A Dash Of Him

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DASH Chapter 24

It's been a couple of weeks and life is perfect right about now. Duke was finally melting his glass heart and he's laughing. He went back to work and I started playing hockey, our games have been local so I haven't needed to travel, yet, but I know it's coming. The media have been eyeing us and trying to get more info about Duke but I told Jackson to clear them off until I get a new publicist. Minerva Minks trashed my name after my accident. She lost a lot of her clients because of me but I tried to apologize but she wouldn't listen. She made her statement and disappeared from the PR business but damaged my name even further. Now no PR wanted to get involved with me so Jackson has been playing the role of my publicist as well but I know it can get stressful.

But other than the fame coming back slowly and my life coming back to normal, I had Duke and he was a fucken sweetheart. He would come to my games right after work and even join us at practice. Coach Garr allowed him when he saw my performance improve. Duke had a light that sparked every time his presence was near.

All the team loved him except Aiden, he gave Duke the cold shoulder. I tried to reason with him and even tried to give him the lead center but that was a mistake. We almost lost a game because of him so Coach Garr benched him. I feel bad because his mother's symptoms have worsened and so has his plays. He avoids me at all costs when I try to reason with him.

I tried to convince Aiden to come to this breast cancer awareness gala but he practically told me to mind my business. I've seen the hurt in his eyes and I know what he's feeling. Coach Garr said I'm doing great but there is so much I can do. Aiden has damn potential, I've seen his plays on recordings but that's before he found out his mother has cancer.

I'm at the bar with Duke and Donovan's wife and let me say this, she's gorgeous. She's very sweet as well, I think I've seen her on billboards for some luxury underwear. Duke can't stop talking with her, he's completely a different person with people and I'm glad he got out of his dark shell.

"You're so beautiful and your hair is so long," ok Duke has had a bit too much to drink but he's having a good time. This fundraiser had all the top athletes from the country and from around the world. I donated a couple of grand to the cause. But being here reminded me so much of my mom that I haven't been able to enjoy myself. I've been faking it because Duke almost caught me in the bedroom. I was about to break down but I held my tears. I missed my mom she would be so proud that I was back playing hockey.

Suddenly I felt tension on my back. I glanced around and Donovan glared at me. His jaw clenched and his gray eyes were a thunderstorm. "A word," I heard his throat choke as he immediately cleared it.

"Honey, come join us," his wife said sweetly. His eyes softened but they were ready to rampage as well.

"I need to talk to Dash alone. We'll be right back," I glanced at Duke whose eyes were now worried.

"Is everything ok?" He looked adorable with his fake mustache.

"I'll be right back, babe," I kissed his cheek as I gulped down my drink.

Don walked towards the bathroom as we stopped at an empty reception area. It was silent as I heard his breathing grow. He slammed a folder on my chest. "So it was your brother that killed Emilio?" The blood from my face vanished and I thought my heart had stopped.

"What?"

"Don't what me, you heard what I said?!" his voice was deep and dark. His eyes filled with water and I'm here speechless.

"I honestly don't know what you're talking about. I don't even know who was the other guy. He was covered in blood. The lawyers didn't tell me anything about who he was," Don was ready to punch someone, his fist was clenched together and his eyes were now a thunderstorm.

"Liar! Open the folder, asshole!"

My hands trembled because deep inside I was afraid this would be true, ever since Duke told me his husband was in an accident a year ago, my guilt took over. As soon as I opened the folder I saw the red Mercedes, the same one from the accident. I closed my eyes as flashbacks haunted my present. I quickly opened them and saw an article with my name.

"Dashiell Mitchell's brother, Kieran Mitchell, is taken into custody by local authorities for the death of Emilio Michelson."

When I saw Emilio's name my heart completely stalled. My hands clenched the folder and I'm pretty sure I was white as a ghost. I swallowed hard as I stood frozen in place. This can't be. I read the headline a couple of times and it was the same, it didn't change.

I averted my eyes towards his. His eyes had softened but the storm swirled in his gray eyes. "Don, I promise you I didn't know," he took off his mask and raked his hands through his hair.

He got closer to me and glared at me with high intensity. "Don't call me Don, only friends call me that and you're not a friend. How can you be with Duke, a sweet man like him, and not tell him, how?"

