Take Me as I Am

21 Questions

Jonathan walked into the Blackhawks’ practice arena, reporters all around him trying to get some answers as to how he felt about Sokolov being fired. He tried to ignore them as best as he could, but he couldn’t escape the questions being yelled all around him.

“Is it true that you are part of the reason that Sokolov was fired?”

“Where is your girlfriend? The one that got Sokolov fired? Did you break up with her?”

“Did your girlfriend lie in order to get your coach fired?”

Jonathan continued walking straight ahead, looking at the ground, and ignoring all the questions. He finally made it inside, where the reporters were not allowed. “What the hell?” he muttered to himself.

“Is there still a ridiculous amount of reporters out there?” Jonathan lifted his head to see Patrick staring at him.

“Yeah,” Jonathan sighed. “What time did you get here? Were there a bunch of them out there?” he asked.

“I got here like a half an hour ago, and there were tons of them out there. They all kept asking the same questions. ‘Was Jon the reason that Sokolov was fired? Are you still friends with him after everything?’” Patrick imitated all of the reporters.

“Did they seriously ask you that?” Jonathan asked as he and Patrick walked to the locker room.

“Yep,” Patrick nodded.

“And what was your answer?”

“I told them that I now hate you,” Patrick said jokingly. “No, seriously, I didn’t say anything. Did you?”

“No, I ignored them,” Jonathan told him. “But, they were saying all this stuff about Olivia. I’m worried how she’s going to be when she finds out about it,” he said walking to his locker and grabbing his practice jersey out of his locker.

“Olivia’s a strong person,” Patrick told him. “She’ll be fine.”

“I hope you’re right,” Jonathan replied.

Olivia sat at home watching the television when she saw Jonathan’s face flash across the scene. She turned the volume up and listened as a bunch of reporters asked him questions, while he walked forward, not giving them a second glance. Olivia sighed, feeling bad that she was causing all of these problems for Jonathan.

She turned the television off and threw the remote down next to her. All of a sudden, she heard her cell phone ring, and she sat there for a moment, debating whether or not she should answer it. A part of her thought it was going to be a reporter asking about her involvement in Sokolov’s firing.

But, after the third ring, she realized it could be something important, and she stood up and ran to try to get it before it went to her voicemail.

“Hello?” she asked, not bothering to look at the caller id to see who it was.

“Olivia?” a male voice asked over the phone.

“Yes,” she said hesitantly, wondering who exactly was calling. She quickly glanced at her phone’s screen to see if she recognized the number, but she didn’t. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach, as she realized that a reporter had found her cell phone number.

“It’s Dale,” he said, and Olivia breathed a sigh of relief.

“Oh, thank god,” she said.

“I’m sorry?” Dale asked.

“Oh, nothing,” Olivia told him. “I was just worried that you were a reporter.”

“No,” Dale laughed. “I was actually hoping that you could come in so we could talk.”

“Talk?” Olivia asked. “Talk about what?”

“Well, I’ll let you know everything when you come in. Can you come in sometime today?” he asked her.

“Yeah, I can come in right now if you’d like,” Olivia offered.

“That’d be great,” Dale said.

“No problem,” Olivia told him. “But, can you just tell me if it’s good or bad news?”

“Oh, it’s not bad,” Dale reassured her.

“Okay, I’ll be there in about a half an hour, okay?”

“I’ll see you then,” Dale said as he hung up the phone.

Olivia went back to her room to change into a pair of jeans with a red sweater. She grabbed her car keys off the table and went out the door, locking it behind her.

Forty-five minutes later, she walked into Dale’s office. “I’m sorry I’m late,” she told him. “I got stuck in traffic,” she explained.

“Oh, it’s no problem,” he told her. “Have a seat.”

Olivia pulled out the chair in front of her and sitting down. “So, what did you need to talk to me about?” she asked him.

“I would like you to come back,” Dale stated.

“Excuse me?” Olivia asked, confused.

“I want you to come back to work,” Dale explained.

“I don’t understand,” Olivia began. “I have caused this organization so many problems. It’s because of me that Sokolov was fired.”

“Alex deserved to be fired.”

“But the team was winning. You guys can’t even explain why you fired him because it was personal.”

“He was threatening members of our staff. Plus, he believed that he had more power than he actually did. He did not have the power to trade people. But, he believed that he could manipulate me into getting what he wanted. I was not going to allow it,” Dale told her.

“Still, if I had never worked here, then you all wouldn’t be put into the situation that you’re in right now,” Olivia said.

“That’s not true, Olivia,” Dale told her. “We want you back. We need you back,” he reiterated. “You were amazing at your job, and we really need you back.”

“Dale,” Olivia began.

“What are you going to make me do, Olivia? Beg?” Dale asked laughing. “Because we may just be desperate enough that I’ll do it.”

“I don’t know, Dale,” Olivia said.

“Come on, Olivia. We need you here,” Dale said. “What do you say? Will you come back to work for us?”

“I’m sorry,” Olivia said. “But, no.”
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