Chapter 8- Jingle Soccer, Jingle Soccer, Ballet All the Way
That word was pretty much the only thing on Conner’s mind as he dashed
through the High School in an attempt to find the building where his locker was.
I still can’t believe that on a day where I actually willingly
clean out my locker (or at least for winter break), I forget, out of all things, my soccer stuff.
He then came to a stop at one building and tried to open the door. Much
to his dismay, it was closed shut. He then looked inside through the window and saw no one inside. Then as he stepped back
he then noticed the building number on the window, which didn’t match the same as the building number he was looking
Great, and here I thought only Dr. O had the bad memory. Conner
thought to himself as he sighed and dashed toward the next building. It was now the week of midterms and for the past two
days everyone had been getting most, if not all of their stuff out of their lockers so when Wednesday (which was tomorrow)
Thursday, and Friday came around, all they would have to do is take their exams and then head home or go wherever. Fortunately
Conner’s last practice for the semester was last Friday, so he didn’t have much to worry about, or so he thought
for when he had gotten home later in the afternoon, he had completely forgotten that he had left his soccer bag in his locker.
He tried to remember to pick it up yesterday, but as usual, he forgot like before. Now a while after school let out for today,
he and some other of his soccer teammates hooked up to do a makeshift game and talk for a bit before heading off to do some
last-minute cramming before midterms and such. Conner had just gotten to his Mustang when an alarm sort of went off in his
head and he realized that he hadn’t gone back to get his soccer stuff, for he and the guys played their scrimmage in
their regular clothes. Cursing to himself, Conner put his backpack in his car and took off back towards the high school. At
one point he considered using his gem power to get around faster, but then he remembered the cameras placed around the High
school for security reasons so he decided to do it the old-fashioned way.
Now as he was at the second building he came to Conner looked at the building
number and saw that it was in fact the one that he was looking for. Desperate, he began to bang his fist on the glass, hoping
that a teacher or even a janitor was inside.
Please, let there be someone in there…
Suddenly one of the classroom doors opened up and out stepped one of the
teachers. Conner recognized her instantly as his history teacher Miss Parker and banged on the glass even louder, hoping that
it would catch her attention.
When the teacher heard the banging sounds she turned in the direction the
noise was coming from and saw a young man banging on the glass incessantly. Puzzled, she walked over to the doors and opened
“I don’t suppose you could tell me why you’re banging
on the glass like a drum, would you Mr. McKnight?”
“Look, I’m really sorry about that Miss Parker; it’s
just that I left my soccer stuff in my locker and I just need a minute or two to get them out.”
Miss Parker looked at him skeptically. “Only for a minute or two?”
“Yeah, that’s all I need. You can even watch me, just to make
Miss Parker sighed. “All right, come in.”
As soon as he was inside Conner made a mad dash for his locker. Once he
got to it he quickly opened it and snagged his soccer bag out. Once he hitched it across his left shoulder he made to close
his locker door and headed out the building when Miss Parker stopped him.
“Uh, excuse me, Mr. McKnight?”
Conner turned around and saw his history teacher pointing towards his locker,
which wasn’t closed all the way.
“Oops,” Conner said as he walked back over to his locker and
closed it completely.
“Now I’m as anxious for Winter Break as badly as you, but good
grief, don’t be too hasty.” Miss Parker advised.
“Well, thanks Miss Parker, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.”
Miss Parker smiled. “Good luck on your exams tomorrow, Conner. And
“Merry Christmas.” Conner replied as he headed out the door,
but this time at a not so fast pace.
All right, now to get out of here.
Conner had just passed the outdoor benches by the cafeteria and was just
making his way to the parking lot when he heard a voice from nearby.
“What? Oh, man…And it just broke down a few minutes ago?”
Conner turned in the direction of where the voice was coming from and saw
Krista sitting on a cafeteria table talking into a cell phone.
“No, it’s all right, it’s not your fault. I’ll
just have to get a hold of Miss Dawson somehow and tell her what’s going on. In the meantime, call dad and he’ll
contact Pep Boys, hopefully it can get fixed. All right, bye.”
“Oh, hi Conner.” Krista replied as she put her cell phone back
in her pocket.
“Hi,” Conner said as he saw a somewhat discouraged look on
her face. “Is everything all right?”
Krista sighed. “Well, aside from my brother’s car breaking
down just as he was on his way to pick me up, no.”
Now since Conner already suspected as to where Krista was going he was
on the verge of asking her if she was heading to Cosmos, but for once he decided to hold his tongue and not say anything about
it. However, he knew he couldn’t just stand there like an idiot and not say anything.
“So how are you doing?” Krista asked.
