Author's note: "Jack" from previous chapters was originally named "Jake" in the first chapter. This final chapter uses the name "Jake" to retain continuity with the first chapter.
"Jake! Jake you out here?" Marcus shook his head and looked around him, trying to find a key landmark that would lead him back in the right direction once he found Jake. "If I find the screwed up kid," he added. He made a mental note to tell foreign players to bring a doctor's notice or something, a heads up in case they were mentally insane or violent. "Shooting someone in the bloody eye. Never seen a shot that bad since Trevor's first game."
Suddenly, he heard motion in a bush. "Jake? Jake is that you?" A single paintball flew past him, skinning the side of his ear. "Son of a gun, I swear to God I'm going to hit you if you try that crap again!" A second shot rang out and hit his chest. Marcus grabbed a can from his pocket and ran in the direction of the shots, specifically spray that was supposed to be for fending off a bear. He grunted and dove at the barrel he could see sticking out of the bush, hearing a cracking sound and a scream as the figure he grappled with began to roll backwards.
"Get off of me! I'm hit, man, no mask, no mask!"
"Shut your mouth you whiny little girl!" Marcus growled. He had managed to position himself on top of his attacker, glaring at the mask-less crazy with an itchy trigger finger. "You could have gotten another person hurt damnit! Why the hell did you run off!"
"I was just strategizing I swear, taking cover in the woods and waiting for my next kill-"
"Next kill?" Marcus shook his head. "This is freaking paintball man, it isn't some sort of war zone or real time video game. It's a sport, spell it with me now, s-p-o-r-t!"
"So what happened between you and Marcus?"
Katherine's hands froze as she finished applying a bandage over Luke's eyes. Thankfully one of his friends had phoned the ambulance and Jillian wasn't panicking or yelling her heart out. Instead she was waiting by the window, searching for any signs of Jake and Marcus.
"Well let's just say we had a really big argument about him never contacting me when I was in college. And then there was the time when we did talk, all he did was talk about some stupid paintball marker." Luke winced, as her gently patting to secure the bandage in place became a forceful, almost angry slap.
"Easy there killer."
"What? Oh, sorry my bad!" Katherine scowled as Luke began to chuckle. "Obviously you're finding something hilarious with this?"
"Not really," he said looking straight at Katherine with his working eye. "I just think you look cuter when you're angry, you know."
"So you really started cheering after tagging Katherine out?"
Marcus glared at Jake, the latter sitting across from him on a nearby tree stump, marker discarded beside him. Jake raised his hands and gave him an apologetic look.
"Just saying bro. Sounds like you were a real jerk."
"I didn't intentionally cheer," Marcus snapped. He clenched his fist before quickly reopening them; scowling at the messy remains of a paintball he had been fiddling with in his hands. On the bright side, Jake seemed to be recuperating fine without his ‘medicine'. Sadly, he was bringing up things from his past that he'd rather not think of. "I just got a little overconfident and almost got tagged. And besides, she's probably not even thinking of us anymore.
"I dunno man. Until I seen her with Luke, she looked kind of depressed and upset." Marcus stood up, walked over to Jake and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt.
"W-well I saw them flirting and stuff, and they seemed really close and then there's Luke's injury."
"That you made," Marcus said. The mention of the boy with the bloody eye reminded him that they had to get moving. "Come on Rambo, we better get moving."
An hour or so later, plus several minutes where Jake began yelling and screaming that he needed to pee, the two figures made their way back to the shack. A warm wind battered Marcus's face as he opened the door, Jake following en suite.
Katherine stared wide-eyed at Luke. Her heart did a little stutter step; a familiar sense of butterflies in her stomach that she felt the first time Marcus had complimented her many years ago. In the corner of her eye she could see Jillian's head turned ever so slightly, waiting to see the outcome with a smirk on her face. Then she noticed just how close Luke was to her. A cold wind entered the room and she turned her head around, mixed feelings about the two she saw at the door.
