Chaos Theory


“Thanks for picking me up again, man,” Tyler said as he hopped into the passenger seat of Jamie’s truck.

“No problem. What happened to coming last night?”

“Don’t even ask,” he shook his head. It had been a rough last night out with his boys back in Toronto. He wanted to go out with a bang, one last hurrah, and he definitely succeeded.

“How was the flight?” Jamie asked as he pulled off the curb.

Tyler filled him in on the hectic morning. As he was complaining about the fact that he’d virtually been flying all day when it should’ve only taken a little under four hours he glanced at where the taxis were lined up. “See that girl there, with the grey sweatshirt?” he pointed to Charlie whose head was thrown back as she laughed and clapped at something the cabbie said as he put her luggage in the trunk.

Jamie’s eyes followed Tyler’s finger to rest on the pretty girl who was just getting into a taxi. She had a big smile on her face that showcased deep dimples. “Yeah, she’s cute. What about her?”

“I sat next to her on the plane ride here,” he said with a ghost of a smile playing at his lips.

“Nice! You make a move on her?”

“Nah. I got her number,” he shrugged. “She’s not from around here and I’m not sure how long she’s in town for..” he trailed off, suddenly feeling betwixt and between. Was it worth the effort when he probably wouldn’t even see her again? There was a possibility she would live in Dallas someday, but what did he even want from her? A friend? A hookup? A relationship?

Fat chance of that. You just met. And a relationship is the last thing you want.

“We’ve got that scrimmage on Thursday. If she’s still here, you could invite her to that. We’re planning on going out afterwards, too, and she could join us,” Jamie suggested, breaking off his train of thought.

That set his mind at ease. It was the perfect way for him to see her again, to gauge her reaction, as well as his own, without there being too much pressure like there would be on a date.

Jamie parted ways with Tyler in the elevator of their building, telling him he better be up and ready to go tomorrow morning. He’d never live down the infamous missed breakfast. Unlocking the door, he walked into his empty condo. It still didn’t feel like home.

After the trade he spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between Toronto and Dallas. He bought a place in Uptown which, of course, he got a bunch of shit for, being deemed a “yuppie.” He let the criticism roll off his shoulders; he was young, he was rich, he didn’t have anyone to take care of but himself, and he had a taste for the finer things in life. He wasn’t an outright douche about it like he could’ve been, yet so many people liked to think he was. He didn’t get it, but was learning to say to Hell with them.

Only the bare necessities had been moved from his old place in Boston so far: his bed, a couch, a table, chairs, and some dining utensils.

As soon as he got traded his roommate and best friend Fred Gervasi went into panic mode, unsure of what it meant for him. After a lot of deliberation and arguing, much to Tyler’s dismay, Freddy decided to move to Dallas with him. It wasn’t that he didn’t want Freddy there with him. He was stoked that they would be living together still and that he’d have a friend by his side right off the bat. One who wasn’t on the Stars.

Freddy was one year shy of graduating, not to mention how much he loved playing his D3 hockey. Tyler wanted him to stay and bang out the last year. He and Dallas would be waiting for him when he finished. Freddy wasn’t having it, though, and did his research to see if he could transfer to anywhere around there and still play hockey if possible.

In a sheer act of desperation, Freddy applied to almost every college in Texas; whether they had a hockey team or not, he wasn’t sure until he got either a letter of acceptance or rejection and would research further to make a final decision. He was slightly embarrassed when he discovered he’d accidentally applied to two all-girls schools, one of which never got back to him, and the other which politely turned him down, leaving him feeling offended.

Everything worked out better than he thought it would in the end. Freddy was accepted into TCU which he was thrilled about. It had a spectacular entrepreneurial management program with the opportunity to further his studies at the Neeley School of Business if he chose to. It probably depended on his music career. TCU was located in Fort Worth which was about 40 minutes away from their condo. Doable for a year.

The hockey aspect of it was the tricky part. He felt that he was fortunate that TCU didn’t have a hockey team because there was no way in hell he was good enough to play on a D1 team. There was a men’s club hockey team that had been established that allowed students to try out, which he fully intended to do. Freddy didn’t know what to expect. It was Texas, which wasn’t very big on hockey, so he thought he might have a good chance of making it onto the team. Tyler said he’d help him train, too. The team competed in the ACHA Division II Conference and was headed up by a pretty good coach he heard, so he thought it was a decent opportunity.

