Woman's Resolve to stay Single

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Chapter 26 | Foul Play

Elizabeth headed out to the practice match that day with complete gear. At the office, before she boarded the van, she put on a wig Tanya lent her, glasses with clear lenses, and wore too much red lipstick for her liking.

The photo-journalist assigned to her was already waiting in the parking lot, which she had known from the message she had received just a minute ago. She was satisfied with her preparation the moment she looked at the mirror in the bathroom stall and didn’t recognize herself.

She headed back to her desk, brought her small camera, recording stick, memo pad, and pens with her in her backpack. She then quickly made her way to the elevator, traveled down to the parking lot, and searched for the white van that would escort them to the game.

She found it by the exit and saw that her partner was already there chatting with the driver.

“Woah! Elizabeth, I almost didn’t recognize you.” He exclaimed.

“I know! It worked out pretty well.”

“Shall we get going then? The game is going to’ start in an hour.“. Elizabeth replied with a nod and then boarded herself to the back of the van.

The engines growled, and just like that; they were on their way.

The game today was going to be packed. She knew this because there were always many people going to practice games when it got close to the world cup. Especially now that their own national team had made it in and the opponents were amazing, another team that got in the quarter-finals with no one expecting. It was truly going to be an exciting match that might let them get a feel for each other’s skills before they officially compete in the quarter-finals.

The moment they arrived at the stadium, just like they had expected, it was packed. It was unlike the round of 16, but still booming. With the magazine’s reputation, they got front row seats in the media section. But before they made their way to take their place, they walked around the lobby and had a feel for the event.

Her partner took pictures to show the lively atmosphere and Elizabeth was on a mission to interview some people coming to watch the game. It was going well. They all answered the same. Some said they were excited to see the game, others wanted to have a feel for the soccer season coming up, and others were just hardcore fans that come to every game their team plays.

When it was almost time to start for their warm-ups, the two regrouped and headed to their seats, where they could see the whole thing. Elizabeth soon joined with the crowd who interviewed each of the coaches.

“Yes, yes... My boys are truly ready for the games upcoming. They’ve trained harder than they ever had for these past few weeks and I trust that, with their improved skills, they will make it through.” Their coach said, addressing all media.

Elizabeth listened with a smile as she herself knew how hard their practices were. When she met them a few days back, they looked nowhere similar to how they were during the knock out round. They’ve really up their game to reach the finals.

Reporters continued to ask the same questions and take pictures. For Elizabeth, she felt like what she had gathered was enough and headed to the other side to see the coach of the opposing team.

Similar to Sir Phillip Owen, the other one was swarmed by media as well. Before Elizabeth could close in on the scene, she could already hear the loud laughter from the man as he answered the questions fired at him.

“Hahaha, of course my boys will win. Not only this practice match, but the entire world cup as well. Mwahahaha... Just you all wait to see, our team will be the first ever successful dark horse in this tournament.” Their coach said.

Elizabeth recorded every word and was scared by how cocky it was, but she figured it was great to believe in your boys that much and have confidence in their skills. Which was a good way to think about it, rather that classifying him as a Disney villain.

Soon after, the warm-ups started, and the media retreated to their sections, including Elizabeth and her partner. He had never stopped taking photos the whole duration they were there, and he didn’t seem to look like he was stopping, either. So in the end, she left him be to do his own thing.

With a loud sound of the whistle, the game began. Though it was only a practice match, the air seemed more competitive than usual.

Midway into the game, she concluded they were strong. It was unusual, yet she couldn’t argue, since she could see it with her own two eyes. Elizabeth was recording the commentating of the competition as well as wrote about the important moves that happened in the game.

The other team wasn’t one for strategies, but they won points through sheer strength in their legs, which made them completely agile and speed. Their legs weren’t dying down with the tiredness and with this, Mark’s team was starting to be completely crushed.

The points didn’t have too much of a gap. Mark’s team started off strong, with excellent strategies, speed, and total communication. But as the heat poured and time stretched, they were deteriorating, unlike the opposing team, who didn’t look like it fazed them at all.

A few more rounds into the game, finally, the goalkeeper of the US team finally got a hold of the ball running towards him. That was a turning point, for when he tossed it back to the field, it went straight to Brice who passed it marvelously to Kit who, with what looked like all of his strength, kicked it straight to the goal.

Screaming erupted from that excellent play. Reporters then moved their attention to the smiling faces of the team and recorded down everything that had just happened. But Elizabeth couldn’t look at this directly. She was then focused on the anger on the faces of the opposing team straight towards that goal keeper and Kit.

With the excitement that erupted from the people beside her, as well as her partner, aggressively taking pictures of the moment and she couldn’t blame him. Though, because they had settled their eyes on the scene by the goal to the side, everyone turned together, looking over there abruptly.

