|Approaching Common Ground
Author: Enigmatic Night PM
It wasn't that Kaysee 'Kay' Grey was known to be ridiculously nice, it was just that Christopher 'Bookie' Wiles wasn't. It made people wonder how they could be friends, wasn't there supposed to be some sort of common ground? Sequel to ACC.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Chapters: 3 - Words: 10,527 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 07-08-12 - Published: 02-25-09 - id: 2639364
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The walls were lined with medals and certificates; an obvious shrine to a career of success, on and off the courts. Smiling faces of past students grinned out from pinned up photos, both informal shots taken after games and mandatory team photos. Kay glimpsed a shot of her older brother in his last year here at Clemington. A snapshot after the 2007 championship game, his dark hair matted down with sweat, grey eyes gleaming as he and his jade eyed best friend Damon Wiles held up the championship trophy. That was over five years ago, she had been little more than eleven years old at the time, and she still remembered how exciting the night was.
However, there was no doubting the fact that that night had been eclipsed by her own championship game; her brown eyes flickered over to the side where more recent pictures were situated.
She studied herself in a picture, grinning as broadly as her brother had been years before. Her blonde ponytail had barely survived the game, and wispy strands of blonde hair almost obscured her wide brown eyes, so different to those of her brother's and mothers'. If it weren't for the identical 'Grey' grins and dimples, Kay would have worried about being adopted. But she knew that her long graceful build was from her mother, and the fine bone structure that gave her feminine face a unique character, was the same structuring that gave her brother's masculine face a chiselled effect that rendered him classically handsome and her pixyish.
She dragged her wistful gaze away from the photo; cursing her mind's tendency to wander off from current task at hand. Like the interview she was in.
Kaysee Grey may not have been a genius, she wasn't nearly as passionate about academics as she was about sports, but she had graduated high school a year early, and could have gone to college with or without a scholarship. She had gotten a myriad of As, with the odd B plus and so wasn't too surprised when the class valedictorian was Kim Sung whose GPA was a 5.0, yes it's possible, apparently.
However Kay's grades never bothered her too much and she left Clemington on a good note.
Kay, as everyone took to calling her, was known for focussing on the finer points of life. She had a gift for being able to cheer people up, even at her own expense. She had glided through high school without falling into the wrong crowd, or alienating anyone in the process.
In a school where an established hierarchy decided where a person sat, who they talked with and how they fit in, Kay couldn't be categorized; it would be like trying to categorize a rainbow into one colour.
She defied all rules, by befriending anyone. Her looks granted her a spot at the centre fold table where the supposed popular clique frequented, but her understanding of advanced calculus allowed her to converse with people who relied less on looks and more on intelligence. Her fascination with fantasy had her checking out the dungeons and dragons club, but her undeniable skill on the court enabled her to discuss layups on an equal footing with the basketball players.
Kay always made time for anyone who needed her, and never allowed high school etiquette to dictate who she spoke to or hung out with at any given time, and who Kay dated was solely based upon her attraction to him, not everyone else's.
If she had a party, everyone was invited, not every 'popular' person, but everyone. At a Kaysee Grey Party you would no doubt find a diverse group of people, because Kay liked nothing better than diversity. Except perhaps basketball, which she lived and breathed.
It was nice to discover she'd been voted 'nicest girl' by senior vote, but Kay had been absolutely thrilled when she won MVP for the girl's varsity basketball team, which she'd had a hand in forming as their school had no such team to speak of in her freshman year. She'd been appalled at the fact and worked her ass off to make sure that by the time she was a senior there was not only a girl's varsity team, but a damned good one.
She could pretty much trace her love of basketball back to the first grade when her older brother took her to her very first basketball game.
She had demanded he teach her immediately after the game how to play, and Josh being the doting older brother he was couldn't refuse.
Kaysee then proceeded to attend every single one of her older brother's games, she learned as she watched taking in all the moves and skills she saw like a sponge. Before joining a club, and going to basketball camp religiously. Kay became almost as good as her brother, so it was safe to say she knew she had game. It was in her blood, or at least that's what Josh had told her before he left for college.
He was always home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so Kay found no point in missing him too much, even if she did, miss him very much. He seemed to come home regularly enough, but not enough for her mom, not that her mother would ever admit to it.
