"The score is twenty-eight to twenty-six…"
A man in his early forties shouted over the roar of the crowd, his silver hair plastered to his forehead with perspiration.
"All we need is a single touchdown Raul, just one. We've got forty-five seconds," his eyes narrowed as he placed a hand on the younger man's green helmet, "make it happen."
Raul gave a gruff nod of the head and glanced around at the rest of his teammates before jogging out onto the grass field, confidence brewing.
"And the Whirlwinds are out on the field!" The announcer bellowed, evoking a monstrous roar from the fans. "Raul looks serious, the Desert Hawks better watch out now, they should know better than to take the star of the Whirlwinds head on."
Hearing that, Raul smirked awkwardly with his mouth-guard intact. Really, people treated him like some sort of God—and he liked it. It wasn't like he told them to worship the ground he walked on; they decided to do that on their own.
At the guttural snarl, the quarterback of the Whirlwinds glowered at the opponent in front of him—Trevor Keenan.
"You aren't leaving this field unless you're on a stretcher." Trevor's aqua eyes narrowed to slits, visibly gnashing his teeth against his mouth-guard.
"Tch." Raul replied with a scowl. He was used to threats—opposing teams were always jealous of his skills—but not one had ever been carried through with. People were all talk and no bite.
Both of the men lowered themselves down to the ground, staring each other down in a fight of non-verbal male dominance.
And the play was set into motion—men grunting, sweating, cursing, and downright trying to murder one another. Raul grabbed the ball and dashed to the right, leaping over two men collapsed on the field, breaking for the end zone. To his left was Keenan, shoving people out of his way just to chase the other player with the ball, deadly intent gleaming in his light eyes.
Trevor Keenan; on the field he was practically a psychopath, willing to do anything necessary to win, even needlessly injuring other players. However, off the field, he was reported to be much calmer and level headed—polite even. It seemed that once he put his rust colored helmet on, his personality gave a one hundred-eighty degree turn.
He has talent no doubt, Raul grunted as someone rammed into his right shoulder, throwing off his balance for a mere millisecond before he twisted around and threw them off, but he's still no match for me.
The end zone was close, around the twenty-yard mark, and the quarterback pushed himself further, as fast as he possibly could manage. Sweat trickled uncomfortably down his brow and nape, mixing with the small amounts of dirt that had been kicked up.
Looks like you loose Keenan… His foot crossed the line of the end zone and he instinctively thrust the ball up into the air to show his victory and bask in the pleased shouts of the football stadium.
He ripped off his stifling helmet, ready to walk off the field, until something hard smashed into the middle of his back—another football helmet with full force.
"I said you would be leaving on a stretcher." A hoarse voice whispered maliciously.
'Boo's' rang out deafeningly as the Whirlwind's quarterback sank to his knees and flopped onto the field too numb to speak.
"He's down!" The announcer shouted in disbelief. " Whirlwind's number twenty-three, Cedric Raul, is down!"
~One week later~
"Well," Ryan Sanderson ran a hand through his mangled hair, "the surgery was a success." He announced somberly, still frowning.
"But?" The injured player, Cedric, prompted impatiently.
"But, all the doctors agree that you'll need physical therapy."
Silence fell like a dead weight in the sterile room and, for a brief second, neither man dared to speak.
"Physical therapy?" Cedric hissed venomously. "I don't need physical therapy!"
"According to them you do."
"They don't know what the hell they're talking about." As if to prove his statement, the stubborn man swung his legs over the side of his white bed and pushed all six-foot-three of himself up. Only to sway and place a hand behind him to lean on for support. "Cedric Raul doesn't do physical therapy." He grumped.
"They've contacted one of the best for you, Rissa Kally." Ryan reasoned. He knew that Cedric could be childish when it came to things such as physical therapy considering he thought it was a weakness, but the offensive-coordinator had to draw the line eventually. "Look Cedric,"
The football player glowered at the ceiling,
"do you want to bring the team down?"
Cedric bristled, shoulders stiffening, teeth grinding—he never accepted weakness, much less himself as a weakness. Ever.
"Answer me. Do you?"
Cedric paused before emitting something close to a growl.
"Exactly. Right now I doubt you can walk very well, much less run the length of a football field or even toss a football a few yards." The playmaker sighed, rubbing his silver hair again before reaching inside his pocket. "This Kally girl is supposed to be something close to a miracle worker and easy to get along with." Ryan pulled out a small piece of crumpled paper and studied it carefully, stroking his chin.
"I'd rather not have an old lady feeling my muscles." The Raul scowled, sitting back down on the edge of his hospital bed.
"Old lady?" Ryan snorted with amusement. "She's only twenty-three, one year younger than yourself." He turned the paper over so the quarterback could stare at her picture. "And she's not that bad looking either, unusual hair though."
Cedric squinted at the photo and nearly scoffed. Isn't that the truth…white hair? I thought only ditzy teenage girls dumped entire bottles of bleach on their heads. Apparently not. A crease found it's way onto his forehead as his eyebrows pinched together.
"I called her before I came to talk to you and she said she could take you right away, so we just have to pack up and go."
