Don't Make Me Spell It Out For You

Chapter Four

It was strange getting to go to practice with them and not just mess around, but to actually practice long, hard, and grueling practices, ending each day in buckets of sweat and bruises.

I absolutely loved it.

Niemi turned out to be more than a quiet ice ninja, like I originally thought. We talked a lot and as it turned out, he was freaking hilarious.

“So, why a goaltender?” I asked Niemi one day as we were skating on the ice for practice.

We had a game tonight and I was excited to even suit up and sit on the bench. As far as the world knew, Chicago had no back up goal tender that was worthy of their awesomeness. I was happy about that. I didn’t want all the attention from the very beginning.

He stretched, thinking about his answer. Finally he looked up, a trace of a grin on his face. “Have you seen me try and score a goal? It’s not too pretty. I’m better diving around stopping the son of a bitches who want to add points to their records.”

I burst out laughing, trying to cover it up as some of the other guys gave me looks. “Fair enough,” I said once I calmed down, trying to regain the cool composure I normally had.

“What about you?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Same reason. I guess it just felt right, you know? I wasn’t meant to score goals. I was meant to be the dirty bitch who stopped them.”

He snorted and by then, Seabrook and Ladd had gotten curious. They skated over by us and looked at us funny.

“Can we help you boys?” I leaned on my goaltender stick a little.

“What are you two laughing about over here? This is practice dammit!” Ladd tried to look intimidating.

It didn’t work.

“We’re merely discussing how you all suck,” Niemi said, warming up in goal for the last half of practice. “You haven’t gotten one puck past Rose here, and you aren’t about to score on me.”

The two hockey players eyed each other before skating off to get a puck to score on their dear Antti Niemi.

Yeah, it didn’t work.

Neither Seabs or Laddie managed one goal past Niemi and by the end of practice, they were frustrated to say the least.

After my shower, guarded by the dressed players, I met Sharp and Burish by the entrance. “Are you excited?” Burish asked, walking me to Andrew’s car. Apparently he still wasn’t dressed.

I shrugged. Hell yeah I was. I was shaking inside and I thought I was going to throw up. How, I was going to eat an early dinner, I wasn’t quite sure.

“Roselyn. . .” Sharp gave me a look.

We reached the car and we stood there in the cold. “Wouldn’t anyone be nervous? I’m just glad I’m not playing tonight.”

“Why not?” Burish asked.

“I would like to get a feel of the atmosphere before being thrown out there. Remember, I’m just the back up.”

“You could be number one,” Burish reminded me.

I shook my head and watched as Andrew walked out of the back of the building, looking excited and gorgeous as ever. “I don’t want to be. I’m content to be where I am now.”

Sharp and Burish followed my gaze and I threw my stuff in the trunk, waiting for Andrew. Kris had driven his car for reasons unknown to me.

“Huh,” Burish glanced at Sharp and they shared a look.

I knew where they were going and I had to stop it. “Stop sending each other love signals,” I blurted out as Andrew threw his stuff into the trunk and looked at me funny.

“Excuse me?” he asked me.

“Burish and Sharp are having a bromance moment,” I simply said and got into the passenger side, shooting them a glare as Andrew drove away.

They only smiled.


My first five games went great, for just watching. I was scared shitless for the first two, but I learned so much from Nemo, like how he stayed stoic during the game.

That night, we were in Calgary and the third period was starting. I stood at the end, touching knuckles with each of the guys, waiting to go last. I liked going last for some strange reason.

Five minutes into the period, someone, I didn’t know who had a breakaway. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t one of our guys.

I stood, watching Niemi as he crouched down low. Suddenly, the skater lost control of the puck and plowed into Niemi, knocking him clean off his skates.

Seabs pried the guy off, but Niemi didn’t get up from the ground. My eyes widened as our trainer got out there and helped the struggling Nemo back to the bench.

“I see stars,” he grumbled and looked at me. “Go get ‘em Baby V.”

My mouth dropped as Coach and everyone else looked at me while Nemo went back to get his head checked out.

Coach laughed a little, his face bright red from screaming at the other team all night. “You heard him Baby V. You’re in net. Grab your stick and go get warmed up.”

Someone, probably Andrew pushed me onto the ice and then everything and everybody melted away. All I saw was the net. I did a few quick warm ups and tapped both posts with my stick and nodded.

I was as ready as I would ever be.

I heard the announcer from above. “And replacing Antti Niemi due to injury is. . . uh. . . is this correct? Roselyn Versteeg?”

I felt everyone’s eyes on me as the ref shrugged and dropped the puck. He just wanted the guys to play.

My legs shook as one of the Flames guys got the puck and went for a one timer, as if testing me.

I caught it easily, dropping it down to the ice to play it to Bolland. Oh hell. I just made my first save in an NHL game.


I walked into the locker room, exhausted mostly from being so nervous. I sat down in my stall and sighed. At least my legs weren’t shaking anymore.