Every time Josh returned home from college, her mother would become the woman she used to be when both her and Josh lived under her roof fulltime, and Kay would happily think that in a few years she could be at college full time. That maybe she could attend Harvard, like her mother had and Josh currently was, but she didn't have to go to an Ivy League school, any school with a Top Basketball programme would have sufficed.
But now that the time had come she couldn't believe that she was sitting here in an interview with Coach Weston in his office, as opposed to an interview for a placement in an advanced programme at a prestigious university with a brilliant woman's basketball team.
She'd come here directly after seeing Josh off at the airport, actually making her mind up on the drive over. She'd been on the fence, after all, she had time to travel before enrolling into college next year, but after discovering the state her mother had been in this morning she had decided that going away wasn't an option.
She folded her hands in her lap, her back rigid as she faced the balding man before her. "So why, Kaysee, are you applying for the position of assistant coach for the boys' varsity team? After all, you had a huge hand in forming the girls' team; one would think you'd want to help continue on the legacy." She knew he wouldn't ask why she wasn't going to college; Coach Weston didn't pry into anything that didn't affect his team. Her reasons for not going to college didn't affect his team, only her application to become his assistant coach did.
"I believe it's your team, not the girls' team, sir, who need my help." She said clearly, knowing that speaking timidly around Coach Weston would be as helpful to her as trying to get Chris home for Christmas was.
She missed Christopher Wiles almost as much as she missed her brother; she missed Chris's frankness and ability to make even the most sincere thing sound like a quip.
She hated to admit it, but he was the only person who helped her remember that being selfish every once and a while wasn't a crime. But only because Chris wanted people to think that he only looked out for one person and one person only, himself. And he did a very good job of it too, but he couldn't fool Kay.
"Come on Kay, all that philanthropy isn't healthy; once in a while you've got to do something for yourself." Those were his parting words of wisdom the last time she spoke to her friend.
And that was three years ago, he hadn't been home since.
"A man my age should know better than to let a few honest words from a young female get to him," Coach Weston was saying, Kay pulled herself away from the past to focus on the present. "But I've seen you pull a team up from dust and lead it to victory, who knows maybe you're what we need to end the dry spell?" He was tired, she observed. Tired of losing.
The boys' team hadn't won the championship in over two years, and the verity was taking a toll on the once fire breathing coach. His skin had a sour pallor to it that could have been brought on by the emotional distress, or a sickness he was hiding. Kay wasn't sure which the more plausible cause was.
Weston took Kay's CV from the desk and flipped through it, "There's no real need for me to check this, or your references. I've seen you play, you're better than half the boys on my team, and that half has left for college." He mumbled, his clear blue eyes under his blue and black cap surveying her. "Although I have to warn you, you may know these boys, but the fact that you're their age and well, I ain't goin to tread softly on the subject... a female, might have a less than ideal affect on their attitude."
Kay sighed, she was ready for this and opened her slightly chapped lips to recite the speech she'd prepared but for some reason the words died upon her tongue.
Coach Weston didn't notice, absentmindedly scratching his bearded chin as he continued on, "Grey, you have an outstanding reputation, but a bunch of boys would still take offense." His voice was gruffly contemplative and Kay shifted in her seat, trying to get the words out.
She reached back to tug on her ponytail, a habit of hers she'd developed over the years.
"Coach, I understand-" she was finally able to mutter out, "Sir... I know that guys will be guys and will hate it at first that they're being coached by a girl," at a raise of whitening eyebrows Kay smiled bashfully, amending her sentence, "that their coach is assisted by a girl in their training, but I'm willing to stick it out. I have plays and drills that I know were imperative in the strengthening of the girls' team." He let out a loud whistle of air, before flipping open her playbook that laid before him, coming to a page in the book that Kay knew all too well.
"One of your best plays, right?" He asked, he knew it as well as she did, Kay nodded, "I still can't believe it, it's pure genius, and last year when I tried to implement it... well you saw the outcome." She looked down; the boys trashed the play losing a qualifying game in the process. It was disgraceful how badly they played that night; it went down as one of the worst played games of the season.
"Your team had won the game against Fairfield using this, right?" Another obvious question. Kay wondered, and almost wished, whether he would just say no and let her leave. But she was holding out because she knew Coach Weston was aware of her talent.
