Monday, July 27, 2009

Chapter 15

As I made my way out the back doors of the rink I exchanged a few high-fives, fist bumps and quick hugs with my fellow teams mates. We had won our game, 2-1, against Jake's team and were now guaranteed a spot in the semi finals. As incredible as the high from our win felt, I knew I didn't have time to truly enjoy it. Mattie's game would be starting soon, but that thought was only second in my mind right now; I had a more pressing issue.

Even though my phone call had confirmed our meeting, my heart still did a flip flop as pushed the back doors opened and stepped out into the warm evening air.
He was there, just as he had promised; this caught me off guard even though it shouldn't, he had -after all- never broken a promise to me before.

He was sitting with his back to me on the edge of the loading dock, his post-season due was cropped short under his 'Pirates' hat, which he had on backwards. The doors banged loudly behind me, causing me to jump; he never looked up. I cautiously walked over to him, cursing myself for calling him in the first place. He never looked up as he said, "You play well today." His thick accent caught me off guard: had it always been that noticeable, or had it just been too long since we'd talked in person.

"Thanks." I said, clearing my voice afterwards, already the emotion was thick in my voice. Hearing him and seeing him this close again was causing a storm of guilt to tug at me, threatening to pull me under.

"I surprise you ask to see me." He stood up and turned to face me. He was wearing a blue-plaid fitted shirt, the very shirt that I had bought for him on his birthday, he had his hands carefully tucked into his front pockets. "I glad you call."

"Well, I did... I mean... I do want to talk to you in person, I meant... back home in Pittsburgh though..."

He chuckled and took another step towards me, "I coming here... anyway..." He pulled his hands out his pocket and held them towards me, taking another step forward.

"Don't!" I cried holding me hands up in front of me. He turned a light shade of pink and rocked back on his heels, looking hurt. I instantly felt bad for raising my voice, after all this was my fault and not the other way around. It seemed like no matter what I did I was always hurting him. I sighed a tried to compose myself. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you came all this way but I can't do this... I have a boyfriend." The word felt foreign on my lips in the present company, and it also brought over a new wave of guilt, Mattie was probably wondering where I was.

He took another step back and exhaled. "You embarrass of him? Like you embarrass of me?"

"I was never embarrassed of you..." I replied quietly, taking a step forward.

"You no let me touch you, you no let me kiss you. You not even meet team-mates... not even call me boyfriend." His eyes began to rim with tears as he suddenly turned his back on me. "I love you Carlie... First time we meet I know you no like other girls... I want you." We stood like that for a few minutes, both trying to get a better handle on our emotions. He turned around finally, his eyes holding mine "You love me too, you know? You have boyfriend now, but you love me. Say it."

I no longer had any idea what to say, I figured the truth was my best option; no matter what I said someone was going to get hurt. "I do... I do love you. I'm sorry, but that doesn't change anything. I'm with Mattie now, and I can't just leave him... I love him too." Until this exact moment I didn't even realize that it was possible to love more than one person at once. I had always mulled the idea over in my head, whether or not I loved him, but it seemed so strange and so forbidden at the time. I knew I could never allow it to happen, but seeing him here and feeling all the things that that meant for me, I knew I couldn't deny it any longer, the truth at least.

When I looked back up at him he was smiling. "I know. You with him now but... you with me soon." He took another timid step towards me, "Carlie, I come... to tell you... I not mad, anymore. I know why you leave... I know."

It was hard for me to even hear what he was saying any longer. Knowing for sure that he didn't hate me, that he finally understood why I need to do this without him, it was like nothing else mattered.

"I think - before - is cause of things I do... in past. Now I know truth. You need to get here alone, but you love me."

I nodded my head, I didn't like that fact that he was still in so much pain, but I was relieved that he knew it wasn't because of his short-comings; it was because of mine. "I wish things could have been different for us, I'm sorry that I hurt you... I never wanted that to happen. I always thought you'd just move on to something better..."

"Is no better to me." He shrugged his shoulders and smiled, "I wait. This why I send flowers. Once you get in, you come back to me."

"I don't know if that's-"

"I not here to guilt. Just to say, I know I love you more than him. We are good togeteher."

"I'm glad you came." And I was. Looking up at him now I could remember how easy it was to be around him. He was the first person I had ever really trusted, ever really let in. He had made me feel special but he had also respected who I was and what I wanted out of life.
Before I knew what was happening he had closed the gap between us in two long strides, I didn't even have time to protest as he wrapped his long arms around my waiste and pulled me in close. He brought his head down and kissed the top of my head, pulling me in harder against his body. I hugged him back.

After a few minutes I pulled away, "I really have to get back, the other game probably started already..."

"You stay in touch? Please?"

"Of course."

He nodded and gave me a smile. "I love you. I see you in Russia."

"Bye... I'll write you, I promise." He smiled and turned away, heading off into the parking lot as I turned and headed for the door.

I hadn't realized how long I'd been outside when I got back into the rink. The boys were just coming back on the ice for the second period and I could see Mattie glancing around the rink. I jogged down the steps up to the glass, and banged on it. Mattie looked over and saw me. He gave me a huge smile and a wave before heading over to centre ice. The game was 0-0 for the time being, and I decided to go find a seat behind Mattie's bench.
I walked quickly around the rink, and then bolted up the stairs where I found Marty sitting with an empty seat beside him. "Where have you been?" He asked before I had even sat down.

"Sorry, something came up, how's he been playing?"

"Alright, his defence sucks though so... they're having a hard time keeping the puck away. Constis' doing awesome and Carrol is... well he's out there anyway. Not his best performance." I looked over on the ice to where Carrol was, his head was all but hanging and he looked throuoghly downcasted.

"That's too bad..." I sighed, as the puck dropped.

The final score was 3-1 for Team 4 (Consti and Carrol's team), with that win it had been decided that my team and team 4 would get free passes to the semies. Mattie had gotten the only goal for his team, on a break-away, and I couldn't be more happy. This meant that tomorrow, Tuesday, we would all have a free day to train or relax as we saw fit and then the games would start on Wednesday.
Wednesday morning Jake's team was going to be playing against Marty's team, the winner of which would play Consti's team in the semies. Like wise, that evening, Mattie's team would be playing against 'Renny's team (Team 6); the winner would play my team in the semies.

I waited around the rink for Mattie to get out so we could walk back to the dorm together. My 'back door' conversation, as I was refering to it, was safely locked away in the back of my mind. I knew that whatever happened I couldn't worry about that now... it wasn't fair to myself to get worked up over anything when I needed to focus on hockey, and most of all it wasn't fair to get worked up over another boy when I had a great boyfriend already.

I saw Mattie coming out of the dressing rooms before he saw me, and I couldn't help but smile at the smile on his face. He was so proud of himself. Mattie rarely got break aways, he was much more of a 'sniper' type player, prefering to sit in wait... when he has good people around him, he rarely missed.
He finally saw me and made a B-line to where I was standing, pulling me into a big hug and planting a kiss on my lips.
"Well somebody's in a good mood!" I smiled up at him, pulling him closer for another kiss.

"How could I not be... I got a hot girlfriend, and I'm pretty sure that I'm the best hockey player ever." I couldn't help but laugh at how sincer he sounded.

"Alright superstar, let's go to bed... big day in the gym tomorrow!" I said, grabbing his hand and pulling him behind me outside.

"Superstars don't need the gym... this is pure natural talent right here!" I punched him in the gut and laughed as he chased me back up to the dorms.

It was hard for me to get to sleep that night. It felt like so many things had happened all at once. I was so unsure of what I should be doing anymore. I felt bad, but I wasn't even sure who I felt bad for... had I cheated on Mattie, or was cheating all physical? I had told someone else that I loved them, but I had also said I loved Mattie... did it cancell out? Ugh! Why was everything so complicated...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chapter 14

We had all been fairly evenly divided. I was on team 1, Mattie on team 2 and Marty on team 3. Consti and Carrol ended up together on 4, while Jake was on 5. Team 6 had no one of real notice, other then an insane goalie by the of 'Renny', who was almost impossible to score on... almost.

As our schedules informed us, Sunday and Monday would be spent in exhibition games. We would play anywhere from two to four games, the first two teams to win two games got a pass to the semi-finals. We had tuesdays off to work with our teams, and then Wednesday and Thursday would be the semis. Friday we were off again before the finals, which would take place Saturday night.
I was excited to play again but I was also having a hard time shaking the feeling I got everytime I thought of playing against Mattie. I, of course, had been playing against him lots in the past week, but we were being judged individually then; his team loseing to mine or vise, hadn't had as big of an impact as it would have this week.
Sitting next to him now in the rec room, his arm flung carelessly around my shoulders, most people wouldn't be able to pick up on his edgy-ness. I was not most people. The thought of watching him lose made me upset, but I wasn't a fan of loseing either; nor were Consti, Carrol and Marty who would also be playing each other tomorrow.

"I'm tired. I think I'm gonna head to bed, you staying here?" I said quietly, leaning in to him.

"Yah for another minute maybe, I'll be there soon though alright?" I nodded, kissing him goodbye before I left. I made my way down the hall to our room, it was strange how much less noise there was in the dorms now. There were still way too many teenaged boys for it to be considered quiet, but it was almost errie after the weeks before.

When I got to our room I flopped down on the bed; Consti was already lying on his, flipping through a sports illustrated. "You worried about tomorrow?" I asked, searching for my PJs

"Nope." he answered, never taking his eyes from the pages.

"You're playing Marty tomorrow, aren't worried at all?"


I let out a deep sigh before grabbing my PJs and heading into the bathroom. When I came out Consti was watching me, with a big smile on his face. "What?" I asked, putting my hands on my hips and glaring at him.

"What's got you so wound up tonight?" He asked, tossing his magazine aside while he continued to look at me.

"You're playing your best friend tomorrow, and you're not even worried at all about the outcome?"

"Nope," he laughed, "I know the outcome, I'm gonna beat his team, and try to get him to fight me if I can... if he won't, I'm just gonna put him on his ass a bunch." He replied so matter-of-factly it was hard to tell if he was being serious.

"Are you making fun of me?"

"No, I just think you're being stupid. Mattie's a good player and he's not gonna be pissed if you beat him. It's probably not even gonna make him look bad if you beat him. Mattie's awesome, he'll make Team USA and he'll do it even after he looses to you."

