Chaos Theory

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Tyler muttered under his breath. He knew he only had himself to blame which just made him angrier.

This had to be the most ass backward way of getting from Toronto to Dallas. The perks of buying your ticket 30 minutes before the plane took off, he thought spitefully. And a seat in coach to boot!

He barely made his flight from Pearson, constantly being harassed by people trying to stop him for a photo or an autograph as he sprinted to his terminal. There had already been a two-hour layover in Philadelphia, and now he was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, plane delayed due to inclement weather. He didn’t understand the reasoning behind heading west first, but he didn’t have much of an option as he needed to be at a mandatory meeting for the Stars in 15 hours.

Letting out a frustrated groan, he glared back at the people who sent him dirty looks. Luckily no one seemed to recognize him here. There was no NHL team in Wisconsin. This was football country, he knew, not unlike where he was headed. It made him bitter.

Thunder clapped and streaks of lightning lit up the sky. Standing up, he walked over to peer out of the glass wall of windows. It almost looked like nighttime with how dark it was outside even though it was only 5:00 in mid-August. It was ominous. He glanced upwards towards the clouds, as if hoping for some sort of divine intervention. When nothing happened, he returned to his seat, slumping into it, and turned on his iPod. Might as well try to sleep in the meantime.

A voice over the loudspeaker awoke him from his slumber.

“…to Dallas is now boarding zones 1 and 2,” he saw a short brown haired woman saying at the podium from where he would be headed. Finally.

Glancing at his boarding pass he saw that he wouldn’t be boarding until last with zone 6. His watch told him an hour had passed since he last looked at it. Rays of sunlight now filtered through the airport, the dark clouds that kept their plane grounded for so long gone without a trace.

He boarded the plane when his zone was finally called, happy to discover that he was seated on a side where there were only two seats. It was the worst when he had to sit bitch. After placing his carryon in the overhead compartment, he took his assigned seat along the aisle, noticing that the seat next to him remained open. Maybe I’ll be able to stretch out after all.

A few more latecomers made their way onto the plane and he smiled when it seemed that he got his wish of having a row all to himself.

He was hit with a gust of wind as someone blew past him, rushing to find their seat, only to backtrack realizing they had passed it. He felt a presence next to him and let his eyes trail from the floor; up from a pair of moccasins, passed fit legs covered by black leggings, over an oversized grey crewneck with the red lettering “BUCKY” on the front that subtly draped off a sunkissed shoulder, covered by a messily braided golden-brown set of locks, to rest on a pair of blue-grey eyes. Her cheeks were flushed, probably from rushing through the airport to make the flight like he’d had to do in Toronto earlier that day.

“Sorry, can I get through?” she smiled sheepishly, gesturing to the empty window seat to his right. He nodded and she attempted to maneuver around him. He couldn’t stand up all the way because of his height, so he shifted his knees to the side, allowing her to slide past him, not without brushing up against him in a very appealing way.

Once seated, she let out a deep breath before stashing her backpack underneath the seat in front of her. She opened up the shade on the window and stared out of it, never sparing the flight attendants a glance as they began their spiel about emergency exits, oxygen masks, the works, and the plane began to move.

Tyler watched as she began to pick at the hem of her sweatshirt, her hands half hidden in the opening of the sleeves. Her knee was bouncing up and down and her breaths were coming at a short, quick pace.

“Are you okay?” he asked, afraid they would be delayed again if she passed out before they even took off.

She jumped slightly, as if forgetting she was sitting next to him, and her head flew around to face him. “Huh?”

He pointed at her knee and couldn’t help the small smile that tugged at his lips. “You seem nervous.”

She followed his gaze and looked at her knee like it wasn’t attached to her own body. “Oh, sorry.” It stopped moving as she let out another shaky breath. “It’s just flying…” she began to explain.

“You don’t like it?”

“No. Yes. Sort of. I don’t know, it’s complicated.”

He chuckled. It sounded like she was trying to describe a relationship. “What’s so complicated about whether you like flying or not?”

She pursed her lips, biting the inside of her cheek, and placed a hand under her chin while trying to figure out how to describe what she meant. She reminded him of Winnie the Pooh. It was cute.

