When the bell for second hour rang, we all rushed to the exit, but Coach Caskey stopped me before I could escape. “Hang back for a minute, Miss Cohen. We need to talk.”
Before she could say anything, I tried to cut her off. “I know I've been missing a lot of practices. There's just been a lot going on at home. I'm sorry.”
“Yes, yes. I'm well aware of the unfortunate demise of your parents. That's none of my business, and it doesn't concern me.” She stood up from her desk and started writing lists on the whiteboard at the front of the class. She stopped mid-instruction and finished her thought. “What I care most about in this circumstance is the varsity cheerleading team. And the fact that my captain is M.I.A.”
“Maybe I shouldn't be captain, then.” Shockingly, it was the first time I’d expressed that desire out loud. It wasn't who I was ever meant to be, and it certainly wasn't who I wanted to be my last year of high school.
“You've got to be freaking kidding me.” Those weren't her exact words, but I think you can fill in the blanks. “Over my dead body. You will not quit on your team if I have anything to say about it.”
“I think I should have more of a say in it than you do.” Her eyes could have exploded out of her eye sockets at that moment. “Respectfully, of course, Coach Caskey. Ma’am.” I was almost certain that was the wrong thing to say to her.
“You do, do you?” Random students filed into the classroom and sat in their seats. They could see the anger in Coach Caskey’s eyes and gawked at us while she continued to berate me. She was probably waiting for me to respond, but I felt as though I'd said all I needed to. “Well, we will see about that, Miss Cohen. Make it to practice after school today, or I'll make you regret your little outburst. That's all I have to say.”
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