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It was a spring Wednesday in 1997 and there was a feeling of finality in the air. At least there was for upper sixth students at Angie’s school. With A-level exams imminent lessons were coming to an end. Leave of absence for revision started the coming Monday. Some teachers had already taken their last class and chance to wish everyone well for the future. Even the endless stream of eighteenth birthday parties was starting to dry up.
They were exciting times then, yet sad ones too. The students had become adults in their two years of sixth form but now the sands had almost run out on them. After Monday a lot of long-familiar faces wouldn’t be seen again until Results Day. And after the results were out most would be off to live their new lives in halls of residence across the land.
Two years of the closest friendships scattered on the wind.
Angie hadn’t made many close friends during her time at school but she wasn’t immune to the general melancholy. She had a good thing going, what with a couple of beautiful lovers and sexual energy to burn. It would be a wrench to leave them. And it would be a wrench to leave the school and her daily routines. Suddenly even the schoolmates who got on her nerves seemed to have redeeming features.
Well, most of them did, anyway.
Exams weren’t a major concern to Angie, imminent or not. She’d always been a good student, exams didn’t faze her. In her mind she’d as good as passed already. She’d got A-stars in all of her GCSEs; these latest tests were just chance to repeat that success at a higher level.
Yes, entry to her university of choice was virtually guaranteed.
Not that she was an entirely worry-free zone.
Right now Angie wished she was as proficient and confident personally as she was academically. No, she wasn’t lacking in any way in her two “romances”; she was on edge because she was alone with a girl who blatantly admired her.
Make that yet another beautiful girl who blatantly admired her!
In keeping with the finality theme the two of them were on their way to watch a football match. And it really was a final. To cap a successful season, the school’s “women’s” soccer team had won the right to contest the county cup decider. That was the good news. The bad news was that their opponents tonight were the unbeaten league champions who scored goals for fun.
Local bookmakers hadn’t taken any interest. If they had the “reds” would have been odds-on over the “blues”.
Still it wasn’t the winning that mattered, was it? It was the taking part.
Angie took a moment to assess Suzanne. Together with Liz, Suzanne made up the sixth form’s first lesbian pairing. Together with Sandra, Angie made up a more recent lesbian duo. They’d been seen as an item since Sandra stayed with her over Easter, shagging for most of a fortnight while Angie’s parents were sunning themselves in Lanzarote. Okay, they’d openly flirted long before then, but that spell of cohabiting sealed the deal in the eyes of their contemporaries.
If only everything was so simple!
Sandra and Liz were both fixtures in the school first team. Angie and Suzanne were obliged to attend their biggest match ever by virtue of being “WAGs”. And, although the school had provided free buses for anyone and everyone interested in watching, Suzanne had arranged a loan of her mum’s car.
(Isn’t it amazing how it’s always “Mum’s car”! Dad’s never enters the equation, does it?)
The final was being held after school at a neutral ground: one that belonged to a professional football league team based twenty-odd miles out of town. The plan was for Suzanne and Angie to travel there together, to spectate and applaud and then travel back with Liz and Sandra in tow. The possibility of stopping to celebrate/commiserate in a pub on their way home was very much on the cards.
Problem was that Suzanne openly fancied Angie . . . and Liz was suitably jealous.
Angie blamed herself to some extent. That is to say, she’d made a policy decision to abandon her bra back in January. Secretly, that had been because she didn’t do sexy clothes and bras looked like crap on her. She was six feet tall, over thirteen stones and, though totally fat-free, built like a guy.
That was except for her tits.
But how was a brassiere ever going to look cute on her!
Never was the answer, so out the window they all went, not ever to be seen again.
And cue a transformation! Bra-less, her tits had stopped traffic. Suddenly guys and gals were paying her an astonishing amount of attention.
Suzanne had been among the first to notice. Already kittenish, she’d been drooling ever since.
And to be honest, Angie had appreciated her appreciation.
Suzanne was tallish, not remotely like a guy and had medium-length red-blonde hair. She was totally different to Sandra (tall, black and a cross between an Olympic athlete and a Somali supermodel) and Angie’s secret older woman (a thirty-something lookalike of Brigitte Bardot). But however you tried to assess her, Suzanne was seriously bahis firmaları fit.
Sometimes Angie wondered how she did it. Discounting the wonderful bone structure of her face (and the bounciness of her tits, of course), she rated herself as utterly unattractive. Yet gorgeous women were after her all of the time. She’d even had approaches from men!!
