So enjoy! And thanks for all the commentors... I'd love to thank you all by name, but since we have so many Anon's I'll just give a group thank you!! :o)
“You are mad at me,” I commented to Brooks as he walked a few steps ahead of me. We just finished practice. Over the last week and a half, very few words were said between us. It could have something to do with the fact that as a team we were playing like complete shit, but I had a feeling it had more to do with what had happened between Lana and me. The practice after the Halloween party he slammed me hard into the boards and growled, “Get your head out of your ass, Captain.” Since then, the only time he acknowledged me was during games and practice. Of course, even then it wasn’t very pleasant.
Some of the other guys on the team were also treating me differently. Alzner wasn’t as quick to joke around with me and Carly had started to act removed. Sasha made his opinion known, but like the good friend he is, he let it drop after he said his piece. Nicky and Green just stayed as neutral as Switzerland, which I’m sure it had to do with the fact that if they picked my side, they wouldn’t be able to feel comfortable eating Lana’s sweet treats.
Brooks looked at me and just shrugged.
“It has to do with Lana.”
He looked over at me and shrugged again.
“I’m seeing Maria…” I began.
Brooks stopped at this and turned to me. “Of course you are seeing Maria…” the sarcasm dripped from the tone of his voice. “Well, that’s good because she’s the perfect Russian girlfriend.”
“We have a lot more in common than Lana and I,” I continued. “I just don’t think things would work out with Lana and me.” I said the words just like I had rehearsed them in my head ever since she left me to walk back upstairs in just my underwear. It had been a little embarrassing to be left in such an awkward position at my own party. Lana had definitely gotten the last say in that ordeal.
“That’s right. It wouldn’t work out because she’s too good for you,” he spit. “Ya know, she had questioned me at one time if it was a lost cause between the two of you and I told her no, because I thought she was actually the first woman you were interested who might actually be able to balance you out.”
I just kind of looked at him. If it was one thing I learned over the last few years, when Brooks talks, you listen.
“I told her that despite being opposites, you were matched well for the simple fact that you need a strong, sincere woman who is going to put up with your craziness and be there when you want to leave it all behind. I mean seriously, Alex. She pours out her heart to you and instead of going and groveling, you decide to just go on about your life like she never existed.”
I shoved my hands in my pockets and stood there for a moment, knowing whatever I said was going to get me yelled at. It was like dealing with my Grammy or Mother when I was in trouble for something. “She not like the other girls…” I began. Brooks snorted, shook his head and began walking away. I quickly caught up with him and began pleading my case. “She has no clue about my life. I mean, she was learning, but it seemed like too much work,” I said, wishing it suddenly didn’t feel I like was pulling at thin strings of excuses. “I like women who do what I want when I want.”
“A relationship isn’t a fucking dictatorship,” Brooks said simply. “Plus, heaven forbid you actually get involved in something that needs a little work put into it.”
I shook my head at the blatant Russian remark and ignored the lazy comment before starting again. “Besides, I just don’t think she is that strong woman you talk of. I mean, she doesn’t seem overly comfortable with my status, she seems overwhelmed by it.”
“Wouldn’t you be at first?” he asked in a sarcastic tone. “I mean seriously Alex, it’s not like she had a clue what she was getting into except for what she probably heard from her friends, but your pushy ways get you everything, so she probably didn’t have a chance to begin with.”
“You make me sound like a monster…”
“You are when you play with a good woman like that.”
“Then why don’t you date her?!” I cried out of frustration. I had heard enough about how much of a bad person I was. Of course I wasn’t going to tell him how I truly felt about Lana. How strong she truly was and how she opened my eyes to that during our time in my garage and how I dreamed about her almost every night and found myself wishing that it was her dark hair splayed across my pillow instead of Maria’s blonde hair.
He opened his mouth to say something, closed it and then just stood there looking at me stupidly. The silence was deafening and suddenly I found myself regretting the words. “So you do like her.”
He stayed looking at me for a moment and then turned to walk away and jealousy suddenly pumped through my veins.
“You wouldn’t dare!” I called after him.
“You said yourself that you are dating Maria and that Lana doesn’t fit into your fantasy picture…” Brooks called back.
I stood there and stomped my foot like a spoiled child. “This is bullshit!”
“Not my fault you’re such a dumb, blind asshole.”
“I wasn’t being serious!”
I hadn’t heard one word from Alex since the Halloween party, and in all honesty I wasn’t surprised nor disappointed. I said what I wanted and I felt at peace with everything. The one thing that did bother me was watching Alex playing hockey. The team was doing horrible and Alex’s attitude didn’t seem to be helping things.
“This team is pissing me off! I just don’t understand how they can play so shitty day in and day out!” Faith cried. “I already told John there is no sex until he and the team can string together more than 2 wins in a row…”
I was standing in the kitchen making myself a cup of hot tea as she went on her rant. Something told me that she had already broken that threat because he left the house this morning looking quite happy with himself. “This is exactly why I don’t watch sports!” I sang loudly. “How can you let something that is completely out of your hands make you so angry?! It’s totally not worth it!” I continued.
“Oh shut it, Miss I Pout Every Time Someone I Like Gets Kicked off of Hells Kitchen!” Faith snapped. “There is no difference.”
“I beg to differ…”
“You can beg and differ all you want, but it’s the same damn thing!” Becky added her own two cents before throwing the remote at the TV. Luckily for us all, it did a nose dive into the carpet before any damage could be done.
“Is there a game even on?” I asked, finally looking at the TV to see Alex’s picture plastered on the TV with a headline under it that said, “Is the Captain the Real Problem?” It was a very unflattering picture of him, but I still couldn’t help but look at it longer than I should have.
