Monday, February 1, 2010

31.) The Things Worth Doing

A: Sorry. Shit happens, and life got in the way. Short update, less than stellar, but... hey, at least it's a post!
B: What a game, eh? Letang, 2 assists, and 2nd star! Woohoo!
C: I don't usually (or ever) advertise other people's stories, for my own personal reasons. However, I'm breaking my own rules tonight. Zigh is not only a great friend of mine, but she's also a talented writer with amazing ideas. Her latest story, ForcedFate, features none other than Mr. Alex Goligoski (and anyone who knows me knows my complete bias for him). Feel free to take my recommendation with a grain of salt, as all literary recommendations should be taken, but I have never been so excited for something to read than I have for this story of hers. If you haven't yet checked it out... you may want to give it a shot, and see for yourself.


I stood next to Talbo as we waited to see Chris Stewart, the trainer. The team had returned from Boston, and now I was going to be reevaluated. The bruising had gone down and it didn’t feel so sore, but I probably wouldn’t be able to play for another week or so at best. The two of us were standing with our backs against the wall, shirts in our hands, waiting to get our shoulders looked at.

“What the fuck happened to you, mon ami?” he asked me as I turned to toss my shirt toward my seat on the bench.

“Huh?”

“Your back,” he laughed. “The bruise, I understand.... But those scratches?”

I shook my head, refusing to answer. I had forgotten that Max hadn’t been around the team lately, so he wouldn’t know about Jo and what was going on.

Until Staalsy walked by, ruining my mystique. “Oh, looks like kitty’s got some claws. I knew it! I knew she was kinky. So, you finally did it. How was she?”

Merde. I’m so out of the loop. I hate not playing with you guys. What have I missed?”

I crossed my arms over my chest and tucked my hands underneath my arm pits, hiding the faint bruises on my wrists that resulted from struggling against my bonds a few days ago. That was the last thing they needed to see, too. “Whatever, guys,” I mumbled, trying to blow them off.

Talbot roared with laughter and nudged me. “Oh come on. The proof is scratched into your back. We all know it happened. So tell me, who is the lucky lady?”

“Her name’s Jo,” I told him. He looked at me as if he were expecting more information, and I shrugged my shoulders in response. How was I supposed to describe her? “She’s really sweet.”

“You need to see this girl, Talbo,” Staalsy said. “Crazy dyed hair. Who knows what she has pierced. And total partyer. Like... yeah. You just need to see.”

“Shut up, man,” I replied. What did Jordan Staal know about Jo? He met her twice, and everything he described about her was purely physical and superficial. That wasn’t who she was. “She’s a good person. There’s more to her than that.”

As if on cue, my phone began to vibrate in my pocket. It was Jo. I pushed away from the wall, leaving Talbot and Staal in my wake as I head over to my stall. There wasn’t any privacy, but at least I was away from them, and maybe over here the other guys would be too busy with their own routines to worry about what I was doing. Even so, I tried to make the call seem ordinary. “Hello?”

“Hi, Kris.” Jo’s voice sounded a little shaky.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she lied. “I just wanted to talk to you.”

I smiled, knowing she couldn’t see it. She was turning to me in times of need and wanting to talk to me when she was upset. And to think that she used to not want to talk to me at all. “Okay then. What did you want to talk about?”

“Anything.”

“How did your meeting go today?” There wasn’t an immediate answer. “It was today, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah.” By the sound of her voice, I knew that the meeting was what had her so upset. I kicked myself for bringing it up, but it was too late to take it back. “It was good, I guess. I mean, I took my placement tests. They were surprised I did as well, because they looked at me like I was some kinda freak.” I could hear the frustration in her voice. “Like, just because my hair isn’t a natural color, I’m some sort of dumbass.”

I felt bad, but there was nothing I could offer her to ease her mind. Whether you like it or not, your appearance says a lot about you. I’m not saying that it’s right that people get judged.... But if you know that’s how the world works, I think you should use it to your advantage. If Jo wants to be seen as an academic, pink hair is not the way to earn that respect and regard. “So, you did well on the tests?”

“Yeah. I’m exempt from a lot of the basic, pre-req courses, so it’s pretty much like I’ll be a second-semester student. But for the courses in my major, the beginning classes are only offered in the fall. So, in my major, I’ll still be behind.” She sighed. “It’s so frustrating. Part of me just doesn’t want to bother.”

