An Owed Thank You

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An Owed Thank You


"Lendal high school, you're in lane 7, heat 2." The organizer of the race pointed to me.

Nodding, I took my place in line. The 100m dash always draws a big crowd; of both racers and an audience.

My heart beat faster as the first heat of grade 11 and 12 girls took off.

I'm next.

Taking a look at the girls beside me, I figured I'd have a good chance of placing third.

Shaking off any nerves rushing through my body, I practiced taking off from my block. I had to set and reset it a few times before it felt just right.

The crowd of people watching from the fence beside the track were buzzing with excitement as the announcer started the race.

"On your marks." All noises came to a stop. The other 7 girls and I took our places on our blocks, being careful not to move.

"Get set." The nervousness from everyone floated around me.

The cap gun shot sent me flying forwards as the race started.

The other girls foot steps thumped behind me, but I didn't dare slow down.

The girl in lane 3 was only a few steps ahead of me. Keeping my focus on her, I almost caught up before the finish line.

The crowd was screaming and cheering for the girls still coming in behind as the winner mouthed 'good race' to me. Smiling, I knew I'd done better than I originally thought.

Handing in my sticker with my name, school, and grade on it, I hoped I beat my fastest time.

"Chels! You did so good!" One of my school's track team members attacked me in a hug once I was off the track.

Taken off guard, I stumbled and fell as the girl let go of me.

While I laid on the ground with people staring and other's asking if I was alright, I knew something was wrong with my ankle.

"Holy crap," I sat on my butt still, "I can't get up." Instead of crying, I felt like laughing.

The girl Amber who gave me the surprise hug instantly was at my side trying to help me up.

"I am so sorry." She kept shaking her head as she said it.

"Don't worry about it. It doesn't hurt that bad." I bit down on my lip to hide the pain I felt.

Once Amber had me standing, the shock and pain that came with hurting your ankle set in and it hurt real bad.

"I'm going to need some help." She looked around for anyone else she knew.

My eyes were shut to focus on staying standing.

"Oh, Terran!" Amber yelled at another boy from our school, "Can you give me a hand?"

After explaining that I might have just sprained my ankle, Terran helped Amber hold me up as I hopped to the first aid tent. The school hosting the track meet was in charge of first aid.

Amber and Terran sat me down on a chair under the tent before anyone could ask what was wrong.

"Thanks." I squeezed the arm rests of the chair.

I listened to Amber once again explain to the teacher and two students under the tent what happened.

"Chelsea, is it?" The teacher asked me. I nodded. "I'm Mr.Bell."

"She looks really pale." One of the students helping out whispered.

"Thanks." I shot him a look to let him know I heard. His buddy laughed at him.

Mr.Bell shooed them out for a minute so he could focus.

"Amber, right?" He looked at her, "Could you and your friend go let your coach know that Chelsea is with me."

Smiling and nodding, Terran and Amber left me alone with Mr.Bell.

"Your shoe needs to come off," He propped my foot up on a stool, "Can you do that for me?"

I felt like I moved in slow-motion as I untied and carefully removed my running shoe and sock.

Wincing from both pain and embarrassment that my foot might smell, I leaned back in the chair again.

"How does this feel?" Mr.Bell applied a bag of ice to my ankle after taking some time to look it over.

"Really good."

"It looks to me like you've sprained it pretty bad, but it's hard to tell with all of the swelling. I'm gonna keep the ice on it for 15 minutes and we'll see what it looks like then."

All kinds of thoughts flooded my head about not being able to race again at the next meet if I place in the 100m.

"Emerson? Archie?" He called for the students he had kicked out.

The boy who laughed at my snippy comment poked his head in.

"Where's Archie?" Mr.Bell frowned.

"He went to get food." Emerson shrugged, walking in to sit in a chair across from me.

"I need you to stay here with Chelsea while I go talk to her coach. Make sure the ice comes off in 10 minutes if I'm not back yet."

"What happened?" Emerson asked before I could shut my eyes to rest.

"A girl from my school jumped on me to give me a hug after my race and I fell down."

"She's not your friend?"

"That's all you took from that story?" I laughed for the first time since falling.

"So you fell down because a girl who don't really know attacked you with a hug?"

"Pretty much."

"And that was after you ran a race?" Emerson was staring at my ice-covered foot.

"Yup."

"At least you got to run before you hurt your foot." He smiled, pleased to have found a good side of what happened, "You ran in the second heat for the 100m, didn't you?"

"Yeah," I nodded, "How'd you know?"

"I can see the races from here." He leaned back in his chair to check out the track. "Did you pass that girl at the end? I couldn't see."

