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© Jojo B 2018

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Snakes and Splinters

32

Antonia didn't show up at football to watch the boys like she usually did. I was somehow hoping to see her again, but it didn't happen. Her cousins Kristos and Alekos, however, were there and were in the middle of a game against Walter and Ario's team.

Walter was doing very well defending the goal, not as the goalkeeper himself, but supporting him. Walter wouldn't even let anyone get close to his team's goal, however his team wasn't able to score any goals either. I could tell that Ario was getting worked up over the fact that he couldn't score against Krisos and Alekos' team, and I just hoped he would keep his cool.

I was so concerned about Ario staying calm, that I didn't notice that Walter was just as frustrated and crossed the line, quite literally. He passed out of the defending third of the pitch and was racing towards the opposite goal. In football it was allowed, but rare for a defender to be attempting to score a goal. Walter was doing extremely well as he dodged tackles and dribbled past rival team members. Even Ario looked impressed as he stood on the side line, ready to receive, if Walter were to pass to him.

Walter got all the way to the other side of the pitch, before blond haired Alekos came at him fast, with a very harsh tackle. I bit on my bottom lip as I watched with a strained expression, seeing Walter take the hit and fall badly. The ref blew his whistle and jogged towards Walter who was lying on the grass, his eyes clenched shut as he gripped his shin. I knew he was genuinely hurt, because Walter didn't like to show weakness, and certainly not in front of Ario or the Zikas.

Before the referee could tend to Walter, his attention was drawn to Alekos again, this time as Ario shoved him in the chest angrily. I wasn't sure if Ario was angry because Alekos had ruined the chance of a goal, or if he had unnecessarily hurt Walter. Seeing Ario jabbing a finger in Walter's direction, I widened my eyes as I witnessed Ario Santiago, actually defending Walter Simpson.

Alekos' brother, Kristos, was quick to the scene as he came to defend his brother and the referee had to push them apart to avoid a fight. Other teammates helped hold Ario and the Zikas back, whilst the referee checked on Walter, who was sitting up. Walter soon got himself up to his feet, ignoring the helping hand, and started making his way off the pitch to avoid a fight, I assumed. I noticed him limping a little, and the scowl on his face showed how much he was fuming. When he reached me, I looped my arms around his neck and leaned up to kiss him, not hesitating as I tried to distract him from his anger.

Walter's body was still firm and tense, but the longer I stood there kissing him softly, the more he relaxed, and his hands moved to the small of my back. Soon Walter started to move his lips against mine and I tasted the salty sweat that was beaded along his upper lip.

"Are you alright?" I asked him after we had broken the kiss for air.

Walter nodded, brushing it off, "Yeah, I'm fine. It's no big deal."

Back on the pitch, the referee had called the match to a close, and he'd had a talk with the players, before dismissing them. Ario was making his way over with a peeved off expression on his face, and Alekos and Kristos looked equally as annoyed.

"Did you see Ario defend you?" I looked up at Walter with wide eyes and a smile.

Walter rolled his eyes and shrugged a shoulder, "I wouldn't call it that. He just wanted to get the chance to score."

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