"You don't think he'll hate me, if I win?"

He gave a loud laugh before talking again. "Are you gonna hate him if he wins?" I shook my head, "And, will you break up with him if he scores on you?" I continued to shake my head. "Carlie, if anything, he'll be pissed if you let him score on you... it'd de-man him, and let's face it... Mattie ain't got a whole lotta man as it is." I stared at him incredulity, and he just laughed harder. I began to smile as I watched him tear-up from his own joke. Mattie pushed open to door a second later, stopping short as he looked over at Consti. His sudden appearance had forced Consti into even more histarics and I couldn't help but laugh along; Mattie just shook his head as he went into the bathroom to get ready for bed.

Consti was snoring before I had even got comfortable. I finally found my nook, nestled in against Mattie, my head on his chest. He was lying on his back with one hand behind his head, the other wrapped around me, coming to rest on the small of my back. "Carlie?" He whispered, his lips brushing the tope of my head.

"Mmmhmmm..." I replied, feeling exhaustion beginning to overwhelm me.

"I'll love you, no matter what happens this week, I just want you to know that. Obviously I'd love to make it onto the team with you, but I'll be proud of you... no matter what. You know that right?"

"I know." I sighed, surpressing the following 'now' that was on my lips. "And the same goes for you... I'm sad I can't play with you now though..."

"We can play together in Russia." He replied in a husky voice, his fingers beginning to run up and down my spine. "We can even do some hockey if you want..." I laughed as I rolled on top of him and brushed my lips across his.

"Who likes hockey anyway?"

There was a few minutes left in the game against Mattie's team, we were up 6-2. The score was surprising to say the least, my team was actually fairly awful. Aaron had two goals and I had four, plus an assist. The rest of the team seemed to be sitting around waiting for me to do something; I thought it was impart to the brand-new 'C' that was now attatched to my jersey. It was beginning to feel more like a curse than anything, just as I'm sure Aaron was no longer thrilled about his 'A' as he had been that morning. It was fun to be winning, but team victories were always much more satisfactory than personal wins... this one was, unfortunitly, a two man effort.
I was happy that Mattie was doing great though. He had one goal and one assist but he was playing very agressive, something he didn't do nearly enough; it was paying off. It was nice to see that he had also been named an alternate captain for his team, he was definetly the best out there.

By the time the final buzzer sounded the score hadn't changed. I made my way to the locker room and showered quickly, changing into some casual clothing before heading out into the main hall. Mattie was waiting for me, all smiles, as I approached. "Good game babe." He said, pulling me into a warm hug and kissing me. I smiled back at him.

"If I knew you took an ass whoppin this good, I'd do it more often!" He laughed and took my hand, leading me out into the cool night air.

"Not so much the loss it's self, but I think I did pretty good tonight... and by the way babe... you're team kind of sucks!"

"Ugh! I know! Why bother telling me again?"

"Just thought you might like to know, I mean, as Captain and everything..." He started to laugh and I playfully punched him in the arm.

"I wonder who we play tomorrow..." I thought out loud as we continued walking towards the dorm.

"Um, don't quote me on this but I think you're gonna be playing Jake... I'm playing Consti and Carrol!! That should be... interesting..."

Once we were inside the dorm Mattie left to find Marty, promising to only be a minute, as I continued to make my way down to our room. I opened the door to a smell that caught me off guard. Not that our room smelled too bad, we left our gear at the rink afterall, but I didn't wear perfume and I was fairly sure that Mattie and Consti weren't into flower scents.
I flicked on the lights and saw a bouquet of flowers on the computer desk with a small note attached. I approached the desk cautiously, the sunflowers and gerber babies looked friendly enough, but their appearance was a little strange. Oh... Mattie! I laughed suddenly wondering why I hadn't thought of it sooner, where did he get time to get me flowers? I pulled the card off the holder and tore open the note.

Carlie, was just thinking about you. Wanted to say good luck and I can't wait to see you in Russia...

The signature on the bottom of the card was not Matties. I hastly shoved the small card into my back pocket and began to freak out. Oh my god... oh my god... oh my god... I had to get rid of them. Why? It's not like I'm hiding anything... Why would he send me flowers... Okay. Calm down. You're over reacting. He was just wishing you good luck is all... Mattie would believe that right... I let out a groan. No guy would be ok with another guy sending his girlfriend flowers and then basically promising to see them somewhere.
I didn't have much time, Mattie could be on his way down. The window was already half open so I pushed it up the rest of the way. The screen came off easily and I hastly set it on the floor. For an unexplainable reason I pushed the flowers up to my face and took a whiff before I tossed them out the window.
I had just put the screen back on when Mattie came in. "It smells weird in here..." He said, looking around the room before shrugging.

"Yah... opening a window now!" I laughed, trying not to sound hysterical. "Ummm... I think I'm going to bed now..." I continued, quickly changing into my PJs while Mattie checked his e-mail on the computer. I hoped into bed and rolled over against the wall, Mattie crawled in a few minutes later and curled up around me.

"Night babe..." he sighed into my ear, his warm breath blowing across my face.

"Night Mattie."

He pulled me against him tight and soon his breathing was steady. I continued to lie awake trying to make sense of the note that was in the pocket of the jeans I had just disgarded on the floor.

It was well after Consti had come in and feel asleep before I finally gave in to... the words 'was just thinking about you' still etched in my mind.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chapter 13

When I rolled over the clock was shining 5:58 back at me. I let out a sigh and rolled back over, pulling the sheets up over my head. Mattie was softly snoring beside me, taking up much more than his half of the bed; sleeping like a baby. I lay there a few more minutes before giving up on sleep all together, opting for an early morning workout instead. Pulling the covers back off my head and getting off the bed I saw Consti sprawled out across his bed fully dressed, over the covers. Looks like someone had a good night anyway... Grabbing some gym change out of my suitcase, I made my way into the bathroom and changed out of my PJs.

I jogged the whole way down to the gym; although it was still fairly dark out I could see everything clearly in the dawning light. I let myself in through the front doors, happy to find them already unlocked. The girl sitting behind the front desk smiled at me as I walked by and I nodded in return before turning the corner and heading into the cardio room.

I was sweating heavily by the time I felt someone else in the room. I turned around to see Dean walking up behind me, he was smiling. "Awful early for the suits to be up isn't it?" I laughed over my shoulder as he stopped behind the bike.

"Awful early to be killing yourself on a bike, isn't it?" I retorted, his smile widening.

I chuckled and turned back around, slowing the pedals down. He let me finish my cool down before he spoke again. "You heading over to the dinning hall now?"

"Yah... I'll be there for 8."

"Listen Carlie, I need to talk to you about something..."

I let out a sigh and gave Dean my full attention. I'm sure he was probably trying to save me some embarrassment, maybe he was going to tell me that I didn't make the team now and offer to let me leave before the actual cuts were posted. It was the best I could hope for now.

"It's about last night, you can't keep doing that, ok?"

"Umm... what?" I bit my lip in consideration, this conversation was starting of strange.

"Going on defence like that. Carlie, if you make Team USA you're a forward for Team USA. You can't just decide that you're going to play defence and force your team to change position accordingly. You said to me, that you didn't want special treatment, and this is me telling you that you won't get it. You're a good player, we know that; play the game you know, let the defence play theirs." He reached out and gave me a fatherly pat on the shoulder before heading out the door. I leaned up against the stationary bike I had just been riding. What did this mean? He was giving me advice for 'if you make Team USA', not, 'when you get home and go back to Junior'. Did this mean I wasn't cut? I headed off to the shower.

Not really concious of my actions I somehow showered and dressed, heading off at a brisk pace to the dinning hall. I saw Consti point at me when I got closer and Mattie appeared on the otherside of him, relief flooding his face. "Where did you get off to this morning?" He asked pulling me into a tight hug.

"I couldn't sleep, just decided to go on the bike for a bit... we should probably get in there." I said nodded over towards the door people were now passing through. Mattie took my hand and lead me in, Consti, Carrol and Marty in tow.

"You seem in a much better mood?" Mattie suggested, a question more than a statement.

"Ummm yah, I talked to Dean for a sec this morning. I'm not sure but... I don't think I'm heading home." I was afraid to get into more detail as we took our seats, it would be just my luck to jinx it.

"Oh... that's awesome."

"Mattie, you have to know you're not going home." I laughed at his worried expression, "You're a shoe-in babe!" I gave his hand a squeeze as the rest of the guys sat down.

"How do you think he's gonna tell us?" Carrol asked, glancing around the room, searching for Dean.

"Announcement maybe?" Marty said, his head down on the table, clearly more hungover than Consti, who was playing the 'drums' on the table.

"Dude, she's hott!" He announced loudly, motioning towards a server in the near-by corner.

"Consti, we're about to find out who got cut... we could be going home..." Carrol spat, outraged at Constis' lack of concern.

"Yah man, I'd like to take her home..." He laughed, finally catching her eye and smiling. She blushed and turned back to her work. "Al-right..."

We groaned in unison, leave it to Consti. "There's Dean!" Mattie said, we all turned to see Dean taking the stage. The dinning hall fell silent immediatly.

"Alright everyone, we're posting the names on the wall there," he pointed over to the back wall, "of all the people who are going to be staying with us for another week. If you're name isn't on that list, you will not be playing for Team USA. So enjoy your breakfast and check the sheets on your way out. If you are on the list, then please meet us in the ampitheater at 10am."

The hall stayed silent, everyone glancing around at each other, wondering what to do. Consti got up and headed over towards the female server, grabbing a plate off the counter and approaching her. Mattie gave a faultered laugh and looked back at me, fear evident in his eyes. The assistant trainers were now posting sheets on the wall, there wasn't alot of them. The courage I had been given by Dean this morning evaporated as I looked over at the 6 sheets on the wall.
A chair scraping on the floor brought my attention away from the wall and back to my table, Marty was getting up and making his way over to the wall. His fingers ran over 5 of the 6 sheets, before he turned and walked back to us. He paused for a minute at the table, looking at each one of us and then over at Consti. "We're all on there... we're all staying." His face changed into a grin as he pulled his phone out of his pocket, his fingers punching out a text as he made his way over to Consti.

