Jaiel wiped the sweat off his forehead with the tight band wrapped at his wrist and took a step back from the sandbag.
His eyes went in the direction of the changing room, where the new people had just disappeared to.
'I doubt we will get any new members this time,' Jaiel thought to himself.
He picked up a water bottle from the bench next to him and started drinking, clenching the thirst that had been nagging him for the last 30 minutes.
He had to endure, his match was soon and he couldn't gain more weight, even from water.
In the corner of his eyes, he noticed something annoying and sighed trying to turn his back, but it was too late.
"Hey... hey Jaiel!"
He turned to the source of the voice, seeing three big guys from the gym half circling him, with big mischievous grins.
"Want to bet on who will make it?"
The three guys, all brothers, excitedly stared at him, all of them at least one head taller than Jaiel and several years older.
Jaiel looked up at the three adults, ignoring their teenage giggles that went on as if they were some gossip women.
He moved his arms out to stretch them and was not paying attention to their constant fussing around him.
"none," he finally responded.
He turned around and grabbed his towel wiping his face, before sitting down on the floor to start stretching out his leg muscles.
The group of new people passed him again and he glanced in their direction briefly, doing a quick overview of their body shapes.
A skinny boy around his age was wearing a ragged t-shirt and sweat pants with worn-out shoes and saw how he was tiptoeing next to the others.
The rest of the bunch were decked out in fully new sportswear, with expensive logos visible on all the attire.
Jaiel mumbled, "none" again to himself, and put on his shoes, and placed his earbuds back in his ears.
The rhythm of the music soon brought him to stand and quickly walk past the group, heading for the outside, running ahead of them on the road.
"He must be restless."
One of the three guys watched as Jaiel left them to do roadwork.
The two others nodded and followed where he is looking.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Get back to training this instant, why are you three standing around here slacking off a week before your matches!"
The three flinched in unison and turned around with stupid grins, all three grown men covering before a small old man.
They stumbled into each other and quickly found some random training equipment, pretending to be busy.
The sidewalk down the street was mostly clear of people at this time in the evening, and Kian was desperately trying to keep up with the Assistant Coach.
He was in the back of the line of people, with only the chubby guy being at a distance behind them all.
Kian was heaving and grimaced at himself for being so annoyingly weak, his side hurt, and his breathing was becoming more irregular and difficult as he kept trying to push himself to continue.
'Is this all I can do... fuck!'
He kicked at some small rocks on the road which had changed from pavement to a dirt road alongside a small stream.
A short while ago the big guy behind him had already stopped running and was now barely walking far behind him, with his hand clenched at his chest.
Kian clenched his teeth, remembering what he had decided that same morning, and continued to put one foot ahead of the other to at least keep the advancement over the slow guy behind him.
He kept half running, or more like walking at a fast pace in the same direction where the assistant coach and the two other new members had gone, knowing it was at least in the direction back to the gym at this point.
How much more did he have to do this, it felt like forever ago since they had left the gym.
The sun was setting, and Kian felt the acid in his knees and stabbing pain in the side. The constant curses he spewed were directed at his feet, mentally forcing them to keep moving forward.
No one would ever claim that he was walking at this point, but somehow he still managed to move forward, even if very slowly.
Pavement appear under his shoes, and he knew the gym must be close, but so far he hadn't seen the rest of the group or the assistant coach for a while.
Even the guy behind him had disappeared at some point.
When he had thought to look back, the guy was nowhere to be seen.
A crack in the pavement caused his foot to stumble and he fell forward, reaching out with his hands to protect his head.
'Why..had he decided to do this?'
He was not sure why he was asking himself but cursed out loud at the stinging pain in his knee and hand, and annoyed began to brush the gravel from the new wound on his right palm.
'This was a stupid idea,' he thought, blinking his eyes trying to force the stinging eyes from tearing up when he suddenly felt a tight grip around his upper arm and was effortlessly pulled up to stand on his feet.
He quickly balanced himself on his feet and looked up at the guy who grabbed him, feeling the pressure around his arm release, as the guy let him go.
" T.. thank you"
Kian grimaced at the pain still stinging his hand but made sure to at least appreciate the help from the guy when he suddenly recognized him, and blurted out.
"You are the one from the gym?"
Kian recognized the guy as the one who had been punching at the old punching bag, though he was no longer in the same clothes he had been wearing when Kian had seen him running ahead of them earlier.
Instead, the guy in front of him now was wearing a big dark blue hoodie and normal black jeans, with a school bag hanging from his back.
You could no longer tell that this tall guy had been training, but looked more like a normal student walking home from evening classes.
Was all the guy replied almost like a question, as he took out one of the earbuds and looked down at Kian, with a somewhat bored expression, or was he mistaken?
Kian repeated his words saying, " thank you," with a forced smile, but the guy brushed him off with a hand gesture and put the earbud back in his ear, looking ahead of Kian as he started to walk away.
Kian yelled at him annoyed at the vague response, already feeling miserable about the whole day.
"You could at least say no problem or something!"
He knew the guy had helped him, but the demeanor made him feel like the guy had only done it, cause Kian had been in his way, and somehow that thought irked him.
That was all Kian got as a reply.
The guy stopped and looked back at Kian, then continued nonchalantly with a bored tone.
"Just give up, no one else made it."
The words rooted Kian to the spot where he was standing, and a small flicker of anger was visible in his eyes as he then moved his hand up and clenched his fist at the guy, except for the middle finger that was pointing straight up.
Kian flipped the guy off, turned around, and continued walking in the direction of the gym.
He was so done with assholes, though it did not take long for him to feel guilty and petty over the childish action.
He was just at his wit's end, constantly dealing with people who treated him poorly.
He turned around, meaning to apologize but the guy was already gone.