Chapter twenty three: basketball
They've managed to find Ryder near the Cory attack. They got him out of there within seconds before he was next. It wasn't like they're invisible. People in this timeline are able to see them like they're regular human beings. Even Megan isn't invisible. To the Spruce Grove citizens, she's alive. In a way she's like Charlie who can be viewed by people or not, depending on what he chooses.
A couple days later, they found Hailey and Justin just outside Spruce walking along the road to Stony Plain.
They traveled back to the high school where they broke in. It was after school hours as they passed the gym. They were headed to the lounge when the basketball coach came outside wiping sweat off his forehead with a cloth.
"These fucking kids won't listen. We'll never win the tournaments," he complained. "Hey, kids! What are you doing here?"
"Kids?" Hailey mumbled.
"We're . . ." Ryder trailed off.
"You shouldn't be here. Unless you're here to help coach me you need to leave."
"Yep, we're here to help," Megan states. "Infact," she walks up to Mason placing her hands on his right shoulder, "He's an excellent coach for the basketball team. Every team he coaches has won the tournaments and even the champions. I'd say he's the best out of all the coaches."
"I was joking. You're just a kid. You can't coach a whole team," the coach laughs. "Alright, kids see ya." He walks back into the gym.
"Hell would I let him tell me that."
Mason storms into the gym grabbing onto the whistle and blows it. Every kid stops looking at him. "Kid, what the fuck are you doing?" Coach asks.
"You want to win right?"
"Of course, but this isn't your job."
"You're right, it isn't but if you want to win then you'll suck it up. Alright people! I heard you want to win the tournament. Now, let's see what you can do." Mason blew the whistle. The game started and he watched intently. Players were already sorted into the teams. Player sixteen had the ball and was dribbling it, tripping over his own two feet when he fell flat on his face. The ball rolled when another player took the ball and shoots at the hoop but missed dearly.
A player on the other team grabs the ball dribbling it when the opposite team player steals the ball. Player seventeen. The rest of the players are stumbling to catch up with player seventeen. Every player is shoving each other to get to the ball and is tripping over each other. Ryder came up to him.
"What are we supposed to do?"
He leans in towards him. "Find shelter here at the school then go hunting for the others." Mason scans the team players, noticing one player. "I've got an iffy feeling about this, especially player seventeen." Ryder glances at the player.
"I don't see anything wrong.
"You might not, but since I know when someone isn't human and whatnot, it's easy for me to know something is off."
"Now go, I got this. Find safety."
Ryder nods leading the others out who had followed Mason in.
"I'm not leaving, I'll stay with Mason. You guys go," Megan says, shooing them away.
"Why don't you go?"
"Wanna stay with you. I wanna see how you'll kick these guys asses."
Mason shakes his head going over to the coach. "I'll need your whistle."
"Not having it. I doubt you'll be able to shape these guys up."
"Alright then." Mason took the whistle and blew it hard in the coach's ear.
"Ow! Here kid, take it." He gave him the whistle.
"That is the worst game I've ever seen in my life." Mason wasn't into basketball, or any sports for that matter, but he knew they were going to fail miserably. Mason shakes his head. "I'm very disappointed in the outcome. In my ten years of coaching, I have seen no teamwork, no balance, no proper technique. This is a very sad team. No wonder you're not winning." Mason faces the coach. "You can't coach properly. This is a very sad team you've got here."
Megan mumbled something to coach.
"Alright, we're going back to the basics. From the beginning and trust me, by the end of this, you'll be thanking me. Alright, put the ball back in the bin and run fifteen laps. GO!" He blows the whistle and they run around the gym.
"I don't want jogs or walking. I need you to run or you'll never win."
"How is this helping?" the coach asked.
"You," he turns towards him, "sit and take notes because clearly you need them."
"Now I don't need you to come in here and order around my kids."
"I thought you wanted to win the tournament. You don't want to be the laughing stock. Now, I'm only here for two days so I'll be cramming a lot."
Mason turns back to the team who was slowing down. He blows the whistle "Faster! You signed up to be the best, not to be slackers!"
The team continues running until all fifteen laps are done.
"Alright, grab your water and huddle in."
The team grabs their bottled water and slowly makes their way towards Mason. "Okay, I'm your coach for the next two days and you will do whatever I say. I don't have time for slackers so unless you want to fail me, your coach and the team, I suggest you pick it up now. I will push your limits until you break. I want to see sweat coming from every one of you. I want to see you push yourself and keep pushing yourself until you break. Once I'm gone, I expect all of you to keep pushing yourself and be the best. I don't want to leave here disappointed. When I leave here tomorrow, you will be the greatest basketball team to ever play."
