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Authors: M. G. Higgins

Blow Out

BOOK: Blow Out
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Text copyright © 2013 by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

All rights reserved. International copyright secured. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., except for the inclusion of brief quotations in an acknowledged review.

Darby Creek

A division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

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Minneapolis, MN 55401 U.S.A.

Website address:
www.lernerbooks.com

The images in this book are used with the permission of:
Front cover: © Chris Crisman/CORBIS. iStockphoto.com/
Ermin Gutenberger, (stadium lights).

Main body text set in Janson Text 12/17.5.
Typeface provided by Adobe Systems.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publications Data

Higgins, M. G.

Blow out / by M.G. Higgins.

p. cm. — (Counterattack)

ISBN: 978–1–4677–0302–4 (lib. bdg. : alk. paper)

[1. Soccer—Fiction. 2. Knee—Wounds and injuries—Fiction. 3. Sports injuries—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.H5349554BI 2013

[Fic]—dc23

2012025221

Manufactured in the United States of America

1 – BP – 12/31/12

eISBN: 978-1-4677-0957-6 (pdf)

eISBN: 978-1-4677-3119-5 (ePub)

eISBN: 978-1-4677-3118-8 (mobi)

 . . .

FOR MOM AND DAD.

W

ith a minute to go in the regional final, Lacy Sheridan was running
full out. Ahead, to Lacy's right, Nita Ortiz dribbled past an opposing defender. Another defender was closing in. Lacy was in the open. If she could just get closer to the net, she'd be in position to score. That would put the Copperheads ahead 2–1. Lacy's lungs and thighs burned, but she didn't care. She felt alive, completely charged.

“Nita!” she shouted, getting her teammate's attention.

Nita gave Lacy a quick glance and then a knowing grin. She faked a shot, throwing the second defender off-balance. At the last moment, she turned her foot, making an instep pass. It was a great play—except Lacy wasn't in position yet. With the ball scooting past her toward the sideline, Lacy sprinted after it. She got there just in time, twisting on her right leg as she kicked the ball inbounds.

She heard her knee pop. Then she felt a hot, agonizing pain shoot through skin and muscle and bone, and crumpled to the grass.

 . . .

“Lacy!”

Lacy woke up with a start, her scream still ringing in her ears.

Carrie stood next to her bed. “Hey.”

Lacy propped herself upright with an elbow. “I had a nightmare.”

“Yeah, I heard you all the way in my room. The same one?”

Lacy nodded.

“I can't believe you're still having that dream.” Understanding crossed Carrie's face. “Spring semester starts tomorrow, doesn't it?”

“Yes.”

Lacy fell back onto her pillow. It would be the first time since her accident that she hadn't worn the brace to school, and soccer practice would be starting in a few weeks. She took a deep breath.

“Want to talk about it?” Carrie asked.

Lacy glanced at the worried crease between her big sister's eyes. She did want to talk about it—about the weeks of bed rest, the months of physical therapy, the wondering about whether she would play soccer again. But she wasn't sure how she felt. Terrified? Excited? Anyway, Carrie had enough on her plate with returning to Connecticut the following week for her second term of college.

“Thanks for waking me,” Lacy said. “You're going to make a good psychologist someday.”

Carrie snickered. “First, I have to get through freshman year.” She crossed the room to the door.

“Carrie,” Lacy called. Her sister turned back around. Lacy wanted to ask Carrie if she'd maybe thought about transferring close by to Wake Forest or the University of North Carolina next year instead of returning to Yale. But that was impossible, not to mention unfair. So she said, “Nothing. I just … miss you.”

“Yeah … I miss you too, Lacy Lou.”

The phone on Lacy's desk rang. Lacy rolled her eyes. Her parents still had a landline.

She looked at her clock. It was 4:30
A.M.

“Mom and Dad?” Lacy guessed.

“Probably. I wish they'd pay more attention to the time difference.” Carrie picked up the phone and handed it to Lacy.

“No.” Lacy pulled her comforter up to her chin. “You talk to them.”

Carrie shook Lacy's shoulder. “Stop being such a baby. I'm not around to run interference anymore. You've got to learn how to talk with them.”

Lacy sat up. “I am not a baby. But she's probably calling for you anyway.” She grabbed the phone and pressed the Talk button. “Hello?”

Her mother answered with “
Bonjour!

“Hello, Mother. How was New Year's in Paris?”

“Cold, but lovely. Are you behaving yourself? Silly question. Of course, you are. Where's your sister? Can I talk to her, please?”

Lacy handed the phone to Carrie and whispered, “See?”

Carrie pretended to gag. “Hi…” she said into the receiver. “Fine … Yeah … Okay… Bye.” She set the phone back in its cradle. “She just wanted to wish me luck on my second semester at ‘that Yankee school.' Told me to hurry up and pledge the right sorority.”

“When are they getting back?” Lacy asked.

“In a week. Unless the Hawthornes convince them to go to Monaco.” Carrie switched to her snooty English accent. “You know how Mum and Da get sidetracked when they're
on the Continent
.”

Lacy couldn't help laughing. Her sister always knew how to cheer her up.

“Go back to sleep, okay?” Carrie winked at Lacy and closed the door.

Instead of sleeping, Lacy lay on her back, staring at the ceiling. She bit her lip as she thought about returning to school. Was her leg completely healed? Her surgeon—the top orthopedic specialist on the East Coast—told her she'd had a full recovery. She prayed he was right. If he wasn't, she couldn't play soccer. Lacy knew it was pathetic, but besides Carrie, her teammates were her real family. She couldn't imagine a future without them.

T

he next morning, Lacy drove her blue T Mini Cooper into the Fraser High School parking lot. The car was a gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her dad had wanted to buy her a Lexus, but Carrie helped talk him out of it. Lacy felt uncomfortable flaunting their wealth. Plus, the Mini was seriously cute.

In order to get a good parking spot, Lacy arrived at school ten minutes earlier than usual. Then she took her time walking through the parking lot. She gripped the railing as she climbed the ten steps up to the school building. Her leg felt bare without the brace. She kept feeling for twinges and pangs in her knee. If she noticed anything out of the ordinary, she was driving home and getting her brace.

Lacy took a deep breath.
You are such a wimp. Dr. Sinjaya said you don't need the brace anymore
. But her doctor's opinion didn't lessen her fear. The pain—both after the injury and after the surgery—had been agonizing. Pain pills had helped, but she hated the drugged-out way they made her feel. She had hobbled on crutches for five weeks, dependent on her mom, Carrie, and their housekeeper, Mrs. Langley, for even the smallest things. Physical therapy was frustrating too. It was like learning to walk all over again.

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