#Chapter 59: An Even Match
By the time the first few days of the week passed, everything seemed to be back to normal.
Midterms were coming up in a few weeks, not only did I have to prepare for exams, but I also had several projects and papers to write, so I was completely swamped with classwork. It was probably a good thing, though, since I would have spent far too much time agonizing over what happened in the woods.
Why had K been so hell-bent on capturing me? He had said that he had instructions to bring me back alive… Back to who?
Whenever these thoughts came up throughout the week, I pushed them back down. I had work to focus on.
On Friday night, the hockey team had a
game; naturally, I would have to attend, although these days attending the games wasn’t so much a chore as it was enjoyable. For the first time all semester, it seemed that there was no drama — with guys, at least
Lisa was also out for the next couple of weeks, from what I heard, the dean suspended her from the cheerleading team because of the attack, although I suspected it was really from the werewolf bite. Either way, I wasn’t complaining. Her friends would always be annoying, but Lisa was worse. Not having her around, at least temporarily, was a relief.
Tiffany and I stood on the sidelines Friday night watching the game, on call in case of any injuries. Enzo scored a goal and the crowd went wild, but it had already been a tough match so far
“You seem nervous,” Tiffany said, nudging me with her elbow. I realized that I had been chewing my nails and quickly put my hands in my pockets.
“It’s a close game,” I replied, looking at the scoreboard. The score had been tied for the entire game; Enzo’s last goal only put our team ahead by one point.
Tiffany nodded. “This team is usually easy for them. But that captain is new… He’s really good. Much better than the last one.”
I watched as Enzo and the other captain raced for the puck, colliding and nearly knocking each other over Out of all of the games I had seen so far, I had never seen anyone come even close to matching Enzo’s speed and ability
The other team scored another goal, and the referee called for the second and final intermission. If our team didn’t get ahead in the third round, we’d have to hope for victory during overtime
“I’m gonna get a drink,” Tiffany said. ” Want anything?”
I shook my head, watching in awe as the team returned to the bleachers to rest and refuel after such a grueling match. I could hear Enzo berating them, so I approached out of curiosity
“These guys were a walk in the park last year,” he said, removing his helmet and tucking it under his arm as he stood in front of his tired team. “You guys have got to get your heads in this game”
“That new captain is way too good, Enzo,” Matt replied, his hair clinging to his forehead from sweat “Who is he, anyway?”
Enzo glanced over his shoulder at the
other captain, who was sitting on the other side of the arena while the rest of
his team moved about excitedly, seeming thrilled to even be tied with our team.
“I don’t know,” Enzo replied, turning back to face the team, and noticing my presence now. His eyes met mine and flickered red for the briefest moment, for some reason, I got the hint that maybe he did, in fact, know who this other player was.
Enzo’s eyes lingered on me for another moment before returning to his team.
“Either way,” he said, “if we don’t win this, we’re not gonna make it to the next round of the tournament…”
It was like watching a commander with his troops
The intermission ended a few minutes later and the team returned to the ice, Tiffany still hadn’t returned, but I didn’t think much of it.
I watched with bated breath as the
game continued. Just like the first two rounds, it was a perfect tie Enzo and the other captain stayed neck and neck the entire time while the crowd grew more and more heated.
Finally, the twenty minutes were up… and it was still a tie, even in the third round.
My heart practically leaped out of my chest during the five minutes of overtime as Enzo and the other captain continued to battle for the winning point, but no one scored. The referee blew his whistle and gathered both teams to the center of the rink
“Oh, no,” Tiffany said, finally
returning after disappearing for so long She didn’t have a drink, and her makeup looked a little smudged I hid my smirk as I wondered if she secretly met someone during intermission Looks like they’re gonna do a shootout.”
“What’s a shootout?” I asked.
“It’s a last-ditch attempt to resolve a tie,” she replied. “Each team takes turns trying to shoot a puck into the opponent’s goal while the goalie tries to deflect it. Whoever has the most points wins the game.”
As the teams skated away from the referee, I watched closely Enzo, Matt, and Justin stood together, while the other captain and two of his teammates stood together as well.
The crowd cheered as Matt was the first to line himself up with the goal.
I held my breath, letting out a sigh of relief when the puck made it past the goalie.
My relief dissipated, however, when the first shooter on the other team made a goal on our side as well.
Next, Justin was up. Students from our school cheered as he skated up to the shooting point, then cheered even louder when he made the puck in.
The next shooter on the other team, however, also made it in, now it was just Enzo and the other captain.
As Enzo skated up to the goal, the crowd went silent. I found myself biting my nails again as I watched intensely, praying for our victory.
He took a deep breath, centering himself. Everything moved in slow motion as he lined his stick up with the puck… shot… and scored!
The crowd went wild with cheers again, but it wasn’t the end just yet. The other captain still had to shoot I watched as our goalie focused intensely on the puck, putting himself in his best defensive stance The other captain aimed… The arena was so silent you could hear a pin drop. He shot…
Our goalie put all of his effort into defending our goal. He leaped toward the puck…
And just missed it by a hair.
The puck slid under him and went into the net.
The other team broke out into cheers, while our team stood in shock and disappointment.
“What happens now?” I asked, turning toward Tiffany
She shrugged. “Up to the coaches, I guess. Probably a rematch at some point if they don’t want to do another shootout.”
It seemed that a rematch was the decision as Enzo, the referee, and the other captain skated to meet in the middle of the rink. They spoke briefly, then shook hands and skated away.
“And it looks like we’ll be seeing a rematch between these two amazing teams next week, folks,” the announcer said a couple of minutes later. “Come back next Friday for the tie -breaker match.
The disappointed crowd started to flood out of the stadium as the teams got off the ice. Justin, in a fit of tage. threw his helmet down on the ground by the bleachers.
“Hey!” Enzo said, storming over to him. “Pick that up.”
Justin glared back at him for several seconds before conceding and picking up the helmet, storming off to the locker rooms by himself while the rest of the team looked on in disbelief. Enzo rolled his eyes and sat down on the bleachers to take his skates off
“Well, I’ve gotta dash,” Tiffany said, squeezing my arm. “See you on Monday.”
I watched as she walked off, trying to see if she met up with anyone on her way out — maybe her long-lost love that she told me about — but I didn’t see anyone
“Hey,” Enzo said from behind me. I turned around to face him; surprisingly, he was smiling despite the outcome of the game. “Wanna grab some drinks ?