Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chapter 21

Geno had obeyed me; at least, I believed he had. I hadn't seen him or heard from him since the night I sent the text to him, signalling the end of our communication.
He hadn't tried to come and see me, even though he knew where I was. Part of me was glad for that, but part of me was sad too... that part I tried to ignore.

Life continued on much as it did at the try-outs. We ate, slept and played hockey; returning to our rooms exhausted at night.
Mattie and I had had sex every night since our reconciliation; although I was mentally and physically exhausted, I had no conscious to tell him no - not after he had let me off the hook so easily.
It seemed like things were back to normal for us; after all only Consti had ever known about my betrayal, and luckily for me he wasn't one to gossip.
Mattie carried on as if nothing had ever happened. He played his part well, skilfully almost; the loving, dutiful boyfriend - but there was something else underneath the surface. I couldn't be sure if it was mistrust, sadness, jealousy or disgust; but at times when his eyes lingered on me I could see something else pooling behind his eyes.

Aaron, Jake and I had been swimming; enjoying one of our precious moments of freedom before the games officially started tomorrow. We were heading through the lobby, on our way back to our floor when I saw them...
Mattie and Geno.

Mattie had his back to me, but Geno's eyes found mine automatically. His eyes stared deep into me, even from across the room his eyes were so intense that I had to look away. I looked back up in time to see Geno give Mattie a pat on the shoulder before turning and leave out the front doors.
Mattie turned around, the emotion now present on his face was unrecognizable; he looked up and saw me. He gave me a weak smile and headed towards me. "Umm... guys, I'm gonna go talk to Mattie, I'll see you in a bit..." They nodded goodbyes and headed up towards the elevator.
I made a b-line for Mattie; taking his hand in mine and dragging him towards the stairs. “So… what was that about?”

Mattie’s POV

“Ah… I’m assuming you mean my talk with Evgeni?” I asked, already knowing the answer, as I walked beside her up the stairs.

“Yah… I hope he wasn’t being… rude or anything…”

“No, actually, the opposite.” I sighed, figuring she’d find out about it sooner or later. “See… we had this run in the other day… and kind of went at it a bit-”

“Oh Mattie! I hope he didn’t hurt you or-” She cut me off; but I continued on above her.

“No, nothing like that, just words. Apparently after he calmed down a bit he felt like a jerk and decided he needed to explain himself.” We walked up the last two flights in silence; I could tell she wanted to ask me what he said but, luckily she didn’t push me.
Even though I wasn’t being forced to repeat it out loud, I couldn’t stop replaying it in my head:

He had marched through the front doors and intercepted me as I was making my way out of the dinning hall.
“Hey! You, me, talk.” He signalled with his hands as he spoke; pointing to each one of us in turn.
Great, he’s going to kill me…“My English not so long…”

“You’re kidding? I never noticed…” I replied, my voice dripping with sarcasm.


“Never mind, what do you want?”

He looked confused and uncomfortable. He was wearing a suit and tie; the latter he kept fiddling with, like it was on too tight or he wasn’t use to it. He looked around like he was trying to avoid a scene, but he eventually decided the lobby was private enough; before he took a step towards me. “I sorry about… ah… last day… I not good to say this things to you.”

“Are you gonna apologise for kissing my girlfriend too?”

“No.” I glared at him incredulously, he shrugged in response, like it was no big deal. “I love Carlie. I not say sorry for this. Maybe… it not good time but, I not sorry.”

I cocked my head to the side and watched him for a minute. Hell, at least he’s honest. “Well, don’t kiss her again…” I threatened half-heartedly,
God, why the hell does he have to be so frigging big!

“I no kiss until she say ok.” He nodded, giving me a crooked grin. “You good kid, I don’t like you to be bad relationship but… I like to win girl.” I couldn’t help but smile at this. Maybe it was because he was bigger than the Jolly Green Giant, or maybe it was because he actually seemed to be a nice guy; whatever it was I found my anger starting evaporate. Great, so he’s famous, rich and nice… fuck me.

We stood there awkwardly for a few minutes before his eyes caught something behind me. “She here now, I go.” He patted my shoulder before he turned and walked out the way he came.

Carlie had changed her mind about going out to the bar, again; for the tenth time that day. I could tell she wanted to, but she felt too guilty about what had happened; like staying in one night would make me forget about it.
I left with Consti, telling myself that my absence would allow her the privacy she so desperately needed; that and I wasn’t gonna watch SAW again - movie creeped me out. At least that's what I had told her, but guilty as it made me feel, I knew I needed to get out for a bit; clear my head.

I wasn’t sure what I was feeling anymore; so I drank, a lot. I played some millennium with Consti, followed by a few rounds of ‘I never’. Pretty soon I was drunk enough that dancing seemed like a good idea, and I spent a long time trying to perfect the moon-walk; which would have been hard enough sober.
After giving up on that I joined Consti and some girls at the bar for a few porn-stars.
My face felt flushed and I could tell by the amount of weight I needed to keep on the bar that I was tanked. I looked around for the exit when my eyes fell upon an unwelcome sight. Evgeni Malkin and friends were sitting up in the VIP lounge, again. Shit, don’t you guys ever go home? I thought as I looked away quickly.

Why did he have to be here? Out of every bar in the whole Russia… place… he had to come to this one! I turned back around and glared at him. Look at him, with all those slutty bimbos all over him. Any one of them would take him home but nooo, he has to like my girlfriend, MY girlfriend.
Fuck, they’re all pretty too.
I took a peek around the VIP, every girl looked like she belonged on the cover of a magazine. Are you kidding me? No wonder Carlie likes him… she’d probably be better off with him anyway I mean, what the hell do I have to offer that he doesn’t.
I play hockey… oh right, he’s way fucking better than I’ll ever be.
I have money… oh right, right, he’s a millionaire… why not!
Look wise… well, the only girl that ever liked me… made out with him and now he’s got girls all over him… fuck my life.

I grabbed a bottle of something off the bar and kicked it back, letting the burning liquid take my mind away from my inadequacies as it forced it’s way down my throat.
I slammed it back down on the bar once it was empty and shoved myself off the bar stool, knocking in to someone.
“Oh! Are you ok?” The girl grabbed me and pushed me back onto the stool. Her accent was thick.

“Where are you from?” I slurred at her. “You got a accent…”

“Umm, I’m from Russia…” She replied, giggling. Of course she was… wow I’m stupid.

“Oh… that’s good.” I replied, not too sure if she could even hear me. She was a pretty girl, maybe. I couldn’t see her too well but she was pretty stacked and they were about to pop out at me…

“So you play for Team America?” She giggled, pushing a finger underneath my chin and pulling my face up.


“You play hockey?”

“I guess so…” I looked around the bar, trying to remember who I’d come here with.

“You loose your friends?” She asked, this time moving closer to me; until the girls were squished against my chest.

“Uh… I don’t know who I was here with.” I answered honestly, starting to not care about anything but the set of tits in front of me. Hmm… I’m suppose to be thinking about… something else right now. I started to get a bad feeling in my gut; causing me to move away from the girl in front of me.
How the hell did I even get here? I looked back down at her tiny red shirt again; Ok, need to stop doing that probably, I shouldn’t have drank so much… think Mattie, where were you going…

She pushed herself up against me again, this time placing her cool hands on each cheek and pulling me closer. Her lips pressed up against mine; all I could taste was the assortment of liquor I had consumed that night.
I wrapped my arms around her waste and pulled her closer, forcing my tongue inside her mouth.
On their own accord my hands started to wander, one moving down towards her ample ass, the other moving north to the tiny shirt she was wearing.
One part of my mind was saying something about a public place, the other was screaming something about a pretty brunette that was waiting for me… somewhere… but those thoughts were pushed aside as I felt a hand begin to slide under my waistband.

