Part Twenty Eight
A/N - So we get to know a lot more about Natasha, her broken past. Hope you appreciate...enjoy isn't the word! Next chapter soon, promise. MZ, xxx
Chapter Twenty Eight
Natasha could barely function after the encounter, she was so incensed at Bo's behaviour, and hated that it literally shadowed all of her anger, frustration and pain. It dragged her into the past, and that was somewhere she never went. It had taken years to get over all that Torrie did to her, and she never wanted to go there again mentally. And he'd done that!
Freya was eyeing her suspiciously from the other end of the bar/refreshment table, obviously aware of the dark cloud that was suddenly hanging over her, she tried, but she couldn't shake the mood, no matter how many cherubic kids came up and asked for "more cake please."
After half an hour, as noise from the games being played on the rink echoed into the lounge, Freya came over to her.
"You OK?" She placed a hand on her arm, "you look stressed."
Natasha shrugged, "men being knobs. Nothing exceptional."
Freya rolled her eyes, "sometimes you wonder if it's worth it."
Shaking her head, Natasha cleaned the counter, fighting the scowl, "you can't complain, you've got Coop, the most well rounded and hunky man I've ever met. He is like the perfect man."
That made Freya scoff, "don't buy into that! He is just like the rest, I almost walked away from him at pace when I first met him. They don't know how to open up, how to get their heads out of their own arses."
Natasha sighed, "I can't ever imagine Coop being as emotionally inept as Bo, I really can't."
Freya poured a mug of coffee and handed it to her, "look, Coop was equally as difficult when I met him, I mean I was pregnant before he was happy to commit to anything..." She sighed, "he had an ex really screw him over and he couldn't get past that. Almost lost everything."
Natasha blinked away the tears not wanting to cry in front of her new friend, "that sounds like him, Bo is constantly comparing everything to what he had when he was in the NHL, rich, famous and all the rest. This place and me...we don't even figure."
"He really cares for you, anyone who sees you together can tell that."
She sighed, "not enough, Freya. And I swore I wouldn't be sucked into something like this, so one sided again."
She wanted to cry, but she couldn't, she wouldn't, instead she plastered on a smile and served coffee and cake to the family that arrived in front of her. But ten minutes later, Freya placed an arm around her, "go home, relax. I love how much you've helped, but you need to be free of this place when the session finishes."
"I..." she wasn't one to run away, but the thought of seeing Bo again really wasn't appealing.
"Go, the worst is over, and you did provide most of the cakes. You are a Hornet legend!"
She didn't argue, instead, grabbing her coat and bag, she literally fled, driving straight home and reaching for the bottle of whisky as soon as her front door was closed.
Bloody Bo, how dare he push her away, treat her like shit. Shaking her head, she poured more than two fingers into a glass then downed a huge gulp with a grimace. Whisky was not her drink, but she needed something strong and aggressive to match her mood, because suddenly the last fifteen years had disappeared, and she was back in those last days in Boston before she fled to her Nana H.
'Torrie' or rather Gabriel Torrent was the star hockey player at her father's university. Not the most prestigious college in the Boston area, it did have a good pedigree when it came to hockey, and her father, though only ever being a field hockey player himself, fell in love with the game. Whilst he watched the Bruins on occasion, he became an avid fan of the college team. As a young girl, Natasha hadn't been that enthralled, until she hit puberty, and then she started to notice the players, as men not faceless players.
Puberty and lots of hot and horny guys was not a good combination, but she was a good girl, and shy with it. So she just tried to hang around at the rink. By the time she was sixteen she knew every players name, profile and stats. She was the greatest fan, she was sure. And it was easy because her father drove her home from every game.
School was OK, but no one there compared to the huge, powerful players that occupied her every fantasy. And just after she turned sixteen, Torrie appeared on the team. A new recruit, headhunted into the college purely to help the team win games, and her father loved him. On ice he was amazing, but when Natasha called to her father's office for a ride home on a random Tuesday evening, and she was literally knocked over by the emerging star player as he threw open the door to her father's office , exiting with a beaming smile on his face, she fell hook, line and sinker.
"Shit!" He reached for her as she careened towards the floor, saving her from a fall, "are you OK?"
She nodded, as she took in the strong features, those blue eyes, tufty blonde hair and cheeky smile, she swooned, if he wasn't holding on to her, then she'd have fallen over.
"Sorry, you need to sit down?"
She shook her head, suddenly mute, then finally managed to muster, "I'm OK."
"Mark? Can you give me a hand?"
She realised then that he was calling to her father, and she pulled away from him, "honestly I'm fine."
But at the moment, her father was rushing towards them.
"Bloody hell, Natasha? Are you OK?"
Nodding, she turned to stand free of both men, "I'm fine Dad, I just got a little spooked as the door opened."
"Dad?" The man she knew as Torrie looked between them both, "she's your daughter Mark?"
