I dive into the water and feel the cool rush and the oh-so-familiar feeling that I get every time I race. It's exhilarating, it's different, it's fun, and it's mine. It's simple, just swim from one side of the pool to the other. Except there's a trick, you gotta do it faster than anyone else if you want to be the best. I feel myself closing in on the wall after my last turn. A burst of energy balls up inside of me and I push my body to its limits. I don't dare to look beside me for I would waste too much time, besides, I shouldn't worry. I got this. As I push hard into the wall and feel my body collide against it, I look up at the board for my times. I see it, S. Lopez, right there with a 1 next to it. I should be happy, this was a Junior National Championship after all, but to me, it just felt like another race.
I get out of the water and automatically feel the sun against my already tan skin. I accept congratulations. A few hours later, after a few more races, I change in the locker room. I've done it a million times. Every time though, I am surrounded; surrounded by girls, definitely not ashamed of their muscular bodies. It's all out there. Try as I might, I can't help sneaking a peek, looking. I can't stop looking at them. It's normal though, right? I have a boyfriend, it's fine. Every girl wants to just look at other girls bodies; everyone wants to see what they look like. Right?
I looked at my schedule for my senior year at William McKinley High School. Coming down from an intense summer swimming season was nothing compared to my class load this year. Trying to keep up with a million different clubs while still trying to keep grades up to graduate as valedictorian come May. It was how it was supposed to be...
My parents always told me that they came to the United States to make a name for themselves; to put their mark on society and negate the stereotype of Latin American and Hispanics here. After meeting in medical school in Mexico, they moved here and after tons of crappy jobs, they finally found a great place here in Lima and climbed the career ladder. They wanted their children to grow up in the best possible environment and to also make a name for themselves. So growing up, I always felt the need to be perfect; to adhere to their wishes in creating the perfect family. I needed to have perfect grades, be perfect at sports, look perfect, everything I did needed to be perfect. After 18 years, I did feel perfect.
Swimming is where I held all my confidence. I felt happy in the water and, as I grew up, I gradually started to swim more and more. I tried out many other sports; volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, soccer, and even gymnastics. I was decent at some of them but they never gave me the thrill that swimming did. The freedom I felt in the water. Eventually I became very dedicated in swimming and swam on the club team in middle school, going to swim meets weekends after weekends. I was dedicated and disciplined. What started out as a six year old taking swimming lessons at the Lima YMCA turned into a girl who had gotten numerous national and state championships.
It was also a plus that I didn't look like the stereotypical swimmer, tall and lean. I was shorter and I actually had boobs so I was always the surprise when I would beat all these other huge swimmers that had 10% body fat. That feeling was exhilarating. All these girls would size me up and scoff until I whooped them in the pool. But I always stayed modest and true to myself, I was never really about showing off.
My driving force behind swimming was one of my teammates and my rival, Quinn Fabray. Really though, we were one in the same. We've been going to swim meets together for years and this year we were co-captains of the high school team. We were both ranked in the top 10 senior recruits which is so coincidental to have two great athletes going to the same school. If you lined up all of our accolades and everything we've both done in swimming, we'd be almost identical, with the exception of the events that we do. I'm a freestyler, sprint or mid-distance and a backstroker. Quinn is an IM, breast, and backstroker. However, since we both do back stroke, we are constantly against each other. At the Ohio state championships last year, she came in second to my first. We had both broke the state record but mine would go down in the books. It killed her especially because in the prelims, she swam faster than me. It didn't matter that she had beaten me the summer before in the same event at a national swim meet, she wanted the high school title.
I didn't hate her but I was so close, she hated me so it wasn't hard to return the favor and we definitely had our differences. However, we're on the same club team and we often go to meets together and we learned to push them aside. There are just many times though, where my life would be so much easier without her.
Even though I practiced and studied for hours on end, I found time to have a love life. My boyfriend, Noah Puckerman and I have been dating since the beginning of sophomore year. He wasn't the perfect guy but he was kind to me.
But then my perfect life didn't seem so perfect anymore. I questioned everything that I knew about myself and my life.
To keep my grades at a superior level, I was in and out of classrooms in the mornings, when I didn't have meetings. It was only a month into my senior year and this was already the second essay due in my honors English class. I had finished my rough draft and I wanted a paragraph reviewed. I walked in to the classroom at the same time as a sophomore, Allie, was walking out.
Allie saw me. "Hey there, Santana! We have a stucco meeting tomorrow right?"
"Yes! Remember to think of incentives for the fundraiser. See you there!"
I walked into Mrs. Hansen's classroom and saw the new student teacher, Miss. Pierce sitting at Hansen's desk. She was from the prestigious Lima University, one of the top colleges in Ohio and nationally ranked as one of the best private universities in the country.
She saw me, "You're student body president?"
"No, I'm vice."
"I was president my senior year, it's a big responsibility."
"Yeah, it is. I actually want to make a difference this year; I don't want this to just be something to add to my activities list. But, it's just high school."
She shrugged. "You can still make a difference."
I smiled. "I can sure try. Where's Mrs. Hansen?"
"She's going to be gone today and the sub just walked out. Do you need help with something?" She stands up from the desk and walks over to that desk that I stopped at.
"Uhh, yeah. Do you mind reading this paragraph from the 'Cause and Effect' essay? It's about the cause and effect of eating disorders."
I sensed just a slight change in her disposition. "Uh, sure, no problem."
I handed Miss. Pierce my essay and pointed to the paragraph I needed her to read. I watched as her eyes moved across the paper. She hadn't been here that long, probably since last week. I hadn't really noticed how stunning she was. She was the kind of pretty where she didn't have to try. She didn't have to put on tons of makeup to look pretty. She had soft facial features with piercing pretty blue eyes. Her flowing blonde hair fell perfectly down her torso. She's taller than me and her legs were killer. She was extremely toned and confident with herself. She had definitely had a great fashion sense; it was professional but stylish. Today, she was wearing a skirt and blouse tucked in with an extravagant necklace. I knew that my class really liked to talk with her; she was very personable and charismatic.
"Santana?" I was suddenly snapped out of my trance. I hope she hadn't caught me creeping.
"Yeah, sorry, it was a long night."
"I hear ya," she says with a nod and points to my essay. "This paragraph's really good. I think you could reword this sentence right here." She pointed to an underlined sentence. "And—" The bell interrupted, signifying the start of the day, "your signal phrases could be less rigid. I'd love to read the rest of it sometime. Your writing is superb."
"Thank you so much." I think for a second. "I don't have swim practice tell later on this afternoon; I can come in after school, if that's okay with you..?"
"Yeah, that sounds perfect. See you in class. Have a good day."
"You too, Miss. Pierce."
I waved to the substitute, as she was just walking in. As I left the classroom and walked to my first class, I felt different. I couldn't explain it.
And that was the morning that changed my whole life.
This is my very first fan fiction and I hope that it's good. Please leave a review to let me know what you think of it so far!