I couldn't help but smile as relief flooded through me. Mattie stood up and pulled me up beside him, wrapping me in a hug. I wrapped my arms around him and looked down at Carrol, he was smiling towards the wall. Slowly other people in the hall began to get up and make their way over to the list. "Mattie," I whispered, still wrapped around him, "I don't think I wanna stay here for this..." He nodded before turning to Carrol.

"We're gonna head back to the room, you wanna come?"

"Naw, I'm gonna grab some food I think, I'll meet you there after."

I waved goodbye and followed Mattie out of the hall, afraid to meet anyone's eyes on the way out. Now that I was sure I had made it through the cut I could afford to feel bad for other people; and watching other people get their dreams crushed wasn't my ideal start to the day.
I felt like singing, I felt like dancing. I was sure that the worse had to be over. Now we would play a tournament, something I was accustomed too, and even though the stakes were higher I felt confident in my abilities. There had been well over a hundred people in the camp, and we had been cut in half. I was better than half of the people that had been here.
Mattie was walking with a bounce in his step too, he smiled over at me and took my hand in his as we made our way up the steps into the dorms.

Sitting in the ampitheater with the remaining players was such a rush. Everyone was jubilent with the results, and although there was a bittersweet side to the day, we were all pumped to be here. I smiled over at Jake and Aaron, a few rows away, and continued to glance around at the people left. Althought there was about 70 people left, and even though there were a few faces I couldn't find, I was too thrilled that my friends were still with me to let anything break my spirit. As Dean took to the stage again, the hall errupted into cheers. He allowed us to continue our roudiness for a minute longer before holding up his hands in a command of silence. "Congradulations on making it this far! Now, the fun part! All of you will be divided into 6 teams, 11 players per team. You will each have 1 goalie and 2 full lines. Each team will elect a captain and an alternate captain, and it will be up to your elected teammates to make the decisions for the games; you will not have mock coaches this time. Amanda, one of our medical interns for the World Juniors is handing out the team lists. The teams have been selected to be as fair and equal as possible, each list has the room number and names of the people you will spend the next week with, please don't loose it! On next 2 sheets you will notice game times and practice times, I suggest you use them wisely. If you have any questions come see me. You're free to go!"

We waited quietly in the back row as Amanda made her way up the isles, handing out packs of paper as she went. When she reached us she passed the last of her stack to Carrol and headed back down the steps. As the sheets made their way down to us, my nerves began to act up again, Please let me have a good team! I sighed to myself. I knew better than to hope for Mattie on the same team, they wouldn't put two of the best players together.
Sure enough I was right. My team consisted of only 1 person I knew. I read over each name... trying to put a face to it:

Allen, Kris (RW)
Anderson, Anderw (D)
Butler, Jeremy (D)
Doiron, Jonathan (D)
Donnelly, Tommy (RW)
Jones, Chris (G)
Simone, Carlie (C)
Stanley, Ethan (LW)
Stewart, Peter (LW)
Tucker, Eddie (D)
Turner, Aaron (C)

Aaron, Jake's roommate would be on my team, but not on my line. I tried not to let this bother me, I had been playing games with random people all week, no big deal.
I felt Mattie shift beside me and sigh as he gazed down at the last piece of paper in our bundle. "What is it?" I asked leaning over the arm-rest to see his sheet.

"The games start tomorrow, my first game is against you..."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chapter 12

***Sorry this is so much shorter than usual... work and school are really taking a toll on my free time! I just wanted to fire this off and give you guys a little update... I'll be adding another one within the next couple days! Thanks for all the comments! I get really excited when I see them! =D***

I had never wanted anything so bad. NHL, acceptance, approval, none of it mattered anymore. I saw their defence struggling, their goalie falter and their forwards near the brink of exhaustion; and I wanted to take them there.

It was the last game of the week, the game of the week. I teetered back and forth between victory and defeat, unable to convince myself that I was going to make it to the next cuts. I lead the weeks games in points by a huge margin, followed by Jake and then Mattie, but the trainers were still not convinced that I could play in a league created for men.
There was a little over a minute left in the last period, and we were winning by one. The score sat at 4-3, having scored three times and gained an assist I was exploding with energy and adrenalin. I looked up into the crowd to see Mattie sitting in the front row, leaning forward in his seat with his head resting in his hands. He face looked worried, and I saw his eyes move from me, to the coaches infront of him and then back to me. I let out a sigh, what does a girl gotta do around here? I thought with resentment, before heading back to the bench.

"Alright, so... let's just run the clock down, a minute-twelve left..." our 'coach' for the night suggested as we gathered around.

"I want D!" I shouted, through the crowd of guys infront of me.

"Ahh, wh- wh- what?" he stuttered back as the ref blew his whistle.

"I'm goin on D ok? Ok, cool!" I skated off towards the ref before he could say anything else.

Marty skated up beside me quietly, "I'm taking the face off... you want me to let him grab it?" I nodded as he skated away to turn over the puck. I leaned over, ready to knock a few boys down, catching sight of Mattie in the stands. He was sitting with his hands now completely covering his face, I was sure he was cursing me under his breath; I smiled to myself as the puck dropped.

The celebration that ensued that night was dizzying to say the least. I had managed to score again, breaking the record for the most goals ever scored at the training camp and after my decent little stint on defence, everyone was sure I was a shoe-in for Team USA. It seemed that everyone was in high spirits that night, and I couldn't help but realize; some of these guys are going home tomorrow...
I was standing in a circle of my 'team mates' at least, the guys I had just finished plaing with and I began to search Mattie out through the crowd. It wasn't hard to find him, he was the only person not celebrating; sitting on the couch, a coke in his hand and his ballcap pulled down low over his face. I said goodnight to the guys around me, laughing at their groans and complaints as they tried to get me to stay, and made my way over to where Mattie was sitting.
I held out my hand to him and he took it, pushing himself off the couch and following me back to our room.
We walked in a comfortable silence until we reached the room, Mattie pushed open our door and fell onto the bed. I pulled my PJs out of my suitcase and changed quickly, before jumping onto bed beside him. I snuggled up as closely as I could to him; he chuckled and wrapped his arms around me.
I pushed my face into his chest and sighed. "Everything alright?" I asked, pulling my head up to look at him.

"Yah, worried is all..." he continued to gaze at me intently, his blue eyes filled with concern.

"Are you worried about how I'm going to react if I get the boot?" I smiled at him, trying to hide the fact that inside I was terrified.

"No..." he shook his head thoughtfully. "Carlie, if I get sent home, are you gonna break up with me?"

I started to laugh. I could tell by the look on his face that he was 100% serious, but the idea was so foolish I couldn't help it. "What?" he said, concern filling his face once again, "why is that so funny? I'm serious Carlie!"

"I know! That's why I'm laughing!" I pulled myself up towards his face and planted a kiss on his lips. "Mattie," I sighed, "If I get sent home, are you gonna break up with me?"

"What? No!" He pulled me into a tight bear hug and I began to laugh again. "Oh, ok yah... dumb question." He started to chuckle too and we lay there laughing for a while.

After calming down and laying in silence a bit more Mattie sighed and pushed himself off the bed. "How late do you think Consti will be out for?" He asked as he slid his shirt over his head. I looked over at the clock 10:47 and then back at him.

"Ummm a couple hours maybe, depends how drunk they are." I let out a groan. In a little over nine hours I would know what was going to happen to us, I was never going to get to sleep tonight.

"Hmmm... well then, seeing as how tonight could be our last night here... I can think of some goods ways to spend it!"

"Oh really? And what would that be now?" I laughed as Mattie pounced on top of me. He brought his lips down ontop of mine and I intertwined my fingers in his hair, pulling him closer. He lifted me off the bed and crushed me aginst him as he began to pull my shorts off. As Matties' finger began to push inside of me, I began to forget all about tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chapter 11

I woke up much later then normal, to find myself sleeping on Mattie's chest. I smiled to myself as I allowed my mind to wander back over everything that had happened the night before. After soaking in the warmth of the sun, that was now streaming through the opened window, I pushed myself gently off the bed. I made my way over to the bathroom, stopping to look at Constis' bed; it was made, and it looked like no one had slept in it recently... that was probably a good thing. I laughed to myself as I pushed open the bathroom door and turned on the shower.
I stepped into the hot water quickly, having nothing on to strip off. As I continued to think about Mattie and everything that had happened between us, I started to get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I closed my eyes and let the water pour down over me, praying last night hadn't been a mistake.
I knew for sure that I was in love with him. Everything about last night had confirmed to me, without a doubt, that he was perfect for me in every way. But I couldn't shake this horrible feeling that was now beginning to dawn on me. What if Mattie didn't actually feel the same way? What if he had just slept with me because I was naked in his bed? All the warmth and perfection I had felt, as I slept in his arms, was all but gone now. Would he still want me now that it was morning?
Caught up in my own thoughts, I hadn't heard the door open behind me. "Carlie?" I poked my head out of the curtain to see Mattie standing in the bathroom, wearing a pair of sweatpants. "Are you alright?" He looked afraid.

I smiled at him, "Yes... are you?"

He started chuckling, "Really? Is that a real question?" He shook his head still smiling, "I don't think I've ever been better." He looked up at me, a serious look pushing the smile off his face. "I'm not really good at this kind of stuff, but I need to say something and I need to say it now, before I let you leave this room..."

The feeling of terror returned, as I nodded at him, "alright..."

"Carlie, I love you." He said simply. "You're the most important thing to me. I'm sorry that I was too much of a coward to tell you that sooner... I need you in my life always, but I can't just be your friend anymore. I need to know if you want to be with me too?"

I smiled, as I felt tears leaking from my eyes, "I love you Mattie, I wanna be with you too."

His smile returned and he stared at me for a minute. "So... you got room for one more in there?" he asked nonchalantly. I laughed as I reached out and pulled and him into the shower, sweatpants and all.

It felt strange but nice walking hand in hand with Mattie down to the ampitheater. Although I had always walked places with him like this, over the course of 24 hours it had taken on a completely different meaning; one I enjoyed.
Carrol, Consti and Marty were waiting for us outside the ampitheater doors, all three were smirking at us as we made our way over. I felt my face get hot as I thought about why they were smiling, I knew I had nothing to be ashamed of, but this was untraveled territory for me.
I looked over to see that Mattie was blushing too, this made me laugh. He looked over at me and started laughing too, we walked, still smiling past the guys; they followed us silently in.

