Payson rolled into the gym. She felt the swarm of reporters come over to her and used the power of her wheelchair to push right through them and head towards the locker room, where Alexis was supposedly "dressing her wounds". Payson used her handy dandy rock keys to lock the entrance to the locker room and headed towards Lex's corner. I was a bathroom stall minus the toilet which Lex used to get into her "mental state" before competitions. She had lined the walls with inspirational quotes, but for the past week it was used as her hideout.
Alexis had been a competitive girl since birth, but something about national team practice aggravated her deeply. Maybe it was the press constantly buzzing around and making up false things to put in the paper. Maybe it was how there were clicks of teenage girls, and she never really was in the clicks, which made her seem snobby. Maybe it was the fact that she was performing for a screwed up corporation.
"What's going on?" Payson sighed when she saw Alexis, curled up in the corner, wearing a pissed-off face.
"The stupid girls. I can't deal with it. Christa Parker and her goddamn perfume line, Grace-Anne and her stupid insults. I just want them out of my gym!"
Christa Parker was the second prodigy Sheila Baboyen was trying to make into an American Sweetheart money making machine. And it was working. After Kelly Parker quit gymnastics, Christa Parker, who always was sort of a vanilla gymnast, not exactly great and definitely not in the spotlight of the sport, suddenly became, well, the next Kelly Parker. And of course, being the next Kelly Parker involved being a major bitch.
"Is that what's bothering you? You can't be serious. Listen, I went through plenty years of the mean Kelly…She was taught to psych out the competition, and that's what she did. I'm pretty sure Christa is getting the same education, and you're letting her win this battle."
Alexis rolled her eyes.
"And, on a further note, you need to kick butt today, because you sort of flopped at the Pacific Rim, and you need to make up for it. So I don't care if she's a tic, you'd better be on the flight next week."
Payson got a little annoyed that she had to come out to Alexis with her petty issues. Her back was up in flames, and even the morphine Kim had injected wasn't working. She was really not in the mood to get interviewed by the NGO pests, yet she was in the gym, convincing a 13 year old girl to get out of a bathroom stall and to just do some gymnastics.
When Alexis saw that Payson was being serious, she got up and ran to the mats without an issue, and Payson rolled herself out, furiously, and straight into the coaches office.
The flight back home had been horrible, and Riley was happy to feel the cool Colorado weather. Maras was severely dehydrated, and was throwing up and dry heaving the whole flight, which kept the flight attendants at their seat for the whole 8 hours. Not to mention that when Mara passed out Seth finally agreed to an IV, this made the whole plane start freaking out. And, Seth was lecturing Riley the whole time, even when she was trying to help Mara.
"Well, back home, aren't we?" Nicole said as she rushed to her transfer flight to JFK. There was no thank you to Seth, not even a fake goodbye hug. Which was understandable, even if she wasn't a bitch. No one was in a good mood.
Mara was still weak, so Riley supported her at the shoulders when they exited the terminal. Everyone needed their space after a while together, so it was good when Mara's mom came to take her home. Seth and Riley waited silently for their mom to come.
Seth's phone buzzed, and when he looked at it he quickly rolled to the men's bathroom.
"Hey sweetheart, what's going on?" he said, in a hushed toned.
Payson Keeler shed some tears onto the office phone.
"Ugh, Seth, I can't deal with this anymore. I need to see you. How can I see you today?" She said, and she didn't even care if she sounded desperate.
"Tonight Pay, tonight. I'll see you at your house at 8. Keep it together."