Her father beamed, "she sure is, and she's a huge fan of you guys."
Suddenly Torrie's attention was back on her, fully, "so you like hockey?" When she nodded, once again mute, he grinned, "well that's a wise choice, I hear you English usually stick to soccer."
Again she shrugged, meeting his eyes with a blush, "not me."
Laughing he clapped her shoulder, "great. Nice to meet you Natasha, your father is a good man, and sorry I almost killed you."
With that he skipped off, and so started her infatuation with Gabriel 'Torrie' Torrent.
The next day she had a bouquet of flowers delivered to her house, along with a note expressing remorse. Other than that she didn't see him until a week later, as he skated onto the ice for a grudge match against their local rivals. He was so elegant, stood out so hugely on the ice, that she couldn't take her eyes off him.
Then, as they introduced the teams, stood for the anthem, his eyes flicked up to her and he winked, a blatant and obvious wink. He'd scored two goals before the blush left her cheeks.
And so it started, smiles, waves, very occasional, but she hung on to every single one, as a grown woman she could see how ridiculous it was, how naive she'd been, but she was a just that, an innocent young girl, with dreams. And unfortunately, he just fuelled everyone of those dreams, whether he realised that or not.
Within a few months they were holding brief conversations, often when she was with her father, but knowing that she might bump into Torrie if she was near her father's office was all the incentive she needed, and she was rewarded for her efforts by running into him on the stairs, or corridor occasionally.
Then the college got free tickets to go see the Bruins. Her father had one, and with a beaming smile informed her that he had one for her too. She was excited, but that only trebled when she heard that most of the team were going as well, including Torrie.
She didn't have many friends, her school was close to her father's college, and not near where they lived, so she had no one to borrow clothes or make up from, so on the day of the game, she sneaked home in afternoon and raided her mother's make up drawer, she had some, but nothing as nice as her mother's.
She got back to school and wasn't missed, but when she turned up at her father's office, he was pale, coughing and a bath of perspiration.
"You're not well," she was concerned, but also devastated. She'd been dreaming of this evening for so long. "You need to go home."
He sighed, "I'm sorry, baby. I know you wanted to go."
She tired to appear nonchalant, because despite the fact that she was sixteen, there was no way that her father would let her cross the city on public transport, that late at night. The game was due to finish about ten o'clock. He was very protective of her.
As she was helping him gather her things, there was a knock at the door, and when she opened it, her heart seemed to bounce up to her mouth, rendering her both beetroot red, and speechless.
"Hey, Natasha," even Torrie's voice was sexy. "You guys ready, there's a group of us all travelling together."
She groaned, "my Dad's sick, we can't make it."
He moved past her, "shit, Mark. You look dreadful."
"You need a ride home?"
He'd shaken his head, he had his car, then Torrie winked at her, "so, will you trust me and the rest of the offensive team to escort you girl to the game, be a shame for her to miss it."
Natasha fought the panic, the hyperventilation that threatened to render her useless as she stared at first Torrie, then her Dad, there was no way he'd let her go. Even though she was an adult in some parts of the country.
"I don't think..."
Torrie laughed, "Mark, we're sensible. We'll bring her straight home, and she has a phone? Call her every five minutes if you need to."
Surprisingly, he agreed. Gabriel Torrent always got what he wanted. AN that night, it seemed it was her company.
They'd sat up in the stands, him beside her, and as he game progressed, he seemed to lean close to her. Then when the Bruins scored a goal to take the lead in the second period, his hand thrust onto her thigh in excitement.
And never left her leg.
She had swooned literally, her heart racing as his fingers spread over her leg and his body leaned into her. This is what it felt like to be one of the many women who appeared on Torrie's arm. She was in love, lust and every other teenage angst emotion.
He saw her home, and the next day she practised her signature, Natasha Torrent on five pages of her book.
At the next game, when he scored, he sought her in the ground and gave her a beaming smile and a mock salute.
A week later, she was sat outside the college, on a stone bench working on some homework as she waited for her dad, Torrie passed, then stopped to talk, helping her with her algebra sat together in the evening sun.
He was eighteen, she was only a couple of years younger than him, and as the week went by, she dared to dream that they could become more than friends.
She heard about the party at the ice rink one night, a gang of college girls sat near her and her dad, and when he went to get them some snacks between the second and third period, they started to plan. Talking far too loudly.
The party was in one of the college frat houses, she knew where it was, and she knew who Ricky, the head of the house was too, captain of the team they were watching, a senior who was as charismatic as Torrie, but nowhere near as attractive to Natasha.
The weekend before Thanksgiving was a celebratory weekend in the college, the weekend before everyone headed home, and the start of the Christmas festivities followed. The party was fancy dress, themed as eighties pop stars.