“I love flying. I love going to the airport, knowing that when I step off of that plane I’ll be in a completely different part of the country. Or maybe even the world. I love traveling, especially when it’s to somewhere I’ve never been before.” She paused to look at him. He nodded, urging her to continue. “I hate flying. I hate not knowing what’s going on up in the cockpit, or what’s ahead of us or behind us or around us. I hate knowing that there’s nothing below us. And I absolutely hate turbulence.”

Before he had a chance to respond, the plane turned to take its position on the runway. He heard the process of the engine revving or whatever it was that it did, exactly, but he knew they were about to take off. He cast the girl next to him a quick glance and to his surprise there was an excitement in her eyes that hadn’t been there before.

“This is my favorite part,” she said smiling.

“I thought you said you hate flying!”

“I said it was complicated.”

The plane lurched forward and before he knew it, they were off.


Charlie’s eyes were glued to the window. She was elated to find that she had a window seat facing the west on the plane. It was sunset, her favorite time of day. The sky was painted with various shades of pinks, oranges, purples, and blues. The way the colors hit the clouds below them was stunning.

The sun was a giant orange fireball in the distance, looking to engulf the soft pillows of clouds. As time went on, the colors became less bold, the sun fading to a softer glow rather than a blaze. The pinks and purples took over, creating a soothing palette of color. She could see the crescent of the moon, as well as a few stars.

“What’s so interesting out there?” a voice behind her broke her out of her daze.

She turned to see the handsome stranger who sat in the seat next to her. Okay, so he wasn’t a stranger. She knew exactly who he was, but she wasn’t about to let him know that. She was playing it cool.

Tilting her head towards the window, she asked, “Wanna see?”

He leaned over her and she smelled his cologne. Or was it his natural scent? She wasn’t sure, but it was damn good. Like aftershave mixed with pure man.

“Wow,” he breathed, taking in the view. She nodded, even though she knew he couldn’t see her. He stayed that way for a few minutes before leaning back into his seat. “You know, of all the times I’ve been on a plane, I’ve never really looked out a window.”

Her jaw dropped, only half jokingly. “How?! No matter how many times I fly, I will never get used to the view from up here. It takes my breath away every single time. Especially when there’s a sunset. That’s my third favorite thing in the world.”

“What’s number one and two?”

“Sharks and tornadoes,” she answered without missing a beat.

His eyebrows furrowed, not expecting to hear that response. Her eyes widened as she realized what she just admitted.

“Oh god, that probably makes me sound like such a terrible person. A maneater and one of the most destructive forces of nature. I should’ve just said puppies and rainbows. Well, actually, dogs could really maybe be up there on that list-” she rambled before he cut her off, laughing.

“No, it was just an interesting answer. Not something you hear everyday. Why the love for sharks and tornadoes?” He appeared to be genuinely interested.

“Well, I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Twister’, but if not, you should. I’ve watched it probably over a hundred times. Every time there’s a thunderstorm my sister and I feel the need to put it on. It’s not exactly good, but I will never get sick of it. Ever. I could honestly recite every single line by heart, from start to finish. Maybe even backwards,” she considered the possibility. “Anyway, after I saw that movie for the first time when I was like, 8, I decided I wanted to be a tornado chaser when I grew up.” He shook his head in amusement, placing a hand over his mouth in an attempt to stifle his laughter. She sighed wistfully, looking back out the window, “I’m not so sure that dream will pan out, but maybe someday.”

Unable to hold it in any longer, a loud chortle escaped his lips, and she turned to fake glare at him. He at least had the decency to look somewhat apologetic.

“What about the sharks?”

“I’ve been obsessed with sharks for as long as I can remember,” she shrugged. “Wait, actually, that’s not true. It started with dolphins. I used to love dolphins,” she recalled, drawing out the o in love for added effect. “I remember when I was little I had a shrine of them in my bedroom. Glass figurines, posters, stuffed animals, the works. And I watched the movie ‘Flipper’ religiously. Then, somehow, it transitioned into sharks. Come on, who doesn’t love Shark Week?” She nudged his arm playfully and he nodded in agreement.

A comfortable silence fell between them for a moment before she whispered, “The number one thing on my bucket list is to travel to the coast of South Africa in Cape Town to see the great whites jump out of the water and go in a shark cage. Honestly, if I fail at everything else in life but get to do that, I feel like I could die happy.”