Gigantic hands landed on my shoulders and pulled me away from the warmth of her body. I tried to shove them off but they tugged on me more viciously; spinning me around until I face-to-chest with a huge guy. I looked up to see a glare firing back down at me. “No.” Was all he said before he grabbed my upper arm and lead me away from the boobs.

“What the fuck man?” I slurred as I tripped over my feet.

“I say no. She do this to you but you not hurt her, I say no.” He lead me to the door and dragged me out into the freezing night air; dumping me on a nearby bench. “I no care if she hurt you. You move on or go away. You don’t come here and do this, I won’t let you.” He was furious, pacing back and forth in front of me, every now and then, running his hands over his hair.
I slumped over, allowing the breeze to wake me up a bit as I watched him. I don’t like this guy… I thought as he marched back and forth, muttering to himself in gibberish. He took me away from that girl… that’s not why though… I shrugged my shoulders and closed my eyes, oh well.

When I opened my eyes everything was upside down and I was bouncing uncomfortably. I lifted my head up and tried to get my bearings, but was unsuccessful; allowing myself to flop back down.
I loud bang and a girl voice signalled into my unconscious, telling me something needed my attention; but sleep was calling louder.
I felt my body shifting until something soft landed under my back. Soft muttering was coming from everywhere around me but I was too tried to try and understand it.
Opting instead to drift off to sleep.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chapter 20

“So… do you want to talk about it?” I asked Mattie once we were back in our room for the night. We were both stretched out on the same bed, my head was cradled in shoulder. My breathing was shallow as I waited for a response, completely unsure of what I wanted his answer to be.

“If you want to…” He half-sighed, I didn‘t need to see his face to picture the spasm of pain I knew was passing across it. I could tell that Mattie wanted to know everything, but at the same time he was too scared to ask me directly. I wanted to lie to him, protect him; the way I should have protected him last night.

“Well, why don’t you tell me what you know, and I’ll fill in the blanks… I mean, how did you find out I knew him?” I asked quietly. I waited patiently for him to answer, rolling over until my face was squished into his side; he tightened his grip on me. The harder he squeezed me, the worse I felt; it was like he was trying to hold me together, without understanding that I was falling apart on the inside.

He cleared his throat and began to play with my hair. “I knew back at training camp. When I went to pack, I found the card that he sent you.” I inhaled sharply; he’d known the whole time. He paused for a moment, and I could feel him inhaling deeply; when he spoke next, his voice was husky “Carlie, why didn’t you just tell me?”

I wanted to cry, but that wasn‘t fair, this was my fault and I needed to deal with it head on. I pulled myself up and sat beside him; pulling my legs up against my chest at a feeble attempt to hold myself together. “It never mattered… he was just someone from my past. At the time whenever I was ’dating’ him - if that’s what you want to call it - he wasn’t important to me.” Mattie nodded along with my words and gave me a small smile when I looked over at him. “Mattie…” I let go of my legs and crawled towards him, “I love you. I- I just… I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you about him. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you when he sent the flowers. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that he was going to be here…”

“That’s a lot of ’sorry’s” he chuckled, at me, pulling me back down beside him. We lied in silence for a while, his lips occasionally grazing the top of my head. Without warning my tears began to flow; falling carelessly onto his sleeve, as my world fell down around me.
The crushing realization of what I had to do next, made me feel like the floor was falling out from underneath me. I clutched to Mattie as tightly as I could, reeling in his scent, his touch; tricking myself into believe that everything was ok.

I took one last bitter-sweet breath before I pulled myself away from him - if he never holds me again after this, will that be enough? “I’m not done yet.” I said as I sat up. I placed my feet firmly on the floor and gripped the side of the bed as the walls crashed in around me.
He sat up too, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me closer to him; against the ache in my chest, I pushed him away, moving off the bed to face him. “Mattie-”

“Carlie, don’t.” He cut my off, tears forming in his eyes. I dropped down onto my knees in front of him as I felt my knees buckle; he already knew, I could tell by the sadness in his eyes and the pain on his face. I didn’t need to say it, but I wanted to… he was too good for me. Mattie wasn’t just my team-mate, he wasn’t just my boyfriend; Mattie was everything.
The ache burned down my throat and into my chest while I clutched at my stomach; feeling the pain of self-destruction creep through me. Subconsciously, I began to rock slightly; as my body tried to fight of the nauseating hopelessness that was threatening to tear me apart - from the inside out.

“Mattie, I cheated on you.” I sobbed quickly; trying to get the words out fast, hoping the speed would make it less painful for the both of us.
If I had ever questioned my feelings before, I was sure of them now. Sitting on the floor completely vulnerable, allowing myself to feel every wonderful, horrible emotion wake up inside me; only served to prove that I was in the right place.

Mattie was always where I belonged. Maybe it had taken me my entire life to see that, but there could be no doubt now.
I had left Geno. I had left Geno and move on without feeling the pain of loss; because I had never truly lost anything. Yes, I loved Geno; there could be no question about that - but to love someone and to be in love are two very different things. I loved Geno, but that was nothing compared to the boy who cried in front of me.
I knew that I loved Mattie, I knew it now in every distant core of my being. I was sure that somehow I had always known this; but on the brink of loss those emotions were ten-fold.
I had moved on from Geno, moved on without a thought backwards - moved on without loosing myself. That wouldn’t happen this time.
There would be no recovery from this; you can’t loosing everything and be ok - you can’t make something from nothing.

I put my hands back down in my face and I sat there unmoving, unable to look up again.
I had no idea how much time had passed, but somehow it was too much and not enough at the same time.

“Carlie…” Mattie said quietly, reaching down and putting his hands under my chin, forcing me to look up. “Tell me what happened… I wanna know- I need to know how it happened…”
I shook my head, that was the last thing we needed; details about my betrayal, details about the end of the world. “Please.” He begged, pushing himself off the bed and kneeling down in front of me on the floor. He pulled me closer to him, his hands gently cradling my face as his eyes pleaded with me through their tears.

I couldn‘t wrench my eyes away from him as the words fell out in a jumble of repugnance on my lips. “You were passed out. Max Talbot came to the door, I thought he just wanted to talk about him… I followed him around the corner but he was gone and that’s what I saw him.” I couldn’t bring myself to say Geno’s name; like mumbling the name of a nom de plume in the presence of true salvation. I stopped talking and looked him in the eye, he nodded for me to continue. “He kissed me… and I didn’t stop it.” I spat, unable to meet his gaze any longer; I felt dirty, repulsive.

“He kissed you?” He emphasized the words carefully. I watched his mouth form each sound; I would never feel his lips again.

“You’re not listening to me Mattie, I didn’t stop him.” I was defeated, I fell backwards, by back landing against the other bed. I pulled my legs back against me and pressed my face into my knees.

“But you were here with me. You didn’t go looking for him?”

“Mattie-“ I mumbled, not looking up.

“Did you go and look for him, or did he come here?“

“Max came here.“ We had already been over this, why was he making this so hard? Nothing I don’t deserve, I had hurt the greatest person in my life; I deserved to feel this pain again.

“Did you go out there to kiss him, or did he kiss you?“

“He kissed me but I didn’t stop-“

“He kissed you, but you came back here.” This wasn’t directed at me. I pulled my face up and watched as Mattie nodded to himself. I bit my lip, waiting for him to finally get mad, finally lash out at me, finally tell me that he hated me; all the things I deserved.

