Chapter 14: Qualifying Round
My encounter on the football field with Enzo left me both confused and upset.
First of all, how had he shown up like that just in time to catch the football helmet before it hit me in the face? Second, why did he continue following me around campus like a lost puppy? For someone who was supposedly the campus playboy, it felt odd that he was so obsessed with me of all people.
After seeing Enzo and Lisa talking so dramatically, I felt for certain that this was all some sort of huge prank. Surely Justin was in on it, too. They wanted me to be humiliated for getting involved with the hockey team.
Just a little more and I could walk away from this internship and not have to deal with it any longer…
The next day, Friday, was the day of Enzo’s game. Jessica used her VIP ticket to go and sit in one of the VIP box seats. I let her use my ticket to bring Lori, who really only ever liked going to hockey games to see the fights. I didn’t want to go at all, but it was my job now to attend sports games in case anyone got injured.
I wore a lowkey outfit that day in the hopes that Enzo and Justin wouldn’t notice me as much. It was chilly out, even in the arena, so I wore a university hoodie, jeans that weren’t too tight, and a beanie. I even wore my glasses, even though I had been wearing contacts since I left high school. I usually only wore my glasses at home because I thought they looked dumb on me, but I figured that maybe they would get Justin and Enzo to leave me alone.
Tiffany and I stood on the sidelines
while the game took place. She bought me a hot cocoa and a soft pretzel while we watched.
“You know, he clearly really likes you,” Tiffany said, leaning closer to me so I could hear her over the roaring of the crowd.
“I know,” I replied, taking a bite of my pretzel. I didn’t bother saying that Enzo was the person I slept with because I figured she already knew.
“I totally understand if he’s not your type, but let me just say this…” Tiffany paused to take a sip of her hot cocoa. Her red lipstick stained the white paper cup. “I’ve known these boys for two years now. They’re obnoxious and full of themselves, but most of them are good kids. Enzo especially.”
My heart leaped a bit at Tiffany’s words. I looked out at the rink, where Enzo was taking the lead over the
opposing team. He moved fluidly on the ice, easily flicking his hockey stick this way and that to control the puck as he flew toward the goal.
As I watched Enzo play and pondered what Tiffany said, I thought back to the night that Enzo and I had sex. He had been so gentle and understanding with me, not bothered at all that I was a virgin. He took care of me and made sure that I felt good, too, and didn’t just use me to get off like most guys did at this age.
Were his actions genuine that night?
I wasn’t sure, but even though I enjoyed the night I spent with him, I knew I wouldn’t do it again. I didn’t want to be tangled up in this mess.
Just then, my thoughts were broken by the sound of splitting wood and a collective gasp from the crowd as a player from the other team slammed
full-force into Enzo, knocking him onto the ice. I watched as his helmet came off and slid across the rink while his broken stick went in the other direction.
People screamed as the other player climbed on top of Enzo and began punching him deliberately in the face, repeatedly. The referee blew his whistle several times and skated over, but he couldn’t get the other player off of Enzo by himself.
Enzo didn’t fight back. He seemed like he hit his head on the ice when his helmet came off and it knocked him unconscious.
Finally, with the help of two other players from our team, the referee managed to get the angry player off of Enzo and drag him away.
Tiffany and I shot a look at each other and dropped our hot cocoa and pretzels running over to the rink Chapter 14 Qualifying Round
entrance as Enzo was lifted and carried to us by a couple of his teammates. He was conscious now, but his face was bruised and bloody and there was some blood coming out of his mouth from all the punches.
“Bring him to the locker room,” Tiffany said. I stepped out of the way to let them through, my heart pounding as I watched them carry him away. My chest ached to see Enzo injured so badly, and I just wanted to hold him.
We followed them to the locker room, where they sat Enzo down on a bench. He was fully conscious now and able to sit up on his own. Tiffany threw her medical bag down and started examining his face.
“Doctor!” someone shouted from the doorway. “The other guy is having a seizure. I think he was on something-”
Tiffany looked at me questioningly. I Chapter 14. Qualifying Round
nodded, affirming that I could handle Enzo on my own, then she stood up and ran out of the locker room.
I crouched down, rifling through
Tiffany’s bag for supplies. I grabbed
some alcohol and gauze to clean the worst wounds and an ice pack. “I’m fine,” Enzo said. “I don’t need
any of that.”
I frowned and looked up at him. “Yes you do,” I replied angrily. “You’ll get an infection.”
As I went to clean his wounds, he pushed me away and grumbled under his breath. I figured that maybe he was just a bit out of it from hitting his head and tried again, but again he pushed me away, which made me angry.
“I’m the doctor here!” I shouted, grabbing his hand and yanking it away from his face so he couldn’t push me away again. He turned to me with a
surprised look on his face, but when I went to clean his wounds, he finally let me do it.
Enzo winced but didn’t pull away as I dabbed at his wounds with the alcohol.
Something strange happened while I cleaned his face, though; as I cleaned it, I realized that the cuts almost seemed to be closing up on their own…
Were my eyes deceiving me, or were Enzo’s wounds healing right in front of me?
Before I had the chance to say anything, Tiffany came into the room with her sleeves rolled up and vomit crusted on her shirt from helping the other player. As the door swung open for a moment, I could see two EMTs carrying him out on a stretcher.
Another EMT followed Tiffany into the room to come and look at Enzo. I stood and stepped out of the way while he crouched down and inspected Enzo’s face.
“Hm,” the EMT muttered, turning Enzo’s head this way and that. He stood and shrugged. “You’re perfectly fine. Just some very minor bruising. I’m surprised it’s not worse from what your doctor here told me about the fight.”
As the EMT left, Enzo shot me a wary look. What was he hiding?
Whatever it was, I would discover it on Monday during the second round of physical fitness tests.