DASH Chapter 36
The team skated towards Matthew but I kneeled on the ice. My legs were giving in and my body was close to shutting down. "Mitchell!" I glanced over at Coach Garr. He was yelling for me to go over but I couldn't get up. Then I noticed Aiden was right next to him. He held up a phone. Aiden opened the door from the bench area and walked carefully to me.
"Mitchell, you look like shit," he kneeled in front of me. I chuckled because he wasn't wrong. I felt like shit. "You got a call," he handed me the cellphone. I took my helmet off and wiped the sweat from my face.
"Hey, babe. I'm watching the game. Don't give up. I love you, Emilio," my eyes filled with water. Every time he called me Emilio. My heart shattered. "When did you get so good at hockey?" I could already see his bright smile.
The doctor said he has temporary amnesia. The bump on his head caused it. The doctor told us he will slowly start to remember but it might take days or even weeks. He knows me as Emilio but remembers that I play hockey. So in his mind, I'm a mixture of Emilio. I'm just glad he's doing great but I'm devastated that he doesn't remember me. So for now I have to pretend to be someone I'm not, at least he's not hurting or trying to push me away. He's had a bright smile on his face even though he has a fractured leg. It's going to be a long journey but for now, his words motivated me to keep going.
"Thanks, Lucky. I love you, too. I'll see you as soon as we win this game," I could already see his smile in my head.
"You better win. I'll see you when you get here," he hung up as I handed Aiden back his phone. He got closer and put his hand on my shoulder.
"Don't give up, man. You can do it. I know you can. You never gave up on us and now we won't give up on you. You got this, now go get the trophy," I stood up and the crowd roared.
I pointed my hockey stick at his chest. "Our trophy," I could tell his eyes got watery. He went back into the bench area.
Mark Shepherd skated in front of me. He stopped and took off his helmet. His eyes aligned with mine. "Whoever wins, no hard feelings. I'm sorry for how I treated you. I was just mad that we lost the championship. I'm sorry for what happened to your mother and brother. Fuck man, we were like brothers. I should have never hooked up with Minerva. I heard what she did with your boy, Duke. I dropped her as my publicist and called every damn PR agency so she wouldn't get hired. I'm sorry, bro," he lifted his hand and we shook on it.
Yeah, I found out Minerva went to Duke's job and gave him the newspaper. Duke's boss found out who she was. She has a marketing firm so she also made a couple of calls and bad-mouthed Minerva. She won't be working for anyone any time soon.
I waved at Matthew and gave him a thumbs up. He lifted his chin and went back to his position. He knows when I'm tired. I'll give him a hug when this is over. I faced off with Mark. He gave me his signature smirk. The puck dropped in front of us and we played until one of us won.
Everything went in slow motion. I hit the puck and saw it glide slowly through the ice. The shaved ice twirling around the puck. The goalie jumped and was inches from stopping it but he missed. The puck hit the net and we won. The Los Angeles Saints won. Everything slowly move faster and faster until I heard the stadium roar out. We fucken won! We won! All my teammates came skating towards me, they dropped their hockey sticks and threw their helmets in the air.
"We won," Caleb yelled. He was first to almost drop me on my ass, then Mason and Matthew pulled me into a hug.
"Fuck yeah!" They yelled. Tears of joy and happiness came down my eyes. I lifted my hockey stick in the air. This is for you, mom. This one's for you. Kieran I know you couldn't be here but I know you're screaming your head off with dad. Duke, my love. I know you're lost in your thoughts but I still love you. Come back to me. I need you. The Duke I know.
"Dash! Dash! Dash!" the stadium chanted my name and it was the best feeling ever. Mark waved at me and skated towards his side of the locker room. Aiden was jumping up and down as he shook Coach like crazy. We finally got our trophy as my team handed it to me. They lifted me in the air as I shouted at the top of my lungs. I closed my eyes as my tears came down my cheeks.
Duke, come back to me.
I went to go eat with the team at some bar and grill. The restaurant was packed especially because word got out we were going to be there. I spent some time with the team and then came to the hospital. It was late at night. I used my fame to charm the nurse to let me see Duke. I walked in with a greasy cheeseburger and fries. I know he loves those.
