Once again training was awkward as a result of D'jok and Mei. D'jok's glumness at his girlfriend's attitude had transformed into anger and annoyance, while Mei's defiant fury had changed into defensive sadness. Neither of them were exactly making for the best people to talk to at the moment…nor the best footballers to play with.
"D'jok what are you doing?" Aarch's voice reigned down over the pitch as, yet again, D'jok powered an angry shot at the goal instead of passing to an unmarked Micro-Ice.
The red-head did not reply, opting instead to glower angrily at the ground. The rest of the Snowkids, excluding Mei, gave D'jok incredulous, confused or annoyed looks, but there was no real time to pause. The holographic Kernor had caught D'jok's shot on goal with ease, and the ball was now progressing down the field towards the Snowkid's half. The Ryker number nine skilled past Rocket and passed to another Ryker before Tia could intervene. Now 200 tons of metal was powering towards Mei and Thran. Thran was forced to jump aside as one of the huge aliens ran straight for him. Mei, meanwhile, decided to snap into action. The girl ran forwards and lunged…she missed the ball however and connected with the Ryker's feet.
"Foul!" Came Clamp's voice and the Ryker got back to her feet as the other Snowkids gathered closer.
The foul Mei had given away was just outside of the goalkeeper's box, a dangerous place indeed. D'jok, Rocket, Mei and Thran formed a wall and waited as the Ryker took a few steps backwards, considering her strategy. Mei ignored the looks Tia was giving her. Then the Ryker shot, the ball blasted over everyone's heads, spiralling into the net.
The Snowkids sagged.
"For goodness sake!" D'jok raged, stomping aggressively on the ground, his face furious. He turned to Mei, shoving Thran out of the way. "Way to go Mei, we're losing now."
"It was an accident." Mei growled back.
"D'jok calm down," Micro-Ice tried to intervene. "It's just a practice match-"
"Practice match or not, we should all be trying our hardest and I don't think she is." D'jok gestured at his girlfriend.
"Yes I am!" Mei retorted her voice strained. "How dare you? You're playing terribly so you choose to take it out on me!"
"I'm not taking anything out on you!" D'jok yelled back, and he was yelling now. "I'm trying to play football, which is what we're here for! Though that's obviously never the first thing on your mind!"
"You don't know anything about what's going on in my mind!" Mei screeched back. She felt hot tears prick at her eyes, but she blinked them back, feeling furious now.
"Well I can tell its never bloody football!" D'jok roared. "What are you daydreaming about today Mei? Modelling again? Why don't you just run off and show off about your new shampoo line?"
"D'jok," Rocket entered the fray, trying to placate his team mates. "That's a bit too far don't you think? Mei just made a mistake-"
"Like freaking always!" D'jok gunned through him. "Seriously, how long are we going to let her treat this team as a second thought?"
"I don't do that." Mei's voice cracked slightly.
"Well what do you do?" He rounded on her, still angry.
"Nothing that can appease you apparently!" Mei shouted. "I don't even know what you want from me! I turn up to training, I play and I play well. I don't know what the hell you want from me!"
"Really?" D'jok glowered at her, his face wrinkled with distaste. "Well why don't we just not continue this? If I'm such a bloody bother all the time, then why are we still together Mei? Huh? Tell me that!"
Mei's lip wobbled, her chin creased, her eyebrows knotted together and then she let out a sob and rushed off. Clamp, wisely, took away the surroundings of the holo-trainer and Mei took off running, hurtling from the training room before Aarch or any of the others could stop her. The rest of the Snowkids turned to look at D'jok, who's face looked a little lost now that Mei had left. Aarch, Dame Simbai and Clamp looked stunned. There was a moment of silence and then D'jok sloped off, his hands still balled into defiant fists, but there was a definite look of sadness to his face.
"What just happened?" Mark questioned the air, still looking shocked.
Tia stared at the door Mei had just exited through. "Something terrible." She breathed.
Mei's tears stained her pillow; she watched her own finger blankly as she toyed with a fraying piece of cloth. Her mind was a jumble, she felt like her heart was broken. The door to her room opened and Tia entered.
Mei didn't look up, she felt sick to her stomach.
"Mei?" Tia's voice was soft, she stepped closer to Mei's bed and then Mei felt it sag as her friend sat down next to her. "Are you ok Mei?"
