Sequel: Attractions

Counting the Ways to Reject You

Chapter Twelve

One month later I moved into Patrick’s house before he left to go see his family up in Canada. I would have joined him, save for the part that my family had way too many hockey related things to do in the summer, so I was stuck in Chicago.

“What are you up to?” Patrick called me one evening late in July.

“Rearranging your entire house,” I said effortlessly into the phone.

“I still can’t tell if you’re serious or not,” he sounded nervous.

I looked around at the house we were living in. “Eh, okay I may have added some thoughtful touches to the walls. No biggie. It’s not like I moved your precious Fringe collection.”

“You excited for the team this year?” he asked, ignoring my jab at his taste in television.

“I am. Corey is number one and it’s either going to be Emery or Salak as the back up.”

“When I say team, I mean all the other positions besides goaltenders,” he laughed on the other line.

“Oh! Yeah! The little Swede kid looks as if he’s sixteen, but he’s got some good numbers. I like him.” Like every year, I managed to get the files on all of the guys and thoroughly stalk them, essentially.

“You mean Marcus Kruger?” he asked.

“Is he the little Swede kid?” I asked.

“Yes Nat, he’s the little Swede kid.”

“Then yes.”

He sighed, the sigh turning to laughter. “Thanks babe, didn’t figure that one out at this point.”

“When are you coming back home?” I changed the subject, walking around our kitchen, hungry, but not wanting to actually make anything.

“A few days, give or take.”

There was knocking on the door. “Okay that sounds great. I have to go. Someone is here.”

“Okay Nat. I’ll see you in a few days, okay?”

I couldn’t help but snort. “Yes Pat. I know you’ll be home in the next few days. Bye, love you.”

“Love you too babe,” he ended the conversation and I padded to open the door to whomever it was.

“Corey Crawford!” I grinned, throwing her arms around my goaltender. “I’ve actually missed you and your ability to throw insults and pucks at me at the same time.”

He laughed, waltzing in without an invitation. Then again, he never needed an invitation. “So my dear, dear Natalie. How has Chicago been without any of us? Missing Kaner and Tazer yet? Where’s Star? I’m surprised she’s not out on the porch painting her nails or something.”

“Core, you on something?” I asked, throwing him a bottled water.

“No sleep in the past day. Flight got delayed.”

I nodded, understanding. “You don’t sleep on flights often. No pills?”

“It was supposed to be a short flight!” he threw his hands up. “So?” he returned to his questions.

“Chicago has been quite quiet actually. Very lovely for some R&R. I miss my supposed other half. I can’t miss Kaner. He calls me every day wondering when Star will be home. Star is in some place far away I can’t talk about because she’d poison me in my sleep.”

“What does Star do for a living?” he asked, collapsing on the couch, face down, water dangling from one hand, still closed.

I shrugged. “Stuff?”

“Bull. You totally know, you just choose to be a jerk and keep it from me and the poor Kaner. Does Sharpie know?” he asked, yawning.

“Nope. Corey? Corey! No!” I cried as the water dropped from his hand and he started to snore. Damn that Corey Crawford for making the couch his new bed.

My shoulders sagged. “You suck Corey Crawford,” I mumbled, getting up and got on my shorts and tank for a nice good run.

I threw open the door, ready to hit the ground running, but alas I was met with three more hockey players.

“Jesus Christ!” I yelped. “Kaner! I’m not telling you where Star is! Stop stalking me already!”

“Aw come on Nat! I brought sacrifices!” he gestured to Stalberg who looked ready to slap him and a confused young kid, who looked more on the scared side.

I held up my phone and scanned the pictures of the newbies. I compared pictures as the kid looked on, scared as shit. “The little Swede kid!” I said, excited.

He looked at Stalberg, who just shrugged. “I haven’t been home for a while Krugs. She’s a changed woman since she moved in with Sharpie.”

Marcus Kruger said something back in Swedish. Stalberg laughed and slapped Kaner upside the head.

“What did he say?” I asked Stalberg as they all came inside and made their selves comfortable around the passed out goaltender.

“Is he dead?” he poked Corey in the forehead.

“NO, but you will be if you don’t tell me what the Swede kid said,” I looked pointedly at the two Swedes.

“He said that Kaner told him you were a blood thirsty demon woman with evil powers that will want to make him get traded by the end of October.”

“What?!” Kaner threw up his arms. “He asked who you were!”

“And just saying that my name is Natalie and I’m the goaltender coach wasn’t easy enough for you, you little twerp? I am never telling you where Star is now!”

“See!” Kaner pointed a finger at me, looking at Kruger. “She is a little, evil, mind controlling, demonic, power filled woman!”

“Guys, he’s going to pass out if you keep scaring him,” Stalberg said.

“Or better yet,” Corey mumbled into a pillow. “Knock out Captain Suicide and Peek-a-Boo over there and all of our problems are solved.”

“Don’t worry kid,” Stalberg slapped him on the back. “Things only get stranger from here.”
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