I sat compliant while I wanted for the rage to build up inside of him; unexpectedly he stood up and took a seat back on the bed. “Carlie, come up here.” He held out his hands to me and I took them selfishly, allowing my body to ignore what my mind knew was coming. I sat down on the bed; a foot away from him. He rolled his eyes and slid towards me. “Did you mean what you said?” He whispered, as he nuzzled his face into my neck. “Are you gonna keep your promise?” I wanted him to get it over with, end the pain that was spreading through my body like novocaine.

“Yes.” I answered simply, honestly. I was unbelievably calm as I sat in the eye of the storm.

“As long as you promise to stay away from him… no. Not even then…” I nodded, not looking up, allowing Mattie to begin his flare-up.

“Carlie I love you. I’m so pissed right now that… I couldn’t even explain it to you but… I need you. No matter what you’ve done I can’t change the way that I feel. I could beg you to stay away from him but, why?” I dared to look up, meeting his eyes; this wasn’t a ploy or an attempt to trick me into more pain - he was being honest. “I’m going to be miserable for a little while until I deal with this but, that’s a little while. If I didn’t have you I’d just be miserable… I don’t ever want to be without you…” His last confession came out nothing more than a sob. He balled the shoulders’ of my shirt in his hands and pulled me towards him.

My mind kept trying to convince me that my life was over; no matter what he did now it was in pay back for the pain I had caused - I obliged anyway.
I could taste the salt of our mingled tears as my lips found his and his grip moved to my hair and back. He crushed me to him with enough force to make me gasp out in pain; it never diminished my animalistic need for him.

We made love out of pure desperation; I never paused to consider the implications or backlash of my actions - my need was driven by more than rational thought.
When it was over I allowed my body to clam down, twisting it every now and again to feel the bruises I knew would be formed clearly by morning. Not out of character, Mattie fell asleep before me; and I grabbed for my phone - setting the alarm.

I had 7 missed calls from Geno. I punched in his number and sent off a text. Last night was a mistake. Don’t call me again.
It didn’t matter anymore if Mattie would leave me in the morning; I would rather be alone than with the one I hurt him for.

**A special thanks to Jay; without whom, this post never would have gotten finished =D***

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chapter 19

Luckily, Mattie was still passed out when I woke up at 6; saving me from having to explain to him why I was in another bed. I couldn’t even consider the fact that I had ‘slept’ at all, my mind and body were exhausted.
I stood under the shower head, unmoving, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Obviously, I knew that what was wrong with me had to do with Mattie and Geno… but I wasn’t sure how it was effecting me.
After washing my hair and focusing on my mood I decided that I was guilty, sad, and something else… but I wasn’t sure what. I was guilty because I had cheated on Mattie, and guilty because I had hurt Geno more deeply than I thought possible. I was sad because I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be with anymore. I tried to think back to the night I found out Mattie actually loved me, tried to remember the feeling of it, tried to remind myself that I loved him; but I couldn’t remember anything beyond the power of Geno’s kiss.

I sighed and shut off the water, wrapping my hair in a towel and putting on a pair of jeans and my Team USA t-shirt; my traditional #14 on the back. After finishing my hair and putting on some make-up I was ready to go. I walked out into the room at 6:45 and laughed at Mattie, still fast asleep. I tried to wake him up but it was impossible.
At 5 to 7 I headed down to the lobby. There ended being only 14 people on the bus; myself, Jake, Aaron, Consti, Rennie and a few others.
Dean was not impressed but he let it slide, figuring it would be better for him to let it go.

“So…” Consti said from the seat next to me as the bus took off from the hotel. “You gonna tell me what that was about last night?”

“What are you talking about?”

“About superstar checkin you out all night and shootin the death glare at Mattie…”

“Umm… I’m not sure what you mean, I didn’t notice any check-outs or death glares.”

“Huh… fine then. Don’t tell me.” He relaxed in his seat and shut his eyes, pretending to be uninterested. I watched him for a few seconds before I said anything.

“Fine! Alright, I met Evgeni before… a while ago at the Igloo… we went on a couple dates. Nothing happened though… it’s not a big deal.”

“Wait!” He bolted upright and turned to face me. “Who?”

“Evgeni Malkin… back that day we got to skate at the Igloo for that hockey practice… I met him and he asked me out.”

“Ah… wow. Alright, well I wasn’t talking about Malkin…”

“What, who were you-”

“Hey guys!” Rennie’s head popped up over the seat in front of us, halting our conversation. “Are you excited for this?”

“Ah yah…” I gave Consti a look, indenting to mean ’we’ll talk about this after’, he nodded and fell silent.

Our scavenger hunt was based on photos, as Dean explained. We were divided into two teams (7 people on each) and we’re each given a camera. On this camera we had to take random pictures.

Picture of someone (or multiple people) with:
1. The Moscow River
2. A Chagall sculptor (@ Tretyakov gallery)
3. Moscow Metro
4. The Armoury (Oruzheynaya Plaza)
5. The Moscow Kremlin
6. The ‘Red Square’
7. (In) the Novodevichy Cemetary
8. St. Basil’s Cathedral
9. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
10. Pushkin Square
11. Sanduny Banya
12. Dorogomilovsky Market

Afterwards we had to run back to the arena and give the camera back to Dean. We had 4 hours.

The next 3 and a half hours were spent yelling, running, laughing and pushing each other around Russia. Unable to read any Russian at all, or speak for that matter, we opted to run around aimlessly; searching for anything that looked like a good picture.

“Ummm… k… we’re looking for… Pushkin Square. What does that sign say there?” Rennie yelled at one of the O‘Shea twins.

“Ah… I’m going with… square, triangle-ly thing, a weird ‘A’ and… a smiley face, without any eyes… that make any sense?”

“Sure does!” Consti fired across the square, “idiot…” he added under his breath.

“Let’s just take another picture and get back… it’s starting to get freezing!” I shouted, huddling up beside Consti.

“Yah, let’s get out of here!” Aaron shouted, running by and slapping Jake in the back of the head. All the guys took off running back towards the hotel; while Consti and I followed behind slowly.

“So… anything you want to tell me? You’ve been off all day.” He started, his eyes watching the road in front of him as we walked.

“What do you mean?”

“You just seem like you’ve got a lot on your mind…” I sighed, and he left it at that, allowing me to collect my thoughts.

“Can I tell you something? Off the record?” He nodded, still not looking at me. “I cheated on Mattie last night.” I watched for a reaction that never came. After a time, his silence became defining. “… do you have anything to say to that?”

“What do I say?” He shook his head and smiled at me, “Carlie, look at me, am I really the person to pass judgement on you for sleeping with someone else? Do you have any idea how many times I’ve cheated?”

“Woah! I didn’t sleep with him… I let him kiss me… but, God Consti. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“Do you love Mattie?” I nodded. “Do you love Geno?” I nodded again. “Well, tap ‘em both then.”


“What! Geno obviously knows about Mattie right?”

“Yes but-”

“And Mattie has no idea at all…”

“Yes but-”

“Well, I’m sure judging by the fact that he kissed you last night, he’d be willing. Wouldn’t he?”

“Yes, probably! But-”

“But nothing! That’s what I’d do!” He shrugged without emotion and gave me a smile, thinking he’d solve all my problems.
“I don’t want to cheat on Mattie… and I don’t want to break up with him… but I can’t stop thinking about Geno… shit this is messed up. Do you know what I am now Consti?! I’m one of THOSE girls. The girls that cheat on nice guys… pretty soon I’m gonna start saying ’like’ and ’hot’ all the time.” I let out a sigh and came to a stop outside of the hotel.