It was my turn to sigh. Giving up, or not bothering as Jo put it, was a cop out. I didn’t want to be the one to tell her that it would be a mistake to not pursue her degree; I wanted her to want to pursue it of her own volition.

“I know, I know,” she muttered after my momentary silence. “I’m not saying that I won’t bother with it. I’m just kinda pissed about it. That’s all.”

“Good,” I replied. “I think this is really great for you, Jo. The things worth doing in life are always the hardest.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was only going to get harder.

“Blah blah blah,” she replied, a hint of humor in her voice as she changed the subject. “How are you doing?”

“Okay.” I remembered what I was doing here; looking up at the door to the training room, I saw Stewie watching me expectantly. He was wearing an expression that clearly stated, Come on, Letang. I don’t have all day. I started in his direction. “I’m actually just about to get my shoulder checked. Can I call you back—”

Talbo snatched the phone out of my hand. “Don’t worry, mon ami. I’ll keep her occupied while you’re busy.”

Stewie ushered me into the trainer’s room before I had a chance to argue with my forceful teammate. I tried to listen to the conversation, but Chris started asking me questions about what hurt, if my shoulder was sore, and I had to pay attention and answer him.

My teammates—or, at least most of them—definitely don’t understand the concept of boundaries. I usually try to go with the flow where they’re concerned, because fighting with them is about as productive as watching grass grow; there’s really no point to it. But when Jo was involved, their interference irked me.

The trainer told me that I still needed to rest. Lifting and skating were completely out of the question, but I could still use the stationary bike to keep my legs working. It was frustrating. I wanted to play.... I had just scored my first goal of the season. Things were supposed to start falling into place, and I was supposed to start living up to the offensive potential that I was being credited with. I’m not a dumb ass; I know the things that people say about me.

Pulling my shirt back on over my head, I returned to the dressing room. There was no point in me being here, since I was injured and unable to participate in any of the goings-on of the practice or training. So I just wanted to get my phone back and go back to my apartment to ruminate in my new-found sullen mood.

I spotted Max by his stall, or what was usually his stall, next to Crosby’s. He was leaning against the plaque where his name usually would go, talking to the Kid. I walked over to him and thrust my hand in direction. “Phone. Now.”

“Tsk, tsk. Where are your manners?” I cocked my head to the side and raised an eyebrow, not bothering to respond. I did not feel like doing this with him. “Okay. Whatever. Here,” he replied, fishing my mobile out of his pocket and forking it over.

“Thanks,” I mumbled, curling my fingers around the metal and spinning on my heel, anxious to get out of there.

“Whatever bug crawled up your ass and died, you’d better make sure you get it surgically removed before tonight.”

“Why?” I asked, not even caring enough to look behind me.

“We’re all going out tonight.”

I rolled my eyes. “Have fun without me.”

He laughed. “Are you sure you don’t want to be there when I finally get to meet this infamous Jo?” That’s when I looked at him. “I invited her out, too. Not like we need you there, because you’ll probably just suck the life out of the party. But, you know, she is your girlfriend. Figured you’d want to show up, too.”

It didn’t make any sense; I’d asked and invited Jo to come out with me, my teammates, and their girlfriends several times since that first (and only) game of mine that she came out to see, and each time, she had found some reason or excuse to turn me down. It didn’t totally bother me, because I wasn’t the type of person that loved to go out to the smoky bars or clubs—at least, not like the rest of the guys. I was content to go home after the games and relax, with or without Jo, but I couldn’t help but wonder... what the hell Talbot had said to make her suddenly—and unexpectedly—agree to join us.

He chuckled at me. “Come pick me up at ten,” he added, turning his back to me and resuming his conversation with Crosby.

I clenched my jaw, feeling myself seethe a little. It was a stupid reason to be upset. Or was it? I hurried through the lounge, winding my way through the halls, and I called her back. “Hey, sexy,” she cooed. “Good news?”

I ignored her question. “So, I hear you’re coming out tonight?”

Jo paused and then replied uncertainly, “Oh, yeah. Um, your friend invited me. I hope that’s okay.”

“It’s fine,” I spat. “But what changed your mind? You never wanted to come out when I asked you to.”

“Well, you always made it seem like I’d be hanging out with the girls while you were with the boys. And I’m not crazy about them, and you know that.”

“I told you—” I started, but she cut me off.

