Chapter Nine

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After leaving the locker room, I waited on the front steps after sending my mom a quick text I was ready to go. It was weird standing out in the usual spot with no one around. A little spooky even. Imagine my initial surprise when Mason shouted a quick "Hey!" at me.

I was sure I squeaked and jumped a little.

"Well done out there." He said, looking a tad too pleased with himself.

I had to bring my hand down from my chest. Mason was wearing a pair of sweats , not a sign of the tight white tank top. Thankfully.

"Yeah... sure," I gave a little eye roll at that, "I sucked."

"Not really." He said, now starting to go back to his usual serious expression. "You kept up pretty good near the end."

"Since when did you start sugar coating things?" I realized then that I was mad. Why? I wasn't sure, but there was something Mason that just felt... unachievable. Like I could never fully have him. Which didn't make any sense, but whenever Mason got near enough, my emotions got so scrambled up, I was lost.

Mason was definitely frowning now.

I wished I could have walked away and I started too, only to have to turn back around because this was where I had to wait. No diva exit for me.

"What did I do now? Was I too rough out there with you?" Aw crap, I hated making him feel like he did something wrong more than when he was being nice. "I'm just trying to act like a good teammate here and encourage you but if you're-"

"Mason," He stopped and I was becoming more and more upset with myself, "Enough. I didn't mean what I said, or to say something like that."

I couldn't look at him, though he was looking right at me, trying to catch my eyes as I kept looking into a different direction.

"I get it, but I honestly can't explain it. I don't know what's wrong with me. Like why I have to go into defensive mode when I'm with you. But I do. It's a work in progress. But you know what? I'm not making sense. Not even to myself. So let me just shut up now okay?"

Fiive breaths later, Mason seemed to let things sink in. I could tell, because his head gave a slight tilt in different directions as he thought it through. I honestly couldn't say I ever knew anyone who took everything I said so seriously before. It was thrilling to have someone who took me seriously; not for granted, or as a joke.

"Well anyways, don't forget about the Day of the Dead parade tonight." He said, now only looking at me from the corner of his eyes for brief moments.

"Bring your whole family out too. I'm sure Sarah and Mikey will love it."

My jaw fell open, since when did I tell him about having younger siblings? Could he see things too? Like Petr? I never got to ask, because his well-trained legs carried him away before I could say anything about it. At least we didn't quite end things upset with each other, but Mason did get the last word.

My mom pulled up just as Mason was making his exit.

"My star athlete! How was your first practice?" She was practically beaming with excitement at me.

"Excruciating." I mumbled while climbing in next to her.

"Good!" I had to shake my head at that as we headed home. Seems my mother was more excited that I had finally joined something than to register that I was in pain.

"Feels like Halloween part two, huh?" My mom said.

She wasn't lying. As we were driving home, it was hard not to notice. There were a lot of people dressed up in skeleton makeup. It reminded me of New Orleans. I'd been there twice before. Once on a school field trip, the second as a family vacation.

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