So let's talk about feedback! I want to know what you guys think of June, because she's not your typical Mary-Sue OC, right? :) Does she deserve Rev or do you think Walker suits her just fine? Review and tell me! Constructive criticism is always welcomed! I'd rather have someone tell me how to improve instead of just complimenting me!
Yes, this chapter is much shorter than the previous but has a new twist in it which I think you guys will find exciting! I'm really enjoying writing this and I can't wait to start getting to the football games! Again, REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW! You'll make my little heart dance with joy if you do! Thank you for those who have taken the time to do so. Now, on with the chapter!
Oh, all that I know,
There's nothing here to run from,
'Cause yeah, everybody here's got somebody to lean on
~"Don't Panic" by Coldplay
"Titans got the power! Titans got the heat! Titans got the spirit to knock you off your feet!"
June carefully positioned herself in front of the row of girls, doing a backwards flip and gracefully landing in a split that made her wince. The squad had been rehearsing every day after school for the past two weeks. There were only fourteen girls, but including June and Kelly, only six of them were white. The squad was half the size of what it was last year mainly because most of the girls' mothers wouldn't let them cheer on the same squad as colored girls.
"Get off our field!" "Go back to where you came from!"
A group of boys were standing by the entrance to the stadium, pointing and laughing at Regina and two of her friends. A policeman saw them, scaring them off with a wave of his badge, but their jeers echoed around the field until they were well out of sight. Regina's face was scrunched up into a scowl as she faced the squad.
"Alright girls," she cried, clearing her throat, "One more time! One, two, ready, go!"
The run went smoothly, white and black girls cheering next to each other with little conflict, but when the girls split into groups for lifting the segregation became evident. June helped hoist Kelly into the air with the other white girls on the squad, nearly screaming their cheers as she positioned and twirled herself in the air.
June jumped, nearly dropping Kelly as she landed in her teammate's arms. Liz was marching across the field, a grown on her face as she neared them.
"Regina," she said, putting her hands on her hips. "This isn't what we discussed yesterday."
The captain stepped forward, looking around at the separated girls and shrugged her shoulders. "There's not much I can do. If they don't want to interact, then that's just fine with me."
"I agree," June said, stepped forward as well. "It's bad enough we lost half the squad to the integration. We did what they wanted, I mean, we're all on the same field and not killing each other yet. Don't make us mix."
Liz cocked her head to the side, studying them both. "I don't understand this squad," she said, now addressing all the girls. "For the past few weeks the football team has come together but we're still struggling to even speak to one another!"
June and Regina quickly glanced at each other, averting their eyes almost as soon as they made eye contact. The rest of the girls were looking at Liz, not quite sure how to respond.
"Myers, Simmons, I want you two in the same group. Johnson, Peters, and Gawn can join you." With a flip of her red hair, she began yelling at the other girls to get in groups for lifting. Suzanne Johnson and Chanel Gawn were two colored girls June had see hanging around with Regina searlier, who she assumed were her close friends. Lily Peters was a junior who had cheered next to June all last season. She towered over the rest of the girls, standing at a solid 5'11". She almost wasn't let onto the squad but June convinced Liz she'd be great for spotting.
They all stood in a circle, facing each other. Lily had her arms crossed as she stared at Regina who was deep in thought.
"June," she said at last, "Suzanna, Chanel, and I will lift you. Lily'll spot you, alright?"
"Why do I have to be lifted?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips. "Gawn is definitely lighter than I am!"
Regina grabbed her arm, pulling her off to the side. "Lay off!" June exclaimed, ripping her arm from her grasp once they were behind the bleachers.
"What's your problem?" Regina growled, leaning against the ticket counter.
"My problem?" June hissed, taking a threatening step forward. "I don't know, maybe I was the most qualified to be cheerleading captain and suddenly the school district thinks some black trash can take it away from me!"
Anger flickered across Regina's dark eyes. The angry expression on June's face turned to shock as Regina slapped her. She held a hand to her cheek, feeling it beginning to swell.
"What the he-"
"Listen," Regina threatened, coming so close to June their noses were almost touching. "I worked just as hard as you did for this position, probably even harder! I've spent years doing gymnastics in my backyard and lifting broken weights after school. I wasn't just handed this position out of the blue. I earned it and you just can't accept that fact!"
June was surprised that smoke wasn't billowing out of her nostrils. She had slapped her! And not only that, but she talked back to her!
"I could get you kicked off the squad for hitting me!" she cried, showing off the red mark on her cheek. Regina merely rolled her eyes before replying, "And I could get you kicked off the squad for not being a team-player! I don't have anything personal against you. If you hate me, fine, but just as long as you are on my squad you won't let a damn ounce of prejudice show when you are out there cheering."
She fell silent, breathing hard and watching June as she bit her lip, hands clenched into fists.
"I will catch you when we lift you," Regina said, tightening her ponytail and wiping sweat from her forehead. "You have to trust me. I want to be on this squad just as much as you do and this white and black shit isn't going to stop me from being on this team, if you can call it that." She paused long enough to hand June a handkerchief as a drop of blood fell from the corner of her mouth.
"Sorry I hit you," she said, lowering her voice. "Let's get back out there and get this over with."
June held the handkerchief to her face, the soft fabric soothing against her throbbing cheek. She was still angry, but she was glad to know they were both passionate about the squad and willing to fight their way against anyone who wanted to tear it apart. As they emerged from behind the bleachers, she quickly wiped all the blood from her mouth and shoved the handkerchief back into Regina's hands. The squad was silent, including Liz, as the two girls went back to their group and got into position.
"What happened to your face?" Lily asked. "Shut up," June replied, motioning for the girls to gather around her.
"What are y'all staring at?" Regina shouted at the rest of the squad who were motionless and wide-eyed. They began bustling about, girls being tossed and lifted in a matter of seconds. Regina, Chanel, and Suzanne all had their hands out, ready for June while Lily stood behind them. June took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment before opening them again and stepping onto their hands.
June had only been lifted a few times in her cheerleading experiences. By the end of her freshman year she was deemed too tall to be lifted, standing at 5'6", three inches over the school's limit. She tried to remember the proper form and positions to assume but it couldn't stop the shaking in her knee as she was lifted over the girls' heads.
"Titans are ready! Titans are smooth! Titans will take control and stomp all over you!"
She felt her heart leap into her throat as she was lowered slightly, giving her momentum as she was launched into the air. Her actions seemed to move in slow motion as she did a toe touch. Squeezing her eyes shut, she braced herself for impact with the turf as she began to fall back down, but four strong pairs of hands caught her. When she peeked one eye open, she was looking into Regina's dark ones.
"I told you I would catch you."