Everyone nods in understanding what's about to come. "What's your mascot?"
"Panther," someone said.
"Well Panthers, hell is coming your way."
Mason scanned everyone when his gaze landed on player seventeen. His eyes turned red for a split second before turning green. A hunch told him that this person isn't who he's portraying. Mason kept quiet, making a mental note to keep an eye on him.
"Alright, everyone grab a basketball, we're starting with drills."
Megan is sitting on the sidelines watching Mason coach the team. She's with the coach as he's writing down the tips and all about coaching. "So you think he's just a kid or what?"
"For a kid, he's pretty good."
"You should know that he's not a kid, he's thirty three."
"Thirty three? Well he looks good looking for thirty three."
"Good looking? How old are you?"
"Forty-nine. I'd say maybe him and I could hit it off. I mean, look at how fit he is." Mason runs around the court yelling at them the good and bads for dribbling.
"Yeah . . ." Megan's grossed out not bothering to talk to him.
The time came to an end when the team had to go home.
"Remember what I said and don't forget! I'll see you tomorrow." Mason handed the whistle back to the coach. "I hope you got all of that."
"Of course I did. Why would I?"
"Good. Anyways we've got to go. I'll come back tomorrow and work with them. Then it's up to you to continue. Got that?"
"Let's go Megan."
They left the gym walking towards the lounge. "The coach is creepy. He said that you're good looking and that you're fit."
"What's wrong with that? Are you denying it?"
"What? I agree with him but the way he said it sounded creepy."
"You agree that I'm good looking?" Mason smirks, side eyeing her.
"So you don't agree?"
"But you said no."
"I'm getting confused."
"I am too."
They enter the lounge spotting Hailey, Ryder, Justin, Jane and Melody waiting.
"Hey," Melody says.
"Hey," Mason replies.
"I have a question," Jane says, "where are we going to stay until we get back?"
"In a hotel," Mason replies.
"We don't have any money," Hailey states.
"Charlie may or may not have stolen money from the bank a couple days ago."
"I thought he was joking," Megan says.
"I thought so too but apparently not. He got us money to stay the night at a hotel until we get back."
"We'll walk there, right?" Justin asks.
"Yeah," Mason confirms. "If we're going to make it before dark, we'd better get going."
Walking through the Inn Hotel in Spruce by Tri Leisure. Mason booked them into three rooms. Once that's done, he gave the one key to Justin, Hailey and Ryder, one key to Melody and Jane, and kept the other key for himself and Megan.
"Sorry Megan, you're with me. I don't want you with the other women as you girls don't get along."
"Fine by me."
"In the morning, we'll meet at the Tri at ten to find Hudson. Then we'll find a way to get out of here. In the meantime, rest up and we'll see each other in the morning."
They took the elevator up to the floors and went to their rooms. Mason unlocks their room and they step into a fresh clean room.
"Ahh, this is nice." Megan walks up to the bed and lays down embracing the comfort. "I could get used to this."
"Good, you need your rest. Tomorrow will be a busy day." Mason walks into the bathroom. "I'm going to have a quick shower."
"Okay." He heard the TV turn on when he locked the bathroom door. Stripping out of his clothes he turns the knob allowing the cold water to turn to hot water, just how he likes it. Hoping in, he allows the hot water to run down his tensed body. It relaxes his muscles and his mind.
Using the soap and shampoo he washed himself. It didn't take him long to finish. He gathered the towels there neatly folded on the rack above the toilet. Wrapping it around his waist he left the bathroom into the sink area completely forgetting that Megan is on the other side of the wall.
"Oh my god I thought you were dressed."
He looks over at her as she's staring at him. "Wouldn't that be a sign to look away?"
"I've seen other guys naked. I'm pretty sure I'm okay seeing you half naked."
Megan looks Mason up and down from his abs to his v-line.
"Nice abs." Megan leaves Mason alone. He finished getting dressed into his jeans grabbing his clothes. He drops it beside the bed and climbs into bed. Megan gets off the room phone.
"Who'd you call?"
"Room service. I ordered dinner for us."
"Do you always sleep with jeans on?"
"Nope, but I don't have other clothes and I can't go completely naked."
"I guess not."
Mason pulled the blanket up and they watched tv on their own beds when a knock on the door interrupted them. Megan got up and asked Mason for the money and went to the door. Mumbled voices and a closed door later, Megan came with a box of food.
"Dinner is served." She opens the box revealing nachos. "Dig in." Placing the box on the nightstand they ate while watching tv. A couple hours later, they are off to bed.