‹ Prequel: Madness

Just Bent

No Nothing is as Bad as it Seems

The skills competition started a short time later and the girls watched each event with interest. Camille jotted notes in a notebook on her lap, giggling as Patrick revived his Super Kane gimmick for the breakaway challenge. When the hardest shot competition started, Camille sat up straighter.

“This is why we have these seats,” Camille told her. “So I can watch this from a front row vantage point.” Shea was the fourth of eight shooters and Camille swooned as he released and shot the puck down ice. She waited with bated breath for his speed to be announced and then cheered wildly with the crowd for the 103 mph slap shot.

“They can hit a puck 103 miles an hour?” Amanda asked.

“Sometimes faster. It’ll be Shea and Chara in the finals. Just wait. Chara hit 108.8 one year. Shea’s best is 106.” They watched until it was down to Chara and Shea as Camille predicted. The two men took their last three shots, Chara coming out the winner for another year.

They watched the sixth event and Team Gaborik came out the winner. Camille stood and cheered with the hometown crowd and she pulled Amanda to her feet to cheer with her. Camille chatted happily with some of the fans around them and after ten minutes, with the crowd thinning, Camille motioned for Amanda to follow her. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” Amanda asked as she followed Camille out to the concourse.

“Downstairs.” Camille flashed a pass at security and she and Amanda passed down a hall and into a lounge where an assortment of people had assembled. Camille waved to some, saying hello as she passed by others. She led Amanda to a corner and parked herself there.

“Now what?” Amanda asked.

“Now we wait. Shouldn’t be too much longer before some of the boys get out here.”

Ten minutes later, she spotted Shea and he walked over to them with a grin. Camille smiled and he picked her up in a hug when he reached her.

"How was my slap shot?" He asked close to her ear.

Camille grinned. "You know exactly how it was," she answered him. "And you knew exactly what you were doing making sure my seat was in the perfect spot to watch."

Shea's eyes sparkled as he grinned at her. "Wanna skip going out with the others?"

"God yes!" Camille sighed as he held her. "Where's Duncs?"

"Should be here in a minute." Camille nodded and motioned Amanda over just as Patrick and Tyler walked up.

"Hello," Tyler said smoothly to Amanda, shaking her hand. "I'm Tyler."

"No, Segs," Camille said, swatting his hand away. "Not for you."

"Cammie!" He whined. She shook her head and Tyler sighed loudly. Patrick laughed.

"It's Amanda, right?" Patrick asked. She nodded. "Nice to meet you. Go easy on Duncs; last girl he liked broke his heart and fell for someone else before he finally got his head out of his ass and told her." He winked at Camille and she rolled her eyes.

"Will you please shut the fuck up?" Camille said through clenched teeth. Shea pulled her under his arm and whispered to her as she relaxed under him. Shea spotted Duncan then and waved him over.

“I’m taking Camille back to the hotel before she kills Kane,” Shea said lowly to him. “You need to have a talk with him and you’re probably going to have to explain some shit to Amanda now. Sorry.”

“No worries,” Duncan nodded. “Don’t stay up too late."

"I'll wear him out, don't worry," Camille smirked.

Duncan laughed. "That is exactly what I'm worried about."


Amanda followed Duncan as they walked to a nearby restaurant with a group of hockey players. They had politely introduced themselves before but she could not for the life of her remember all their names. They had blurred into one good looking guy after another and she stuck close to Duncan, staying quiet and letting them all talk around her.

“How do you know Duncan?” the man seated to her left leaned in to ask after a waiter had been through to get their order. She looked up at him with a small smile. “Or is it that you know Camille?”

Amanda noted his accent and took a moment to admire his tall frame, leaned back in his seat. She knew he was appraising her so she did the same, taking in the expensive brown striped dress shirt rolled twice over his forearms, tucked into expensive looking but simple khaki colored slacks, the width of his shoulders to the taper of his waist to what looked like rock solid thighs dying to burst from the seams.

“I don’t know either of them all that well, truth be told,” Amanda answered.

“But you are here with Duncan?”

“Yes, I came with him.”

“You sat with Camille tonight?”

“Yes. How do you know Camille?”

“I used to play for the Rangers and we lived near each other before I was traded. We are friends.” Amanda nodded. “How did you meet Camille?”

“At a bar the other night.”

“She introduced you to Duncan?”


“Then you must be good people. Camille wouldn’t leave you alone with Duncan unless she thought you weren’t a gold digger.”

“Oh. Um, forgive me but I can’t remember your name.”

“It’s Marian. You can call me Gaby if you want.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Amanda smiled.

“You live here?”

“No; my friend Izzy does though. I came to visit her from Chicago.”

Marian nodded. “You live in Chicago?”


“Now I see why Camille introduced you to Duncan. It all makes sense now.”

“Can I ask you something?” Amanda asked, turning in her seat towards him more. He nodded his permission and Amanda glanced over her shoulder at Duncan, who was talking loudly with two others. “Camille said she and Duncan never dated but it doesn’t seem that way. What am I missing? I know she’s married but if there is something going on, I think I should know.”

“You should ask Duncan that question,” Marian replied diplomatically.

“But I’m asking you,” Amanda said, smiling up at him.

“I’ve known Camille as long as Duncan has. He’s always been protective of her. We all are to one degree or another, but some of us are closer to her than others. Before Shea came into the picture, Duncan probably was the person she was closest to but they never went out, not as anything other than friends. She did not date hockey players, period, until she met Shea.”

“I still feel like I’m missing something though. Patrick said something tonight and it pissed Camille off.”

“You shouldn’t listen to anything Pat says,” Marian advised. “He’s a little shit head.” Amanda laughed and Duncan turned away from his conversation.

“I’ll tell Camille if you’re trying to move in on her. She’s already shooed Kaner and Segs off,” Duncan said with a grin.

"She'll have a hard time running me off," Marian boasted with a smile.

“He does have a lovely accent,” Amanda teased.

“Girls dig the accent, Keith,” Marian added. “If you are not nice to her, I’ll have to swoop in and save her. I’m sure Camille wouldn’t mind that.”

Duncan laughed. “She would possibly approve, you being a former Ranger and all. I’m pretty sure at some point you all brainwashed her into some sort of cult you all belong to.”

“Blueshirts for life,” Marian replied.
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::sigh:: I'm having such a hard time with this y'all. I know where I want to go but getting there is a battle. If my weekly updates become sporadic and longer in length, I do apologize profusely in advance. Hopefully I have some other things to tide you over just in case.