Arc 2 · Between Two Worlds

6.2 A taste of fame

Three weeks after the commotion in the gym, school was surprisingly uneventful, save Athena’s workout sessions with Kian.

Sure, Athena received icy stares from girls during her first week. But they stopped when Kian and one of his mates – often Trevor – began walking through the corridor of the second floor junior classrooms during breaks, sending the juniors in a tilting frenzy as they got the chance to eye or if brave enough, interact with the cool seniors. “They’ve never done this before!” Maia exclaimed excitedly. Athena realised it was Kian’s way of preventing her from getting picked on, for now she wasn’t the only one who received ‘special attention’. Beneath that brash exterior, Kian’s a pretty nice guy, she thought to herself.

Unexpectedly, Athena started to gain supporters too. For when Kian said training, he meant it in its purest form. He was ruthless.

“THAT’S ALL YOU’VE GOT?!” Kian hollered at her. “Where’s the strength in the alley?! The strong grip you had?! You’re not putting in your 100 percent! I’m not letting you up until you give it your all!”

With his mates, Kian played basketball. With Athena however, he played dirty streetball – no rules; no fouls. He used anything and everything against her: her smaller size, her clothes, even her hair. He’d trip her, push off on her during offense, boxed out during rebound, and straight up knocked her out of the way if her stance wasn’t solid enough.

“You want me to go easy on you?! No one’s gonna give you a second chance out there! If you can’t deal with me, you’re just fresh meat off the menu!” he grilled her. “Get up! Or I’ll knock you over from the floor.” Athena picked herself off the ground and braced herself, focusing her full attention on Kian as he dribbled and sped towards the hoop. She swooped in.

This time when he slammed into her shoulder, Athena managed to hold her position, albeit her body trembling from the impact. She lowered her hip to the ground for balance and spread her arms just wide enough to block any attempt of a sneaky elbow jab. She pushed back against him. He won’t have enough momentum nor distance to knock her over or advance forward. Cheers of encouragement came from the deck.

“Don’t let him push you around, new girl!”

“That’s right! Show him girls aren’t pushovers!” cried another.

Kian surveyed Athena who met his eye with an unwavering gaze. She no longer read his body movement, but his eyes for his next move. Her stance is strong enough now, and she knows to intimidate by leaning into his space to make herself seem taller and bigger. Her hands were firm and flexible, ready to counter-defend as soon as he changed position. His ‘disciple’ was definitely not afraid of aggressive body-contact anymore, and from how steadily she stood her ground against his charge, she was ready for a bigger challenge. He smiled as he made up his mind to introduce martial arts next.

Unfortunately, his smile was the last straw for several onlookers, and a cola can came out of nowhere and hit him on the head. Surprised, he looked towards the deck to find Maia and Kaitlin glaring angrily at him.

“Stop bullying Athena!” Kaitlin yelled. “She’s just a normal girl, not trained in martial arts like you! She deserves a fair game!” A murmur of approval erupted at her words. Even Carly and her friends held mixed expressions on their faces.

With Kian momentarily distracted, Athena seized the ball from his hands and sprinted across the court. At the three point mark, she took aim and performed a clean basket – the ‘swish’ as the ball came in contact with nothing but the net was heard loud and clear.

It was her first taste of popularity: support from the spectators rained down on her as they cheered loudly. There were fist pumps in the air, and variations of “You’re so cool, Athena!” and “You showed him!” yelled around the gym. She basked in the moment, but only for a short while. She picked up the ball and turned to Kian, her arm outstretched towards him.

“I’m alright,” she responded to Kaitlin as she looked Kian in the eye. “Give me another week, and watch me beat you at your own game,” she challenged him. The cheers in the gym were thunderous at this point.

“As cool as that sounds, my red-haired goddess…”

Athena felt herself pulled backwards, losing her grip on the ball and bumping into Trevor’s exposed chest. Why is he always so close!? She turned bright red as he placed his lips by her ear to make himself audible over the crowd. “You and Kian need to get out of here before an angry mob rips him to pieces.” he cautioned. “I know you’re training, but it was hard to watch, even for us.”

He let her go. “Convince Kian to play nice for awhile. You know, show that you’re friends so he doesn’t get in trouble with school and students.” On the other side of the court, Marques and Connor were assumed to be saying something similar to Kian. Both she and Kian found themselves escorted out of the gym while his friends stayed behind to pacify the crowd.

