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Falling For The Player
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I sit, waiting, trying to be patient.
I’ve been lucky so far, an elite football player at the top level of my sport playing at my age. This is my future or so I thought. Until her. My life has been football since the beginning. I never thought I would find the one. Marriage and babies were not in my future until her. I’m a man of few words but only one comes to mind when I think of her ‘mine’ and she will be. I’m going to do what it takes to have her because when you find hands this magical, in combination with a body like that, there’s no way you just let it slip away without a fight. She will be mine.
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I sit in the waiting room, trying to be patient. Someone like me isn’t used to waiting around. I normally get what I want delivered right to me, whenever I want it. Sad thing is, I guess now that I’m approaching the end of my career, the sharks in the water can smell it.
I’m being melodramatic, probably. I’m only sitting around in the waiting room because, even though I’m an elite football player at the top level of my sport, this firm is also the top of their game. The best physical therapy clinic in the state. I thought I glimpsed a famous tennis player coming out of the building as I was parking my car. When you’re one face among a whole list of VIP clientele, that special treatment does tend to fade away a little.
“Eric Fairlight?” a female voice calls out my name. I look up from the medical journal I’ve been flipping through, looking at the pictures of hideous injuries and checking for any articles about recovering from sports injuries, and see her waiting for me in the doorway.
She looks, just for a moment, like an angel. She’s wearing the white uniform of the clinic, a tunic with silver buttons down one side over capri trousers, and the light from the room behind her plays with her blonde hair and shines around her like a halo. I’m distracted, staring at her as she comes more into focus and I realize she isn’t an angel at all. Just doing her best imitation of one.
I look her up and down as I stand, limping slightly at the pressure on my busted right knee. She’s just exactly my type: all curves and swerves from head to toe, like an ancient carving of a fertility goddess, enough meat on her bones to grab onto. I normally try not to look at the women that tend to throng around me, concentrating on the game is the most important thing. Maybe it’s my injury putting a chink in my armor, but I don’t want to take my eyes off her.
“I don’t know you,” I say, moving over to her carefully and slowly. I don’t want to make my knee worse before my session.
“I just joined the team here,” she says, giving me a nervous smile. “Dr. Wallace will see you now.”
I head into the room past her, deliberately letting my hand graze her shoulder, resting there for a moment as if I need support getting in through the doorway. Dr. Wallace, my usual therapist, is standing just beyond the therapy bed, his hands clasped loosely in front of him.
“What’s your name?” I ask, my attention moving back immediately towards my angel. I’ll need something to call her, after all. Angel won’t get me very far if I want to look her up on social media.
“Jenny,” she says, automatically, and when Dr. Wallace clears his throat, she corrects herself. “Miss Heath.”
“Not a doctor?” I ask, leaning against the doorframe. I pretend I’m winded from the walk over, giving me a little more time to talk with her.
“I’m undergoing the last part of my training here,” she says. “Dr. Wallace has allowed me to shadow him for the next few weeks.”
“Huh.” I look up at Dr. Wallace. “So, doc, how good is she?”
“Miss Heath graduated the best in her year,” Dr. Wallace says, smiling politely. “When she finishes her training, she’ll be joining us as a full member of staff.”
“She can take me for this session then,” I say, shuffling over to the bed and laying down in preparation.
Dr. Wallace is gaping above me. “But I am far more experienced. Mr. Fairlight, this is a recurring injury for you. You need the best care.”
I know that what he says is true. Frankly, I wish he wouldn’t keep reminding me of it. I know this is it for me. If I don’t get better in time for the next game, a couple of months away now, then I’ll be off the team. My career will be over for good, and there are plenty of hungry young athletes waiting to take my place from me. There won’t be another chance.
But, still. “You said she was the best in her class,” I say. “That means she’s freshly studied up and she knows all of the latest techniques. Right?”
“Well – yes – but…” Dr. Wallace stammers.
“Like you said, Dr. Wallace, this is a recurring injury.” I flick a disinterested gaze towards her. “That means last time you helped me, it came back anyway. Maybe a new therapist can help me work through this in a different way.”
Dr. Wallace’s mouth opens and closes like a fish before he finally heads towards the door. “Call me if you need any help at all, Jenny,” he says, his voice clipped and harsh – before he leaves, closing the door behind him, and leaving me alone with my angel.