Status: It's over! May write a sequel later, not entirely sure yet.

Diamond In The Rough

Chapter Seven

“Cassidy that sour looking one was looking at you,” Ellie grinned as we cleaned up the last few tables. The diner had been more crowded than usual, so we had to work pretty late.

“Huh?” I asked, picking up a few knives from beneath a table where a group of people with little kids had sat earlier.

“The sour looking young man that was at the big table you served this afternoon,” she explained. I tossed the knives into the dish rack and shook my head.

“Who, Dan?” I asked.

“Is that his name? The one with the messy black hair and the mustache,” she said, putting down a few plates.

“Yeah, that would be Dan,” I smiled.

“The redheaded one also seemed to have eyes for you,” Ellie said. She couldn’t stop smiling, and I rolled my eyes as I turned away from her.

“That’s Claude, and he’s a goofball. Ellie, I highly doubt they like me. They’re superstars, they’ve got plenty of other women chasing after them,” I sighed before pushing the cart full of dirty dishes into the kitchen.

*Dan’s Point of View*

I sat on the couch tossing a tennis ball against the wall, and Andrej looked over from the other couch, where he was playing xbox with Claude, Braydon, and Sergei. Bobs was winning, but he didn’t brag…not that he could, his English was still terrible.

“What’s got you down bro?” Andrej asked, pausing the game. The other guys turned around, all looking at me with the same question written on their faces.

“Nothing,” I said. Andrej shook his head.

“You only do that annoying tennis ball thing when you’re in a bad mood,” he said.

“Mesz, if I say I’m not in a bad mood, I’m not in a bad mood!” I grumbled before standing up and walking into my bedroom. I was annoyed that some girl I hardly knew was getting under my skin so easily. I hated the way she made me grin like an idiot, the way she made me feel like a softie when she called me Danny (which, by the way, nobody else had ever gotten away with)…but most of all I hated the way she was around him.

Girls always went for guys like him. Claude had everything a girl could want. He scored, he hit hard, and he was glamorous…for hockey anyway. Me…I was a fighter. I was the guy who did everyone else’s dirty work. Girls saw me as a ticket in, a way to get to the real prizes…guys like Claude, Danny and Jeff, who won games and took home the prizes at the end of the day... I tossed the ball against the wall once again, a little harder than I intended. It rocketed off the wall, flew past my head, and broke the lamp next to me. I’m nothing but a goon.

*Cassidy’s Point of View*

I walked into the house and put half of what I had earned in tips into the jar on the kitchen counter and headed upstairs. I stumbled into my room and my bed, as lumpy and uncomfortable as it was, beckoned me. I crawled into the bed, and was asleep in minutes.

Saturday. My day off. I woke up and scrubbed the house from top to bottom, and was out of there by 9. I purposely left my phone off, and zipped up my jacket quickly. I hopped on my bike, pulled on my helmet, and took off without a second glance. I didn’t want to be interrogated for “not bringing home enough money”. Eventually they would find out I was holding out on them, but for the mean time, I had a few extra bucks in my pocket and I could go wherever I wanted to go. I drove almost mindlessly and soon found myself at the Skate Zone. I walked inside and smiled as the cool air and smell of fresh ice hit me. I saw people streaming into the practice rink, and contemplated going to watch practice. I received several dirty looks, and I was really confused until I looked down, and hastily unzipped my sweatshirt. I folded it carefully over my arm, and slipped into the practice rink. I managed to find a spot right up on the glass between the frantic fans, and sighed, wondering what the hell I was doing there again. I ran my thumb along the inside of my jacket hood, reminding myself of who I really rooted for. And then I thought of my new acquaintances. No…friends. They had let me into their group, and I had even gone to lunch with them. They got me out of work, they teased me, and they let me tease them. They were definitely friends. They skated out and nobody noticed I was there, until they started a scrimmage and Scott slammed Dan against the boards right in front of me. There, with his face plastered to the glass, with people all around me chuckling, our eyes met. He raised his eyebrows as Laviolette blew his whistle, and continued to stare at me in confusion as he skated back to the bench.

*Dan’s Point of View*

What is she doing here? I skated back to the bench, dizzy and hurting from Scott’s crunching check, and leaned against the boards.

“Dude I am so sorry,” Scott said, slapping me on the back. I nodded and sprayed my face with a bottle of water.

“It’s cool,” I sighed.

“Why do you look concussed?” Jeff asked, half concerned and half joking. I raised my eyebrows and peeled out my mouth guard.

“I do?” I asked.

“Yeah man. Scottie didn’t hit you that hard,” Andrej said quietly. I turned around and noticed her watching me. She looked concerned, so I waved to let her know I was okay. A chorus of “ooohhhhs” rose from Scott, Andrej and Jeff and I scowled.

“What?!” I asked.

“You saw her and now you’re getting all fuzzy,” Jeff chuckled.

“I am not!” I growled.

“Someone is defensive…acceptance is the first step to recovery Dan,” Andrej teased.

“Shut it Meszaros, before I rearrange your face,” I scowled, skating away, fuming. Why did I feel like they were right?

*Cassidy’s Point of View*

Dan looked a little woozy after being hit by Scott, but after returning to the bench he was right back to the crabby, firey Dan that started on the ice that day. Some of the other guys waved to me after he did, and I waved back, but I left about halfway through the practice and rented a pair of skates. The public skate rink was empty, and I pulled my iPod out. I put my headphones in and drowned out my thoughts with music. I didn’t even notice someone else was in the rink until I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped and yanked the headphones out of my ears.

“Holy shit Dan, you scared me!” I cried, looking over to see Dan skating next to me. He had changed into a pair of sweatpants and a tee-shirt, and I smiled at him.

“Why did you show up to practice today?” he asked. I was slightly taken aback by the bitter tone in his voice.

“I…I just…I wanted to get out,” I stammered.

“Oh…why?” Dan asked. The anger ebbed out of his voice.

“I don’t like being around when my mom and stepdad wake up,” I shrugged.

“Step parents huh?” Dan asked, tucking his hands into his pockets.

“Yeah,” I sighed.

“They suck,” Dan said. I nodded in agreement.

“Why did you sound so pissed that I was there? It’s a public practice, I’m allowed to go,” I asked.

“I just…I was thrown off my game. I wasn’t expecting you,” he muttered.

“But the women who are practically naked at your practices don’t throw you off?” I asked, a little bitter. Dan simply clenched his jaw and skated away, and I sighed. I didn’t mean to piss him off, but I knew I had managed to.