Someone hit her elbow on Elizabeth’s head. She didn’t apologize nor care and continued to focus on the moment for her job, for she was a reporter just like her. The problem was, hitting her head not only hurt, but also shoved her wig out of place.

Her dark hair was sticking out so much in contrast with the blond bobbed wig. Hurriedly and paranoid, she quickly shoved it back it, but in was only making it worse. Shoving her bobby pins out of place and making her real hair color stick out so much more.

They still talked about the topic, so it scared her that they would recognize with her uniquely dark hair. So she shoved her recorder into the hands of her partner and pointed at the hair sticking out. He understood completely, but gave her an ‘no’ sign while shaking his head. She smiled and quickly left the scene, her hands trying to cover the strand. She figured he would have too much work caring for the recorder. And besides, many reporters had coverage of it any ways and she knew what happened so it was not that big of the deal. So she got the recorder back from his hands and placed it in her pocket.

She ran to the lobby of the stadium and went to the directions of the bathrooms. Unfortunately, when she had arrived, she could see the sign.

′ Out of Order.′

On the door. She thought it would be okay, and she didn’t care if toilets worked or not, she just wanted some privacy. But when she turned the knob, it was locked. So, she didn’t have any choice and entered the men’s bathroom right beside it.

It would be fine since she knew no man would come out of a game, even if they were peeing their pants on the stands. It was all about the presence at the moment, so she felt safe at the moment.

To ease her, she just went into one stall and did her thing. She took off the wig completely, the pins, the wig cap, and figured she would start it all over again. So she slowly put in on, as she did it that morning.

But suddenly the door of the comfort room opened up. Out of instinct, Elizabeth stopped everything she did, put her hands down, and raised her feet above the toilet seat. She was trying to balance herself and stay silent and wait for the, what seemed like two men who entered to finish their business and exit smoothly. So Elizabeth calmed herself and figured it would all turn out okay.

The two men started talking as the water tap started running.

“Are you sure we’re going to talk about this here?”

“Don’t worry, no man would come here while the game is going on. And besides, they would be too hyped up to understand or care.”

She heard a sigh from one of the two men. “Did you see that move from the keeper?”

“Of course I did! And it’s all your fault.”

This was what seemed out of it. What did he mean it was this man’s fault? She checked the recorder in her pocket and saw that it was still recording, so she left it at that.

“Why do you say that? I did my very best to get you those doses and you blame me for that loss.”

“Well, of course. You gave us too little.”

“What do you mean? I provided enough for the entire team.”

“Well, that wasn’t enough!” He exclaimed. “I know for a fact that you gave us the pill for the minimum dose for a day.”

“That’s only right Richard.”

“Give us the maximum dose! The hundred and fifty milligram one.”

“It’s anabolic, for Christ’s sake. It has side effects!”

“Well, Doctor. I don’t give a damn. We need to win, and seeing that they could still get through these defenses means we need more.”

“No, you’ll hurt the players.” The person who was called doctor ruefully said.

“It won’t, they’re strong. And don’t you forget about the money on that prize board.”

“Richard, this will push them too far.”

“Do it, or have the entire thing you’re doing for me exposed. You don’t want your license revoked, or maybe, a bit of jail time for Mr. Itty bitty Doctor Billy.”

Steps sounded as Elizabeth heard someone banged against the wall. She covered her mouth to stop herself from reacting to the shock. The doctor then spoke,

“Okay, I’ll get them to you the day of the tests before the quarter-finals.”

“Don’t let me down Doc.”

There, one man exited the scene, the one who was named Richard. And soon after, the doctor followed. Elizabeth sighed in relief that they did not find her. Yet, as she processed the things she heard in her head. She gasped in shock.

She hurriedly fixed herself this time and exited the comfort room herself, looking unrecognizable. She went back to the stands and could only watch the game in shock.

The game continued per usual. The scores were close, but when the game almost ended. When the timer almost struck zero, one player from the opposing team got the ball under his control.

With unmistakable strength, agility, and impressive, effective playing skills. He guided the ball to the point when it was close to the goal. He was a bit to the side, but at that moment, the stadium went dead silent.

It was at this moment, whether it would end in a draw or a lose for Mark’s team. But without anyone expecting, he kicked it to the person right in front of the goal rather than straight in, and with quick speed, that guy kicked it straight in.

The goal-keeper’s face was in disbelief, and the one who did the pass was now celebrating with a smirk to his enemies.

A loud laugh sounded throughout the whole stadium, that drowned out the small cheers coming from the crowd.

All cameras went to him and so did her partner.

“Who’s that?” She asked her colleague.

“It’s their manager.”

“Who exactly?”

“Their new manager who just got hired before the season started, Richard Foster, and he bought the team to victory with his richness in experience.”

With a thought, Elizabeth realized who that man was and suddenly blurted out,

“Maybe even literally.”

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