[If this doesn’t immediately make sense, you may not have read the previous five parts! That, or you’d like a quick refresh (it has been a while since Part Five) or perhaps you’d like to read my other flash fiction series. In all these cases, click here]
“She plays with an effortless grace doubtless honed by ballet lessons in her formative years,” I read aloud.
Vix sniggered. “They’ll have got that from talking to Mum. She dragged me there every week for a year. I refused to wear pink so I was the only one in the class in blue.”
“That wasn’t a major influence on your playing style then?”
“Well, I still won’t wear pink…”
I laughed and scanned the rest of the article – it moved onto me and so I refrained from reading it. The pressure of our burgeoning reputations was getting to me. We’d trained with the England squad last week, and after an uncharacteristic miss I’d had a panic attack and gone to the physio’s room to calm down. My stats were near perfect and every error had a significant impact. I led Vix in half a dozen categories and trailed her in six others. My soon-to-be international teammate ‒ we were expected to make our international debuts next month, a fact I still couldn’t believe – Alan was having his hamstring tended to.
“Turned inside out by that girl of yours,” he’d said to me with a wry grin. “You’ll take my place in the next squad I expect.”
I had smiled and offered my condolences, but my heart had skipped a joyous beat with his words.
We were sat in my flat, relaxing the evening before the Championship game, and I was reading the preview online. The article barely mentioned the opposition; instead it was being billed as ‘the pinnacle of a golden year for a golden couple’ – a celebration of Vix and me. Everyone seemed to know we would win, but we had to go out and wow. We couldn’t have put any more work in than we had, yet I wasn’t confident at all.
‘There’s something you’ve forgotten,’ my brain kept whispering to me. ‘Something you’ve forgotten all this time.’
I lay awake that night, the voice whispering to me again and again as a wrinkled face I didn’t know swam through my head. I was just drifting off to sleep when Vix grabbed my arm.