Back It up, Baby

Permanent Spot.

I didn’t go to Brandon’s hotel room that night. We had lost the game pretty bad and I wasn’t feeling up for any kind of attention, even Beau had kept conversation to a minimal and didn’t even suggest a repeat of two nights prior. My defence had been off all night and Claude Giroux had been gunning for my head. Even though I had blocked 45 shots, I had let in 5 and that was too much for me.

If it hadn’t been for Ray and Mario assuring me the night before, I would have cried all night. My biggest nightmare was to be sent to the AHL, or worse, back to the O. Going top 5 and not being ready for the show was not on my list of things I wanted to be known for, right after being a girl. This is why they talked to me, I thought. To assure me that everyone makes mistakes but, they still had faith. Ray even said that pre-season doesn’t matter, right?
It still didn’t feel right though and I carried that around with me the entire time. I wasn’t sulking but, definitely reflecting. Even on the plane ride home, I kept to myself while the boys played whatever the hell it was up front.

“Lily?” I looked up to see Coach sit down beside me. I gave him a small smile. He chuckled slightly and wrapped his arm around me, “don’t beat yourself up too bad, kid. We left you in to see what you could do when you got caught in a shitty situation and you handled it amazingly. Teams have bad nights but, you still had a good one. You blocked 45 out of 50 shots tonight, you should be proud.”

“I missed 10 percent,” I heard myself say, monotone. This is what happens when I lose. I become a robot version of myself. “10 percent is too high.”

Coach gave my shoulders a sympathetic squeeze, “we’ll never leave you out there like that again, I promise.”

I nodded but, couldn’t say anything. If I opened my mouth, I would cry and that would kill me. He patted my shoulder before getting up and moving to the front of the plane, ripping out headphones as he walked by. I laughed and then leaned my head on the window. It took me a second to realize that I was still smiling.


I stood out front of Brandon’s house, having walked from the party at James’. That boy sure loved to celebrate and the finalized roster was definitely something to party about. I still wasn’t feeling up for it and didn’t want to go back to my hotel room where I would find Beau, most definitely sloshed. Me, I had a healthy buzz and didn’t want a repeat of before, not yet at least.

We had kissed a couple times at James’ party. Once in the kitchen while he was going through James’ cupboards complaining about the lack of snacks in them. I had to remind him that James was on a strict diet that actually required a professional chef come and prepare meals for him, even opening the fridge to show him. Beau had stared at me for a long time before over-dramatically gushing, “you’re so smart and so pretty and so wonderful and so amazing.” It got to the point that the only way to shut him up was to either kick him in the leg or kiss him. I went with the less violent route.

The second time came in Neal’s backyard where I was trying to convince Deryk Engelland that I could tackle him. Giggling, I handed my beer to Beau and grabbing his hat from him, “hold this, Engo and I are gunna go toe-to-toe.”

“I’m not fighting a minor. You shouldn’t even be drinking, missy,” Derek warned but, was still laughing hard. I rolled up my sleeve on my bright pink ROOKIE shirt and took a weird, battle royale stance.

“Not fighting. I’m just going to tackle you like a rugby player,” I grinned at him, putting Beau’s freshly stolen hat on backwards to keep my hair out of my face. “Don’t worry, I used to do it to the Hamilton brothers all the time.”

“Good, because I’ve got 50 lbs on them put together,” he chuckled, shaking his head. Then I took off, wrapping my arms around his middle and tackling him into the grass. “Jesus Christ!”

I rolled away from him, grinning from ear to ear. Jumping to my feet, I looked down, “told ya.” I hadn’t realized that a crowd of Sid, Geno, James, both Chrises, Simon and Tanner. I took a bow as the boys clapped, “I’ll be here all season.”

“Enforcer of the year,” Beau laughed as I skipped over to him, taking my beer from him and downing it. He raised an eyebrow, “and drunk of the team.”

I shrugged, crushed the red cup in my hand, “you don’t go through two years of the O without learning how to chug a beer.”

“Classy,” I looked around. The crowd had cleared and it was just me and him standing in the lawn. I turned back to him and wrapped an arm around his neck, slamming my lips down on his. While, he returned the kiss, he just as soon pushed away from me, “Lily.”

“Beau,” I giggled, stepping closer but, he backed away.
“I thought you wanted to go slow through this?” He asked. My smile dropped and I instantly started to get sad, the alcohol kicking into me.

“I don’t well, I do but, I don’t know,” I looked down at my feet, still sandal clad thanks to the beautiful weather. I pouted, running my foot over the grass. “Maybe I just like kissing you.”

He turned away for a second, taking a sip of his drink before turning back to me. By now, I had looked back up at him, waiting for his response. He then leaned down, pressing his lips to mine again very quickly, “okay but, no more here. We don’t want to get caught.”