We filed into the back, grabbing seats that were separate from the majority of people. As we all sat down Mattie kept me close to him, refusing to let go of my hand. "So... I'm gonna go out on a limb, and assume your date with Jake didn't go so good?" Consti said in a carring whisper. Shock hit me hard and I looked over at him to see that he had fallen into silent laughter with Carrol, before I knew it I was laughing too.

"Not so much, no..." I shook my head, smiling and giving Mattie's hand a squeeze.

"That's no good, sorry you had a bad night..." Marty added, forcing Consti and Carrol into renewed laughter.

"Hey now!" Mattie called out, "It wasn't all bad... right?" He asked suddenly, turning to look at me, terror evident on his face.
All I could do was laugh out loud, unable to deny his fear. After looking back and forth at all of us, he sighed and shook his head, unable to keep this smile off his face. "I hate you guys..." He muttered under his breath as Dean took the stage.

"Alright, alright... calm down everyone!" Dean yelled into the mic, holding his hands up. "This week we're going to be playing 2 hockey games a day. The teams will change each day, and they will be selected at random. These games are to give us an idea of what you'll each be like as part of a group, and the fact that they'll be changing all week will show us your ability to constantly adapt and be a flexable player. Keep in mind that on saturday, half of you will be going home. So play smart, and play hard."
Dean took a step back from the microphone to allow his words to sink in. The atmosphere of the room had changed rapidly, all accept for Consti, who was still sitting in his chair with a stupid grin on his face; his eyes every now and then looking over in Matties' direction.
"So, head to the cafeteria for breakfast, and the assistant trainers will hand out your team lists for the week."

We all got up slowly, and silently followed the crowd out the doors. We were all somber, caught up in the fear of going home. "So... you think they'll have pancakes?" Consti asked, snapping us all into reality.

"You're thinking about food?" Carrol asked outraged.

"I'm hungry!" Consti shot back defensively.

"You're incredible you know that?" I said, my voice full of disdain.

"Oh, thanks Carlie... don't let Mattie hear you say that though... he'll get self-concious about his performance!" Consti laughed over his shoulder as he sprinted off to the dinning hall, leaving all in disbelief.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chapter 10

***Content Warning... just FYI lol***

I had no idea what I was going to do, or what had just come over me.

I was full-on running towards our dorm, praying Mattie was there, but praying that he wasn’t. I stood in front of the door for what felt like forever. Finally I turned the handle and let myself in.

I looked over to see Mattie sprawled out in his bed, lying on his stomach. He had the window opened all the way, and was sleeping in just his boxers. There was more then enough moonlight shinning through the window for me to see just how peaceful he looked; so peaceful that I almost chickened out… almost.

I had no idea what had come over me, I had never so much as even kissed a boy, and a few hours ago I had never even thought of Mattie as anything more then a friend; and now here I was, aching to touch him. I knew I would never be able to explain to him through words all the things I had discovered about myself tonight... I figured the physical side might work better.

I sighed to myself, I must have always knows, always known that I wanted to be with him, I just managed to ignore it. It seemed so forbidden to want him, but now I could hardly believe that I had never tried to be with him before.

I pulled my shirt up over my head and slid my skirt over my thighs and down to the floor. Although it was a hot night my skin was covered in goosebumps and my heart was pounding. I was shaking slightly and was almost worried that the pounding of my heart and my elevated breathing would wake him up before I was ready for him to see me. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself. I took a few deep breaths and opened my eyes. As quickly as I could I climbed over Mattie onto his bed, before I could change my mind.

As I laid down beside him my whole body was tingling with anticipation and for the first time in my life I didn’t felt confident off the ice. Mattie wanted me. He had always wanted me and I had been too stupid to see it. How many years had I wasted? I didn’t even want to think about it any longer, I reached out and touched his cheek with my hand. He stirred but didn’t wake up, I snuggled up next to him and began putting light kisses along his jaw bone towards his mouth. When I brought my eyes back to his face I saw that he was wide awake, staring at me. He rolled over onto his side to face me with his body.

“Hi…” I said for lack of anything better to say. I gazed into his eyes. He just continued to stare at me. I felt fear for the first time, what was I thinking? How had I just taken Jake’s opinion on this? I should have checked with Carrol! How would I ever live this down?

I started to pull my body away from him, I averted my eyes down not wanting to meet his gaze any longer. When my eyes ran over his muscular body again, I saw his shape through his boxers and knew that Jake hadn’t been wrong, that I hadn’t been wrong.

“No” he murmured, pulling me against him again, “Stay… please…” And then his lips were on mine. Softly and timidly he began to trace my lips with his tongue, looking for access; which I granted. He kissed me deeply, pulling me underneath him and holding me firmly. His hands began to wander down my back, sending chills all over my body. He pulled himself off of me to kneel on his bed, he gently lifted me up towards him again. Staring into my eyes he reached behind my back and undid my bra. I pulled it off of my shoulders and let it drop onto the floor. I felt the intensity of his eyes on my body, drinking it in. I couldn’t help but stare at his body, how had I never noticed how perfect it was?

His tongue traced a line down my throat onto my chest, as his hands once again pulled me close. My hands rested on his shoulders allowing him the room he needed. He began to kiss and nibble his way down to my stomach and I began to loose control. He quickly flipped me down onto his bed again and climbed on top. He continued to kiss his way down stopping only to remove my boy shorts and toss them aside.

I could only close my eyes as he pushed my legs open and his tongue began to move around me. I let out a moan of pleasure and he pushed his tongue inside me in response. I felt like I would explode if I didn’t touch him soon and I began to pull away.

His mouth left me then and he was sitting up in between my legs, staring at me. I propped myself up onto my elbows and he slid a finger inside of me. My eyes rolled back and I let my head follow; I only had a quick second to stare at the ceiling before he inserted another finger and my eyes closed as I inhaled quickly.

He began to move his fingers rapidly, and I couldn’t hold myself up any longer. I fell back onto the bed, moaning quietly as his fingers reached in deeper, exploring. To my dismay he pulled his fingers out. He pushed his body back on top of me, and as his lips found mine, I entwined my fingers into his hair, pulling him closer.

When, and only when I was desperate for air did I break the kiss. We were sitting up now and I was straddling him. I pushed him back onto his bed, and grasped the top of his boxers in my hands, I gently pulled them down, kissing every inch of him on the way.

I discarded his boxers on the floor with my clothes and took him inside my mouth, it was his turn to moan as he reached the back of my throat and I began to slowly pull him in and out. His moaning became more intense as I increased the pace, when he suddenly sat up and gently pulled my mouth up to meet his.

Once again he pushed me down and stretched out on me, his body was hot, and covered in sweat. His weight crushed down on top of me. He stared at my face for a moment, a questioning look in his eyes. I knew what he was asking and so I answered by crossing my legs around his lower back and pulling him towards me.

He pulled away, just enough that he was staring down at me, propped up on his arms. He allowed himself to enter me slightly; just enough that I moaned the loudest I had that night. I bit down hard on my lower lip and braced my arms above my head, against the wall. He began to smile then, as I tried to pull him inside me with my legs, he resisted. When I tried to pull him in more, his smile grew bigger, and he continued to resist the pressure of my legs on his back. Finally I dropped my legs from around his back and began to arch my body towards him. His greedy, full lips found my chest and his tongue began it’s travels again. I quickly dropped back down, not being able to take more of his touch.

He began to rotate his hips in small circular motions, and before I was consciously aware of it I was moaning his name. He continued to stare down at me, soaking in the moment.

“Please Mattie…” I finally sighed. I put my legs back around him and braced myself against the wall with my hands again. “Please Mattie… I need you…please…” I didn’t care that I was begging, I looked up into his face and his answering smile was blinding.

“Carlie…” He whispered softly, bringing his smile down to meet my mouth. “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to hear you say that.” He grasped my shoulders firmly in his hands and pushed himself deep inside me as I let out a squeal of pleasure.

Mattie’s POV

I thought it had been a dream, I was sure of it. Carlie was beside me, kissing me and any moment I was going to wake up to disappointment; finding her sleeping soundly beside me. But she had whispered ’hi…’ self-consciously and then she began to pull away, two things she had never done before in my dreams. I pulled her close and then I knew for sure I wasn’t dreaming. Somehow she had ended up here, under me, wanting me. I wasn’t about to ask why or how… all I cared about was that she was here. I had tried to go slow, I knew it was her first time but I couldn’t help myself… I needed her so bad. I was afraid to let go, afraid that she would change her mind.

I remember the tempo we had found together, something so new and exciting, yet so familiar and perfect. I looked at her now, curled up beside me; her legs still tangled in mine. I smiled as I thought about how beautiful she was, even more so then I thought possible. Best of all she had enjoyed it, really enjoyed it. I don’t think I coul ever forget how perfect she looked as she moaned my name, pulling me in deeper. When her legs began to quiver and I felt her muscles contract around me I thought for sure I couldn’t handle anymore. I had held on though, and I had taken her over the edge again. Now here she was, still beside me.

There was no way I could sleep, I was exhausted but I needed her again. I needed her as many times as I could have her before the morning came, I was still afraid that tonight was all a dream and I would wake up and she’d be gone. Listening to her moan my name and squeal every time I pushed into her had only made me realize that there was nothing in the world I wanted more then to make her call out my name again and again.

I pulled her close to me and began to kiss her. She woke up groggily, but soon she was smiling back at me and squeezing closer. Staring into her gorgeous brown eyes I can’t help but wonder, why had I been stupid enough to hide from her?

Chapter 9

Mattie's POV

Carlie and I headed down to training shortly after the guys left. She was in a much better mood then I would have thought; I was expecting her to be much more subdued after last night. Almost like she was on a sugar high, I could hardly keep up with her as we headed down to the rinks. She was a few paces ahead of me, bouncing more than walking; she turned around and grinned at me, finally noticing that I wasn't keeping up. "Come on, we're gonna be late!" She laughed, reaching out to take my hand as she pulled me along beside her. She started talking cheerfully about this weekend, and all the time off we had; but I was unable to pay much attention her. Luckily she was too excited to notice my lack of answers.
As I staired down at her hand, intertwined with mine, I allowed myself to wonder for the first time if Marty was right. Maybe she did really love me back, and she just didn't know it yet. She did seem in much better spirits since we made up...