“BABY V!” Burish cried hobbling over to me, still in his skates. “YOU WERE AMAZING!” he sang.

I raised my eyebrow. “I let three goals in,” I mumbled. “I let them tie it up again!”

“We still won though!” he was still shouting at me.

“Because Toews took pity on me and scored in the last couple of seconds. Thanks by the way for bailing me out.”

The captain grinned. “You looked too tired for overtime. Nerves getting to you a little bit?”

I laughed nervously. “Not anymore, no. At least, I don’t think so.”

Coach came in and he smiled. “Well Baby V, get ready for the next three games.”

I stared. “What?”

“Nemo has a mild concussion and he told me to give this to you.”

I took it curiously and opened it. In his chicken scratch I managed to read what he had written to me.

My shoulders slumped, and I tried not to laugh. “He really is something else all right.”

“What is it?” Kris took the paper and he looked confused. “Why is he giving you the deed to his net?”

“Read the bottom.”

He scanned it. “Only until he is better. Huh?”

I smiled, leaning back. “Long story. Long story.”

I got showered and dressed and met Andrew, ready to hit the plane for our next stop: Vancouver.

“Who’s my plane buddy?” I asked, yawning loudly.

“Who was your plane buddy last time?” Kane asked.

“You,” I reminded him.

“Oh yeah. Well I wanted to sit by Sharp for a rematch of video games, so you get his partner.”

“Who is that?”

“Whoever looks lonely,” he scoffed like it was obvious.

I rolled my eyes. “My bad.”

I walked down the aisle until a hand on my wrist kept me from going anywhere else. “You’re with me,” a familiar voice said.

I sat down next to Andrew Ladd and looked at him. “Hey,” I whispered.

He smiled. “Hey yourself.”

I tried to stifle another yawn.

He brought his hand on my head and gently pushed my face to his shoulder and I tried not to blush so much that I would burn his shirt off. Oh God. The red on my cheeks just got brighter.

“Go to sleep,” he whispered.

I knew I wouldn’t get to sleep. I was uncomfortable and nervous and wondering if my heart
was beating too loudly. . . . . . and. . . . .


She was asleep in seconds. I smiled at her sleeping figure, curled up in the seat, her blonde curly hair splayed across her face. She looked so innocent.

“You’re kind of special, you know that?” Steeger’s voice startled me. “She doesn’t even fall asleep on my shoulder. She gets too nervous.”

I looked down at the sleeping Rose. “She’s asleep Steeger.”

He grinned. “I can see that.”

“Okay?” Where was he going with this conversation.

He was about to turn around when Toews came up, looking confused. “You three,” he pointed at me, Steeger, and Rose, “are sharing a room.”

“We did last night too,” I reminded him.

“Yeah. . .” he trailed off.

“Why do you sound so confused and awkward then?” I asked him.

“Because there are apparently only two beds. Good luck with that,” he said and ambled away to his sleeping partner, Kaner.

Kris eyed me and he looked very confused for a second. “What?” I said.

“Rose and I will share a bed,” he looked at me funny.

“I know,” I said slowly. “Look Steeger, whatever you’re thinking about, get it out of your mind. Now,” I warned.

He was still giving me the look when he slunk back down to his seat.

I was friends with some weird ass people.


We got to Vancouver with hours to spare and Coach decided to not make us practice that morning. Apparently we looked spent. Well I wondered why.

Rose yawned, reaching for the room key. “I’m going to bed.”

Kris and I both shrugged and followed. It was three in the morning and it was cold in Vancouver. What else were we going to do?

Rose collapsed in the first bed, which meant I was getting the other bed. I even walked around the long way as to tell Steeger that I was really going to the other bed. He looked happy as I laid my bag down. I had to refrain from rolling my eyes at him. I laid there on the bed for a while, not intending to fall asleep, but somehow managing it.

After a while, I felt someone pushing me over and I scooted to make room for them. Their body touched mine and I shivered. They were freezing, even in a sweatshirt and pants. I wrapped my arms around the small body and my eyes popped open. Only three people on the team were that small: Steeger, Kaner, and Rose and two of them did not have curves like this one did.

“Rose?” I mumbled, looked down at her small frame, curled up against my own body.

She blinked sleepily, looking up. “I’m cold,” she said sheepishly, her cheeks on fire.

I looked around at her supposed bed. It was empty. “Where the hell is Steeger?”

“Optional practice? I don’t know, but he took the blankets away and well I’m cold.”

I chewed my lip, thinking about my options. If Steeger walked in and saw us, I was a dead hockey player skating.

She sighed and her entire body relaxed against mine and her breathing fell steady again. She was already asleep. And Steeger said she couldn’t fall asleep easily on other people.

I smiled, hugging her a little closer and closed my eyes for a few more minutes of shut eye time.

I wasn’t about to give up my short amount of time with Rose. Even if Steeger saw us, I wouldn’t have cared. It would be worth it.