Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chapter 5

Things were already in full swing at the training camp. Monday morning had come quickly, I had already met with the Medical staff at 1:45pm for my turn at the 15 minute 'look-over'. That was awkward. You'd think all those men had never seen a half naked woman before, I couldn't help but laugh a bit thinking back at the look on their faces. Although the 8 men had remained in the room for all the other physicals, 7 of them excused themselves for one reason or another and the poor soul who was left had looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Tuesday I had been able to move into the huge workout facility. I had spent all day getting my body back into shape, using the weight machines on my legs and arms and spending the better part of the day riding the stationary bikes and running. Even though there were other people coming and going I could tell I was already gaining attention. Although I was by far the smallest person here, everyone was beginning to realize that my size wasn't going to be a problem for me: there was a problem beginning to arise with them though - how do we catch her?
I was the fastest skater I knew, and I hardly ever got tired when it came to anything physical. Although I was short, I had the body for hockey. I was extremely toned everywhere and my lower body had the trade mark big thighs/bigger ass.

Carrol, my usual workout partner just laughed the whole time. I was on the bike at one point for over 2 hours, and any time I looked over my shoulder I could see the two assistant coaches staring at me, mouths gaping. "So far so good eh?" He joked, snapping a twisted towel at my lower back as I climbed off.

"Hey Carrol, guess what?" I said, following him out of the gym towards the changing rooms.


"I think someone likes me..." I giggled in a sing-song voice. He stopped walking so abruptly that I walked right into his back.

"Who?!" He almost shouted, turning around to look me straight in the face.

"Well... I don't know if you were talking to Mattie since last night or not but- "

"Holy shit!" He squealed taking a step back, throwing his hands over his mouth in complete shock. "He never said, when did he tell you?"

"Well, he didn't tell me actually, but I'm like 99% sure he asked me on a date... at least he said he wanted to hang out just us, and whenever I got back to the room and asked Mattie about it, Mattie said that he didn't see why Jake wouldn't want to go on a date with me..."

"Wait, what? Jake? Jake who? Like... the guy from dinner last night?"

"Yah!" I laughed, "I know, he's totally hot and I never would have imagined he'd even be kind of interested at all but... wait... who were you talking about?" Confusion causing my forhead to crinkle as I thought our conversation over in my head.

"Oh, never mind. I just thought you were gonna say someone else..." He said looking off into space.

"Oh! Well... what do you think...?" I pressed.

"About what?" He said still stairing at nothing.

"About what?! What do you think? About Jake?" I was beginning to get annoyed at his sudden loss of interest.

"Umm... I don't like him... I'd tell him no." He turned his attention back to me now, "That's just me though... you should just focus on hockey anyway. Come on, let's hit the showers before they get crowded."

He turned and continued walking, I followed him into the change room, more confused then ever, and a little hurt.

The rest of week one was fairly uneventful. I continued to make waves on the treadmill and was feeling great about the shape my body was in.
I was spending almost all of my free time with Mattie; The camp was divided into groups by floor, so I hadn't seen much of Carrol, Consti, Marty or( to my disappointment) Jake.
We had seen each other in passing only, but he continued to throw winks and smiles in my direction, making me feel weak in the knees at times.

On Sunday night, we had a camp wide meeting in the ampitheater to discuss the plans for the following week.
"Hello everyone!" Dean began, "I first and formost would like to congradulate everyone on making it through their first week. As you may already know, tomorrow you will be moving into specialized workshops based on your position; Right wings, Left wings, Centers, Defence and of course Goalies." Everyone in the crowd cheered loudly when their corresponding position was announced. As Dean said Centers I jumped up and down, catching Jakes' eyes through the crowd, he flashed me a giant grin, which I couldn't help but return. "So tommorrow morning bright and early, we're going to meet back here and I'm going to introduce you to your insturctors and let them take it over from there. And listen up guys this last part is important... LIGHTS OUT AT 11PM!" Mattie and I flopped back down into our seats, the astounding 'awwwww' echoed around us.

I saw Jake making his way through the crowd, as the people around us began to vacate their seats. "Hey Carlie," He smiled at me, after finally making his way through the sea of people. "Mattie." He nodded in Mattie's direction. Mattie nodded back, keeping his eyes on the ground.

"So ummm... what are you up to?" Jake asked, hands in his pockets.

"Ah, not sitting in an ampitheater..." Mattie said smirking at his feet. Jake started to blush

"Yah," he chuckled sheepishly, "How about, when you leave the ampitheater?"

"Probably just heading back to our room. It's after ten now and we have to be up pretty early."

"Oh right, well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow morning then... center" He continued to stare at me, smiling.

God he has a great smile, look at those dimples! And I could just fall into those deep blue eyes...

"Sounds great... have a good night!" I smiled back getting up.

Mattie and I were quiet on our way back to the dorms, he was chewing on his bottom lip; like he always does when he's deep in thought. I decided to let him consentrate on whatever it was he was preoccupied with. It was a good fifteen minutes back to the dorms though, and I was a little chilly. I leaned into Mattie, wrapping my arms around his waste, he put his arm around my shoulder and continued to walk; slowing his pace slightly.
This was one of the great things about Mattie. I never felt awkward around him, he wasn't like other guys. As much as I loved Consti, Marty and Carrol I would never feel comfortable enough to let my guard down like I did with Mattie.
I allowed my mind to wander, I wonder what we'd be doing tomorrow. Spending all day with Jake certainly sounded like a good idea... Oh no! What was I gonna wear? I almost stopped walking. I had never really put any thought into what I wore but, there was something about knowing someone was going to be looking for me that made me want to look good. I went over in my mind the different things I had for working-out, i.e. the better half of my wardrobe.

