“Where the fuck have you been Maddison?” The coach screamed as we came onto the ice.
“I couldn’t figure the skate out Coach, something was going on with the blade and none of the equipment guys were back there. I ended up having to grab another pair.” Eric said shaking as I skated in behind him.
“Who the fuck are you?” He said exasperated.
“Jack Crabb, your new player.” I said skating up to him.
“You’re not supposed to start till tomorrow.” He said throwing his hands in the air. “I haven’t even looked over your chart yet.”
“Coach, I like to get right in as soon as I can.” Then I skated over to him and was close enough to be quiet so only he could hear me. “Trust me coach, the kid needs me out here.”
He looked at me like he was going to explode. He must have saw something in my face and then his outburst died on his lips. “Let me guess, Ford and Sedin again?”
“I don’t know their names but two guys just threatened the kid pretty bad and he’s a little shook.”
“What are you going to do?” He asked skeptical.
“Put me on his line, I mean that’s why you got me anyway right. I’ll look after him.” I implored him.
“Why the fuck not, nothing else is working this year. Scrimmage,” he yelled and everyone skated to the bench. I just followed the kid and where he went I went.
“Crabb, you join line two, blue squad. Riley, sit, and Lintoni go to third blue.” Coach said with enough reason in his voice no one said anything. I grabbed a blue piney and waited next to the kid whose line I knew I was on.
It was a pick-up game and I was good at those. We were about a minute in when the puck was dumped and me and the kid and another guy jumped the wall and hit the ice.
Our defender shot the puck to the kid who caught it and was bringing it up and I could see the two guys from earlier barreling down on him. I knew I was good, I always had been, but today was not about me scoring, today was about saving the kid.
I broke to center ice and cut across the kid which you never do, I should have stayed on my wing, but I was out to prove something. He took the puck and darted to where I left and I dropped one of the two like he was nothing and the kid went by the other and dropped it to our line mate for a score.
The kid was being congratulated by our blue teammates but I didn’t go over. I waited by where I dropped the mouthy guy from earlier. He got to his feet and shot me a look as his buddy skated over to him. The three of us stood looking at each other.
“You go after the kid again and I will personally make it my responsibility to hurt you bad enough you will never play again. Do I make myself clear?” I said with enough venom that they both looked shocked.
“You can’t be with him all the time,” Ford said with a smirk.
“That comment just earned you another trip on your ass. Until you both tell me you will leave the kid alone, I am making it my personal mission to take care of each of you.”
“Maybe we will just come after you,” his partner Sedin spoke up.
“You must have me confused with some rookie. I will break you two so bad, and I don’t give a flying fuck, so do your damndest. But I will make it clear to you, until you let the kid be, I am going to ruin you.”
Then I turned and skated to the bench. I congratulated the kid and watched as scrimmage continued. The next few rotations were better but I could see the two plotting. The kid had scored off a pass from me and I knew it was eating them up. I knew the minute we came on the ice they were going to drop him.
“Well, it’s time to see who the coach wants more on this team,” I said out loud as I hit the ice and began to get in the flow.
Eric was coasting down the wall and Ford was beating his heels to get to him. The kid dropped it back to the defense and was going to circle the net and come up the other side. Ford was going to board him and I knew when it was coming so I left my spot and drove toward the kid. He looked weird when I passed him behind the net and I dropped Ford again to the ice.
Whistles went off and the game stopped. “Crabb, what the hell was that? That would put you in the box.” Coach screamed.
“Sorry Coach, a little rusty, forgot my assignment.” I said staring down at Ford. “Shouldn’t happen again coach, of course I’m old so I might forget. What do you think Ford, will it happen again?”
Sedin came skating hard at me and I turned and dropped him on the ice with one long paw so now he sat next to his buddy. “Will I forget again guys?”
“No, it’s over,” Ford said holding up his arm to ward me off.
I grabbed him and pulled him to his feet. “Good, now I’m Jack Crabb, I’m your new teammate and I will be on the kids’ line going forward.”
“Tyler Ford,” he said shaking his head to clear the cobwebs. “We will leave the kid alone.” He said like he was out of breath.
