“You ever, y’know, talk to him?” Rune was surprised to hear Rex take Annie’s side in the argument. “Francis is actually really nice, y’know. He’s given me a lot of pointers, really helped me improve.”
The gray-haired referee began barking, PATEL! ANKIEL! CHU! PINE!, calling fencers to his strip. When he finished, a woman in her thirties, also wearing a blue referee’s jacket, called fencers to the strip on the right, her voice not as powerful yet just as effective. Hutchinson! Rex reported dutifully to his referee, as Rune followed Annie to her strip.
He wanted to stop her, say he thought she was taking her new position as team captain a little too seriously. Let me have some fun. And wasn’t she his girlfriend, after all? No they hadn’t told anyone they were dating, but when they did, would it be good for her to openly mock him like she just had?
“Hey.” Annie turned, put a gentle hand on Rune’s shoulder; was she about to apologize? “We forgot to bring the water with us.” A case of plastic bottles bought with her parents’ credit card at a convenience store that morning. “I need one, so does Rex.” She flicked her head in the direction of the team’s equipment, her brown pony-tail swishing behind her head.
“OK.” Congratulating himself for withholding his sarcasm, Rune jogged over to the corner of the court where the Bark Bay High School fencing team had made camp for today’s tournament. He found the bottles, packaged in a plastic enclosing wrap, under a large canvas sack that contained the team’s masks. Wondering again why he had to lug the entire team’s equipment around today when they only had two fencers competing (three, if Double-J decided to show up for saber, but since he wouldn’t commit it would be his own damn fault if his equipment wasn’t there), Rune tore open the plastic wrapping, bottles falling to the floor and bouncing; grabbing two, he hustled back to the strips.