Chapter 46:

[Season 1 Finale] Toward the Future

Would You Paint My Dunk


“…”

“…”

“eith…”

“Keith! Rise and shine!”

Huh, I could hear her voice in my dream. I guess I really miss her.

As I opened my eyes and rubbed them, what I saw was the hotel room’s ceiling and the sight of her face.

Bah! It’s not a dream!

“Jess?” I jolted. “What are you doing in my room?”

“Hmm, I just wanted to take care of you after you. Do you know how worried I am when you fainted in the middle of the court? You were moved by a stretcher. I insisted on following you and ended up here with my uncle.”

I looked around, there’s a grown man sitting in a chair while looking at us, and there’s no one else. Carlos was nowhere to be found.

Upon closer look, I could see her bagged eyes. It seemed that she cared for me so much that she cut down on her sleep. I’m feeling both grateful and guilty toward her. While I have to appreciate her effort to care about me, I didn’t wish for her to sacrifice herself in the process.

With mixed feelings, I told her, “Jess, I’m sorry to let you see me like this. You should take a rest. I can’t burden you more…”

She shook her head and looked at me closely.

“Keith! Is it wrong for a girl to take care of his boyfriend? I’ll not leave you until you get better…”

“No, but you have to take care of yourself too. I don’t want you to get sick.”

“Look who's talking! You are bedridden for hours already. It’s already noon and you just woke up.”

Noon? As if in the afternoon? Wait, did I sleep for that long? Oh right, I need to go to practice…

I hopped off the bed and tried to stand, but my head was spinning. Soon, I sat back on the bed while holding my head.

“Ugh!” I groaned.

“Keith! Just rest! Don’t exert yourself!” She went in front of me and held my shoulders.

“Ahem!”

It was the sound of her uncle while looking at us.

“Well, before you two begin anything, I want to say this first. Please don’t cross the line. If you guys are going to do that, please use protection. Oh well, I guess I have to buy…”

“UNCLE!!!” She screamed out loud.

Wait, I don’t even want to do anything like that in the first place. How could he get into that assumption? Well, I guess clearing things up is in order.

“Uh, sir.” I responded politely to him. “I won’t do anything like that to your niece. Rest assured that I’m not such a kind of a person.”

“Ah, it puts my mind at ease. This stubborn girl insisted that she have to take care of you. I changed your clothes and she wiped your body with a wet towel. I was just afraid that she would take things too far.”

“Uncle, stop!”

She blushed, hiding her embarrassed face. Meanwhile, her uncle laughed for a while.

“Well, I shouldn’t interfere between you two anymore. Whatever you do, just be responsible with your actions. That’s all, I’ll take my leave.”

Soon, he left our vicinity, leaving us in the hotel room alone. Soon, she started apologizing.

“Keith, I’m sorry. My uncle is a bit...”

“Nah.” I chuckled. “I completely understand. In fact, I think you should be grateful to have a caring uncle like him.”

“Yeah. Without him, I would be able to watch your match, let alone visit you like this. He argued with my mom to let me watch you live instead of just watching on tv.”

“Oh wow.”

“Yes! Thanks to that, I can take amazing photos of you. Your dunks were amazing. Wait, I believe I made a painting of you dunking, hold sec.”

She turned around to take a piece of canvas from her backpack and showed it to me. It’s a small portrait painting of mine, dunking through the rim in the middle of the stadium.

“How about it?”

To be honest, the quality of her work isn’t that good. It is pretty much just a painting made by an inexperienced painter. But knowing her sentiment and the emotion behind it, it made the painting quite special. To me, that painting’s worth couldn’t be measured by money. Nothing could replace this priceless piece of work.

“I love it.” I smiled.

“Ah, I’m glad I managed to finish this… You know… I’m…”

We kept continuing our chat for more than an hour. After we had nothing else to talk about, I decided to go back to my teammates and practice with them.

“Jess, I’ll go back to practice for tomorrow’s match with everyone else. Let’s end our chat here.”

“No, you have to rest! Don’t force yourself, Keith.”

“I’m already fine, Jess. Don’t worry, I won’t faint again.”

“Fine.” She pouted “Don’t push yourself too hard, Keith.”

“Right. I’ll get going then.”

But before I could step off the room, she hugged me from behind and kissed my cheek before leaving my room in a hurry. I couldn’t say anything back since she has already left.

She is quite the devil.

I snorted and shook my head. Well, it’s her that I’m talking about, I shouldn’t be more surprised.

I locked my room and went to where my teammate having their practice. Looking at them, I waved and greeted from a distance.

“Hello…”

But as soon as they saw me, they stopped whatever they were doing and dashed close.

“Oh, our hero just arrived!” Tony teased.

And there’s Sean, standing tall without any issue. He started walking toward me, and I could see his big smile on his face.

