For the first practice of the season, it actually went surprisingly well. The new guys seemed to fit in pretty well with the rest of the team. Dad immediately started with passing drills. The rules were one of our veterans had to pair with one of our new players. Trey ended up getting paired with Claude Giroux. I hated to admit this, but the pair worked really well together. They seemed to know exactly where the other was going to put the puck. Dad always looked for chemistry between players, these two definitely could have something special on the ice. Dad ran drills for a few more hours before it was time for laps, something everyone hated.
“Let’s go guys! Hustle, I’m going faster than you! I’m getting lonely up there,” I yelled running around the boys.
There was a track by the practice rink, dad always ended practice this way, 15 laps around the track. If the players were going too slow, he’d add on five more laps. Dad thought the most important thing to do during practices was run to build up the players stamina. The guys were no good to us tired, he’d say.
“We just wanna see you run in front of us A,” Simmonds called. “We just wanna get a good look at your ass,” he teased earning him a few slaps to the back of the head. If my father wasn’t around, they’d all agree and they knew it.
“HURRY UP LADIES OR COACH WILL ADD FIVE MORE LAPS!” the forward coach bellowed. A few of the players groaned, but hey, go big or go home. My dad was deep in conversation with the defenseman coach, too enthralled in the discussion to hear any of the remarks the boys had made.
They can never be too careful.
My dad must have sensed my eyes on him because his locked in on mine. He gave me the nod telling me time to hit the ice and put my player whispering skills to good use.
“Everyone head to the locker room, we’re done for the day. Tomorrow, practice starts at 8am. Anyone who is not on the ice at that time will be benched our first preseason game,” dad threatened. He seemed mean now, but he just wanted to start the the season off right. He always calmed down after the fifth game, depending on our record.
I started to head back into the rink, I desperately wanted a hot shower and a nap. I mentally kicked myself for not keeping up my workouts this summer, it would have made today so much easier.
Trey made his way up to me and jogged along side of me, looking at me with lust filled eyes. I thought a hole would burn on the side of my face. I don’t understand why he was looking at me like that. My hair was in a high ponytail with tons of frizz, sweat was dripping down my face leaving sweat marks on my large t-shirt. I tried to out run him, but I had a feeling Trey would just catch up.
“I’m liking the view Angel. Think I can get a private tour to see the sights?” Trey attempted to flirt, wiggling his eyebrows. I rolled my eyes and scoffed.
“Face forward McLaferty, you’ll trip and fall. And if the ground doesn’t hurt you, I will. Especially if you keep calling me Angel,” I said sternly.
“Aw you don’t want me to get hurt,” he cooed. “How sweet!” A sly smile played at his lips. “You care about me, don’t ya?”
“No I care about my team,” I stopped him from running any further allowing the guys to get a head so they won’t be able to hear us.“You’ve been on three different teams since you started in the NHL. If you keep acting like this, Philadelphia will just be another stepping stone. Most players dream all there lives of joining this team, are you seriously going to waste your chance?” He stood there staring at me. His mouth was slightly open as he struggled to find a response.
“The organization is counting on you, that’s why they chose you. So if you fall and get hurt, the team suffers. Then my dad suffers, which I don’t like and would love to avoid.” My words seemed to sink in because the arrogant look in his eye softened, it almost could be mistaken as compassion. My shower was calling my name so I started heading back inside.
“You’re really close with your dad aren’t you?” He asked when his brain started working again. He almost sounded envious of my relationship.
I shrugged. “Of course, we’re all each other has.” Whatever this conversation was, needed to end. I needed to get changed before dad noticed I was missing.
Trey began to follow me inside. “So this ‘number one rule’, someone has had to have broken it, right? Someone has at least tried to date you, right?”
“No, the rule was put in place for specific reasons. Everyone knows that if they break my dad’s rules, there will be consequences.” I don’t understand why this was so difficult for him to understand.
“What about what you want, Angel? What if you really really wanted to date someone on the team? Wouldn’t your father want you to be happy?” Trey had a point and he knew it. While that thought has crossed my mind before, the last time I ‘wanted to be happy’, it blew up in my face.
“Even if my dad let me date his players, you would never change.” I brushed him off.
“I know you want me,” he smirked with his eyes twinkling. My heart started doing weird jumps and flips the longer I stared into his emerald eyes. I had to get away or else my plan would hit the fan.
“Sorry Pitbull, but Forget you!” I shouted as I ran ahead.
“Feisty, oh such a turn on!” he groaned.
I grinned at my success, step one was coming along nicely.
Damn, why couldn’t I crack her? My apple watch beeped and a reminder flashed on the screen. ‘Pick up Christy in one hour’ I began jogging back into the rink, praying that if I hurried I wouldn’t be late for the second time today. My sister would kill me if I was late picking her up. It was her first day at another new school, something she always hated. She has begged me to let her do home schooling, but I think it’s important for her to have as close to a normal life as possible. She was also the reason I was late to practice this morning. Getting teenagers out the door on time was so difficult, especially when they’re not morning people.
