Only because you told me about that vision ages ago, Benjie." We shared a laugh, and started walking together towards his dorm, "So when are you gonna do something about it?" Ben sighed, running a hand through his hair.

"I can't just go for it, Sunnie," he said, exasperated, "I've got a girlfriend, an–"

"A girlfriend who doesn't make you happy, Ben," I said, stepping in front of him as we reach his room, "Admit it. You'd rather be with your dream girl, and Audrey isn't her."

"But she is my girlfriend, Sunnie," he said, opening the door behind me and letting me step in before shutting the door and moving to sit behind his desk, "I–We have known her since we were little kids, and I can't just break up with her like that. It's not fair to her…" I frowned. I may not like Audrey very much, but I could see why Ben was so conflicted. I moved beside him, hugging his shoulders.

"It's not any more fair for you to continue leading her on when you don't feel the same anymore, Ben," I whispered, "To either of you." He stared down at the papers in front of him. Clearing his throat, he reached for the stack and began shuffling through them.

"Have you thought about my offer at all?" he asked. I sighed. Changing the subject to me to avoid proving me right. Typical…

"I have." I said curtly. I had thought a lot about his offer, more than I should have.

"And…?" I rolled my eyes, moving to help him sort his paperwork.

"And I still don't know," I answered.

"Sunnie, come on, you've gotta accept!" Ben said, smiling at me, "You know you'd be great at it!"

"Yeah, and I'd love nothing more than to just accept the offer and take the job, Ben!" I said, "But I've got my own responsibilities – my own royal duties – that I have to take care of."

"But you've said yourself that your brother would be better for taking over Corona."

"Yeah, but being better doesn't change the fact that I'm the one inheriting the crown." I collapsed in the chair next to Ben, looking over at him. "Look, I promise, I'll talk to my parents about it before the coronation." Ben's head shot up.

"I forgot to tell them about the coronation," he said, eyes wide. I rolled my eyes.

"Just tell them later, okay?" I said, standing to leave, "In the meantime, you said you'd help Carlos practice for Tourney, right?" Ben nodded, then looked up at me.

"What're you gonna do then?" I shrugged.

"I think I'll check in on Mal and Evie," I replied, "Maybe something interesting will happen…"

A/n: Hey again! Sorry, I know it took super long for such a short chapter, but in my defense, college has been hell, and I've spent most of the summer either working on an original project or taking care of and nursing my new kitten, Bucky, back to health. I'm gonna try and have chapter 8 up by the end of August, so keep an eye out!

Until next time!

- H. E. Vaughn