"Attention all students, the awards ceremony starts in five minutes, please proceed to the auditorium"
Principal Wexler's boomed over the intercom system. Lines of students began to file down the hallway, escorted by their homeroom teachers. Students lingered by the doorway and met their friends in the aisles, quickly filling up the seats. Kyle stood in a line that was slowly filing in.
"Well Richardson..." he heard a voice say behind him.
"Damien" Kyle said "morning" he said before turning back.
"Just wanted to come and wish you luck" Damien said to him.
"Wow...that's uncharacteristically decent of you" Kyle said to him.
"You'll need it" Damien said pushing past him and walking into the auditorium. Kyle rolled his eyes and sighed deeply.
Natalie pulled Neilson behind her as she held his hand.
"I'm tired" he whined as they took their seats.
"Come on it won't be that bad" she said to him as they sat down on the wooden chairs.
"I hate mandatory assemblies" he grumbled.
Bradley made his way into the auditorium and spotted Neilson and Natalie, he then walked towards their row and sat down next to Neilson.
"See, Bradley's awake" Natalie said to Neilson.
"Barely" Bradley said to her as he yawned.
"Well maybe if you guys didn't stay up until three am playing The Beatles rock band..." Natalie said to them.
"Don't start" Bradley said to her.
Harry walked into the auditorium, his camera hanging from his neck, he stepped towards Mr. Carson, the student advisor that was in charge of the school newspaper.
"Great Harry, I want you to start here, make your way towards the middle and meet up with Cecily in the back".
"Yes sir" Harry said to him.
"And coach wants a lot of shots of the MVP award".
"Got it" Harry said to him removing the lens cap from his camera and focusing in on different groups of students.
"You guys will have plenty of time to catch up on your beauty sleep in study hall" Natalie said to both Neilson and Bradley.
"It can't come soon enough" Neilson said letting his head fall on to her shoulder.
"think you guys can stay awake long enough to show Kyle some support?" she asked.
They looked at each other confusedly before turning to Natalie.
"What?" she asked.
"Why are we supporting Kyle?" Neilson asked her.
"You're kidding me right?" Natalie asked him as he turned to look at Bradley who shrugged
"Can I get a vowel here?" Bradley asked her
"The awards ceremony is today?" she said to them as they exchanged looks of confusion before turning back to her. "Coach Reinhart's giving out the football MVP award? Kyle, your friend who lives with you is on the football team? He's nominated?" she asked them as they continued to look at her puzzled.
"How do you know this?" Neilson asked.
"How do you not know this? There are literally signs everywhere" she said to them.
"Really?" Neilson asked as they continued to look at her confused.
"Please stop looking at me like that" she said to them.
"You see any signs?" Neilson asked.
"I didn't see any signs, where are these signs?" Bradley asked as they looked around the auditorium.
"Hey guys, smile" Harry said coming up to them, camera in hand, Natalie smiled as the flash went off.
"That really necessary?" Neilson asked him annoyed.
"Harry I saved you seat" Natalie said to him.
"Oh thanks, but I'm on newspaper duty" he said holding up his camera.
"Hey" Kyle said as he approached them all.
"Hey there he is, our future MVP, smile" Harry said Kyle smiled and the flash went off. Harry snapped another picture of them the flash going off yet again.
"Harry you take another picture of me and you're going to be eating that camera for lunch" Bradley said to him.
"Alright I'm going" Harry said before turning back to snap a quick picture, Bradley lunged at him as Harry scurried away.
"I see some people aren't quite awake yet" Kyle said sitting next to Bradley.
"Kyle, I'm so happy for you, I really hope you win this award...we all do" she said looking at Bradley and Neilson as they groaned and mumbled under their breath.
"Thanks Nat, but you know I'm not the only one nominated I probably won't get it afterall" he said to her.
"Don't think that Kyle you're an amazing football player, you're the best one on the team".
"I'm sorry when did you start the Kyle Richardson fan club?" Neilson asked her.
"I'm doing that being supportive thing we talked about" she said to him.
"Hey guys" Adam said rushing into the auditorium and taking a seat next to Kyle.
"Where've you been?" Neilson asked.
"I uh...I had to take care of something...you know..."he said clearing his throat.
"You were out smoking, we can smell it on you" Bradley said to him.
"I thought you quit?" Natalie asked.
"I did Bradley's full of it" Adam said to her. "Don't give me that look Kyle Michael" Adam said to him.
"Not saying anything" Kyle said to him.
Mr. Wexler appeared on stage and tapped the microphone on the podium.He cleared his throat loudly before speaking.
"Good morning students as you know today is the annual awards ceremony, I want to take a moment to congratulate each and every one of you who is nominated today and wish you the best of luck" Neilson rolled his eyes and hung his head back.
"Alright Wexie lets hurry this up" Bradley muttered.
"Now we will begin with the academic awards" Mr. Wexler said smiling."Then we will move on to the arts and finally athletics, so let's begin" Mr. Wexler said into the microphone.