“Yeah. It sounds lame, I know,” she mumbled, suddenly embarrassed, “But there’s just something about them that’s so fascinating. They’re majestic and mysterious and powerful and terrifying and it’s beautiful yet almost sad. I think it would be an amazing thing to be able to see in person,” she finished quietly.

“That doesn’t sound lame at all,” he said seriously, gazing into her eyes so intensely that she had no choice but to believe he was being truthful. He abruptly broke into a grin, sticking out his hand for her to shake. “I’m Tyler, by the way.”

She placed her tiny palm into his massive one. “Charlie.”

“Is that short for something?”

“Charlotte,” she responded with a roll of her eyes, “but don’t you dare call me that.”

“But Charlotte is a pretty name,” he laughed.

“Not when you’re named after a spider,” she deadpanned. Off his questioning look, she continued, “Do you know the book Charlotte’s Web?”

“I’ve heard of it, but never read it.”

Sighing, she explained, “It was my mother’s favorite book growing up. She apparently knew from a young age that she would name her first born either Wilbur or Charlotte, after the main characters. ‘And as soon as you were born and I looked at you, I knew you would be the perfect Charlotte!’” she mimicked her mother’s voice. “I still don’t know how I feel about that, after reading the book. Charlotte is bloodthirsty, unapologetic, sarcastic, proud; but then my mom always tells me while, sure, I can be some of those things at times, those aren’t what she saw in me when she first saw me. ‘It was the loyal, sophisticated, loving, heroine part of Charlotte that reminded me of her,’” she used air quotes this time. “I don’t know how you can get all of that from looking at a newborn baby, but she seemed convinced and stands by it to this day,” Charlie shrugged.

Tyler smiled slightly. “Well, at least she didn’t name you Wilbur.”


They were about an hour into the plane ride with two hours left to go before they would land. Charlie was curled up in a little ball facing the window with headphones in and Tyler wasn’t sure if she was sleeping or not. He took the opportunity to go over paperwork he had to turn in to the Stars, as well as to study plays and read up on the opponents they had coming up soon in the preseason games. It was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate as he found his mind wandering back to the beautiful stranger sitting next to him.

He found himself wishing she was awake, or at least still talking to him. She was a very intriguing person, always throwing him for a curve, saying the last thing he would expect to come out of her mouth. Usually on plane rides he liked to sleep or listen to music; he definitely didn’t like to make idle chatter with the people surrounding him. But with her he didn’t mind. He enjoyed it, actually.

Not to mention, she was easy on the eyes. Not the busty, centerfold-ready, in-your-face gorgeous type he was usually drawn to, but she had a subtle beauty that he appreciated, as something like that was hard to come by. The corners of her eyes crinkled in the cutest way when she smiled, and she had dimples that only grew deeper as her grin widened. Freckles were sprinkled lightly across her nose and it was an adorable button nose. He became entranced by her irises, though, countless times. They weren’t blue, but they weren’t grey either, and he noticed the tiny bit of green surrounding her pupil. They were beautiful.

Tyler was shaken from his thoughts as the plane became bumpy and the fasten seatbelts sign flashed. The pilot came over the loudspeaker announcing that they were running into a patch of bad weather and that everyone would need to remain seated.

Charlie shot up beside him, looking anxious but trying to remain calm as her hands fumbled to buckle the belt. She rested her head against the seat and closed her eyes, breathing in and out deeply. He noticed her knuckles were turning white from clenching the armrests so tightly.

“Hey, it’s gonna be fine,” he cooed in an attempt to comfort her. “You can hold my hand if you want.”

She looked up at him from under her lashes and seemed to be trying to decided if he was being serious or not. In a show of affirmation, he held out his hand to her, waiting for her to take it.

He watched as her chest rose and fell with her deep breaths as she stared at his outstretched palm. Finally, she let hers rest in his, and squeezed tightly. Damn, for being such a tiny girl she’s got quite the grip.

Wanting to distract her from the continuous bumpiness, he shifted his body slightly so that he was facing her a little more. “So what brings you to Dallas? Are you from there or just visiting or what?”

He could practically hear her gratefulness for the distraction as she answered. “No, I’m from Wisconsin.” She pointed to her sweatshirt. “I go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it…?”

“Oh yeah, teach me how to bucky!” He loved the song ‘Teach Me How To Dougie’ and someone had sent him a link to a parody of sorts a school did called ‘Teach Me How To Bucky.’ Apparently, it was her school, and the mascot was named Bucky the Badger. It was surprisingly good. That, and that they had a fairly decent athletics program, hockey team included, was the extent of knowledge Tyler had of it.

