Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
Moment of Victory.
There, in the middle of the exit, where we'll walk right by it on our way out to the field, is the trophy, the prize, the most coveted award for a footballer — the World Cup. The round base holds two athletes stretching up, the world on their hands, in their moment of victory. Only the greatest have held that golden statue, and today, the US finally has a chance.
This is an Edward and Bella story. All EPOV
A/N: Well, hello! I never thought I would be doing this again! Or at least not so soon.
I wanted to write an O/S inspired by a gif… but then, instigated by my two lovely muses, Jaxy and Packy, it grew out of control… so, we've made it into a multi chapter and here we are… This wouldn't have been possible without them, or without Mel who kicks my ass one comma splice at a time ;)
As you might have been able to guess from the summary, there's a lot about soccer in this story. I will probably need to clarify a few things along the way. Let's just begin with this: Footballers usually play for two teams, a club for the regular (yearly) season, and a national squad for international competitions such as the World Cup (which is held every 4 years). Edward here is American, and hence part of the US National Team, but during the regular season he plays in England for the club Manchester United.
Some of what goes on in the story has been inspired by real life soccer anecdotes which I have modified, exaggerated, or toned down for the purpose of the story.
I also have to thank Kristen, who is my height-difference expert, and Niki, who pervs on soccer players with me like a boss and who suggested the brilliant title!
So, without further ado, I present you WorldCupWard. ;)
Chapter 1. After Match Report.
Water is still dripping from my hair as I wrap a towel around my waist and slip on my Adidas slides. My heart is still hammering in my chest, and I can feel new beads of sweat forming on my forehead. It's always like this after a strenuous game.
I rub a towel over my hair as I head to my locker through the chaos of the dressing room. My teammates are all over the place — everyone is euphoric about today's result. I'm patted on my back, smacked on my ass, and rubbed on my shoulders several times before I make it to my locker.
I've gotta give it to the Brazilians; the infrastructure and the facilities of each of the stadiums we've played in have been outstanding. Anyone who doubted they'd be able to host the FIFA World Cup 2014 with such style was seriously in for a surprise. I even get my own flat screen TV in front on my locker set to the sports channel of my choice. What more could I ask for?
My only hope is that I get to see the goals I scored tonight before we have to leave.
I dry my body wearily, the adrenaline from our intense game seeping through, and I'm starting to feel the soreness in my thighs and calves. Boxer briefs and jeans on, I sit on the bench, resting my head back on the wall over folded hands.
As the news show cast is introduced, I can't help but snort.
Sports experts, my ass… Sam Uley knows about as much soccer as I do about needlepoint.
Paul Lahote sits next to Sam, behind the desk, in his inexpensive suit. I've always wondered what they wear under there. It's not like they're ever seen standing. They could be wearing jeans… or nothing at all! I'm chuckling by the time the show finally starts.
"Welcome back, folks! We are still trying to catch our breath here. What a game that was! We've got all the replays and analysis in today's After Match Report."
Paul's voice annoys me, like he's trying too hard to have a deep "anchorman" tone. At least he knows a bit more about soccer than Sam. Paul and I go way back; we both played varsity soccer in high school before I was recruited and moved to Old Trafford. His voice sounded like a girl's back then. Unfortunately, after constant injuries and two knee surgeries, he couldn't play anymore, so now he's considered a "sports expert," but I use that term loosely.
"What a game indeed, Paul! After a flawless stride through the group stage, which put them at the top of their group, the US played against Portugal today."
"Oh, Sam, they played them, all right. It was truly remarkable! Portugal, an all-time favorite, ends up being kicked out of the competition by the US, and with a 4-1 victory! The USA has always been underappreciated when it comes to soccer, but it seems our men's national squad wants to put that conception to rest this year."
"And they might even be able to. I gotta tell you, Paul, the US is gaining buzz as one of the favorite teams to take this. They started as the underdogs, but with the lead of Coach Waylon, plus the magic feet of Edward Cullen, I think this is going to end up being a great World Cup for them."
My chest swells at the mention of my name, and I may or may not be smiling.
"Do you think they have a chance at winning?"
"I most certainly do. If this game was any indication, I say their chances are unparalleled. That is, of course, if Edward Cullen can keep his temper in check."
Oh, for fuck's sake!
I move away from the wall and rest my elbows on my knees, rubbing a hand on my neck as I try to relax despite the waves of anger crashing over me. Coach says my temper will be the death of me, and he might as well be right. I only lasted five minutes at that anger management class. As soon as the guy started the "count to ten" exercise, I bolted out the door.
Count to ten… please, like I have time to count to ten when I'm running my ass off on the pitch.
Then there was Dr. Denali and her psycho bullshit, wanting to talk about my childhood, like something might have happened to me to justify my anger. Why can't I just be angry? I had a perfect childhood. My parents were supportive of me from the start. My sister, albeit annoying, is one of the best people I know. I just… get angry. Period. There's no backstory. No need for one-hundred-dollar-an-hour-Dr-hotshot bullshit.
"He did have a couple run-ins with the ref today…" Paul continues, drawing my attention back to the TV.