"For the love of God. I didn't know, you think I would be able to live with that," even if I knew, I'm not sure I would've told him.

"Sure, well now you know, are you going to tell him?"

I took a deep breath and took a step back. "I need to ask my brother and see if it's true because there were a lot of articles printed that defamed me," and that was true.

"You know what. I'm going to let this go and let you tell him because he deserves the truth. Emilio was my best friend and Duke's husband, his soulmate. And now you're in the picture. I'll let you find out the truth yourself," a tear dropped down his cheek as his black makeup smeared as well. "But if you don't tell him in time, he'll find out sooner or later. I won't say anything because Duke doesn't need that, he lost his husband to your brother. And you're here thinking it's fine. The media will uncover the truth and it will break both of you," he was about to leave but I grabbed his arm.

"Here I don't need these," I handed him the folder.

"I don't want them, burn them for all I care. Do the right thing and find the truth," he put on his mask and walked towards the reception. I stood there trying to reel in what I had just seen and witnessed. Deep inside I knew this was the truth but I hope to god it wasn't. I need to go visit my brother and fast.

The rest of the night I tried to enjoy myself. I forced myself to smile so Duke wouldn't catch on to me. Donovan and Grace left early but he left me with a guilty conscience. I didn't know what to do with the folder so I went to my truck and hide it in a secret zipper I built into one of the seats. I'll burn them when I can. The rest of the night we danced as I tried to make it fun but deep inside I was being eaten alive by my guilt. I hope this news wasn't real.

*******

I missed the goal post by a couple of inches. My mind was clouded by my guilt and my play was underwhelming. I heard the crowd yell and some booed because we were on a winning streak and now we were tied with the other team. Coach called me in. "What the hell was that, Mitchell? I'm benching you, Cooper take center," he rose with a smirk.

"Yes sir," but Coach Garr grabbed his arm.

"Don't fuck this up, kid. I'll bench you the entire season if you do," and the truth was I was tired. My legs were giving in and my thoughts were clouded. Duke was working late so he said he might not make it tonight and I needed him so much. He always cheered me on when I waved at him or he would throw me a kiss when I scored. He was my inspiration, my muse, and right now I was a damn disappointment.

"No coach, I won't," I grabbed Aiden's arm as he glared at me.

"Defense is tough, look for Mason. He's good and fast. I know your good, believe in yourself, man," his emerald eyes soften. He nodded and skated towards the middle of the rink.

"Finally that boy listens," Coach Garr tapped my back. Confidence spread over me but I needed Duke here. I glanced around and saw him sitting behind me. My heart exploded and my thoughts cleared. He blew me a kiss as I returned one.

The last few minutes of the game were crucial. Aiden was getting ambushed as I saw Mason was open. Aiden was hogging the puck, I'm not sure what the fuck he was doing but he needed to pass the puck to Mason. I slammed my hands on the glass protector but then he skated quickly to an opening and passed the puck to Mason. Mason took the puck and slammed it towards the net. It went in and we fucken won. We fucken did it. I ran out towards my team and the first person I hugged was Aiden. I pulled him in as he finally let his anger settle. He tapped my back and pulled away. "Thanks, for the words of encouragement. I know you probably thought I wasn't going to pass it to Mason but I was getting ambushed. I saw an opening and I went for it," his eyes were glossy as we hugged again.

"No problem, man."

We all yelled and celebrated in the middle of the rink. I turned around and saw Duke clapping. I called him down. I went skated towards him and immediately pulled him into a hug. "Hey, baby," I leaned in and kissed his soft lips. He was my sweet honey as I savored all his sweetness. Then I heard the unexpected, people were chanting our names.

"Dash and Duke, Dash and Duke, Dash and Duke," his eyes got watery as he put a handsome smirk on his face.

"Don't cry babe, they love us."

"It just reminds me of high school. The school chanted Emilio's name and mine but enough of that. It's you and me, now," my heart filled with happiness but also with guilt. I wanted to enjoy this moment but my guilty conscience blocked my happiness.

"Bro," Caleb tapped my back. "Let's go eat with the team, we are starving."

I nodded as I kept hearing our names still being changed. I waved at our fans as they went crazy and screamed. This is what I lived for, my life was hockey but I had a new passion and his name was Duke.
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