Skate to My Heart

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Chapter 1

hi! So this is a new chapter 1, I hope you guys like it!

Chapter 1

“Hey Angelica, how was your date?” As I entered my house I looked up to see my father sitting on our couch in the living room, watching hockey re-runs. “You didn’t scare his one too much, did you?” My father smirked at me from across the foyer. He was wearing the usual black sweat pants and orange t-shirt combo that he wore when he was home. If I saw my father in a pair of jeans at home, it meant something was wrong.

“Is it too much to ask for a guy who has good taste in hockey and isn’t easily intimidated?” I threw my keys in the bowl next to our front door, kicking off my shoes as I entered further into the house. I plopped down on the couch next to my father, letting out a large huff. This was my fifth failed date since May. At some point, after so many unsuccessful dates it’s hard not to think that something is wrong you instead of blaming the men.

“Well at least he has good taste if he asked you out,” he ruffled my light brown hair playfully, the way he had always done since I was little.

“Dad, you have to say that,” I swatted his hand away. You’d think that because I’m twenty-three now our childish antics would have been eventually outgrown. But you’re wrong. We will act like this forever.

My father started to make his way to our kitchen to do whatever he was doing before I got home. I followed him into the room, looking at the sleek black countertops outlining the large room. We definitely needed to call the cleaning lady soon, I thought as I noticed some messes my father hasn’t cleaned up. The cabinets underneath, had a light orange tint to them. My father originally wanted bright orange cabinets but my mother quickly talked him out of it. She said we would have constant headaches just looking at them. That’s one of the few things I’m grateful my mom did.

Dad shook his head at me.

“It’s true and the whole team would agree, you know it! You’re a beautiful girl with a great head on her shoulders! Any guy would be lucky to call you his girlfriend,” he chuckled. I’ve heard this speech ever since I was fifteen and had just had my first bad date. The guy only wanted to use me for Flyers tickets. I was so naive.

“Want some hot chocolate?” Dad asked while twirling my Ron Hextall mug on his finger.

“You have to ask?” I asked raising my eyebrows.

Dad put his hand up, in defense. “Just checking,” he said innocently. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Who drinks hot chocolate in late August?’ But Every time I began feeling down in the dumps, I’d vent to my father over a nice hot cup of coco. It was one of our many traditions.

Dad filled two mugs with water and stuck them in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I wandered over to our pantry to grab our box of swiss miss and two packets.

“Alright, now tell me. What did this one say wrong this time?” my dad asked, as I handed him the Swissmiss packets. .

Sitting down on one of the stools next to the kitchen island, I began telling my dad the details of another awful date.

>>>>>>Earlier that night<<<<<<

“How can you possibly say Johnny Bower is a better goalie the Ron Hextall?!” I shouted my disbelief at the young man sitting across from me.

Ron Hextall scored two goals, which was uncommon for a goalie to do, and was so much more fun to watch; especially during fights! Some boys don’t know great hockey. I mentally shook my head at the thought.

“Johnny Bower has better stats-” my date, Cole, started. He was cute, boyishly cute. He didn’t have defined features, his eyes were a dull gray, and his conversation skills were nothing to write home about.

“It’s not about the stats! Hextall protected his team! If someone made a dirty hit against one of his guys, he went after them! Plus, I’m damn sure Bower didn’t score any goals. Let alone a goal during the playoffs!” I argued.

Cole gave me the stare every guy gave me when they realized I wasn’t some pretty girl they could hump and dump. I had a brain. Mostly filled with hockey, but it was still a pretty great brain.

The main course came and went while I contemplated texting my best friend our codeword to get us out of bad dates. His mouth hung open while his eyes were bugging out of his head. That was my cue, this date was going nowhere. We had only sat down to dinner about forty-five minutes before.

He started asking the same boring questions you are expected to answer every first date and eventually the conversation moved onto the topic of hockey. I like to keep my love of hockey off of my dating profile, it’s just easier that way. But eventually, Cole asked if I was related to the Flyers head coach. His exact words were “Have you ever been told that you have the same last name as the Flyers head coach?” I tried to laugh it off, saying people tell me that all the time but I wasn’t related to him. It was easier for me to lie in the beginning of any relationship, so I could really know if a guy liked me for me, or the idea of dating a hockey players daughter.

We didn’t talk for seven minutes before I said, “Looking I’m getting tired,” adding a fake yawn for effect. “I’m gonna head home.” I stood up smiling knowing I’d never talk to this man again. “Thanks for dinner.” Cole just sat there, his mouth slightly open as if he couldn’t believe a female was walking out on him. Before he could form a sentence, I turned around and headed for the door.

