#Chapter 136: Practice Game
As I watched Nina walk away, I felt my heart break a little more.
Being around her felt like the most natural thing on earth; being apart from her made me feel as though I could hardly even breathe. But there was nothing I could do about it — I had to keep my distance from her if I was going to keep Nina, her family, and the town safe. As the son of the Fullmoon Alpha, I had to fulfill my duty and go through with the arranged marriage.
And yet, as I watched her form fade into the distance, all I wanted to do was leave my duties behind and run away with her. If only it were that simple.
The next morning, I woke up early to head to the hockey arena for our scrimmage with Ronan’s team. The arena was quiet when I entered, but my father was waiting for me with his arms folded across his chest. There was no doubt in my mind that he already got wind of the Claiming ceremony. and he probably wasn’t very happy about it.
“I see you’ve found a way to somehow turn all of your teammates,” he said with a low voice as I approached. “Care to enlighten me?”
I shrugged. I wasn’t about to tell him that Nina, of all people, had the power of Claiming. “I have my ways,” I said. ” You should be thanking me I just ensured that we’ll win this tournament.”
My father sighed, but to my surprise, he also nodded in agreement. “You may be right. The fathers of the young men who I hired certainly won’t be happy, but I’ll admit you made a good call.
I couldn’t help but feel relieved that my father wasn’t going to bite my head off for doing what I did.
“Go on,” he said, nodding his head toward the locker rooms as the rest of my team started coming in through the front door to the arena. “Show Ronan who’s boss today.”
I nodded, then headed to the locker room to get ready with my team.
When we re-emerged, the arena was bustling with excited students who had come to watch the scrimmage. I scanned the crowd with my eyes for Nina, eventually landing on her as she sat up in the bleachers with Lori and Jessica. She saw me looking, and her face went red before she quickly looked away
Then, I trained my gaze on Ronan and his team, who were standing on the other side of the arena. None of them were talking to each other or hyping each other up like my team was doing, instead, they were all standing, and staring.
Staring at me.
Ronan had a sick smirk drawn across his face.
The last time I had seen or heard of him was when he fabricated that horrible lie with Lisa to ruin Nina’s image and drive us apart. I wanted to throttle him for what he did to her, how he humiliated her… But I knew that I would get my revenge during the game.
A few minutes later, the announcer called the two teams out onto the ice. We got into our places; my team did as I ordered beforehand and kept their heads down, focusing solely on the puck rather than the other team’s weak attempt at intimidating us with their dirty stares.
This may have only been a practicematch, but it was still extremely
important. In just a few days, we would
be playing in the final match of the Half
-Moon Tournament, and this practice game was our chance to show what we were made of
The buzzer sounded throughout the arena.
The scrimmage began. I felt a rush of adrenaline coursing through my body. This was it – the moment we had all been working towards.
I took my position on the ice, my eyes fixed on Ronan as he skated towards me I knew he was the one to watch – the best player on the opposing team, and my biggest rival. We locked eyes for a moment, and then the real game began.
I focused all my energy on the puck, determined to outmaneuver Ronan and lead my team to victory. We played fast and hard, each side trying to gain the upper hand Ronan and I clashed multiple times, each of us pushing the other to the limit, but my team also worked hard to keep our score ahead Ronan’s team was good — really good but so was mine. Now that we were all
werewolves, it was an equal match.
As the game entered its final minutes, I was in the lead. I could feel victory within my grasp, and my heart raced with excitement. The sounds of the crowd cheering faded away Suddenly, all that mattered was the sound of my racing heart and the puck sliding across the ice
But Ronan had one last trick up his sleeve
He skated up beside me as I flicked the puck back and forth with my stick. I heard a low growl escape his throat, and I made the grave mistake of glancing up to see his sickening grinand his glowing yellow eyes
Then… I found myself suddenly off balance. I tried to regain my footing. but it was too late Ronan’s stick made contact with my leg, and I felt a searing pain shoot through my body
I gritted my teeth as I lost my balance completely and slid across the ice. A sudden burst of anger took over me at Ronan’s dirty trick, and without thinking, I stuck my own stick out in retaliation and knocked him over
The buzzer went off, signifying a time out, but we didn’t listen. Ronan and I were already on top of each other, grappling on the ice. He threw a heavy punch at my head, but I dodged it and hit him with a swift uppercut through the jaw. All I could think about, above the game, above the entire tournament, was how Ronan had hurt
I head-butted him. Blood spattered out of his mouth, but I only saw Nina’s face in my mind, sobbing. I should’ve been there for her when Edward first took her I could’ve stopped him. But Ronan saw to it that we were driven apart.
This fight wasn’t about the tournament.
It was about Nina.
I went to punch again… And again, and again, over and over until my fists were covered in Ronan’s blood. By this point, the crowd was silent.
Just then, I felt hands on me. Someone wrenched me away from Ronan, shouting something as I struggled against them to get back to the rival hockey captain and continue my assault
The referee blew his whistle once, twice, three times.
“Disqualified!” the referee shouted, putting himself between Ronan and I as he scowled at me. “Get off the ice, Rivers!”
I snarled as I clamored to my feet, wrenching myself away from the grip of my worried teammates. “Get off of me!”
“Hey, man, just go take ten,” Matt said, patting my shoulder Without a word, I jerked away from him and skated away, ignoring the silent crowd and the angry eyes of my father trained on me from the VIP box. None of that mattered to me, though; I scanned the crowd again for Nina, who only stared back at me from her seat on the bleachers with wide, disbelieving eyes.
Suddenly, Ronan’s mocking voice echoed clearly in my head, breaking my gaze from her
“You’re going to lose,” he said “And when you do, Nina is mine”
A growl rumbled in my throat in response. I looked over my shoulder at him to see his team helping him up, but even through all of the blood
He was grinning at me.