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Top Scorer

by Catherine DiCairano

Fresh flowers graced every room. The caterer began to sauté in the kitchen, as the sound of sizzles erupted. Steam-filled fragrances of lemon and garlic beckoned her.

Tonight’s extravagance would max-out Kate’s single credit card. But she had to see Paul in another setting. She needed to meet his wife, gauge his relationship with her. Trying to make her dingy condo look elegant, she strung white lights in the ficus tree and around the balcony. Candles glowed in each room and soft music lent a peaceful calm to the shimmering ambiance.

The menu was planned: hors d’oeuvres and wine would start the evening; later, a chocolate fountain would be surrounded by fresh fruits. She checked her appearance in the mirror. Her insides felt like they were on a carnival ride and the attendant had forgotten to put on the safety harness.

Maybe she craved male attention, since her husband had announced he had a boyfriend. Her femininity questioned, her ego had been shattered like a glass bottle tossed from a speeding racecar.

It began on the soccer field, their sons were teammates. He’d show up in a different exotic car every week. At times he’d walk away from the field, cradling his cell phone. She searched his home address. His property was worth millions. And her investigation of his email extension brought her to an investment firm.

A game delay led to an invitation for a quick ride for coffee to thaw their frozen limbs. The only ignition turned on was her. Their sex — forbidden, rushed, and desperate. More satisfying than she had ever experienced. It became a drug, she was the junkie, and he was her dealer. Yet, they didn’t speak. Tonight, they would be forced to speak.

She invited the team parents to celebrate the victorious season. Autumn would fade into winter and the sideline faces wouldn’t be seen until the crocuses broke through the frosted ground. How would he act with his wife here? Was there any chance of a secret kiss, an exchange of phone numbers or would he memorize the route to her condo?

The doorbell rang, adults flowed inside. He was late. A knot tied her stomach, twisting and pulling tighter as she considered the possibility he might not show. Knowing it could be months before she saw him again.

“This is a brilliant party, Kate,” said Ruth, the mother of the goalie.

Ruth knew all the parents because she was the team manager. “Thank you, Ruth. The boys had a wonderful season. Are the Westons coming?”

“Yes, Paul and Trini should be here by now.” Ruth scanned the room. “Wait, there they are.” She pointed to an older couple. The wife was bleached blonde, and the man was balding with a huge paunch that covered his belt.

Kate shook her head. “No, the Westons. Noah’s parents. The center forward, our top goal scorer. The kid with the long brown hair.”

“Yes Kate, that’s them, right over there.”

“That’s not the man who brings Noah to the games every week.”

“Of course not. Paul is too busy. Noah has a male nanny. His name is Thomas. Did you notice how he drives all of Paul’s cars and tries to act like he’s got a lot of money?”

Kate grabbed the arm of the chair to steady herself.

Copyright © 2008 by Catherine DiCairano

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