“Fifteen minutes ’till game time!” Grandpa called from the front porch.
Ruby rushed to the refrigerator. She hopped on one foot trying to shove her soccer cleat onto the other. With her free hand, she swung the fridge door open and grabbed a large plastic container from the top shelf. She raced through the living room almost knocking down a tall porcelain vase in the corner.
Grandpa shook his car keys. He glanced at his watch. “Fourteen minutes to drive to Beachwood Field. Plus, you still need to stretch and do warm-up drills,” Grandpa explained.
“If Benjamin would move his fishing gear out of my way, I might be on time,” Ruby said jumping over her brother’s fishing pole that lay in front of the door.
“You’re the one who slept in until the last minute then sped around the house like a hurricane,” Ben said as he snapped his tackle box shut. “The sooner we get to your game, the sooner I can go fishing.” Ben grabbed his fishing pole and bait and met Grandpa outside.
Ruby dashed down the front steps, pulling her mismatched socks up to her knees. She hurried behind Grandpa and Ben to the car.
“Next stop, Titan territory,” Grandpa called.
The fourteen-minute car ride seemed like thirty. They caught every light. The red stoplight glared back at Ruby’s face. She looked to the car clock. Suddenly, her cheeks matched the red light. I can’t miss half time, Ruby thought. Any other day might be okay, but not today! I’m snack captain. The team is counting on me for their midgame snack. Ruby took a deep breath. Just then, the light turned green and they were off.
By the time Ruby took the field, the Titans were already down two goals.
“Here! Pass it!” Ruby shouted from midfield. Sandy tried to kick the checkered ball Ruby’s way, but missed.
“Heads-up! The field’s muddy!” Sandy shouted.
Ruby recovered the ball and zigzagged around her opponents. Her stomach churned. It was almost half time and that meant snack time.
Ruby kicked the ball past the goalkeeper and scored.
She glanced to the sideline. Grandpa gave her a thumbs up. Ben crossed his arms.
Half time! The ref blew his whistle.
“We’ll tie it up after break,” Coach Max said, clapping his hands.
“Are you snack captain today?” Sandy asked Ruby as they ran off the field.
“Yep.” Ruby grabbed the large plastic container from the bench.
“What’s the snack?” Sandy asked.
“Apples and peanut butter,” Ruby said.
“Can’t wait!” Sandy exclaimed.
Ruby’s stomach was growling now as she opened the plastic container. The Titans gathered closely around Ruby waiting for their scrumptious snack.
“Hurry. I’m hungry,” a fellow Titan exclaimed. The whole team moved in closer to Ruby. She flipped the lid open and proudly raised the container to her teammates. But suddenly, the whole team backed away and held their noses.
“Worms!!!” everyone shouted as if crying “Fire!!!”
“Ugh! Benjamin. You little sneak!” Ruby exclaimed.
“What?” Ben threw his arms up, confused.
“You gave me your stinky fishing bait,” Ruby said as she closed the container lid.
“I did not!” Ben shouted.
“The whole team doesn’t have a snack because of you,” Ruby said, pointing to her brother.
“It’s all you. My bait was labeled yesterday when I put it in the fridge,” Ben called to Ruby.
Ruby picked up the worm-filled container and examined all sides. “There’s no label,” Ruby argued. She dumped out the container of worms.
“My bait!” Ben shouted.
Ruby stormed away to her position on the field.
Ben pointed his fishing pole at Ruby as if he was casting his line. “Sisters,” he muttered.
Coach Max tossed the ball to Ruby. “We need this goal to tie,” he called.
Ruby charged toward the goal. She glanced at the sideline and saw Ben. Ruby clenched her jaw and kicked the ball with all her might. Her cleat slipped in the mud and she began to topple backwards. She quickly regained her balance only to see the ball soar through the air, hit the goal post, and roll off sides.
The referee blew his whistle to end the game.
Ruby dropped her head in defeat. As she stared at her dirty cleats, a neon spark caught her eye. Ruby picked up her foot and looked at the bottom. Underneath the soil was a bright orange sticker. She tore it off. It read: Ben’s Bait.
Ruby knew she messed up. This was even messier than her cleat bottoms.
“Ben,” she called.
“What? The muddy field’s my fault?” he asked.
“Look,” Ruby said. She held up the sticker. “It was stuck to my cleat.” She stood in front of Ben. “Guess my hurricane ways didn’t pay off.”
“Tell me about it. No snacks, no win, and a blamed brother,” Ben said.
“Plus, no bait,” Ruby joked.
“I’ll let you off the hook this time,” Ben said, swinging his fishing pole over his shoulder. “Let’s catch some fish.” He headed for the car.
“You think they’ll like apples and peanut butter?” Ruby smiled.