"So... what are we doing tonight?" I asked, stopping her before she could push the door open.

"Oh..." she said, startled, her brow crinkling up as she thought something over. "Actually, I kind of have a date... so I guess nothing too special... I probably won't be back till 8:30 or 9." She smiled up at me, oblivious to the look of shock that had crossed over my face. "We could probably hit up the guitar hero then if you want... oh! or we could watch Stepbrothers! We haven't seen that in a long time."

"Mmmmhmmmm..." I nodded, keeping my mouth closed. My mind was racing. How does she have a date? With who? What am I suppose to do?

"Hey Carlie, you coming in?" Jake asked, pushing open the door behind her. "Oh hey Mattie..." he added, his eyes falling down to look at her hand, which was still holding mine. "Ah, sorry if I'm interrupting anything..." He said slowly, walking out to stand beside us.

"Oh no! We were just making plans for what we were going to do after you and I got back from dinner." She answered, still holding onto my hand. Jake and I both looked at each other, he looked like he wanted to punch me; I felt like I wanted to punch him. We stood for a while stairing each other down, Carlie oblivious in between us.

Jake cleared his throat, "We should go... Carlie."

"Oh!" She said dropping my hand, "we're probably late!" With that she turned on her heel and ran through the doorway, waving goodbye to me over her shoulder. Jake watched her leave, then turned and shot me one last dirty look before following her through the door. God I hate him!

Okay, so that wasn't totally fair.
I thought again, after all he did talk to me this morning and he did get Carlie to come back to the room... but still, what an ass! I sighed and went through the door, heading down to rink C.

After training I went up to Carrol and Marty's room, not wanting to watch Carlie get ready for her date with Jake. They were both already there; Carrol watching some hockey videos on youtube, Marty talking on the phone with his girlfriend. I flopped down on Carrol's vacant bed and sighed. After waiting a minute and not having either of them take any notice of me, I let out an even bigger sigh.
Carrol started to laugh and finally turned his attention to me. "Problem Mattie?"

"She's going on a date with him." I spat the last word.

"Babe, I'm gonna have to let you go alright? ...yah... I'll give you a call later, love you." Marty said into his phone, before he set it down and sat up to face me. "Well, what are you gonna do about it?"

"What am I suppose to do about it? She already made the plans... she's getting ready now."

"You could go tell her you don't want her to go..." Carrol suggested, shrugging his shoulders. "If you told her why, she'd probably stay."

"I don't want her to stay because she feels bad for me... or because I ruined her night-"

"We're not saying that's why you should tell her Mattie... I mean, think about it from her point of view. What if she really does love you? What if she starts dating this Jake guy, then finds out that you liked her all along? What kind of a position does that put her in?"

I sighed, putting my hands over my face. I normally didn't cry, ever; but lately it seemed like I couldn't help myself. "I just don't think I can..."

"Shit, I gotta go for a sec... I'll be back in a bit." Marty sighed, getting off his bed, "you stay here." He warned, pointing at me.

Marty's POV

Don't send a boy to do a man's job,
I sighed as I made my way down the stairs. I already knew the way to Jake's room, having gone there earlier in the week with Consti. I hoped this conversation wouldn't be as stressful, but then again, it was probably going to be worse. I sighed again as I knocked on his door.
His roommate answered, he took one look at me and then went to shut the door, I held out my hand and stopped it easily. "I need to talk to Jake man..." He glared at me and put more force on the door. I continued to hold my hand out, hardly noticing the increase in pressure. "This isn't like last time... for real." He continued to size me up, before shaking his head and walking back into the room. I followed, just in time to see Jake walk out of his bathroom.

"What do you want?" He stopped, giving me yet another dirty glare. Good think looks can't kill... I laughed to myself.

"I need to talk to you."

"Yah, didn't we already do that? Look... whatever you say, I'm going with Carlie so... you're wasting your time."

"I didn't come here to tell you not to go." I replied simply.

He watched me for a minute, deciding whether or not I was telling the truth. Finally he sighed, "Fine, what do you want then?"

"I want to talk to you."

"Ummm, I gotta go and... I'll just... I'll be back in a bit." His roommate said, getting up and walking quickly out of the room.

Jake sat down on one of the beds, "Alright, go."

"Don't you even want to know why we said those things to you?"

"Well, I figure it's cause... you don't want me going out with Carlie..."

"Obviously... don't you want to know why though?"

"I don't know... over protective friends?"

"She's in love with Mattie."

He folded his arms over her chest. "Naw, I don't think so." He started shaking his head. "It's obvious that your boys' in love with her but, if she loved him she'd be with him."

I started laughing, "So, you've never noticed how Carlie tends to... oh I don't know... how she tends to not notice 99% of the things that go on around her when she's off the ice?"

He continued to stare at me, and I knew this conversation was a lost cause. "Alright, I'll go. I just wanted to let you know, we did what we did because Mattie's a good guy... he's spent his whole life trying to pluck up the courage to tell Carlie how he feels." I got up and walked over to the door. "She does love him though, you know? I hope you remember that when she's out with you. She should be with him, not you." I closed the door behind me before he could say anything, and I made my way back upstairs.

Carlie's POV

I was bouncing around my room in what felt like the hundreth outfit that I'd tried on, waiting on Jake and wondering where Mattie was. I was a nervous wreck. Normally I would rely on Mattie to calm me down but unfortunitly he was MIA.
I continued to bounce around the room until a knock at the door caused my heart to skip a beat. I quickly opened the door and saw Jake, standing there in a pair of fitted jeans and a navy button down shirt.
"Wow!" he said, the shock evident on his face as he took in my outfit for the first time. I smiled to myself at his reaction and made a mental note to thank my cousin Jossie for making me buy it last summer. "So... you ready?" he asked, still standing in the doorway.

"Yah! Just let me leave a note for Mattie... I'm not sure where he is..." I trailed off, looking for a pen and something to write on. I quickly found a notepad and scribbled: Gone out to eat, be back soon! Love you, C.C. xox
I tac'd the piece of paper to the bulletion boared above the desk, and turned back to Jake. He was giving my note a hard stare, but he quickly adjusted his face into a smile and followed me out the door.

Dinner was slightly awkward, never having been on a date before I wasn't really sure how to act. I tried to be cool and act like this wasn't new to me, but I was pretty sure he saw through me. Jake seemed very distant, he wasn't talking to much; he just watched me alot. When we were done we headed straight back to the dorms, remaining quiet on the walk. We stopped outside the door, Jake staring at me once again.
"Umm... so thanks for taking me out tonight." I said, rocking back and forth on my feet. He nodded and continued to watch me. "I guess, I should go find my friends... they're probably wondering where we are."

"Are you in love with him?" He asked suddenly, still gazing intently at me.

"I'm sorry what?" I said taking a step back, completely at a loss as to what he was talking about.

"Are you in love with him?" He asked again, annoyed.


"Mattie?" He gave a sharp, mocking laugh, like this was 100% obvious.

"No! He's my best friend... and why would you ask me this when I'm suppose to be on a date with you?"

He leaned back against the wall and finally looked away from me. "He's in love with you... do you know that?"

"No he's not-"

"Yah he is." He cut me off harshly. "Everyone here knows it. Everyone thought I was mental for getting involved in this but, I just thought you didn't like him like that. But obviously you really didn't know..."

"Look Jake I don't know what you're talking about..."

"Marty came to my room again, to tell me why Consti did what he did... it's cause Mattie's in love with you and they're trying to keep you single until he gets the balls to tell you."

"You're being crazy... you know that right?" I said, getting annoyed finally. I couldn't believe he was acting like this on our date.

"Carlie, I like you, and I think you're great. I really hope we stay friends... but I just can't start something with someone when they're in love with someone else. I thought I'd give it a shot, maybe you'd come out with me and realize that you really like me... but I just don't see that happening right now." He trailed off... turning to leave.

"So, I guess this is... goodnight?" I asked sarcastically.

"Please don't be mad, maybe I didn't handle this in the best way possible but... I promise I mean well? If that counts for anything..." He walked through the doors, leaving me standing on the steps, alone.

What the hell just happened? I asked to myself, turning away from the dorms and walking. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I didn't even realize how far my feet had taken me. It was totally dark out now, and I was on the otherside of campus. I sighed, deciding I should head back in... Mattie was probably worried.
Half way back I couldn't bring myself to go any furthur. I opted to sit on a nearby bench and try to clear my head.
Mattie? Really... as if that's even possible I mean... we're just friends. I don't even like him like that at all... right? Sure he's cute, and nice, and funny, and sweet, and he's always there for me... always watching out for me. I guess he's attractive... oh! and I love waking up beside him... he's so cute when he sleeps.
I let my thoughts run away from me for a bit, sighing to myself as I leaned back on the bench; watching the stars.
It would never happen though, I mean... he probably likes someone else anyway. Not that she'd be good enough for him... I started trying to picture the type of girl Mattie would want to date. Probably some blonde bimbo... cheerleader or something... bitch. My breath caught in my throat as I felt a sharp stab of jealousy hit me. Ok, did I really just get jealous over someone I made up? That's probably not a good sign... but, why wouldn't he want me... I mean, I know him better than anyone...
I do like Mattie... I'm in love with Mattie.
It felt like I had jumped into a pool of ice cold water. My lungs felt tight and I was suddenly wide awake. Everything hit me at once. Of course Mattie loved me, what type of guy drives across town to save you from the spider in your room? What kind of guy holds you when you cry? Or knows exactly what you need to hear? Who else but the guy that loves you would give up everything to spend time with you... hold your hand when you walked, or skip the HIM concert they'd been waiting for all year, to stay home and make you chicken noodle soup cause your sick?
I pushed myself off the bench and ran as fast as I could back to the dorms. I flew through the door and down the darkened hallway. I stopped to look in at the rec room, which was almost empty; Consti and a handful of people were watching a movie. "Consti!" I yelled, getting the attention of everyone in the room "Where's Mattie?!"

He stared at me for a miunte, obviously wondering what was wrong with me. "He's... probably asleep, he had a rough night..."

"A rough night... cause I'm an idiot?" I asked, realizing I was out of breath.

"... what?"

"He had a rough night cause I was out with Jake... cause I'm stupid!"