Tyler was happy things were working out pretty well for the most part. The rest of their things were being shipped out at the end of this week, Freddy was set to move in for good at the start of next week, and his family was coming down to visit the next week as well to bring Marshall. He missed him.

Walking over to the wall of windows that took up one side of his living room, he stared out into the night from his posh high rise building.

Dallas was different than Boston, but he was getting used to it. Most of the boys on the Stars were around for the majority of the summer and he went out with them when he visited. The nightlife was still pretty great here; he had no complaints about that. It was unnerving approaching girls at first. They weren’t like they were in Boston. They didn’t know him here. But rather than humble him, it stroked his ego as he discovered that girls still liked him outside of his hockey player persona. He knew he was attractive, but in Boston it was hard to tell if a girl wanted to sleep with him for him or because she wanted to flaunt having slept with a Bruins player.

The city as a whole was the polar opposite of Boston. Whereas Boston was rich with history and a mecca for culture, Dallas seemed to have its own personality. He missed the hustle and bustle of Boston, especially considering the astounding amount of surrounding universities in the small area. While Dallas was more heavily populated, it was so much bigger and more spread out than Boston that it didn’t seem like there were as many people. The streets weren’t as walkable as Boston’s, but he didn’t mind having to drive his Maserati around town. Altogether, Dallas was more laid-back, but he was beginning to appreciate it.

He always thought the people of Boston were so nice, and he wasn’t even close to ready to say they’re not. But there was something to be said for the southern hospitality. As he strolled down streets, people who recognized him were few and far between, but nearly everyone was overwhelmingly kind even when it wasn’t warranted. And the ones who did know him practically bowed down to him.

Not to mention the food. Jesus, the food was incredible. And he hadn’t even been outside of Dallas yet. Cities like Austin, Houston, and San Antonio were all within driving distance and he was always down for a roadie.

The one thing he could say he hated without thinking twice was the weather. It left something to be desired. The heat and humidity was on another level. He wanted all four seasons. But the spring and fall were supposed to be pleasant, he was told. And the thunderstorms were stellar.

He sighed and stretched, heading to his bedroom and falling face first onto his bed before picking up his phone to text her.


The hotel room Charlie was staying in was amazing. She was up high enough that she had a great view of the lit up Uptown Dallas. There was a king sized bed in the center of it with the softest pillows and blankets she’d ever felt. She could hardly drag herself out to brush her teeth and wash her face before falling back into it and turning on the tv, flipping through the channels.

Her first interview was at 9 the next morning and she was feeling jittery. As she closed her eyes in an attempt to catch some z’s, she saw her phone light up, displaying an unknown number across the screen.

Hey there. It’s Tyler. Just wanted to make sure ur hotel didn’t run outta booze yet. The plane took enough of a beating from u today.

Her stomach dropped as she read his name on her screen. She couldn’t help but laugh at the rest of the message.

Ha ha, very funny! If you must know, I’m laying in bed watching The Dark Knight Rises sipping on water.

He responded a minute later.

Hungover already? I knew u were a lightweight ;)

She could almost see him smirking through the phone. Raising an eyebrow, she padded the screen somewhat aggressively as she responded.

No freaking way. I could drink you under the table. College student, remember? From Wisconsin…

She had a feeling she was going to regret challenging him.

How long are u here for?

Glancing quickly at the calendar on her phone to verify when all of her interviews were, she sent up a silent prayer that their schedules would be compatible.

I leave Saturday morning. I have an interview tomorrow at 9, another Wednesday at 8, and my last is Friday at 2.

He responded with lightning speed this time.

Good. Ur gonna put ur money where ur mouth is. Some of the guys are getting together Thurs for a little scrimmage and ur coming to watch and then coming out with us after. No ifs, ands, or buts about it :)

He wanted to see her again. Well, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked for your number, dumbass. But it was actually going to happen.

Can’t wait. Gotta get some shut eye before the big day tomorrow…talk to you soon!

She rolled over and closed her eyes, all of the anxiousness she’d previously felt now gone. She saw her phone light up and decided to look at it one final time, smiling as she did so.

