Entry #31: Cinderella made all hell break loose.
~ The Cinderella Deception by Juliette Harving
“Bloody hell,” Beverly curses, as soon as Grady’s fist connects with the player’s face.
The player staggers back, but Grady immediately flies at him, punching him repeatedly, over and over again, unrelenting. The player’s teammates immediately come running to the rescue, but they’re warded off by the West High players, who promptly jump on them and beat the living daylights out of them.
“Stop it!” The West High soccer coach is yelling. “Stop everything at once!”
Nobody hears him.
It’s war. The entire West High team – players and reserves – are all on the field, having a massive fight with the other team. The students from both schools start to race down the bleachers, to participate in the fight on the field.
I stare in horror. I can barely react to anything.
I can’t believe this is happening. All that I had ever imagined Grady to be…I had said I could handle it.
But now I realise I can’t. I could handle it when Grady was blackmailing me, threatening me, treating me like absolute trash. I could handle it when Grady was telling me to ‘shut the fuck up’. I could handle it when Grady was fighting those big, hulking colleagues of his.
What I can’t handle is the very fact that he started this fight, that he made the first move and that he punched the guy for no apparent reason. The guy was just an innocent soccer player wanting to get the ball from Grady.
That was it. That was all there was to it.
And to think that Grady Sullivan was actually able to physically hurt someone my age is too much for me to handle.
Beverly and I sit there, watching, as a free-fist fight breaks out on the field, with over a hundred participants.
Jared yells “Cool!” and starts to get off his seat to get a better view, but I restrain him.
Beverly wraps her arms tightly around Josie and turns the latter to face the back of the grandstands so she doesn’t see a thing.
Shane Corelli, Kieran Ethers and some other teachers are pulling students off each other. Beverly gasps as Shane gets clipped on the nose by a student of the rival school, but Shane easily reacts by dragging the guy by his collar and flinging him against a wall.
I even see Callie and Nicole and the other cheerleaders fighting with the cheerleaders from the other team. Their yells and shrieks make can be heard above the noise of the crowd.
“This isn’t happening.” Beverly says, her voice almost a whisper. “Fucking hell, this is like a nightmare.”
And then, Principal Higgins walks on the field, with an amplifier in hand, and security guards trailing after him.
“STUDENTS!” He yells, the loudspeakers screeching all over the stadium, and making a horrific noise. The fighting stops abruptly, and students step away from each other.
“STUDENTS!” He continues, so angry that he’s red in the face. “RETURN TO THE BLEACHERS IMMEDIATELY. IMMEDIATELY, I SAY!”
The students start walking back slowly to the bleachers. Many of them have got bleeding noses or cuts on their faces. But they don’t seem in the least bit sorry. In fact, they seem to have enjoyed themselves a lot.
The soccer referee takes the amplifier from Principal Higgins, and says, “This fight was started by player number Thirteen from West High School. And as a result, West High will be disqualified. Disqualified. And Bonita Vista High has won the match.”
A huge gasp of shock goes through the audience simultaneously, and more and more people start yelling “Boo!”
“This is completely bogus!” Beverly breathes, glaring at the referee. “What the hell?”
“My decision is final!” The referee says, firmly, ignoring all the angry voices from West High.
The other high school starts to clear out, but Principal Higgins makes us all stay. “NONE OF YOU WILL LEAVE THIS PLACE. YOU HEAR ME? NOT ONE!”
Despite grumbles and groans, we all stay. No one leaves. Everyone actually likes Principal Higgins, because he’s quite nice and forgiving. Take Grady, for instance. He’s been in detention almost every single day for cutting class, but Principal Higgins still keeps him in this school.
When the other school leaves, Principal Higgins turns to us. “I am utterly disappointed and appalled by your behaviour tonight. You all act like a bunch of hooligans. If you want to act like hooligans, I will jolly well treat you like hooligans.”
He gazes around; daring any one to talk back to him, but everyone is silent.
“I will insist on every subject teacher holding one extra lesson for each and every class, meaning, you will all stay back one-hour later every day.”
There are groans at this, but Principal Higgins glares fiercely, and everyone subsides.
“You are going to stay back. I do not care whether you like it or not. And as for the person who started the fight, I would like you to own up immediately. Right now. In front of everyone.”
Everyone stares at Grady expectantly, and he gets up. He walks over to Principal Higgins, but he doesn’t look the least bit sorry. He’s got a bloody lip, and his hands are still fisted tightly.
Sensing the glares of anger and fury from the student body, he lifts his head and sweeps the bleachers with his dark eyes.
And he doesn’t meet my eye at all.
“You may all leave now. Go home, all of you.” The principal says, and then turns to Grady to talk to him.
Everyone starts clearing out. There are mumbles of unhappiness overall. Beverly eyes me carefully. She knows that I’m terribly upset by all that has happened.
Shane jogs up, his nose still a little bloodied, and reaches down to kiss Beverly on the forehead. “You alright?” He asks, worriedly, and she nods. He heaves a sigh of relief, and I feel a pang in my heart.
This is the kind of guy I need. The kind of guy who will worry himself sick just thinking about whether I’m okay or not. I don’t need some guy that I have to worry about. Who knows if Grady even cares about whether I’m okay or not?
Shane then turns to me, concern evident in his eyes. “Juliette, you okay?”
“Yeah,” I manage. Josie scrambles off Beverly to climb on my knees, and I hug her back tightly. Even Jared senses that I’m very upset, and he pats my arm gently.
Then Callie comes running up. Her cheerleading outfit is dirtied, her hair messed up and she’s sporting a couple of bruises.
“Fucking hell, Jules, are you okay?” She bursts out, and sits down beside me. “Thanks for looking after her,” She says, to Beverly and Shane. “I’ll take it from here.”
Beverly and Shane nod, and Beverly reaches over to hug me. “It’ll be okay, you’ll see,” She whispers, in my ear.
Shane pats me on the back, and the two of them leave.
Callie sits beside me quietly for a moment. My eyes are still on Grady, watching his face darken as Principal Higgins talks to him. As though sensing someone’s eyes on him, Grady looks up, meets my eye.
And it’s as though he doesn’t see me at all.
He looks right through me, as though I don’t exist, and then looks away altogether. My heart beats painfully.
Why? I ask myself, silently. Why, Juliette? Why did you have to go and fall for Grady, of all people? Why couldn’t you have chosen someone more decent? Someone you could actually handle?
“Jules?” Callie interrupts my thoughts. “I think you should take the kids back. Josie and Jared are getting pretty tired.”
I glance down, and realise she’s right. Josie’s nodding off on my shoulder, and Jared’s already sound asleep, his head resting against my arm.
I need to get the kids back. But more importantly, I need to talk to Grady.
“Cal?” I say, quietly, and she looks at me in surprise. “Can you take them back please? I know, it’s a lot to ask of you but…”
“No, it’s fine.” She says, smiling to reassure me. “It’s the least I could do. But Jules, do you think you’ll be alright?”
I shrug, and reach into my sweater pocket to get out the spare key. I press it into her hand, and smile weakly.
“Okay,” She says, softly, and reaches over to hug me. Then, gently waking Jared and pulling him up, she carries Josie in her other arm and goes off in the direction of the parking lot.
When I look back up, Principal Higgins has already left. The other players are packing up on the field, and when they leave, the shoot Grady dirty looks. The field is now empty, and I decide to go up to Grady.
So, slinging my bag over my shoulder, I walk up to him. “Grady? I need to talk to you.”