Off The Field

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Take 8 : The Black Box

The previous night had been fantastic for him and his team. They had done a great job. Even though, it was a one sided game, it was an evidence that his team had done a great bit in all the three departments.

The late night flight had been really tiresome for Rehaan. They had to take the late night flight as they had only one day to rest and prepare for the game which was on the following day to the day of arrival.

It was breakfast time. Rehaan was the earliest, followed by Mr. Peter. Late night flights used to tire the Coach as well. Rehaan and Mr. Peter shared casual greetings as they picked up some breakfast in their respective plates.

They were joined by some other players and the team staff. Soon, some of the players were sitting around Mr. Peter and Rehaan in a circle and some others opted to sit away. Some of them had not even come, skipping breakfast, as they were tired.

The players enjoyed their morning breakfast alongside laughs, giggles, silly jokes and Mr. Peter's favorite guessing game.

The Coach and the management staff always took special care of the off field environment. They wanted the players to relax once the game was done. Exhaustion and stress was never allowed to take over the mental game.

The breakfast was over and Rehaan was back in his room. That day was a rest day for the players. It was decided to have a practice session just before the game. This would help the players take a breather after the late night flight and also, a practice session just before the game would help them prepare according to the pitch.

As Rehaan was preparing to sleep, he received a call from his lady love. Unlike his family, Riya didn't visit him in Mumbai, they didn't want the media to write about them. Rehaan never wanted his personal life placed in front of the whole world. After all, it was his personal life. But, the media always somehow, found out about everything.

"Morning love, just got done with my work out and breakfast. I was hell tired after my night flight, so I wanted to sleep, but your phone call ruined it all. You never care for me, do you?", Rehaan said annoyingly, as he received the call.

Laughing at it, she replied, "Stop blaming me for all the hard time work gives you and tell me how's your wound now? By the way, I wanna talk something really important, something important about our relationship... It's been a long time now... We need to think about it seriously, you know what I mean... My parents are tired of all the unnecessary media trouble... It was only yesterday, a couple of companies approached me for endorsing some product with you... Even I am fed up now!"

"The wound is about to heal. The bandages will be taken off in a couple of days. Yes I know... about those endorsements. I'll have a talk with my PR team, they'll keep such ads away which require us both to work. You know, we have tried hard to keep our relationship a secret for the whole world, except for our family and close friends... I'll release some more official statements that we aren't dating. About taking the next step, I'll think about it when this tournament is done... I don't want any such distractions in between this important tournament. After this tournament, we'll have a talk with our families over dinner someday", Rehaan replied, giving a long explanation.

"Okay, I'll call you later. My boss will not spare me if I'm late!" She exclaimed, disconnecting the call.

Fortunately, all this had relaxed Rehaan over the incidents of the last few days. He was relived, that there were no more calls and threats. They had backed off, he assumed.

As Rehaan was leaning on his bed, he heard his doorbell ring. It were some waiters. Even though the technology has made it possible for people to connect with their favorite celebrities, many of them still take time preparing gift cards and letters for their favorite celebrities. The waiters had brought those to Rehaan. He was always pleased to see them. As he had nothing to do, and also the phone call and doorbell had ruined his plan to sleep, he decided to check them.

There were a couple of gifts wrapped in bright coloured gift wraps. The senders of them had send him a white cricket ball and a fan card wishing him all the luck for the tournament.

Then, there was a gift, wrapped in black coloured gift wrap. Rehaan was puzzled to see a black coloured gift box. At the centre of it was a square shaped white paper which had - DEAR REHAAN - written over it in red, the letters of which were bleeding. A cold blooded fear ran through Rehaan's body.

Rehaan calmed himself down and started unwrapping the box, slowly and carefully. There was a black coloured thick cardboard box under the wrapper. Rehaan's heart beats started beating faster than never before as he opened the box.

Rehaan found some photographs inside the box. Photographs of his retired school-teacher​ father visiting his old workplace, his mother on the outskirts of the city, his sister with some of her friends. Photographs of Rehaan and some other players at the nets, at lunch, dinner and the gym.

The photographs accompanied a small printed note, which read:

WE ARE WATCHING YOU...


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