“Keith, thank you! If you didn’t score that last dunk of yours, I wouldn’t be able to play the final game tomorrow. I owe you one.”

Trying to be humble, I shook my head and tried to shrug it off.

“Nah! I’m just…”

“No, I mean it.” He insisted. “Anyway, you can rest now. Pass the baton to me. I’ll wreak havoc tomorrow. Just rest and relax.”

Sean looked raring to go. Well, I could understand him. After all, the next match is the last game where he can impress the scouts. I just hope that a scout will contact him after watching his game tomorrow.

They continued their practice without me, and the coach didn’t allow me to practice as well, saying that I should recuperate after fainting yesterday. In the night, I called her for a few minutes before going off.

The next day, the final was in front of our eyes. Brandon, Tony and Sean looked fierce as we entered the venue. The coach gave us the game plan for our last match, and we entered the court with confidence.

And Sean proved his words. He totally demolished the enemy team like a big boulder coming through the mountain. He was unstoppable, as if he was releasing all his pent-up frustration being unable to play before.

He also refused to get switched out and ended up playing the whole match. But despite that he didn’t get any rest after the halftime break, his bottomless stamina managed to push through the entire match.

With our giant back in the team, we breezed through the match, before ending it with a lopsided score of 93 to 61. Winning the championship, we jumped in joy as we ran toward the court. Sean screamed “Yeah!” as the official brought the trophy to us. We proudly carried the trophy high as people took screenshots of our team winning the match.

After that, I spent my days going out with Jessica. We went to multiple dates, err… What could I say, some shopping days where I carried the bags, some restaurant dine-in, walked on the beach looking at the sunset, and so on.

A month later, I received a call from Sean.

“Keith, are you free tomorrow?”

Knowing that I don’t have an arrangement with her tomorrow, I decided to answer yes. After all, I’m curious what the giant needed of me.

“Yes, what’s up?

“Guess what? I’m getting drafted! First round pick at that!”

“Congrats! What team did you get drafted into?”

“New York’s Knacks.”

Wow, I can’t believe it, he is really going to turn pro.

“Woooo! Congratulations man!”

“That’s why I thought that I wanted to call you all to celebrate this occasion. How about a barbeque party at my parent’s restaurant?”

“Wait… Sean, you own a restaurant?!?”

“Yes. Ah, I guess Brandon and Tony didn’t tell you. The reason why I’m busy on weekdays is because I have to help my parents. Anyway, I’ll invite Carlos now. You should bring your girlfriend too.”

“Right, where and when should I go?”

“Deep Roast Restaurant at 3 PM. See you there.”

“Alright, I’ll come there tomorrow. See you.”

Beep!

With enthusiasm, I called Jessica to inform her about the matter.

“Jess, are you free tomorrow at 3 PM?”

“Sure, do you want to take me out again, Keith? Where we should go for our next date?”

“Ah.” I chuckled. “It’s Sean. He got drafted into a professional team, and he invited us for a barbeque party to celebrate it.”

“Oh, really? That’s great! Can I bring my friends along?”

“Uh… I think it should be fine? As long as we celebrate him, I don’t think that’s a problem.”

“Alright, I’ll call Grace and Maria. Pick me up at 2 tomorrow, Keith!”

“Got it. See you tomorrow.”

“See you.”

Beep!

Tomorrow’s morning, I wore my best outfit again and went to her residence by taxi at 2 PM to pick her up. Ahem, I mean that outfit… Ah, whatever… That’s the coolest outfit I have. Meanwhile, she is wearing that white dress once more, once again giving a vibe of a goddess.

Anyway, we arrived at the restaurant where we welcomed warmly. Brandon and Tony greeted us at the door. Sean is sitting at the table, waving at us while cooking the pieces of meat.

Meanwhile, we can see Carlos and Maria sitting beside each other, looking at us with a smile. They seemed to be affectionate to each other with how close their distance is. Looks like they really going out, thanks to Jessica playing cupid before.

Meanwhile, Grace hugged Jessica and laughed as they did their girls talk. After they finished, we sat and started feasting on the beef.

But again, it’s not Jessica if she doesn’t stir things up. She used her chopstick to feed me. I was embarrassed as everyone looked. Maria giggled at us, while Grace was teasing us about it.

With laughter and joy, we spent our evening with joy as we celebrated Sean’s feats, as well as his farewell party.

While he won’t play again with us, we will always be friends forever. We know that as long as we play basketball, we will meet again on the court.

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Months passed, and the date was Monday, 12th August 2024. The atmosphere was hot as the sun hit its apex. Two people came looking at the basketball poster.

Shortly, a group of people approached them, their names were Carlos, Maria, Keith, Jessica, Brandon, and Tony. The girls were accompanying their boyfriend, and the boys looked at their potential recruit.

Without delay, Carlos stepped forward, before throwing his line.

“Yo! Do you want to play some basketball?”

-----Season 1 – End-----

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