Harry snapped picture after picture as he sat just offstage, moving around the auditorium to get different views of the assembly. Kids lined up on stage as they all received an award for their outstanding academic achievements.
"And now lets welcome to the stage, Coach Reinhart to start off the athletic awards part of the ceremony" the principal said as the coach stepped up on stage. Neilson had fallen asleep in his chair, his head slumped on to Bradley's shoulder, Bradley's head was slumped ontop of Neilson's as he had also fell asleep
Natalie looked over, shaking her head in disbelief, she quickly took her phone from her purse and snapped a picture. Kyle looked over and rolled his eyes before he and Natalie nudged them both awake.
"What happened?" Neilson asked groggily and looking around.
"This thing isn't over yet?!" Bradley asked irritated.
"Thank you Mr. Wexler" he said into the microphone. "Congratulations to the recipients of the academic awards, you've all studied and worked very hard and you should very proud of yourselves, lets give them a round of applause" he said as everyone began to clap. "Now, I'm very happy to say that our sports teams have had an excellent season, everyone from the football team to the cheerleaders to the tennis team, you guys are doing a great job" everyone began clapping again as the principal set the award on the podium. "Now, it is my esteemed pleasure to present this award to one of our football players".
"So who else is up for this big fancy schmancy award?" Adam asked as they all looked at Kyle.
"Oh well...you know...one of the other guys on the team" he said to them.
"No kidding, who?" Adam asked.
"Does it matter?" Kyle asked nervously.
"Wow talk about avoiding" Adam said to him.
"I'm not avoiding" Kyle said to him.
"Oooooooh, I get it" Bradley said to him "It's Damien".
"So what if it is?" Kyle asked Kyle said reluctantly as they groaned "What?" he asked. "Look I know he's a prick but he's a good football player" Kyle said to them.
"You are way too damn nice" Bradley said.
"I hope he loses" Adam said.
"Imagine the look on his face if he does" Neilson said laughing.
"Oh I can't wait" Adam said joyfully.
"Really don't understand how this feud between you guys and Damien got started" Natalie said to them.
"He's a dick" Bradley said to her "Always has been too, even in kindergarten".
Damien sat with the other football players, he looked back at Kyle and smiled smugly at him.
"See what I'm talking about? Dick" Bradley said to Natalie as they saw Damien glancing back at them.
"Oh now I really hope you win just wipe that stupid smug smarmy look off his big douche face" Adam said to him.
"The boys have worked really hard this season and I'm really proud of the work they've put into the game". "Alright the player of the year MVP award goes to..."the coach said opening the envelope, he smiled and leaned down to the microphone "Kyle Richardson" he said happily, everyone stood and clapped for Kyle.Adam patted Kyle on the back as he got up.
"Congratulations" Natalie said hugging him as he walked towards the stage.
The other football players began snickering at Damien's expression.
"What are you laughing at?!" he growled at them as they turned away from him. Kyle came down the aisle, bumping into Damien "You really do get everything don't you?" Damien asked him.
"Damien I..." Kyle said as he stormed from the auditorium.
"Check it out" Neilson said to Bradley as he snickered at Damien's angry face.
"Dude, Adam was right...this is hilarious" Bradley said to Neilson as they laughed.
Kyle stepped up onstage, shook coach Reinhart's hand and took the award from him. Damien felt a tightness in his chest as he barged into the locker room, he paced around quickly, his fingers running through his hair digging into his scalp. He huffed and puffed as he skitted around anxiously when everything inexplicably turned black.
"I'd like to say a few words" Damien's father, Derek said as their family butler presented him with drink. "I am very happy to announce that Damien here is nominated for the Hilridge High School football team's prestigious MVP award" Derek said proudly.
"We're so proud of you sweetie" his mother, Daphne said to him, a wine glass in her hand.
"Proud doesn't even begin to cover it, nothing makes me happier than to see you following in your brother's footsteps" Derek said to him. Damien's smile faltered as his father began to brag about his brother's accomplishments. "After all it was not so long ago that you were receiving the MVP award, remember Darren?"
"Course" Darren said "Congratulations little brother" Darren said.
"To my son Damien, the future MVP of Hilridge High School" Derek said proudly, his glass still raised.
"To Damien" his mother Daphne said raising her wine glass.
"To Damien" everyone echoed.
"So, let"s hear from the man of the hour" Derek said.
"Damien, is there anything you'd like to say?" Daphne asked him as she stood by Derek's side.
"Well uh...thanks dad for the...words of encouragement" Damien said "But unfortunately nothing's official yet, I'm just nominated at the moment, Coach Reinhart ultimately makes the final decision and we won't find out who the winner is until the assembly" Damien said to them.
"Nonsense, besides I think coach will appreciate the large donation I plan on giving to the school's athletic program" Derek said. Damien nodded "Cheers" he said raising his glass.
Damien sat on the floor, slumped up against the lockers, his knuckles were bloodied and scraped up. a giant indentation in the locker's surface above him, he took a long slow drink from a glass bottle, clinching his eyes shut as it went down his throat.