And she knew that if she were going to be staying in this safety net of a town she needed something to keep her going. She had to try, Kay was an optimist, but her ambition left a little to be desired. Especially because all she wanted to do was play ball, even if it was just for fun.
She knew that Josh wouldn't approve of her forgoing college, even if she promised she would eventually enrol and attend.
But her mother needed her, at least for now. Katherine Darling-Grey was a proud woman and would never admit it, but she was terrified at the idea of living in their huge house alone.
There were more reasons for Kay to take this one school year off and become the assistant coach of a team that needed her; at least more than there was for her to be selfish and go off to college. She briefly thought about what Chris would have to say about her decision, but the fact of the matter was... Chris wasn't around. He hadn't been for three years. And his 'self first' rule didn't apply to her situation. Kay didn't have it in her to freeze off the people she loved as easily as Chris seemed to be able to do, they were built differently and not just physically.
Kay was warm and perpetually happy (not in that annoying perky way however) and Chris was cold and calculated, she shook off thoughts of her childhood hero as Coach Weston pushed her playbook towards her, she grinned, smoothing her hand over the well preserved page. Her grin widened into a brilliant smile when the man gave a loud tired sigh as his deep voice rumbled,
"You might as well teach them the play yourself."
No one came to pick him up at the airport. But only because Christopher or Bookie as people here called him, had failed to call and inform his parents that he was going to be home earlier than he was expected, a lot earlier. But that was because they weren't expecting him, and hadn't been expecting him for quite some time. He hadn't been home for any type of holiday since his first year of college, and that was three years ago. His family had eventually gotten used to the fact that Chris wasn't going to be home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday really.
He'd become accustomed to living on his own, and at nineteen he'd forgotten what it was like to be with family, or old friends. A pensive expression clouded over his face as he thought about the last time he saw Kay, she'd been a little over fourteen years old and interestingly enough almost taller than he was at sixteen. He almost smiled at the memory.
"Need any help?" He turned his head stiffly, acknowledging the girl in a 'Need Help? Just ask' polo shirt. He wondered whether she'd take it the wrong way if he replied with,
"Are you willing to give me head?" his voice was a little hoarse from the long flight, but it held enough venom in it to alert her to his serious lack of 'need' for any help. He just wanted to get his bags, get a cab and go home, nix the reunion with his siblings and parents and sleep off the jetlag. He'd actually been in Stockholm for a few weeks, conducting an experiment with some Swedish students, it'd been an interesting experience. But that's what Bookie had accumulated over the years, interesting experiences.
"Excuse me?" The girl, who looked to be around his age, if not a little younger, uttered as if he'd socked her one. She wasn't bad looking, and if he'd met her under different circumstances he might have been civil, but right now her narrowed blue eyes expressed just how useless taking back what he said earlier would be, so he settled on repeating his initial question.
"I said-" he began, but didn't finish as she left a resounding slap on his cheek before spinning on her heel and stomping off, he was surprised that she hadn't sent his glasses flying. He pushed them up his straight nose, hazel eyes heavy lidded, as he gave a lazy grin. He could see people trying not to look like they were looking via his peripheral vision, and he wondered why it was they bothered to mask it, humans were curious beings by nature why they tried to hide it was beyond him. Running a somewhat large hand through his somewhat unruly blonde hair he grabbed his last bag and made a beeline for customs.
His tall wiry frame enabled him to saunter through the crowds with utmost ease, not grace, never grace. If anything, Bookie was perhaps one of the most uncoordinated people to 'grace' the earth, but his tall lean build and lack of care saved him from being awkward and gangly. Being the son of an African American woman who claimed to work in tax, but being the smarter (and perhaps more paranoid and fond of conspiracy theories) of her children, Christopher never believed that his mother was a simple tax worker, and a Caucasian man who (and Chris believed) worked in publishing, Christopher was a strange child who looked the part of 'strange child' to a T, until the late stages of puberty that is.