******************************

“That’s dumb,” Kian retorted as he took a seat on the bench. “I’m more excited about your progress than what people say about me. Look at your balance, your stamina, your core strength and speed! You must be a genius, picking up all that along with basketball techniques in just three weeks!”

She gave him a quiet smile. That’s because being an apprentice spellcaster makes life pretty convenient, she thought to herself as she eyed the ‘faster skill gain’ potion in her water bottle. She also credited her magic in that it was the only reason she didn’t pass out from being knocked over repeatedly by a guy twice her size, an MMA fighter to boot.

“So you’re saying there’s no one in school whose opinion matters to you – that you don’t care if everyone thought you were dangerous?” Athena reframed her question.

“That’s not true,” Kian replied. “I care about what you think. I also care about…”

… “Stop bullying Athena!!” ….

“You care about what?” Athena prodded him.

Kian snapped back to reality. ” … I- I care that people think I’m bullying you! I would never do something like that,” he said hastily.

“So you do care about what others think of you!” Athena was relieved to breakthrough to him.

“Yeah… uh so, can you tell that friend of yours who threw the cola can that I’m not bullying you?” he asked hopefully.

“Don’t worry. I’ll let Kaitlin know you’re a good guy.” Athena smiled. “So you agree then? That we’ll stop playing basketball for awhile?”

He wasn’t listening. “Kaitlin, huh….” he murmured with a faraway expression.

“Kian? Are you okay?”

“Uh, yeah! When am I not?” he cleared his throat and cranked his neck to one side, as if tossing a thought away. “Anyway, I have news. Curtis contacted me. We’re meeting after school. Come to Canton- actually, you shouldn’t go there on your own anymore. Do you have a fresh change of clothes in your locker?”

“Uh… yeah..” she could borrow Maia’s clothes. Maia frequently gets called in to do impromptu photo-shoots during school hours so she had quite the selection in her locker. Athena will have to wear her own school shoes though.

“Great!” he replied. “Meet me at the subway station at the last bell.”


Note:

  • The character dynamics are based on who they’re attracted to (using an attraction mod). I was posing Kian when Kaitlin walked by and he became all flirty. So I took a screenie and put it in his flashback.

24 thoughts on “6.2 A taste of fame

  1. For a moment I had the impression he was interested in Trevor. Kaitlin then. Very well. She’s a Feng, isn’t she? Does it mean we’re gonna see more of her? Maybe even the parents? (clings to a sliver of hope)
    Kian is slowly growing on me. I’m also looking forward seeing what Curtis has been up to.

    1. I had elaborate plans but sad to say I scrapped them at the end. 😞 Each of their stories are alive in my head but that’s it. Edited to add that yay I’m glad you like Kian. Let me know if it changes 😝

  2. I also thought first that he’s interested in Trevor! Omg. I’d love that ehehe
    So Kaitlin it is, hm.
    Tho honestly I wouldn’t be mad if Athene/Kian ended up together (unlikely, I know! πŸ˜‚). I like their dynamics!

    1. Actually, if I had my way, I wanted him to be πŸ˜… but I downloaded the attraction mod and turns out he’s not. So that’s a bummer. And I’ll just say you’re not alone on Athena/Kian ship but yes the bro code makes it unlikely.. πŸ‘€

      1. well yeah, game mechanics can be a good inspiration for storytelling. but in the end it’s the writer that decides if they go along with it πŸ˜†

  3. For some reason, I can’t comment on chapter 6.3. So I’m putting it here, instead.
    “You moron! He scolded inwardly. You’re twisting every argument to make it seem like she’s safer being close to you.”

    That’s because you liiiiiiiiiiiike her. Muhahahaha >=D

  4. ‘β€œThat’s right! Show him girls aren’t pushovers!” cried another.’ To this girl: women aren’t a monolith! Athena doesn’t represent all women! Appreciate yourself for who you are, queen!

    Me at the beginning of Kian’s screenshot trip through memory lane: He’s into Trevor?
    Me at the end of Kian’s screenshot trip through memory lane: Oh.

    In my defense, it looks like Trevor’s hand is on Kian’s butt in the fourth-to-last screenshot in that cluster. I’m just now reading the other comments. Pffft. Good thing I finished my coffee, else I would’ve spat it out.

