Leigh Anne - Chapter 7
by Barbara Lynn Terry
Chapter 1 - After the tournament.
The girls all made sure the tennis equipment owned by the school was put away, and they put their own equipment in their parents cars. As the equipment was being stored in the girls gym, coach Madison addressed the assembled team and parents.
"Ladies, and parents, I want you to know that you all did a wonderful job, today. There are refreshments for you if you want, before you leave. Girls, tomorrow we have three more games to play against Gaynor. If we win these games, then next week we play them on their clay courts.
"Leigh, you said you have played on clay courts, before. Where was that?"
"At the Tennis Center in Coral Springs, Florida. We went there for a vacation one summer."
"Yes, I have played there, myself. How did you find playing on the clay surface?"
"It was challenging, because that was the first time I had ever played on a clay court. They had a trainer there that saw me play, and he wanted to challenge me." Leigh giggled. "He won one of the three games we played."
"So, when we play Gaynor next week, how do you think you will fare on their courts?"
"I will do very well, Mrs. Madison."
"Good girl. Alright girls, you may enjoy yourselves for about two hours, before we have to leave."
Everybody started milling around. Parents who didn't know Leigh or about her, started talking to her. Donna Sanchez' mother came over and congratulated Leigh.
"Hi Leigh, I'm Mrs. Sanchez, Donna's mother. I just want to congratulate you for playing a very good game, and not letting that snot from the other school get to you. A good athlete always pays attention to the sport at hand. You did very, very well. I drive Donna to all of her games, unless it is an away game, then I meet her there. Are you going to play tomorrow?"
"No, Mrs. Sanchez. There are a few more girls who didn't get to play today, so it will be their turn tomorrow."
"Well, I will be here. You just take care of your team and yourself. Never let an opponent get under your skin, as the saying goes."
"Thank you, Mrs. Sanchez."
Dorothy Winston's parents came over to talk to Leigh.
"Hello, Leigh, were Mr. and Mrs. Winston. Dots parents."
"Hi," Leigh answered back, smiling.
"When that girl from the other team tried to get you thrown out, you seemed like it didn't bother you."
"It didn't, Mr. Winston. I have been playing tennis since I was ten years old. Each time I played I learned something new. I'm considered the best tennis player on the squad, but that comes from the other players who play as equally as I do. I think tomorrow you will see what I mean. There are three girls who didn't play today. We will win the next game and we will go to state."
"Well, we're hoping right along with you, Leigh," Mrs. Winston replied with a wide smile.
"Leigh, how long have you wanted to be a ..." Mrs. Winston cut him off.
"Robert, that is none of our business. This young lady played her heart out today, and when that girl tried to get her thrown out of the game by revealing things, Leigh didn't let it bother her. It shouldn't bother us, either."
"But, all I was doing, was trying to find out ..."
"I know what you were trying to find out, dear. It is none of our business."
Leigh was thinking that it was a good thing that Dots mother had interrupted her husband because it saved them both from some very embarrassing moments.
All too soon, it was time to leave and go home. Leigh found her cheering section, and decided to stay close to her mother.
"There you are, sweetie. Having a good time?"
"The best, mom. I had my cheering section today."
"Roger said he is coming to all of our games, I told him he could ride with us when you have an away game. He took me up on my offer."
"Roger, are you trying to pick up my mom?" Leigh asked, then winked.
"A lovely lady she is, too, Leigh, but there is a young lady, more my age that I would like to get to know in a friendly, platonic way, of course."
"And who, pray tell, is this young lady you want to get to know in a friendly, platonic way?"
"She is so modest, too. Who do you think?"
"Well, dear, are we ready to go?" Leigh's mother asked, playfully, then winked at Leigh.
"Yes, of course, mother. Thank you for cheering for me today, Roger."
"Wait!" Roger exclaimed. "Leigh, will you be my girlfriend?"
"Roger Dobkins, wouldn't you get ribbed by your team mates by going steady with me?"
"One on one, I am the strongest on the team, Leigh. If they ganged up on me, then I would have to challenge them on a one to one boxing match in the gym. They know they would lose. If you are asking would I be embarrassed by being seen with you, the answer is no. You are very pretty, and that outfit shows it."
"Roger, I have to talk to my mom about this. I...I'm really not...ready for a...boyfriend. I don't think. Can I let you know tomorrow before the game?"
"Yes, of course. Take your time."
"Roger, never say take your time to a girl. We are just liable to take you literally."
"Oh, I know you would. When my sister's boyfriend comes calling, she takes forever to get ready, making him wait until she is ready."
Leigh and her mom just giggled. They said their good nights to Roger, and Leigh promised she would give him her decision after school tomorrow.
"I see you didn't eat anything, you just had a soft drink."
"Yes, mom, I wanted to save room for dinner."
"Well, I didn't eat anything, either. So, what do you think we should have for dinner?"
"Homemade chicken noodle soup, with unsalted top crackers, milk for me, and maybe a fruit yogurt for dessert."
"That sounds good to me. Do you want me to make the noodles, or buy them at the market?"
"Make them. They taste better homemade."