“Well, I had to rush back here to get my soccer stuff.” Conner
replied. “‘Cause I sure as hell wasn’t going to pick it up tomorrow.”
“Yeah, usually after exams finish for the day nobody likes to stick
“That’s for sure.” Conner agreed as he saw Krista’s
face turn a little solemn.
“Look, I don’t mean to…what’s the word I’m
looking for-I don’t mean to…impose or anything like that, but…do you need a ride to Co-I mean…”
Conner, come on, quit stammering!
“…would you like for me to give you a ride to wherever you
need to go?”
“Well, if you have someplace you need to go to…”
Conner cut in. “Oh no, I don’t. I was…just wondering…”
Damn it, what the hell’s wrong with me?
Krista grew thoughtful, then after a few moments a small smile started
to grow across her face. “Well, actually…sure, why not?”
For some reason, Conner felt like breathing out very heavily. “Oh,
okay. Great. Come on.”
“So where’s the rest of your posse?” Krista asked as
she and Conner walked to his Mustang.
Conner sighed. “They’re off doin’ some studying/Christmas
preparations of their own.” He replied. “Ethan’s working on some Christmas graphic thing for his mom, Trent’s
working on some painting for…someone, and Kira’s working on some songs that she’s going to be singing for
the party Hayley’s going to have at the cyber café next week.”
“Y’ know, I’m kind of surprised you hang out with those
“Why’s that?” Conner asked.
“Well…it’s just that you don’t strike me as somebody
who would normally hang out with guys like Trent, Ethan or even Kira.” Krista pointed out.
Conner sighed as he remembered the few moments in the beginning where
he had clashed with Ethan and Kira a few times. “Well, it’s true I normally wouldn’t have, but since we
have Dr. Oliver for 1st period he had sort of grouped us together, so we did kind of have to get used to each other whether
we wanted to or not. But then as time went by I guess you could say that we did end up becoming a group of sorts, even though
yeah, we still don’t have much in common on the personal side.” Well, aside from Rangering.
“Well, y’ know, in some ways, that actually is what sometimes
creates the ties that bind.” Krista said.
“What does?” Conner asked as he pulled out his keys and opened
the passenger door for Krista to get in.
“The differences between people,” Krista said as she waited
for Conner to get in his side of his car. “While they may not have much in common on the personal side, that doesn’t
stop them from having each other’s backs when it counts the most.”
“That’s true.” Conner said as he got in the driver’s
seat. “So where do you need to go to?”
“Cosmos Dance Academy.” Krista replied.
“Wait, aren’t they the ones who are doing that Christmas thing
at the convention center on the 18th?”
“Yeah, they are.” Krista replied. “Wait, how did you
Idiot! You were supposed to act like you didn’t know!
“Uhh…word-of-mouth, really.” Conner replied as he tried to stay nonchalant. “Plus I heard Dr. O’s
old ‘friend’ Kat say something about it while she was at the cyber café a few days ago.”
“So Miss Hillard is a friend of Dr. Oliver’s?”
“Well, he claims they were only ‘friends’.” Conner
“Well, that explains why they were together that time when that psycho
Elsa and those robot monsters crashed Hayley’s party.”
Oh, you don’t know the half of it, Krista. Conner thought.
“So what are you going to be doing in the show?”
“Well, we’re doing a new version of the old ballet classic
‘The Nutcracker’, and fortunately I got the chance to play the role of the lead girl Marie, so I’m having
a great time with that.”
“That’s great.” Conner replied. “Although…who’s
the one that’s going to play the Nutcracker dude?”
“Well, since we don’t have any guys in any of our classes Miss
Dawson said that she’d try to get her nephew to help, since he knows ballet as well.”
“Oh,” Conner tried to reply as casual as he could, though he
couldn’t help but feel a little bit uncomfortable seeing Krista dancing with some other guy. “Well, from what
you said it sounds like it’s going to be a pretty good show.”
“Oh yeah. It is a lot of work though, but it’s also a lot of
“Well, since it’s a ballet, how are your moves and…stuff?”
“Well, I’m making a lot more progress now than I did when I
just got started, so I’m doing pretty well. Plus Miss Hillard helps me out as much as possible, which is always a plus.”
Conner smiled and nodded.
“Y’ know, speaking of hanging out with teachers, sometimes
I see you, Ethan, Kira, and Trent hanging out with Dr. Oliver a lot. Not that I think it’s weird, but…what’s
the deal with that though?”
Conner smiled thoughtfully as he stopped at a red light. “Well…let’s
just say Dr. Oliver isn’t your typical High school teacher.”
Krista raised her eyebrows curiously. “How so?”
Oh, man…why do I get the feeling I said too much? “Well…just
trust me on this, out of all the teachers I’ve had these past three years, Dr. Oliver’s one in a million.