She giggled, relaxing tenfold. “That’s right, teach me how to bucky. Anyway, I’m graduating in December, so I’m on my way to a few job interviews.”

“All the way in Dallas? What are you going into?”

“Actuarial science,” she blew a raspberry and gave a thumbs down. “One of my professors took a special interest in me – not like that!” she exclaimed after catching him raising an eyebrow suggestively. “He’s originally from Dallas and has a bunch of contacts there and got me in for interviews at a few different places.”

“Actuarial science, that’s like math and statistics stuff, right?”

“More or less, yeah.”

“So you’re a nerd?” he smirked at her.

She narrowed her eyes in return. “I’m very good at math, but I absolutely hate it.”

“So then why make a career out of it?”

Shrugging, she stated timidly, “I haven’t found my passion yet. From what I know of them so far, I’d be extremely lucky to get one of these jobs. The starting salary alone blows most other starting salaries for bachelor degrees out of the water. Not that that’s the only important thing, but it’ll go a long way for a while at least. I’m hoping I can work for a bit and get started on my own and in the meantime I’ll fall in love with something. As for Dallas, I am not thrilled about it. I hate the heat. Ideally, I’d like to end up on the East Coast someday, or even back up in the Midwest, but I’m not going to take an opportunity I’m given for granted, so here I am.”

They hit some more rough bumps and she tightened her grip. He swore he might lose a hand after this ride. She loosened up once the turbulence died down again.

“I guess now is a good time to confess that I already know who you are,” she admitted coyly.

Tyler was shocked. Most girls who sat with him on a plane for this long would’ve dropped their panties and met him in the bathroom to join the mile high club within minutes of taking off. Any recognition of him was hidden well.

He cleared his throat before asking, “Are you a hockey fan?”

“Not really. Sort of.” Once again, he was flabbergasted by her vague explanation.

Noticing the confused expression on his face, she elaborated, “A few years ago my mom began dating this guy who she now lives with. He played hockey in high school and is still pretty into it. He and my sister work at a hockey rink and he refs and stuff. It wasn’t until this year that I started watching a few games with him. He always had them on but I wouldn’t really pay attention. Then I started skating myself and I guess I gained a newfound appreciation for all things ice-related. So I started paying attention. It was amazing, really, the way such giant men could move such a small puck so gracefully.”

He found himself enraptured by her telling the story. She was staring off into the distance and her voice was filled with awe.

“I didn’t understand many of the rules, but I didn’t really care. I just loved to watch them play. We went on a family vacation earlier this summer, during the Stanley Cup Finals, actually,” she looked at him and he flashed her a small smile. “Each night that we got back to the hotel and there was a game on, he would turn it on to watch and I would join him. Pretty soon I found myself cheering whenever the Bruins would score and getting mad when the Blackhawks did,” she let out a nervous laugh. “I didn’t really understand it. I still don’t, really. But I wanted the Boston Bruins to hoist that cup. So, I’m not really sure if I consider myself a fan, but I’ll probably be watching more games next season.”

“Cheering for the Dallas Stars this time, right?” A smile the size of the continental U.S. covered his face and she bit her lip, considering it for a moment.

“Maybe if their newly acquired star center promises to score a goal for me in the first game. No pun intended,” she added quickly.

“Oh, as if I don’t have enough pressure on me already, you’ve just gotta add to it,” he teased.

“Pfft,” she brushed him off, “you’ll be just fine and we both know it.”

He looked down at their entwined fingers. It was a bitter pill to swallow, being traded from one of the original six teams; one that had just made it to the Stanley Cup finals; one that had just given him a contract extension; one that he was drafted to be a franchise player for, to the Stars, a team that hadn’t even made the playoffs since the 2007-2008 season.

Once he started talking to some of the guys on the Stars, however, he began to warm up to them. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all. He’d be back at his natural position at center and would be looked at, along with Jamie Benn, to hopefully turn everything around.

Now that the season was starting to close in, he grew progressively more anxious. He had sleepless nights and off days when he would skate and shoot around by himself.

But looking at Charlie’s hand in his, and hearing her say that he’d be fine, he believed her.


