Chapter 3 - Polo Game
I first met Keith at university. To be exact, that was when I first came to know of his existence.
He was famous from the very beginning. The first name that I heard as soon as I entered university was “Keith Knight Pittman,” and so was the name that I continued to hear once or more every day.
Back then, I was a beta. Most people manifested during their teenage years, and transitioning past that period was rare. Nobody had imagined that I would become an omega.
That day, my final exam of the semester was just ahead of me and I was exhausted and on edge. No matter how hard I tried, my grades were not where I wanted them to be. I could barely understand the contents of my textbooks, and my restlessness was at a peak.
Since I had gotten into a good school, my parents wanted me to focus on graduating without worrying about the tuition. However, I still felt immense pressure. Living costs were simply too expensive, and I had no time to work part-time.
I couldn’t even hope for good marks, and passing every semester was basically my only wish. On top of that, my youngest sibling was dedicated to piano, which contributed greatly to our household’s expenses. I could never mention that I was running low on money. I had heard rumors about a group of international students exchanging past papers and sharing notes, but I couldn’t even imagine being a part of it as I was shy to the point where I would avoid talking to strangers as much as possible. I had my hands full just following along in classes every day.
Since every day was a repetition of holing up in the small room and reading my textbooks, I lost my sense of reality pretty quickly. Once, I went to a convenience store to buy a bottle of water and blanked out after giving the cashier my student card, resulting in some irritated remarks from them.
“Oh, Yeonwoo. You’re already here?”
Liwei, my housemate, greeted me when I got home early after giving up trying to shove all the class material into my head. I only saw him once in a blue moon because he was always out and about, and this seemed to be the rare occasion where he decided to return home. We weren’t very close despite his friendly greeting, so I replied rather awkwardly.
“Well, yeah… going out again?” I asked, eyeing his airy shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes.
Liwei smiled and answered, “There’s a game going on today. Aren’t you gonna go?”
“A game? What game?”
I glanced at his outfit once more, wondering if it was a tennis match. He chuckled, this time with a hint of surprise. He soon spilled the reason for his amusement.
“The polo game. Didn’t you know?”
“Oh… really? There’s a polo game?”
I asked stiffly. I had only heard of polo in passing; I had never watched nor had any interest in watching it. I knew that the university offered various sports programs, but never took interest because I didn’t have the time to follow along with each game. I didn’t even know how many people were in a game, let alone the rules. There was no reason why I would be interested in it.
Liwei tilted his head at my dry response. “Why don’t you let your brain rest for a bit and come watch?”
I was slightly tempted after being so depressed about my studies. I wanted to be distracted. I was hoping that I would be able to take my mind off things while watching something else.
“Liwei, I’m ready. Let’s go!”
While I was silently contemplating on the offer, Liwei’s girlfriend walked up from behind. I reflexively stood aside to let her pass.
Liwei asked me, “If you want to go, let’s go together. I’ll give you a ride.”
I hesitated. The remaining work I had to do today was pulling on my leg, but my urge to run away was also strong.
As I stalled, Liwei added, “What’s more is that Keith Pittman will be running today. It’s your chance to see an Extreme Alpha in real life. Are you gonna just let that chance go? Pittman’s in his final year, so if you don’t see him now, you’ll never see him.”
I only realized that I had accepted his offer after I had agreed.
* * *
The field where the polo game was to be held was already bustling with people. Liwei managed to park his car far away from the site, whistling sharply when he saw the crowd.
“This is beyond my expectations. I wonder if we’d even be able to watch the game properly.”
His girlfriend seemed to think about something for a little while before interjecting.
“Wait, I heard that Jennifer’s part of the staff team. If I ask her, she might get us some seats.” She held Liwei by his arm and turned toward me. ”What about you? Wanna come?”
“Me? Can I?” I asked, surprised by the sudden opportunity.
She smiled and nodded. “Of course you can. Let’s go together. But I’m not sure if she can actually get us seats or not.”
”Oh, yeah. That’s to be expected.”
