The Bet of a Game
It has been over a week and a half since the school year started. Already Keiko was fitting in well with her new team, and it was only a matter of days before their first game. But first, she and her team needed to be given their numbers.
"We're finally getting our numbers today!" said Keiko as she, Yuki, Suzuka, and Miki walked to morning practice together.
"We usually get them a bit later than this," said Suzuka "But coach wants us to really break in the first years early this year."
"Who's our first game going to be against?" Yuki asked as they entered the school gates
"I don't know. But I heard coach mention that we'll be playing a middle school."
"A middle school?" said Miki "So we're playing against a bunch of players with less experience then us? What a waste of time."
"I don't think that's what coach Murasaki has in mind." said Keiko "Anyway, any idea what number and position do you think you'll get?"
"I'm hoping for a Forward's number." said Suzuka "I think I know who our Number 10 will be."
Later, before they were to begin practice;
"Alright girls." said Mai "Time to be given your numbers. Since there are only twenty of you, clearly everyone's on the bench. Come forward to recieve your uniforms when I call your name. For simplicity sake, I'll be calling you in numerical order."
"First, the Goalkeepers; Number 1, Amuro Okiura. Number 13, Momoko Ninagawa. And Number 18, Kotomi Aihara." Amuro, Momoko, and Kotomi went to receive their jerseys from Saito after being called.
"Next, our Defenders; Number 2, Yuzuki Kirishima. Number 3, Moka Aono. Number 5, Miki Hattori. And Number 15, Asuka Ayuzawa." Enoshima's new Defenders came up to recieve their new uniforms when called.
"Now our Midfielders." said Mai "Number 4, Haruhi Suou. Number 6, Aoi Hanabishi. Number 8, Kiyomi Yura. Number 10, our ace, Yukari Hayakawa. Number 12, Miho Kusakabe. Number 14, Akane Saotome. Number 16, Yuki Nonomiya. And Number 17, Nagisa Okazaki." All the Midfielders called came up to receive their jerseys. This only left the Forwards, a position Keiko was happy to have.
"And finally the Forwards." said Mai "Number 7, Keiko Aizawa. Number 9, Tsukasa Tachibana. Number 11, Suzuka Akitsuki. Number 19, Yui Ichinose. And Number 20, Sachiko Komatsu." Keiko, Tsukasa, Suzuka, Yui, and Sachiko came up and received their jerseys. Keiko was extremely happy to be given her number.
"Now that you all have your numbers, I might as well tell you who our first opponents will be. As some of you may have heard, we're playing a Middle School in a practice game. This Saturday, we'll be going up against the girls team of Kamakura Middle School."
"Kamakura Middle?" several people repeated
"Yes, Kama Middle. I know some of you came from that school, but I expect all of you will do your best. Kamakura's coach wants his teams to see how High School players play, so they can be encouraged to do better than they can do now. All the same, do your best and have fun. One more thing, today's afternoon practice will be the last one before the game. No more practice until the day after the game. Rest up and conserve your strength for Saturday."
"Yes coach!" everyone chorused
"How do I look?" Keiko asked as she showed her parents and siblings her new uniform later that evening
"It really suits you." said Nana "That's the same number I always wore when I played."
"Look at the number I got." said Hiroki as he showed them the number he got that day as well "Number 1!"
"Waydda go, Hiroki." said Keiko "Kamakura's starting Keeper. The coach must be impressed with you."
"To think my eldest son would be in a position like that." said Kakeru "Most impressive."
"We got our numbers too." said Koichi, showing them his own uniform "Number 3!"
"Nice one little brother. What about you, Ryo." Keiko asked her sister, who hadn't spoken this whole time "What number did you get?"
"I, uh, the girls team didn't get their numbers today." Ryo told them
"Really?" said Keiko "Well, I hope they assign them in time for Saturday's match."
"That's right. You all don't know. This Saturday, Enoshimas first practice game will be against Kamakura Middle."
"Really?" said Nana "Mai must think a lot of you girls. Sending you against a middle school team."