"Yes, they do. Do you want the soup made country style, with veggies?"
"Then we have to stop at the store. We're out of carrots, peas, we have only one onion left, and we need a clove of garlic. I think we should pick up a stalk of celery, too.
They headed home by way of the supermarket.
They got more than just a few items at the market, because Leigh's mother remembered they needed milk and eggs, too. Might as well get them now, while they're there.
When they got home, Leigh took her racquets and tennis balls to her room. She changed in to her knee length, lavender nightgown. This nightgown had to be hand washed because it was a nylon tricot material and had four layers, so that it wouldn't be see through. She stepped into her slippers and went back to the kitchen to help her mother with the dinner.
"Well, I see you slipped in to something comfortable."
"Yes, mother. I was in those clothes all day today, and I needed something a little more comfy."
"Well, get the noodle machine out, and I will make the dough. You can cut up an onion, one length of celery, and you can do a carrot and one can of peas. The clove of garlic I will take care of, because we don't want too much in the soup. I will also cut up the chicken breast.
As they worked Leigh talked about her day, and how she felt on the court. Her mother had said she held her own against that girl from the other school, and was surprised when what the other girl said didn't bother Leigh in the least.
"Mom, Donna's mom told me that a good athlete pays attention to the sport at hand. That's what I was doing. When she said to look at a blimp, I was watching her for the serve I knew was coming. She was surprised that I returned the ball. Tomorrow, there are three more games that need to be played. When we win against Gaynor, our next game is against them at home on their clay courts.They have clay courts right on the school grounds, next to the track."
"Well, you certainly proved to be an asset to the squad. No wonder they picked you to substitute for that injured player."
"Yes, Janey Mitchell. She was the star player until her doctor said no more tennis until the medicine can help the pain in the elbow. Janey plays as much tennis as I do, but we don't play on the same courts. Janey, well most of the girls for that matter, never interested me. I always sat alone with my yogurt and juice. When Patty Langston came over with the entire girls tennis squad, I was like, 'oh no, what do they want now'.
"Now look at me, a substitute girl, substituting for an injured girl."
"But, dear, you aren't a substitute anything. You especially are not a substitute girl. I watched you out there on the court, and at the little get together in the girls gym. You certainly were not substituting anything. You WERE just being a girl."
"Thanx, mom. I really needed to hear that."
"Honey, sometimes we get thinking very low about ourselves, that we need a boost now and then to perk us right up. You are our daughter, Leigh, and you are my angel, and there isn't anything I wouldn't do to make you know that."
"Mom, what about dad?"
"Well, we will just let him cool off for now. He has to think things over, and he can only do that while he is alone. I'm sure he will come to his senses."
"I hope so, mom. It isn't the same here without him."
"I know, dear, but sometimes people have to go and be by themselves for a bit. We all need that space. When you're in school, I sit here thinking about what to make for dinner, and do we need anything from the store. Then I think about you, and think back to when I was growing up. Times sure have changed."
"Well, mom, we are the fourth generation to actually stand up for who we are. We don't hold things back, anymore. I held things back until Patty and the girls told me they needed me. They actually needed me. I was really glad they asked me to be on the squad. When they told me they wanted me to substitute for Janey, I was like, okay. Now we need to tell my parents they have an older daughter. I'm sorry dad couldn't accept me for the girl I always knew I was."
Leigh's mother gave her a big hug.
"Honey, you have always been more girl than you actually know. I never said anything because I wanted you to come and tell me or your father. Well, anyway, here you are, and that is all that counts. Now let's make this dinner. Would you like a grilled cheese to go with the soup?"
"Yes, mom." She smiled at her daughter, because she knew Leigh was going to be all right.
Leigh's mother took all the ingredients and placed them in water with the noodles. She made sure it was stirred occasionally, and then she took another spoon and tested it for taste. One more Bouillon cube should do it. She put in the cube, and let it melt down. After a bit, she stirred the soup again, and it was ready. It doesn't take long to make homemade chicken noodle soup, country style.
As she was stirring the soup, she was also making the grilled cheese. She put two buttered, double cheese sandwiches in a medium fry pan, and when the soup was done, so were the grilled sandwiches.
They ate their dinner, and after one helping, Leigh said she was full. She took her dishes to the sink, and rinsed them, and then placed them in the sink.When her mother was done, except for her coffee, both ladies did the dishes. Leigh washed and her mom dried. When the dishes were put away, Leigh wiped the kitchen table off, and her mom swept and mopped the kitchen floor.
It is always nice to mop the kitchen floor after each meal, because then the germs that accumulate will be at a bare minimum. With the stove, table, floor and dishes done, they both went in the living room and turned on the t.v. Leigh went through the channels, but there was nothing good on. Then she pressed the On Demand button and looked at the premium channels.
They saw that Ocean's Eleven with Frank Sinatra was on. Leigh had only seen it once, and told her mom that this was a funny movie. They watched the movie, and when it was over, it was time for Leigh to be in bed. She kissed he mother good night and gave her a hug. Then Leigh went to her room and crawled in her bed. She was asleep in seconds.
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