He was watching television when his eyes landed on me and his pearly white teeth shined like the sun. His eye was still bruised and he still had a few scratches but he was healing. "Emilio!" he shouted. I took a deep breath and just smiled at him. "You won, babe. Why aren't you celebrating with the team?"
"I wanted to celebrate with you, Lucky," as soon as I said that. He held the temple of his head and closed his eyes. "Babe, what's wrong?" I put down the burgers on the table and sat next to him.
"Nothing, it was a head rush," his smile returned. "What did you bring?" He sniffed the air and that was the most adorable thing he's done.
"Cheeseburger and fries," he pouted his lips so I could peck him. I leaned down and kissed his soft lips.
"Dash," he whispered. I pulled away and noticed he was blinking fast.
"What?" I kissed his cheek. My heart thumped loudly in my chest. He's starting to remember.
"Nothing, just a name that popped in my head. I'm not sure where I heard it from. Oh, by the way. You should say something to that sports network. They kept calling you Dash but your name is Emilio," I chuckled and kissed his cheek.
"You can call me Dash if you want," he snuggled into my chest. "You're not hungry?" I asked.
"In a bit. I just want to cuddle with you," but the cuddle ended in him falling asleep on my chest. I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep next to him.
It's two weeks and a half. Duke was finally getting discharged from the hospital. His cast was off, the fracture on his leg was healing fast but he had to take it easy. I paid all the cost and Duke's mom nearly cried. It's the least I can do. I loved Duke regardless if he doesn't know who I was. He still thinks I'm Emilio but now he's starting to call me Dash. I even get confused but as long as he's smiling it doesn't matter.
Kieran is always asking for Duke. He feels the most responsible for what happened to Duke but he's been focusing on his Ford Mustang he's been building with dad. I've also seen Don more often around my parent's house. I'm not sure what's going on. I'll ask, Kieran, when Duke is home and safe.
Duke was walking on crutches and was slowly moving his right leg. He was in the bathroom changing. He didn't want me to help. He got shy for me to see him naked so I let him be. I was sitting on a chair when Esmeralda came in with a bag. She's visited Duke a couple of times and was shocked when she found out about Duke's amnesia. "Hey, Dash," she whispered.
I stood up and helped her with the bag she held. It was pretty heavy. "Duke is changing. He's being discharged today."
"Yes, he called me last night. I brought you two some homemade empanadas. Duke loves them and I hope you do too," she was always so sweet to me. "Any news from the doctor?"
"The doctor told me that he thinks Duke might need to get shocked back to reality, something that will trigger an event and bring him back. But it's just a theory he told me. It's like his mind doesn't want him to feel the pain," my heart ached at thinking of Duke coming back and feeling all those painful memories.
"I would think so. I wouldn't want to bring this up but maybe take him to see Emilio at the cemetery. It can trigger his memory," her eyes got watery and that's when Duke stepped out the restroom. His pants were above his knees.
"I need help," he pouted and it was so adorable. I walked over and helped him pick up his pants. His eyes dilated. He parted his mouth and just gazed at me. "You're so beautiful, Dash," my heart thumped again. Then he shook his head. "I mean Emilio. I'm sorry," then his eyes went to Esmeralda. "Hi, Esmeralda. Emilio is back. I knew he would come back," I swallowed the knot in my throat as I buttoned his jeans.
"Yes, he is. But call him Dash. He loves that name as well," Duke just smiled at kissed my cheek.
"Yes, I like Dash as well." He buried his face into my chest and took a good whiff. "You smell so good, Dash."
"Let's go home," he nodded.
I need my Duke back and I'm so sorry that I have to do this, babe. I need you to snap back to reality even if I lose you. I want you to live your life normally. I'll wait a couple of days and then take you to the cemetery so you can see Emilio once more. I hope it works.
Esmeralda helped us with some of his belongings. Duke held my waist as we exited the hospital. "I love you, Emilio. I mean, Dash. Always and forever."
"I love you too, Lucky," I kissed the top of his head.
It's now or never.