True to her word, it was only a few days later Candy texted Graham and asked him to meet her in San Myshuno at the Skye Fitness gym. She knew the receptionist at the desk and was able to get guest passes for half price!
“Watch this shot!” Candy exclaimed.
“Not bad for a rookie,” Graham laughed. “But watch a pro show you how it’s done!”
“Pro? Ha! You played some high school hoops! That’s hardly pro!” the woman laughed.
“Well, let’s see, you’re on S. After this one, you’ll have the E and that’s H.O.R.S.E my friend!” Graham laughed as he dribbled in a circle then tossed the ball over his shoulder and spun around to watch it swoosh through the net.
“No fair!” Candy cried out laughing. “No way I can make that shot!”
“Let me make it up to you by buying some chips for you at the snack bar!”
“They are free at this club Nerd!” Candy laughed putting the basketballs back on the rack.
The pair laughed as they walked to the snack bar.
Graham received an unknown text the following afternoon.
“Well, that explains who’s number I got was that night at the Mansion!” Graham thought. He quickly edited the contact to add Maaike’s name.
He washed up quick and hailed a cab. He and Maaike arrived within minutes of each other. Graham got them a seat right away as the restaurant wasn’t very crowded.
“I’m glad you said yes,” Maaike smiled warmly at Graham. “I was sorta worried when I didn’t hear from you. I thought we had a connection on the dance floor!”
“Oh we did for sure! I’ll be honest Maaike. I was pretty drunk that night and I couldn’t remember whose contact that was. I didn’t want to make an fool of myself so I was waiting to see who it was!” Graham absently scribbled with a crayon on his place mat.
“That makes sense,” Maaike seemed relieved. She took a breath and nodded as if she’d made a decision. “Listen Graham, I know you’re new in town. I’m the leader of the Avant Gardes. We like to read books, best sellers and famous literature alike. We drink coffee and chat with each other.”
“So you’re a book club?”
“Well, it’s more than that. We discuss the finer points of literature!” Maaike insisted. “Besides, we have some influential people in our club and you may really be able to get ahead in your rebuilding project!”
“Ok great Maaike, sounds like fun. Where do you meet?”
“Mostly at South Square Coffee, they have a great library at the back of the coffee shop.”
“Great, I’ll join you next time.”
The waitress came by and cleared their dishes. “Anything else for you today?” she asked.
“No, I think we’re all finished. I’ll take the check when you’re ready,” Graham smiled warmly at the waitress. Maaike noticed the smile and scowled a bit but kept her thoughts to herself.
True to her word, Maaike texted Graham and invited him to the Coffee Shop next time the Avant Gardes met.
Graham arrived at the coffee shop. He saw Maaike and waved to her.
“Graham! I’m glad you made it, I’ll introduce you to everyone!”
After meeting Gunther and Hugo he sat down with Gunther and tried to read his book.
His stomach started growling obnoxiously so he went to the counter and ordered a croissant. It was then he spotted a familiar teen with a book in her hand.
“Hey Yuki! I didn’t know you were part of Avant Gardes!” Graham smiled at the girl.
“Oh, hi Graham,” Yuki said, her finger in the copy of The Lord of the Swings to hold her place. “Maaike sent a text to all of us to let us know you’d joined.”
“Care to join me over here?” he pointed to a table near the windows.
“Sure,” she said with a shrug.
Graham noticed a beautiful woman walk by and nudged Yuki beneath the table.
“Psst, Yuki, do you know her?”
Yuki glanced around.
“Don’t be so obvious!” Graham hissed.
Yuki snapped her head back. “Yeah, let’s see…Candy is in Spin Masters with Dominic Fyres, I’m pretty sure he’s her Dad. Her name is Siobhan.”
“She is gorgeous. I have to get her number.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure she’s dating Sergio, that’s Joaquin’s roommate, another one of the Spin Masters, but good luck!” Yuki got up, waved at Graham and left.