Story:Kresta Renstill- The Fan
Kresta Renstill- The Fan
Written by MigeYeFoxe
Kresta was half in a panic as she was getting to fly out to make the All-Star Week. It should have been something that she was looking forward to, a vindication of sorts for all of the effort she had been putting in over the years. Of finally being able to start in the game that is supposedly the best of the best. And yet, despite all that her mind was in a panic over something she knew shouldn't bother her.
Someone had stolen her headband.
She had gone into the stadium that morning in order to grab it to use during the All-Star Game. She was intending on either wearing a Howler's headband during the three-point contest. That or one with the West All-Stars logo on it, to help sell the stores have yet another thing to sell. That wasn't an actual game. That wasn't worth The headband. The one she had blessed by the Vatican. The one headband she had worn to every single game since her very first one all the way back when she played for the Wildcards. And yet when she went into her locker that one, and only that one, was missing. The cleaning staff knew not to touch it. They knew how she was. How she could get about her headband and the other little things she did to try and bring luck to the team.
And yet it was gone. She tried her best to keep under control. Thankfully none of the other players were in the locker room at the moment. She quickly called her agent who assured her that they would see that it is found and that she should head over to the All Star event as normal. Even just in case, so as to not draw any extra attention to herself she let her hair down, wore a simple enough dress and headed towards the airport and her flight. Though she's reasonably certain at least a few of the people recognized her, at least none felt the need to pry. The flight was a simple affair, as far as it could be with her headband so far away from her but she was able to get through it well enough. It did give her some time to reflect on the fact that since she had to fly all over the country so often to play against all the teams in the league that flying really didn't even mean much to her. Heck, she was so wrapped up in the standard routine of flying and worrying over her headband that she didn't even really notice that they had even taken off until the captain was talking about making their final approach.
And then the bastard just had to do that. As she checked into the hotel room the FBA assigned for her use during the week's activities she found that there was a little present placed on her bed. They had written a note on it of �this should tide you over until you get it back.' Opening it up she found another headband. Another Vegas colored headband. They even had gone so far as to make the colors faded to almost the exact same degree. The amount of detail to make it look like hers was extremely annoying. For it meant that this is not something they did on the fly. No, this level of care meant that her agent had planned for this exact thing and was prepared for it. She reminded herself that she'll really have to give them an earful about it later. It looked like hers, but it didn't feel like hers, didn't smell like hers. Other than the fact that it was faded to the exact same extent, this one still felt new, still smelt new and did not have her scent on it at all.
But she supposed it would likely fool the press and that'll just have to do for now. The All-Star event was always nice. A place to get to meet all the various players throughout the league in a manner both less official than normal and without any of the stakes. For her main event she was content enough with how things turned out. Truthfully, she would much have rather made the actual final round of the contest and was a little frustrated that she failed to get in by the smallest fraction of a second, but she's fine with letting someone else have the glory this year. Maybe in a year or two if she's still invited she may want a second victory. But even if she had made the final round, she had no intention of winning it this year. And then the dreaded moment of truth came around. The All-Star Game. She took the fake headband and went through her normal routine. Did everything as she normally would and hoped that the court would be forgiving that it wasn't the correct headband. But of course the court knew and it had not approved of her doing so with the wrong one. Though she picked up a bit in the last few minutes, she was mainly just there for the first three quarters of the game. And whenever she had the ball they always seemed to be pressed tight against her and yet the person she was defending always seemed to have just enough space to get a clean shot off whenever he got the ball.
Her agent had kept her well informed about everything they had found. Apparently, a fan had snuck into the locker room and taken it. Thankfully, it hasn't shown up on internet auction sites. But the fact remained that it was gone and she had no way of being able to protect it from whatever they had done with it. And in the mean time the court always seemed to know that she wasn't using the right one. Far more often than normal her shots would go wide, she'd be just too slow to stop the shot or get a steal. It was never bad enough that she felt she should have been benched until it was found, but she was performing poorly enough that she noticed and was certain that everyone else noticed and secretly blamed any failure of the team on her. If only she had kept better care of it.
Eventually after what felt like forever her agent finally got back to her with the full situation. Apparently, the fan wasn't actually trying to take The headband out of her locker, but was hoping to just get a practice one or a spare one that she had been wearing. But considering it was dark and everything he wasn't able to tell which was which and had to get out quickly or would have been caught. He definitely is sorry that he took the most important one but was afraid that if he went back to try and return it that he'd get arrested for his troubles. Thankfully he didn't do the thing she was dreading and either wash it or nail it onto a wall. Her agent assures her that it is still in its normal condition and has been kept in a box. Wanting it back more than anything Kresta passes down through her agent that she will not press charges and would even be able to get the one he was trying to get so long as she was able to get The headband back safe and sound. Eventually they agreed and the next time she was back home her agent arranged a meet.