Because he was fucking blind!
You see, my childhood doesn't make me angry — blind refs do. Blind refs who have no fucking clue of what they are doing drive me insane.
"But still managed to pull a hat-trick and secure their advance."
That's right, bitches.
"To be fair, though, the refs always have their eyes on him, you know? Because of his reputation, they're always waiting for him to snap."
Why, thank you, Sam.
"You can say what you want about Edward Cullen, that he's arrogant, egotistical, selfish..."
Don't get carried away there, Paul.
"But there's one thing no one can deny — the guy has some crazy skills. Best player the US has ever had for sure — top ranked player in the world right now."
"He's had four amazing seasons with his club, Manchester United, and his contract was renewed last year, making him the highest paid player in Europe right now."
If they start with the cars and supermodels again, I'm seriously going to lose my shit. Why can't they just do their job and replay my fucking goals?
"And well deserved in my opinion."
"Just tonight, he almost single-handedly transformed what started as a 0-1 loss into a 4-1 victory, which puts the US in the quarter-finals. He was at the heart of every play— he was everywhere. He harried defenders, ran at full-backs, played incisive passes, and was the crucial finisher that the US desperately needed."
Damn right, I was.
"Coach Waylon can only be thankful that he kept Cullen on the squad."
Oh, trust me, he is.
"Yes, but it was a close call though. Cullen gave some heated declarations to the press — the guy apparently has no mental filter whatsoever when spoken to after a game. He blatantly criticized Coach's decision not to let him take the penalty kick against Trinidad and Tobago in the qualifier game."
"A penalty kick which Cullen took and converted anyway, regardless of Coach's orders."
What does this have to do with today's game? They're never going to let me live down that fucking penalty kick.
"Coach Waylon had supposedly said Cullen would not be going to the World Cup, unless he apologized publicly."
"Which he didn't."
I didn't have to...
"No, he didn't, at least not publicly. But here he is anyway, and aren't we all glad he is?"
Oh c'mon, enough with this bullshit. Show me my damn goals already!
"Before we get into the game, we have our new correspondent, Isabella Swan, right outside the US dressing room, waiting for our triumphant squad to come out, hoping she can interview Edward Cullen himself."
Pssssh, good luck with that, Miss Swan. I'll be out of here before you can say hi.
As Paul and Sam so kindly pointed out, I have this tendency of putting my foot in my mouth when I talk to the press, so I try to avoid them as much as I can.
My eyes shoot up to the screen again just as the shot changes to reveal little Miss Swan, rocking a sexy look in an ass-hugging black pencil skirt and a white, low cut top. I thought reporters always wore suits.
Fuck me, Miss Swan is hot!
Rather than a conventional or obvious beauty, there's something about Miss Swan I can't really pinpoint. She's got tiny features and appears to be very short, even though she's wearing shoes that should be illegal. Without realizing it, my feet start moving, and I'm standing in front of the TV, getting a better look at Miss Swan. She looks pissed off, which makes me smile.
"Thanks, Paul. That's right, I'm outside the dressing rooms." Her heels click as she starts stepping back. Her hair is in a tidy bun on top of her head, and she looks very professional but incredibly sexy at the same time. For such a little thing, Miss Swan's got some killer curves. I think I might let her interview me after all.
"I'm looking forward to interviewing the whole team," she continues.
Was it me, or did she emphasize the word "whole"? I think she did. She also raised her eyebrow when she said that — the little vixen.
"I agree, gentlemen. Mr. Cullen might have scored three of the goals, but he couldn't have done it without Seth Clearwater's amazing crosses, or without the tight control Jasper Whitlock maintained on the defense. Not to mention the five astounding saves of our star goalkeeper Emmett McCarty."
Oh, I see, Miss there's-no-I-in-team Swan, good luck with your interview then.
With a scoff, I turn off the TV and finish getting dressed, deciding to watch my goals in the comfort of my hotel room. My designer clothes are laid out for me in my locker. I barely get to pick what I wear anymore, at least not after a game, you know, to comply with sponsors. I don't put up a fight about it — I can be pretty mellow about some things— except when they want me to wear monkey suits. I fucking hate wearing suits!
I stand at the door, ready to go out, my bag strap on one shoulder, my noise-cancelling headphones over my ears. I bet people would be surprised it's Debussy playing in there, just to counteract the mayhem outside. Crowded places make me nervous, and I know I'll have to walk through a cluster of fans, reporters and paparazzi packed like sardines, before I can reach our bus. I roll my shoulders and crack my neck left and right, taking two deep breaths to prepare for the chaos I'm about to endure.
On my way out through the snake pit, I pass by Miss Swan, who's enthusiastically interviewing Waylon. I scan her up and down, deciding the TV screen didn't do her justice. When her eyes meet mine, I give her my trademark crooked smirk and then proceed to walk to our bus, refusing to talk to anyone.
T-minus three days to quarter-finals.
A/N: So, who's in?
This mini-fic is completely written, and it consists of 13 chapters. We are still in the process of betaing/editing, so I will post two chapters per week for now. So see you Thursday!
Can't wait to hear what you guys think!