It took a while for the brunette to answer. "…no." She replied, her throat felt dry and she swallowed painfully.
Tia's expression was sad; she placed a hand on her friend's arm. "Mei, this'll work out. I'm sorry that D'jok said all those awful things, but he didn't mean it."
"He may not have meant all of it," Mei replied. "But he meant some of it." This Mei was sure of.
Her heart twinged and, for a second, the girl felt a thrill of anger at herself. What right did she have to be mad at D'jok? She was the one, after all, who had kissed someone else. Even so…the words D'jok had said reverberated in her mind; she bit her lip and closed her eyes, trying to stop the tears from remerging. Tia was quiet for a moment before speaking again.
"Would you like to go out Mei? Shopping maybe?"
Mei clutched at the pillow underneath her head. Tia was trying really hard and the girl was so grateful to have a best friend like her, but she felt too sad to pretend to be happy. Too annoyed and angry at herself to accept distraction techniques.
"No, I…" She turned and gave Tia a pathetic look. "I sort of just want to sleep Tia, if that's ok."
Tia looked at her for a long time, her expression unreadable and then she smiled kindly. "Ok Mei." She got to her feet.
"Tia," Mei sat up slightly and Tia cocked her head inquisitively at her. "Thank you." Mei choked out.
Tia moved forwards and wrapped the defender into a hug. "It'll be ok." She whispered and then she left the room.
Mei closed her eyes.
At some point or another, the girl must have actually fallen asleep because she opened her eyes to see it was now night time. Confused and disorientated, the girl glanced at her alarm clock only to see it was about 12am. Outside of her room there was a crashing sound and giggling, it seemed that D'jok had gone out without her, probably with Micro-Ice. Since she had gone to sleep so early, the brunette was no longer feeling tired. She sat up and stretched slightly, feeling the muscles in her back tighten. She was feeling a bit achy since she hadn't had a shower after training like she usually did. She glanced over at Tia's bed, but did not see the other girl's blonde hair…she was probably sleeping over in Rocket's room tonight. Mei felt her heart squeeze slightly and then she swung her feet over the side of the bed. She was just about to stand when a thump against the glass doors to her balcony startled her. She fell to the side slightly, feeling fearful. The laughter outside in the corridors was draining away. Mei felt alone. There was a thump again, and Mei felt another thrill of fear. She peered through the darkness trying to see what was out there. Carefully she extended her arm out and switched on her bedside lamp. The room became illuminated, but there didn't seem to be anything on her balcony. Mei stared at it, trying to decipher what could be making the noise. There wasn't wind on Genesis so that ruled that out, she'd have seen if a rock had been thrown. Her brow furrowed in confusion, the girl got to her feet and stepped closer to the glass doors and that's when Stevens suddenly appeared on the other side. Mei let out an almighty shriek and fell backwards with shock. On the other side of the door, Stevens' eyes widened and he made apologetic gestures. After regaining her dignity and sense of surroundings, Mei felt a thrill of happiness. Moving quickly, she opened the glass doors, letting Stevens enter. He was dressed in black and he had his goggles, that he usually wore on the pitch, on his forehead. There was a short silence and then Stevens waved slightly.
"What are you doing here?" Mei questioned immediately.
"I…" Stevens glanced around Mei's room, apparently asking himself the same question. "I just thought that maybe we should talk about what happened?"
"You mean the kiss?" Mei felt her heart swell as a faint pinkish tint attacked Stevens' cheeks.
He grinned at her nervously. "Yeah…that. Though we could talk about the nice food we had at the bistro café, if you wanted to."
"I told you Stevens," Mei smiled at him. "I liked it."
Despite himself, the Pirate let loose a quick smirk, but then his eyebrows knitted together and his expression looked pained.
"Mei, I pride myself on being an honourable person and kissing someone who is already with someone else, that is not honourable."
Mei gazed at him, her large eyes swimming with emotions. Stevens looked at her for a moment and then cocked his head.
"Are you alright?" He enquired.
Mei rushed forwards and then engulfed him into a hug, wrapping her arms around his waists and resting her head on his chest. A few tears made their way out of her eyes. Stevens didn't speak. After a while he responded to the hug, wrapping his arms around the girl. Mei felt safe in his arms.
They were both quiet.