Mattie and I were curled up on his bed watching Superbad on his laptop, when I could tell something was off. I was the only one laughing and he seemed extremly tense. "Mattie, what's wrong?" I asked rolling over onto my stomach to look at him.

"Nothing..." he said giving me a small smile, "Actually that's not true." He stared at me again for a minute and then sat up, moving the laptop off his stomach and setting it at the end of the bed, he threw his legs off the side and sat with his back to me. "I've been putting this off for a long time but I'm starting to think if I don't take the chance now, I'll regret it forever." He looked over his shoulder at me, almost like he was expecting me to understand.

I took his silent look as a hint to say something. "I'm sorry Mattie..." I said sitting up behind him "I'm not following you, what are you talking about?"

"Carlie... I'm in lo-" He began quickly, getting cut off by a loud bang on the door. "... you've got to be kidding me..." he mumbled, shaking his head in disbelief as he pushed himself off the bed and made his way to our door.

As he opened the door wide, the light from the hallway filled the room. I looked up to see a massive figure filling the doorway. "Hi Consti... and Constis' luggage..." Mattie began turning around to give me a puzzled expression. I shurugged in reply.

"Outta the way midget! I'm movin in" he announced loudly, pushing past mattie and heaving his suitcase onto my bed with one hand.

"Ummmm... something wrong with your room?" I asked him pulling Matties' blanket up around me. It was one thing to hang out with Mattie wearing only a sportsbra, but the last thing I needed was to be mocked by Consti.

"Yah... Marty hated the kid he was staying with, so I somehow ended up getting traded. Marty's been staying with Carrol the last couple nights... and I've been staying with the random kid. Let me just say, WOW is he ever annoying!"

"So, you decided the best thing to do was come and sleep with Carlie?" Mattie asked crossing his arms over his chest and looking at Consti with an air of disdain.

"What? Oh hell no... no offence Carlie!" Consti nodded looking around Mattie; I laughed. "There's just no way I'm gonna fit in one of these beds with someone else... you two are gonna have to bunk over there." Consti announced, as if that had cleared everything up. "Well... I'm pooped so... night!" He flung off his shirt and dropped his pants before slidding into what had been my bed.

"Night Consti" I chuckled, lying back down and pushing myself over to make room for Mattie.

"I can just sleep on the floor..."

"What?" I laughed, "Why would you do that... there's lots of room up here." I smiled, patting the bed beside me. Mattie hesitated but made his way over to me and climbed back into bed, "Besides, you smell awesome!" I sighed, he laughed at that.

"Looks like someone's ready for bed." He sighed as I covered my yawn with my hand. He put his laptop on the floor and snuggled up beside me.

"Oh Mattie! What were you gonna tell me before Consti came in?"

I heared an intake of breath from the otherside of the room and I felt Mattie tense up again. "It's nothing don't worry about it..."

"Well ok then, if you're sure..." I closed my eyes and let myself relax.

"Shit, sorry if I interrupted anything..." Consti said into the darkness.

"No worries man... now shut up and go to sleep." And then I was drifting off to the sound of Mattie's breathing.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Hey everyone!

So I've been writing almost every night and trying to update as fast as possible... this hasn't been too hard since I haven't really been doing too much else.

However, this Thursday I am starting a night course and I am also due to start a job (40 hours a week... yuck!) on Monday.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep updating a few time a week, but just in case it starts slowing down, don't think I've forgotten about it!

Chapter 4

After almost 3 hours of parking lot hockey, Mattie and I made our way back to our room to get showered and change into our formal wear. The dorm was fairly quiet now, all the boys were either getting ready or already in the dinning room.

"Hey, what's this?" Mattie asked, pulling out two booklets from the door 'mailbox'. They had our names on them, he handed mine to me.

"...schedules..." I said flipping through the books contents. They had the 4 weeks divided off into week long sections. Everyone would be spending the first week in lame 'get-to-know-each-other' activities, work-out rooms and going through the 'viewing' process of scouts and the World Juniors' medical team. The second week we would be divided into our first choice for positioning. I would be spending my whole second week with all the other centres, apparently in a 5-day workshop with 'specialists', whatever that meant. The third week we would be divided into teams for scrimmages and more work-out room. After that week would come the first cuts. The final week we would be put into permanent teams and we would play a mini tournament, we would find out whether or not we made the team the last Saturday we were here. "At least it looks like we have all the weekends off... not alot of actual hockey games though... that's surprising" I said giving the book another one-over.

"Yah, looks like we won't get to spend much time with each other either..." Mattie sighed, "Hopefully we get put on the same team at the end though." I nodded in agreement, "You take the shower first... you take longer to get ready anyway." Mattie laughed as I gawked at him in mock hurt.

After towel drying my wavy brown hair, which fell halfway down my back, and applying some lip gloss, I deemed myself good to go. Mattie was wearing a pair of black dress pants and a button down white shirt, I was wearing the dress that Kelsie (Marty's girlfriend) had lent me.