‘That’s a bit of Sherwood Forest,’ said Suzanne, pointing to their left.
‘Really,’ said Angie. ‘I thought that was on the other side of the football ground.’
‘That’s the tourist attraction,’ Suzanne replied. ‘This bit’s smaller but just as original. If we had time we could take a detour and look for Robin Hood.’ She laughed. ‘Or would you rather go looking for Maid Marian?’
‘Maybe I would,’ Angie conceded, ‘but that only makes us quits, doesn’t it?’
‘Knowing my luck I’d end up with Little John.’ Suzanne laughed again.
Then, untypically serious: ‘You went out with Bobby for quite a while, didn’t you?’
Angie watched trees and countryside pass them by. ‘Yes,’ she said carefully, ‘I did.’
‘Did you . . . You know?’
‘Did I what?’
‘Did you fuck with him, sweetheart, what else?’
Up until then Angie had never revealed anything about any lover. And Bobby had been experimental, to say the least.
Not that she was ashamed about anything sexual in any way.
‘I don’t tittle-tattle,’ she said. ‘Ask Bobby, not me.’
Suzanne laughed yet again. ‘He doesn’t tittle-tattle about you. He’s a real gent. But we girls confide at will, don’t we? Sandra gives you the most incredible references. So give me something about Bobby.’
‘I didn’t think you’d want to know gritty details.’
Suzanne was silent for a minute . . . an event in itself. ‘I’ve only ever been with Liz,’ she said finally. ‘So I’m a virgin as far as men are concerned. I haven’t even kissed one with any real intent. I just . . . Well, I just sort of wondered.’
Angie stared out of the side window, seeing the thick knot of woodland vanishing behind them.
‘I was intrigued,’ she said eventually. ‘I’ve never really been interested in men, but Bobby has always been nice to me. I suppose it was flattered when he made a move. So yes, I went out with him.’
‘And did you fuck with him?’
‘Of course I did. I needed to know what it was like. I needed to know what I was missing. So yes, I did fuck with him. And we did it on numerous occasions, if you must know.’
‘What was it like?’
‘Okay,’ Angie admitted. ‘It was . . . cozy, in a lot of ways. It was friendly and warm. I enjoyed it.’
‘Is it better than . . .’
Angie cut Suzanne straight off.
‘It was cozy and cute. And no disrespect to Bobby, but it was nothing like the real thing.’
‘So Sandra’s the real thing?’
Angie rolled her eyes dramatically. ‘Having sex with Sandra’s off the scale.’
‘What about sex with other girls? Have you tried that?’
It wasn’t in Angie’s nature to lie. ‘Yes,’ she said without hesitation.
‘How many other girls have you had sex with?’
‘I’m not telling.’
‘Do I know any of them?’
Admission to the car park and football ground was free of charge. That resulted in a decent number of locals attending as well as swarms of supporters from both schools. It also resulted in a lot of trade for the bars and fast-food concessions, which had been thoughtfully opened for the occasion. Angie and Suzanne were among the early arrivals. Before they’d finished their first pints and burgers the buses turned up and the atmosphere started to buzz.
‘This is a bigger crowd than County get,’ Suzanne said as they made their way to their seats up in the West Stand.
Angie was watching a steward who was staring at her suspiciously. Maybe he’d noticed the Docs and skinhead cut and supposed it was a grudge match.
Meaning maybe he’d got her down as Troublemaker Number One.
‘He fancied you,’ said Suzanne as they sat down.
‘No he didn’t. He thought he’d seen me on a banned list.’
‘A list,’ Suzanne echoed.
‘Yeah; one of those mug-shot things you see on the news channels.’
‘Maybe he saw your face and was entranced.’
‘And maybe Saturday’s lottery ticket won and I haven’t checked it yet.’
‘Angie Baby you’re so negative, and with so little need!’
There was no segregation as such but the main groups of followers automatically took opposite ends of the stand, reds to the left, blues to the right, neutrals in the middle. Angie was interested to see that the gender mix was just about even. The guys had turned out to support the old school just as keenly as the gals. Or maybe they wanted to leer over lots of bare female legs and sweaty shirts.
In other words pretty much as she did.
‘I’m getting quite tense,’ she confessed.
‘Me too,’ said Suzanne, taking her hand, squeezing it and not letting go.
“Tense” as a description of the first half was an understatement. Both teams set out with the obvious intention of not conceding kaçak iddaa a goal. Every conceivable safe option was taken and not a single risk was run.
‘Bar time,’ Angie announced as the players went in for their half-time oranges and lemons.