Tyler was snoring lightly next to Charlie and she giggled as she looked at the scruff on his face. It was hot. How she longed to run her fingers through it, and then lower, down his massive arms, across the washboard abs she knew were concealed under his shirt, and then below his-

“Would you care for a drink, miss?” the flight attendant appeared out of nowhere, startling her.

“Alcohol,” she practically shouted. “What do ya got for alcohol?”

The turbulence had died down immensely, but the seatbelt sign was still lit up and every now and then they would hit a bump that would cause her stomach to drop. She could use a little liquid courage. The flight attendant ran through a list of the variety of booze they offered on the plane, and she settled on a limón and sprite. As she was passing her ID over for the man to verify her age, Tyler stirred.

“Would you like anything to drink, sir?” he asked.

“I’ll have what she’s having,” he jerked a thumb in Charlie’s direction.

“75% limón, 25% sprite, if possible. I don’t like the turbulence,” she mumbled at the judgey expression she received from the flight attendant.

“I’ll just take mine how any normal person would,” Tyler laughed. The flight attendant giggled flirtatiously, clearly batting for the other team. Did he just wink at him?

“Will this be paid for together or separately?”



Tyler turned in his seat so that his body took up the whole row, blocking Charlie’s view from the flight attendant.

“How much for both of them?”

He paid for the drinks and turned to hand Charlie her drink, receiving a disapproving but thankful glare.

“You didn’t have to do that, Tyler,” she said softly.

“Most people just say thank you,” he smiled.

“Thank you.” She held up her cup to his so that they could cheers before bringing it to her lips. “WHOA! This is more like 90/10,” she said loudly, calling after the flight attendant as he continued passing out drinks. He didn’t respond but she knew he heard her as he had a smug grin, pouring a Pepsi for an old man. Bitch.

“It’s nice to finally have feeling back in my hand,” Tyler announced, calling her attention back to him as he opened and closed the hand that had held hers previously. “I’ll probably have a permanent indentation from your ring, though.”

Her hand flew to her mouth. “I’m so sorry! Why didn’t you ask me to take it off?” she scolded him.

“Well, it seems like the coast is clear now. Who knows what could’ve happened in the few seconds it would’ve taken for you to let go of my hand to take it off. For all we know, it was from the power of our handholding that this thing stayed up in the air. I’d say it was worth it.” She rolled her eyes at him. His eyes were lit up with amusement.

He leaned forward in his seat to get a better look at her ring. It was on her ring finger, the only finger it fit on, but it wasn’t an engagement ring or promise ring or anything of the sort. Her great grandmother had given it to her the day before she passed away and Charlie wore it every waking moment.

It was a beautiful but simple ring. The band was silver, getting thicker on top to hold a wide strip of amethyst, the birthstone of February. Her great grandfather bought it for her great grandmother when they were younger as a birthday present, so Charlie was honored to receive it. She’s never seen a love like her great grandparents’ and wasn’t sure she would ever again.

“Pretty ring,” Tyler muttered, examining it closely. “Did your boyfriend get it for you?”

She snorted at his lame attempt to find out about her love life. She shook her head. “My great grandmother gave it to me. No boys for me,” she stated simply.

“You like girls then?” he asked, raising his voice an octave and wiggling his eyebrows.

“Oh my God, Tyler!” She laughed and swatted his shoulder.

“That would be totally okay with me,” he said much lower this time. The things it did to her insides.

“No. I like boys. Love them, actually.”

“Then why no boyfriend? A pretty girl like you usually always has a boyfriend.”

She felt her cheeks flush at his comment. “Because boys are…stupid.”

“Hey, I take offense to that!”

They debated back and forth for a while about whether girls or boys went to Jupiter to get more stupider before the topic inevitably landed on sex. She was feeling bold thanks to Flight Attendant Bartender and decided to jump right in.

“Would it be totally inappropriate of me to ask what your number is?” She giggled at his shocked expression.

“Are you drunk?” She shook her head. “You so are! And yes, that is wildly inappropriate,” he chuckled, running a hand through his hair. “You have no idea how many people ask me that question. Mostly girls I run into on nights out who are curious, like you are, wondering how experienced I am and how true the stories are. Usually I tell them my number because it almost guarantees that they’ll come home with me. But I’m not gonna tell you.”

“Why not?” she whined.