The countdown begins now. Good luck tomorrow. Goodnight.



Charlie rummaged through her suitcase, throwing things haphazardly across the room. She had no idea what to wear tonight.

Not expecting to run into a professional hockey player on a plane, get his number, and have an invitation for a night out with the team extended to her, she hadn’t exactly packed clothes to go out in. Of course, if she had been thinking clearly she would’ve gone shopping for a new outfit. But her thoughts had been swirling, judgment clouded as images of said hockey player made their way into her brain more and more frequently.

Groaning in frustration, she threw a shoe at the door and sat on the bed, chewing on her fingernails. Her phone lit up beside her and the name that flashed across the screen did nothing to help calm the nerves that were running high in her hotel room.

Tyler texted the information for when and where their scrimmage would be, telling her to take a cab and remember how much the ride was so that he could reimburse her for it. He felt bad that she didn’t have any other form of transportation and he was unable to pick her up beforehand. He was so thoughtful, but she told him that wouldn’t be necessary.

Throwing her phone onto the bed, Charlie returned to the foreboding suitcase with a new resolve.

Dark blue skinny jeans. Excellent start. She rolled her eyes.

They were going to a bar after the scrimmage so she didn’t want to wear anything too over the top. She finally settled on a white corset style peplum top. It would look nice with her black strappy heels.

She’d straightened her hair earlier, but returned to the bathroom to go over it once more. Her hair and humidity were like oil and water. She opted for slightly darker makeup, giving herself a subtle smoky eye, causing her eyes to pop. There was no need for blush as her cheeks always became reddened while she drank. Never one to use lip color, she applied some chapstick before giving herself a wink in the mirror. She needed all the confidence she could get at this point.

It hadn’t hit her until that morning that she was hitting the town with an entire NHL team. There were all sorts of thoughts running through her head. The closest Charlie ever came to meeting a famous person was seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger at Universal Studios on a family vacation when she was 6 years old and she ran away crying.

Sure, she sat through an entire plane ride with Tyler Seguin, even holding his hand at points. But this was different. She didn’t know what she would say to them. Would they want to talk hockey?

Well, you know what a puck is, there’s three periods in a game, icing isn’t called on a power play for the team killing the penalty, and if all else fails, you’ve seen Miracle enough times to be able to carry on a conversation about that.

She was doomed. Sighing, she picked up her phone to call the cab company. Her eyes drifted to the mini bar in her room more times than she’d like to admit while she waited, but she remained strong. As soon as her phone rang, she grabbed her black leather jacket that she always traveled with to throw over her top during the game. She took a deep breath, steeling herself for the night ahead before she exited the room.


Dr. Pepper Arena was filled with quite a few more people than she expected which caused her to let out a sigh of relief. She ran her hands through her hair as she found a seat behind a nice looking family at center ice.

Obviously she wasn’t going to be the only one here, but she didn’t really know what it meant when Tyler said there would be a scrimmage. The Stars’ preseason didn’t technically start for a few more weeks, but as she and Tyler continued texting throughout the week, he said it was more of a pick-up game than anything. The word had clearly gotten out to fans, though, as more and more filed through the doors.

Charlie found herself observing the people around her. They were of all different ages, ranging from toddler to elderly, and they were almost all adorned in Dallas Stars gear. Some had even made signs. It was a pleasant atmosphere to be a part of as there was no tension in the air, no fear of a potential loss that night. Camaraderie abounded within the walls of the rink as people shook hands and talked and laughed amongst each other, excited for the season to start back up.

There was a part of her that wished she could turn back time to get into hockey a lot earlier than what she had. She’d always been a football girl. The Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers were her pride and joy. But from the few hockey games she’d seen, there was something about the players that blew every other athlete out of the water. The passion with which they played was unparalleled. The intensity went up immensely during the road to the Stanley Cup, but even before that, the games she’d caught randomly, it seemed as though each player was always giving it their all 100% of the time, almost as if each game would be their last. Her favorite thing was the brotherhood that accompanied each team. She figured that was one of the things that drew her to the Bruins.

Her thoughts were derailed by the little boy in front of her excitedly standing on the bleachers and yelling, “There he is! There’s Tyler Seguin!”

It brought a smile to her face. He was practically dancing in his seat as he watched the team skate onto the ice. She turned to see where he was looking and her smile grew wider.