"Now, Ryo." Keiko said to her sister "This may be our only chance to play together. Make sure you don't hold back on me, 'cause I certainly wont."
"Right." said Ryo awkwardly "I'll be in the bath." and she took off without another word
"What was that about?" Keiko asked once Ryo had left "Are things not going well for her on the girls team, Hiroki?"
"I don't know." Hiroki replied "I haven't seen any of the girl's practices, and Ryo won't tell me anything of what's going on."
"She hasn't said a word to us either." said Nana
Keiko was starting to get worried about Ryo. Determined to find out what was wrong, Keiko joined her in the bath later.
"I can wash myself you know." Ryo said as Keiko walked into the bath, closed the door, and threw her towel aside
"I know." said Keiko as she started washing Ryo's back "But I wanted to talk with you. You've been abnormally quiet lately. You haven't told us anything about practice."
"Practice is fine, Kei-nee. I'm loving Middle School Soccer."
"If you say so." Keiko then stopped washing for a second as she noticed a large bluish-black mark on Ryo's side "Ryo! Where did you get that bruise!?"
"This?" Ryo replied putting her hand on the mark "It's nothing. I was just a little clumsy at practice."
"I've never known you for being clumsy." Keiko said, suddenly stern
"It's nothing! I'm fine." Ryo said, in a final sort of way. Seeing it was useless to try and pry the truth from her, Keiko continued washing Ryo.
"I'll take your word for it this time, but Ryo, I worry about you. If something's wrong, you can tell me."
"You don't have to worry about me anymore. I'm a big girl now, and I can take care of myself."
"That's right. You're a big girl now!" Keiko said, playfully grabbing Ryo's already large breasts from behind. This caused Ryo to laugh for the first time in a while, and she retaliated by grabbing Keiko's breasts, which the same size as hers, in return.
Having cheered Ryo up, Keiko, most unusually, invited Ryo to sleep with her when they went to bed that night. But Keiko was still worried about Ryo.
"What makes you think Ryo-chan is acting weird?" Yuki asked as Keiko walked home from school, since they didn't have practice, with her, Suzuka and Miki.
"Who's Ryo?" Miki asked
"My little sister." Keiko explained "She's first year, like me, but in middle school. And what makes me say she's acting weird, is the fact that she's been uncharacteristically quiet these days. Further, she's on the girls soccer team for Kamakura middle, and doesn't tell me, our brothers, or our parents anything about practice. Further, when we were taking our bath last night, I noticed a large bruise on her side, and she won't tell me how she got it. That leads me to assume that things are not well for her on the team."
"Most likely, she's been having to struggle with your old reputation at that school." said Yuki
"But a bruise? That makes me think somebody attacked her."
"I have a sister too, so I understand why you're concerned." said Suzuka
"Anyway," said Keiko "since we don't have practice today, and Ryo does, I was thinking of going to check up on her."
"That's not a bad idea." said Yuki "I'll come too."
"So will we." said Suzuka
"You don't have to." said Keiko
"I know, but we wanna meet your sister."
Before they knew it, they had arrived at the practice field of Kamakura Middle, where the girls team was currently practicing.
"I don't see Ryo-chan anywhere." said Yuki as they watched the girls practice
"What does she look like?" Miki asked
"She looks a lot like our mother." said Keiko "Brown hair, like me, but a bit lighter."
"There she is." said Yuki pointing to the other side of the field. Ryo was carring a tub of water bottles, with a very glum look on her face
"That's not a player's uniform she's wearing." said Suzuka
"Aizawa-senpai! Nonomiya-senpai!" said one of the girls as she, and another of them, ran up to the party
"Kyoka, Chika." Keiko greeted "It's great to see you."
"Don't you ever use honorifics?" Suzuka asked
"These are the Takeshita twins, Kyoka and Chika Takeshita." Yuki introduced "They were first years on the team with us last year."
"Now we're second years." said Kyoka
"We know." said Keiko "And these two with us are Suzuka Akitsuki, captain of the girls soccer team, and Miki Hattori. They're third years at Enoshima."