"Wait," Cedric snapped, blue eyes smoldering, "you mean to say that you scheduled me for physical therapy before telling me?"
"Yeah, I would've forced you to go even if you had said no, so I'm glad we came to an agreement."
The nerve of some people…
If Ryan hadn't been somewhat of a father figure to Cedric, the man would have been lying on the ground, bleeding from various injuries. Cedric Raul never took orders from anyone, not even his own father. Ryan was a very lucky man.
~2 hours later~
Opening the door to the small sports car, Cedric Raul stepped out onto the gravel roadway and stared at he building in front of him. "This is the place?" He questioned with a raised eyebrow.
The building was tiny. Extremely tiny. Like the size of a small house tiny.
"Yup." His offensive-coordinator said simply, resting his arms on the steering wheel of the car. "She owns a private business, doesn't hire anyone—it's just her running the whole thing." The silver haired man sighed and revved the engine—a signal for the football player to shut the door and get going. Cedric cast a glower over his shoulder before complying with the non-verbal request and trudging slowly up the walkway.
Each step was filled with a sharp pain that shot straight through his spine like electricity. It was nearly impossible not to limp; limping was out of the question for him. Cedric Raul just didn't limp. Under any circumstances. Ever.
Finally reaching the painted white door, he rang the bell, grimacing.
Ryan honked and pulled out, smirking. This is good for him, he'll learn a lot.
"Coming! Just a second!" A small voice shouted from behind the obstacle. The door swung open with much enthusiasm to reveal a tiny, five-foot-two woman with a huge smile that lit up her jade eyes and made them sparkle. Her short white-blonde hair contrasted with the green of her eyes so fiercely it was unbelievable. "Cedric Raul right?" She asked pleasantly and, without waiting for his answer, waved him in, "Come inside."
He didn't reply but walked in anyway and surveyed the place. The front door lead to the main room, open and spacious with nice cherry oak floorboards, to the right was a door—most likely leading to a storage closet of some sort—as well as another on the left. What lay behind the left door was beyond him, and in all honesty, he didn't particularly care either.
The front door shut behind him and the young woman sighed, moving to stand in front of him. "My name is—"
"Rissa Kally." Cedric cut in without much thought.
Rissa blinked, startled, before saying, "R-right. Okay." And then she just stared at him with wide eyes, almost expectantly—definitely awkwardly. She looked over his handsome face, strong jaw, straight nose, incredible bright blue eyes and hair as black as night that curled ever so slightly. Wow…he's…just wow. Wow was right, Cedric was a gorgeous man—the only problem was that he knew and flaunted it.
The silence hung uncomfortably heavy in the atmosphere as she gawked up at him, blinking with her full lashes. He towered a over an entire foot over her, craning his head at such an angle that bordered on painful until, finally, he snapped, "What?"
"Aren't you going to introduce yourself?" She asked innocently, recovering from her obvious ogling and blinking again.
"Introduce myself?" Cedric echoed in disbelief. "You already know my name."
Her blonde eyebrows scrunched up. "That's not the point. First impressions are everything."
This time it was his turn to blink. For the first time, someone had rendered him speechless—even Willem, his idiotic, annoying teammate, could never manage it. "Cedric Raul." He glared down at her. Annoying woman.
Another wide grin spread across her face. "Pleased to meet you!" Rissa stuck her hand out and, very hesitantly, Cedric gripped her miniscule hand in his own, giving it a light shake.
"Right?" She copied curiously. "What's that supposed to mean?"
At his intensified glare, she dropped the subject.
"Well," Rissa twirled around on her heels, practically danced over to the middle of the floor and sat down. She patted a spot in front of her with a smile.
Did she want him to sit on the floor?
Suddenly, she laughed, causing his stony glare to falter into that of a more startled look. "…Okay…" Cedric muttered, painfully stalking over to the middle of the room and gingerly sitting himself on the floor.
"With that look of yours, you'd think I'd asked you to plunge a public toilet or something." She giggled again. Cedric, however, didn't find it very funny—rather, he found her giggly personality quite annoying. She cleared her throat, still beaming like she'd won the lottery—which, to any woman, being in Cedric Raul's presence would be equal to. "For now lets just get to know each other."
The quarterback frowned disapprovingly.
"Lets see…hm…I'm twenty-three, I like green tea ice cream and candy, I don't really like spicy foods or lobster—actually I really hate lobster," Rissa made a gagging noise, "my favorite color is red, and—oh! My hair is naturally a bleach blonde color. I bet you thought it was artificial, right?" One again, she didn't pause to wait for a reply, but carried on with her rambling. "I like both cats and dogs—except for the tiny dogs smaller than a kitten, those aren't dogs, they're rats—I also like to read and write. And…." She trailed off thoughtfully, "aside from this job, I'm also a kindergarten teacher!"
Cedric's patience was running dry and he restrained an eyebrow from twitching. How could one person talk so much? Rissa Kally was officially an oxygen hog.
Cedric almost started, looking up with a fierce glower that made most people turn to jelly. His turn? Fine. "Twenty-four, I don't particularly like anything, but I hate a lot of things. I play football."