The team was in great spirits, laughing and cracking jokes as they skated back and forth. There were no coaches or referees present so far all she knew it could end up being a free-for-all. Everyone except for Jamie Benn and another Star she didn’t recognize skated to the red line, standing to face the two men.

Aww, they’re picking teams, realization dawned on Charlie. It reminded her of something from elementary school and she let out a giggle, causing the little boy in front of her to turn around to look at her.

“What are you laughing at?” he narrowed his eyes at her and she immediately clammed up. He couldn’t have been a day over 4 years old, but the way he was staring at her was so intimidating.

She stammered, trying to explain to the little boy what she’d found so funny. He jumped from the spot where he stood to the open spot next to Charlie. His mother turned around to investigate the situation and, after eyeing Charlie up and down, chalked her up to being harmless as she turned back to the ice.

The little boy plopped down next to her, letting his feet dangle before he bombarded her with questions. “What’s your name? Why are you here alone? Don’t you have friends? Who’s your favorite player? Where’s your sweater?”

Charlie laughed, unsure of where to begin. Since when are kids so unnerving? “My name is Charlie. What’s yours?” Let’s start with the basics.

“I’m Matt. I love hockey! We play in our basement and I’m always goalie. No one ever scores on me! One time Ryan almost did, but then I stopped it with my hands!”

This kid was the most precious thing she had ever seen in her life. He had blonde hair and blue eyes, which she was a sucker for in children, and he got so excited talking that he had to take deep breaths between his words, oftentimes stumbling over them. Charlie’s cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling so big as he went on and on talking about hockey and Ryan, who she assumed was his brother, among other things she wasn’t sure she knew the meaning behind.

The teams seemed to be formed on the ice and the game was almost under way. Charlie took her eyes off of Matt for a moment to look up, only to be met with a pair of warm brown eyes looking back at her. If Matt was the most precious thing, she wasn’t sure what Tyler was right then. He had clearly been watching her talk to the little boy, and when she looked up to see him there, he tilted his head to the side and gave her the cutest boyish smile before skating to reconvene with his team.

“Whoa, did you see that?!” Matt exclaimed from beside her. “Tyler Seguin smiled over here!”

“Yeah,” Charlie replied breathlessly.

The scrimmage was arguably one of the most fun sporting events she’d been to in her life. She wasn’t sure whether it was because of the company she kept in Matt, who she ended up having a blast with, cheering on Tyler’s team, or because she actually got to see Tyler in action, live, something she never thought she would ever get to do. It was mesmerizing watching him, even if he wasn’t giving it his all. He was so fast and so skilled and she was happy that she got to see him in this element. He, along with many of the other players, was doing all kinds of tricks that he wouldn’t normally do during a game, and the crowd was loving it. The team was having a blast and there wasn’t a moment when he didn’t have that adorable dimpled smile plastered on his face.

After the game resulted in a tie, the team skated over to the glass and saluted the crowd who went wild. Charlie cheered as well and held Matt up so he could see over the people standing in front of them. She scanned the line of men searching for one in particular, perplexed when she didn’t find the face she was looking for. Suddenly she heard her name being called from the side of the bleachers and looked down to see Tyler standing there, still dressed in his hockey gear, skates and all.

Matt looked up at her with wide eyes. “He’s saying your name!”

“You wanna go talk to him?” When he nodded eagerly, she spoke to Matt’s mother whom she’d introduced herself to during the game. She gave her blessing to take Matt to talk to Tyler. Charlie grabbed his hand and led him down the bleachers. Tyler towered over her in his skates.

“Who’s your new friend, Charlie?”

“I’m Matt!” he announced proudly. “You are Tyler Seguin!”

Tyler chuckled and kneeled down to get closer to his level. “You’re right, I am. How old are you, Matt?”

Matt shoved 4 fingers in Tyler’s face, nearly knocking him over. Charlie covered her mouth before a giggle could escape them. Something about watching a man and a little kid was heartbreaking in the best way possible.

“How would you like for me to sign your shirt, Matt?”

His eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning as he turned to look at Charlie. She nodded in encouragement, tongue slightly showing through the smile she gave him. Tyler turned Matt around and signed the back of his shirt before whispering something in his ear. Matt nodded furiously.