“All I know Carlie, is that if you don’t wanna cheat on Mattie, then you either need to break-up with him or stay away from Geno.” I couldn’t imagine what breaking-up with Mattie would do to me, or worst or all, what it would do to him. It was painful to even think about it; it was painful to think about staying away from Geno too though.

Consti held the door open for me as we made our way into the hotel, heading further into the main lobby to find where everyone was. We say everyone, even the ones still recuperating from last night, gathered over on some couches. I headed over and took my seat beside Mattie.

“Sorry about last night.” He said pulling me close to him. “I didn’t mean to get that drunk.”

“Don’t worry about it… at least Consti was there to carry you home.” I laughed, resting my head on his shoulder.

“Carlie…” He whispered in my ear, as Dean started asking us about our day. “I need to ask you to do something, and I don’t want you to get angry… alright?”

“Sure Mattie… what is it?” I pulled my head off his shoulder so I could look him in the eye.

He looked at me and then down at the ground. My heart started beating faster as I waited for him to continue. “I want you to stay away from him. For me.” He never looked back at me, instead turning his attention to a loose thread on the couch. I thought about playing stupid, pretending I didn’t know who he was talking about, but I knew.
I looked away, trying to force myself to draw a breath. How does he know? How much does he know? Oh my god…

“Of course I will. I will.” He nodded and looked up at me with a smile on his face and teary eyes. He pulled me close to him again and I resumed my position on his shoulder.

Mattie’s POV

I sat up and looked at the clock; 10:22. Well shit… I rolled over and headed to the bathroom. The room was still tipping the slightest bit, giving me all the indication I needed to figure out why I couldn’t remember the previous night. I moved slowly under the hot water, trying to figure out what had happened, and where Carlie was now.
Ugh poor Carlie, I can’t believe I went and got drunk like that last night… I’m such an ass. First night in Russia and I leave her alone.

I dressed quickly, intending to head down to the lobby and see who else was kicking around. If I was just waking up, one of the O’shea brothers had to be here for sure.
I took the elevator down to the lobby and saw some of the boys sitting in the continental breakfast lounge.
I wave to them and grabbed a plate, piling it up with a random assortment of food and taking a seat beside Reid.
We joked around and had a mini-food fight before the conversation turned to Carlie.

“So… not gonna lie man… I don’t know how you do it!” Jeremy called from across the table. A few guys nodded in agreement.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, sure she’s really hot, and a nice girl and all that but… don’t you get sick of being around her all the time?”

“Not at all… I love her so… anytime I get to spend with her is awesome.” I answered truthfully, earning a punch in the arm from Rayner.

“Does it bug you that she’s so good at hockey?” Reid asked.

“No. I mean, you have a girlfriend right?” He nodded, we’d discussed this before. “Well… you want her to do good at whatever she does right?” He nodded again. “That’s pretty much what I figure. It makes me happy when she does good..”

The conversation moved on, centering around the female Russian servers in the room. I glanced around the restaurant and felt the heat rise in my face. I was sure that the food in this hotel wasn’t good enough to draw attention from anyone other than the people staying in the hotel, so there was only one reason why he was here.
Evgeni Malkin sat in a corner booth with Sergei Gonchar and Sidney Crosby, he was watching me. Son of a bitch.
Crosby got up to leave, Gonchar beside him, and Malkin following behind; detest etched on his face.
I got up and followed them out of the lobby and onto the street before they noticed I was following.

Malkin grinned when he saw me, saying something to Gonchar in Russian; before turning around to face me.

“Why are you here?” I spat, coming to a stop a few feet away from him.

“Look we don’t mean any trouble… we just came to eat-” Crosby started, getting cut-off by Malkin.

“Why you look so worried?” Malkin laughed, as Gonchar grabbed his arm and tried to pull him away, whispering to him in Russian.

“Geno, come on it’s not the time.” Crosby half whined, turning on him; a pleading look in his eyes.

“Stay away from her.” I growled, wondering if I would get a clean shot at him before Crosby intercepted me.

“See… he know. I tell you she would tell him.” I had to figure it out on my own actually… I didn’t need him to know that though. I nodded instead.

Gonchar and Crosby looked uncomfortable; tensing for any action that might erupt.

“She gonna pick me.” He stated, causing me to take another step towards him. Crosby’s hand came up against my chest, gently holding me back.

“She’s with me. If she wanted you, she’d be with you-” I started.

“She was. After you drunk… she with me. Ask her, she tell you.” He gave me a smug smile and turned to leave. Relief crossed Crosby’s face as he watched him walk away. He gave me an apologetic smile and turned to follow his friends. How did he know I was drunk? Was he at the bar? I turned and headed back into the hotel.
Ok, this doesn’t matter. She’s with me. If she wanted him she’d be with him… she loves me. She’d never go near him again if I asked. I shouldn’t though, I should trust her but… I’ll ask. I have to.
I went straight to over to Dean, who was gathering people on the couches. I sat down and tried to calm myself down. I was going to ask her I had to. I had to hear to say she’d never go near him again. It’s gonna make me feel like an asshole, but I have to… and if she says no? If she says no… I’ll still stay.
God Carlie, please don’t say no…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chapter 18

***Sorry, I didn't check spelling or anything so... hope it's not too bad! I just wanted to get this up tonight cause I haven't updated in a while... hope you like it***

“Delta Flight 6564: New York to Moscow, will begin boarding at Gate 3 now.” A woman’s voice sounded over the PA system at the airport. Wearing an old pair of American Eagle sweats and a Fleury practice shirt; I clutched my carry-on in one hand and Mattie’s hand in the other.
We made our way over to the boarding terminal, about to walk through the final corridor before I came to a halt.
“I don’t think I can do this…” I whispered, not needing to explain myself to Mattie; he knew me too well. He didn’t respond to me verbally, opting instead to give my hand a tight squeeze before pulling me through the threshold behind him.
Not being one to enjoy flying; I had doped myself up on gravol and Nyquil before we had arrived at the airport. Feeling extremely groggy before we were seated, I I fell asleep easily - my head on Mattie’s shoulder - before the plane took off from the run-way.

I woke up to Consti slopping ice-cold water down my front. “What the hell Consti?” He flashed me a mischievous smile before taking off down the aisle. “Shit!” I sat up, taking a peek around to make sure no one was left on the plane beside Mattie and me. I pulled my shirt up over my head, tossing it down on my bag and pulling a gray hoodie - compliments of Mattie - over my head. I shoved my wet shirt into my bag and threw it over my shoulder before shuffling down the aisle and off the plane.
The bitter Russian, December wind felt like a thousand knives against my face as we descended the stairs and made our way over to Dean; who was flagging us towards the door he was holding open. I pulled the hoodie in tight around my face and quickened my pace, as Mattie and I entered the hot airport terminal together.

“Alright guys… we’re staying at the Marriott and you two will be in room 306. Here’s your keys, schedules and info packages,” Dean said, handing each one out. “So… the bus is right there…” he pointed over his shoulder, “and, were you the last ones off?”
We nodded as he finished checking boxes on his clip-board. I readjusted my bag and followed Mattie to the bus, grabbing a pair of seats near the front; watching the lights of Moscow flash by our window.

“I can’t believe we have a bonding week before the tournament…” Mattie laughed as stretched out on our bed, flipping through the schedule. “Scavenger hunt, hmm… vodka factory tour… I didn’t know Russians made vodka…”

I laughed as I finished unpacking and turned to look at him, “I’m pretty sure Russian’s are suppose to make the best vodka.” Mattie’s lips formed into a comical ‘o’ as he went back to flipping through pages. “So, what are we doing tonight?”

“Notta. We’re going on a tour of Moscow tomorrow… bus leaves at 7! What?!” He exclaimed, waving the schedule in front of my face. I grabbed it out of his hand and tossed it onto the floor.