"Really?" Rissa gasped, leaning forward on her hands. "You play football? Are you on a University team?"
For the second time in his life, on the same day, he was stunned into silence. He couldn't tell if she was joking or being serious—he hoped, for both their sakes, it was the latter. Who didn't know the name Cedric Raul? Who didn't know the infamous quarterback star of the Whirlwinds? Does this woman live under a rock? A rock without cable TV? He asked himself dryly. "Do you really not know who I am?"
She cocked her head to the side, her bangs falling across her face slightly, "Should I know who you are?"
Cedric drew in a breath before releasing it ever so slowly—he was exercising his patience, something he hardly ever did. But when he did…it was usually right before he hit someone—namely Willem. "Doesn't matter if you do or don't." He finally grunted, shifting his position as his back grew knotted with piercing pain.
"Oh, okay then." Rissa shifted as well. "So, for starters today lets try some yoga!"
Again, he almost started. Had he heard correctly?
"Yup, hatha yoga—it's like a combination of all the different types of yoga, basically a mutt of yoga."
"I'm not doing yoga." He stated, tone hardened. Cedric Raul drew the line at yoga.
"It's nothing complicated, just some breathing exercises to help relieve the pent up stress in your shoulders that could halt the progress of your recovery. It's very refreshing."
"No." He glared at her calm, blank face.
She inhaled with closed eyes and murmured, "Try closing your eyes and just concentrate on your breathing, feel it."
Did she…Cedric's jaw went slightly slack, …did she just ignore me? Staring at her motionless figure, he almost imploded before taking a deep breath to calm himself and gather his patience once again.
"Good!" Rissa exclaimed immediately, mistaking it for complying with her instructions, and smiled brightly. "Now just let it out slowly. Are your eyes closed?"
"Tch." He replied tersely. He'd be dammed before she knew that he had followed her directions—begrudgingly, he tacked on as an after thought. Body rigid, Cedric closed his eyes and exhaled; after inhaling and exhaling a few more times, and fully concentrating on it, the world felt surreal. It felt like he was in a dream-like state, he felt calm. Calm was an emotion that Cedric Raul very rarely, if ever, felt. His normal emotional state was anger or indifference, but never calm.
"Okay…" He heard Rissa murmur, seeming to feel as soothed as he himself did. "Now we're going to do breathing in counts of eight. I'll count to eight as you inhale, count to eight again as you hold your breath, and then count to eight once more as you exhale. Just follow my lead." She explained quickly.
Cedric didn't answer—he kept breathing.
He obeyed and took a small, slow breath,
"two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Hold, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight."
And the process repeated itself over and over again as the two sat there breathing in counts of eight. Eventually, Cedric even lost track of how many they had done and shockingly…it didn't bother him. He felt strangely content enough to sit there all day and breathe away, but Rissa had to ruin it.
"Okay, now for something different. I want you to touch your pointer finger and thumb together and rest them on your knees." She paused for a moment as he complied and then placed her hands in the same formation. "This is called a mantra, and there are many of them, but this is the mantra of wisdom."
Wisdom…Cedric repeated to himself incredulously with a diminutive amount of humor. I suppose this is her way of telling me to be wiser.
"This time as you breathe in, bring your shoulders up like you're hunching. Then, as you breathe out, roll them back—it's an excellent was to remove stress and tension headaches as well as stiffness in the shoulders." Rissa's voice had what seemed to be a smile in it—if that were even possible. "Breathe in…"
Minutes blurred into hours as they rolled their shoulders soothingly—again, and again, and again. The feeling was almost addictive, but in a good way of course.
"And stop." Rissa whispered quietly.
Cedric's slack face contorted with irritation as, once again, she had been the one to ruin his tranquility. Such an annoying woman… But the thought—as much as he would have liked to deny it—was half-hearted. He was in a…pleasant mood, not quite good but not bad either.
"Don't you feel so much better?" The small woman in front of him chirped .
"Tch." He grunted, moving to stand. Rissa watched him as he rose to his feet and grinned up at him. He couldn't tell what had made he so happy, and that smile of hers irritated him to no end—an itch he couldn't scratch. "What?" His voice was a snap.
"Your back doesn't hurt anymore, does it?"
He paused for a moment, utterly shocked. She was right, his back didn't hurt at all.
"Of course the effect isn't permanent, we need to continue physical therapy for a long term solution. So starting now, come see me every four days, preferably in the afternoon after four or five." Rissa jumped up with enthusiasm, almost like she had pure caffeine and electricity racing through her veins. "Anyway," she glanced at the clock on the wall and emitted a squeak, "oh! I'm so sorry to cut this short, but I need to go home; I can't believe it's already past five!" She mumbled something afterwards that sounded like 'I need to make dinner'. Cedric watched as she ran around the room collecting her belongings along with her keys. "If you have any questions," she muttered while attempting to put her purse on her shoulder, "call me at this number or come to this address."
Thus, their complicated relationship was brought into being.
I hoped you enjoyed the first chapter of It's Complicated! Please review, I feel more obligated to write when I have lot's of reviews :) Let me know if you liked it, if you didn't, some parts I could improve, anything really