In other words, Christopher had matured well, growing into his intelligence, physically that is. He knew that thanks to good genes on his parent's part, and keeping himself healthy on his part he was easy on the eyes. He'd traded in his wide rimmed glasses for slimmer shaped ones a while back, ones that didn't give his hazel eyes that magnified element he used to have as a kid. Chris was aware that his smiles, which were few and far in-between, revealed a mouth full of pearly whites and could very well get him what he wanted when he used it right, and his hazel eyes could be a light almost green colour when he was mad and a dark almost brown when something, or someone, caught his attention.
His height, coupled with his lean body allowed him to tower over most people, and he may have not been bulky but he was lightly muscled and knew how to work it to his advantage. He was fairly tall; Chris had been the same height as his older brother Damon, who continued to be a starting power forward on his college basketball team. Which was apparently an honour, but according to Chris it only meant Damon was an aggressive imposing fuck on the court. Not that Chris knew anything about playing the sport, apart from the basics, and knowing the fouls, fouls took in big money.
And Chris knew all about making big money from idiots who had fuck all knowledge about odds, he knew a lot of things, our Chris. And it didn't just end at the text and betting books. All in all, Christopher was aware of his physical attractiveness, and he knew others were aware of it as well. It was striking, the physical change he underwent from boy to man.
But perhaps what struck people most about him, was his utter lack of empathy. It wasn't a physical attribute, nor could it be considered an attribute, more along the lines of a personality flaw, quirk, whatever. But Chris didn't really 'bond' well, not with anyone. He didn't do friendship, and relationships were useless. This was the one constant about him; he didn't understand the idea behind helping someone at your own expense, or for no self gain. He may have looked different, but this was the same Bookie.
In high school he'd been at least three years younger than his peers and a hell of a lot smaller too, however due to his haughty and ruthless attitude, not to mention superior intellect and betting ring he had been more than fine.
He handled his own; even at the tender age of twelve, if anything the fact that everyone had been older than he was had enabled him to leave the place with no real strings attached.
His only real friend had come in the form of a girl two years his junior, and even then he'd managed to distance himself from her enough so that he didn't think about her much when he was gone.
When he finally made it out of the airport and into a cab he sat back and attempted to relax as the cab driver drove him ...home—for lack of a more suitable description of the house he grew up in—the driver's chatter falling on deaf ears.
Chris was far too engrossed in his thoughts to listen to anyone at the moment, least of all a cab driver talking about his bowel movements.
"Take a left here." He said in a clipped voice, knowing exactly where he was going, almost as if he'd never left. When they neared a rather large pear coloured Victorian style house he muttered, "Stop."
"Your home?" The man asked in a heavy Indian accent, Chris turned from staring out the window at the 'home' he hadn't seen in three years, to nod tersely into the rear-view mirror. The Indian man smiled, "Very nice home young man." There was no point in denying it, it was a nice house—home, and it even had a nice family inside, the problem resided within himself and his inability to accept that he belonged to that nice family, because then it would mean he would have to feel something.
He got out of the cab, and rather than walk up to the door as the cab drove away after he paid, he stood at the end of the driveway and just stared, his usually cold hazel stare puzzled. He couldn't believe that the potted plants his mother had placed on the front porch just before Damon and Nina first went away to college, were still there. Or that the fence's rusted gate hadn't been replaced. In all honesty Chris was pleased. The lack of outward changes was comfortable, and as much as he would hate to admit it; for the first time in a long while he felt something, almost akin to relief, perhaps he may not consciously agree but subconsciously, at least, Christopher Wiles was very glad to be home.
A/N: This is me jumping the gun and putting up the 1st chapter for a sequel to a story that isn't even finished yet. I would have had it posted a few days ago but FP wasn't letting me sign in.
Some common things I'll answer before they're asked.
1. Only Two POVs will be used. Bookie and Kay's.
2. There will be appearances from various ACC characters, as its set in the same setting only years later. With Kay being seventeen and Bookie, nineteen.
3. I'll try to make the POVs of equal length to each other in each chapter, but there's no guarantee.
4. No, I don't play basketball, (I'm a rugby/league person myself) and is it obvious?
5. No, I don't live in America (again, is it obvious?).
6. I know ACC isn't finished yet. (This can be disregarded once ACC is finished.)
7. No, not everyone who got together in ACC will have stayed together. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. (Whoops, spoiler.)
8. Yes, I'm aware of the horrendous typos and I apologise.
9. Any other questions? Just ask.
Your thoughts would be much appreciated.