“No, thank God. In fact, that’s probably a good point. I should be happy tonight since they have no chance in losing if they aren’t playing tonight,” Becky laughed cynically.
I just shook my head and took a sip of my tea. Both Becky and Faith sat on the edge of the couch with their chins in their hands, staring like zombies at the TV. They didn’t flinch when the doorbell rang. I looked down at my ratty PJ pants and pink fuzzy slippers and frowned. I wasn’t really in the best of shape to answer the door, but it didn’t look like the other two were going to answer it, so I shuffled over to the door and opened it.
“Brooks!” I exclaimed, flinching as the cold air hit me. “Come on in!” I smiled and stepped back. His eyes sparkled when he smiled and nodded his head before moving into the house. He was wrapped in what looked to be an expensive black leather coat, dark jeans, grey beanie and matching scarf. His ice blue eyes sparkled even in the dim porch light.
“I’m sorry, I guess I should have called, but I was in the area and decided to stop in to say hi instead,” he said quickly, almost sounding a little nervous.
“If you don’t mind my frumpy attire, then it’s all good,” I giggled as I offered to take his coat from him. I was definitely surprised by his drop in visit, but it didn’t feel awkward considering he had been texting me the last few weeks since the Halloween Party. He had even called me a couple times when they were on their latest road trip. Him and his girlfriend Carrie had broken up and with all the bad things going on with the team, I guess he found it easier to talk to me. I can’t lie though; I began looking forward to his calls and texts. After everything that happened with Alex, it was nice to have a drama free friendship with a guy, especially with a guy who was as good looking as Brooks. Seeing him in person tonight however, reminded me how handsome he really was.
“Hey Brooks!” Faith called out from the living room.
Becky almost fell off the couch when she turned to look over. “Hi Brooks!” she squeaked, just catching herself before hitting the floor.
Thankfully both girls had seemed to get past their fan-girl tendencies; no doubt that had everything to do with Faith and Carly dating.
Brooks and I laughed before heading to the kitchen. “Do you want anything to drink? I was just making myself a cup of hot tea…” I said to Brooks.
“Rough day?” he asked, nodding that he would take a cup.
I sighed, stretching up to grab another mug from the cabinet. “Yeah, I really need to find a new helper. With the holiday stuff coming up quickly, I’m swamped.”
“Have you had anyone put in for the job?”
“I have, but no one that seems like they have any real promise. Maybe I’m too picky, I don’t know,” I admitted, almost dumping the sugar can as I tried to grab a mug.
Brooks was there in no time, grabbing the mug and the can of sugar before a mess could ensue. To do so, his body pressed up behind mine and he was soon in my personal space, causing my heart-rate to instantly spike.
“I always do that…” I said quietly.
“Ever think of rearranging your cabinets?” Brooks chuckled, taking a step back and holding the mug up in front of him, smiling.
“You are making fun of my height,” I frowned.
“I never said one thing about your height,” he defended with a wink.
I took the mug from his hand and filled it with hot water from my teapot. “So what brings you here?” I asked, unable to hide my curiosity.
Brooks leaned up against the kitchen counter and watched me intently for a moment before answering. “I was in the area and realized it had been a while since I saw you…” he said quietly.
I turned around, placed the teabag in the cup and handed the mug to him, unable to stop a small smile from coming across my face. “I see.”
“Are you busy?” he asked in an amused tone.
I took a sip out of my own mug and shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know, I just got changed and was ready to head out to go clubbing…”
Brooks laughed easily. “Yeah, you definitely look ready to hit the club. The pink fuzzy slippers will have every guy pulling you onto the dance floor.”
“You don’t like my fuzzy slippers?!” I asked, feigning shock.
Somehow he wiped off his smile and put on a face that totally looked like a serious professor. “I’m sure they’d look better if they didn’t clash with your red and black penguin pajama pants.”
As soon as I started laughing, Brooks’ smile came back and he was laughing too.
“I’m actually in the mood to rent a movie on Netflix if you’re interested,” I asked without much hesitation after I caught my breath.
“A nice quiet night is exactly what I was looking for,” he smiled gratefully.
A couple minutes later we were down in my room arguing over which movie we’d watch. After picking Easy A; Brooks made himself comfy by kicking off his shoes and propping himself up with my pillows and patted the empty space next to him.
“This is the life!” Abe exclaimed as we took our normal perch to overlook the crowd at Opera. “It has to be a sin to have this many women falling at our feet!”
I laughed out loud and wrapped my arm around a blonde minx, pulling her against me and kissing her roughly before pushing her away from me before Maria got back from the bathroom. Abe was right. This was the life, unfortunately though, life was not what it had been for me. Life on the ice had quickly gone south, so far south that I was sure we were camping out somewhere near the South-Pole. As Captain and the top rated player in the league, everyone was looking at me for answers. The more questions they asked, the more I ran away from them by hiding in the night clubs. Usually the tough patches came and went, but for some reason this time it seemed this tough patch was never going to end. The discord in the locker room was at its worst and now Bruce was fired. Tomorrow started a new regime in Washington. Dale Hunter was now in charge and I knew things were only going to get worse, so tonight, I was out with Abe and Maria, looking for something to soothe my restlessness.
“Here ya go,” Maria purred, handing me another shot of Vodka. I nodded my thanks before slinging it back, allowing the burn to take my breath away for a moment. I slammed the shot glass on the tray of a passing bar-girl and sighed loudly. Once again I went back to watching the dance floor and must have zoned out because I jumped when Maria whispered into my ear. “You seem a million miles away, Sasha,” she said in our native tongue. “Where are you my prince?”
I just shrugged and frowned. She was right. I was far away and I somehow needed to find my way back.