Story:I Know Everything about You
I Know Everything about You
Written by IllaRouge
"And welcome back to KSEA, Seattle's number one radio station for sports news. It is March 3rd, 2019, and I know you're all sitting on the edges of your seats, because today's the day we announce our winner of the Day with Jake Turner contest. As of now, we've received a whopping three hundred thousand entries on our website. The winner will get to spend the day with the Taproots' own Jake Turner. Dinner, a show, the whole shebang, ya hear? But you'll work out the details, you beautiful winner, you. And our winner is..."
Turner was used to this by now. In his handful of years in the league he had met with countless fans and patrons. From the young and ill making a hopeful wish to meet their idol, to the super fans who had waited in the damp and dreary rain just to catch sight of Jake's all-too-tall form. It was something his mother ingrained in him the moment she saw that spark of greatness, that hint that he would be more than just an enormous kit; Be thankful, be grateful.
So when Jacob Turner heard that his most recent promotional meet and greet radio contest had hit a record number of entries, he was in awe. Almost twice as many as the last time the national radio station had run a contest like this.
But what was curious about it was the winner's name. It was as familiar as that first sip of hot cocoa at the beginning of icy winter. He heard that name before. The winner was sharing the same name as a young and promising college age player he had heard of. Another center like himself on the extreme end of the height scale. It certainly couldn't have been the same one, right? What were the odds?
"Jackie Turnbull, was it?"
The intern looked up the hyena up and down. Mostly upwards given the female he was address' towering size. Still, undeterred, she continued onwards.
"Mr. Turner is just finishing up his radio interview with the morning crew and will be down shortly. We've picked out a private booth for you at a <nearby restaurant> for an afternoon. Ah..."
It wasn't every day a restaurant had two furs who were closer to 8' tall (And perhaps for one in fact, over it) than anyone had any business being.
"And... ah... we'll ordered extras..."
In bright, bordering on neon pink pigtails, the hyena gave a vast, menacing toothy smile that her species was famous for.
"Good! Because I'm absolutely starving..."
Adorned in a signed Seattle jersey bearing her favorite player's number, Jackie appeared to be the epitome of the super fan. She fidgeted, dancing in place with a grace unnatural for a woman her size, as she was about to receive the prize the city had clamored for. It was a short afternoon, but for the towering fangirl, she would make use of each and every heartbeat of it.
The intern's eyes would widen as large as stereo dials, displaying a perfect ratio of awe and horror to Jackie's fangs and elegance. An unsettling combination made perhaps all the worse by her words. With a nervous chuckle as stiff as a dehydrated drink, the mouse lowered his head and slipped off to go check in on the former league MVP.
If the "Firefox" had a choice, he'd do interviews with the morning radio sports team exclusively. They were relaxed, perhaps even playful in their questions, but still would come out with a surprising inquiry now and then. (At least 3 callers had asked who could eat more, Him or DanQ. Jake's answer was they both had made themselves sick trying to find out multiple times now) The most uncomfortable part of event was the seating, Jake's knees wedged firmly into a desk his knees naturally stood above with a boom mic directly pushed into one of his ears.
The hyena made all sorts of swift cackling noises as the minutes wore on. Since the radio broadcast was live, she pulled out her phone and listened to the casual interview. Each of the questions they asked, she whispered under her breath; really, they were amateur questions, in her opinion, things that any real fan would know. She snickered as she listened to the closing questions: what his plans were for the next season, what he hoped for post-career, yaddah, yaddah; like clockwork. Eventually, the radio hosts signed off.
Jackie's nervous energy escalated as Jake didn't emerge from the room. Practically bouncing in place much to the room's chagrin. She turned to the intern. "Is he coming out, or what?" her voice terse and irritated.
The much smaller snapping turtle gave Jackie her best 'I-don't-get-paid-enough-for-this-because-I-don't-get-paid-at-all' look in return, which did little to calm the head, shoulders and chest taller hyena. She took a measured breath, enjoying the half-seconds she had before she had to respond best she could. "Ma'am, it's been two minutes. I'm sure they'll be off." She set a water bottle on the table and scuttled off to do anything other than babysit the woman.
The scowl on Jackie's face said more than any words could. Her feet were crossed as she sat on the couch. Her legs were too long to fit comfortably, so she contorted herself as best as she could under the heavy glass top of the table. With the sound of the door unlatching behind her, she banged her knees on the immovable glass as she moved to stand. She muttered curses as the radio hosts first emerged, but that didn't matter. Stooping over to get under the doorframe, Jake Turner, in the fur, stood even taller than she could have imagined up close. Her fists clenched white in front of her as she tightened her grip on her first signed Turner jersey, one from his rookie year in Seattle, nearly five years earlier.
Jake said his goodbyes to the hosts and turned his attention to the rest of his day. He waved a polite hello, and the hyena nearly lost it, finally addressed by her number one idol. "Miss Turnbull, I'm assuming?" The fox voiced a cool and calming greeting, one well-rehearsed through thousands of these meet and greets by now.
