Thanks for the reviews everyone! I've been behind on the updates since I couldn't find the folder where I kept my LOOSE BALL chapters, I couldn't find it so I had to re-type everything! I wasn't so motivated with the re-typing and my mind kept flying to different directions and possibilities, elements that didn't quite suit Loose Ball, but I just couldn't help turning them into a story…
Anyway, here's the latest chapter! Happy read!
Ps. Can anyone guess why it's entitled 'loose ball!'?
CHAPTER 7: I don't want what I need.
I can feel droplets of sweat trickling down my forearm. My skin was hot and cold at the same time but I didn't care. Part of me says I'm taking things too seriously and a part of me is saying I can't lose no matter what…
I stare at him, intently, still shocked by the turn of events… Kaede Rukawa, Shohoku's 6'2 feet tall forward and ace, is in front of me, guarding me, having a one-on-one.
It felt surreal since I knew I'd be facing him one day as an opponent, make him acknowledge me as an equal if not someone better than him… but for it to be THIS SOON. For our one-on-one moment to occur in front of hundreds of students in a snap of a finger is unprecedented.
Get a grip of yourself missy! The crazy wise-ass voice inside my head said. Don't get overwhelmed, just… keep calm, dribble the ball and don't think about the hundreds of witnesses in this gym who are probably judging every dribble you make.
"Kyou!" Hikari and Kaori both yelled from behind me, snapping me out of my trance, "You still have a bunch of aces to take down! Don't lose on your first one!"
I freeze. Nothing can be more humiliating than those two shouting my goals at a time like this and within the earshot of every gossipmonger in school. It'd be appropriate if I looked like I had the upper hand, but looking at the score board which read 16-10, with me on the loosing end… no.
"Hn." My head snapped back to Kaede Rukawa who was guarding me with his body spread eagled, his long hands gracefully and artfully moving in every direction,
"What's so amusing senpai?" I asked, dribbling the ball lower, the small sound he made reverberating over and over inside my head.
Rukawa took a quick glance at the twins' direction, Hikari dangling a copy of 'Kanagawa Sports Magazine' on her left hand, MY, Kanagawa Sports Magazine, and it was turned to the page by page description of aces from different high school s in Kanagawa, more precisely on Kaede Rukawa's page. I groaned, I can see the bright red mark I placed on it defining my target with an 'X'.
"I thought you were realistic. You don't look like someone who takes into fantasy."
Dumbfounded by the taunt, I wasn't able to retaliate as quickly as I can, "W… What?"
"It's either you're optimistically talented or stupidly deluded." He lashes out, and I notice that his face remained smooth, not a muscle flinched while he spoke his taunt. How dare he!
"You didn't strike me as childish yourself." I say as blandly as I can. All sense of propriety and being civil with him were starting to be tossed out the window.
"You can do better than this can't you?" Kaede Rukawa's words sparked the forbidden thought at the back of my head.
Yes… But… No…
Can I really do it?
You've been practicing! Hard!
And he won't be expecting it! He won't be expecting something like that from you!"
I stare behind him and saw the hoop, peacefully hanging up there so unlike the inner chaos I'm having. What if I fail? I'm a scholar, everyone here will judge me, whether they like it or not…
So what? If you make it everyone will witness you defeat their campus god!
Tempting… I bite my lower lip in excitement. Fine. I'll do it! I'll show them… and especially him, who I am.
I smile up at Rukawa whose muscles were hard and rippling, straining to get the ball from me, while I continue the chase that's been going on for the past 18 seconds.
We've been at it for almost half an hour, yet instead of feeling tired and breathless… the thought of pulling off a stunt excited my blood, to the point of an adrenaline rush. I take in a deep breath then exhale, I really am a little bit crazy.
But I have to be careful, act like everything's normal, pretend like I'm still reading his already predictable movements. I step back and he clung to me like a bee to a honey. Good. Just a little bit more till my foot goes outside the three point line. 3 more seconds until the shot clock timer's up.