“You’re not a random girl at a bar who I’m trying to bang. You may already have an idea about what my number is, and you may or may not judge me for it, but I’d rather have you speculate than actually know. I don’t want you looking at me like that. You’re better than that. And I want you to see me than better than that,” he told her sincerely.

She mulled this over for a while, chewing on her lip. She wanted to know what he meant by him wanting her to see him better than that. And she was better than what? A random girl a bar who he was trying to bang? So what did that mean for her exactly? She looked up at him and he was staring at her, waiting for her to say something. “Can I tell you something?” she asked.

Judging by the look in his eyes he expected her to reveal something either extremely sexual or personal. “Of course,” he gulped.

“Whenever I fly the only song I listen to is ‘Free Fallin’ because I figure it would be too ironic for a plane to crash while that song is playing.”

Tyler choked on the sip of his drink he’d just taken and caused a scene, face turning bright red as he coughed. People multiple rows ahead of them turned around to find the source of commotion. She thought she saw tears falling down his face. She couldn’t help but laugh as she patted his back gently.

“You’re crazy you know that, right?” he said while gasping for breath, wiping his eyes on the sleeves of his shirt.

Charlie beamed at him in return. The pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker, informing them that they’d be landing in Dallas in fifteen minutes. It saddened her, knowing she’d probably never see him again. She just spent the last 3 hours on a flight with Tyler freaking Seguin, perhaps the NHL’s most eligible bachelor, talking all about her life. And the kicker was that he was actually interested.

The most surreal part was that it didn’t even faze her that it was him that she was spending her time with. He was such a nice, down-to-earth, sweet guy. He wanted to know about her. He didn’t try to flaunt or charm his way into her pants. It seemed too good to be true.

She let out a long sigh. There was something weighing on the back of her mind that she wanted to get out. She didn’t know if it was her place to say anything, and this could absolutely ruin the wonderful time they had, but she figured she had nothing to lose at this point. It was now or never.

“Tyler,” Charlie stated seriously, putting a hand on his shoulder so he would turn to face her. “I hope this doesn’t offend you in any way. You can hate me afterwards or just forget about me completely or whatever, but I just want to get this off my chest.” He waited for her to continue as she took a readying breath.

“I’m not sure what happened in Boston, nor do I need to know the whole story. I do know a lot of the reason why you were traded from there had to do with the cap. But one can only assume there was so much more going on what with all of the comments Chiarelli made and all of the rumors that were being spread.” She took another deep breath, playing with the hem of her sweatshirt and avoiding eye contact.

“For what it’s worth, I think they’re wrong about you. I think they lose sight of the fact that you’re only 21. It couldn’t have been easy, being so young on a team of veterans, most of whom had wives or girlfriends. I don’t think they stopped to realize that most people your age, myself included, are having the time of their lives, living it up and doing all the same shit you are, if not worse. You’re making smarter decisions than some 21-year-olds that I know. Like having a girlfriend; you know you don’t want the drama so you don’t have one. It’s the mature choice. Whereas I know a few people who have girlfriends and don’t want to deal with the drama so they just cheat on them instead. You’re just in the spotlight so you get flack for it. I don’t think it’s fair that someone is asked to give up so much at such a young age, but that’s neither here nor there. You’re living out your dream and I guess that’s what comes with the territory.” She dared to glance up at him. His warm brown eyes were set on her intently, hanging onto her every word.

“I just don’t want you to lose sight of what’s important in the grand scheme of things. Alcohol, girls, friends…those things will always be there. Your skills, your abilities, and the opportunities you’re given might not be. There are probably thousands of people wishing they could be in your shoes right now for so much more than the extracurricular activities that come with the position. I obviously didn’t know you when you were drafted, I mean, I barely know you now,” they both laughed softly. “But I can imagine you were so honored and excited and in awe of everything. Don’t let go of that feeling. Dallas is gonna be a hell of a lot different than Boston. But you just go out there with raw passion. Take all of the negative energy everyone has been throwing at you and that you have left over inside you and channel it into your game. Prove yourself. Make Boston regret losing you. Make Dallas fall in love with you. Show everyone your heart. Become the player and the man we both know you can be.” She squeezed his shoulder and gave him a sweet smile.

He leaned forward and her breath caught in her throat, unsure of what he was intending to do. His forehead pressed against hers and he stared into her eyes.

“Thank you.”