Her chuckle was deep and very much of her species. "Oh-my-god, you sound even better than I imagined." She snapped her hand out, taking up his in a surprise shake. "I'm Jackie. You're Jake," merely wanting to feel the words on her lips.
Enthusiastic, was his first thought, the rest buried in a wave of shockingly pink hair before his eyes. Once she'd seemed to have her fill of the handshake, he withdrew his hand, leaning back a little to take full stock of her.
"Wow. They told me you were tall, but I think they sold you a bit short."
Another chuckle, and there was an awkward wave of discomfort for the big fox. He couldn't quite place it.
"All right. You're ready for our day together?"
Jackie inhaled sharply. It didn't seem like she had much of a filter, but eventually she calmed enough to say, "Uh huh, yeah."
The fox tried to catch his furrowing brow before he made Jackie uncomfortable. He nodded to the door. "Let's get on it, then, yeah?" He took the lead and walked in front of her. He was used to slowing his gait for others to keep step, but Jackie was immediately upon him, forcing him to pick up the pace.
A few sets of stairs, and they were out onto the Seattle streets. He'd been reluctant to agree to a radio contest in his FBA alma mater city, but once he felt the atmosphere of the cosmopolitan hub hit him, he felt better about the decision. It hadn't hurt that the managers of the radio station had massaged his ego with mentions of his and his mother's Seattle roots.
Now, he knew hyenas were always giddy, but the perpetual chuckling from Jackie put him on edge somewhat. He paused to look at her, attempting a smile to get in the spirit of things.
"So, I was thinking of a little brunch at one of my favorite pubs, nice and quiet, and then a nice stroll through the aquarium. How's that to your--"
"I love it!" She brought her fists to her mouth, but the hyperbolic grin snuck past those enormous hands. She took a deep breath, herself realizing she was coming across a bit too fan-girly, no matter how appropriate it was under the circumstances. "I mean, yeah, like, I love the sound of that, for sure." Her twee valley girl accent ran a stark contrast to Jake's own accent.
She was certainly excitable, he thought. He cleared his throat. "Haven't seen that jersey in a while. Did I sign that for you back in the day?"
Jackie exclaimed, but she tried to draw it back a bit. "Mmhmm! I was thirteen when I saw your debut." She pointed to the signature just above her left breast. "One of my prized possessions, but hardly the only one in my collection."
Jake nodded along. The hyena gushed a bit about the extent of her Turner merch, and on the surface, it was rather impressive what she'd accumulated, given her young age. Jackie continued talking all the way to the pub. It was nice enough despite the month, so the hostess sat them on the small patio outside, set up on a wooden deck. The black metal chairs were shockingly comfortable, given their dizzying sizes.
Once they were sat and they ordered (far too much as was expected by the staff), things began to calm.
"I've heard your name in a few circles. Ah...what was the scouting report? AH! Winchester. Winchester right?"
"Mmhmm!" She held up her wrist. A flexible wristband with her school's name was emblazoned around it. "I've got a good feeling about us for March Madness. You better watch out."
The comment struck Jake as odd, but he moved right on. "Their starting center."
She nodded. "They don't have anyone better, I can tell you that." She fiddled with her fingers. "I wanted to model my playing after you. Have been ever since I saw you play back then."
"A longtime fan, huh? I'm glad."
Jackie smiled, almost warmly. "For sure! You were the one that inspired me to start playing! I knew I had to beat you some day." The tail end of her sentence was muddled somewhat by the waitress returning with their drinks. As Jake thanked their server, his train of thought remained stunted. He shook it off.
They talked some about Jackie's collection of paraphernalia, how she'd scoured the internet for anything she couldn't get in person. She'd seen many of his games, attending anything that didn't interfere with her schooling, and once she'd started basketball at her private school, she'd had to reduce the games she attended, sending her friends to get autographs and whatever promotional material was being generated at the Summit's stadium. A fangirl, she really was. Jake was used to some level of obsessive fans, especially given his legacy, not to mention his own successes and high profile move to Plymouth. Her mouth kept running for several minutes, and soon their food was before them. Jackie had gotten a platter of steak and eggs; Jake got eggs as well, with smoked sausages his accompaniment.
"So is it really true that you went to Plymouth to make your own legacy?" Jackie had taken a hard turn into Jake's own motivations.
The fox paused, the question a bit beyond what he thought they'd end up chatting about. He didn't necessarily resent the question, but the Turner name was always a bit of a bittersweet subject. It wasn't that he abhorred his mother's legacy, in fact remaining proud of it, but he had to admit, "It's a shadow, if I'm honest, all that my mother has accomplished. What could I do to possibly top it? So early in my career, no less."
Jackie slapped the table. Jake flinched, rattled as much as the silverware. "Are you kidding me?!" She crossed her arms. "You've been an All-Star since you joined, and you're probably gonna be for several more years. You were Rookie of the Year, one of the best scorers in the whole league, carried both teams you've been on," and on and on she went, listing stats, small accomplishments, awards, sponsorships, nearly any public piece of knowledge someone could have.