Mattie and I made our way outside towards the dinning hall, I was moving much slower than usual. Mattie of course picked up on my apprehension; "Everything alright CC?" He asked, resorting back to my childhood nickname - something he often did when he could tell I was upset or anxious about something.

"Yah, just worried you know... about the tryouts, about tonight..." I trailed off. Mattie reached for my hand and I extended it to him, we walked in silence for a few more minutes.

Mattie stopped walking suddenly, he spun me around to face him, never letting go of my hand. "You're gonna be great you know. Not just the hockey either, although we know you'll be great then too. But I mean this kind of stuff, once they see you play they'll never doubt why you're here. I know you're not use to all the attention you're about to get but... it's all pointing you in the right direction. So, don't be nervous... besides," he smiled, leading me towards the dinning hall once again, "if anything starts going south... we can get Consti to start a fight and then sneak you out the back!"

The dinning hall was almost full. For the first time in my life I was happy I was so short, it would have been alot harder to blend in - the only person in a dress - if people could actually see me. Mattie was still holding my hand as we made our way through the mess of tables until we reached Carrol and Consti.
Carrol stared at my hand intertwined in Matties', then he looked at Mattie and then back down to our hands. As if my hand was on fire, Mattie dropped it and quickly sat down. Carrol smirked to himself before introducing us to the rest of the table. "Alright guys this is Carlie Simone and Mattie Doiron, you guys this is Chris Rayner, Jeremy Butler and you already met Jake McQuaid on the bus" Carrol said, pointing each one out.

All three smiled and said 'hey', Jake looked like he was about to say something else but Dean Richards took to the make-shift stage and the room fell silent. "Hello everyone! It's with the greatest pleasure that I welcome you to the USA World Junior training camp in the beautiful Lake Placid!" The room errupted into cheers. "You are all here, for one reason, and one reason only... You're the best of the best." Dean stopped for a minute to allow the screaming and cat-calls to quiet down. "Over these next three weeks you will be tested physically by our trainers and medical staff, our 'specialists' will be here to give you advice and to give us their opinions on you... and then we will be letting some of you go. Our last week will showcase our traditional training camp tournament where you will be watched by not only World Junior staff and coaches, but by NHL general managers and owners as well. This month will be one of the best opportunities you have to showcase your talents to the men that will have a hand in deciding your future. So remember, have fun, and play hard!"

The rest of the dinner involved an introduction to the coaching staff and some damn good food! As the dinner was drawing to an end, people began getting up and introducing themselves to each other. I got separated from Mattie, Consti and Carrol and ended up wandering around by myself; however, I wasn't alone for long. "Carlie right?" someone asked from behind me. I turned around to see a group of boys, all staring at me.

"Yah that's right." I smiled, trying to appear confident.

"Oh it's cool to meet you. Everyone's been talking about you... first girl invited to the training camp and all... you nervous about the tryouts?"

"Umm... a bit I guess. I was just really excited to even get the opportunity to be here at all though. Anything that comes after this is just a bonus!" They all laughed, they seemed genuienly interested to talk to me, and they also seemed not upset in the least that there was a girl competing against them.

"Oh well... good luck! I mean, I heard you're really good so you probably don't need it but... I guess we'll see you around." The six guys all smiled and said goodbye, as they turned to leave I saw Jake walking towards me.

"Hey Carlie! I was wondering where you went... you heading back to the dorms?"

"Yah, I was going to look for my friends and then head back."

"Oh, I just saw Carrol and them leave, I think they were looking for you. Wanna walk back together? You still owe me a game of Guitar Hero!" He winked at me and offered me his arm.

I laughed and took it, he lead me out the doors and towards the dorm, the evening was warm and we walked slow, laughing about the most random things.

After about a gazillion songs on Guitar Hero, my hands were killing me. "Ugh! I'm not gonna be able to do anything tomorrow... damn you DragonForce!"

Jake and the assorted group of guys laughed. "Yah, I think I'm gonna call it a night too... who wants to play again?" Jake asked standing up and taking the guitar strap off his neck. We left the rec room at the same time and headed down the hall. The room I shared with Mattie was on the first floor so I walked past the stares, but Jake stopped me; "Hey Carlie... can I see you again?" He asked leaning up against the railing.

"Ummm... I would assume so" I laughed, "seeing as how we're going to be living in the same building for like a month."

He started to turn a slight pink colour, "Oh yah... I know I meant like, I could I see you... again... to hang out? Like maybe just us two?"

"Oh!" I said, my confusion clearing up. "Umm, yah sure, I mean if you want to... that'd be cool."

"Alright cool, awesome, yah so, I'll see you around." He smiled at me again, not moving from where he was leaning.

"Alright bye!" I said abruptly turning and walking off towards my room. Did that just happen? Did he just ask me out? No... he was just asking to hang out, no biggie. Alone though? He did say alone right? Just us two, I played over in my head. But that didn't really mean what I think it means, he couldn't really want to go on a date or anything.
Without realizing it I was already back to my room. I opened the door slowly hoping not to wake Mattie up, to my surprise he wasn't there. I undressed quickly and threw on some boy shorts and a tang top before hoping into bed.

I lied in bed for a few minutes, thinking about Jake, when I heared the door open. "Oh, you're in here." I heared Mattie breath a sigh of relief.