It was the most heartfelt thank you she’d ever heard in her entire life, laced with pain and sorrow and regret but also relief and hope.


All too soon, he pulled back to lean back into his seat as they began their descent into Dallas. She felt the vibrations of his laughter through their seats.

“What’s so funny?” she questioned, eyebrow raised slightly.

“For someone who’s only ‘sort of’ a hockey fan, you sure know a lot.”

She felt her cheeks get hot. So maybe she’d researched him specifically. It wasn’t intentional at first, she just wanted to know what all the hype was surrounding this so-called blockbuster deal.

“I like to read,” she muttered.


Tyler found himself dragging his feet, trying to delay the moment he’d have to say goodbye to Charlie. He didn’t know if it would be for forever; if it was up to him, that wouldn’t be the case.

There was something about this girl that put his mind completely at ease. Maybe it was the way she didn’t try to force anything. Or that she was captivating without trying to be. Or that she seemed so sure of herself and what she wanted out of life, even though the specifics weren’t quite clear yet. Or that she was so mesmerized by a sunset that she’s surely seen plenty of times before.

It definitely had something to do with the speech she had given him. Every word she spoke was like music to his ears. Of course, he loved to hear her badmouthing everyone in his defense. But more than anything, he needed to hear her say what she said about not losing sight of what he had.

A poor excuse, he knew, but he felt like he’d been drowning for so long, waiting for someone to pull him out of the water. The surface was right above his head and if he just kicked he could reach it himself, but he didn’t have the strength or the self control to do it himself. Then, suddenly, there she was to lift him up. She became his saving grace and she didn’t even know it. He would be eternally grateful.

As they walked through the jet bridge he asked, “Do you need to go to baggage claim?” She nodded and he led the way through the airport.

“This is probably my least favorite part of the whole traveling process,” she groaned as they sat on a bench across from the conveyor belt.

He laughed. “I would have to agree with you there. While we’re waiting, you should give me your number. I’m not sure how long you’ll be here for, but if you have any free time, I could show you around. I’m still kind of new to the area, too, so maybe we could discover some things together.” He hoped.

She held out her hand for him to set his phone in and typed her name and number into it before handing it back. “’Charlie Ven?’” he questioned, unsure how to pronounce ‘Venne’.

“It’s ‘Ven-nay’,” she sounded out for him.

“I like the emojis,” he laughed. She used the plane, the cocktail glass, and the ring.

“I wasn’t sure how many other Charlie’s you had in your phone so I wanted to be as specific as possible,” she teased, throwing him a wink.

He smirked before seeing the buzzer light up, indicating that their bags would be released. Walking over he told her to point at her bag when it came. His arrived first, a large black bag with a huge Dallas Stars emblem patched on the side.

“Sublte,” she clicked her tongue at him.

Laughing he said, “Somebody’s gotta get the word out that this state actually has a hockey team. Maybe now that I’m standing next to a beautiful girl more people will notice.” He laughed harder as he saw the blush creep up on her cheeks and she avoided his gaze.

“That’s mine,” she pointed to a big black suitcase that rounded the corner. He grabbed it off the belt for her and she thanked him. They stood facing each other, both unsure of what to do next.



They laughed nervously. He scratched the back of his head and she began to undo her braid, letting her hair cascade in perfect waves around her shoulders. That wasn’t helping the situation.

Tyler grabbed her arm, pulling her into him unexpectedly. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and placed his cheek on the side of her head. Her hair was slightly damp and the smell of her shampoo lingered on it. It smelled so good.

“This was my favorite flight of all time. Thank you so much, for everything,” he whispered in her ear.

“I agree. Same to you,” she replied from where her head was pressed against his chest. They stayed wrapped in the embrace for a few more moments before he pulled away, feeling his phone vibrating. He pulled it out of his pocket, looking at the screen. Jamie Benn.

“Sorry, it’s my ride calling,” he explained.

She held up a hand. “That’s fine. I should go find a cab quick anyway. It’s getting pretty late,” she yawned and stretched, revealing a part of her tanned, toned tummy. Did they really have to go? “I’ll see you around, Tyler,” she said, smiling shyly before walking towards the exit, bag in tow.

“See you around.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Ahhh! This has been a long time coming for me, but I wanted to just bang out the first chapter and see how it goes. Sorry it's so long! I hope you enjoy!