“You’re right,” and he was but, for the second time in two days, it didn’t sit right with me. Beau was just so okay with being what we were. He didn’t push for more but, I knew he didn’t want less. He was comfortable with it but, I wasn’t sure I was. We clicked well but, this friends with benefits thing was a new and weird line for me to walk.

I had stayed to help James clean up with Sid and Flower. Sid and Flower were talking about how it was really cool that Brandon lived just down the road from James. I laughed as I threw another beer can into the recycling bin, no kegs for these boys, “how far down does farm boy live?”

“9 houses,” James said before throwing his arms up in the air. “We can have sleepovers!” I shook my head and picked up a platter, walking it to the sink I had just filled with hot soapy water. James watched as I washed, dried and put the platter away before going back to cleaning up beer bottles and cans. “You know, if you want to come over and clean my house, I could fire my cleaning lady.”

“Nope,” I said rather quickly. The three men instantly burst out into laughter. “I just know how much of a bitch dried food is to get off dishes. The sooner it gets cleaned the better. The O teaches you some valuable life lessons.”

Sid leaned against the counter I was sorting through, “like what else?”

I didn’t even look at him and quoted something Ryan Strome had told me right on the spot, “bitches and hoes ain’t nothing to worry about as long as you got your sticks and bros.”

I don’t think I had ever made anyone cry from laughing until I watched Sidney Crosby wipe tears from his eyes.


So it all led me to Brandon’s. I had walked down the street, counting the houses and came across a slightly smaller version of the McMansions. From the outside, it looked homelier than the others and more inviting. I looked down at the key in my hand, unsure of whether or not to do it. It was weird, wasn’t it? To just let myself into a house of a man I barely knew but, then again, he had given me a key.

I had just gotten to the front steps when the door swung open, Brandon stood at it, staring at me. “Don’t do that. Don’t just stand there being a creep out front of my house.”

“Shouldn’t you be a sleep?” I questioned.

“Shouldn’t you be less of a weirdo?” He countered but, stepped out of the door frame to let me in. I followed him, at first unsure. Once I got inside though, I felt much more relaxed. This didn’t feel like a booty call. He didn’t make it seem like one either. Brandon just started to walk towards the kitchen, calling over his shoulder, “I was just about to have a snack, you hungry?”

“Starved,” I wandered the way he went, right into his bigger than average kitchen. Immediately, I could smell banana bread and looked directly at the black, state of the art stove. Placed on top was loaf pan flipped upside down on a green plate. “You made banana bread?”

He lifted the pan up, revealing the perfectly made loaf. Bringing over the plate and a small red container of butter, he gave me a dirty look, “no, my mom made banana bread mixes and then froze them for me. I just have to pop them in the oven.”

“Your mommy made you banana bread?” I grinned, cutting a piece of bread and slathering butter on it. I took a small bite but, it was so delicious I immediately shoved it in my mouth.

“Yes, don’t pretend you’re not jealous,” he muttered as he cut himself a piece. I watched as he carefully buttered his piece and ripped it up, taking one little piece at a time and savouring it. Brandon was the most complex person I had ever met. He was a cocky ass in front of the team who I didn’t want anything to do with but, one on one, it was different. He didn’t change his personality, he was still an ass but, it was like he didn’t have anything to be cocky about elsewhere so, he was just himself.

I took another piece and mimicked his actions by taking a little piece at a time, “why did you give me a key to your house?”

He shrugged, unfazed by the question. I didn’t think he would be, everything about Brandon screamed unshakable except for when I made him cut my hair. He shoved another piece in his mouth and thought about it, “I figured you’d probably need a place to stay because you’re way better than anyone else we have and I like having you around.”

I let my jaw drop and just hang there for a second. He furrowed his eyebrows at me, chewing slowly, “Mr. Sutter, was that a compliment?”

He swallowed before standing to clean up our snack, “don’t let it get to your head.”

I pouted as he lifted the plate and placed it in the fridge. It was then that I noticed that all the dishes in his house were different, mismatched colours. “I wasn’t finished eating.”

“Yes, you were,” he shot back before wiping his mouth on a dish towel. “Alright, let’s go.”

“Where?” But he had already started down a hallway and then up the stairs. I had to jog to catch up with him. I followed him straight into his bedroom. He threw me a t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts. “Don’t worry, they are clean.” I nodded and turned to go find the spare room in his house. “I don’t have a spare room.”

I stared at him, unsure of what to do next. He ignored me and slipped on a pair of pj pants. I took that as a sign and slipped into his en suite bathroom, changing quickly. I bundled my clothes up and left them on a bench next to a shower. When I opened the door, he was already in bed, flipping through Netflix. He looked up, “want to watch Van Wilder? It’s on Netflix.”

“Sure,” I climbed in next to him, comfortably snuggled into his side. It took only 10 minutes of Ryan Reynolds and Brandon’s slow, steady breathing to lull me to the deepest sleep I had in a long, long time.