"Go Kyou!" my teammates yelled,
Be amazed Kaede Rukawa. I bounce off the floor as soon as I stepped beyond the 3 point-arc, the motion I always felt the same as that of a startled deer in the forest, raising its upper body abruptly and then turning around only to go another way.
Catch me if you can! I smiled to myself while I dribbled furiously, surprising him for a split second or more would be enough, even if he did catch up to me there's no way he'll figure out my plan… Or what I can do.
"Ahou." I hear him use the awful word on me again. He was quickly catching up to me with his long strides, it doesn't matter, he'll be expecting a jump shot from the free throw lane. Not a slam dunk from below the basket!
My speed will be enough to take me there.
I heard everyone gasp the moment I took off the ground. The force of my speed was enough to propel my 5'9 feet tall frame off the ground. I can feel it, my form was perfect, knees bent, upper body arched back preparing to put the force into my right hand I jumped a pretty 9 feet off the ground, the hoop now half a feet above my head, the ball all too ready to be slammed…
"Kyou look out!" I didn't know who yelled, but I wasn't able to react fast enough when Kaede Rukawa swatted the ball away from between my hand and the rim of the basket, making me losing my balance mid-air.
"I'll kill him…" was my last thought before I heard a loud crack and everything blackened.
"Hey, there," I hear a soft whisper and I groaned. My body was aching, my head hurt. I open my eyes and saw blue eyes staring down at me.
"Nobu… naga-kun?" I sit up while he sat more comfortably on my bedside. It dawned to me I was in my room at home.
"What happened?" I ask, moving my hand to my head, my hair was unbound and I was wearing a plain white t-shirt with my school logo on the left side breast. He stares at me and sighs, "You were out cold for 3 hours. I just arrived home before some girls, hot girls, knocked and you were carried in here unconscious. They said you were just tired, you nearly hit your head if someone didn't catch you in time."
I gasp and close my eyes to recall what happened at the gym and how the game turned out. I groaned and slumped back into bed… I just had a one-on-one match with Kaede Rukawa and not only did I lose, I also fainted. I couldn't laugh but I wanted to… Man! Fatigue got me, probably from overexcitement and over thinking, rather than the actual playing.
"Hey, you want to tell me about it? You promised remember?"
"You don't want to know." I sigh, "Thanks for looking after me…" and then I smile, "Hot girls?" I goaded, of course he would notice my teammates.
"Smokin'." His lips curve devilishly but I know he was joking, "You want to set me up with one of them?"
"Hmm… I wouldn't want any of them to end up heartbroken, and I wouldn't want to beat you up for that."
"Haha! Fair enough." Nobunaga said in between laughter and then he stared at me as if he'd never seen me before. "I, I'm sorry…" he says, catching his weird gesture, "I never would have imagined myself sitting on a bed with a pretty young girl without doing anything…"
I feel my eyes widen and my face go red, "Y… yea I get it." I say,
"Much less just talk." He smiles at me sincerely, "Wanna go grab some dinner? Okaa-san and Otoo-san left again on a business trip, and I'm too lazy to cook. We both need 'nourishments' based on how our day went. Have you ever had Ootoro?" he asks, I'm piqued, I've heard about that delicious first class sushi before… I lick my lips, just imagining it is wetting my appetite,
"I'm game for some expensive super fatty tuna." I say and we both grin at each other,
"I'm gonna go change, meet you at the car in 15." He says and left the room.
I find myself smiling. After a harsh day on the court I needed something to relax me, going to this sushi house seems like the perfect thing.
*Ding… Dong…* I stare at my wall clock and saw that it was 15 past 8 o'clock, who could that be? I go downstairs, certain that Nobunaga is still in his room. I open the door and for a second I felt my heart stop beating.
"You." I gasp.
:O thanks for the support everyone! I'll make the next chapter work. Hope you enjoyed!
Chapter 8: Unexpected visitor