‘I’m driving,’ Suzanne objected.
‘Not for another hour or more you’re not. And you’ve only had one. Come on, I’m buying.’
The bar was predictably busy. It took Angie five minutes to get served. She frowned when she looked around the room for Suzanne and saw her in conversation with Abigail. Abigail was the school’s most popular girl. She’d also “stolen” Bobby from Angie and was supposed to be her rival.
Doing her best to smile (a task she’d never fully mastered), Angie joined the two girls and passed a Guinness to Suzanne.
‘Sorry Abs,’ she said, ‘the barman had moved on to another customer before I saw you.’
Abigail smiled prettily. ‘Don’t worry,’ she replied, ‘Bobby’s getting me a chardonnay.’
‘We were just talking about Bobby,’ Suzanne put in. ‘I told Abs you scored him at seven out of ten in the sack. She’s still weighing up her own score.’
Angie shook her head at the effrontery of the girl. Suzanne had asked for a score and, in the absence of a reply, had obviously made one up. It was typical of her, really. The only surprise was that Abigail seemed to be seriously considering her answer.
‘I haven’t much to compare him with,’ she began.
‘Pull the other one,’ Suzanne hooted. ‘Boyfriends and hot dinners, Abs, you’ve had the lot.’
‘I’m going to say he averages eight,’ Abigail continued. ‘But don’t tell him; he’s big-headed at the best of times.’ Then, smiling that smile again: ‘So come on, Suzy, I’ve shown you mine. It’s your turn. How do you score Liz in the sack?’
‘Ten out of ten,’ Suzanne said without batting an eyelash, ‘same as I score Angie.’
The second half set off as cagily as the first but, after about ten minutes, the breakthrough came. Liz intercepted a pass and, as a good left back always would, immediately kicked the ball up her wing.
Like the rest of the forwards her winger, Wendy, had been tightly woman-marked throughout. As she received Liz’s pass the opposition right back was practically in her shorts with her. Her only obvious option was to play the ball into midfield, in the hope a blue shirt would get to it first.
Surprising everybody, Wendy flicked the ball up and over her head. When she turned and ran after it her marker was caught flat-footed and gaping.
‘Go Wendy,’ Suzanne yelled, along with everyone sitting around her.
As a known goal-scorer Sandra had been marked as tightly as anyone. Now her reactions were faster than fast. For the first time in the game she got clear water between herself and the reds’ centre-half. She sprinted along a left-to-right diagonal while Wendy closed in on the goal-line.
The crowd gasped as the cross went over. Wendy had pulled it away from the goalkeeper very nicely, but surely it was too high!
Straining every sinew, Sandra threw herself up at the ball. But for once her contact was not ideal. She was falling as she headed it, getting under it so it looped back over the keeper but without enough vim to cross the line. It landed just behind the centre-half who, using her initiative, instinctively back-heeled it away.
Liz should not have even been in the reds’ half of the pitch. She certainly should not have been haring towards their penalty box. And no way should she have met the back-heeled clearance with her weak right foot. She was no markswoman. Nine times out of ten her impulsive shot would have presented more danger to local air traffic than the opposition’s goal.
But she hit the ball perfectly. From twenty yards out, staying at a steady ten inches above the ground, never wavering once, it flew through the area and hit the back of the net like a speeding bullet.
Pandemonium erupted. The blues’ fans were jumping, screaming and openly weeping. And that was just the guys; the girls went utterly bananas.
‘Omigod,’ Suzanne kept saying, ‘omigod.’
Conceding that goal spurred the reds into action. With half an hour to go they poured forward in wave after wave of attacking flair. Their passes were short, precise and constructive. Pushed back onto the defensive, the blues did their best to repel the tide. But suddenly they were unable to string together even two passes. Suddenly they were resorting to hoofed clearances.
The reds’ fans were ever more vocal in their support. “We are the champions,” they sang. “Come on you reds, attack, attack, attack!”
Biting their fingernails, the blues’ fans yelled “Defence, defence!!” For some totally inexplicable reason a group of guys started to sing “We shall overcome.”
And still the waves crashed forward. If the first sixty minutes were tense then the rest of the match was sheer torture.
Two minutes to go. A dozen narrow squeaks but the blues were nearly home. And then the reds won a free kick just outside the area. A black-haired girl with a tidy kaçak bahis backside took it, artfully curling the ball up and over the wall.
The sight brought screams all round, and all with differing emotions.
‘Goal,’ the reds’ fans cried.
