One shot, AxA (summary in author's note)
Track and Field
By: Lily of the North
The air was cold and brisk that morning. The stadium had begun to fill; it was one hour before the start of the meet. This was it, the national high school track and field championships.
Archie stood at the top of the bleachers looking down at the athletes filling in from all over the country; the rumble of the crowd became louder. Archie knew he had to focus, his whole school was expecting him to return with a gold medal around his neck. He himself expected to win; he was the best in his school, and placed first in both his events at the provincials. He looked at the clock, one hour until the first event. He started to make his way down the bleachers to start warm-up.
He was so focused that he didn’t realize he was about to walk right into a girl making her way up.
They collided; the girl lost her balance and began to fall backwards. Archie realizing what he had done immediately reached out and grabbed her arm, saving her from falling down the flight of stairs.
“Sorry about that” Archie said looking at her. There is something really familiar about her, where have I seen her before?
Before him was a girl about fifteen or sixteen years old. Rather short, but with bright red dyed hair. She had a kind smile on her face, and giggled.
“Naw, it was my fault, I’m a real klutz, but thanks for saving my neck.” She rubbed the back of her neck looking down at the stairs that might have snapped it in two. She passed him and continued on her way up until she reached a small group Archie assumed to be the rest of her school team.
He continued on his way down, he couldn’t shake the feeling of familiarity of the girl. He could have sworn that he had seen her before. He ran his warm-up around the track. Head up, breath, long strides he reminded himself as he ran. He caught a glimpse of bright red in the stands. He turns his head to seen the mystery girl watching him run. He watched her get up and jogged down the steps. She reached the bottom and waited until Archie came near before she had started to run.
“Hey again” She said cheerily
“Hey yourself” Archie replied back to her
“So… what’cha here for?” She asked keeping pace with him
“To run, you know, just like everyone else here” he said sarcastically
“No” She laughed, “I mean what events?”
“3000m, and the 5000m”
“Me to” Archie looked over at her. A warm smile greeted him when he looked her in the face. “Atlanta” she stopped and extended her hand to his. He took it “Archie”. “Hey, I’ll catch you later” She waved and jogged of back towards the stands. Archie picked up his pace again.
The clock now read half an hour to the start. Anticipation filled Archie to the brim. He had to get her out of his mind, he had to concentrate, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t get the thoughts of him out of his head. He decided to call it quits. He mad his way up to his bag, it was next to the bag of the only other kid from his school that had made the team. He pulled out his ipod and started to play music to pump him up for his event.
An hour passed, and the loud speaker blew:/ All 3000m runners please report to the starting area to be marshaled, I repeat, all 3000m runners, please report to the starting area for marshaling./ His teammate taped him on the shoulder and Archie took the earphones from his ears and made the walk down to the starting gate. The walk seemed longer than it really was. The pressure began to build within him.
Being marshaled was always the worst part, the waiting, the anticipation. It makes many sick. He stretched to keep his blood moving. A light tap fell on his shoulder.
“Good luck” Atlanta presented her pinky to him. Archie gave her an inquisitive look. “It’s a thing we do on our team before each race, for good luck” He still looked at her, blank faced. She laughed. “Here” she took his pinky and entwined it with her own and made one downward motion, as if it where shaking hands. “You to” he replied before breaking the pinky bond.
“Senior men’s 3000m foot race to the starting gates” The starter raised his gun. The boys all in a group huddled behind the white line.
The pistle went off, and Archie bolted forward. Breath in, Breath out he thought to himself. He lengthened his stride and quickened his pace. Only one was near enough to pass, and he was gaining distance. Archie pushed himself harder but was losing strength.
“Go Archie Go” out of the corner of his eye he could see Atlanta cheering him on. He pushed on harder. 400m to go, one lap. I can do it. Him and the second runner where now at least 200m ahead of the next pack. “Go Archie” He herd her voice again and it gave him a new wind, he was breathing heavily, sprinting to the finish line, neck and neck with his competitor. They where both pushing themselves to a new height that neither of them had ever reached. 10m, it was in his grasp…
He crossed the finish line, and looked up at the scoreboard that showed the results of the close photo finish. He had lost; one hundredth of a second separated him from his gold medal.
“Good race” His adversary extended his hand. “Yeah, you to”
He was now standing on the podium as the senior girls race started. He wished they would hurry up, he wanted to cheer for his newfound friend, but by the time they had placed upon the last medal, the race was over. Atlanta had won. He passed her as she walked towards the podium. “Congratulations” he managed to escape, he was still exhausted. All Atlanta could manage was a nod of the head.
The races progressed until the 5000m were being marshaled at the gates. The gun went of again, and again, his only competition was the guy who had won the 3000m. Determined to beat him, Archie pushed forward, gaining a steady lead. 1600m mark, 1200m mark, 800m mark, they where all running together, then the final lap approached. Archie sprinted with all his gut, and was ahead by 10m. He could see the line that had escaped him the first time around. It was their right in front of him, his foot crossed the line, he made it, he looked up. He was three seconds ahead of the next guy. He couldn’t believe the rush he was feeling.
You guys wanna come? Archie asked. “Sure why not, oh wait we wouldn’t be interrupting you’re date?” It was a guy that looked vaguely familiar, with blond hair and a black and white shirt. “What? No, the more the merrier, come on” Atlanta beckoned.
The flashback hit Archie. What was that about? He thought to himself.
This time he made it a point to watch Atlanta’s race. She lined up at the gates, and they where off! She launched ahead of the pack, her pace was fast, she finished the first 2500m with an incredible split time. She was almost a blur on the track; she had lapped the slowest of the runners. She was nearing the finish line; no one was even close to challenging her. She crossed at 14:58.43.
“We have a new Olympic qualifier! A new Olympic qualifier! Congratulations Atlanta of Willowbrooks Secondary” the speakers boomed.
A crowed was now huddling around Atlanta; everyone was hoisting her up into the air.
The day was drawing to a close, and Archie knew he should be happy, a gold medal around his neck. He only wished he could have maybe gotten to know Atlanta better, he still couldn’t shake the feeling that he knew her from somewhere. Someone had tapped his shoulder, he spun around.
It was Atlanta. “Congratulations of the whole Olympic thing” he said
“Thanks” she was looking directly into his eyes now “you know, II don’t know why, but all day, I kept on thinking that I’ve met you somewhere before.”
Archie started to walk forward, Atlanta followed him. He didn’t get it; he had the same feeling of déjà vu, but was positive that they had not met before. “Really? I had the exact same feeling”
“Hey do you mind if I ask you a question?” she had an odd look on your face
“Yeah go ahead”
“When I say the name Zeus, what is the very first thing that comes to mind?”
Archie knew that Zeus was the king of the gods, but for some reason the first thing that came to his mind was “Janitor” he whispered, half to himself.
“I thought you might say that” A wide smile kept across her face now. “You wanna go grab some coffee?”
“Race you their?”
Ok, so short little one shot, hoped you liked it. Tell me what you thought.