"Of course I am," I said, stiffling a yawn "where else would I be? It's like... almost 2! Where were you?"

"I went for a walk with Carrol and then we went back to the dinning hall but, you weren't there so I went to find you."

"Oh, I was playing Guitar Hero in the rec room, sorry, I didn't know you guys were looking for me." I rolled over just in time to see Mattie crawling into his bed in his boxers.

"No worries, just wanted to make sure you got back alright."

We lay there in silence for a while, I looked over and saw Mattie staring up at the ceiling. "Mattie, can I ask you something...?"


"It's a little strange... and you might think it's gross..."

"Umm... ok..."

"Do you think I'm pretty?"

He hesitated for a minute, "why?"

"Ugh! I'll take that as a no." I sighed to myself, I hadn't expected anything different.

He started to laugh, "I didn't say that, but, why are you asking me this?" He rolled over and looked at me.

"Oh just cause, I mean I've never had a boyfriend before, I've never even been on a date before... I've always just been 'the hockey girl' and I've always thought no one ever saw me as a real girl..."

"Before? Before what?" Mattie asked, sitting up now.

"Well, I think that Jake might want to go on a date with me... and I was just wondering if that sounded crazy to you cause he's cute and I'm... well... I'm me."

Mattie lied back down on his bed. "Well..." he said slowly, picking his words carefully, "I don't see why he wouldn't want to go on a date with you but, I'd maybe just keep it friendly while you're here I mean, you don't know anything about this guy and this is a really great opportunity for you hockey-wise, I wouldn't want you to mess that up."

"Hmmm" I said thinking over his words "that makes sense... I should probably stay focused it's just... can you believe it? A guy that might actually like me! That's so crazy..." I sighed rolling over. "Night Mattie."

"Night Carlie."

I started drifting off to sleep, I could hear Mattie moving around restlessly in his bed, and before I was totally taken by sleep I could have sworn I heared him say my name.

Mattie's POV

I couldn't get comfortable anymore. This morning I thought today couldn't get any better, here we were heading off to the training camp, a full month together. Then Dean tells me that he wants me to bunk with Carlie, wanted her in a room with someone she trusted, and I thought for sure this was as good as it gets. Then she lets me hold her hand all the way to the dinning hall, hell, she let me hold it in the dinning hall... all those guys noticed to one the way in, I felt eight feet tall.
Now that Jake guy is hanging around her, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that she's interested in him, he looks like an Abercrombie model. I know I shouldn't care cause it's not like she picked him over me... at least she didn't do it knowingly. God! There's so many things I want to tell her, Carrol's right, I just need to man up. I can't keep living like this... I just hope I'm not too late.

Her breathing's almost even now, I know she's almost totally gone and I can't help but answer her question now; "No, I don't think you're pretty Carlie, I think you're the most beautiful woman in the whole world."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chapter 3

It was hard to believe that we were finally on the plane. It felt like my entire life so far had been leading up to this extremely short flight.

It was now almost 3 months since I had been invited to try out for world juniors. My entire team had gone ballistic when they found out, and even though we had calmed down a bit, Mattie, Marty, Consti, Carrol and I were all bubbling with excitement once again.

Before I knew it the plane was touching down in New York and after grabbing our luggage (which took way longer then it should have thanks to Mattie's decision to ride the conveyor belt), we headed off to find the bus that would take us to Lake Placid.

"Ok for the hundredth time... I understand that this bus is for the World Juniors training camp, and -" I continued cutting off the security guard, before he could start again "I also understand that it is for players and not family or girlfriends, but I am not 'family' or 'girlfriend'..."

"Riiiight because you got invited to try out for the World Juniors. Look dear, I'm sure you're a nice girl but ever since all the hype Sidney Crosby got a few years back, we get girls trying to get on the bus all the time -" he replyed cooly.

"... I'm gonna say this one time, and one time only so listen up" I leaned in, my temper at a dangerous level "I have spent my entire life, working my ass off, to get on that bus. When it leaves, I will be on it... So you have one of two choices left... either move and let me get on that bus or I'm going to take this hockey stick and shove it so far up your -"

"OOOOOOOOOKayyy! Carlie, looking for you... nice to see you again, come right this way..." Dean Jennkins, one of the World Junior trainers I had met with a few weeks back, was leading me away from the now red-faced security guard and onto a greyhound bus parked a few feet away.

I dropped my hockey bag and luggage on the ground beside the opened storage compartments and made my way onto the bus. As I expected everything got quite when I walked on. The crowded bus of teenaged boys began looking around to see what guy was going to intorduce me as his girlfriend; someone amoung them had obviously forgot something and I was clearly returning it. From somewhere in the back I heared "Carlie! CARLIE! Back here, we saved you a seat!" I looked up to see Mattie waving his hands above his head, a goofy grin on his face.

As I made my way towards him, all eyes seemed to follow me. I sat down beside Consti who was playing Mario Bros on his PSP, as always, Consti was flaunting his ability to become completly oblivious to atmospheric changes in any situation. People always said he never lost his cool under pressure, I smiled to myself, that was only because he didn't notice the pressure. I looked over at Mattie to my left, who was now busy drawing lude pictures on his iphone. "Classy Mattie" I sighed. He laughed.