“Were you expecting to sleep in till noon?”

“No but… 7! Really?” I shook my head, not bothering to hide the smile on my face. A knock at the door sent me off the bed and across the room. I pulled the door open expecting Jake or Consti; finding Rennie and some friends instead.

“Uh… hey. We’re going out to some club, Consti said we can get in with our Team USA passes… you guys wanna come?” I still felt like crap after my gravol/Nyquil concoction, but I wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to get to know my team better. I took a quick look down at my sweats and then back at Mattie, who was now sitting cross-legged on the floor, shaking his head at the schedule.

“Yah! For sure,” I said turning back around to Rennie. “Meet you in the lobby in 5?” He nodded and headed off down the hall. I quickly closed the door and started to discard my clothing. I grabbed a pair of skinny jeans, a tight blue, low-cut shirt and pulled them on. Topping my outfit off with a pair of stiletto heels and an oh-so-sexy Columbian winter jacket. I looked back at Mattie who was digging through his suitcase, pulling out a green t-shirt and pulling it on over his beater and jeans.
We walked out into the hall at the same time Jake and Aaron came out of their room; together the four of us headed to the lobby, meeting up with 20 other people.

“24?” I asked coming into the room, “who’s missing?”

“Consti, he’s at the bar by himself.” A few of us that knew Consti laughed. The rest stood uncomfortably, we all shifted back in forth, watching each other; most eyes were on me.

“So… we should go before Dean realizes we’re gone…” Rennie suggested, getting agreement from everyone.

Our huge group headed down the sidewalk outside; it was still freezing cold, but lucky for us it wasn’t snowing. The bar was three blocks away and it didn’t take long to reach it. As Consti had informed the boys; our Team USA badges got us in, no questions asked, and we were ushered in to a closed off lounge.
I took a seat on one of the white leather couches, beside Mattie, who automatically put his arm around me and pulled me closer. The rest of the guys pilled around and we re-introduced ourselves.
25 of us in total had made Team USA, the order, according to the schedule Dean had given us:
1. Carlie Simone ( C ) - Line 1
2. Matthew Doiron ( RW ) - Line 1
3. Jake McQuaid ( C ) - Line 2
4. Adam Rennie ( G ) - Starter
5. Carter Vessey ( D ) - Line 2
6. Chris Rayner ( LW ) - Line 2
7. Adam Constable ( D ) - Line 1
8. Aaron Turner ( C ) - Line 3
9. Jeremy Butler ( D ) - Line 1
10. Steven Miller( RW ) - Line 2
11. Andrew O‘Shea( LW ) - Line 1
12. Wayne Metcalf( RW ) - Line 3
13. Sheehan Bryenton ( LW ) - Line 3
14. Brett Messick( D ) - Line 2
15. Kyle Likely( C ) - Line 4
16. Corey Beaton( D ) - Line 3
17. Rylie Squire( RW ) - Line 4
18. Corey O‘Shea( D ) - Line 3
19. Jackson Dowling( LW ) - Line 4
20. Matthew Farrar( G ) - Reserve
21. Spencer Murphy( D ) - Line 4
22. Jared Malone( D ) - Line 4
23. Jonathan Morgan ( Extra Defence )
24. Michael Grey (Extra Centre )
25. Kevin Reid ( Extra Winger )

So far I was still having a hard time putting names to faces, but obviously, being the only girl on the team; they all knew me.
Mattie had hit it off with the O’Shea twins from Buffalo, and was caught up in a deep conversation with them. I spent some quality time with Rennie and his friends from Oklahoma, Steven Miller and Brett Messick.

After a couple hours Consti made his way back over to everyone, some Russian girls in tow. He saw me talking to Rennie and made a B-line for us; grabbing my arms and pulling me off the couch before I could protest. He dragged me onto the dance floor and tried to make me dance.
I was a horrible dancer, and I knew it, so I usually tried to avoid these situations whenever it was at all possible. Although judging by the grip Consti had on me, this one was not about to be avoided. Eventually I gave in, allowing him to spin me, dip me , and every other foolish thing he could think of.
After three songs he pulled me close to him and leaned down to breathe his whiskey-scented breath in my ear. “You got something with another hockey boy you need to tell me about?”

“No… why?”

“Superstar over there has been staring at you since you got here. I thought it was just cause of the badge but he’s still watching you, he actually made his friends move to a new table with him to keep an eye on me.”

I didn’t need to turn around to know who he was talking about, but I did anyway. There was a dozen or so NHL players spread out in the exclusive VIP lounge. At the table closest to the stairs sat some familiar faces, my ’ex’ among them. Max Talbot, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Colby Armstrong, Alexander Ovechkin, Sergi Gonchar and an assortment of women sat at the large round table. On seeing my stare, Sidney waved, motioning for me to go over. Consti looked down at me and smiled, taking my hand and moving to the stairs before I could stop him. Rennie walked by and I grabbed onto his arm; trying to stop Constis’ movement with the added wait. My plan backfired once Rennie saw Sidney wave again. He gave me an amazed look before grabbing my other hand and dragging me up the stairs with Consti.

Sidney stood up when we reached them, greeting me with a hand shake and introducing himself to the boys.
“You guys, this is Carlie Simone, the girl I was telling you about… she’s a forward for Team USA, she’s gonna be playing this week. These are her friends, John Rennie and Adam Constable.”

“You can call me Rennie… I’m a huge fan… you’re like my hero!” Rennie shouted over the music, reaching out to shake hands with Fleury; who smiled and thanked him. A few people moved over to make room as three chairs appeared out of thin air.
We spent the next while talking about training camp and all hockey-related things.

After our conversation switched from pro-hockey to the game NHL 2009, a blond girl spoke up, “Wow… you’re just as bad as them! Hockey, hockey, hockey… don’t you ever get sick of it?”

I stared at her with a sincerely shocked look, “Of course not… it’s hockey!” The guys all laughed along with me and we fell back into comfortable conversation, until another Max started asking me random questions about my love-life.

“So… must be weird, eh? Playing on the same team as your boyfriend. You guys ever get into nasty fights or what?” I shook my head and laughed along with Consti.

“No, we get along pretty good… and when we do fight I always win anyway.” I answered simply, earning a nod of approval from Fleury.

“Is the same way with us,” he threw his arm around the black-haired girl next to him, “she always win!” I laughed at the smile on his face and the way she rolled her eyes at his comments; like it was no surprise. I glanced over at Sidney to see him giving Consti a strange look, then it hit me; they thought Consti was my boyfriend.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, putting my hand over my mouth and laughing out loud. “He’s not my boyfriend!” I pointed at Consti, “he’s just a friend… my boyfriend does play on our team though.” I looked through the crowd trying to find Mattie, finally finding him at the bar. He was evidently trashed and was sitting at the bar with the O’Shea twins; they had their arms around each other shoulders. I shook my head and laughed again. “He’s the guy… hugging the twin… boys…” I sighed and took a sip of pop as the table erupted with laughter.

Colby Armstrong leaned over toward me, a big grin on his face. “You’re a pretty girl and all, but I don’t think he’s going home with you tonight.” I rolled my eyes and punched Consti - who was laughing the loudest of all - in the gut. As fun as the night had been, I could still feel my ’ex-boyfriends’ eyes on me, and the only thing more awkward then sitting this close to him and talking to him; was having no one else know that we already knew each other.
No one else seemed to pick up on the sparks that were firing across the table either, or the fact that he was still staring at the back of Mattie’s head with venom in his eyes.
I didn’t see his problem, I had kept up my promise; to stay in contact. I had exchanged e-mails with him over the past few months since training camp had ended. He was suppose to leave Mattie alone, to not push me into anything; and here he was, all but diving over the railing at my boyfriend.

