Back It up, Baby

Office Space.

I slumped down in the big, brown, suede chair in the public relations office. Patiently, I waited as Leah, the head of communications and public relations, finished the memo she was typing out on to her laptop. I couldn’t tell if this was a tactical play, you know, make me really think about why I was sitting across from her, or if she was really just sending out an email.

I knew why I was in there. So did everyone on the team when Coach had announced that I was to haul my ass up here directly after practice. His words were met with a chorus of “ohhs” not unlike what you would expect from a grade ten high school classroom of boys. It had been funny at the time but, now I dreaded being here. Who I really have gotten in that much trouble if I hadn’t have shown up to this meeting? With last night’s interview, I’m guessing yes.


Brandon had put on ESPN to catch NFL highlights while, I sat on his floor spooning huge globs of ice cream into my mouth. Every once in a blue moon, ESPN showed hockey highlights but, this day wasn’t my lucky day. I swallowed hard when I was greeted with a distorted looking version of myself on his TV.

We were silent for a little while, watching the clips of me freaking out , before Brandon hit a button his remote, bringing Netflix up to hide my face, “you never really explained why you snapped.”

I shrugged, pulling the spoon between my lips and dropping it back into my half empty ice cream pint, “you were pissed off and I was pissed off because you had no reason to be pissed off and then they asked me that stupid fucking question. Seriously, I make ten times as much as they do and they still can so easily make me feel worthless.”

“Yeah, they are good at that,” he nodded before grimacing at me, “don’t get any of that on my carpet.”

“Like I would waste ice cream,” I rolled my eyes dramatically at him. When James and I had picked up groceries together, I had managed to sneak a couple containers of ice cream into the house for myself as well. I knew James wasn’t allowed to eat it but, I wasn’t on his diet. I had remembered them when I was getting ready to leave for Brandon’s. “It’s my good job treat.”

“For what? Bench warming?” He snorted. I just shrugged, looking up at him with a big, innocent smile.

“Yeah, kind of like when you non-ironically congratulated that girl after she gave you the world’s worst blow job,” I had to breathe a little more heavily to keep myself from giggling. It was worth it watching his jaw drop and eyes widen.

“How do you know about that?”

“Boys talk almost as much as girls, Suttsy,” I replied, scooping out a big bite.

Suddenly, I was being tackled and he had eaten my ice cream right off the spoon before I could even react. I just laid there pinned under him, a laughing mess as he took my ice cream tub away from me, “hey, that’s mine!”

“Well, now its mine.”


I blew my bangs out of my face. As far as I was concerned, I had been right during that post-game. The sports world was making a problem that didn’t exist. On paper and in person, I was rightfully the best person for the job and that had nothing to do with having boobs.

Leah finally looked up at me, her hands folding neatly in front of her, that diamond ring sparkled right in my eyes. She smiled, “so Lily, obviously there are some things we need to talk about.”

“I’m really sorry about the interview,” word vomit, of course. “I didn’t mean for it to sound like it did.” I looked down at my feet in shame but, was met with laughter.

“Oh no, no, no, no one is mad at you, Lily. Everyone was there, we all heard it, Sam posted it and TSN is playing it as it was said,” she explained, chuckling. “It’s really just ESPN that has it cut to look back and you know no one in the hockey world cares what they have to say. You were right, everything you said.”

I couldn’t help but, smile though. They hadn’t turned their back on me. Shero and Lemieux were right, as long as I was on the team, they wouldn’t leave me high and dry. “Oh, well then.”

Leah flipped open a notebook on her desk and slid a print out of an email she had received towards me. I read the big words on top, “MICHAEL WRIGHT.” I frowned, I knew exactly which coach that was. Instead, I just looked up at Leah, waiting for her, “why did you turn down World Juniors without consulting any of us, Lily? It’s huge. Everyone thinks you should be doing it.”

I looked away from her and stared out her big, bay window. It was such a gray day outside. No birds in sight and everything just looked so dreary. She wouldn’t understand but, the only way I could move on from this was if I made her. “They offered it to me after I made the team. Not during the summer where I was working with some of the games top athletes and goaltenders, not when I had the best save percentage in the OHL and second in all of the CHL, not even when I went 5th overall. They waited until you guys made it clear that I was on the Penguins before offering it to me and I thought that was pretty fucked up, excuse my language.”

I had received the phone call my first night in James’ house, right before going to see Beau. I turned it down immediately, stating that if they didn’t want a girl on the team when she had earned it, she didn’t want to be on a team that only wanted her for her status on another.

“I get that but, I really think you should reconsider,” Leah said softly, not wanting to press the issue much farther, it seemed. I got that, sometimes I could come off very irritable and most of the NHL now knows how fast I can snap thanks to the temper I had gotten from damn Tuukka. I nodded, ending that discussion and forced a smile. Leah closed the notebook and returned to smiling. “There is also another issue we must talk about. You see, there has been some problems recently with younger players becoming somewhat of party animals. I know your birthday is coming up and the boys have been planning some kind of dinner for you, I just want you to be careful about who you choose to party with.”

“They are planning something for me?” I couldn’t hide the grin. The boys, they loved me and it was really starting show from all kinds of angles. Leah laughed and nodded.

“Sid has a VIP room at some nice bar and grill in Ottawa for the game night,” She twisted the ring on her finger. “They want you to have a good 19th birthday. Just please be responsible, Lily. You know how much the media is out for your blood. You’re still early in the season, wait for a couple more months before you start showing you’re human.” She winked and I nodded.

“Okay, I will,” I stood up to leave, even getting so far as the door before turning around. “Leah, will you be in Ottawa with us?”

She nodded, looking at her computer, “yeah, the guy who usually goes on roadies with the team has a family wedding so, I’m covering for him. What’s up?”

“I really only have the guys here for friends, would you want to come to my birthday party? I mean, are you allowed to come hang out with us?” Leah instantly looked away from her computer and up at me. The biggest grin spread across her face and she nodded.

“Yes, I’m allowed and yes, I would love to come, Lily.” I left her office quickly after, a new confidence along with me. This was my team, these were my boys and God, did I love my life.
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Sorry for the delay, my grandmother had heart surgery and we've been a little preoccupied.