#Chapter 91: Justin’s Return
“You guys did amazing tonight. Get your shit together and get to the bar. We’re celebrating.”
The team was silent for a few moments after I spoke. Enzo continued to stare down at me with an expression on his face that I couldn’t read, although I could tell that part of him wanted me to hit him before, as if violence would solve his issues with his father. I felt horrible just for even considering doing such a thing to him, tears started to well up in my eyes at the thought of intentionally hurting Enzo, making me turn on my heel and storm out of the silent locker room before anyone could see
It was dark now in the stadium when I re-emerged. Everyone had already left, and soon the custodians and the
Zamboni operator would come to clean up the stadium and resurface the rink Just then, someone stepped out of the shadows, making me practically jump out of my skin as my heart leaped up loto my throat. I stumbled backwards, clutching my chest and cursing under my breath as my fight or flight instincts momentarily kicked in before
I realized who it was
It was Richard, Enzo’s father
“What makes you think you’ve earned the right to undermine me, git?” he said, stepping toward the with his ans folded without so much as an apology for scaring me
I scoffed. It felt as though he was trying to intimidate me, and it wasn’t working Without answering, I went to walk around him but he put his a out to stop me
“I asked you a questions”I froze, feeling my heart rate quicken as a million things raced through my mind.
“You don’t need to speak to Enzo or the rest of the team like that,” I said, mustering up my courage to turn and face Richard. “They won that game by a landslide. Just because they didn’t perform up to your standards during the first round doesn’t mean that they deserve to be punished.”
Now, it was Richard who scoffed.” That’s rich coming from someone like you, who can’t even fathom the weight of this tournament.”
“What, so you and another CEO can fight over who gets to run some dinky little town in the middle of nowhere?” I asked. “It’s ridiculous. You two should. work it out like men instead of making your sons do the dirty work for you.
Suddenly, Richard’s face twisted into a snarl and he roughly pushed me up against the wall, pinning me by my wrists.
“You have no idea what any of this means,” he growled into my ear, making me shudder. “You’re lucky that I’m even entertaining your little relationship with my son for the time being”
Before I could respond, the locker room door swung open. Just as quickly as he accosted me, Richard stepped away, releasing his grip on my wrists, and teleported away without so much as another word.
“Are you alright?” Enzo asked, seeing the panicked look on my face.
I nodded, not wanting to upset Enzo, and stepped away from the wall.
“Yeah,” I replied, ignoring the burning sensation in my wrists from where Richard had grabbed me “I’m fine. But I think I’m going home early tonight… You guys can go to the bar without me.”
Enzo cocked his head and gave me a disappointed look. “Are you sure?” he asked. “You were gonna come just a few minutes ago.”
I nodded, talking a few steps backwards. “I just.. I have a lot of homework to do, that’s all,” I lied, not wanting to reveal that Enzo’s own father had just scared the hell out of me. “I forgot that I have a paper due this weekend.”
Saturday morning, I woke up to the sunlight streaming in through my bedroom window. When I sat up, yawning and rubbing my eyes, I noticed that the notification light on my phone was blinking. I picked up my phone and read the notification: it was a text from enzo.
“Drill sergeant made us practice this morning. Could use the team doctor in case anything goes wrong… And bagels, maybe? I’ll pay you back.”
I frowned as I read the text. Had his father still convinced him and the rest of the team to train this early, and on a Saturday morning, no less? Sighing, I climbed out of bed and started getting dressed with conviction. If they were going to be training this early on the day after a match, then I was going to have to be there as their team doctor, training while exhausted was nothing but the perfect storm for injuries.
I quickly got dressed and headed out, stopping at the dining hall to pick up enough coffees for everyone and bagels, then started to precariously make my way toward the hockey arena with the tray of coffees in one hand and the bag of bagels in the other, taking care not to spill anything.
“Need some help with that?” a
familiar voice said.
I looked up, astonished to see Justin
standing in front of me.
“Justin?” I said, nearly dropping the tray of coffee out of shock. “Where the hell have you been?”
Justin furrowed his brows and gave me a confused look. “What are you talking about?” he said. “I’ve only been on campus.”
I shook my head. “No, you’ve been missing for, like two, maybe three. weeks now. Everyone thought you dropped out.”
Justin only chuckled and walked toward me, gingerly taking the tray of coffees from my hand “Nice try,” he said “Where are you taking this?”
“To the hockey team,” I replied warily, half expecting him to drop it all over the ground out of anger for being kicked off the team. But, much to my surprise, he simply smiled and nodded.
“Cool,” he said. “I’ll walk with you. I wanted to talk to Enzo today.”
Before I could say anything else, Justin turned on his heel and started walking toward the hockey arena. I bit my lip, utterly confused by Justin’s sudden change in attitude and apparent dismissal of his weeks-long disappearance, but decided to follow him anyway. At the very least, he was now headed straight for Enzo, who would at least see what was happening first-hand and would maybe have some insight on the situation.
“By the way,” Justin said as we walked, his voice nonchalant as ever, I’ve been so busy, I never had the chance to thank you for helping me out that night in the woods. I feel like an idiot for taking those drugs. But I’m all better now, and it won’t happen again.”
“Um That’s good,” I replied, stunned by his words as I thought back to his rogue rampage in the forest that night. The image of the woman’s bloody leg flashed through my mind, and I shook my head to dispel it. “Is that what you’ve been up to?” I asked. ” Getting better?”
“Sort of,” he replied. “I realized after you guys left me in the woods that night that I had to get my shit together if I wanted to get back on the hockey team. So I decided to get some help Like, professional help. And now I feel better than ever! I’m certain now that Enzo will let me back on the team.”
I stopped in my tracks as Justin mentioned getting professional help Could it be?
“Justin, who did you get help from?” I asked.
Justin stopped a few feet in front of me, his back turned. He stood like that for several moments, as though he was thinking deeply, before he slowly turned back to face me with a plastic- looking smile on his face.
“Edward helped me.”
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