"Nice to meet you!" Kyoka and Chika said together, giving a short bow while they were at it
"And you too." said Suzuka
"Now that the introductions are over, I have to ask." said Keiko "Why isn't Ryo practicing with everyone else?"
"Oh. We assumed you knew." said Kyoka "Ryo-chan is the team manager."
"Well to start with, she's been struggling with your old reputation since the beginning of the year." Chika explained
"Told you." Yuki said to Keiko
"Though she first applied for a playing position," Chika continued "the captain refused to give her one and shoved her sideways into the managerial department."
"Why would your captain do that?" Miki asked
"Because, she'll just be a screw-up like her sister and ruin our chances for victory." said a voice. It was Noriko
"Noriko!" said Keiko fiercely
"Who?" Suzuka asked
"Noriko Kishitani, a third year." said Yuki "I was captain of the team last year, and she was my sub captain."
"And this year, I'm captain, Captain." said Noriko
"Now that that's cleared tell me, why did you refuse Ryo a player position?" Keiko demanded
"As I said, she'll just be a screw-up like you. I still remember last year and the year before, you always messed up toward the end of the game. We lost and drew more than we won. That last game you played was purely a fluke."
"It was not and you know it!" said Yuki
"Whatever. I'm not going to let something like that happen with this team this year. Your sister will never get a spot while I'm captain."
"You arrogant little..." said Suzuka
"Who are you?"
"Suzuka Akitsuki. I'm the captain of the Enoshima Girls Soccer Team, which Keiko is a member of."
"Then I must recommend you dismiss her, before she ruins your first game." said Noriko
"You have no idea how much I've improved." said Keiko "And Ryo is nothing like me! She could be a real asset to the team."
"Tell someone who cares." Noriko replied with a nasty look "I'll admit that Ryo argued that at first, but I won't have members talking back to me. So I taught her a little lesson, and that shut her up."
"It was you!" said Keiko "You hurt her!"
"Apparently, violence was the only way to get her in line."
"Why you little!" Keiko said grabbing the front of Noriko's shirt
"Senpai, no!" said Chika as she and Kyoka grabbed Keiko's arm, while Yuki held her back
"You may as well let me go. There's nothing you can do." said Noriko "I'll never let your sister on the field, and you and your captain have no authority to say otherwise."
Keiko released Noriko, and paused for a moment, while the girls released her, to do some thinking.
"Are you aware that your first practice game of the year is against us?" Keiko asked
"Well aware. Why?" Noriko inquired
"Then let's make a deal. If we win, you'll let Ryo have a permanent spot on the team."
"Very well. But if we win, and we will, you have to quit your team. Permanently."
"And if we draw?"
"What!?" Yuki, Suzuka and Miki exclaimed as Keiko and Noriko shook hands
"And just to make things a little more interesting," said Noriko as she turned to walk away "I'll let your sister play in the practice match. Let's see how she takes it when your own sister destroys both your chances of playing competitively." she walked away without another word
"That arrogant, stuck-up brat!" said Miki as they walked home a few minutes later
"Kei-chan, I hope you gave that a lot of thought." said Yuki
"No, I purely used my instincts." Keiko replied
"Perfect. I feel much better." Yuki said sarcastically
"You won't tell the team about this?" Keiko asked Suzuka
"No." Suzuka replied "But you know this means that, if we lose, you'll have to quit the team for good."
"No I won't."
"But the deal was that..." said Miki
"I know what the deal was." Keiko interrupted "But Noriko has her weakness."
"I don't get it."
"Noriko wants a winning team just as much as we do." Keiko explained "Once she sees me and Ryo play, the outcome of the match wont matter. She'll call off the deal, and let Ryo stay on the team."
"And if this bet backfires? What if we lose and you're wrong?" Suzuka asked
"I won't be." said Keiko confidently
"You liar, you did give this a lot of thought." said Yuki
Before anyone knew it, Saturday had arrived.