It took a lot of planning, but Natasha managed to convince her parents that she was staying at a friend's house. The only real friend she has was an older schoolmate, Susie. She worked in a cafe near the college campus, so they'd struck up a friendship in the winter months pre-Torrie, when Natasha would grab a cappuccino and sit in the window of the coffee shop watching the world go by.
Of course Susie was up for the party when Natasha mentioned it, if she was surprised at her wanting to go, she hid it well.
A short black tutu skirt over fishnet tights, and a mesh layered top, with a black biker jacket, set off the messy blonde wig, lace headband and vivid make-up. When she emerged from Susie's bathroom, the other woman had gasped, apparently her Madonna look was spot on.
In a leopard skin mini dress and a Tina Turner mullet wig, her friend looked formidable too.
The hose was full to bursting with a dozen Michael Jackson's, a few Princes and a lot of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna's, but none were as sexy as her, or so Susie assured her. Her friend led her to the kitchen and got them some beers, she wasn't used to drinking and wanted to pace herself. But Susie was suddenly in her element, chatting to everyone. Natasha, a natural wall flower, perched at the side of the room and felt way out of her depth.
And then he'd entered the room, blonde hair creased into spikes, black leather jacket over a skintight white t-shirt, equally tight faded jeans and a black biker jacket, very similar to her own, and stubble gracing his jaw and cheeks, was the party's only George Michael. Torrie.
He didn't spot her for a long time, but others seemed to, as she started to garner attention from lots of the men present, who apparently had no idea who she was. Even Ricky the house leader, dressed as Freddy Mercury, approached her.
Then she felt eyes on her and everyone else faded away, looking up, she locked eyes with Torrie, and for a moment he looked shocked, but then his face wrinkled into a frown as he cut through the crowds to her.
"What are you doing here?"
She shrugged, biting her lip, and apparently that was too much for him to deal with, grabbing her arms, he pulled her out of the kitchen and into the garden. A few couples occupied the corners, searching for dark spots to smooch, but he had no such ideas, dragging her further across the grass to the furthest point.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
By now she was mortified, she thought he'd appreciate her dress, be pleased to see her at least, after all, this was all for him.
"I came with a friend."
He shook his head, "you look like fucking jail bait, you any idea how many of those guys want to drag you upstairs and fuck you senseless?"
That had made her swallow nervously, "I just thought..."
"You haven't thought about anything, Tash. You're drinking beer? Dressed...." when his eyes finally brushed over her, he stepped back, shaking his head.
"I just wanted fun."
He ran his hand through his hair, "fuck. You are going to have more than fun, looking like that."
Dropping her head, she wanted to cry, she was so out of her depth, she wanted to look sexy, attractive, instead she felt stupid, she hated that.
"I just wanted to fit in."
He tipped up her chin with a hand and smiled at her watery eyes, "fit in? You are the sexiest woman in the room. I couldn't believe it when I looked up and saw you. You look amazing."
Then he'd kissed her senseless, and it was everything she wanted, everything she hoped. And after sneaking up the back stairs of the house, she'd entered his bedroom. The next ironing she left without her virginity and a smile that she couldn't seem to lose.
She'd thought that it would be the start of something special, that they had something between them. But he never took her call again.
Six weeks later, when she'd missed a period and a test confirmed the worst, she'd gone to his frat house, needing to speak to him.
"He's in his room," one of the guys had told her. And he was. With his head between a cheerleaders legs.
She'd rushed out in a daze, and he hadn't followed her. So she'd left him a message explaining she was pregnant and needed to speak to him, all but begging him to call her.
Eventually she saw him across campus one afternoon and rushed over to him.
He turned, rolling his eyes, "not got time for this, Tash."
Tears filled her eyes, "did you get my message? I don't know what to do."
He shrugged, "look, it should never have happened between us. You're a school kid, I can't screw things up. I've got scouts at every game, I need this clean image, sorry Tash, but that's the way it is."
And he'd walked away, uncaring. His career, his image, his future all more important than her and the baby she was carrying.
How could she have been so stupid? But she'd loved him, thought he felt the same, he'd been so good to her, sought her out, befriended her. She was too young, too innocent to realise what was really happening at the time.
Looking back she knew that he had encouraged her, manipulated her. Maybe he got off on controlling things with her, but now, as an adult with the baggage of the aftermath of all that happened, the broken relationship with her parents, her lack of confidence, her inability to commit to anything, were all down to him and what he did.
It took counsellors to make her realise that it wasn't completely her fault, he was older, he knew what he was doing. It was his fault too. But he'd jetted off to the NHL, to a successful future uncaring of how he'd left her.
She's sworn that she'd never get into that position again, but here she was, having her heartbroken by a stupid, selfish jock, all over again.
When would she learn?
The door bell ringing, literally jolted her out of her misery. And she knew as she crossed to the door that it would he his voice that echoed through the intercom.
"Natasha, I'm sorry."