Author's note: This piece really means a lot to me and I am trying my hardest to make it the best that it can... Show full author's note »
Chapter 1Chapter 1
“Amara! Let’s go! We can’t be late!” My mom was screaming at me from the bottom of the main staircase leading to our grand foyer.
“I’ll be right there mom!” I yell back, checking myself for the third time in my bathroom mirror. God. She really knows how to stress someone out early in the morning.
I grab my cheer bag and my cell phone and go downstairs. I run in to my six year old brother and accidently knock him down.
“Ugh. Sorry Alex.” I said, barely stopping to make sure he’s okay. “Are you okay?” I ask as I keep running down the stairs.
“Yeah, Amara. I’m fine,” Alexander says as he follows me down the stairs.
“Sorry, bud. I was just in a hurry.” I said to him and ruffle his hair. Alex just rolls his eyes at me and pushes me aside. “Love you too,” I mumble.
“Amara! Let’s go!” My mom screams at me again.
“Mom! I’m right here! No need to yell.” I yell, and grab my water bottle off the counter.
“Sorry, I just don’t want to be late. We still have to decorate the float and make sure we get a good spot. We don’t want Mary getting mad.” My mom came rushing into the kitchen, cleaning up a few things before grabbing her car keys.
My mom was right, though. My cheer coach, Mary, is always uptight on parade days. We don’t want to make it worse by showing up late, especially when my dad drives the “float” that all the cheerleaders walk behind.
“Aren’t the football players going to be there this week? Since it’s the biggest parade of the year?” I ask, stuffing a bagel in my mouth.
“Yes, honey. That’s why we need to be there early. I think the football coach has a fire truck coming for them to ride in.” My mom said, stopping for a moment to look at me. “You look beautiful, Amara.”
“Thanks mom.” I said. I wanted to look cute today, for this parade, because I knew the football players were going to be there. I didn’t really know most of them because I never made a point of talking to them, but this school year was going to be different. So, I wanted to make a good “first” impression.
“Jack? Is the car ready, hun?” My mom asked my dad.
“Yes, Melanie, everything is ready. I just need people in the car!” My dad, clarified. Even my dad can be a little stressed out on parade days.
“Amara, do you have the streamers and paint ready to decorate the car? You might need some tape too, because I think Mary is bringing signs for us to hang up,” My dad said to me.
“Yeah, I do. It’s all ready.” I ensured.
“Okay, then let’s go! People in the car now!” My dad yelled.
My parents, Alex, and I all piled in the car and my dad backed out of the driveway. It was only a five minute drive to the parade, so my family didn’t talk much.
When people mention parents who are involved in the cheerleading program at my school, my parents are always mentioned first. My parents do everything to make sure that my cheerleading experience in the best.
I have been cheering since I was in sixth grade and my parents have supported me the whole way through. My best friend, Ava, and I have cheered for the past six years together and both of our parents are always helping out. This year is probably the last year my parents are going to “run” this cheer program. They want to actually watch some of my season and relax before I go off to college. I’ve still got a year, since I’m starting my junior year, but they are just planning ahead.
Being captain for the past three years also brings attention to my family. Ava and I have been captains together since we were freshmen at East Land High School. Without sounding bitchy, all the younger cheerleaders know who we are before they meet us.
Ava and I aren’t typical slutty cheerleaders though. Neither of us have had a serious boyfriend before. Well, I did in eighth grade, but I barely count that.
Did I mention how our school hates cheerleaders? At most schools, cheerleaders are the prom queens and at the top of the food chain, but at our school, we are the dead center of the food chain. We aren’t discriminated against like some people expect, but we definitely don’t get to talk to the football boys on a regular basis. That’s why today’s parade is so important. My days of not talking to football players is over.
I’m sitting with a satisfied grin on my face when my family pulls into the parade line. There are very few people here, that’s how early my family is. My dad stops the car and we all get out.
I take a deep breath before I open my door. Parades are always hectic with Mary as a coach. Everything has to be perfect, so I’m just bracing myself.
“Amara, honey! Will you bring me some tape?” My dad yelled at me.
“Yeah, dad. One second!” I yelled. I took one last breath before opening my door.
I gasped and was thinking about closing my door when I saw what was waiting for me outside. The first thing I saw was a boy face down in the ditch and I already knew today was going to be a long day.