Sequel: Breathless

There Are Still Rules To Break

He Swore He Could Feel the Excitement

The playoffs were a completely different kind of hockey, Patrice decided. The fans were louder, the goaltending better, the goal-scoring more spectacular, and the hits were harder. The air in every hockey arena lucky enough to be part of the playoffs had urgency and intensity to it. The Boston Bruins had something to prove. Sure, they had been in first place for a majority of the season, but still, they were always underdogs it seemed. They didn’t care. The locker room was positive, the coaches were positive.

It was hard not to be after their four game sweep of their rival Canadiens. It was fitting, really, that those two teams would meet. The games, Patrice was sure, were fun for fans. Both teams did play well, but you’d never hear a B’s fan say anything nice about the team from Montreal. Scoring was often back and forth, and it was close, but when the final buzzer sounded on each and every game, the Bruins were victorious.

Even Patrice had gotten into the action of the game. Never known for fighting, a lot of people (okay, everyone) were surprised to see him drop the gloves with Josh Gorges (and absolutely kick his ass, at that.) He couldn’t really explain what was going through his head as he fought, but he didn’t really want to explain. The excitement and urgency of the game had taken over his body. He was a completely different person on the ice than he was off of it. It was over. It was done. Patrice had always had an impeccable ability to leave his intensity, his hatred, and his gripes on the ice. Off the ice, he was a keep to himself kind of guy, with a large sense of humor and an equally as large goofy side.

There was no room for his intense hockey player persona in his every day life. He had to learn to keep it on the ice as best he could. He had to. He had learned the art when he had been out for just shy of a year. The 2007-2008 season had been a giant disappointment; he even thought that he would have been able to return for the first round of the playoffs that year, but at the last minute, doctors told him no. He didn’t argue; he loved hockey so much; he could wait.

September 22, 2008.

It was only the preseason and in actuality, it didn’t matter. But it was the first time Patrice had been able to play, so it meant everything to him. A goal and three assists later, the game was over, but the smile didn’t leave his face until he stepped onto the ice for the next game. But nothing, he decided, was compared to the home opener of the 2008-2009 season when his name was called out as part of the active roster and he was able to skate onto the ice. The cheers of the fans seemed to erupt throughout the TD Garden, and he could only smile.

As if being out of action for a year wasn’t bad enough, he had gotten another concussion in December of 2008. The month of action he missed felt like a million years, but really, it was nothing compared to what he had gone through before. Now, when he stepped out onto the ice, Patrice Bergeron played with all he had. He couldn’t have a ‘bad’ game. The thing he loved most in the world had almost been taken away from him completely, and he refused to take it for granted.

Fuck concussions.

Wanting to clear his head before the start of the second round, their opponents still unknown, Patrice decided to take a walk. The day was cool, but beautiful. Dressed casually in a pair of jeans, a tee shirt, and a zip-up hoodie, he completed the outfit with a hat, not wanting to draw attention to himself. Sure, he loved meeting and talking with fans, but this morning, Patrice just wanted to be alone with his thoughts.

He had grabbed a cup of coffee before heading to the Boston Harbor-walk. He loved to sit there, stand there, and look at the beautiful Boston skyline he had started calling his hometown skyline. He was sure his mother would love hearing that, he thought with a small smile. But it was true, Boston, for the time being, was home. He hoped it would be for a long time to come, too.

As he walked through the streets, and maybe he was crazy, but he swore he could feel the excitement throughout the city.

He was almost to the Harbor when his shoulder, opposite arm that had been holding his coffee thankfully, bumped into someone else. “Sorry,” He started, looking down at the girl he had bumped into. He looked at her in confusion; she looked familiar.

“Amanda?” He asked. When she tensed and glanced up at him, her cheeks red and a small smile, he knew it was her. She said nothing and rushed into her car, leaving him standing there.

“What?” He asked himself, not really sure what had just happened.

It was Amanda, he knew for sure. He hadn’t really given her much thought since he had met her at the Red Sox game, but he had thought about her. They had spent the whole game talking, laughing, swapping stories, and she had been nice enough to explain some parts of the game to him. He watched her car pull away from the curb, speeding off into traffic. He looked down at his feet, for no reason in particular, but when he did he saw a piece of paper lying there.

Picking it up, he realized it was a business card. Amanda’s name was on it, below it read,, writer. Patrice grinned and stuck the card into his pocket, continuing his walk to the harbor.

He tried to do his usual, looking at the Boston skyline, staring at the water, but he couldn’t get into it. The pretty brunette with the shy smile kept running through his head. Curiosity got the best of him; he quickly picked up his cup of coffee and turned around, heading back into the direction of his apartment. It was only a few blocks away, but now that his mind was set on finding out more about Amanda, the walk seemed like it took fifty blocks.

When he finally reached his large, seventeenth floor apartment he went straight for his computer desk. Opening a new webpage, he let his fingers glide over the keys typing in his desired website. Boston Beat’s homepage was bright and colorful and it had some of the most beautiful pictures of Boston as a header. Patrice scanned over the page until he found a bright red link that read, “About our writers.”

Scrolling down the page, he saw Amanda’s name and a small picture of her. He laughed and read what the little blurb had to say, “Amanda is a twenty year old native of Boston. She loves to read and write and watch sports. Her hometown loyalty is what drives this young girl. She is a diehard fan of the Red Sox, the Bruins, the Celtics, and the Patriots.”

“I knew that,” Patrice mumbled out under his breath before he continued reading.

“Look out for a new feature of hers when fans of the Bruins will be able to see, hear, and read about what goes on with the team both on the ice and in the locker room.”

He grinned.

So he’d be able to see her again, and soon. He didn’t know why, but for only seeing this girl twice, he was hooked. He had to say that when he had asked for her number, he had wanted to get to know her better. He could tell from their day at Fenway that she was smart, funny, and down to earth. Of course, he could see she was beautiful, too. It wasn’t like he was bothered he had been turned down; he had gotten turned down before, and Patrice was not a stuck-up kind of guy. It was the fact that she had seemed interested before she had turned him down that had him confused.

Just as he went to close the webpage, a small box popped up in the corner, telling him a new article had been published. In the author’s name slot, he saw Amanda’s. He shrugged and clicked it, reading her intro into her larger Bruins article, that’s first part was due to be published in the coming week. As he read over the words, he came across a sentence that struck him.

“As I sit here at my favorite spot in the city, the Boston Harbor-walk, I can point out a million reasons why I love this city.”

He found it funny and maybe even a little ironic that the girl that had clouded his thoughts for the past week found solace in the same place he did. He laughed to himself and left an anonymous comment, “Very intriguing article, Amanda. I cannot wait to read more of your stuff on the Bruins. PB.”
♠ ♠ ♠
For Manda, as always.
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