The worst part about the whole night, was that I kept hoping Mattie wouldn’t come over. I knew that he would have no idea of my past relationship, but I didn’t want a reminder that I was off limits. I didn’t want to be off limits to the handsome man that sat across from me, not tonight.
Like every guy at this table, he had girls on either side of him. They were all generic though; those, insert pretty girl here, Barbie type-A girls. It made me feel happy that he wasn’t paying any attention to their fawning; and made me feel guilty that I cared.
Last call went out around the bar, as the Russian techno music began to be turned down; the lights turned up. I took a last look across the table to find him looking back at me. I sighed and gave him a small smile.

“We should head back, it was really nice meeting you all! Hopefully you’ll make it out to some of the games…” I said as I pushed myself up from my chair.

“Wouldn’t miss it! I’m expecting a hat trick in the first game, by the way.” Crosby quipped as I headed down to the bar to collect Mattie.

“Just for you superstar!” I laughed over my shoulder, noticing that Consti and Rennie were right behind me.
Mattie was too drunk to walk by himself; Consti threw him over his shoulder and headed outside. I ran back up to the couches to get my coat before following them out.

Consti threw Mattie down on the bed, he was out cold. I said good night to the rest of the guys and closed the door; stripping down into a pair of boy shorts and a long-sleeved Crosby shirt.
I was settling into bed when there was a knock at the door. It was loud, but it didn’t even register with Mattie, who was snoring soundly beside me. I looked at the clock; 4:17AM. Go to bed Consti! I thought feverishly as I opened the door.

“Oh! Hi Max…how did you know where-”

“We need to talk.” The penguin said, leaning on my doorframe, a look of fear on his face.

“Umm…” I looked behind me at Mattie, “I don’t think this is the best time Max…” I didn’t need to ask why he was here. There was only one reason he would be coming to call at this late.

“It has to be now… I won’t get any sleep if we don’t talk now.” I nodded, understanding completely what he meant. I took a last look at Mattie, before pulling the door stopper down and stepping out into the hall after Max. He disappeared around a corner and I rounded it; not seeing him anywhere. I continued a few paces down the hallway, when I felt someone grab my arm and pull me into a room.
Before I knew it I was standing in the ’ice/pop machine’ room, face-to-face with Evgeni Malkin.

“Where did Max go?” I asked, as the Russian stared down at me, his brown eyes watching me patiently. After a minute of silence I asked again, “Where did Max go?” This time he responded with a nonchalant shrug.

“This matter?” He asked in broken English.

“No, I guess not… why did he go to my room then?”

“Um. I know, you not come here if you know it’s me.” He looked down at the floor, his face contorted in pain. I reached out my hand to him, pulling it back before I could touch him.

“Evgeni, I’m sorry… I can’t do this… I have to go.” I took a step towards the door, but he grabbed me and pulled me against him.

“You don’t…”

“But I do… Mattie’s-” He cut me off with a kiss. His lips were hot and rough on mine. I had always wondered what it would be like to kiss him, and now I knew; it was better than anything I had imagined. All the hours I had spent day-dreaming about it seemed so dull and foolish now, when compared to the real thing.
Somehow my hands had become intertwined in his hair, my body was pressing up against him on it’s own accord.
Suddenly my mind began to work again and I realized the implications of what I was doing. I pulled back, pushing myself away from him before he could stop me. I put my hands over my face and turned my back to him. What did I just do? I could feel tears pooling under my lids and I shook my head trying to keep them away.
He timidly placed his hands on my shoulders, spinning me around and then pulling my hands down.

“You promised you wouldn’t do this… you said you wouldn’t do anything while I was with Mattie…”

“And you promise never to leave me… now we both break promise.” He pulled me against him again, this time to rest his chin on my head. “I’m sorry Carlie, I can’t help what it. I feel…” I could feel him shake his head, unable to find the words that we were both thinking.

“I need to go back Geno…”

“He drunk, he can’t know you not there.”

“No, but I know I’m not there. I need to be there Geno, I can’t do this to him…” I moved away from him, this time he didn’t try to stop me; instead he followed me out into the hall and laced his fingers with mine. I knew I should tell him to let go but the damage had already been done, and this didn’t feel worth the fight.
He walked me to my door, kissing my forehead goodnight. He was halfway down the hall before he turned around.

“Carlie. I mean what I say last time. We should be…” He interlaced the fingers on his two hands, searching.

“… together…”

He nodded. “We will be. It is how it should be.” I gave him a sad smile and he continued walking.

I closed my door behind me and walked over in between the two queen beds in our room. Mattie was now spread out over both sides, still snoring. I looked down at him and felt a wave of guilt wash over me. I couldn’t make out with my ex-boyfriend and then lie beside my new boyfriend. I sighed and pulled the covers off the other bed; crawling in before turning off the light, leaving myself alone in the dark.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chapter 17

“Alright so… let’s get this show on the road!” Dean shouted from the podium clapping his hands together. The cafeteria was disgustingly tense today; so much was going to change in the next hour.
I had gotten almost no sleep the night before. Mattie and I had arrived back to the room around 5am, and were up three hours later to get ready for the final day of training camp. I was a bundle of nerves, holding Mattie’s hand firmly in mine, my forehead slumped onto the table. Carrol was still drunk and Marty was twitching his leg so bad it was moving the table. Consti was cool-as-a-cucumber, or so the expression goes, filling himself with a mound of food; in a room full of people to stressed to eat.
Mattie was subdued. He sat expressionless; one hand wrapped protectively around his stomach, the other still in my hand, was clammy and shaking slightly. It pained me to see him so upset, hopefully this would be over soon.

“We’ll do the individual awards first. Position, the extra awards and then the presentation of the championship trophies.” Dean explained, extending his arm to include the table of trophies set up behind him.
“First off. Over all best performance by a goalie, goes to… Adam Rennie!” I pulled my face off the table and clapped politely.

“No real surprise there…” I whispered to Mattie. Rennie shook Dean’s hand before carrying his trophy back down to his table.

Over all best performance by a defenseman, goes to… Carter Vessey!” The giant 6’7” defenseman strutted up to the stage to get his award. Unsurprisingly Consti seemed nonchalant about the whole thing. I looked over at Mattie, he smiled weakly at me.

Over all best performance by a forward, goes to… Carlie Simone!” I clapped my hands, continuing to look at Mattie.

Mattie looked back at me then started laughing, pushing me out of my seat. I looked around to see everyone looking at me. “Oh!” I blushed, heading up to the stage.

“Congratulations Carlie.” Dean said quietly as I shook his hand.

“Thanks Dean.” I smiled, carrying my trophy back to my seat.

Dean handed out a few more awards. Best play maker, went to Mattie; I embarrassed him by whistling when he went up for his award. Most Improved, went to my recent team-mate Aaron Turner. MVP went to Jake; and I was honoured with Most Points Scored Overall.

When it came time to hand out the final trophies, the training staff carted around some boxes of souvenir shirts to hand out to everyone that was left. I joined the rest of my team up on stage for the final award; the first place trophies. I couldn’t even bring myself to be excited anymore. I knew that the team cuts were about to be announced after this and that was the only thing left on my mind. As I stood on the stage beside Aaron, looking over the group of guys, I felt sick.
Luckily Dean was quick and I was able to return to my seat after just a few minutes. Now the real trouble started.

My friends and I sat in silence while Dean pinned up the single sheet of names on the back wall.
As De ja vu took over, Consti was the only one to get up and check. He strutted over to the wall, laughing as his finger traced down the names. He turned after a minute and marched back to where we were waiting.
“Picked number 7th over all… not too bad.” He smiled to himself before picking up his fork and continuing his breakfast.

