Chapter 8 - Expectations
The game resumed without Keith. One side of his forehead was slashed and bleeding. Everyone was frozen stiff as they took him to the infirmary. The game started back up with a substitute player, but the atmosphere seemed somewhat subdued. I stared hard in the direction toward which Keith and the staff members disappeared before leaving the crowd.
“Go that way.”
When I found Jennifer and asked her where Keith had gone, she pointed me in the direction of the infirmary right away.
“Um, I wanted to know if he was okay. After all, he was injured because of me…”
I added an unnecessary explanation, but she didn’t react much. I saw her gaze return to Grayson, who was concentrating on the game as if nothing had happened and felt somewhat relieved.
The infirmary was set up inside a quiet, secluded tent. With it being hidden like this so far away from everything else, it would be difficult for people to visit the injured player. Perhaps it was in consideration of the players who needed rest; this was especially the case if the injured player was an Extreme Alpha since there were bound to be some overenthusiastic fans.
To nobody’s surprise, I saw a few people looking around on my way to the tent. Somebody asked a staff member where Keith had been taken, and they answered, “To the hospital, of course.”
The fans turned back in disappointment. I would’ve received the same answer if I weren’t a staff member, even if Keith was hurt because of me. I headed toward the tent, feeling a sense of excitement at the fact that I was given such a privilege.
Even when I reached the tent, however, I couldn’t walk in right away. I needed to prepare many things—especially my heart.
I finally decided on what I was going to say and lifted my foot off the ground. I felt gravity acting on my every step as I very slowly approached the entrance of the tent. I sensed no sign of people from behind the shabby piece of fabric that was hanging in the entryway, but he was definitely in there. There was evidence that was more solid than anything else. It was none other than his scent.
His unbearably sweet pheromones lingered in the air.
I loudly swallowed my nonexistent saliva. The back of my throat throbbed and stung. However, I instinctively felt that I would never again get a chance to meet him if it weren’t now. As if something was pushing my back—rather, as if something was pulling me—I took a step toward him, and another. Little by little, his scent thickened, and my brain grew hazy by the moment.
When I carefully lifted the heavy fabric, an unexpectedly large space awaited me. I turned away from the cart filled with neat stacks of medical equipment to find the foldable bed near the back of the tent.
Keith was lying on the fairly large bed. His forehead was covered with a large piece of gauze. My heart sank at his pale complexion and closed eyes.
For a moment, I became concerned that something might have gone wrong. However, my reason suppressed my emotions. If his injury was serious, they wouldn’t have just left Keith alone in the tent. In fact, they wouldn’t have just tossed him into this makeshift tent at all. They would have taken him to the hospital.
This helped me relax a little. However, the bandages that were wrapped around his sculpted forehead still drew my attention.
‘What if it leaves a scar on his face?’
Just the thought of it brought me an extreme sense of guilt. My mind was tangled, and I scrunched up my brows. Just then, Keith opened his eyes. I was so surprised, my breath stopped.
The rays of the sun that seeped through the chunkier seams of the fabric lit up parts of the space within the tent. Specks of dust fluttered around the light as Keith stared at me from across the golden shadow.
I blankly stared back as he sat up slowly. None of the words that I had selected so carefully came to mind. I stood there, just like that. Anticlimactically, Keith was the one who opened his mouth first.
Having regained my composure a moment too late, I asked once again like an idiot. Keith laughed softly. My knees almost gave in, and I was this close to falling backward. When I managed to clutch my blurred conscience, Keith’s voice trickled in.
“You didn’t get hurt, right?”
I jolted. He recognized me. In that split second, he had remembered the face of the boy he saved. I felt my chest tighten and couldn’t muster up the power to speak. I barely managed to nod, and he smiled. It was a smile wholly for me. My heart began to burn.
I was supposed to thank him, but no sound came out of my mouth. Keith reached his hand out to me first as I hesitated with my mouth open. Still staring at his face, I lifted my foot. Every step I took amplified my heartbeat tenfold.
When our hands finally touched, my body shivered.