>>>>>>>>

“I feel sorta bad. Cole did try. He took me to a fabulous restaurant in Philly, Zahav. Wine bottles decorated two of the walls, while the other two were floor to ceiling windows, over looking a beautiful Chinese garden with so many colorful flowers to look at.” My dad and I were always looking for new restaurants to try out and I thought Zahav would be a great one for us to visit together.

“The kitchen was on the far wall, but you could see the food being prepared. The smells made my mouth water. It was a nice place with great food, you would honestly love it.” I paused at the memory of how amazing the lamb shoulder tasted, trying to savor it. “But the company tonight, not so great.”
My dad smiled, “Well it sounds like you and I need to go back to that restaurant and make a better memory.”

I folded my arms as I sat back in my chair. Maybe it was time for me to delete all my dating profiles and just focus on the hockey season. It would save me the time and effort of sitting through countless bad first dates, plus I’d have more time to watch game tapes with dad.

All the guys I talked to on those dating apps seemed like they were all the same. We’d have the same boring ‘get to know you’ conversations, eventually he’d ask me out to a fancy dinner trying to impress me, and by the end of dinner I’d realize that we have little to nothing in common and it was another waste of my time.

Cole could barely hold a decent conversation and he kept looking around the room, avoiding eye contact.

“Well, good riddance to him. He’s obviously not worth your time,” Dad said as he handed me my cup of hot coco. “You need to find a guy who is just as passionate and driven as you.”

I smiled at my dad, he could always make me feel better. But finding a guy like my dad described was easier said than done.

The only guys who could possibly match my love of hockey were the actual hockey players. But, My dad had a rule forbidding any of the players on his team to date me. This rule wasn’t put in place until four years ago for reasons I rather not go into. I could always try and date a player from another team but who wants to deal with long distance?

I told myself most of my dates were unsuccessful because boys got intimidated by a girl who knew more about hockey then they did.

They might have also been intimidated by an entire hockey team threatening them not to hurt me.

“Anyway, you coming to practice tomorrow?” my dad asked, already knowing my answer. I took a sip of my coco and shook my head ‘yes’.

I’ve gone to every practice with my dad. It didn’t matter if he was coaching or playing, I would be on the bench yelling at the players to go faster and push harder. I’d yell at them for not concentrating, or if I thought they were being lazy. When I was six years old, I remember thinking what I was doing made a difference, when in reality it gave the players a nice chuckle.

I loved growing up with hockey skating through my blood. My dad used to play for the Flyers until 2001. He won a Stanley Cup in ’95. I wish I was alive to have seen it.

When it was dad’s time to hang up his skates, he set his sights on coaching. After many years of coaching in the minor league, dad got promoted to the assistant coach of the Flyers. A few years after that, he moved into the position of head coach.

“Of course daddy! It’s preseason, the boys need a good whipping from me anyway,” I smirked.

My dads players were like my big brothers. Sure, the young new guys hit on me, but soon the veterans got to them. They gave them the ‘stay away from the coaches daughter’ speech that every Flyer received. Since the players couldn’t date me, they took the protective brother thing to the extreme to insure that no one else could.

I didn’t have many female influences in my life because I spent most of my days with the team. My mother and I have never gotten along, we barely have a relationship. The fact that I chose to live with my father after the divorce didn’t do us any favors.

I turned to magazines when I needed to learn about makeup and fashion. The only advice magazines gave that didn’t work was about dating.

“Good, we have a new player starting. I need you to use your player whispering skills on this one. I’m on the fence about him, but the owners want him so I’m gonna need your help.”

When a new player started, I was called in to watch him. I would see how he interacted with the other guys, how he handles his stick, his concentration, his form, normal things.

My dad needed to know what he was getting himself into with the new guys before figuring out the plays we could put him in.

My father stood up, taking our empty mugs with him.

“Oh, and watch out. He’s your age and known to be a bit of a.....what are you kids saying these days......A PLAYER” he snapped his fingers trying to remember the word. “He’s a player when it comes with the ladies. I don’t wanna see you get hurt again.” My dad looked down at his shoes, embarrassed. He wasn’t really good at talking to me about feelings and girl things. That was a moms job, but like I said, the position wasn’t filled at the moment.

“Don’t worry daddy. I’m sure the guys will get to him,” I winked.

“Just watch out for Trey, Angelica,” he warned.

If only I had listened to his advice, I would have been saved a lot of heartache.

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