She was true to her word and took her main practice headband with her, even went ahead and signed it for the kid and didn't tell any authorities about it. And then she went off to the site. Didn't quite go about going incognito and letting her hair down and everything as she wanted the kid to recognize her easily. But she did wear some more casual clothes and not a suit or her jersey. The meeting place was apparently just a bench in a public park because of course her agent would have that be the meeting place. And she waited and played around on her phone anxiously waiting for the swap. He had a box with the one she was offering sitting on her lap. And after a minute past the scheduled meet she finally sees what she assumes is the culprit. And she kind of had to guard her reaction against the sight of the individual.
They were a cheetah, probably a bit taller than she was and definitely a runner's build. He was very nervously heading towards her and looking around, looking as if ready to bolt as he held tightly in his grip a box similar to the one her agent gave her for her side of the exchange. Hopefully that box container the headband and that she'd be able to get it back soon enough. The interesting thing about them is that they were dressed exactly like she would in a game. Different shorts, but wearing a Howlers 12 jersey, and even having his long, feline tail wrapped up and wearing a howler's headband pinning his ears down. Though it looks somewhat odd on a species with ears much smaller than hers. She'll have to make a note to her agent to see if the stores offering the headband can make a few different ear sizes to account for the different races that may buy them.
At this point Kresta somewhat stops for a moment, trying to figure out how best to handle the situation. She had been so wrapped up in the notion of getting her headband back that she forgot to put any thought into what she would say when the opportunity arose. Be too aggressive and it would most certainly get out there and probably ruin her public image. Too timid and they might end up not giving it back. The hand not holding the top of the box raises up to the top of her muzzle as she considers it. The cheetah, however, apparently makes the first move, almost looking like he's half in tears already.
"HelloI'mJacobsohappytomeetyouI'msosorryfortakingthegameonepleaseforgiveme." The cheetah spurts out all at once while prostrating himself before her and holding his head down with the box outstretched before her as if offering her a sword.
Kresta strongly resists the urge to just reach over and snatch the box from him in a jealous manner. She reaches one hand to her chest and collects herself.
"Please," she says eventually, doing everything in her power to keep her voice steady. "There's no need for such theatrics, um, Jacob?"
Jacob sniffs a bit but eventually does lift up his head. He stays kneeling in front of her, though. "I'm so sorry for difficulties I gave. I love your career so much. I'm such a big fan and thoughtthatmaybe," he starts speeding his words up again before catching himself, "that it would have meant the world to me to get a souvenir of you and that if I just grabbed the practice one you'd shrug and not think anything of it. But it was dark and I heard the security guards coming so I panicked and just grabbed the first one I could reach and ran. I'm so sorry for grabbing the game one."
"Well, no harm, no foul," Kresta says reluctantly before quickly adding in a slightly quieter voice, "There's no harm, right?"
"No, of course not! I would never! The moment I saw the one I had grabbed, I," he trails off for a second. "I had kept it hidden in a suitcase with a fresh towel wrapped around it until I could figure out what to do. And then your agent got a hold of me and well, you know the rest I guess."
"May I, uh, see it?" She asks, her eyes drifting back to the box in his hands.
"Oh, of course, it's yours!" he quickly stands up enough to push the box into her hands.
Kresta's hand shakes slightly holding the top as she steels herself and opens up the box. And instantly her nose picks up the familiar scent of The headband, of all the scents from all the games absorbed into it. She wills herself to pick it up and holds it like one would a priceless artifact that's just one wrong touch from breaking. It feels like hers, looks like hers. She looks it over carefully, looking for any damage and only finding the one nick in the ear padding that came from when someone had torn it off her during a game. She closes her eyes a moment at being reunited with an old friend. Knowing how improper it'd be to keep the cheetah waiting she takes a deep breath and puts it back in the little box it came from and very carefully puts it to the side of the bench where no harm can befall it.
"Well, then, I guess this one is yours," she says as she picks up her part of the exchange and gently hands it over, her tail inching over to try and get closer to The headband to keep it safe.
Jacob takes it and opens it up slowly, probably expecting a gift store one or something but at seeing the slightly faded blues and slightly scuffed up ear pads and her name written in permanent marker along the center strip his eyes start tearing up and he starts bubbling up before quickly closing it and rushing forward and giving Kresta a very tight hug. "ThankyousomuchI'lltreasurethisforever."
"Ack, easy there kid," Kresta says as she taps him a bit on the back gently. "Kind of need my ribs intact."
Realizing his mistake he quickly backs off her, looking somewhat odd and then wipes his nose with his arm, getting a slight twinge of disgust from Kresta. "I'm sorry about that."
"Right, then just promise me you won't be doing that again and we'll be fine, both with the stealing of my headband and trying to injure me."
"Nono! Of course not!"
Kresta stands up and offers her hand, the other gingerly picking up Her box. "Well, not to be rude, Jacob, but I can't exactly just stay and chat. Have a practice to attend in an hour."
Jacob almost drops his own box while quickly reaching forward to return the handshake. At first his grip is extremely tight but he does let off the pressure easily. Once the handshake is done she picks up her phone and heads back to her car, holding Her box tightly to her chest to make sure it doesn't leave her again and hopes the court will forgive her for the lapse.