Chapter 29 | Rushed Feelings
A Daily Dose of Life: Soccer team disqualified from quarter-finals due to player doping.
Today, Senior coach Julio Becker’s soccer team is officially disqualified from continuing their journey toward the world-cup. The Federation reviewed and accepted evidence of doping just this morning. All three representatives during drug test came out negative for Anabolic steroids. Doctor Billy Krift of the World Anti-Doping Agency affirmed that all players have been using performance enhancers. This all resulted in suspension for the entire team for a year.
Members of our team are involved in the gathering of evidence and were witnesses to the crime, which led it to be properly addressed. Read the thrilling journey of how it was found out until the moment we solved the problem in the next issue of The Daily Dose of Life.
Since they officially disqualified the team earlier than what was planned, right after that meeting! Because of this, when Elizabeth and Tanya had arrived at the office after learning the news from their email, they immediately crafted a post for the magazine’s social media. It also doubled as an advert for more readers to come out and check their next issue for this month.
The statement blew up right away among the sports society. And because of how they had just beaten their team, the article became top of the charts nationally as well. Soon, ” The Daily Dose of Life” already made a new name for themselves for having the latest and the juiciest stories in town. The public wondered how they could cover the whole thing after it had just been done, but learning that they had been the hand of justice, sales in their subscriptions rose almost instantly.
Tanya and Elizabeth smiled after seeing the fruits of their efforts. When the head staff had known about this, they could only grant them the ability to end office hours earlier than the others starting that day.
Elizabeth got out of the office when the sun was still up. In reality, it was already 4:00 P. M, but that was still early in her eyes. She wandered the streets, still thinking about where to go on this lovely afternoon. Thankfully, they had transferred the job of writing about the last practice match to another person whom she had just given all her coverage. She was then newly tasked with writing about what they had promised the new readers: how they figured out a team was doping, then actually being able to disqualify them.
After much useless thought, the only place she could think about hanging out was Brick. If she went to Megan’s, she would be busy about the season’s show, but Hayden always did his own thing. As if she were the flash, she rode the bus in a jiffy because, coincidentally, the right bus was already at the stop when she had arrived.
A few minutes later, she already stood across from the cafe she had always loved. She hadn’t visited in a while now after going through all the drama in her work. Elizabeth was thankful that now she had the time to relax and eat her favorite cake.
Again were those familiar chimes as she walked in. She smiled as the sound reached her ear. The smell of the entire place just relaxed her whole body. So much that now she actually allowed herself to slouch a little, she never really mastered the art of standing up straight.
At the counter was Hayden, weirdly spinning the straw like a pen between his two fingers as he stared. Elizabeth laughed as she approached the counter as she remarked,
“You look so dead.”
“El! Good to see you again, it’s been a while.”
“It has, a lot had been going on at work.” she smiled.
Hayden looked away. Soon, he was pressing random buttons on the software as he asked for her order.
“Oh, a slice of your blackberry cheesecake, per usual. And, hmm... how about hot mocha this time?”
He snapped out of his weird shy state and looked up to her, “Mocha, you sure?”
“I want a bit of chocolate today.”
Hayden resumed pressing the multiple buttons as he remarked, “Congratulations explorer... You finally decide something other than black coffee.”
“Hey, it’s good!”
Elizabeth paid for her small meal and then headed to find an empty place in the crowd. She could see Hayden, focused on preparing her order behind the counters.
Hayden could feel his hands shake as he carried the slice of cake to the small plate over at the side. He couldn’t focus and before he knew it, the cheesecake was already falling to the ground, splattering itself all over the tile. He got out of his state of mind and hurriedly picked up the cake with his two hands and disposing of it in the garbage. Mindlessly, he washed his hands before proceeding to mop the dirty space and starting over again.
Today was the day. Now was the time. The shaking never stopped. His breathing was rugged and unusually fast. He couldn’t keep his mind on the task at hand, but thankfully, it was finished.
The platter of cheesecake and mocha was already on the tray. He asked one of his employees to cover for him by the counter and they immediately accepted, knowing why.
These few days, he went in and out of work with a single thought in mind.
He remembered the times spent when they were young and missed how they were, young, careless, and free. He could feel the beating of his heart for every thought he dedicated to her. Even now, meeting her, already adults, busy with work and whatnot, somehow they’d find time for each other. And for Hayden, that was special.
Even now, as he brought the plates to her table, approaching her, he could see her beauty lighting up the dark in the corner where she sat. He had fallen in love all over again, and he didn’t know how to feel.
What Hayden knew was it was never like him to hide it for so long. He wanted her again starting from the day they met and now he had only grown to accept the longing in his heart.
And now was the time.
He remembered how El took it back then and he was scared. Scared that she would run, deny it all. Hell, even a “no” would suffice, rather than the hurting of being left behind.
He didn’t want to shed any tears for this stupid love, but he knew it wasn’t stupid. So throughout the time Elizabeth refrained from visiting his cafe. He considered it very well.
Now, when they would meet, she always looked so happy. Even at the time when they went to buy things together, she got herself up.
In Hayden’s heart, he believed that maybe, just maybe, she would say she felt the same.
Now, as he sat down in the chair across from her and placed the tray down in front of her, he looked at her, more seriously this time. She took a bite of the cake,
“Hayden! You gotta’ teach me how to make this... It just unbelievable!”
He smiled as he looked at her, “I can’t”
“Why not?” She pouted as she answered.
“You wouldn’t get it here if I would and I would get lonely.”
Elizabeth’s serious nature quickly disappeared as she laughed at him, “You should listen to yourself sometimes.”
“But your voice sounds so much better.”
“Ugh, that’s so cheesy.” Elizabeth then continued to take the mocha and had a taste. “Figured sweetness would do me well today.”
“So, what’s up with work? You haven’t been coming here.” He asked.
“Mmhmm! I have a lot to tell.” Elizabeth then talked to him about everything. She started from the time at the comfort room to the disqualification in great detail. It was like recalling a whole mystery novel in a much more dramatic sense.
“That doesn’t sound so believable.” He remarked.
“That’s the selling point! It doesn’t, but it happened. Thank god I don’t have to disguise myself like that. The news erased everything from the charts of the past and now, I’m just forgotten news.”
“It wasn’t true, was it?” He seriously asked, pertaining to Mark and her relationship.
” Pff- you too?! This is probably the second time you’ve asked.” She shook her head, “No...no, it isn’t.” She took another sip of her mocha.
Meanwhile, Hayden let out a deep sigh. Elizabeth looked at him in confusion and placed the cup down, “What was with that?” Pertaining to the sigh.
“I have a chance.” He muttered under his breath.
He let out another sigh, and this one was for his own assurance. Calming down his nerves, he looked at Elizabeth and leaned a bit more forward across the table. This is it, he thought.
She might find this a bit rushed, but I have decided.
The air was suddenly heavy.
“I know, this is probably hard for you to take in, but I need to say this.” Hayden closed his eyes as he breathed in and said, “You.. Ahh. From then until now, nothing had ever changed. When I laid eyes on you, there it was... again. I don’t know El, and I’m sorry...but I couldn’t help myself. Everything- it has always been you, you are my everything.”
Elizabeth looked at him, speechless and shocked. No words could seem to get out of her mouth and no action could suffice what she felt.
“What I’m trying to say- El... I like you.”