"Dean tell you who you were sharing your room with?" Mattie asked still emerged in his drawings.

"No," I answered slowly, aware that many of the bus' occupants were still staring at me.

"Oh, well your with me... he just told me before I got on, asked if it was ok and stuff... it is ok right?" he asked, looking up for the first time. It still made me laugh a bit that Mattie got insecure like this sometimes. We had been friends for so long that it was refreshing when he got nervous about situations like these, ones where he had to remember I was a girl.

"Of course!" I smiled "Remember how much fun we had in Detroit at that tournament last year?"

He flashed me a quick grin before turning back to his 'game', "Yah it's all fun and games till somebody steals a shopping cart and almost dies with it in the pool..."

"Ok, number 1, I didn't almost die and number 2, it was Consti's idea!" Marty responded, trying to keep a straight face as Mattie, Carrol and I exploded with laughter.

"Don't put this on me!" Consti fired back "You're the one that did it!"

"Oh man, are you talking about the memorial tournamnet in Detroit last fall?" a painfully cute blonde guy looked back and asked.

I smiled and nodded "Were you there?"

"Yah, we were at the Holiday Inn too... I think it must have been you guys down at the pool... did you end up throwing all the pool furniture in too?" He asked looking at Consti now.

"Oh man, I forgot about that... Coach was so pissed. We stood out that bad that you remember us?" We all laughed.

"I guess, well yah... just cause... well not to sound like an asshole but I recognized you" he smiled at me, "I don't play against girls that often..."

"Well, I am a girl, and I'm the only girl in our league so... I don't think you sound like an asshole at all!"

He flashed a heart-stopping grin at me "I'm Jake by the way, Centre..."

"Carlie, Centre too..."

"Oh well, I guess we'll be seeing alot of each other then won't we?"

I nodded back "Yah... I guess so."

Jake smiled again and turned back around just as Consti snorted. Mattie continued to star at the back of Jake's head and Carrol chuckled "So it all begins..."

Hmmmm this might be a more eventful month than I thought... I smiled to myself, so far so good. Not that I wanted to have every guy here hit on me but, if I had to choose, I'd rather them not all hate me before we even get on the ice.

I heard a snore from behind me and realized that Marty was asleep, Carrol was looking out the window and Consti was back playing his PSP. I looked over at Mattie to see that he was still staring at Jake, his iphone held limply in his hands. He looked at me and I smiled, he gave me a small smile back and started playing with his iphone; lacking the enjoyment he had had before.

"No! NO NO NO! No way in hell am I sleeping under that!" Mattie shook his head, one hand on his hip, the other pointing at the Sidney Crosby poster I now held in my hands.

"First off, show some respect... that happens to be one of the hottest things in hockey... and you won't be sleeping under him, I will be!" I smirked down at him. I stood on what was to be my bed, and began to duck tape (classy I know!) my poster to the wall. Mattie sighed in defeat and flopped down on his bed, which was pararell to mine. He watched me, hands intertwined behind his head, while I continued to plaster our room with posters.

I stood back with my hands on my hips to admire my work. Malkin, Talbot, Crosby, Fleury and a Pens team poster all smiled back at me from the wall.

"Done now?" Mattie asked, his eyes still on me.

"For now yes..." I smiled back at him. "So... what do we do now?" I asked crawling beside him on his bed.

"Ummm what do you mean?" His voice cracked as he proped himself up onto his elbows, his eyes never leaving me.

"Like... what do we do... hang out here, watch a movie, go for a walk around, go play hockey...?"

"Oh... oh..." he blushed a deep scarlet, and licked his lips before answering: "ummm... hockey sounds good."

"Alright... everything ok Mattie?" I asked, cocking my head to the side. After assuring me that it was, we grabbed our sticks and a ball, and headed down the hall.

As I could have expected, the dorm was already a mess. There was discarded luggage everywhere and boys yelling, running and laughing in between. "Hey Carlie, wanna get in on a game?" Jake yelled across the rec room where we were now walking. Someone had already set up a TV, XboX and Guitar Hero.

"Later for sure!" I called back, "Mattie and I are gonna go play some hockey" I gestured to the sher-wood stick in my hand.

"Ok cool... see you later then" He smiled. I couldn't help but smile back... he was so darn cute!

We exchanged a few 'hellos' and 'what's up' with some random guys as we made our way out to the parking lot. I could hear some girls laughing and the loud carrying voice of Consti as Matti and I walked into the warm sunlight.

"Candice won't be too happy about that will she?" Mattie chuckled as he pointed his thumb over towards the massive shape of Consti. I let out a small laugh too, none of us were very fond of Consti's long time girlfriend.

We decided to invite Consti to play some ball hockey with us, and we made our way over to him. As we neared the group we realized that he wasn't the only boy there. Marty was with him, looking disinterested, flipping open his phone every now and then; probably sending some texts to his girlfriend Kelsie. There were two other boys with them, both were very broad and tall, they both also had easy smiles and great tans: it was clear they were brothers, if not twins.
"Oh hey guys, unpacked already?" Consti turned his attention towards us.

"Yah... and the walls have been covered with the Penguins' finest" Mattie laughed.

"So... you're the girl everyones been talking about?" One of Consti's friends asked, looking me up and down.

"Guess so... disappointed?" I asked slowly, half laughing at the expression on his face.