I agreed and rushed after them. When we tore through the crowd and finally found the staff team, Jennifer showed herself.
”Sure, if you’re okay with helping us out.”
She willingly took us up on it and told us what we had to do. It really wasn’t much. My job was to prepare water for the players and fetch some supplies when needed. Most players had their own personal assistants to help them throughout the game, so I didn’t need to take care of anyone in particular. My main task was to ensure that the supplies were good to go in advance so that the assistants could distribute them without any delay. I bumbled about, helping out the busy staff before the game began.
“All this work just for some seats,” Liwei complained as he worked, but all he got in return was his girlfriend’s gentle glare.
“Everyone in position! It’s almost time.”
As Jennifer announced, we wrapped up what we were doing and headed to our seats. I watched the umpires stand in position. People moved about as the commotion continued. Liwei and his girlfriend were pointing at various parts of the field as they chatted amongst themselves, and everyone else around us was also enjoying themselves by drinking and chatting with their mates.
I was the only one who had come alone. I had never been a social butterfly. Even though Liwei was my housemate, we were only on greeting terms and nothing more. Coming here with him didn’t suddenly just make me feel more chummy. As expected, Liwei and his girlfriend became engrossed in their own world, and I blankly sat there as I wondered how I should break the ice.
‘Maybe this was a mistake. I should’ve just continued to sit in front of the desk even if I couldn’t concentrate.’
Regret washed over me, but I couldn’t turn back time. In any case, I needed Liwei’s help to go back home, as much as I did to come here. The more I thought about it, the more it felt like a waste of time. All this just for some stupid Extreme Alpha.
“Grayson’s playing too, right?” Someone asked from behind.
Someone else replied, “I could never have imagined that I’d be able to see Keith and Grayson together. They’re both graduating soon, right?”
“I know, right? Where else would you find this kind of luck? I’m actually so out of it right now.”
“On top of that, Grayson’s a Miller. Hell, I never thought that the day would come where I get to see an Extreme Alpha of the Millers! I’m so glad I came to this school. I didn’t even get a blink of sleep last night.”
Their high, excited voice soon wilted as they continued their exchange.
“Even though we’re in the same school, I’ve never seen either of them before.”
“Same here. Do they even come to school? Or are Extreme Alphas all exempt from stuff like that?”
“Who knows? I just want to hurry up and see them. What do you think they look like? Apparently, all Extreme Alphas are crazy handsome.”
“Alphas and omegas are all pretty and handsome. Extreme Alphas must be even better.”
The voices began to die away. It seemed like they were moving. I once again became buried under the noise. Among the excited atmosphere that wouldn’t fade away, my gaze also darted around with no destination.
I caught a whiff of a sweet scent that I had never smelled before. I instinctively looked up and around to find the source of the scent. I wasn’t the only one. Those who shared the same purpose were also frantically looking around.
I felt everything around me settle down. At the moment of realization, I found him.
It wasn’t a difficult feat. He was perched on top of a very noticeable black horse. It was as if he were looking down on the world.
I would never be able to forget that day.
My time, my breath, my world.
At that moment, my universe came to a halt.
Clop, clop, clop, clop.
The black horse slowly and serenely approached us. As his face became closer, the scent thickened.
His dark hair that was peeking out from under the helmet gently fluttered in the air. We didn’t even need to look at his purple eyes to confirm his presence. Even if he were a beta, he would easily be able to captivate anyone.
He was wearing white pants for the polo game, lightly holding the reins and a whip in one hand and a polo stick in the other. Every time the horse took a relaxed step, Keith swayed elegantly. His immaculate face was directed straight ahead.
I heard someone sigh. I could very much relate. I had almost let out a sigh of my own. The only reason why I was able to stop myself from letting out a sound of admiration and amazement was that I was subconsciously holding my breath with my mouth wide open.
When I came to this realization, I still couldn’t avert my gaze or breathe. All I could do was stare. I wasn’t the only one. He had instantly captured everybody’s gaze.