“Alright boys, this is a new season, a fresh start, and another chance to CRUSH THE PENGUINS!” my dad bursted with enthusiasm as he looked out at the team. The other coaches lined the walls looking official with their hands behind their backs. The team sat in the middle of the horseshoe hanging on to every word my dad spoke. This was the routine. Before every first practice of the season, each coach gave a little pep talk. This year, it was my turn to join the traditions.
I played hockey in college while studying sports management. It was hard balancing school, practice, and the Flyers but somehow I made it work. When I graduated college, the flyers franchise offered me an assistant coaching position which I accepted immediately. Some people think I only got my job because of my dad, but I honestly know my stuff and I was going to prove all of them wrong.
Giroux stood up and started a ‘Penguins Suck’ chant that lasted a few minutes. All the guys, even the coaches joined in.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the foolishness in front of me. I hated the Penguins just as much as my dad did. The team thought it was because we shared a state, that’s part of it. It’s better that they think that’s the reason instead of knowing the truth. It saves everyone a lot of trouble.
The REAL reason my dad and I hate them is because of their ass hole of a coach who can’t keep it in his pants and his whore of a wife.
Dan Bylsma used to play hockey with my dad. They started playing hockey with each other ever since they were old enough to skate up until they both retired at ripe old age of 34.
Dan was my funny godfather who always gave the best gifts. It didn’t have to be a special occasion for him to stop by and give me a gigantic present that could put an equally gigantic smile on my face.
Dad started coaching before Dan did, so Uncle Dan and my mom would take me to the games so I could see my daddy at work. I had the best times on ‘take your child to work day’. I was allowed to ride the zamboneys until they ran out of gas. Talk about a hot ride!
Everything changed 16 years ago.
You see, it’s very simple.
The douche bag had an affair with my slut of a mother for four years. It took four years for my dad to catch them. He technically never caught them, my step father “forgot” a condom one time they wanted to fuck and knocked my mother up.
She tried to convince my father it was his, but my dad has two parts to his brain: hockey and math. So he did the math of when the baby was conceived and the last time he and my mom bumped uglies, and was shocked to find out the numbers didn’t match up.
Again, my mom tried to play my dad and tell him it was a one time, drunken mistake, but Dan decided to be decent for once in his life and told my dad the true length of the affair. Needless to say there was a divorce, a wedding, and a baby shower in one year.
I’ll never forget the day my world changed. Now since I’m a daddies girl, when I saw my father hurt, I asked him why he was sad. I curled up in his lap and gave him the biggest hug my little arms could handle. Give me credit I was seven. Dad looked down at me with tears threatening to spill over his eye lids and told me, mommy didn’t want to be with daddy anymore. He sat there and cried, holding me so tightly as if he thought I’d drift away. My dad was a wreck after that. He didn’t go out, he wore the same flyers PJ’s for weeks, and he ordered take-out every night. I thought he’d never snap out of it. But one morning like magic, my dad was out of his pj’s making me breakfast as if the last couple months hadn’t happened at all.
After the divorce I chose to live with my father but I still had to visit my mother on weekends and holidays.
It wasn’t by choice, the courts forced me no matter how much I protested. As I got older, I used hockey as an excuse to not visit my mom. Even though I had a little sister, I kept her at arms length throughout her childhood. When I finally turned 18 I left my mom for good. She thought me perusing hockey as a profession was stupid and that I would end up regretting my choices. That was the final straw. I didn’t want to see her anymore, I hated seeing her in general. Every time I looked at her I would ask myself how she could have been so awful to my father? And then to make matters worse, she didn’t believe in my dreams.
She said something about me growing up butch because of how much I obsessed over hockey. She said, “How will you ever find a decent husband while you’re dressed in so much padding?” She blamed my father for my tomboy tendencies. We had a large argument, the cops were called because of how loud we were shouting. It was like all my pent up anger towards my mother came flying out all at once. After that night, I ignored my mothers calls and avoided her at every game the Flyers and Penguins played against each other.
