The coach, Mr Todd stood aside as she took her place next to him in the center of the room.
"This is miss O'Hare. Yes I'm not telling you her first name, and yes we all know why. And yes if you try asking her it I'm doubling your regiment for the week. Student part aside, she is a teacher and you will respect her as such."
While it was harsh, with confident people like the ones in this room you had to set the ground rules firmly and early, lest they act out.
Besides, they knew it was a joke. It had to be, because their regiments were already pushing them exactly to the brink, no way he'd double that right? Right?
Rather than find out, most of the boys backed down from their already running fantasies.
Though Alex's mind was already racing on why she seemed so bothered by Duke, simply being there from the looks of it. But rather than get involved in that drama, he decided to leave it be.
While Duke was his friend, Alex was not the type to jump into personal problems unless explicitly asked to and he knew that well. Besides, he wasn't even a part of the football team so this theoretically wasn't even his problem. While he was thinking that, miss O'Hare cleared her lungs and spoke up.
"Slightly awkward introductions aside, I'm miss O'Hare. Despite my less than official status, please don't expect me to be the nervous coddling type. I'll be pushing you as hard as your coach was, if not harder. As for why I'll be in charge of lifting, it's mainly to lighten the coach's load as well as the fact that I've studied specifically for it."
If it was some old dude saying this the boys might have groaned, but since it was this woman they just took it in stride. Heck, there's probably some in the group that quite liked the thought of that.
With that out of the way, Alex moved with the other boys to go change into something a little more work out appropriate, which of course was also in the giant book bag.
While in the locker room, most boys of course were making jokes about their new teacher, though none of them were serious about it having already been warned. It's good something like this happened, as it drowned out the slightly tense atmosphere among the team.
Once he headed out, Alex began his lifts on his own away from the rest of the team. This wasn't some loner thing, but because he had his own regiment different from theirs, so having someone spot him would just throw them off schedule with everyone else. Besides, usually they had even amounts of people so it was easier this way. Today he was working on the upper body, with the lower being tomorrow.
As he was benching 200 pounds, he felt O'Hare looking at him again, this time her interest a little more disguised than before. After checking over the team one last time, she stepped over to him and watched him lift while talking.
"So, I heard the coach just lets you lift here. Why are you lifting, if not for any sport?"
"Because being weak is boring, and being strong can be useful every now and then. Besides, don't really got anything better to do."
Alex wasn't pushing himself to his limit, so he could talk fairly casually while he worked out. O'Hare eyed his posture and nodded to herself, also noting his physique which was easier to see in his lighter shirt.
"Well clearly you know what you're doing. Your muscles are built pretty carefully. Built, but not too bulky or crazy. Did anybody teach you, or are you just winging it?"
Grunting while racking the weight, he sat up. "Mostly just researched here and there, asked the coach a couple of questions when he had time."
She perks up at this, while handing him a water bottle. "Oh, well if you still have any questions you can always ask me, since you're gonna be here anyways."
As she said that, she noticed his eyes move down toward her legs. "Well now that we're on that topic. How'd you move without making any sound?"
That's right. Back when she entered the gym, despite everyone having quietened down for the coach, and it being a fairly echoey gym, she didn't make any form of audible noise as she entered.
Her smile froze a little, before laughing it off. "Did I? I have no idea. I've always just had a good sense of balance I guess, unlike you boys who just thunder around full force."
Not wanting to dig too deep into it, Alex just waived it off, though she actually wasn't afraid to keep on the topic.
"Why would you need something like that anyways?"
He just grinned at her. "Stick around long enough and you'll probably find out. Or ask one of the boys in the team, I've teamed up with them here and there. There's a reason none of them complain about me hanging around."
Instead of inquiring further, O'Hare just gently patted him on the chest and walked away. As she walked away, Alex muttered to himself. "He wasn't wrong, those shorts are tight." Hoping she didn't hear that, he continued on with his regiment as the rest of the team did for the next couple of hours.
As they returned to the locker room, a couple of the boys approached him, and Alex knew where this was going immediately.
"Hey, have you noticed that MacCready is out? Some of the South River boys took out his legs, took him out of the game for the season. Mind helping us even the odds a little?"
At the mention of the incident, all the men in the room tensed up. Not all of them were eager to risk getting in trouble or injured for this, but it certainly mattered to them. You didn't just take one of their own out and expect to get away with it. It wasn't a common occurrence but it certainly wasn't the first.
Stretching a little, Alex locked eyes with the three boys pleading with him. "Depends, do they got anybody worth my time?"
They nodded, a little fear in their eyes. "Yeah, two dudes actually. They tag teamed MacCready and didn't let him land a single hit. It was honestly kinda monstrous."
One should note that MacCready was an offensive lineman. Sure he wasn't exactly agile in the fighting sense, but he should have been able to at least tank a few hits in order to land some of his own.
Nodding to himself, Alex patted them on the shoulders. "Alright I'm in."
Nervously, Duke walked over and whispered into his ear. "Bro, I'd keep out of this one. In general you might wanna start keeping a lower profile. Get into too many fights and it might come back to bite you."
Alex looked at his friend weirdly. "You've never cared about this stuff before, and you know I can handle myself. Is anything going on?"
Duke shook his head, and gave up.
"No, just trying to look out for ya. Just, watch your back okay? I've heard some talk myself, those two are trouble."
Squaring his shoulders, and cracking his neck, Alex asked the most important question. "So, when are we getting this done?"
The three boys responded, "Tonight."
Setting up a venue wasn't actually that hard. When you start fight like this, you normally aren't afraid of a rebound, and some actually welcome it and accept the fight without any resistance.
Of course that's not necessarily a good thing, as a weakling wouldn't be so eager to accept a fight. The battle ground would be in a neutral spot between South River High and them, in an old super market that got shut down.
Alex arrived just outside the back door at 9:59pm, about a minute before the fight was gonna start. He was joined by a total of five other guys who were gonna fight for their side.
Three of them were on the football team, the ones who recruited him earlier and the other two were just friends of a friend who looked like they could handle themselves in a fight.
He had thought of giving them advice, but it was all pretty obvious stuff. A supermarket was tight corners, hard to get more than a couple fighting in there at a time and hard to focus a full on offensive since it's so open.
They had chosen this at Alex's request actually, so he could focus the ones he wanted to and leave everything else to them.
His allies had no qualms with this, since it just meant not having to deal with the big bosses they had trouble with in the first place. So instead of any awe inspiring speech, he just walked past them and high fived them in order before entering the building at exactly 10pm.
Just as a note, my chapters will tend to float around 1000-1500 words, both so far have been around 1400. At the average reading speed that makes these chapters about 5-7 minutes long, which I think is a fair length. Lemme know if they should be shorter though.