"... ok... see you tomorrow?" He turned his attention back to the movie, glancing every now and then at me. Consti was never the best for serious conversations.

"Yah... I gotta talk to Mattie, now!" I shouted over my shoulder. Consti looked dumb-struck but I could have sworn I saw him smile before I rounded the corner.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Chapter 8

I woke up, startled, wondering where Mattie was. Then the previous night all came flooding back to me. I rolled over and looked around, I was still in Jake's room. I was lying on Jakes bed and there was a centre that I recognized lying on the bed opposite me.

"Morning," Aaron said, stretching his arms above his head. "Quiet the time last night eh?" I let out a soft whimper. He chuckled, "I wouldn't worry about it, everyone knows the truth about what happened... and I don't think anyone blames you... if my friends did that to me, I would have done alot worse."

I closed my eyes trying to not cry again. "I'm not upset that I yelled at Consti, he deserved it. I just can't believe that I hit Mattie, Mattie..."

"Hmmm... well I think he'll get over it, if he hasn't already. He looked pretty guilty last night after you left."

I allowed my eyes to roam over the room finally, coming to a make shift bed on the floor. Following me glance Aaron said, "Jake went to get you some breakfast, he figured you might not wanna run into your buddies this early."

"Oh, he didn't sleep up here...?"

"Naw, you know Jake! Always the gentleman, he let you have his bed. Figured you'd want to stay here after everything..." I nodded slowly. My mind was racing but I was still too exhausted to make sense of anything. We both lay there in silence for what seems like a long time, when the door opens slowly.

"Oh hey," Jake says, pulling the door closed behind him, "you're awake!" He walks over to the bed and sits down beside me. He hands me a coffee and a muffin, tossing another muffin over to Aaron.

Jake watches me as I eat, the atmosphere in the room feels heavy, and we all remain silent. After I'm finished eating Jake sighs and finally speaks again: "So, you should probably go talk to your friend."

"I really don't have any desire to see him after what he did..." I began shaking my head, but Jake cuts me off.

"I mean Mattie, I was talking to him on my way back and, look, I don't think he even knew about this whole thing until last night... he seemed really sorry though. He said he'd be in your room."

I sighed and pulled myself up off the bed. "I really hope he didn't... I owe him an apology either way. I owe you one too..."

Jake started laughing, "You don't owe me anything! But, if you really feel bad... you could always, oh I dunno... come out to dinner with me tonight?"

"Umm... sure! I'll meet you here around... 6?" He nodded and opened the door for me.

Only the Left wingers and Centres had the morning off, so the building was almost deserted. I made my way slowly down the stairs, trying to figure out what I was going to say to Mattie. I stopped outside our door and tried to hear if Mattie was alone. After standing there for a few minutes and not hearing anything, I reached out and opened the door.

Mattie was lying on his bed, stairing up at the ceiling. At the sound of the door opening he propped himself up on his elbows and gave me a small smile. I tried to smile back but I felt my face fall into a grimace; he had a fairly noticable bruise on the side of his face. "Oh Mattie," I sighed, I could feel fresh tears forming in my eyes again. He quickly pushed himself off his bed and wrapped me in his arms. "I'm so sorry! I don't know what came over me... I can't believe I did that to you-"

"I know, it's ok. I'm sorry too. I should have known something was going on with Consti..." He pulled me in tighter.

"I had no right to hit you... I'm so sorry!" I couldn't contain myself anymore and I broke down into deep sobs. He started laughing and pulled me down onto the bed beside him. I curled up next to him and we both laid in silence until I had composed myself.

"So... can I tell you what happened? I'm sure Consti will want to talk to you too but, I figure it might be better if you hear it from me right now..." I nodded, burrying my face into his neck as he stroked my hair. "Alright well, I saw you leave and I didn't know where you were going, so I got up to follow. I didn't see you in the hall so I assumed you went into the rec room. When I got in there, Consti and Carrol jumped on me and told me what they'd done. I guess, Consti didn't want you hanging around Jake, so he told Jake that he'd end his hockey career if he didn't stay away from you... When they told me I was so mad that they'd do that to you, but you have to believe that they only have your best interest at heart Carlie, really."

"They have a funny way of showing it..."

He chuckled, playing with some of my hair before talking again. "Consti said that they saw Jake going upstairs and then you following him. I guess, I just was so angry that I decided to go wait for you in our room. I expected you to come back here, not... well, not confront Consti!" He started laughing loudly. "I've never seen you like that before, ever. You're usually the one reigning us in... Anyway, so I headed back here, planning on telling you what was going on... if Jake didn't already. That's when I heared you yelling at Consti. I figured I'd go down there and try to help you guys out... that's when-"

"-when I slapped you in the face... yah. I remember that part." I sighed deeply, trying to figure out what I needed to do to make this right. "Mattie, I will never be able to explain to you how sorry I am... never in a thousand years did I ever think I'd hurt you like that..."

"Well it's not so bad, I'm not mad at you anyway. And hey, now I kinda look tough! Well, as long as no one finds out it's from a girl."

"Mattie, everyone was there... they already know it was me that hit you."

"Oh, oh yah..." He gave a deep sigh, disappointment filling his face, and I couldn't help but laugh at him. He cracked a smile to and we continued to lie on his bed, both of us in our own thoughts.

A knock at the door pulled us back into the present and Mattie shouted "Come in!". A frightened looking Consti made his way into the room, followed by Carrol and Marty. The three of them went over and sat down on Consti's bed, while I held my position, still curled up in Mattie.

After an awkward couple minutes of silence, Consti and Carrol both started apologizing at once. As angry as I was at them, it was hard to stay mad while I was feeling this content beside Mattie, and we both burst out into laughter before Consti and Carrol could finish.

"Ummm... does this mean we're off the hook?" Consti asked, confusion evident on his face.

"Hmmmm..." I sighed, finally pushing myself away from Mattie, who was now laughing into his pillow. "Well, I'm a little mad... and I'm still upset that you guys would do this. But, seeing as how I hauled off and hit Mattie... and he's not angry... I figure I kind of have to let it go."

Both Consti and Carrol gave audible sighs of relief, while Marty just laughed along with Mattie. I figured I could do with a shower so I got up and made my way into the bathroom, giving the Consti and Carrol a quick hug before closing the door behind me.

Mattie's POV

As annoyed as I still was at them, I couldn't stay mad any longer. Carlie didn't hate me, we were fine, and that was really all I cared about.

"So how much did you tell her?" Consti asked, once the sound of water could be heard from the bathroom.

"I told her the truth, about how I found out... and then I lied to her about why you did it."

"Why didn't you just tell her the-" Carrol began, but I stopped him.

"Why didn't I tell her the truth? 'oh hey Carlie, so... guess what?! Consti and Carrol were just trying to make sure no one hit on you because I'm in love with you and I'm too chicken shit to say anything', I'm sure she'd love that!"

"Mattie," Marty began quietly, putting down his cell phone for the first time. "She's in love with you, even if she hasn't realized it yet. Everytime I come into this room she's curled up around you, or sleeping beside you. Anytime I see you guys outside your holding hands or walking with your arm around her... girls don't just hold on to the same guy all the time unless they care about him."

"But you don't know that for sure, and I won't risk ruining everything we have." I groaned and put my hands over my face. I was exhausted, I didn't get any sleep last night; I was too worried about her, and whether or not she hated me.

"So, you're ready to spend the rest of your life wondering what could have happened? She's going to eventually find someone Mattie. At least if you tell her and she says no, you know you tried. That's better then watching her with someone else, and you're stuck thinking she could have been mine. I really don't think you want that man."

I didn't say anything. I glared at Marty and turned my attention back to the ceiling.

"Well, lunch was over like... 5 minutes ago... we gotta get back to training. See you for supper." Carrol sighed, getting up and heading out of the room. Consti followed, waving bye; Marty stopped at the door, looking back at me "Just watch her man, there's no way she doesn't want to be with you... you just gotta get her thinking about it." He closed the door behind me, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

Chapter 7

I hated being separated from my friends all day. Normally it wouldn't bother me, having to play hockey with a bunch of guys that I didn't know; but this was different. Consti had been right about Jake and his new found hatred for me. It wasn't even the fact that he was ignoring me, but the fact that he had somehow managed to turn most of the other centres against me as all.
I tried not to let it bother me, I tried to stay under the radar, but Steckel continued to praise me and Jake continued to hate me.

By the time Thursday came I couldn't be more ready for the week to be over; we were scheduled for Rink C in the morning and then the Cardio gym that evening. Mattie had decided that I needed to get away, and so we were going into town that night to see a movie; we both had Friday morning off. I kept thinking about this and trying to remind myself that I actually had something to look forward to.

The day went by slowly, and at 4 o'clock I headed out of the gym and straight back to the dorm. When I got back into our room I was alone, Mattie must still be on the ice, I thought to myself, a little disappointed. I grabbed a change of clothes and headed into the bathroom, deciding I might as well get ready while I wait for him.
When I came out of the shower I saw Mattie sitting on his bed, waiting for me. "I figure we could go in early and grab something to eat... if you want."

"Sure!" I smiled, anything sounded like a better idea then kicking around here.

We made our way out of the dorms, walking by the rec room as we left. I looked over and saw Jake play pool with some other guys. He looked up at me, looked at Mattie and then back at me; he looked almost sad. I didn't have time to think about it though, before I knew it we were outside and heading towards the sidewalk.

The movie was super lame, but I had a good time. Mattie and I laughed at all the fake explosions and horrible acting, causing us both to tear-up; much to the annoyance of the people around us.
After it was over we made our way back to the dorm slowly, Mattie seemed to want to stay out even more than I did. I thought that was weird, he was having a better time at the camp then I was.

Eventually we reached our room. I went into the bathroom and changed into a par of old ripped sweat pants and a sports bra. I was on my way out when I heard a knock at the door. Mattie was already in his PJs pants, fooling around on his laptop, so I opened the door.
Jake was standing there, looking terrified. "Are you alone?" He almost whispered.

"What is this about?" I said hotly, Jake was the last person I wanted to see right now.

"Shhh... are you alone?" he whispered back more urgently.