‘Shit no,’ the blues’ countered.
Time became elastic as the ball curved. A thousand throats gulped in air.
And still the ball curved, wending its way to the equalizer the black-haired beauty and her teammates so dearly deserved.
But the blues’ goalie was up to the challenge. Heroically, diving at absolute full stretch, she somehow finger-tipped the goal-bound shot around the post.
It was a corner to the reds and probably their last chance to force extra time. Every single woman on the pitch was in the blues’ area. Well, every single one apart from the corner taker herself. The reds’ keeper was up there. Even Sandra, usually glued to the halfway line, was back there; woman-marking that centre-half for a change.
‘I daren’t watch,’ Suzanne gasped, gripping Angie’s hand harder than ever.
‘We’ll do it,’ Angie replied, not convincing anyone, not even herself.
The corner was unexpectedly clever. After perhaps twenty longer ones the taker went short, aiming at the smallest girl on the pitch who was standing just in front of the near post. Obviously expecting it, the small girl flicked it on, over and above the relative giants behind her.
Luck was on her side. The intention was clearly to pass the ball on to one of her teammates but her angle wasn’t quite right. Instead of going straight back it made a beeline for inside of the far post.
Afterwards Liz would claim she made the perfect defensive header. In truth the ball hit her smack in the face and bounced in a direction favourable for the blues. Even more fortunately, it then landed at the feet of the blue’s skipper, Christine. Christine didn’t fanny about back-heeling the bastard thing; she immediately gave it more air than it had ever seen before.
Pandemonium erupted again. Twenty-one out of twenty-two players followed the leather out of the area, all of them trying for world records, the reds’ keeper leading the charge. And never mind Gail Devers; big as she was that goalkeeper would have left Donovan Bailey in her wake.
But she wasn’t fast enough. Clear from her shadows once more, Sandra got herself underneath the highly lofted ball. It bounced perhaps two yards in front of her.
She hit it as it came down a second time, not letting it bounce again.
Sandra was out forty yards and at an angle. Her accuracy was immaculate. It would have shamed a top-class rugby kicker. It also made a mockery out of the reds’ keeper’s efforts to get back in position. Zooming perhaps fifty feet over her sprinting head, it bounced once, just shy of the penalty spot . . .
And then it careered on over the bar.
Angie and Suzanne joined the chorus of agonized wails but the miss didn’t matter. The referee let the panting keeper take the goal kick then blew the final whistle as the ball was still aloft.
Victory was theirs!
Against all the odds!!
The aftermath was overwhelming. Angie, Suzanne and hordes of schoolmates flooded the pitch in spite of the stadium announcer’s pleas to keep off. Somehow “a few more league games” didn’t seem as important as the here and now.
Bugger the state of the pitch! Who cared about blades of grass at a moment like that!!
To their enormous credit the reds’ fans stayed to applaud the medal presentations. By then the blues’ fans weren’t going anywhere.
“Champions,” they roared as Christine lifted the trophy. Then, a little optimistically, ‘We are champions of Europe!’
All of the school’s PE teachers were present, male and female. And that evening they all deferred to the women’s first team coach.
‘Everyone back to school,’ she commanded. ‘It’s been a big secret but we’ve kept the caterers there this afternoon. We’re going to hold the biggest party ever held anywhere.’
Everybody shouted out enthusiasm.
As if she didn’t believe them the coach coughed, mock-politely. ‘Don’t tell the headmaster,’ she said, ‘but it’s a champagne reception. So make sure you get there before the victorious team, yeah? Can’t be greeting them with empty glasses, can we?’
The unruly supporters on the pitch were constantly jostling, constantly hugging. At one stage, going from hug to hug, Angie came face to face with Abigail.
‘Angie Baby,’ she sighed, pulling her close and kissing her on the mouth.
Carried away with the spirit of the moment, Angie kissed back, amazing herself by enjoying it.
‘I didn’t really give Bobby seven out of ten,’ she whispered into Abigail’s ear. ‘Suzy made that up. I wouldn’t know where to begin.’
Abigail laughed. She could be a bit of a bitch but just then her eyes shone with sincerity. ‘Never mind his score,’ she said, ‘I want to know more about your perfect ten.’
Encouraged by the PE teachers, the crowd finally left the pitch. By then Sandra had convinced Angie that she “simply had to” travel back on the team coach. A massive welcome awaited them; sneaking off for a few beers in a country pub wasn’t an option. Liz had simultaneously told Suzanne a similar story.
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