He held up his hand after a moment, giving her pause. He laughed. "Okay, okay, I get it." He looked down to his food. "But I really want something of myself. Maybe you know my numbers detached from my mother, but it seems to be all people can think about when they think of me." He raised his hand in a fleeting gesture. "Consider Rookie of the Year. We're the first mother-son duo to win the award. Mother and son." He shrugged. No resentment came to his mind, just a small sinking as he thought about the future.
"Well, I think that's bullshit."
"Fans will be fans--"
"No, I mean you." The chill in her voice brought his gaze back up to meet hers. What did she mean, him? "When you're on the court, do you really think anyone is thinking about your mother?"
"Well...The name on the jersey does say Turner...so..."
"What? Fans? Commentators? Fuck them." Jackie chirped in before Jake could finish, her voice was level, calculated. "Names are bullshit. They're a means to an end. Maybe your name gets you in the door, gets prospective agents and teams looking at you, but then they have to recognize that it's you on the court. Every player you face? They don't give a shit about your mom when you're the one shooting over their short-ass heads."
Jake paused, one ear flicked up high, the other flattened like a chair on its side. The giant vulpine wasn't sure how to respond. The change in tone was so abrupt, and he didn't have anything to say against what Jackie brought up. After a few minutes of silence, a normalcy of sorts returned, and they began chatting again, though on smaller subjects. Jackie stayed mostly on the subject of Jake, but Jake found ways to talk about other people, dishing a little inconsequential dirt about his teammates, funny rumors that weren't controversial in the slightest.
Once they were done eating, Jake paid for their meal with the card Plymouth had issued for expenses. He cleaned the corners of his muzzle with the napkin, and they rose to leave. As he walked ahead, Jackie slid the cloth napkin into her pocket.
They walked down the street and drew the eyes of some onlookers. You didn't often see two enormous people at the same time, much less both of them in athletic shape. A small cacophony of Jake's fans briefly paused them, the fox taking a moment to snap a few selfies with them. Jackie grinned behind them. After a few signatures, the fans moved on. Jackie walked a little closer to Jake after that.
They stopped at a local sweets shop, and Jake got her an impromptu box of chocolates. She whipped out a silver permanent marker for him to sign, which he happily did. The walk wasn't long to the aquarium. The dim romantic lights and rose red scenic sights of the shop certainly set the mood and moment for Jackie.
"Aiiiiiieee! This is so lit! How many people can say they fed penguins with Jake friggin' Turneeeeeeeeeeeer?!"
Back in the light, the hyena was reenergized after a few hours in the dim aquarium. Jake had surprised her with a brief session in the water with the feral penguins. Jackie chitter-laughed the entire time.
"Presumably, one, unless I'm forgetting another time." He laughed. The relative silence of the aquarium, the dull hum of conversations and pictures being taken having eased his nerves.
Jackie gushed about the penguins for the remainder of their walk. The came back to the radio station. Jake was scheduled for a ride out of the back entrance, standard procedure for high-profile talent so that any overzealous fans might not follow them anywhere personal.
"Miss Turnbull, thank you for a nice afternoon." The phrase was practiced but much more comfortable compared to the nerves he had post-interview.
"Thanking me, I should be thanking you!" She snapped her hand out and gave him his second violent handshake that day, though he'd come to expect it somewhat with the boisterous hyena. "Not only did you give me a purpose, but I'm more sure now than ever of my dream!"
Jake laughed. "I'm glad. I'm assuming you want to join the FBA?"
She nodded. "Yeah, so I can destroy you!"
Jake's brain hit an outright wall, he had certainly met fans, heck even current players who were inspired by his play- many who had a goal to best him, but he had never heard the phrase 'to destroy you before. Not so outright or ruinous.
The fox paused, lips parting to speak, starting with a confused 'Ahhh'- but before he could properly respond, Jackie reached into her pocket and pulled out a business card. The sudden movement dislodged the napkin she had pocketed. As it fluttered to the ground, she scrambled to retrieve it and hide it in the bag her chocolates had come in. She waved the card in his face, as if to distract him, her hyena chuckle rising to a disquieting cadence. "Call me sometime!" She forced the card into his hand.
With no warning, Jake felt a warmth on his cheek as she kissed it. She had stood up on her tiptoes to do so, and for just a fraction of a second, Jake was ever so slightly looking up at her. Then, in as rapid a gesture as anything she'd done in the past thirty seconds, she turned and skipped down the sidewalk, her tail shaking and shifting, wild and gleeful, her stereotypical laugh echoing off the buildings as she disappeared around the corner.
Jake didn't know how to react. He instinctively wiped off his cheek as he backed into the station, the doorman buzzing him in. He walked quickly past the desk and toward the back area. He barely registered thanking a few people as he was taken to a tinted car to take him back to his hotel. His mind buzzed, and he wasn't sure why. He rubbed his eyes once he was in the back of the car. The driver backed the car up. The back street had no cars, the sidewalks, no people. Except one flash of pink.
The fox looked out the window, and there she was. Jackie raised her hand, her claws painted as pink as her dyed hair. She smiled in that way that only hyenas could, a mixture of giddiness and dread that made them hard to place. But there was no way she could see him, right? And why was she there? Her fingers waved individually, folding and unfolding in a silent arpeggio, as the car drove away.