This is part 2 of a Steven Adams/Nick Collison fan-fiction series. The first installment can be found here.
“You sure look mint in that suit, mate,” Steven said as he looked in the mirror, adjusting his tie.
“Thanks, man. Not too often we get to dress up,” Nick replied.
“I was talking to myself, but you don’t look so dodgy either,” Steven said with a smile, flashing a friendly wink. He turned away from the mirror to face Nick. His long hair was pulled back tightly into a bun, and even with his thick mustache and coarse beard, the sleek black suit he wore gave him an unusual elegance. “Come on now, we’ve gotta make our grand entrance.”
They slowly walked across the violet-tinted carpet that lined a long hallway. Colorful potted flowers and gilded light fixtures accentuated the gaudily-patterned wallpaper.
“This place is fancy, but I hope it’s not too stuffy,” Nick thought. “I hate those uptight shindings that Sam makes us go to.”
Suddenly, the dull thump of quick footsteps pounded behind them, and just as they turned around, Cameron skidded to a halt.
“There you are! Damnit, dude, why are you always late? We thought you weren’t even coming,” Nick scolded.
“Hey, sorry man, it just takes me longer to get ready. I gotta primp up, get my swag shinin’, you know,” Cam replied with a grin, stroking his chin. “I feel like a secret agent, like James Bond, dressing like this.”
“Yeah, well James Bond wouldn’t be caught at a fancy party wearing Air Jordans,” Nick frowned.
“C’mon, these are Jordan 1’s, classic! They’re the black ones, too. They go with everything. You’re just jealous you don’t got the balls to pull them off.”
“You boys gonna just play GQ all night, or can we have ourselves a little party? Let’s go!” Steven called while walking towards the great oaken double-doors that led to the main ballroom. Their thickness held back much of the noise, but as soon as Steven pushed them open, a roaring cacophony of voices spilled into the hall.
The ceiling raised up to the sky, dangling glittery chandeliers that cast dazzling light on the proceedings below. Women in sophisticated dresses moved gracefully between mostly older men wearing tailored suits. A string quartet performed chamber music in the far corner, the thrum of cello nearly lost underneath the merriment of the partygoers. In the center of the room, cool moonlight poured through a large skylight directly above a glass case on a pedestal.
The jade glimmer of something inside the case distracted Nick. “What’s that over there, Steven?” he asked while impulsively walking towards it, seemingly drawn by some force outside of his body.
“Slow down there, mate!” Steven said while walking briskly to keep up. “That’s pounamu. Bet you’ve never seen that before, eh?”
“Pounamu? It’s beautiful.” Nick walked right up to the velvet rope surrounding the pedestal. He clutched the rope tightly and gazed at the object. It was vibrant green jadestone, intricately carved. The craftsmanship was remarkable, cut without flaw or blemish. Under the light, it almost emitted an eerie glow.
“My people, the Māori, we consider that to be taonga, or treasure. You can only be given it, as a gift. This one in particular is very important to us. They say it’s older than man, and has been passed down through all the generations. If something ever happened to it, we’d be devastated.”
“I can see why. It’s incredible.” Nick stared with awe and intensity, until a hand grabbed his arm from behind.
“Well, nice of you blokes to arrive! We’ve had plenty of time to get pissed waiting for ya, how bout a round?” A short, rotund man with a splotchy red face let go of Nick’s arm. He was balding with an ugly face, but the slight sneer in his crooked grin was charming.
“Rodney, you old dag! How’ve been been?” Steven beamed, stooping over to give him a hug.
“Hunky dory, boy, just fine. And how is your yank friend enjoying his stay?”
“It’s been great,” Nick smiled, finally turning away from the pounamu. “Steven’s been showing us around today. With the basketball camp, we haven’t had much time for sight-seeing, but it’s truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“Oi, don’t say that. You’ll be back. Anyone that comes here, they all come back. We could use a guy like you on the Tall Blacks, could get ya honorary status on the team,” Rodney said with a wink. His voice was gravely, and the accent so thick that Nick could barely understand.
A server walked by with a tray of sparkling champagne glasses. Nick and Steven each reached for one. The mood at the party was jovial and loud, not uptight as Nick feared. The people seemed relaxed and casual, despite the glitzy setting.
But where did Cam go?
Nick began to frantically look around, wondering what trouble Cam would be getting in. He didn’t need to look long, however, as there weren’t many people in the crowd who stood 6’3″. He spotted the point guard near the band, doing one of his trademark dance moves. Nick couldn’t help but laugh and sip his champagne. The bubbles felt good on his tongue, and he finally started to relax.
“Come this way, boys,” Rodney said while patting the men on their lower backs. “I’ve got some people I’d like you to meet. Very important people, just like you. You’ll like them.”
The crowd opened around them, with all the guests turning to look at the large and famous NBA players. Nick and Steven shook hands and smiled, trying to remember names and be polite. Neither of them felt quite at home at big parties like these, but they knew it was an important charity event, so they went through the motions.
A deafening whir began to putter above the building. A brilliant blue spotlight pierced through the skylight, moving wildly at first and then shining straight towards the center of the room. Some of the guests turned to look, but before they could process what was happening, the glass shattered with a loud crash.
The band stopped playing and the room gasped before going silent. People underneath the skylight cleared away as jagged slivers of glass shattered on the ballroom floor. A figure clad in all black tactical gear rapidly descended from a harness attached to a helicopter hovering loudly overhead. He zipped down with the speed of Westbrook pocket pass.
Stopping short just before his tall combat boots touched the floor, the masked man looked around the room and flashed a wide, toothy smile from the woolen ski mask on his head. He threw a vicious roundhouse kick, smashing the glass case containing the pounamu charm. His gigantic, black leather-gloved hand clutched the glowing emerald treasure, and he pointed up with his other hand. With a slight jerk, the rope quickly pulled him up.
Looking directly at Steven, the mysterious bandit flapped his hand in a fey wave, mouthing “Bye-bye!” As soon as he cleared through the broken skylight, the helicopter jetted away. The room was hush for a long moment, until the throbbing buzz of the chopper blades had passed. Suddenly, panicked muttering echoed throughout the ballroom.
Cameron rushed over to the group. “What the hell was that about?”
“We’ve just been robbed of our national jewels,” Steven fumed, trying to control a steady rage that burned in his eyes. “They’re not going to get away with this.”
“What are we going to do about it?” Nick asked.
“Gonna hunt em down, mate.”
“Who would do something so outrageous, though?” Cam said, incredulous.
“Let’s just say that I recognize that kick,” Steven murmured. “That bastard tried to rob me of my jewels before, he’s not going to get away with it again.”
To be continued!