He laughed, "No, I was just expecting you to be... alot bigger... what are you, 5'1", 10 pounds?"

"Close! 5'2", just under 100." The guys all laughed, the girls looked annoyed. They all glared at me but, this I was use to.

"Wanna come pay some hockey boys?" Mattie asked, Consti and the twins (Ben and Nigel) all nodded.

"Let us grab our sticks and we'll meet you down by the parking lot" Ben said before turning to leave.

With that Mattie and I headed down to the parking lot to wait for them, leaving a group of glaring, abandoned girls in our wake.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chapter 2

The sweat was running in my eyes. I looked down at the ice surface and tried to shake it off, it had been a very long two and a half periods. With so many scouts from the world juniors watching the game, the flyers were playing their hardest; but we were better. Proudly enough I had gotten my second hat trick of the play-offs, not to mention 3 assists on the goals by Carrol and Mattie. We were up 8-3 and with only ten minutes left in the game, the thugs were taking the ice. Coach Richards wanted to bench me, but there was no way I was going to sit out willingly. Being 16 I wasn't sure how much time I was going to have left to play competitive hockey in a decent league (most of the talent would be moving on in the next year or so).

"Simone watch #17. He's a brick wall and he's had his eye on you the past couple shifts. I'll try to keep him back but just keep your head up and stay outta the corners alright?" Consti skated into position, as I lined up for the faceoff.

The puck dropped and I had it a full second before the kid infront of me even made a move. I passed it off to Marty who hit it off behind Jonsey (our goalie). Carrol was there to pick the puck up before any of the Flyers could intercept it; he started bringing it out, and just like that we were moving.

I was being blanketed, but it didn't matter. When I was being covered it just meant Mattie and Carrol had more room to manouver, which they did fluently. Within seconds we were coming in hard at the Flyers goalie, Mattie had the puck but stopped short of the net, passing it back to Carrol who feigned a shot. I grabbed the puck from him and flew into the doorstep. Damn! Lucky glove save...

One of the Flyers defence got a lucky turnover due to a poorly placed linechange. I was too far out, the only one left who was able to stop any shots, looks like I'd be taking a double shift... again. I pushed my stick lamely back and forth against the ice, trying half-heartedly to stop a pass. Fatigue was burning my legs as the Flyer's center feigned right, I knew where he was going, I turned and barreled left taking the puck back down the ice. Jackson missed an easy pass from me and turned the puck back over; I skated back down towards Jonsey... damn I was tired. I turned my head to see where Jackson was heading, and then I couldn't breath.

My hands were on my chest and I was lying on the ice. My ribs didn't hurt but I couldn't make my lungs fill with air. I finally drew in a breath but I still couldn't place the burn: my whole body was aching. Mattie was ontop of me then and something sounded like a fight breaking out somewhere... yes... I could hear Consti yelling. Mattie pulled off my neck protector and his hands felt cold on my face, he was stairing down below my face... like he was afraid to touch my neck. Carrol was above me, looking into my eyes, his lips moving rapidly...

I wonder if he knows that he's not making any sound? I thought. My body felt separated from my head. Maybe he is and I just can't hear him... I stared at his lips, trying to make sense of everything....

"... and Jesus H. Christ so help me GOD if he's not banned!! That was deliberate, without a doubt... he knew what he was doing... if Consti hadn't already... well it doesn't matter anyway cause I'm gonna find that Turner kid and when I do... Carlie why aren't you saying anything?! Carlie come on... can you get up?" Carrol was tugging on my arm "Carlie can you get up?"

"What if her necks broken?" Mattie whispered, something was awkward about his voice... it made me not want to look at him, so I kept my eyes on Carrol.

"It's not..." I pushed out with as much force as I could. Lying on the ice felt good, I felt like I had more energy: felt like I'd had a cat nap. "I didn't even see him hit me." I pushed myself up onto my elbows, I hadn't realized how many people were around me. They had me covered in a semi-circle, apparently the whole team had decicded to come out. Consti was there behind everyone I could hear him yelling at the ref about 'lack of justice'.

"He didn't hit you... well he did but not with his body. He was right there infront of the net, and instead of trying to score he dropped back and took a slapshot at your head... hit you in the neck... are you sure you should be sitting up Carlie? They've got a stretcher to take you in the ambulance." Coach Richards looked warn and tired, I hadn't really appreciated just how old he was until this moment...

"I don't need a stretcher and I don't need a... wait... what?! Did you say ambulance? I'm not going in an ambulance! There's like seven minutes left, and I'm perfectly fine thank you." I said pulling my arm out of Matties grip. I tettered back to my feet and cheers errupted.

I definetly had more energy, the adrenaline was pumping fast. I pulled off my glove and tenderly touched my neck as I skated back to the bench: there was already a giant painful lump on the right side. I slid in next to Marty. I had to turn my whole body to look at him, my neck couldn't move on it's own: he had the start of a black eye and there was blood on his jersey.
"You look worse" he laughed, noticeing my apprasial.
"Shut up Marty"
The rest of the team was beginning to file off the ice.
"You took that hit like a champ by the way"
"Really though, I'm impressed... I-"
"I thought you were going to..."
"... Shutting up" he smiled, putting his eyes back on the ice.

