Sunday, December 13, 2009

7.) Offer

Soundtrack Song - Acceptance, The Letter

I went about my business the following day as I always would. It was a game day, against the Bolts, and I had yet to score a goal this season. Sure, I'm a defenseman, but I'm an offensive defenseman. I needed to show the Penguins organization that I was worth resigning. And I needed to have a good start to the season in order to do that. I wanted more than ten goals this year. Over thirty-five points. Those were my goals for myself.

Before every game, I sit by myself for little bit and reflect. Always about the same things. Luc. How I'm lucky to be here, in the NHL, playing the game I love. I enjoy playing, but I do it for him.

My thoughts strayed. I wasn't sure why all of a sudden, I was thinking about her with such high frequency. It's not like I never met people who could have been making better decisions in their lives. It was stupid, but I still couldn't banish her from my mind.

So I guess it was because I was distracted that I played a less than impressive game against Tampa Bay. We won, but I put up no points. Not even plus or minus. That was probably why Coach only played me seventeen minutes. I wasn't playing my best game, and he knew it.

Needless to say, I was frustrated with myself. It was time for me to step up and show them what I could do, and I was failing miserably. I was taking Sarge's place on the left point on the power play, so there was a level of expectation there. The longer it took me to score that first goal, the more pressure I added. I kept telling myself, Next game. I'll get that goal next game.

Every player—at least, every player who looks to score goals—goes through it. It's a relief to get that first one of the season. Once you get it, you can focus less on scoring and more on playing your game, which should then lead to scoring more goals.

We won, and our next game wasn't until Tuesday. Everyone was going out tonight. Even Crosby. The mood in the dressing room was light after the game as guys talked to the media and we showered and changed. Since my playing had been less than stellar, no reporters or cameras hovered around my stall, so I finished dressing before the others. I knew the routine: everyone would drive to their respective homes, and then I would be going around and picking up some of the guys. The rest of them were going to be drawing straws to see who would get stuck as the other designated drivers tonight.

I had a head start on everyone else, so I had some time to kill. I headed out to my car and spotted Jo's telltale motorcycle in the parking lot. She was here, somewhere. Should I go find her? I wasn't sure if that was a good idea. Maybe she would need more time to cool off. If she was still mad.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided that now was the most opportune time; we didn't have a game for a few days, so who knew when I'd get the chance again? Besides, I had the time to spare. Since the moment arose, I might as well have taken advantage of it.

I went back into the arena and checked the laundry areas for her first. When I didn't automatically find her, I started to ask some of the other employees around me if they'd seen a purple-headed girl around. Strange enough, every one of them shook their heads and told me no. The Mellon's a big place to have to find someone in, but at least she would stick out like a sore thumb. You can't miss a girl like Jo.

Navigating my way through the maze of hallways, I walked out on the main concourse and checked around the sections of seats, scanning them for her distinctly colored head. As I spun around and searched, I found her up in C2. Although, she didn't have her purple hair anymore. It was black in the back and pink in the front. It was different, but it was also kind of cute, actually, the color framing the features of her face. Her cheeks looked rosier. Her hazel eyes looked brighter.

Afraid to say something and see how she would react, I headed in her direction without announcing my presence. Instead, I waited for her to spot me. I watched as she she made faces while she picked up the spilled beers cups and wet programs and hand-outs. This definitely wasn't the most fun job in the world, and I suddenly wished that the fans would have been a little more courteous so she wouldn't have had to do this. Even though it's what she got paid to do.

"This is so fucking disgusting," she groaned as she picked up a beer-soaked pamphlet, which promptly disintegrated in her hand and fell back to the floor. "Stupid shitheads need to learn to pick up after themselves."

"Or not spill their beer," I said, not even thinking that I told myself not to say anything.

Jo jumped and placed her hand over her heart. "Fuck, Kris. Don't scare me like that."

"Sorry," I chuckled. I didn't say anything else right away. I wanted to wait for her to make the first move or be the first to really speak, so I would know what I was up against. She didn't freak out right away, which was a good sign, I supposed. But she just kind of stared at me, so I spoke up again, trying to keep the topic neutral. "I like your hair."

As if by reflex, her right hand reached up and touched the pink sections of her hair hanging by her cheek. "Oh. Uh, thanks." Then she shoved her hands into the pockets of her uniform. "So, um, did you... want... something?"

"Yeah. I wanted to give you something," I began, reaching into my own pocket for the scrap of paper I'd put there.

"More advice?" she quipped with an angry smirk. "Because you can keep it."

"No, actually. You see, I don't usually do this. In fact, I never give out my phone number to people. Especially to girls I don't really know."

"You're giving me your number? What makes you think I want it?" she snapped, fire igniting in her eyes. "You're pretty sure of yourself, aren't you?"

"Well, it's up to you whether you want to call or not. I won't give you any advice unless you ask me. I just figured you could use someone to talk to. About, well, you know."

"And I'm supposed to want to talk to you? A judgmental asshole who can't keep his arrogant opinions to himself? I'm supposed to open up to you?" She kept her volume low, but her tone was caustic.

"Uh, yeah," I answered, as if it were obvious.

Jo snorted and folded her arms over her chest, one leg jutting out. "What qualificiations do you possibly have to help me out? You're a hockey player, not a goddamned therapist."

"Experience. Simple as that."

It seemed that with every answer I gave Jo, her anger increased. Her words hissed as she spit them between her teeth. "How could you possibly know what I've been through? How could you even think I could possibly relate to you? And who says I even need anybody's help? You're such a self-righteous prick."

I smiled. "And you're a little quick to judge, too, wouldn't you say?" She frowned and narrowed her eyes at me, her response only to purse her lips; she knew I was right. "I guess you'll just have to call if you want to find out, now won't you?" I held out my hand with the number offered. "Just take it. Do what you want with it, but I hope you'll call."