“And…?” Carrol asked, leaning over the table.

“And what?”

“And were we on there?”

“Not all of you…” He sighed and looked up at Carrol. Carrol continued to stare at him; Consti shook his head, showing disappointment for the first time. “Carlie and Mattie made it… but...” he looked over at Marty, “you weren’t on there either man… sorry.” Marty nodded, staring down at his lap.

I was so excited I thought that my chest was about to burst open. Mattie was holding my hand under the table and squeezing it in quick pulses. We were both dying to celebrate but I could tell by the way he stayed at the table that these feelings would have to wait… right now Carrol and Marty needed us more.

Mattie and I were the last to leave the cafeteria. We sat quietly at our table, 4 awards shared between us, as we contently smiled at each other. Mattie tore his eyes from me and glanced around the room.
“We should probably head back now babe…” He said quietly, rubbing the back of his fingers along my cheek. I nodded and we both got up, grabbing our awards.
I hugged mine closely to my chest as we headed to the back of the room. We walked up to the list of names and read it over for ourselves.
My name was the first name on the list. I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and I took a deep breath, willing myself not to cry. I continued reading; Mattie was right after me, followed by Jack. Aaron was further down the list, as were a few other names I recognized. I couldn’t keep my excitement in any longer; I had made Team USA, I was going to Russia to compete in a world-renown event, and best of all, Mattie was coming with me.
I felt hot tears rolling down my face as years of hardship and struggle washed over me in the form of vindication. Mattie saw the tears and spun me to the side so we were face to face. He looked concerned until I gave him a wide smile; he returned it then tossed his trophy over onto a nearby table, pulling mine out of my hands and tossing them too.

He pulled my up against him roughly and I was surprised by the force of his hands and mouth as he pressed his body against mine, but these thoughts didn’t last for long.
I smiled into the kiss as he deepened it bringing his tongue inside to find mine. I wrapped my arms around his neck, winding my hands into his hair; insuring he couldn’t pull away.
With strength I was unfamiliar with he brought his hands down to the back of my thighs, lifting me off the ground. I wrapped my legs around his waist and stifled a moan. He moved forward easily, until my back was pressed against the wall firmly. Brining his lips from mine, he moved down to my neck; one hand coming off of my thigh to explore the small of my back, moving up inside of my shirt. His hand worked it’s way under my bra so that his thumb was massaging my breast, causing my breathing to accelerate as I grabbed at his shoulders till my nails began to dig in through his t-shirt.
He started to lower me back to the ground, laughing at my groan of protest. His face was red and kissed me a few more times before pulling away.
“We should probably relocate this babe…” he trailed off in a husky voice. I watched his delicious lips as he spoke, sighing with the knowledge he was right.

“Fine, but we go now!” Mattie laughed at my exuberance and grabbed my hand, half-dragging me out of the cafeteria towards our dorm.

His phone buzzed half a dozen times as we dashed across the lawn and up the stairs. He threw open the door and shoved my roughly down on the bed before pulling off his shirt and climbing on top of me.

“Ok… stop everything! I’m gonna need some popcorn for this!” Consti quipped from his side of the room.

“If you don’t wanna see anything you should go cause I’m not stopping.” Mattie retorted.

Consti sat on the edge of his bed, “On second this, I don’t really wanna be here to watch Mattie fail at something besides hockey… I’ll be upstairs.” He dashed out of the room without a backwards glance.
Mattie’s phone went off again and he reached out a hand to hit it off the bedside table.
“Maybe you should get that…” I trailed off, hoping he would ignore me.

“Maybe…” I sighed and he reached down to the floor. He looked at the caller ID and flipped the phone open. “What? No… I don’t know… no… why? Does it have to be now?” I could hear a female voice screaming at him from the other side of the phone. “God! Ok! Fine… calm the hell down I’ll get him… Jesus!” He moved the phone away from his ear. “Babe, she might skin me alive I don’t give this to Consti… apparently he’s not answering her calls.” I mopped back, not bothering to hide my disappointment.

“Alright… but come back quick k?”

“I’ll just throw it at him… be right back!” He dashed off not bothering to put his shirt back on. I laughed at the scratch marks that were already forming on his shoulders.

I glanced around the room from my vantage point on his bed, smiling to myself at Mattie’s apparent change in demeanour, apparently making the team had been very good for his confidence. I sat up and looked around at the room, I wonder how different our relationship will be once we’re back in the real world. Real world relationships weren’t that great for me… I was 0 - 1 the last time I checked. At that thought I turned and looked to my left. Well that’s awkward… I lost my virginity with my boyfriend, under a poster of my ex… Suddenly I felt disgusted with myself. I hopped up and pulled the poster down, unceremoniously rolling it up and tossing it over with the rest of our things. I glanced around the room and decided I might as well take them all down.

I was rolling up the last poster when Mattie came back in. “Well,” he sighed exasperated, “he was not happy to get that call!” I laughed back, tossing the last poster with the rest.

“Oh… you took them down…” Mattie said slowly, glancing at the empty spot above his bed. “Why?”

“Well… we’re leaving today…”

“Oh yah… yah that’s right… you’re taking them home with you.” He nodded to himself and I froze. His eyes were still on the place where the poster above his bed use to be.
He knows!
No he doesn’t… that’s crazy. He has no reason to even think that was your ex-boyfriend.
He’d say something… for sure he would…

“Nope, tossin them out… I figure at the rate I’m going I’ll be an NHLer soon and it’d be bad for endorsements to have posters of the enemies on my wall.” I laughed, trying to mask the hysteria in my voice.

“You’re really throwing them out?”

“Yah…” I nodded, trying to make him feel foolish for asking that. “Geez Mattie, they’re just posters.”

“Yah… I just know how much you love your Pens.” He shrugged, licking his lips. I hopped off the bed and walked over to him, wrapping myself around him again.

“Yah I do… but nothing compared to how much I love you.” He smiled down at me, a smile that lit up his eyes, as wrapped his arms around me. He flopped back down onto the bed with me beneath him, and we continued where we left off.

I knew there was no way he could possibly know about my secret, but even so; I wanted to make sure he knew what I had just said was the truth.
I was positive I was over-reacting, but I couldn’t help is as I held onto him tighter, and kissed him with all the passion I had… just in case.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chapter 16

I had no idea how I’d managed to fall asleep.

Mattie was sprawled out next to me, I could feel him sleeping soundly; I could hear Consti still snoring. My heart was pounding through my chest as I lay in bed, I knew that I’d never be able to stop the adrenaline that was no pumping through my system. I took a few deep breaths, trying to bring my heart-rate under control as I glanced over at the clock. 4:37AM, Well fuck…
I sighed and threw my legs over the side off the bed. I grabbed a pair of Pilates’ pants off the back of the computer chair and pulled my hair back into a pony-tail; moving as softly as I could manage. I took one last look at Consti and Mattie before slipping quietly out into the darkened hallway.

I jogged off towards the gym, taking the long way. I could still feel my heart pumping hard, more from nerves than the actual workout I was getting. I pushed my legs faster as I reached the gym, instead of going inside though I ran past it; there was no way it’d be open before 5 anyway.

I let my mind wander over the events of yesterday and what was to come today. Today was Saturday, the finals were to start tonight at 7pm. My team, team number one, would be playing against Jake’s team, team number 5.
As it stood, my team was the only team that hadn’t lost a game yet; and I wasn’t planning on starting tonight. Not only did the championship and upping the chances on making Team USA rest on the outcome of this game, but there were going to be scouts here tonight… NHL training camp scouts.
I tired not to let that bother me too much. I had played infront of scouts before. This time though, this time was going to be different. This time I actually had a reason to play my best, I was trying to get a spot on Team USA; if I managed that, who’s to say I wouldn’t get an invite to the NHL camp?