The game went on as usual. We had another great shot on net via Domi (third line center), and a few solid hits. There were three minutes left in the game and I still hadn't played.
"Come on Richards, I need to go back out there" I said slidding down the bench to where he was standing
"No, no way. You could have just been killed Carlie, if that had of hit your windpipe..."
"But it didn't."
"It could have."
"You have to put me back out there or I'm done... they'll never respect me."
"They don't respect you now..." He stopped and looked down at me. Meeting my eyes for the first time. "I'm sorry- Carlie I, I didn't mean -"
"Yah you did. It's ok. It's true. But that's my point. Anyone else in this league... if they get an inch, they can stretch it a mile. I get an inch, and I get slapped in the face. If I wanted people to like me I'd go do ballet... if I don't go back out there and show them that I'm not afraid of them, I'll never be able to play in this leauge again, they'll think I can be intimidated."
"No listen, seriously. I'm better then them, they know that. I could go back out there and score again but it doesn't matter. I'm the best in the league, scoring goals won't show them anything. Put me on defence, let me finish some hits, knock them down. You know.. You HAVE to know what's going to happen to me if I don't go out there..."
"Fine, next line change... Damnit! I forgot Constis' gone... alright, go out with Marty. JOHNSON, next change go out with Carrol and Mattie!."

Skating past the Flyer's bench I could tell they were surprised. There was a collective intake of air as I passed, I didn't know if it was because they thought I wouldn't have the 'balls' to come back out, or because they didn't think I'd be able to stand. I lined up by their defence, he looked puzzled... then he looked around, like this was some kind of joke and at any minute people were going to start laughing.

From a scoring point, the last two minutes were nothing. From where I stood as a player and as a competitor, they were everything. I had four major hits, each one forcing a Flyer down. Not to mention the amount of contact I made in general. I played it like offence, I was everywhere. Everytime someone touched the puck I was on them, rubbing them out, hacking, doing everything I could do to make them know I was there. Mattie and Carrol backed off, never fighting for the puck, allowing me ample opportunity to state my message... I'm still here.

After the Game

I was iceing my neck. The lack of adrenaline was making me really feel my neck for the first time, I could already tell it was going to be a long, long night. Carrol, Mattie, Consti and Marty had all been approached, they were laughing and going over game sheets with scouts. Along with a few other guys from the team, it seemed like the World Juniors would be coming straight out of the burgh this year. I grabbed my bag and started for the door, Mattie caught my eye and I gave him the most honest smile I could manage; he smiled back, it looked apologetic. Great! That's all I needed, this could be the best day in my friends lives so far and they were going to ruin it by feeling sorry for me.

I took the back way out of the dressing room, I didn't really feel like walking past all the proud families. I walked out the back door into the parking lot. The cold air felt so good, I took a deep breath. I threw my bag into the back of Consti's truck and climbed into the cab. I was flipping through his ipod looking for some non-rap-songs when someone knocked on my window.
"HOLY SHIT!" I jumped and looked out, exasperated at the man beside my door. I rolled the window down "Man, you just scared the crap out of me!"

"Sorry! I tried to grab you before you got out here... I was in the dressing room and I was going to come talk to you but, you were gone before I had a chance... no one knew where you went..." He looked awkward, like was nervous.

"Ummm yah well, I went out the back way, I didn't want to be a downer... you know?" He looked confused. Man I was stupid, he had no idea who I was... of course he wouldn't know. "Just like, the scouts and... yah..." I stopped talking. My neck was throbbing painfully and I just wanted to be alone. "Look, everyone's back in the dressing room... I'm just waiting for my friends. They might be awhile, you'd do better to just go back and wait for them there..."

"Ahh, well I've already talked to some of your teammates, I came out here to talk to you actually"
Hmmm I wasn't aware World Juniors required character references.

"Oh, right. Well, what do you want?" God my neck was soar!
"How's your neck?"
"Fine... no that's a lie. It's actually really painful, but I'll survive"
He laughed "I'm sure you will. You don't think it's going to effect your play do you?"
"Well, I guess as long as it doesn't get so big it throws of my balance..."
"Let's hope not then. My name's Rick Milligan by the way, I'm the head scout for the World Juniors and I'm in charge of getting a team together for next year. Think you'd be interested in trying out?"

I can only imagine what my face must have looked like, but whatever it was, it seemed to scare him away "Not that you have to, and you don't have to decide now, camp doesn't start for a few more months, we were just, out looking now so..."
"I'm sorry?"
"Yes!!!" I screamed "Are you serious?! OH MY FRIGGIN GOD THAT'S AWESOME! Shut up!"
"Oh, I'm sorry! I don't mean like.. shut up... I mean... Wow! Can we do that over?"
He started to laugh. "Carlie Simone, would you like to try out for the World Juniors?"
"Yes, yes I would..."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chapter 1

"PNC Park was established in 1882 and is home to everyone's favourite baseball team... The Pittsburgh Pirates!"

"Boring..." Mattie droned as he laid his curly black hair'd head against the cement wall: Perched in between a garbage can and my best friend, I was having a hard time staying awake. (5am practice compiled with a less then exciting field trip to PNC was proving to be a rough day.)

"It doesn't even make sense!" Marty sighed walking over to stand in front of us. "I mean... you'd think a field trip to see baseball would be awesome but... this is just... just lame!" Marty was the captain of the Avonworth Junior A hockey team, my hockey team. At 6'3" and 245 lbs he was one of the best defence men in the area, and one hell of a guy to have behind you during a game. "Hey... guys... check it out!"