“Would you mind if I got a picture, too?” Matt’s family had joined them and Tyler nodded appreciatively. They got one of just Matt and Tyler, and then Charlie shooed Ryan in to get another one. They said their goodbyes to Tyler and Matt sprinted over to Charlie, jumping into her arms and squeezing her tightly before he ran off with his family.

“I think he had a little crush on you,” Tyler snickered, now standing tall above her again.

She smiled and shook her head before holding out a fist for him to bump. “Good game out there.”

He pounded her fist and exploded his hand, making her laugh. Rather than pulling it back into his body, he kept the hand extended and pushed her towards the ice.

“Uh, what are you doing, Tyler?” she asked nervously.

He didn’t respond, just kept walking her forward. The crowd had pretty much dissipated, but there were still a few players on and off the ice. He stepped in front of her to open the door to get onto the ice and turned back facing her, holding out his hands. She looked up at him questioningly.

“You have to trust me otherwise this won’t work, okay?” He waited for her to nod before he continued. “You’re not wearing the best shoes for this, but it’ll be fine just as long as you stay pretty still. Grab my hands first and we’ll go from there.”

She placed her hands in his, still confused about what exactly he was getting at, but he seemed confident enough in what he was doing.

“Now, step onto both of my ska-“

“WHAT? No, noooo! Tyler, you’re crazy! You cannot skate with me standing on your skates!” She pulled her hands from him, backing away.

“Charlie,” he looked at her almost desperately. It broke something inside of her.

“Fine, but if I break something tonight, you’re paying for it!” He laughed as he helped her up onto his skates. It was awkward and would take a lot of strength to help balance and keep steady, but she decided she was up for the challenge. This could be interesting.

“I took off the padding under my jersey so you should be able to reach around my back to hold on tight,” he instructed and she did so. He wrapped an arm around her waist as he turned back towards the ice, preparing to go on. “You ready?” he asked.

She closed her eyes and leaned her head into his chest, tightening her grip. She was completely surrendering to his control. There would be no way she would be able to see what was coming ahead of her and she couldn’t move her feet unless she wanted to send them both tumbling to the ground.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she let out a deep breath.

Charlie felt him step onto the ice. It was a strange feeling, but exhilarating nonetheless. He started off slow, allowing himself to get used to skating while holding onto her. She was able to feel the rhythm of how his legs moved and eventually loosened up enough to help out a little bit. He picked up the pace by their third time around the ice and she lifted her head off of his chest to take in her surroundings. She imagined what it would be like being in an arena filled with thousands of people screaming at or for you, struggling for a puck, fighting relentlessly to get it into the back of the net. Skating in his arms was so peaceful that she could hardly imagine all of the tough, physical aspects of hockey that took place on the ice happening here.

“Having fun?” Tyler asked from above her.

“This is unbelievable,” Charlie whispered. “I didn’t even know this was possible.”

“I didn’t either honestly,” she felt the vibrations of a laugh through his chest. “I just got the idea right before the game started. Seems to be working out in our favor, though.”

She could picture him smirking. “Don’t push your luck, mister. Let’s go around once more and then call it a day. Aren’t we going out somewhere with your team?”

“Yeah, they’re all a bunch of girls, though. They take forever to get ready. Speaking of which, you look nice. I almost didn’t recognize you with your hair like that.”

Charlie felt her cheeks flush. Unsure of whether the inability to recognize her was a good or bad thing, she mumbled a meek thanks. His powerful strides took them around the ice once more before he stopped in front of the door that they’d entered the ice on. His hands steadied her hips as she stepped off his skates and he told her he would only be 15 minutes before he’d be out to collect her for their night out. Before she could respond, he was off in a flash across the ice, leaving her standing with a gaping mouth wondering what she’d gotten herself into.
♠ ♠ ♠
Woo! Everyone is great! This chapter and the next one should be up pretty quickly because I already had them written. After that, it'll be pretty touch-and-go.

Btw, I did the whole standing on someone else skating once and it worked for a while, but ended much more disastrously than it did for Charlie and Tyler. I would not recommend it ;)​​​​

P.S. I got tickets to Boston last night and I'm so incredibly excited! My friends and I are going to the Bruins/Blackhawks game ahhh dreams coming true!