The girls talked right up until Tess pulled into Meda’s driveway. Giggling, they disconnected and Tess barreled through the front door. God, this was so exciting! She was still blown away by the rapid takeoff and prospect of a bonafide respected women’s professional hockey league. It gave her the insane urge to flip off all the old bastards that ran the NHL followed by a resounding ‘how you like me now!’
Blake was in the kitchen pulling the lasagna out of the oven. Some of the other players were there, including Apollo. Tess smiled and waved at him as she followed Meda into the living room. Meda got her a drink from the side bar and the women made themselves comfortable as they waited for dinner.
“Hey did you know Canada is now getting on the women’s hockey league bus?” Meda said as a side note. “Toronto and Montreal both are putting plans together to expand with women’s teams.”
“Fuckin’ A!” Tess shouted. “That is awesome! When they get their shit together, Vancouver won’t be far behind.”
“Yep, along with Winnepeg and they may even bring Quebec with them. Ethan called me this morning to fill me in. Toronto apparently contacted his little sister. Ava’s not even out of high school yet and she’s already being scouted!”
“Wow! They must be serious then. We’ll have to look her up.” Meda agreed. “So, you still talk to Ethan? Captain Caveman doesn’t go all Neanderthal on you?”
“Pfft like that would make a difference,” Meda laughed. “No Blake is pretty secure now that I have his last name. He actually talks more to Ethan than I do! It’s like a cute little bromance or some shit like that.” Tess giggled.
“Yeah Ethan is pretty hot and the two of them together in the same room? That’s a damned inferno!”
“What are we, chopped liver?” Brandon sauntered in and flopped down next to Tess, planting a noisy kiss on her cheek. “What time is your interview tonight, gorgeous?” Looking at her watch, Tess jumped up and turned on the huge flatscreen that sat over the fireplace.
“Yo the interview is on! Get your asses in here!” Brandon bellowed. The living room crowded with broad shoulders and testosterone.
“Sorry I’m late!” Karina called from the foyer. She rushed into the living room with two tall good looking teenagers following behind her. Those must be her boys, Tess thought. Karina perched on the arm of the couch as Meda turned up the volume. Blake was standing behind her, rubbing her shoulders. Veronica’s voice echoed through the living room to a rapt audience.
“You look amazing, Tess.” Apollo’s velvet voice sounded quietly in her ear. She shivered from the feel of his warm breath caressing the shell. His large hand settled on her shoulder, his Mediterranean blue eyes dark with desire. Tess cleared her throat and smiled at him.
“That reporter is hot!” Brandon said. He was met with a resounding “shhhhh!” When it was over, whistles and clapping sounded around the room.
“You were on fire, girl!” Meda exclaimed. “You are the perfect spokeswoman for the team!” Tess laughed, her cheeks flushing pink from all the attention. It had nothing to do with the fact her body was reacting to Apollo being so close.
“Tess that was on point!” Karina said, a wide smile on her face. “Girl, you did the team proud!” The chatter around the room became jumbled as the praises poured out along with the questions from the guys. Finally settling around the dinner table, they prepared to feast on Blake’s famous lasagna. It was his mother’s recipe and the team loved it.
“So who are these handsome young men you brought with you, Coach?” The boys blushed and chuckled.
“Oh shit! Sorry babies, I totally forgot I brought you along.”
“Gee thanks, Mom,” one of them said. The other one rolled his eyes and groaned at being called a baby.
“These are my boys, Jax and Roan.” Everyone introduced themselves and the conversation immediately turned to hockey. Jax and Roan were identical twins and played defense for their high school team. Karina was in her element talking about them. She was especially proud of the fact they were already being scouted by major universities in their sophomore year.
“You boys should come practice with us,” Apollo said out of the blue. He’d been relatively quiet all evening. Jax dropped his fork.
“Dude! You serious?” Roan said. “Mom, he serious?” Karina nodded with a wink and a smile.
“Yep, dead serious,” Blake said. “Your mom will be in meetings all day tomorrow so why don’t you come with her to the arena and dress out with us?”
“Holy shit!” Roan exclaimed. “Oh! Sorry Mom!”
“Meda and I are twins,” Apollo went on. “We have this weird twin telepathy thing on the ice. At least that’s what the press says. I think it’s just because we’ve played together since we were four. It will be interesting to see how your synergy plays out during a game.”
“Bet! Roan and I do the same thing! Dude wait till we tell Coach Beam we got to practice with the Demolition Derby! You guys have to teach us the Spin Off! That move is badass!” Karina smacked Jax on the back of the head. “Ow!” he yelped. “Oh sorry, Mom.” The table erupted in laughter.
“When is your next game?” Tess asked. She had the instant thought to round up the Sounders and Fury to attend.
“Sunday at 2. We are playing against Armstrong.” Meda whistled.
“They have a top notch program. You ready for them?” Jax and Roan exchanged a look and a fist bump.
“Bring it on,” they said in unison.
“I don’t have anything to do Sunday. What about you guys?” Tess put them on the spot. She had to admit she liked watching Brandon squirm. He must have a hot date or something. The guy never spent time alone. “Relax, Bran,” she giggled. “You can bring your latest toy.”
“Ha ha, very funny Tess,” the goalie huffed. “For your information, I’m spending time with my mom Sunday like a good son. I haven’t seen her since she got home from Arizona.” A collective ‘aw’ went around.
“Such a good son,” Karina giggled as she pinched his cheek. “See boys? Even big bad professional hockey players can still spend time with their mother without losing cool points.” The twins groaned.
“Hell yeah we can,” Brandon piped in. “Chicks dig a dude who loves his mom.” Ducking under Karina’s dagger like glare, he shoved more lasagna in his mouth.
“Don’t listen to him, boys,” Tess said. “He will teach you all about getting in trouble with the ladies. Besides, it’s not like you’re going to have time to date any time soon. If you’re serious about going pro, you will have to set the honeys aside and focus on the game.”
“Yeah, yeah we feel you,” Roan said around a mouthful of garlic bread. “Girls are great and all but we got goals.” Karina puffed her chest like a proud peacock.
“That’s right, boys. Goals first. Girls later.” The rest of dinner passed pleasantly. Karina and Tess helped Meda clean up before retiring to the living room again. Jax and Roan were in heaven. They were peppering the guys with all kinds of questions, soaking up every word. It was a sight to see.
“Your boys are great, Coach. I really like them. You’ve done a good job raising them.” Karina smiled sadly.
“I hope so, Tess. I worry about that.” She let out a sigh, taking a sip of her wine. “I can’t give them everything but I’m giving everything I can. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done but they are so worth it all.”
“Well, now that you’re part of the Sounders organization, you’ll have more ‘uncles’ than you can shake a stick at,” Meda chuckled. “The fellas are quite taken with them. They will fall all over themselves to help them on their journey.”
“Yeah I got pretty lucky, didn’t I? They seem like a good group of guys. I’m happy I took this job.” Eying Meda, she took another sip of her wine. “I honestly don’t think your father would have stopped at no. He was hellbent on bringing me in as head coach. He’s pretty persuasive.”
“Not to mention smoking hot,” Tess fanned herself. Karina laughed, nodding her head in agreement.“Yeah there’s that too.”