Marty sprinted off towards a railing looking down over what appeared to be street. Mattie sighed and slapped my leg, pushing himself off the bench and trotting off after Marty. I untwined my legs from under me and set off too, catching the eyes off Matthew Carrol and Adam Constable as I went.
I made my way slowly through the crowd of my fellow classmates before I could see Marty and Mattie clearly. They were now almost obscured from view, down below the level we were standing on: off towards the parking lot. Carrol and Consti (Adam) fell into step beside me and together we made our way down the steps, careful to avoid any teacher detection.

This was the way it always was: One would take off and the other four would follow. We were the best of friends, but more importantly, we were the best of team mates. Mattie to my left, Carrol to my right, Marty and Consti picking up the defence, and me, Carlie Simone in centre. I couldn't imagine it any other way. Mattie, Carrol and I had been playing the starting line-up since we were 9: Marty and Consti joined in once we reached midget.

It had always been strange to everyone, a girl playing on the first line in a boys hockey league: but if these boys though it was strange, they never told me. I was not the first girl to play in a boys league in Pennsylvania, but I was the first to succeed at such a high level of game. I had been MVP on and off for years, top goal scorer for the past three years, and I had never been below top two or three in the league for points since I scored my first goal at the ripe old age of 6. We were always the favorite for league champs, with Mattie and Carrol it was natural, normal. We'd been playing together for so long we performed like a well oiled machine, never stopping, always effective.
They had all made such big plans, plans that they knew they could fulfill. Our coach always joked about us being the first childhood line to ever play in the big leagues... the NHL. We knew it was always a joke though, they would move on. I wouldn't. Not that people hadn't been interested. Sure, any tournment we went to always had scouts looking for new talent, and I was always top on their list, until they found out that I was a girl, then they lost interested... went for the next in line.

"Grab a stick, they got lots!" Mattie called over his shoulder once Carrol, Consti and I reached the parking lot: apparently just in time for a pick-up game with some locals.

"I'm not playing hockey on the same team as a chick" some brown-eyed preppy boy said to his friends in a carrying whisper.

"Well it's a good thing you're not on the same team as her then, isn't it?" Carrol smiled back before slapping me on the back with his left hand. His right hand was holding two sticks, he passed one off to me.

"Sure you don't wanna sit out babe? You might break a nail..." The prep boys all chuckled, so did we - for very different reasons.

38 minutes later, on the bus back to school

"Ahhhhh sweet victory" Carrol chotted. We all laughed. 12-1 was always a fun trumph, even if it was against a group of high school jocks.
"And... most importantly... no nails broken!" I flashed a grin, holding up my fingers for them to see. "A stunning accomplishment I must say".

"Oh Carlie, you just keep getting better and better. Pretty soon Crosby will be beggin for advice!" Mattie giggled before turning to look out his window. Consti was eating in the seat behind Mattie and I (nothing new there), Carrol was sneaking some vodka from a water bottle in his bag to our right and Marty had headphones in one ear, listening to what sounded like generic rap beside Consti.

"Mmm!" I announced loudly "Sidney Crosby can have anything he wants... and so much more!" I sighed, settling back into my seat with a theatrical smile on my face.

"Ohhhhh k... I think I just threw up in my mouth" Carrol complained at the same time Consti yelled "Yo! Eating!"

"How about you close your mouth when you eat, you put that vodka away, you stop doing whatever it is your doing... cause God only knows (Mattie quickly dropped his backpack on the ground looking around 'innocently') and you keep yourself focused, we have a game tonight" Marty the voice of reason suggested before putting in both earphones and lying back in his seat with his eyes closed.

I knew why the game tonight was important. Scouts from the world juniors had heard about our unstoppable winning streak and were coming to see if there was any fact behind the stories. Not that it mattered, they wouldn't want to see me anyway. Marty was right though, I had to stay focused, if I had no chance of moving on I could at least play a great game and hope the best for them.

6pm (Game at 8) on the ice

I always came to the ice before the game. In fact, I just always came to the ice. It was the only place everything felt right. The smell, the sound, the feel of the arena: it made everything else seem to melt away. Nothing else mattered when we were here, the path was clear: play hard, play fast, play.
When I was here I was able to forget about my parents, their lack of support and attention (my dad was a successful business man for a fortune 500 company and he had no need for a hockey playing daughter: my mom was always on vacation somewhere, she stopped calling home on her trips when I was 10). School, boys, everything that didn't matter in general.
This was right, this was home, but it couldn't always be. The thought was one I had often, but it always hit me like a ton of bricks: tightening my chest and making it hard to breath. It was just so unfair! I had played against so many boys that I had been better then, but they would always get furthur then me. I hated having something hockey related out of my control, no matter how good I played, I'd never make it any further then this beat up rink.

Good nature laughing started to echo around that rink: my boys were here. Time to pull it together.

Is anyone even out there?

Hmmm so... what to even say?

I guess I figured that if I'm taking on another writing project I might as well share it with some people and get some feed back. Let me know how you like it... I've been thinking about this one for a while but it looks like I'll finally get down to writing it soon!

Hope you like it =) ... if anyone is even reading this lol