I nodded and looked down at the other guy and he just nodded. I helped him up too. We went back to the bench and everyone was just was staring at us. I took a seat while nervous tension was going around the bench.
“Crabb, welcome to the team,” Coach called and then he screamed “Sprints.”
Everyone moaned and jumped the wall and began sprinting. I hated sprints as much as the next guy, but nothing beat team unity then doing sprints over and over till you were ready to puke.
I wasn’t sure what the hell was happening on the ice. I did know that somehow, someway, Jack Crabb just became my favorite person in the entire world. He singlehandedly stopped the bullying that my brother had been enduring for the last few months in one practice.
I was still smiling as I walked into the business office and saw Coach Lumm talking to my boss Garrett Green, General Manager of the Storm. They both stopped talking as I walked in and I could see wheels turning on both their faces.
“So Maddie, I thought the Crabb kid wasn’t starting till tomorrow?” Mr. Green asked me point blank.
“He said he needed to skate today sir. I got all the paperwork signed so he was good to go. I hope it wasn’t a problem?” I asked not really caring what the answer was.
“According to Coach Lumm, he instigated Sedin and Ford and laid them out on the ice.”
“Yes sir, I believe I saw that.”
“What is your view of his actions?” He asked but in a way I wasn’t sure where he was headed with the question.
I decided to be honest for better or worse. “He was brought in sir to be a line mate for Maddison. Maddison scored a goal and had two assists in the scrimmage. I’d say sir, that Jack Crabb is the best acquisition this club has made in a long time.”
I waited for the reprimand over his decisions, or even for me second guessing him in his player profiles, but instead he laughed. He laughed so hard I thought he was going to hurt himself.
“Damn Maddie, I love you. I wish you were my daughter. I’ll tell you this, if they can do that in a game, then it will be the luckiest pick-up this organization ever had. The line we had in practice today, your brother’s line, is going to be our first line tomorrow against Richmond.”
First line, that was huge. I didn’t grow up playing hockey but I watched my brother for years, I knew what this was, and it was huge. This team needed something positive and this might be it.
I waited outside the dressing room as players flowed out not knowing what I was going to say. I mean I had to say something, didn’t I? I mean in one day Jack Crabb was turning my brother and this organization around. Someone should say something to him.
He walked out with my brother and I began blushing from the evil thoughts running through my head at seeing his sweaty face and hair as he walked out, Jack, not my brother. He was marvelous. Damn down girl, what the hell was wrong with me?
“So, um, good practice today?” I said to the two of them.
“Yeah, did you see how many points I got? Jack kept guys off of me and I was able to score. It was fun. I love hockey. I have got to call mom and tell her.” Eric said heading for my car.
I turned to Jack. “Thank you, I know what you did out there, and, well, thank you.”
He smiled. Yup that was a damn panty dropping smile. Of course my panties were trying to jump off of me with that smile so I had to keep my legs tight together.
“He’s a good kid, he doesn’t deserve that. He’s got potential.” He said quietly.
“I don’t know you looked pretty good out there when you weren’t taking out the garbage, oh my god did I just say that? Oh shit, I mean, I shouldn’t have said that. That was really unprofessional of me.”
“Relax Maddie, I’m the last one that should be worried about professionalism. I’m glad the kid had a good scrimmage. If you’ll excuse me, I have to find a place to live, or at least a room for the night till I can find a place.”
“You don’t have a place to stay?” I asked flabbergasted
“Well no, I just got here today and was going to look for a place after meeting with you, other things came up.” Jack explained and I felt terrible after everything he did for us today. He was too nice to be sleeping in a hotel or motel if that was all he could afford.
“In the car mister, you are coming with us. We actually have another bedroom in our apartment for when my parents visit. You will stay there till you find a place.” I said like that was the end of the discussion.
“I couldn’t do that, it wouldn’t be right,” he began but I cut him off before he could get going. “We both know that’s not right. Teammates share places all the time and this is just for a place till you find your own, now get your ass in the car.”
He laughed but he did just as I said. If he liked being ordered around, I could do that. I could definitely do that, in the bedroom, oh shit there goes my mind again. Easy girl he was going to be living with you now, anything could happen. Oh shit, anything could happen.