“I know, I know. ‘They’re not bad girls.’ But.... ugh,” she groaned. “Girls are catty. And they didn’t exactly make the best impression on me, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t make a great impression on them, either. They would rather not have me around. Max said that a bunch of the guys were going out, and that sounds a lot better to me than those girls.”

“They’re going to be there, too,” I informed her.

“Oh,” she quietly responded.

“I don’t know why you won’t give them a second chance. They’re as much a part of my life as my teammates are. It’s my hockey life—and if you’re in my life, you can’t keep avoiding them.”

“I don’t know why you’re so intent on this. I already said I’d go, okay? I won’t back out just because they’ll be there. Just... don’t expect me to be the best of friends with them. I already have a best friend.”

I exhaled, trying to keep my grasp on my patience. “I know that. I’m not trying to replace Tubby in your life. And I don't want them to, because he’s important to you. But....” I fumbled for my explanation. They were good girls, and I thought that they would get along well if only she gave them a chance. I knew that with everything going on, she could probably use as many friends as she could bear. “I'm sure there are things you might like having the girls around for....”

I could practically hear the fuse ignite. “And you have the balls to call me jealous?! That’s what this is about? You want me to have girl friends?”

“No, no, no,” I groaned. “I’m saying, Tubby’s leaving. And then if I'm gone and he's gone, well, maybe having a couple people you can call would be nice. This isn’t about you and who your friends are; it’s about me trying to help and do something nice. I’m really not in the mood to fight with you over this. I just can’t believe you would say yes to Max and not me.”

“With the day I had, going out sounds fun. And that’s just it, Kris—he made it sound like fun and not like a painful, socially awkward attempt to force me to spend time with people I don’t want to spend time with. Today royally sucked. From the attitude problem you have, I’m thinking you didn’t exactly get the news you were hoping for either. So can we just go out tonight and have a good time and forget about this fucking conversation and fighting with each other?”

I rolled my shoulder as I thought about what she said. We were both irritable. Maybe a fun night would be just what the doctor ordered, so to speak. “I’ll come pick you up at nine thirty.”

“Okay. See you then.”

“See you,” I said, ending our call. We always ended our conversations like that; never saying goodbye.

I got into my vehicle and tossed my cell onto the passenger seat beside me. If I were healthy and cleared, I would work out and physically release some of this stress. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that option. So instead, with no other viable alternative, I drove back home to stew until tonight.

7 comments:

  1. "My teammates—or, at least most of them—definitely don’t understand the concept of boundaries"
    ^^ my fave line of the whole update!

    I love this Max, and I feel so bad for him, out of the loop lol.
    Also, I see Kris' point but I still really hope that the girls aren't a bitch to her.

    I know most of them probably are nice, but of course the ho's are gonna be nice when Kris is around... not so much when Jo's around.

    I also love that they never say 'goodbye' to each other. It's sad, but it's also cute at the same time... *heart*!

    I can't wait to see what's gonna happen next. It's either gonna make me smile... or make me angry lol.
    Is it wrong to point out how happy I am that Lynn's not in this story? Just sayin...

    ReplyDelete
  2. woowww
    loved it :)
    and the picture at the bottom, i don't know if it's always been there, but i just noticed it. :( it's sad

    but great updatte!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a game is right! Great update, can't wait to see what happens when they go out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. ugh. Why do they have to be all moody and sullen- especially together? I know they have reason to be and that you're writing it this way for a purpose but they're both so stubborn and set in their "I'm right and you're not" ways that they don't get anywhere.

    Also: "Until Staalsy walked by, ruining my mystique. “Oh, looks like kitty’s got some claws. I knew it! I knew she was kinky. So, you finally did it. How was she?”
    ^I literally faceplanted and burst out laughing. I wonder if Staal really is that big of a dumbass :)

    Loved your chapter!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So great to see you're back<3 And this post was pretty awesome, so don't even :P

    I really can't wait to see what happens when they go out, I have a feeling that something intense is about to go down haha.

    Also, Staalsy makes me laugh so much. I totally imagine him just like that in real life. :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yay!! An update! : )

    So I'm kinda like..I don't know about her going out with them? haha
    I'm a little curious about how she said yes to go out when Max asked her like is something going to happen between those two?

    And what a game for Letang last night<3

    Can't wait for another update!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Perfect post, as always...I am anxious to see where the night out goes, especially with the "girlfriends" lol!

    ReplyDelete