I needed to shower and get across town in the next hour or I would have a very upset 16 year old on my hands.
As I stood in the shower, Angelica filled my thoughts. No girl has ever turned me down, like ever. What bothered me the most was the fact that she didn’t seem like my old flings. She had power and intimidation sparkling in her eyes. But I still bet I could get her, eventually. It excited me the fact that she was off limits. I was known for always wanting something I can’t have. Once I have it, I usually don’t want it anymore
I mentally slapped myself, don’t be arrogant. Angelica won’t date me unless I change or at least make her think I’ve changed.
Wait, why do I care what she thinks? She’s just one girl. One girl who, I bet has a bit of a rebel side, makes my blood rush, and is incredibly attractive. I had to figure out a way to get her to break her dads rule!
We could hook up secretly, which would be even hotter. I snickered at the thought of her and me in a broom closet. I turned of the shower and grabbed my towel. I barely dried myself off before I put on my clothes. I grabbed my gym bag and started running towards my car. I looked down at my watch. Shit, I had 20 minutes before I was late picking up Christy.
When we were little, before I could drive and before everyone had cell phones, our father would forget to pick Christy up after school. Our mother traveled a lot for work, so it was up to him. He would blame it on work, meetings, or errands. But we all knew he was drinking. I was normally at hockey practice so I wasn’t any help. It made her feel unloved, unwanted, which is something I have tried everyday to undo.
Thinking about my awful father brought me back to Angelic. There was a small part of me jealous of the relationship she had with her dad and undoubtedly her mom. I sometimes wished my dad was as great as some of my coaches, the men who really shaped my life, but then I remember all of our past conversations and that wish blows up in smoke.
I jumped into my car and started racing to pick up Christy. My thoughts again were consumed by Angelica. the team already threatened me after I did my suicides to stay away from Angelica. I guess they heard about my partying “habits.” I gotta admit, chasing this girl would be very entertaining. Her crystal blue orbs pierced through my eyes exploring my soul. Plus if I have to chase her, I got a great look at her fine ass. A car honked at me as I sped down the street, enough thinking about Angelica, I needed to get my sister.
It took me 40 minutes to pull up in front of Christy’s school. Damn traffic. She stood outside, no other student around, with her black leather back pack slung over her shoulder. As soon as she saw my car, her piercing green eyes grew cold.
As if this day couldn’t get any better.
“MCLAFERTY!” Coach Crushly screamed!
I dropped the dudes jersey I was clutching and my fist that was about to connect with his face. I think his name is, Simmonds? It was the second day of preseason practice.
I tried to explain to Christy why I was late, but she wouldn’t hear any of my apologies. Last night consisted of me apologizing over and over again while my sister continued to ignore me. She was stubborn, one of the things I loved and hated about her. I didn’t like when my sister was upset with me, she was my only family. I would feel angry until she finally decided she was over what ever I did to piss her off. My anger from last night seemed to bubble over into today’s practice, especially since Christy still wasn’t talking to me this morning.
“In my defense, he slashed my knees and called me a tool,” I held my hands up in innocence, hoping it would work. It did with my old team, why should this one be any different. Coach Crushly’s face was turning red, he clenched his fists, clearly trying to calm his temper. My eyes wandered over to Angelica who was talking to another coach.
I know my temper is a problem, but I get it from my father. Lame excuse, I know, but it’s the truth. I have been trying to get it under control for years but nothing seemed to work. I was turned into a fighter when my jackass of a father hit my little sister. She was four and apparently was playing with her dolls too loudly. Dad had been drinking and complained that he couldn’t hear the football game. My little sister apparently didn’t listen fast enough and before I could stop him, my little sister was crying her eyes out. My mom had been at work so she didn’t see it happened. But I did and that was the first day I threw a punch at my dad. It wouldn’t have been the last.
I clenched my teeth at the thought.
“I DON’T CARE WHAT HE DID! ON MY TEAM YOU CONTROL YOURSELF!” His face was turning red and a large vein started popping out of his head. “YOUR EXCUSES MAY HAVE WORKED ON YOUR OLD TEAMS, BUT NOT ON MINE! IS THAT CLEAR?!”
“Yes coach,” I mumbled, putting my head down and shagged my shoulders. I could hear chuckling to my left, I could see a group of defensmen looking at the exchange with large smiles on their faces.
“I DIDN’T HEAR YOU, MCLAFERTY!” I straightened my shoulders, snapped my head up and look him straight in the eye.
“Yes Coach,” I said with confidence.
I couldn’t help glancing at Angelica out the corner of my eye, only to see her shaking her head at me. This was the first time in a long time I felt ashamed because of my temper. Just the way her eyes were able to bore into soul, made me feel like I disappointed to her. So that’s two women I’ve upset in the past 24 hours. I had to look away before I rushed over to her and apologized for being an ass.
For the rest of practice I decided to keep my head down. My plan was to just get through this practice, pick up my sister from school, and sleep for more than five hours. Tomorrow is a new day to prove myself, just had to put today behind me.