Jo reached out and took the paper, not even looking at the digits before she crumbled it in her hand and shoved it into her pocket. "Maybe I'll give it to some of the skanks that are hanging around by the gate. I'm sure I can sell it for a couple bucks."

For a moment, I looked at her, hoping to tell if she was kidding. There was a glint in her eye, but I didn't know her well enough to know if she just playing around. Before I could ask, Goose appeared across the ice in the runway and yelled out, "Yo, Instant Tang! Let's go!"

"Coming!" I hollered back, the word echoing as I talked quietly to Jo. "I really, really hope you don't do that. You can call anytime," I said, making my offer one last time.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why do you have this bizarre fascination with trying to help me? Like I'm some kind of sinner in need of redemption?" she asked, looking at me with an intense expression and trying to discern my intentions.

I shrugged, not knowing how to explain without freaking her out. Jo would know doubt jump to conclusions and assume I'm being judgmental again. It's not being judgmental if you know from experience. "I told you, I know what it's like. No, I don't know what it's like to be in your shoes. But, if you ever need someone to commiserate with, or just someone to listen to you—"

"I have friends for that. I have great friends, as a matter of fact. And I'm fine. I don't need you."

Trying my best to bite my tongue, I ignored that I thought her friends were all enabling her and ergo not helping her. And people like that don't make good friends. Not sure what to say, I said nothing. Gogo called out again from across the arena. "Tanger! Come on! We're leaving!"

"Your boyfriend's calling," she said with a smile. "You'd better go."

"Funny," I replied sarcastically. "Do whatever you want, but know the option's yours." I walked away, not wanting to say anything else and not wanting to hear anything more. Being antagonistic wasn't going to help either one of us. I had done what I had set out to deal. My conscience could be clear now, regardless of whether she called. The ball was in her court, and I could be cleared of any responsibility because I had done the most I could, given the circumstances.

I made my way back to the concourse before heading into the parking lot to meet up with Goli, who was acting so impatiently. "You're picking up me, Gronk, Heather, and Talbo."

"Okay," I replied, spinning my key ring around my index finger.

"Who were you talking to?" he asked, pestering me for information. "I couldn't see from the runway."

"Uh, Jo." I waited for the backlash.

"The party chick? She was actually talking to you?"

"Kinda." Words were exchanged, and they weren't yelled. That counted as talking, right? "So let's go."

"What about?" Like a bulldog with his teeth in a juicy steak, he wouldn't let it go.

It wasn't worth it to lie. "I gave her my number."

Gogo laughed and clapped his hand on my shoulder. "Are you serious? And she took it?" I shrugged and nodded. "Good for you, man. Way to put some spice in your bland-ass life." He let go and walked away, leaving me to wonder why everyone seemed to think I wasn't having fun. I was happy; that was enough for me.

8 comments:

  1. I love all of your stories but this one is...I dont even think I have enough words for it. So I am just going to say amazing

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  2. First off, great chapter. The dialogue was so well written in this chapter!

    In general, I pretty much adore anything that you write so I love where this is going now. I'm really intrigued by his need to help her.

    Loved it :)

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  3. I love how they are complete opposites, but he can't stay away from her. I love bad-ass Jo, but I can't wait for her to open up to him.

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  4. I'm feeling kinda moody right now, and I seriously am so pissed at both Jo and Kris right now. I didn't even know I was capable of being pissed at Kris!

    Great update, nonetheless.

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  5. So I'm kinda annoyed at both of them... and not... at the same time >.> I don't know how to explain this... lol

    I'm annoyed at Kris cause he's still coming on soooo strong (even if he doesn't realize it), but I still love him because he's really a well-intended sweetheart.

    I'm kinda pissed at Jo cause she still won't give him a chance, and how she's always assuming that he's attacking her... but she's still my favourite character in a story, so fantastic!

    I also love that she was being kind of a bitch to Tanger, and he totally just took it lol.

    "Since my playing had been less than stellar, no reporters or cameras hovered around my stall"
    ^^ Ok... this broke my heart! I could totally picture like... Crosby and Malkin surrounded by reporters and Kris is just sitting by himself, poor kid =(

    "I suddenly wished that the fans would have been a little more courteous so she wouldn't have had to do this. Even though it's what she got paid to do."
    ^^ Awwww!! See, he's so good-hearted, he just needs to pull back on the reigns a little bit; give Jo some time to see how great he really is.

    "Words were exchanged, and they weren't yelled. That counted as talking, right?"
    ^^ LOLOLOL ok... I'm not sure why I laughed so hard at that, but I did... hilarious, again... poor Kris.

    So, you've really got me feeling bad for the little french boy. I hope Jo gives him a chance cause it'd be great for both of them!

    Fantastic update Jay... I seriously love this story so much!

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  6. Awa Kris! I completely love him right now. Offering his help to Jo and being all calm, cool, and collected about it and not taking no for an answer.

    Hang in there, Kris! She'll come around eventually.

    And Jo...come around! Hahaha

    "Good for you, man. Way to put a spice in your bland-ass life."
    ^^LMFAO. I love it.

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  7. I am glad he had the cojones to give her his number, and I am glad she took it...now that will be an interesting phone call if she decides to use it.

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  8. oh, I love Gogo!!! Love love love.

    Now Kris... he's a bit... odd? I think that's the word I'm looking for. Far from normal? I'm not too sure. He's awkward... and I LOVE IT.

    I can see how he wants to help her, and how they have something in common, but he's going about it in such an odd way, that's what make this story so damn interesting. Okay, I'm gonna shut up and head to chapter 8... haha.

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