"No, Mattie's here... why?" my curiousity getting the best of me. Jake started walking backwards, signaling me to follow. I looked over my shoulder at Mattie who was too ubsorbed in his computer to even notice what I was doing. Sighing, I shut the door behind me and followed after Jake.
Before we reached the rec room he stopped and pulled me close to him. "What do you think you're-" I started to push away but he shushed me again.

"I'm in room 412, alright? Just follow after me in a second." He walked quickly up the stairs, leaving me in the middle of the hallway, totally confused.
I counted till 10 and then followed after him, I walked past the rec room window and looked in. Consti, Carrol and Marty were all sitting on a coach, facing the window. They stopped talking when they saw me. Carrol gave me a smile and waved me in, I mouthed 'One second' to him before heading up the stairs. When I looked back over my shoulder Consti was glaring ahead of me, a look of pure hate on his face.
I was already so confused by the way Jake was now acting that I didn't have the capacity to wonder about anyone else's strange behaviour. I went up two flights of stairs and walked down the hall towards 412.

Before I could knock Jake swung the door open and pulled me in. The room was very messy on one side, and it was also empty; besides us. "Ok... seriously!" I said loudly pulling my arm out of his hand "What the hell is this about?"

Jake sighed, looking at me intently with very sad eyes. "I just wanted to see you..." he said quielty, looking down at the floor. He turned his back on me and sat at the end of the 'clean' bed.

"Oh so, you don't hate me now?"

"Carlie, I didn't hate you, I don't hate you..."

"Then you just what... decided it'd be fun to avoid me all week?"

"I didn't want to. Carlie I really like you and I'm sorry I screwed this up. I feel like such a coward, I was just scared of what -"

"Scared of what people would say, if they found out you liked a girl that plays hockey? WHAT'S THE BIG FREAKIN DEAL ANYWAY?!" I yelled, unable to stay clam any longer. Hot tears began to fall from my eyes as I turned back towards the door. "You know what Jake?! I thought you were a nice guy, and I really liked you... but you're no different then any of them. I just want to play hockey, and I just want someone who likes me regardless of what other people think... I thought that could be you but apparently I was wrong." I reached for the handle but Jake was behind me pulling my hand away from the door.

"Carlie I like you, alot. The only reason I acted the way I did was because your friend said he'd beat the shit out of me if I didn't stop hitting on you. I was a coward, I should have told him to fuck off but I didn't. I'm sorry I hurt you but I swear I didn't want to. I want you..." He finished softly, pulling me into a warm hug. "If you don't believe me, go ask him."
I didn't need to ask who, I already knew, and I already knew where he was. "Wait here..." I said pulling myself out of Jakes embrace and heading out the door.

I marched down stairs and into the rec room. I didn't care that the room was packed, the only thing I saw was the look of defeat cross over Constis' face, and I knew everything Jake told me was the truth.
"How could you?" I spat across the room at him.

"Carlie let's go somewhere else..." Carrol said getting up and starting to walk towards me.

"You knew?!" I fired at him. "You knew what he did and you didn't say anything to me?"

"Carlie I only did it because-"

"I don't give a shit Consti! I don't give a shit why you did it and I don't give a shit what you have to say. You sat there and lied to me! You threatened the guy I like, you lied to me about it and then you sat there and watched me... WATCHED ME CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP!"

Everyone in the room was dead silent. All eyes were bouncing back between Consti and me, but I didn't care. "You have no idea what this week was like for me..." I was so upset I didn't even have the strength to yell anymore. I hung my head and felt the tears flowing again. Someone came up from behind me and put their hand on my shoulder. I turned, expecting to see Jake, but instead I saw Mattie.

"Carlie... are you ok?" he began, concern crossing over his face.

"Did you know?"


"Matthew, did you know about this?" I pointed behind me, over towards Consti and Carrol, my eyes never leaving his. He opened his mouth looking for words; none came, so he closed it. He looked at the floor, then at Consti and Carrol, then finally back at me; where he nodded, tears forming in his eyes.
Before even considering what I was doing I slapped Mattie across the face hard. "You're suppose to be my best friend..." I whispered, covering my face with my hands and sobbing.

"Carlie, Carlie come here..." Jake was there then. He gently grabbed my arm and pulled me past Mattie, out into the hallway. He grasped my hand firmly in his and lead me back up the stairs. I followed him into his room, never looking back once.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chapter 6

When I walked out into the sunshine around 7:45am I saw Mattie, Consti, Carrol and Marty all standing in a group waiting for me. It was an absolutly prefect day out and I was fairly pleased with the weather and my outfit selection. I was wearing an extremely short pair of black spandex shorts, a white CROSBY shirt, and some running sneakers. After giving up on trying to do anything more attractive with my hair, I had opted to pull it back into a long ponytail.

As I approached the circle they were standing in, I caught wind of their conversation. "I'm just freaking out, you know? There's always been pressure but every since we got here... I'm just terrified this is going to end badly. I can't consentrate on anything else, I feel like I'm watching everything slipping away from me..."
Mattie had his back to me, but I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was on the verge of tears. I was surprised that he was this upset. He had never mentioned anything to me about this... Oh, maybe that's what he was trying to tell me last night!

I felt awful. Some friend I was! Mattie was so upset about the tryouts and I hadn't even talked to him about it... why hadn't I realized this sooner? As I reached the group, they all turned around to greet me; I quickly pulled Mattie into a tight embrace. "Don't worry about it Mattie," I said holding him close, "Everythings gonna work out, I promise." As I pulled away he gave me a small smile, I looked around and saw Carrol, Marty and Consti all grinning at each other; obviously they weren't as nervous about today as Mattie was.

"Well, we should get going." Carrol finally said breaking up the silence. "Sucks that we're being separated again though..."

"Pfft!" Consti exclamed throwin his muscular arm around Marty. "Speak for yourself - wimpy forward - us defencemen stick together!" Marty slung his arm around Constis' shoulders too and we all laughed at the looks they recieved, as we headed down to the ampitheater.

"Alright everyone! Alright!" Dean was standing at the podeum trying to get everyone to stop talking; there was alot of energy in the room for 8am. "So as I said last night, today you'll be divided into groups based on your positions. First however, allow me to introduce to you our special guest instructors."

I scanned the room quickly, trying to find Jake through the crowd. I finally found him a few rows ahead of me. He smiled and I waved before turning my attention back to Dean at the podeum.

"Goalies!" Dean roared, getting the full attention of the room. "Let me introduce you to your specialty instructor, from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mike McKenna."

"Holy shit!" Consti half jumped out of his seat as the room errupted with applause and Mike McKenna took to the stage. "You mean the speicalty instructors are NHL players?!"

"Right Wings, say hello to Boston Bruins' Blake Wheeler!"

"SHUT UP!" Carrol jumped out his seat, "Chillin with Wheeler?! Yah right!"

"Left Wings, give a warm welcome to Erik Cole of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Defence, let's hear it for the Pittsburgh Penguins own Hal Gill!"

That was it for me, I couldn't care less that I wasn't a defencemen... Hal Gill?! Here! I jumped up and down screaming at the top of my lungs, until Marty pulled me back down into my seat, laughing. "Wishing you were coming with me today I take it?"

"OH MY GOD I HATE YOU!" I shouted slapping his arm, "Ugh! A Penguin?! So not fair!"

As Dean went to announce the name of the centre instructure I couldn't help but pray in my head; Crosby, Crosby, Crosby... I don't care that he's Canadian.... Please be Crosby! As if reading my mind Mattie whispered in my ear "You know Crosby's probably not gonna be here right?"

I gave him my best puppy dog face and he laughed, "If it was up to me I would buy him for you." I giggled and turned back to Dean who was still laughing with Hal about the commotion his appereance had caused in the camp.

"Don't worry centers, I haven't forgotten about you! Meet your instructor for the week, from the Washington Capitals', David Steckel. " Steckel took the stage and gave the crowd a warm smile.

"Hmmmm..." I said leaning back in mock contemplation, "Yes... that'll do nicely!" I concluded, nodding. Mattie, Consti and Marty all burst into laughter.

"Let me tell you each where you'll be heading, and then our NHL guests and their world junior assistants will meet you there and hand out your schedules for the rest of the week. You're time will be divided between the rinks, the weight gym, the cardio gym and some free time." Dean announced over the speakers, drawing the crowds attention once again. "Goalies, to Rink A. Defence to Rink B. Right Wings to Rink C. Centers to the weight gym and then finally Left Wings to the cardio gym."

Most people got up right away, streaming out of the doors anxious to begin; my friends and I however, stayed seated. "UGH! Cardio gym for the loss." Mattie sighed.

"Pretty sweet about time off though? Maybe we'll get some nights off together." Carrol suggested. With that we all got up and made our way back outside. Marty, Consti and Carrol all made their ways over to the Rinks and Mattie and I headed towards to gym.
Once we got inside Mattie sighed and waved goodbye to me as he started towards the cardio room. I laughed at his complete disappointment as I headed up the stairs with the other centers.
When we reached the weight room one of the assistant trainers called us over to the open floor and told us to take a seat on the floor. Steckel came in with a clipboard and began the roll call, when he called Jakes name I looked over towards where his voice had come from, to find him already looking in my direction.

"... Simone, Carlie..." Steckel stopped, taking special care to look directly at me when he called my name.

"Here." I smiled and waved my hand a bit, trying to ignore the fact that everyone in the room was watching my closely.

"Nice to meet you finally, I've heared alot about you." He smiled and continued with the roll call. Oh, that's just great! I sighed to myself, so much for trying to blend in.
Once Steckel was done checking off names he instructed us all to spend ten minutes stretching and announced that after lunch we would be heading to Rink A.

"The way this is going to work," Steckel started "is that we will be spending the morning - from 9-12 - in our designated area, taking a one hour lunch break and then moving onto our next area from 1-4. For those of you who are real go getters, I'll be willing to spend extra time from 4-6 working them with and answering questions. So, continue with your warm-up and we'll start our transit on the machines."

I made my way over to an empty area and started warming up. I sat down on the floor, went into a sideways split, grabbed my sneakers and leaned forward; becoming completly flat against the floor. "Well, now that's impressive I must say," Jake laughed coming up behind me. He plopped down infront of me and began to do the same exercise; not stretching quiet as much as me. We both looked up at each other and laughed. "Yah... doesn't really look the same."