"I told you man! Luke is going to bring her to his hotel room and-" Jake didn't even finish his sentence. The look in his eyes and his sudden shaking fit seemed to be enough for Marcus to wrap his arms around him and hold him back. Ryan and Nathan rushed to assist Marcus in holding down the unruly kid.
As Luke stepped forward, putting himself in between Katherine and Jake, a loud siren followed by flashes of light caught their attention. "Ambulance is here!" Jillian said. Not two minutes later, two medics arrived at the scuffle near the door.
"What the hell?"
"He didn't take meds doc!" Ryan said.
"You got any sedatives or knock out stuff?" Nathan added. The added strength of two more men caused Jake to stop his squirming and let himself be carried into the ambulance.
"Hey wait, we forgot Luke." The occupants of the paintball shack had gathered outside the ambulance, Ryan and another medic on opposite sides of Jake as they entered the back of the vehicle. The driver of the ambulance looked out her window and pointed out the boy with a bandage over one eye. A medic apologized before helping Luke into the van, asking someone if they would be accompanying him to the hospital.
"I will!" Katherine said enthusiastically.
"I'd advise against it. Remember, she's the reason the kid flipped in the first place." The medic nodded in response to Marcus's observation before getting into the ambulance. It whirred to life before taking off down the road, leaving Nathan, Jillian, Katherine, and Marcus the only ones at the shack.
"Well I better be off." Nathan said, breaking the silent tension. He nodded at them and went back inside the paintball shack to gather his things.
Jillian put her hand on Katherine's shoulder. "We should probably get going too." She said.
"In a minute." Katherine said without turning around. Jillian saw her friend's glare towards Marcus, who she realized was the guy Katherine had been all depressed about. The same guy who her dad had said went paintballing with him. That sneaky old coot she thought to herself before leaving the two exes alone.
Marcus had a feeling that when Jillian left, Katherine would explode. And he was right.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" She yelled.
"Come one Kate, you knew as well as I did that Jake could have hurt you if you went in the ambulance. Plus, you're falling head over heels for a guy that you don't even know."
"Are you kidding me? Of all people, you're telling me who I should date? And you would know all about falling for someone you barely even knew, isn't that right," she said with a shove. "And don't you dare call me Kate!"
Marcus stared at her, a calm expression on his face that must have drove Katherine to the edge. "And wipe that stupid look on your face!"
"What look? This is just my regular look every time someone's talking to me. Not because I'm not listening, not because I don't care," Marcus's voice rose as he finished his sentence. "Maybe if you hadn't been so touchy, we never would have had any sort of problems." Katherine's eyes watered a little, a familiar look of anger and betrayal on her face.
"I can't even argue with you before you pull this kind of crap one me. You're not even wearing the necklace we got. Instead, you're wearing that damn paintball one!" Katherine slapped Marcus before heading to her car, Jillian already inside. Katherine's anger rose when all she saw was Marcus rubbing his cheek, not a sign of feeling no his face. The tiny flicker of hope that she held for them getting back together disappeared, replaced with a new yearning for the boy who cared about her. "I hope his eye's alright." She said to herself quietly.
Marcus looked on as the car left. "That sneaky old git," he said to himself upon realizing Harry's scheme to get to former teammates back together. "He's been watching too many romantic movies." Calmly, Marcus went back inside the shack and shut the door. Suddenly it opened again, Marcus widening his arm and whipping something out of his hands. "No such thing as a Hollywood ending Harry." He mused. A sinking feeling in his heart was felt for a brief second before it was submerged underneath his reason and placid nature. Love, in his personal opinion, was something he didn't really believe in.
The locket he tossed said otherwise. Chiseled into the silver heart design, written in a delicate and ornate manner were the words "love of my life", a picture of a younger Marcus and Katherine kissing. And of course they were in paint covered clothing, with smears of green and red on their faces.