It was the buzzing noise of his cell phone that woke up Mac at 6:13 AM the next morning. He groaned as he tiredly searched for his phone using only his hand to make the vibrating stop, only to stir Kaori in the next bed of the hotel room. She became just as annoyed when her cell phone started going off as well.
"I forgot about early morning wake up calls," Mac grumbled once he found his phone. Kaori simply pressed a button on the side of her phone and went back to sleep. "What's up?" Mac answered.
"Mornin', Tiger! Be ready to hit the slopes at 7, it's going to be a great morning!" Zoe was way too cheerful at this hour, which made Mac only want to go back to sleep even more. "I sent Kaori a text, did she get it? She usually responds right away."
Mac looked over at her and saw her sprawled out on her bed, snoring. "Yeah," he lied to Zoe. "She's getting ready right now."
"Alright, see you guys in 45 minutes!" Zoe hung up before Mac could. He knew she was going to call more people. He fell backwards onto his pillows and closed his eyes. Five more minutes of sleep, and then he'll get out of bed...
Alex picked at her muffin in the ski lodge cafe, while Ty and Tane sipped on their coffee. The texts that Zoe had sent that at 5:30 in the morning instructed everyone to meet at the cafe for 6:30. So far, there were no signs of the veterans. "They probably need less time to get ready because they know what's going on. We are here a little early," Tane pointed out. "Besides, we got first pick of the buffet. That muffin looks good."
"I'm so nervous I can't even eat," Alex admitted, pushing the muffin towards Tane. "I don't want to screw up today. I think if I fall, and anyone other than you two see me do it, I'll quit. It'll be so embarrassing. I fell on a runway one time. No one lets that one down."
Ty slouched down on his chair and took another sip of his coffee. "That's why today is a practice, so you can fall and learn from it." He looked up at the brunette who was now drumming her fingers on the table, very impatiently. "Alex, we're early. They'll show up any minu..."
"Rise and shine, noobs!" Psymon yelled behind Alex, startling her. "Nice to see everyone up and ready to go! Who wants to hit the slopes now?" Moby stood behind Psymon, arms folded across his chest and his long dread locks in a pony tail. He gave a head nod to Tane and Ty, and placed his hand on Alex's shoulder.
"We thought it'd be a good idea to start on some of the smaller courses and then work our way up. We haven't tried these slops out yet either," Moby confirmed. "Finish your coffee's and we'll get going, yeah?" The three newbies nodded in agreement, but Alex remained stiff. Her ear was still ringing from when Psymon shouted in it. "Loosen up," Moby whispered in her ear. "We're doing this for fun."
She looked up and gave him a smile. "Can I ride with you today?" She asked. "I'm freaking out so hard right now."
"Sure, mate," he responded, giving her a smile. "How about we get some food in you? Riding on an empty stomach isn't a good idea."
She stood up and walked over to the buffet with Moby, leaving Psymon, Ty, and Tane on their own. Until Elise and Zoe walked in at promptly 6:30. "Roll Call! Moby?"
"Zoe, we're all here except Mac and Kaori," Tane told her, standing up from his seat.
"Of course Kaori isn't here," Psymon spoke up. "Princess needs her beauty sleep." Tye and Tane rolled their eyes, not understanding why he always felt the need to take a cheap jab at her whenever he could. It was something Psymon had begun the night before when all the guys from SSX met at the bar in the hotel lobby. No one understood why. No one questioned it either.
"Zoe! These texts need to stop!" Kaori barged into the cafe, pig tails in place and she carried her teddy bear back pack in her hands, right by the poor bears' throat. "I am so tired. I flew right from Nagano yesterday, on a freaking red eye, so I can come to your meeting. And then you send all these texts that keep waking me up, and I am so. Tired. Zoe. Tired. Exhausted. I got home and saw this invitation that you mailed, not emailed which is what we do in 2012, and just turned around and went back to the airport." Kaori sat down next to Zoe and opened a Red Bull. "I understand Griff made you mad, and you want to get back at him, but I need sleep. I need rest. I cannot sleep or rest with this schedule." She threw a crumpled up piece of paper onto the table as the rest of the crew sat down with their breakfast.
"A forty-five minute break and ten hours of snowboarding?" Elise questioned, looking at the paper.
"Where did you find that?" Zoe questioned Kaori, who now had her feet propped up on the table.
The Japanese starlet shrugged. "It was in the hallway. Mac found it, I just took it from him."
"Payne, this schedule is unrealistic. I can't believe I'm agreeing with Kaori," Psymon moaned. Ty, Alex, and Tane took a look at the schedule and sighed. Psymon was right: it was very unrealistic.
Just when Zoe was about to explain herself, Atomica walked into the cafe with a stack of papers and his iPad. Kaori groaned and stood up from the table to grab a coffee. Mac followed behind her.
"Hey guys..." Atomika said quietly as he settled everything down on the table. "The mood here seems, uh..."
"Pleasant?" Psymon chimed in. "We just want to snowboard. Why are you here?"
"Contracts and schedules..."
"More schedules? Does anyone remember why we're all together in the first place? I'm not staying here if all this is going to be is schedules and meetings. I will hop on the next plane and go home to Jake in a heartbeat if I hear about one more schedule." Elise folded her arms across her chest and waited for someone to speak.
Atomica took a breath and slid a piece of paper over to Elise. "That's your contract. We just ask that you do one interview, and you can decide if you want to do the tricky events, racing events, or both. This is the same contract for everyone. But before you can decide anything, EA received an email yesterday from Griff. It's a video, and he wants everyone to watch it..."
In one abrupt motion, Moby signed a contract and slid it over to Atomica. "I'm in for everything. What does Griff have to say?" Mac stole the pen out of Moby's hand and signed his own contract, followed by Kaori and Psymon.
"Team SSX! How's it going?" Griff appeared on the iPad, in what looked like he was sitting on top of a mountain with his snowboard. "I know you probably all thought that I would just come down to the Peaks where SSX 3 was, but that is not the case this year. Since I've been able to do some traveling, I've uh, stumbled upon a couple of courses all over the world. The first one is close to me, location wise anyways, but I'll let Atomica explain everything. See you guys on the slopes!" The video closed out as everyone turned to Atomica.
"Here's the information I have..."
"All over the world? For once, he thought of something interesting," Kaori said. "Where does he want us?"
The team all sat back down at the table, some looking over their contracts, others waiting for Atomica to tell them the new locations. "The first place we have is the Alps..."
"I want it." Everyone turned to look at Alex, who had spoken up. "I used to vacation there with my family, I've done fashion shows there, I know that area and mountain. It's icy, you need ice picks to slow you down but I've trained with them. It's a tough course, but I got it. Send me to the Alps."
"Alex, you don't need to step up so fast," Moby told her, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Lets see what else there is to offer."
The brunette shrugged him off and stared down Atomica. "I want the Alps."
"OK then. Alex to the Alps. Next, Patagonia..."