"No, she was only a step ahead of me though."

A friendly, nice kind of silence fell over the tent.

"I'm Emerson by the way." He smiled, looking back over at me.

"I caught that." I laughed, "And as you know, I'm Chelsea."

"I'm Archie." The other student wandered in, a hamburger and fries in hand. "Nice to meet you, gorgeous."

I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing.

"I'm sorry," I couldn't contain it any longer, "But did you just call me gorgeous?"

"Why? Like it, girlie?" I looked behind Archie at Emerson who was fake gagging.

"If laughing at how stupid you sound means I like it, then yeah." I burst out laughing again.

"Ouch." He put a hand over his heart, "That hurts, babe."

"Oh get over yourself." I glared, realizing that if my ankle wasn't hurt I'd have walked away from him by bow.1

Sending me a wink, Archie turned his attention to Emerson.

"Dude, there's this all girls school here. You should come with me over to their tent."

"I've gotta stay here." Emerson looked over to me.

"To watch her?" Archie looked at me too, "Aw, come on. She's to much trouble. Let's go."

Emerson continued to say no and Archie finally took the hint and left.

"Is he always like that?" I asked Emerson.

"Nah, not at school anyways. At track meets and stuff he always pretends to be some kind of player."

"It doesn't really work for him." I laughed.

"Yet he keeps trying." Emerson laughed with me.

"Are you guys friends then?"

"Nope, we just both signed up to help with the first aid tent. I actually know some first aid. I think he did it to flirt with injured girls."

"Because they can't run away from him then." I grinned, making Emerson chuckle.

A timer on the table buzzed.

"I think that's to take off the ice." Emerson jumped up to shut it off.

"Oh, right." I sat forward to take it off my swollen ankle.

Mr.Bell stepped under the tent at that moment.

"How's it feeling?" He bent down to take a better look.

"Frozen."

"Well it's not quite as swollen- which is good." He straightened up, "I think we should wrap it up and you'll have to avoid walking on it until you can have it properly checked out. We have a set of crutches you can borrow and send back later."

I watched as Emerson and Mr.Bell dug around for tape and a tensor bandage.

He let Emerson wrap up my ankle while he set the crutches to the appropriate height.

"Emerson, walk with her to her tent."

Doing as he was told, Emerson carried my shoe and walked beside me as I crutched along.

"You don't have to come the whole way." I let him know half way to the tent.

"It's cool." He smiled, continuing to walk at a very slow pace beside me.1

Once at the tent, kids bombarded me with questions- some of which weren't even about my ankle.

Somebody gave me a camping chair to sit in. I tried answering all of the questions, but some of them were just silly.

Emerson disappeared soon after dropping me off, leaving me to feel bad because I never got to thank him.

As I sat, I wondered where he had gone and how much time until we left.

Lucky for me, I only had to wait half an hour before it was time to load the bus.

I let everyone get on the bus before me because I had no idea how long I'd take.

Once on, I swore I saw Emerson standing at the concession.

--------------------

The week after hurting my ankle, Amber still apologized everyday for what happened.

It didn't bother me too much. I mean, she really did feel bad.

I still felt like I owed Emerson a thank you, but I knew I wouldn't get a chance to anytime soon- even with his school only a few blocks away.

Using my crutches, I made my way down the hallways after school.

"Chelsea Lemming to the office please, Chelsea Lemming." The secretary's voice came over the speaker system.

Sighing, I took my bag from my locker and headed towards the office.

"A friend of yours is outside." The secretary let me know.

Slightly curious, I hobbled out the front doors of the school.

"Emerson?" He was just standing there.

"I thought maybe I'd already missed you." He didn't even say hello.

"With my crutches, I can't leave school very fast." I laughed. "I've wanted to talk to you since last week." I spoke almost to fast.

"For what?" He smiled.

"I never got to thank you for helping me out."

"Not a problem," Emerson rubbed his arm, "I've actually wanted to talk to you too."

"For a different reason, I'm guessing." I grinned at him.

"Yeah," He chuckled, "I just wanted to ask if you maybe wanted to go out with me this weekend?"1

"Like on a date?"

"Yeah."

"With my crutches?"

"We don't have to do it this weekend. I mean, I can wait." Emerson's nervousness made me smile.

"I'm just messing with you," I adjusted how I was standing, "I'm fine to go out with crutches."

"We just won't race." He joked, laughing at me.

"We'll see about that." I tried to glare at him, "I'm sure I could figure out a way to beat you."+

"Sure." Emerson laughed, shaking his head at me. "I'm sure you could."




 


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