A Dash Of Him

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DASH Chapter 5

I've been traveling the world for a couple of months now and I'm glad to be back home in California, Los Angeles to be exact. The weather is unpredictable but it's usually always perfect. The traffic hasn't changed but it wasn't great in New York either. I lived there a year ago and a half ago but life took an unexpected turn. My mom passed away a year and a half ago from breast cancer. It shattered me to the core, she was my best friend, my confidant, my supporter, and my mom.

I started drinking and drowning my sorrows in a bottle or two. It started to affect my career in hockey and eventually, I hit rock bottom. I got in some major trouble with the law and thankfully I got a good lawyer so I didn't do time in jail. I'm still on probation and I can't drive anywhere so Uber and taxis are all I take. But sometimes I have no patience so I'll drive my truck and of course, follow the law.

My agent told me to take a year off and clear my head so he suggested I travel the world, visit places I've always wanted and enjoy life. But the pain still lingered inside of me, the loss of my mother is unexplainable. It's like I lost a part of me when I lost her. She would never miss a game of mine and if she had to, she'll watch it at home. She had a shrine room with all my memorabilia. She was the best until that one day she told me that worst news ever, the day she had breast cancer.

I was doing great today. I went on my run by the beach and then cooked a hearty breakfast which consisted of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. I normally never turn on the radio and then my mom's favorite song was playing. "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. She would listen to this song religiously.

The slit in my heart suddenly opened and the pain started to pour out. My lips trembled and my throat constricted. The knot of sorrow was building and my eyes got watery. Every day for the past year I cried but slowly I was healing the past couple of weeks.

But today it hit differently. It was unexpected like lightning. It caught me off guard and it struck hard into my heart and soul. I fell to the floor, knees first and then I went fetal position on the floor of my condo. I cried and cried. My body was numb and that was fine with me but my heart ached. It ached so much that I thought I had died because suddenly I couldn't sense my heart. I laid on my back and stared at the stale white ceiling. I couldn't move. I was frozen in this spot. I guess I could join my mom now.

I could still hear the song playing in the background but I couldn't move to turn off the radio. Finally, the song ended and commercials came on. I finally started to move my fingers and my heart began to pump blood. Did I die and come back to life? I lifted myself with my elbows as I wiped my tears. I needed to talk to someone, anyone.

The first person that came to mind was my dad but we haven't gotten along ever since I came out and my mom died. Don't get me wrong, I know he cares for me but he rather not talk to me because of my lifestyle. He calls me here and there to check up on me but he does it out of obligation. I needed my dad right now but his pride always took over.

I slowly got up and grabbed my cellphone from the kitchen island. I quickly searched for grief groups and one appeared that wasn't so far. I went to their calendar and they had a session that was going to start in an hour. Great, it gives me time to get ready and head out.

I walked down the hallway and stopped to admire the photo of me and my mom that was hung on the wall, it was when I won my first championship in college. She hugged me with a proud smile, just like any mother would. I held my trophy in one hand and had my other hand around her shoulder. She was my number one fan, just like I was with her.

It didn't take long for me to shower and head out. At this point, I didn't want to wait for an Uber so I'm taking my truck. I'll just be careful not to speed or do stupid crap while I'm driving. It took me like 20 minutes to get to the support group parking lot. I parked my truck and looked at myself in the rearview mirror. Fuck, I look like I haven't slept and my eyes are damn swollen. I cried on my way over here because the universe was trying to kill me. I kept changing stations because all the songs my mom loved were playing. So I decided to turn off the radio.

I composed myself and tried to wipe the water underneath my eyes. I'm much stronger than this. I needed to be stronger than this but it's small things that break me. I've been to support groups in New York but I was observant. I did some volunteer work when I was contracted with the New York Panthers, my agent said it looked good for my image but the truth is I've always had a soft spot, I just never show it.

I let the blood flow through my fingers as I felt them going numb again. I thought I had gotten over this pain of loss. It's easier to talk to strangers than friends and family. I just hope no one recognizes me because so many fingers get pointed my way from what happened a year ago. Jackson Carter, my agent, covered my tracks with what he could before my hiatus but it still left some bad blood in the media.