We finished strectching just in time to see Steckle take to the middle of the room again. He began to go over his own personal workout routines and we spent the next couple hours working hard to gain his approval. I was on the leg press when he came over to talk to me.
"I'm really impressed, you're pressing twice your body weight... I didn't think you'd be able to do that."

"Yah well, most of my strength is in my legs so don't get to excited for the upperbody." We both chuckled. "Okay... I'm sorry" I said getting off the machine, "but I need to know... what's he like?" I asked trying to keep the excitement out of my voice.

"Umm, what's who like?" Steckel asked, looking confused.

"Alex Ovechkin!" I said, unable to hide my excitement this time.

"Of course, I should have known! All the ladies wanna know about Ovie." He laughed, shaking his head. "Wait a sec... aren't you from the Burgh?"

I started to blush, "Shhhh..." I said pushing my finger against my lips, "don't tell anyone about my dirty secret!"

"It's safe with me, well... he's a goofball, a little crazy and loud sometimes but he's a good guy. Hell of a hockey player too."

"Prefers blondes though doesn't he?"

"Apparently, yah... there's a first for everything though." He said unable to contain his smile.

"I won't give up just yet then!" I laughed at him over my shoulder before running down the steps to lunch.

When I got back to the room Mattie had some pizza pockets in the microwave for me. "How was your morning?" I asked taking my plate out.

"Alright, I'm more excited to just get on the ice again though."

"Yah I know, same here... how was Cole?"

"He seems pretty cool, just watched us run really, it'll be sweet to say that I got to skate with him though!" Mattie laughed

"Yah, Steckel seems pretty cool too... GOD I can't wait to skate!" I exclaimed finishing off my pizza pocket.

"Hey, wanna head over early? Get some skating in?"

"Sounds sweet!" I shouted, grabbing my skate bag and ran out the door. I was almost outside when Mattie caught up to me, he was laughing. I slowed down so we could walk the rest of the way but he blasted past me out the door. "Oh it's on now!" I yelled, taking off again.

We ran right past Jake and a group of his friends. He looked like he had something to say but I just continued to run and flashed him a smile over my shoulder.
By the time we reached the gym I was a full 30 seconds ahead of Mattie. I stopped inside the doors and laughed at his how out of breath he was. "Someone needs to lay off the junk food!" I giggled poking him in his rockhard stomach; pretending my finger was getting sucked in.

"Kids a freak!" he said bending over "Fastest kid in the world... fastest kid in the world!" He laughed quoting my favorite scene in Superbad.

We both went into the dressing room and laced up our skates. I was suppose to be heading to Rink A for 1 o'clock and Mattie was suppose to be meeting the other Left Wings on Rink B. We checked the schedule on the wall and decided to spend the next 30 minutes on Rink C, which was free all night.

We had been goofing around for about twenty minutes; pushing each other and chasing each other around the rink, when I felt someone watching us. I was pretending to be a speed skater, pushing myself as fast as I could around the rink, leaving Mattie unable to keep up; when I circled back around to face the window's overlooking the rink I saw a group of people watching us.
"Looks like we got a fanclub, or should I say... the sexy lady in the spandex has a fan club" Mattie laughed from the otherside of the rink, obviously he had noticed too. Two men were standing on the far left of the windows and there was four other people - three men and one woman - watching me. When I got close enough to the two men I recognized Dean and one of the 'centre' training staff smiling down at me. They looked extatic as they talked to each other quickly, pointing all over the ice and moving their hands quickly; that seemed like a good sign. My curiousity carried me at a slow speed over towards the other set of windows, but the people were too far away for me to make them out.
I headed back towards Mattie and he suggested we head to the right rinks. I waddled in my skates across the hall to Rink A and saw that some of the centers were already on the ice. I opened the rink door and started walking down towards the ice surface when someone yelled my name.
"Carlie!" I turned to see Dean standing by the rink with the same trainer from before and a man in a suit. "Carlie come down here, there's someone I want you to meet."
I continued down to the ice and made my way over to Dean, Jake waved at me from the blueline; I smiled back.
"Carlie, Mario... Mario, Carlie." He said simply. The man in the suit held out his hand and I shook it, still paying more attention to Jake than the man that had my hand.

"You're fast!" He laughed, "I thought Sid was fast but, I don't think he could even catch you..."

"I'd pay to see that race though. It'd do him good to loose to someone... it doesn't happen to often." A woman laughed, coming up to put her arms around the man infront of me. This sudden new addition caused me to move my wandering eyes from Jake back to Dean and his companions.

"HOLY CROW!" I yelled covering my mouth and jumping backwards. "You're Mario Lemieux!!"

Mario and his wife both laughed. They were two of the people that had been watching me before. My yell had gotten some attention though and the two other men that had been watching me skate appeared beside Mario. Hal Gill and...

"Hi, I'm Sidney." He said simply, extending his hand. I just stared at it, my hands still infront of my mouth. After what seemed like forever, I still hadn't moved a muscle. Mario, his wife, Dean and Hal all started to chuckle; Sidney blushed and pulled his hand back, looking uncomfortable.

"Ummm," I said slowly walking backwards. "I should... go... I love you!" I yelled before jumping out onto the ice and speeding towards the rest of my class.

My appearance caused everyone to turn around, and someone yelled "Is that Sidney Crosby?!" I turned bright red as everyone turned to look over at Sidney and Mario. Jake looked at my flush cheeks confused. I skated up beside him.

"I just told him that I loved him..." I sighed covering my face with my hands. Jake and the guys around him laughed loudly.

Steckel took the ice and talked to us about what it was like to play at a high level of hockey and started going over plays on a board that had been brought onto the ice. While he was talking the assistant trainers were setting up pilons on the ice, and they brought out a bucket of pucks and a net, complete with a goalie. Everyone was given a stick and we were told to line up. in two teams. We were suppose to go through the pilons as fat as we could and shoot the puck. Each person had to go 5 times we would see what team could finish first.

I was at the start of the line, Jake was very close behind me. "Good luck Carlie." He whispered in my ear, sending chills up my spin. God, why am I still wearing spandex shorts? I sighed, I was shaking from cold and Jake wasn't helping at all. Then I looked up and saw Sidney and company watching from behind the net. OH NO! Oh no... I'm wearing a shirt that says CROSBY on the back... He probably thinks I'm the biggest dork ever...

Steckel blew the whistle and I shot off. I flew through the pilons easily, took my first shot on the goalie, scored and was on my way back through the pilons before my opponent had even gotten through the pilons the first time. I was the fastest person by ALOT and I knew it. Not only was no one able to touch me in speed, but besides me, Jake was the only other person who had scored everytime. My final shot on net, I put it up in the 5 hole and glanced up in time to see Sidney smiling at me and clapping. That's it... I'm gonna puke! I thought as I rushed back.

The rest of the night went just as good. I was feeling sooo good about making the team, I felt like a shoe-in. I opted to keep skating once 4 o'clock came, Jake and his friends stayed too. "Looks like we'll be going to Russia together" he winked at me as I did a few laps around.

"I gotta make the team first!" I laughed back, as he feel into stride behind me. I returned to the center of the ice and Steckel asked if anyone wanted to do a shootout. We all agreed and then someone came up behind me.

"Can I play too?" Sidney Crosby said, coming up to stop beside me.

Steckel laughed "Fine, don't show off too much though! You don't wanna hurt anyone's ego." We all laughed and started our game.

Sidney and I were playing against each other more than anyone else. When I had seen him off the ice I had felt awkward and scared, but now that we were skating around together I felt confident, comfortable. I was able to laugh at his jokes and poke fun at him. The shootout came down to me and Sidney, he ended up winning of course, but I was super stocked that I had beaten everyone else.

We all left the ice and I headed back to the change room to take off my skates. Sidney followed. "So, you're pretty great, you know that?"

"So I've been told." I laughed, now that we were off the ice I was starting to get nervous again. After a few minutes of silence I decided that I should say something... but what does one say to Sidney Crosby? "So... you going to be hanging around for the week?" I asked.

"No, we're leaving tonight. I just came by the visit Hal with Mario. Well, and to see you of course!"

This floored me. "Me?" I asked looking up at him. "Why would you want to see me?"

"First girl ever invited to try out for the World Juniors? That's big stuff, wanted to see what all the hype was about."

"Oh! And did I live up to it?"

He pretended to think hard about this "Well," he said bringing his beautiful caramel eyes down to meet mine "I'd say... yes!" He decided finally.

"That's good to know!" I laughed, pretending to whipe sweat off my forhead. "Now that that's settled I have nothing left to worry about!"

We both laughed and headed down to the doors. "Hey!" he exclaimed suddenly "You wanna come grab something to eat with us?" He had just spotted Mario outside, waiting for him by the car.

"Thank but, I really shouldn't. Mattie's probably wondering where I am."

"Oh... well some other time then. I guess I'll see you around... good luck Carlie! Not that you'll need it." He said shaking my hand goodbye.

I headed back over to the dorms. Once I got inside I saw Jake, I gave him a smile that he didn't return, after this Consti got up from the seat beside him and headed over to me. We walked back to our room together.

"That was weird, Jake didn't say hi or anything." I said, unable to hide my disappointment.

"I'd not think too much of it... let's just say from what I can tell, he doesn't like the fact that you're a better hockey player then him."

"What?!" I exclaimed

"He was talking about your training session today. He seems pretty sour about it."

"But I didn't try to... I didn't want to..."

"Don't worry about it Carlie, the guys just use to being top shit."

Consti opened the door for me and I fell down on the bed beside Mattie exhausted.

"So basically..." I began after all three of us were in bed, Mattie getting comfortable next to me. "I'll never be able to have a guy wanna date me, unless I let him beat me in hockey."

"What's this about?!" Mattie said sitting up and looking at me.

"No!" Consti shot back "What I'm saying is you won't be able to date a dickhead unless you let him beat you in hockey."

We all went quiet for a bit. "Should have known... who wants to date the hockey girl right?"

"I can think of a few people." Consti mumbled. He seemed pissed and I couldn't place it. I decided he might just be tired. I let out a disappointed sigh.

Mattie turned on his side and I could feel him breathing on the back of my neck. Fighting off unexplainable tears I turned into him and wrapped my arms around his neck. He never tried to stop the tears or talk to me, he just held me, and at some point wrapped around him I feel asleep.