Plus it wasn’t too long ago that he was a teenager himself.”
“How old is he?”
“Uh-27, I think.”
“Hm.” Krista replied as she nodded thoughtfully.
Conner, you really need to learn when to keep your mouth shut
sometimes, dude. Conner thought to himself. Even if it’s to Krista.
For the next while they didn’t say much as they drove, just small
chit-chat as they listened to some music from Conner’s car radio. Eventually they showed up at the dance school.
“Is that it?” Conner asked Krista as they showed up on Jackson
Blvd. and pointed to a building that was just on the corner to the right.
“Yep.” Krista replied. “That’s the one.”
Once the light changed from red to green Conner then turned onto the street
and headed for the front of the building.
“And here, ladies and gentlemen is our final stop, Cosmos. Please
exit to the right and make sure to take all your personal belongings and thank you for choosing McKnight services for all
your travel needs.” Conner said in a mock announcer’s voice which made Krista laugh.
“Thanks a lot for the ride, Conner. I really appreciate it.”
Krista said as she unbuckled her seat belt and unlocked her door.
“Hey, anytime.” Conner replied sincerely. “If you ever
need a ride here or anyplace, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
Krista smiled. For a brief moment that Conner was looking at her he could
have sworn that her green eyes were sparkling somehow. Then Krista came closer to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Suddenly
Conner felt as if though he had turned several different shades of red in one second; along with feeling as if though he was
burning up in spite of the cold weather outside.
“Thanks.” Krista said as she picked up her backpack and gym
bag and stepped out of the car towards the front doors of the dance school. As she stepped out Conner noticed something fall
out of her backpack and fall in the passenger’s seat.
“Krista, wait!” Conner called out as he picked up the item
and stepped out of his car to give the piece of paper to her.
“Conner, what is it?”
“You dropped this.” Conner said as he handed her the paper.
“What’s this-?” Krista wondered as she looked at the
paper, but then realized she was looking at the blank side of it. She then turned it around and once he saw the other side
Conner then saw what it was.
It was a picture of, well, himself. Or put more specifically, him in his
full Red Ranger guise in a cool pose.
Whoa. Conner thought.
“Y’ know, you can mock me all you want, but I’m not ashamed
to have this picture.” Krista defended.
“Oh, I’m not about to,” Conner said. “But shouldn’t
you maybe keep him in your room or wherever girls put their idols in?”
“He’s not some idol, Conner.” Krista said firmly as she
placed the photo back in her backpack, this time checking to make sure all pockets were closed. “He’s…different.”
“Well, maybe…that should be all the more reason.”
“Oh, so you’re a Power Ranger expert all of a sudden?”
Krista asked sarcastically.
“No, but…look, from someone who’s had a few Keira Knightley
and Lindsay Lohan posters misplaced/lost, believe me, it’s better to keep your stuff someplace safe and someplace where
you won’t forget.”
Krista smirked. “Well, thanks. I’ll try to remember that.”
She said. “But that aside, again, thank you so much for the ride.”
Conner smiled. “No problem.”
“Well…see you later.”
As Krista entered the building Conner looked where she had been just before
she entered for a moment. Finally he came out of his trance and turned over to where his driver’s door was, since he
was standing in front of the passenger’s door. However, as he turned he found he couldn’t move.
What the hell-?
Then he looked where his left sleeve was and saw that the upper sleeve
was stuck in the upper part of the door. Conner swore as he tried to pry it off as best he could without getting it torn off,
but to no avail.
Oh great. Stuck to my car by a sleeve. Now that’s origina-wait
Conner then snuck a peak at the door handle and saw that the door lock
was up. Sighing heavily, Conner opened the door, releasing its grip on his long-sleeved shirt. Conner then locked the door
and slammed it shut before heading over to his driver’s side. Once he buckled up he then pulled out of the building’s
makeshift parking lot and hooked up back onto the main highway. Aside from the “stuck sleeve” episode Conner couldn’t
help but think about Krista, most importantly the photo that she had in her backpack.
“He’s not some idol. He’s…different.”
It’s funny. Conner thought to himself. She’s
not like any of the other girls I’ve known or even dated before, and for some reason…that seems to grab me somehow.
Don’t know why but it just does. And yet…she seems to be more interested in my Ranger half (without even knowing
it) and it bothers me. I mean, it can’t be that…no, no, that’s impossible. Come on Conner, don’t think
crazy stuff, dude. I mean, me? Jealous? That’s crazy.
Suddenly the image of Krista staring at the photo a little longingly unconsciously
popped up his mind.
Although…on the other hand, would her interest be a bad thing…or
a good thing?