I walked down the white hallways as I reached the open door. I heard voices getting near and that's when I stepped in. I saw the back of a guy with dark hair, he was pretty tall but I was taller. His jeans were pretty tight as he stood firm. I noticed he tensed up and slowly turned around. He was so damn handsome but I immediately noticed a pain in his eyes, the same one I noticed when I look at myself in the mirror.

"Hi, you must be new, I'm Abby," she was a petite woman with a pleasant voice.

This guy studied me like a hawk. It's like he was trying to figure out a puzzle. His eyebrows scrunched but that pain in his eyes was raw. "Hi, my name is Dashiell Mitchell but you can call me Dash."

This guy was quiet but he was fucken adorable. I need to hear his story. He looks vulnerable. I just want to scoop him up and make him feel better but that would just be plain creepy.

"Nice to meet you Dash. Come we are about to begin," she walked towards the chairs that were placed in a circle. This guy hasn't even introduced himself to me but I get it. We are all here for a reason and maybe it's not to meet people, maybe it's to find some sort of relief from the loss of a loved one.

"Alright everyone, take a seat and will begin by introducing ourselves. Please don't be shy, the more you talk the better you'll feel. Please say your name and what brings you in today. If you're not comfortable saying anything please at least introduce us with your name," she gestured at everyone to sit.

I sat next to the cute guy as I noticed he kept studying me through my peripheral view. Does he know who I am? Maybe, well if he follows sports.

"It looks like we have new faces, welcome, just know you did a great job to come here today. Sometimes it's difficult to open up to family so that's why there are groups like this. It's easier to tell a stranger because we won't judge you," she kept a sweet smile while her eyes studied everyone.

"So I'll begin, my name is Abby and I lost my husband a few years ago. He had a heart attack at such a young age and that broke me into pieces," her voice was calm. I didn't sense any pain or struggle. She had mastered how to deal with loss. "I still miss him deeply and sometimes I fall into depression again but just know you will be ok."

I could hear him sniffle and I glanced towards him. His eyes were aimlessly studying the shiny floor as a tear splashed delicately on the tile. Shit.

"You ok, Duke?" she asked him. So his name is Duke, fucken cute as name.

He nodded but didn't say anything, even his profile view was full of sorrow. What happened in his life? His heartbroken eyes trembled and filled with more water. He rubbed his nose while he raked his hands through his caramel messy hair. He glanced at me and that's when I saw his deep blue eyes. I noticed a forced smile on him but hey that's better than nothing.

Abby turned to me and my heart began to pound. I fidgeted my fingers and swallowed hard. "Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us a bit of why you're here?"

I nodded. It was now or never. "Hi, my name is Dashiell Mitchell, but you can call me Dash," I heard someone whisper, "hockey guy". I smirked and that gave me a bit of confidence.

Everyone said "hi". Now all eyes were studying who I was? Maybe they knew who I was? Maybe they were judging on why I was here? I was getting self-conscious but I cleared my throat.

"I lost my mother a year and a half ago to breast cancer. It was the hardest pain I went through and still going through. Some days are better than others but today was not so great," my throat began to tighten and my eyes began to swell with water. No, I don't want to cry in front of everyone. So I swallowed hard and forced a tiny smirk.

"I know how you feel," Duke said after me. "Sorry I didn't mean to interrupt," I couldn't help but smile at his handsome face.

"It's ok. I'm done."

"Hi, everyone hmm," his voice quivered. I noticed his lips trembling. "My name is Duke Michelson," everyone said "hi" to him. He took a deep breath. "My husband died a year ago in a car accident," he couldn't hold his tears and he began to cry. FUCK.

I leaned closer and rubbed his back. I didn't even notice what I had done until all eyes were on me. Abby smirked at me. He glanced at me and I pulled away. "Sorry," I adjusted myself. Fuck, what got over me. He was so vulnerable that I just had to comfort him.

He didn't say anything but I did notice a tiny smile on the corner of his lips. He didn't say much after that. But one word did catch my attention and it was a car accident. I was in a car accident with my younger brother a year ago, that was the trouble with the law I had but I rather not get into much detail. Right now I just wanted to get some relief and for some reason. Duke's presence was giving me a sense of relief. I was curious about him. Maybe I could ask him to go for a cup of coffee or even a late lunch.

We'll see.
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