“You can do this… just remember to breath.” I wasn’t sure how Mattie had managed to sneak into the dressing room, but I wasn’t going to complain. “You haven’t lost with this team, ever, and the last time you played team 5 you crushed them. You can do it again.”

I sighed and looked around the room. Mattie and I were off in the corner; the rest of my team were sitting on the dressing room benches, preparing for the game of our lives. “I know, I know…” I replied quietly, trying to convince myself as much as I was trying to appease Mattie.

“Alright guys, we need to head out there…” Aaron called out after checking his watch.

“Guess that includes me… wish me luck.” I pulled Mattie into a hug.

“I would, but you don’t need it babe.” He smiled down at me and kissed me on the lips before leaving quickly through the side door. I let out another sigh, pull it together Carlie.

I skated out to centre ice to take the first faceoff, searching for Mattie’s face in the crowd. I found him, next to Marty and the rest of the guys, sitting behind our net. He gave me a weak smile and I grimaced back. I had never been more nervous for a game ever, I knew my only chance at not allowing my fear to cripple me was to try and play this game like it was any other.

The bodies were thick in front of the net. My skates, sped by adrenaline, turned quickly and sliced down the middle of the ice. I turned away fast, nearly stumbling over the stick of a defenseman before taking the puck on my stick and charging back towards the main group. A slap shot fell short and I hurtled around to try and stop the puck. Someone sent the puck back up to our end; I pushed off after it. I grabbed it behind my team’s net, and sped back down the ice towards the other net.
A stick caught me on my shin and I skidded down onto my knees, never loosing control of the puck. The defence came up hard; but I was faster. From my knees I sent the puck spiralling into the five-hole, goal one.

A twist, a feign, a turn, then a second had the defence turning ever-which-way as I boar down on the goalies unprotected left side; goal two sent his water bottle flying.

Rushing out to the goalies left, turning right to slash across the crease at Aaron. He sent the puck spinning into the cross-bar. A forward grabbed the puck and took it back off to our end. I pursued him, catching up to him easily. The other teams defence tried to slow me as I brought the puck out of my end. I saw the guy, his eyes locked on me. Within a second I sent the puck off the ice and leaped up and forward; hitting him with my shoulder, squarely in the chest. We both fell but it didn’t matter. Aaron found a weak spot above the goalies blocker; goal three.

The third period was a done deal. We were winning 3-0 with 2 minutes left in the game.
A flip of my wrist; a reverse slap shot; my hat-trick took the game to 4-0.

My team-mates and I partied long into the night. It was an exhausting win, but a great win none-the-less. I couldn’t believe that we had dominated the play so bad; couldn’t believe that we had managed to shut Jack down. Jack had been my main competition at the camp, a fact we both knew. He was a great player and I could still hardly believe that we were able to win the championship so easily.

“I need to pack Carlie, tomorrow’s the last day and we’re suppose to take our luggage down with us…” Mattie was behind me, talking in my ear, trying to be heard over the loud music that was surrounding us. I glanced over at the clock on the wall.

“Oh! Sorry Mattie I didn’t realize it was after 3!” I laughed at how quickly the time had flown since the end of the game. I grabbed his hand and moved towards the door of the rec room.

“No! No, you stay here, I can throw your stuff in.”

“Mattie, you don’t have to pack for me.”

“Babe, you just won the championship… with a hat-trick.” He laughed and shook his head, “You stay here and celebrate I’ll throw your stuff in your suitcase too.” He silenced my protest by covering my mouth with his hand. “It’ll take ten minutes and then I’ll come right back… promise.” He removed his hand and gave me a quick kiss before heading off down the hall.

Mattie’s POV

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself on the way down to our room. If anyone had had any doubts left about Carlie they were gone after her performance tonight. Not only had she dominated the game and won it; she had done so with a hat-trick and an assist. On top of that I was feeling pretty smug myself. After having a quick chat with some of the training staff I was confident I’d be heading to Russia myself.
I threw open our door and laughed at the mess. It really hadn’t looked this bad this morning… at least, I didn’t think it did.
I grabbed all of Constis’ stuff off his bed and packed it into his bag for him. My stuff was all in the corner so I grabbed it and pilled it back into my suitcase. I looked back around the room at Carlie’s stuff and laughed again. How could someone so small make such a huge mess? I sighed and started shoving stuff back into her bag.

After a few minutes I looked around the room; it was all clear. I pilled the suitcase up in the corner for tomorrow morning. I also took the liberty of grabbing some pop cans and chip bags off the floor and putting them in the garbage. A last look around the room and I spotted a few more pieces of garbage on the floor. I sighed and started picking them up too. I glanced them over before throwing them in the garbage. Schedule, movie stub, another schedule, receipt… the last small piece of paper caught my attention. I was a small square of cardstock; I turned it over in my hands.

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

I stopped reading and turned the card over in my hands twice more before reading it again. Just thinking about you… maybe he was just having a conversation with someone about the only girl to be invited to try out for Team USA… yah… that’s probably it.
Wanted to say good luck… that’s pretty innocent. Can’t wait to see you in Russia… maybe he likes Russia? Maybe he’s going there with friends to watch the game? Always yours… ummm… standard goodbye? Sure, why not…

I read the name again, it sounded familiar but I had never heard Carlie mention him; hell, she’d never mentioned anyone to us… ever. God, that sounds familiar though…
I held the card out in front me, looking up in thought. One of the random posters plastered on the walls caught my attention and I read the name again. “No fucking way…”

I flopped down on the bed, still holding the card in my hands. I couldn’t take my eyes off the poster and I continued to hold the card. “No fucking way…” I said again, trying to deny the obvious. She would have mentioned if she dated a pro hockey player… Ugh! He’s above my bed… our bed…
“No,” I shook my head, still staring at his face. “No… there’s lots of people out there with that name… shit! Who am I kidding. No there’s not. What the fuck?!” I threw the tiny card into the garbage.

Okay, it’s okay. Carlie would have mentioned this if it was a big deal. She’d never, never do anything to hurt me so I have nothing to worry about.
Well… a pro hockey player is sending my girlfriend cards… but no biggie, she’s with me and I trust her.
How could she have forgotten to mention this to us? To me?
Hmmm… think… did she ever say anything about this? No… this I would have remembered.
Come on Mattie… think… ’By the way, one of the penguins likes me…?’ No… can’t say that happened. I looked up at his smug smile again. Fuck!
Oh shit… the seats! She said she won a contest for Pen season tickets right behind the bench. Ugh! There was no contest… he probably gave them to her… oh shit…
Well that doesn’t matter, she’s with me. If she wanted to be with him she would be and she’s not so… no big deal.
If it WAS a big deal she would have put this in a safe place to save it, not disregarded it like that… yah… she didn’t care about him.

Why didn’t she tell me though?!
Cause if she told me I’d freak out.
And she doesn’t like him so… there’s no reason for me to freak out…
Unless she’s trying to hide the fact that she likes him too.
No… that’s not true she doesn’t like him, I have to trust her. Without trust in a relationship what do you have?
If she didn’t want to tell me she has her reasons and I need to have faith in her.

I pushed myself off the bed and headed out of the room, stopping before I opened the door. I turned back around to see the Pittsburgh Penguin forward smiling at me from across the room. “Get your own fucking girlfriend!” I spat before I walked into the hallway, slamming the door behind me.