My dad continued on with the usual first practice speeches about teamwork, brotherhood, and stuff along those lines. He always changed bits and pieces of the speeches so the veterans wouldn’t get bored.
“And finally,” my dad paused for dramatic effect. “We have a new, well I really shouldn’t say new because she’s been around this team for quite some time but anyway, sorta new addition to the Flyers family! Please welcome one of our new assistant coaches, who I am so very proud to call my beautiful, hockey crazed daughter, Angelica Crushly!”
He immediately walked over to me and whispered in my ear, “You’ll be doing the same thing you’ve been doing the past couple years. Just now, you’re getting paid to do it!” he exclaimed excitedly. He stepped back and smiled at me with pride in his eyes.
The boys started to whistle, clap, and howl. A hot blush began to form on my cheeks. I guess they were happy about having a good looking girl on staff, too bad they can touch this, cue MC Hammer!
“Go make your speech,” my dad pushed me towards the front smiling from ear to ear.
I made my way to the front of group and took in all the faces. Most I recognized, a few I didn’t. One face I didn’t see was Trey’s. Late on the first day, not a good start.
What was I supposed to say? Dad said everything perfectly, I didn’t think there was too much I could add. I rocked back and forth on my feet, unsure what to say. Giroux sensed my nervousness and shot up with a goofy grin on his face.
“Watch out guys! She may look shy now, but once you get out on the ice, if you don’t listen to the coaches bad things will happen,” he warned all the new guys.
I shot him a playful glare. He put his hands up in a mock surrender and sat down smiling from ear to ear.
“He’s right,” I started confidently. “If you are late, don’t bother making excuses, just be prepared to do 50 sets of suicides. If you mess up a play or one of the coaches instructions, don’t apologize. Figure out how to make sure it won’t happen again.
I made sure to make eye contact with each new guy, to enforce my words. “I will not be the water girl, or your blade sharpener, that’s what our equipment manager is for. I am the one who will yell at you until the cows come home if you mess up. The coaches are here to help you make plays and make you into the best team Philadelphia has ever seen!” All the players leaned forward, listening to my every word. “My job is to pound everything they say into your tiny brains. I’m not a mega bitch, we can have fun and joke around. But if you start to waste any of the coaches or your teammates time, I’m allowed to put you through hell.”
The new guys began to look around nervously, some looked down at their hands while the veterans chuckled. They knew I was joking about most of what I said, but they just didn’t know which part.
Perfect just the way I like them; nervous and scared.
The locker room door swung open, making all heads turn to the interruption.
In walked the most attractive guy I’ve ever seen. His pictures didn’t do him justice. His shaggy sandy brown hair went just above his eyebrows. His face looked like it had been chiseled from marble. His high cheek bones couldn’t have been more defined, not that anyone would want to tamper with them. His strong jaw jutted out the perfect distance. His eyes were sparkling dark emeralds that were surrounded by dark, full lashes.
My heart sped up as my eyes raked over his perfect body. His biceps seemed to want to burst out of his black t-shirt. I could see his abs through that tight shirt. I’ve seen attractive men before, get it together Angelica, I scolded myself.
I soon realized I was staring and so did he. A smug smirk formed on his soft lips. Arrogance and swag like he owned the place rolled off him in waves. He couldn’t have come at another perfect moment.
“Mr. McLaferty,” I stated, making my annoyance thick in my voice
“That’s my name beautiful, what can I do you for?” he asked raising his eyebrows suggestively. I mentally rolled my eyes.
I swished my hips back and forth as I waltzed up to him. I picked up a pair of skates that were sitting on a bench as I put on my flirtiest smile. As soon as I was close enough, I shoved the pair of skates into his chest. His cocky smile was replaced with confusion.
“You can lace up and give me 50 sets of suicides, and it’s Ms. Crushly to you.” he looked from me to my father and then back to me. The cocky smile returned and I tried to suppress the butterflies in my stomach flutter.
Stupid perfectly white teeth.
I needed to focus on my strategy. How am I supposed to decrease his ego if he’s making me feel like a school girl that has her first crush? Stupid pretty boy....
