Chapter 9: Feelings on the Field

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Mondays are already bad but this particular one, for me, was worse.

My stomach twists into knots when I spot an all-too-familiar head of brown curls, standing in a jersey amongst the soccer players and milling around before practice. Matt had mentioned to me during the car ride that it was "Rookie Day," a long afternoon of putting new players through a series of stamina and endurance tests - but I hadn't counted on Ben being here.

After all, I was at the Dewchesters to avoid and deny his very existence.

And so, ignoring Matt's confused stares, I once again head to an inconspicuous spot in the bleachers far above the field and take out a book to promptly bury my nose in. The noises of the crowd drown out in the wake of a flurry of thoughts and the pounding thud of my heart. 

Admittedly, first, I wonder how I look, tugging at my loose locks and straightening my shirt self-consciously. It's a humid day and I already feel a small sheen of perspiration coating my skin. And then I inwardly groan and mentally chide myself for caring, trying to remind myself of yesterday's hike with Matt.

Moving on, Hailey. To better things. (Like Matt?)

I shake off the thought as my bag begins to buzz with an incoming call. Hitting the 'accept' button, I press my phone close to my ear as my eyes continue to follow the events unfolding on the field.

"Hey Hailey," my mum's cheerful voice rings out. "Is now an okay time?"

"Yup, all's well."

"So," she starts. "I was wondering if you want to come back to Toronto to visit for a few days? Tess said that Jeremy could drive you and Matt down."

"Ah." I clamp my mouth shut and pause before replying. "So the both of us?"

"Yeah, it'll be fun." I can imagine her nodding enthusiastically. "I'm sure Arthur will be thrilled to see his big brother - and you can take Matt downtown and show him around."

"Sure, that sounds good."

"You okay, honey?" My mum asks with a concerned tone and pauses, waiting for me to continue.

"Well I'm at Matt's soccer match and guess who's on the field."

Pause.

"Ben," I sigh. 

"Oh dear. And have you already spoken to Emma?"

"Yup, it's probably better not to repeat the whole mess again. You don't want to know."

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