Sequel: Attractions

Counting the Ways to Reject You

Chapter Nine

I had managed to avoid Patrick for nearly two weeks after the All Star game, but there were only so many times you could jump in a custodian closet or behind goaltender pads before it got really old.

It was a Thursday. The Thursday the boys played against the Vancouver Canucks to be exact. It was an optional practice, though everyone showed up. Canucks weren’t very much liked around the rink.

I wasn’t even allowed to be friends with Kesler on game days. Ridiculous idiots, I tell you. He wasn’t that bad of a guy.

Anyways, so I was going through some warm ups with Turco and Crow when Coach called everyone down to take a knee.

I made quick eye contact with Patrick, but we both looked away just as quickly as we had glanced at each other.

Ridiculous was how we couldn’t even looked at each other.

“Nat, will you run and get the tapes set up in the viewing room?” Coach asked, seeing as I didn’t have a goaltender to coach at the moment.

“Sure,” I shrugged, already heading off the ice. I had taken off my skates and was just about to leave the ice when I paused and turned around. “Coach? I heard someone moved the Vancouver tapes. Do you know where they placed them?”

“I’ll send someone to help you look for them,” he responded and I started to walk towards the viewing room, knowing that whoever it was, they would catch up to me.

“Hold on a sec Nat. I need to take off my skates and gear,” Patrick’s voice made me pause in my step. “Wait for me?”

I turned around and crossed my arms impatiently.

Ten minutes later, he emerged in a black Blackhawks long sleeve and a pair of work out shorts. We started the trek in silence, but of course, silence was too good.

“So,” he started off expectantly.

“I haven’t told anyone,” I said, finishing his thought. “About the All Star game.”

“I figured you wouldn’t have. I haven’t either.”

“I’m impressed. You’re really close with the boys.”

We both stopped in front of the viewing room, but didn’t make a move to go inside. “They’re your family too,” he argued. “Look at Kaner and Crow. You’ve got two idiot brothers. Tazer loves you too, though he won’t admit to anyone that he loves them except his hockey stick.”

I couldn’t help but giggle at the image. “And what about you Patrick Sharp?” I said slowly, closing the gap between us. “You’re definitely not my idiot brother or a Tazer. What does that leave you with?”

He smiled and brushed a loose strand of hair away from my face. “You’ve been avoiding me all week. Why?”

“Because,” I sighed. “I don’t want to make it look obvious.”

He smiled mischievously. “Make what look obvious?”

I hit his shoulder gently. “You know what.”

“Alright fine. So where do you think the tapes are?” he asked, knowing it was time to change the subject.

It was my turn to harbor a devilish smile. “I already have them set up.”


“I knew you would chase after me,” I told him, leaning in for a kiss.

He met my mouth halfway. “I should have known you’d set up a place.”

That time, he closed the door.

Twenty minutes later exactly, the guys poured in and Patrick and I were on opposite sides of the room, doing our own thing. Mostly trying to make it look like we didn’t use the viewing room as a first and second base room instead.

“You guys can’t even sit next to each other?” Hossa rolled his eyes. “You two are absolutely ridiculous.”

“One time thing was it,” Kopy sighed and plopped down in a chair. “That sucks. I was hoping for some cute little babies.”

I tried not to blush and focused on the last game tape as if it was oh so fascinating.

Crow shot me a confused look and I knew that if I made eye contact I would ruin it all. And I wasn’t quite ready to admit that I might have loved Patrick Sharp yet.

So I just sat in the darkest corner of the room and pretended to pay attention.

After practice, I literally ran out of there and I nearly got attacked by Kaner, who know doubt was on a mission from Crow.

“Dammit Kaner!” I screeched, pushing him off of me and struggling to get up in the falling snow and black ice.

“What is going on here?!” Tazer boomed, half of the team behind him. “Kaner, you break the goalie coach, you buy another.”

“Am I that replaceable?!” I hollered.

“Hell no Nat. No one can be Tazer’s other half of pure terror,” Kopy grinned like the cat from Alice In Wonderland.

I narrowed my eyes at the Slovak and he shrunk back quickly behind his better half.

“Okay what is going on here?!” Tazer yelled, looking between me, Kaner, Crow, and Patrick. So it wasn’t a myth. Captain Serious DID know all.

“Or more like, what is going on between you two?” he looked at me and my eyes widened, knowing who he was going to look at next.

“Kaner! You have been really attached to Natalie lately. Don’t tell me you’re thinking about becoming a goaltender. God knows you’ll kill us all,” he shook his head and I nearly dropped back down to the ice out of confusion.

“What?” Kaner turned, obviously just as confused as myself. Maybe Captain Serious didn’t know everything. . . .

Crow chuckled to himself, before patting Sharpie on the shoulder and turning back to the ice rink. Everyone followed at a slow pace, and even Patrick followed, though not before giving me a curious glance.

“I feel like this team is starting lose their minds!” Kaner sat up, his entire being covered in snow. “What is going on between you and Sharpie?!”

“Patrick?” a new voice entered. “What the hell are you doing, covered in snow?” Star walked up to us, blue eyes curious as ever.

“Looks like your girlfriend is here, so I’ll just leave you two. Bye Star! Bye Kaner!” I said and sprinted to my car before any other surprises could happen.
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