Sequel: Attractions

Counting the Ways to Reject You

Chapter One

My name was Natalie Whitt and I was the daughter of a very rich man who loved hockey to a whole new level that borderlined crazy obsession. My daddy owned half of the NHL I swore, and I remembered as early as pre-school, him taking me to any and every game. It didn’t matter the teams. It was all hockey.

Every vacation, our family traveled from one hockey city to another and I loved every bit. It was determined from an early age that I was exactly like my father and that I would have the same obsession as he did.

I grew up loving three teams out of them all: Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, and the Chicago Blackhawks. Maybe it was because those were three teams that weren’t owned by my father, was why I was drawn to them. Well besides their players and their cities. I fell in love with Vancouver when I was first there at age eight just because of the beauty. Chicago when I was ten and Pittsburgh when I was eleven.

When I graduated high school, I went into sports training and almost immediately out of college, I was greeted by any and every job. I traveled from Anaheim to Washington to LA to Pittsburgh and then Chicago made an offer I couldn’t resist. I jumped at the chance and landed myself at the United Center with Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi, coaching them through the works. I had made many friends and connections of my own, earning me a reputation like my father’s: well connected and very powerful.

The Blackhawks won the Cup and both goal tenders left, leaving me with another newbie goalie, Corey Crawford, and veteran Marty Turco. I loved them both to death.

I loved them all to death. Well except for a certain hockey player who didn’t know when to call it quits.

Yes my dear Patrick Sharp, I mean you.


“You know I need everyone’s hands to count the times you’ve rejected poor Sharpie,” Hossa laughed as laced up for morning practice on the player bench.

I rolled my eyes, already on the ice skating circles, waiting for Corey Crawford to get his sorry ass out onto the ice before I shot pucks at his face for the next hour and a half. Hossa was bringing up Patrick Sharp, again, only because I declined another date offer. Again. It was the third time this month. “Hossa,” I warned.

He threw his hands up in defense. “I’m just saying you should cut the guy some slack. I mean he was named the hottest guy in Chicago sports. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

“No,” I said plainly.

Corey made his way out, yawning and apologizing for being so slow. “Ready Captain Suicide?”

My nickname. It first started off with Nemo and Huet calling me that because I apparently ‘worked them to death’. Yet, who won the Cup? Yeah I rubbed that in their faces for a while and even still was doing it.

But anyways, when they moved away, they left notes for future goaltenders to ‘beware of Captain Suicide’. Of course Turk and Crow found them and wouldn’t let it go.

A better nickname was always welcomed, I reminded them. They always laughed and said that Tazer and I were the perfect never-to-be-married couple. Captain Serious and Captain Suicide.

Tazer found it just as funny as I did.

I rolled my eyes again before grabbing Nick Leddy’s back up stick to shoot pucks at Corey. It was usually his or Kaner’s that I stole.

For the next hour, I worked Corey until he shot a puck back at me, nearly taking me off my skates.

“You could work part time center you know,” I joked as he leaned against the boards by the benches, drinking some water.

“There are days when I really don’t like you,” he stated.

“Today is one of them I assume?”

“You must have rejected Sharpie again.”

“And why do you say that?” I placed my hand on my hip.

“Because you always get snippier and work us goal tenders harder when you reject him. He said he’d warn me next time so I would know NOT TO SHOW UP!”

“Quit whining baby. Five minute break. Skate laps with Skille and Scott over there. They look lonely.”

“Go find Sharp, your perfect match!” he taunted.

“How old are you, four?” I shot back.

“He’s actually five,” Kopy joked, skating up to us.

“Explains so much,” I rolled my eyes and skated over to the bench to grab a drink of water. There I found my best friend, Starlyn. Otherwise, known to the guys as just Star.

“Star, hey. What’re you doing here?” I asked.

“Crashed your practice. Got bored,” she shrugged, painting her toe nails. On the bench. Only she could paint her toe nails a bright red on the player bench, with guys bumping into her left and right without messing up once.

“Okay, so now the real reason?”

She looked up, grinning like a cat. “That is partially the reason I’m here. The other is because guess who’s having a party tonight?”


“Guess who’s going?” she sang.

“You,” I sang plainly back.

“Guess who’s playing my wing girl!” she shouted in her singsong voice.

I sighed. “Me. . .”


“Star, it’s the same boys every time.”

“Nope!” she touched her pointer finger to my nose. “Do you know who they’re playing tomorrow night?”

I groaned. “The Pens? Really?”

“You love Staalsy and Tanger!” she pouted.

“Not together with my boys. It’s a dangerous combination.”

“Well bring your hazard suit and helmet then. I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“Who’s car?”

“Kaner’s. Dur,” she said like it was obvious. Maybe it was because everyone knew that Kaner and Star were together, but they liked flirting too much that they never officially stated they were a couple. Oh well. They would be together by the end of the night, like every other night.

I left Star to her nail painting and back to my goalies and the others. “Since Coach Q is out sick with the flu, I get to take over the rest of you all,” I rest my hands on my hips, staring at the team.

Groans erupted and thoughts of bashing their heads on the ice were going around the group.

“Knock it off, you babies. Scrimmage game? Divide yourselves up.”

They did so and then I proceeded to move everyone around. Just to piss everyone off and get them working better together. I stood in between Johnny Toews and Patrick Sharp, ready to drop the puck. “Ready boys? We’ll play this game to three points.”

“Nat, I have a question,” Sharp said instead, standing out of position to take the puck to his team.

“What?” I had to work to not roll my eyes at him. I knew where he was going at it would have been the second time that day that he tried to get me to go on a date with him.

“Will you go to the All Star game with me? I’m going and all and I can bring someone and well you are a coach. It would work out perfectly.”

I didn’t even have to think about it as I flipped the puck towards the ice and skated backwards, out of the way. “No,” I said simply as the puck hit the ice and Johnny won the face off.

Simple as that.

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