“So you’re the coach’s daughter,” amusement danced in his already shining eyes. I wanted to slap that look off his face so FREAKING bad! I was about to respond with a witty comeback when my fathers annoyed voice broke through the thick tension in the room.
“Yes Mr. McLaferty.“My dad moved to the front of the group making all the heads that were facing me and Trey, face forward. “Angelica is my daughter but also is an assistant coach and the enforcer of all things discipline. She may look all sugary sweet with everything nice mixed in but there are a lot of spices added too.” My dad moved from the side to the front of the group making all the heads that were facing me and Trey, face forward.
“Which brings me to my number one rule,” Trey was about to leave to do his suicides when my father stopped him.
“Trey, wait a minute. I have a feeling you need to hear this rule,” I looked at my father totally confused. His rule was meant for all the new guys, not just Trey. Never the less, Trey faced my father with an uneasy expression. I smiled, feeling good about my small victory, he is afraid of my father. It’ll be easy to manipulate that situation.
“We can all agree that my daughter, Angelica, is very beautiful,” I saw a few guys nod in agreement while others fist pounded each other. Silly boys, I chuckled to myself.
“She’s the best thing in my life and the apple of my eye. The veterans know this rule and will be happy to take action if this rule is broken,” dad looked straight at Trey making sure he knew my dad meant business.
“You are not allowed to date my daughter,” all the new guys faces fell. “Now, Angelica. Please accompany Mr. McLaferty to the ice and take your usual notes,” he nodded towards me.
As much as it killed me, I had to listen to my father’s wishes. Even if it meant, spending time with an arrogant ass hole while he did 50 sets of suicides. I had the feeling that if Trey and I were left alone together, it wouldn’t end well.
The minute Trey stepped out on the ice, he immediately started showing off.
He did a bunch of puck juggling with his stick while he skated backwards. He shot the puck between his legs, behind his back and hitting it out of the air into the net. It was impressive, but I wasn’t going to swoon like a hockey bimbo.
“McLaferty stop showing off! I’ve seen a ton of guys come in and out of this team that skate way better than you. Now, MOVE IT!” I bellowed. He smirked at my reaction as if it gave him satisfaction to know he was getting under my skin. He wrapped up his performance and began doing what he was told. He seemed so pompous it made me want to put a newly sharpened blade to his throat. He was acting like all he cared about was himself, the fact that he was apart of a new team didn’t seem to phase him.
After he did his 50 sets he skated over to me with the same smug expression plastered over his face. He seemed barely out of breath, to my annoyance.
“So,” he huffed grabbing his water bottle. “Go out with me,” he demanded, taking a sip. I rolled my eyes at his overconfident attitude. I couldn’t wait to deflate that big head of his. His head was giant balloon and I was holding the needle to deflate it.
“You heard my dad, can’t touch this,” I explained slowly. He broke out laughing tilting his head back. His laughter was melodic and smooth like honey I couldn’t help but smile at him.
Wait! Angelica stop being stupid! Focus and remember your plan!
“Please don’t start doing the hammer dance,” he begged when he finally stopped laughing.
“Go out with me,” he demanded again.
“Nope,” I started popping the p. He was done with his punishment so there was no reason for me to stay and waste my precious time any longer. I turned around to leave, feeling Treys eyes on my ass.
“You’re gonna go out with me sooner or later” he exclaimed.
I turned on my heel and gave him my coaches face. It just looked like I was seriously pissed off, lame but effective. “Ignorance, arrogance, and cockyness will get you no where with me,” I told him. His eyes started to sparkle with such intensity it was unreal.
“So does that mean if I stop doing all those things, I’ll have a shot?” he asked hopefully. I cringed at my mistake but found myself saying, “Change and then we’ll talk.”
I mentally slapped myself repeatedly. Why was I leading him on?! My dad would never allow this. This would totally ruin my plan! If by some miracle he did change, I would never be able to break him for the team.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid girl,” I muttered under my breath.
“Looking forward to it!” he announced happily. I tried convincing myself he would never change, but a part of me hoped he would. I hated that part.
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