Sequel: Work in Progress
Status: Short Story for contest



Brooke and I went inside and ordered a couple drinks. We turned to look for our friends and found them sitting next to one another in a secluded corner, “Well they look cozy.”

Brooke smiled at them, “They do. She deserves this night.”

I wanted to man up and ask what kind of night she deserved or be smooth like all my teammates were so easily, but it was hard. I hated how socially awkward I was.

“W…What kind of night do you deserve?” I half mumbled.

“Probably not as good of a one as I’m having,” she smiled my way.

I put my hand on her lower back and led her toward the booth that Viktor and Allison were at.
I let her slide into the seat and then slid close to her, closer than I usually would. Viktor noticed and gave me a knowing glance before directing his attention to Brooke, “Ally here tells me that you teach at a public school on the South Side,” he made a face, “Is it one of the bad ones or the good ones?”

Brooke shrugged, “It’s an in between one. I haven’t heard of any students being too bad, but they’re still in a less than ideal community.”

I knew she taught high school, but I had no idea it was on the South Side of the city. That worried me a little because I had heard some of those schools were sketchy and rough, I had even visited some that scared the hell out of me and my teammates. I hoped hers wasn’t as bad as some of the ones I had seen.

The four of us talked for a while and I noticed Allison was getting a little drunk. Viktor wasn’t the kind of guy to take advantage of that, but he wasn’t the guy who would let a pretty girl he was interested in leave his side when she was drunk. He was a gentleman and would keep an eye on her, either take her home or to his place and he would make sure she was okay before either leaving or letting her stay in his guest room while he slept in his bed.

Brooke was nursing her second drink and so was I. I didn’t want to be drunk, especially not around her. We were having nice conversation and I wanted to keep that up and remember the little things she said or did so I could catch the cute stuff she did and remember it in the future.

Viktor set his arm behind Allison and smiled down at her, “We have a game the 28th and then we’re going to a bar for our team Christmas party, want to come with me?” he asked her.

Fucking hell. He would do that right in front of me and Brooke. I knew what he was trying to do, he was trying to encourage me to ask Brooke, to man up and be confident around her. Damn him for being smooth and a good friend all at the same time.

Allison looked at Brooke and bit her lip, looking like she felt guilty if she said yes but really wanting to go. Brooke looked at her friend, moving her eyes subtly, speaking in silent girl talk, “Sure,” Allison smiled at Viktor.

“Awesome,” he grinned.

Brooke played with the straw in her drink, “Will you help me get ready?” Allison asked.

It made me close my eyes and roll my neck a little. Allison meant it in the most innocent way possible, you could tell by her tone and how she didn’t react after the words left her mouth, but it was something that would probably eat away at most girls.

Viktor let out a breath as he eyed me, as if he were saying, “I’m sorry.”

“Abby was telling us about it,” Allison went on, “She made it sound like it would be so much fun.”

I just wanted Allison to shut the fuck up, “Come on,” Viktor tugged at
her arm, “Let’s go get a drink.”

Brooke looked down at her half full drink, “She gets so excited so easily,” a sweet smile came to her face.

The way she acted made it seem like she wasn’t upset, so I wondered if she didn’t want me to ask her or if she liked me at all. I wanted her to like me, I wanted to ask her to the party, but I didn’t know if it was a good idea. I didn’t know if it was too soon or if she wanted to deal with the rumors or even me. Yes, she was flirty, at least I thought so, but was it because she liked me, because of who I was, or just how she acted?

“Excuse me,” she put her hand on my arm, “I need to use the restroom.”

I stood up and let her go just as Allison walked back to the table without Viktor. Allison gave me a smile, “Do you like her?” she poked my chest.

“I think I do,” I told her.

She looked at Viktor and then back at me, “Ask her to the party then.”

I looked in the direction of the bathrooms, “She wouldn’t want to go with me.”

“She would,” Allison told me, “She’s always had a crush on you, well, you and Sidney Crosby,” she made a joke.

I chuckled a little, reminding myself that Crosby was even more uncomfortable around women than I was. He hadn’t had a date in years, he could hardly speak to a girl, and he was an even bigger nerd than I was; I wasn’t as bad off as I thought. Then it hit me, she just liked me because of my status, not because of who I was as a person.

“Jon, she’s hard to read, has been since her last relationship went to shit, but she genuinely likes you. When you got hit tonight and skated to the bench right away, she was silent until you went back out there. When you tripped over the step, she laughed, but she made said that she hoped you were okay. When she asked me to go to the game with her tonight, she was excited. She told me about how sweet you were, how clumsy you were, and I could tell right away that this was the first time she felt like this in a long time. You surprised her too. You’re not this idea she and everyone else has, you’re a genuine, normal guy who trips over his own feet, says weird things, and is a little awkward; that’s what she likes the most.”

I looked up at Allison, feeling the heat on my cheeks, “Really?”

“She always thought you were cute and great at hockey, but now she’s seen something real
and I think she likes what she’s sees now more than the idea she had in her head.”

Brooke was walking back to the table so Allison stopped. I watched as Viktor pulled Brooke aside to the small dance floor and started to dance with her, even though it was just them. She laughed and smiled at the giant Swede pulling her around the some song, “She’s genuine Jon, don’t think she’s just talking to you because she wants her fifteen minutes or money or anything, it’s completely real.”

A few more minutes passed before Viktor and Brooke came back to the table, “He’s not as clumsy as you are,” she whispered to me as she sat back down.

I looked down, “I’m awkward.”

“So am I,” she patted my leg, “Haven’t you noticed?”

“No,” I answered truthfully.

“Well I am,” she smiled.

Allison started to show signs of being pretty drunk so Viktor asked her if she wanted a ride home, “I can give you a lift too,” he spoke to Brooke.

“I’ve got it,” I answered for her, “I said I would.”

“I can get a cab,” she shook her head, “No need for anyone to go out of their way.”

“Where do you live?” I asked.

“River North on State.”

“I’m close by,” I told her, “Come on.”

I managed to make it to my car without falling or tripping, which was a feat in itself. She gave me directions to her building and we talked the whole way there.

When I pulled up outside her doors she smiled at me, “Thank you for the tickets and the drinks tonight, I had fun.”

“I did too,” I smiled at her, “Glad we could win tonight.”

“Me too,” she took her seat belt off and then leaned over and placed a kiss on my cheek, “Have a Merry Christmas Jonny.”

“You…you too,” I managed, but she was already out of my car.
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Anything? Think he's dumb? Like that he's a little different in this story than in most? I only seem to read the ones where he's kinda a jerk or super i wanted to switch it up :P