Angel's grades were below average. He overworked himself at his minimum wage job and track practice. He already had a hard time focusing on his assignments but his current financial situation worsened it. He didn't have the time for tutors and what made him feel worse was how he didn't know what he was going to study in college anyway.
It was his final year of high school and he still lacked any real friends, goals, and at least a somewhat sound mental health. He was a tall, muscular athlete prone to anxiety attacks who could run laps around an oval but couldn't make any important decisions.
Which is why it was so hard to listen to everyone ask each other about their plans.
"I'm staying in-state. Tuition goes crazy out of state"
"I'm going to major in biology. Or nursing"
"I got accepted to my top two colleges. They have a pretty good track team"
"I'm going to commute. It'll save me a few thousands"
He didn't know anything. He couldn't make friends because either his social anxiety got in the way or people found him intimidating. School was a constant up and down that he wondered if he could do it at all. It was a miracle Angel was chosen to be co-captain considering everything but he credited it to his skills and knowledgeability on track and field.
Truthfully, he didn't want to pursue collegiate track. It was his passion but he suffered too many anxiety attacks, too many bad memories from his teammates, that it made him want to shake it all off for a while.
"What about you, Jeremiah? You decided?" Garrett asked their other co-captain.
"I talked to the scout from our last meet and they're offering me huge numbers, I mean huge numbers, dude, for one of the best D1 collegiate track teams. They're out of state but my grades pay for most of it. I didn't apply anywhere else to be honest but I have one more I'm really thinkin' about that also has a good English program"
The guys congratulated him with playful punches and whips from their locker room shower towels.
"And you, Angel? Saw that scout talk to you, too. Did you disappoint him too?" Garrett obnoxiously jabbed at him knowing about his academic troubles. The boys laughed at him. The team had a habit of using him for his advice and motivation but making him miserable at every chance. It made it hard to enjoy being there.
"His dumbass probably can't get passed the application"
He slammed Garrett's locker closed, almost crushing his hand had he not moved it, and causing him flinch, "Doesn't matter, I ain't doin' track"
"You're not doing it or you can't because your transcript is ass?"
Jeremiah hit his teammate on the arm and grinned, "Garrett, dude, leave him alone. He's better than everyone here. Worry about your fuckin' times, bro, before you go shittin' on him. Your GPA's worse. What scouts you got, Garrett? Huh?"
Garrett's grin faltered and he shook his head, "Nah, man, shut up"
Most of the team was gone, the freshmen and sophomores are usually the only ones that say goodbye to him, mostly in hopes to get in good with him—not yet aware of the outcast Angel actually is.
A warm hand ran up his shoulder blade and rested on his deltoid, "Hey"
His heart pounded knowing who it was. The only person he had to talk to out of obligation and the only person who tried to talk to him. It was agonizing how bad of a crush Angel had on Jeremiah. It was a ridiculous feeling. Jeremiah dated outspoken short, soft curvy girls. Angel was not soft, not short and barely ever said a word to him, or to anyone for that matter.
"You really not doing track anymore after we graduate?"
He shrugged, "No. I dunno. Haven't decided"
"En serio?" His eyebrows lowered and were pushed together, confused and simultaneously challenging, "If I go there and you go there, we could be teammates again. I could look forward to that"
Angel focused into his locker, digging more of his things out to go home, "I'm serious"
He squeezed the muscle by his neck comfortingly, "Think about it. You're too good not to. Give it a chance. If anyone's gettin' a full ride, it's you"
"It's not about the scholarship" He paused, daring to look Jeremiah in the eyes, "I don't want to do this anymore"
Jeremiah frowned in that cute way that made him feel guilty for even breathing, "Why not? Is it 'cause what Garrett said? Fuck that dickhead. He failed art class. You gon' listen to a dickhead who failed art class? Don't let these guys hold you back. You deserve more, man"
Angel didn't say anything, nor looked at him, with the blush creeping up his skin.
He was tempted. Shortly seduced by the idea of being around Jeremiah for four more years. But he wasn't a fool. He wasn't going to make a life changing decision on some boy he was hot for.
He was going to bury this too. His feelings, memories, anxiety, track...all of it.
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