Take Me as I Am

Nice To Meet You Anyway

Olivia Martin watched as the last thirty seconds of the clock trickled down. She hadn’t needed to watch the last sixty minutes of the game to know who was going to win. She had watched this game last week, before she had been hired by the Chicago Blackhawks. Now, this was her job. She was to watch hours upon hours of video of opposing teams and take notes on them, find their weaknesses. So, for the last six hours she had been sitting at a desk watching footage of the Detroit Red Wings, who the Blackhawks were set to play in two days.

Olivia hit the save button on the document that was currently up on her laptop before she stood up from the desk and stretched her legs out. It had never felt so good to stand up before, but after sitting for six hours straight, it felt amazing. She was the last person there, as her co-workers had left a couple of hours ago, having already watched this game the previous day, before Olivia had begun working there.

She glanced down at her watch and realized that the team practice had probably ended at least thirty or forty-five minutes ago. She decided to go out to the rink, just to look. What harm could it do? It’s not like anyone from the team would still be there. Olivia had never been this close to the ice before. Sure, she’d been watching hockey since she had been born, and she’d been to a few games, but she’d never actually been this close to the ice.

As she walked out to the bench, she saw that there was still someone out on the ice. Who would still be out there? she thought to herself. But soon, her silent question was answered when the person turned around, and she could see the person’s face. Jonathan Toews. Of course, the hard-working, determined captain of the Blackhawks. Who wouldn’t have guessed him right off the bat?

She watched him from the bench, going unnoticed by him. He appeared to be working on his slap shot, just taking shot after shot at an empty net. After watching for about five minutes, Olivia decided she should make herself known. “You know,” she called out. “You might want to work on your backhand for when you face the Red Wings.”

Jonathan quickly spun around to see who was there. He found a petite girl standing there with dark brown hair, which appeared near black. “What do you know about hockey?” he retorted.

“I know that you’re more than likely to face Chris Osgood when you play, and he can save any one of those slap shots. But if you throw a backhand at him, you have a better shot at it going in. He stops those only seventy-three percent of the time,” she told him, remembering what she had just typed up on the laptop. “And if you go upper left corner, you’ll have an even better shot.”

“Listen, I play hockey for a living,” Jonathan told her. “I know what I’m doing. What do you do for a living?” he asked looking her up and down. “Are you a florist?”

“Fine, don’t listen to me. But when he stops your first five slap shots, don’t say I didn’t tell you so,” Olivia said smiling at him as she turned around and walked away.

Jonathan turned back around toward the net, firing off ten more slap shots, not giving a second thought to the girl who had just given him advice.

Olivia made it back to her apartment that she shared with her best friend, Summer Livingston, slamming the door behind her. Summer looked up from her laptop to see Olivia fuming. “Bad day?” Summer asked.

“Are all hockey players jackasses or just the ones that I know?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll let you know after tomorrow,” Summer replied.

“After tomorrow?” Olivia questioned, before realization hit her. “You got the job!”

“Yep,” Summer said smiling, nodding her head. Summer had interviewed a few days ago to become the translator for the Blackhawks. She wasn’t as big of a fan of hockey as Olivia, but she needed a job, and this one seemed better than working for a diplomat. She had been awaiting the news on whether she had gotten the job for the last four days, and she had finally gotten the yes today.

“Oh, thank God! I won’t be alone on the road trips,” Olivia cried dramatically.

“You wouldn’t have been alone either way. You would have been surrounded by twenty hockey players,” Summer smirked at her. “Anyways, what was with your comment earlier?” When Olivia looked at her with a confused expression, Summer clarified. “You know ‘are all hockey players jackasses or just the ones I know?’” she mimicked.

“Oh, well I went out to see the ice today after I was finished. I figured no one would be out there since practice had ended a while before. Anyways, Jonathan Toews was out there shooting slap shots. I told him that he should be practicing backhands for when they face the Red Wings, and he pretty much told me that I knew nothing about hockey and asked if I was a florist,” Olivia explained.


“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“Did you tell him that you work for the Blackhawks? Or that your dad is the coach?”

“Not something I want to advertise, you know that,” Olivia told Summer. While it was true that Olivia’s father was the Blackhawks’ new head coach, Alex Sokolov, he had never claimed her as his own. He had left Olivia’s mother, Nina, before Olivia had been born. He had never kept in contact with either Olivia or Nina. In fact, he had never even asked about her. Olivia was sure that even when they came face to face with each other, Alex would have no idea she was his daughter, which was the main reason she took the job.

“You didn’t tell him you work for the Blackhawks? That it’s your job to know those types of things?” Summer asked.

“Nope. I’m going to let him learn on his own to listen to me. I did tell him that after Osgood stops his first five slap shots, not to say that I didn’t tell him.”

“Nice. I can’t wait to see his face when he learns that you work for the team.”

“Neither can I,” Olivia said with a small laugh.

“Well, I’m going to go shower and go to bed. You know, big day tomorrow. What with me translating and everything,” she said with a smile.

“Congratulations. I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” Summer said walking toward the bathroom. But then she stopped and turned back around. “Oh, and Liv,” she called out.


“Don’t let that hockey player get to you. You know more about hockey than anyone I know. He’ll be eating his words at the game.”

“Thanks, Sum,” she said smiling as she sat down on the couch and turned the television on to Comcast Sports Net. They were interviewing Jonathan Toews, and Olivia couldn’t help but think how embarrassed he would feel when he found out that she had been right all along.
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