    Ah, so it’s a game thing you’re using to enhance the story! I was going to comment that I was wary of Kian developing a crush on Kaitlin without having talked to her and without knowing her name. At least that’s a red flag in humans. In sims? I dunno, those guys can get married without knowing all their partner’s traits, so…

    1. Hahaha I laughed so hard at your comment because I only knew monolith as a huge rock. I checked the dictionary after and went: “Oh….” 🀣🀣
      Oh man.. I didn’t think of the hand that way haha! My eyes! I can’t unsee.
      Yeah! There are game-inspired moments sprinkled around the story. I think it’s right that even in real life people marry without knowing all their partner’s traits too. I like Charlie but it seemed from the chapter I read about him and Jo that he didn’t know himself too. Only fitting that Jo didn’t get his last trait haha.

  5. I like that he’s not going easy on her. WE as the readers understand why, but I can see why their friends would warn them that it looks like he’s bullying her. Funny when she used to get bullied all the time. Now, her friend looks like a bully but isn’t. hehe. πŸ™‚

  6. It did feel like Kian was way too hard on her. It’s good that his friends said something about it.

    Kaitlin is so pretty, I get that Kian is attracted to her although I would have liked him and Athena for sure. I think I like Kian more than Curtis at this point.

    It’s so cool that Athena is making friends and actually becoming popular, I saw the whole situation with the girls going the opposite way but they seem supportive somehow.

    1. Ooh I saw them going south too! But eh we’ll see if they do.

      Yeah Kian is a harsh trainer. He’d treat anyone else the same if they were in her shoes and had her predicament πŸ˜„

    1. Oof yeah. I’ve filed this chapter under my ‘hard-to-read’ chapters because I personally wouldn’t be able to watch something like that. I’d probably throw the coca cola can myself haha.

  7. Just echoing what other people have said, but I’m amused that Kian has a crush! And you did a good job there at baiting and switching; I was also fully thinking “OMG KIAN LIKES TREVOR OMG”, only for you to be like “HONEY, YOU THOUGHT”, haha. Nicely done πŸ˜‰

    At first I wanted to be angry at Trevor for pulling Athena back like that, because it’s just so… creepy that he’s so touchy, especially when his chest is exposed like that, but then he said something that wasn’t absolutely creepy or cheesy, so I forgave him. For now. I’m not sold on him, although for a second there I had made up a whole fantasy where he plays up this character because he’s actually closeted, hahaha. I’ll give him a chance, though. It’s true that Kian comes off as a little harsh with the way he doesn’t hold back with Athena, and that it could be misconstrued by other people. What they don’t know is that Athena has a trick up her sleeve, and good on her for that!

    Oooh, Curtis is going to reappear! I’m excited.

    1. Ahhh if you’ve read the comments you’d probably know he was meant to like Trevor, but I had an attraction mod and I wanted my story to be game inspired so I followed it. Im reconsidering now though. Because I have a feeling the mod doesn’t cater to the wider spectrum of sexuality. So Ive gotten rid of it for season 2. So yeah im not wholly responsible for bait and switch you can take it up with the mod πŸ˜‚

  8. So, he likes Kaitlin… Seemed like he didn’t even know her name until Athena told him. Interesting. I’m excited to see Curtis soon though! But like the others Kian is growing on me. He truly seems to care about Athena.

  9. Good of Kian to try and look out for Athena. It’s always good when there’s that one (or handful of) people who treat you normal in high school and it’s surprising who those people can be sometimes. Good to see Athena doing well in her training, now she’s hopefully ready to spark out the next person who tries to mess with her XD Kian seems like a decent enough guy.

    I like that your game influenced Kian’s outlook on Kaitlin as well. Will be interesting to see whether or not he asks her out or just admires from a distance!

    1. I agree! We find allies and friends in the most unlikely of places! That’s how it always seems to me at least. πŸ™‚ Thank you! B2W is plot-driven, but there are in-game moments slotted in between. Not all though. Some absolutely do not make sense. πŸ˜‚

      1. Kian in this chapter kinda reminded me a bit of my unexpected friendship with a guy in high school. He was the sort of guy who seemed like would have bullied someone like me, but he didn’t, he was always nice to me all the time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s