Monday, March 15, 2010

57.) Ray of Light

Kind of an epically long post, but I had too much to get through and didn't want to break it up. This one goes out to the ladies that commented on the last one, because without your awesome inspirational words, this one never would have gotten written. Having some serious issues with motivation. But I hope you gals enjoy this one just as much. Thanks.

Soundtrack Song - Muse, Starlight

I skated in a circle as I waited for ensuing faceoff to take place. Coach chewed us out for stupid penalties and fighting majors during the first period, so we had settled down and focused in the second. Or tried to, at least. We were all yapping and chirping, and it would only be a matter of time until someone else, to be determined, got five for fighting as the final minutes of the second period ticked off. It was impossible to not get caught up in the emotions of the fierce rivalry of the game.

Richards won said faceoff, dishing it back to his D. Pronger took the shot and Carter went to the net, hoping for the rebound. However, he got a little too close to Flower, so Rupper swarmed in to force him to back off. Hartnell pushed Rupp, and I jumped in to defend my teammate; I grabbed Hartnell and shoved him aside.

“Get the fuck off me,” he growled.

“Bite me,” I snapped back to him with an angry grin, my resentment from the last game spilling over into my dealings with him now. There are unspoken, universal rules to hockey fighting—and when he broke them, I lost all respect for him. I had never hated a single player so much; it was one thing to hate a team, but I had never had such a distaste for one particular Flyer before now. “Oh, wait. You’ve already done that.”

“Don’t put your fucking fingers in my mouth and then whine and bitch about it, you fucking pussy.”

“You’re the pussy.... You can’t even fight. You have to resort to biting.”

“You wanna go now?”

Before he even finished his question, my anger took over and I shucked my gloves, letting my actions speak for me as we skated toward each other at full force. I retracted my left hand and aimed for his ugly face, fueled by my adrenaline and general hatred. Hartnell came at me, too, making solid contact several times, but I didn’t let that deter me. Over and over again, I hit him anywhere I could, only occasionally missing. With one particularly forceful swing, I lost my balance; without releasing my grip on Hartnell, I went down and brought him with me. We rolled around, and his fist crashed into my jaw one last time before the linesmen converged on us and pulled the ginger brute off me.

At first, I couldn’t tell how much damage I had done: his face was bloody and so were my knuckles, and I couldn’t tell which was the source of it.

To assess the damage, I pressed my hand to my face, feeling the tell-tale wetness of blood. One of the refs pointed me in the direction of the dressing room, and I skated off to get looked at by a trainer. Once in the corridor, I unfastened my helmet and threw it off, cursing wildly in both French and English as I vented the rest of my pent up frustration and anger.

My nose was bleeding but thankfully not broken, and my bottom lip was split. I opened and closed my mouth a few times as I figured out what hurt and what didn’t. My face was red from the beating it had taken, and I wasn’t sure if or when or how it would bruise. My knuckles hurt, but nothing would stop me from going back out there and finishing the game once my penalty was over.

At the end of the second, the guys filed into the dressing room to rest up and get ready for the third. I could hear them before I saw them, especially when Dupuis walked in. “Piglet! What has gotten into you?”

“I hate that guy,” I grunted, ready to get out on the ice again and lay out some big hits or something equally as physically satisfying. “He fucking bit me. And if the League wasn’t going to take care of it, then I had to.”

“No one bites Tanger and gets away with it!” Gronk hollered, pumping his fist into the air and encouraging cheers from the other guys. I rolled my eyes and smirked. I wasn’t one of the gritty guys who went out there specifically to get into fights to rile up the crowd and to help swing momentum our way, but it felt good to spark the guys this way.

Coach was pissed, though. He lectured us—but I knew he was talking to me—for about five minutes, about how we need to keep our cool and maintain our focus. Just because we were up by four didn’t mean we could afford to take our foot off the gas. Dan benched me for a while after my major penalty was up, to show me that he was serious that he wouldn’t tolerate that scrappy behavior from me. Plus, Hartnell never came back to the game, and Carcillo was glaring at me. It was frustrating, and I didn’t see the ice until there were just five minutes left in the game.

I tried to stay calm and constructively help the team without ending up in the box. We remained on the attack, never relenting, and I itched to participate. I bided my time at the blue line. Carle tried to clear the puck, but I slapped it back toward the net. It deflected off Emery’s glove and wobbled in the air for a split second as it fell behind him and crossed the goal line.

At first, I didn’t realize I scored until Staal raised his arms, and then the crowd stood in a wave-like effect. It started behind the goal and then, as the goal light turned on the horn sounded, the rest of the Pens fans in the stands got to their feet. I celebrated by going down on one knee and punching the air. It was my third of the season, and this was also my first ever Gordie Howe hat trick. I felt good.

We won the game by a considerable margin, and we were all pumped for Thursday’s game in Philadelphia. All we could talk about in the locker room was how we were going to sweep the home-and-home and how good it would feel to hear the Flyers fans boo us as we skated off the ice after another win in their arena. We were all pumped and ready to fly out.

After we had completed the interviews, showered, and changed, we began to make our way out into the lounge and it wasn’t until my eyes fell on Jo that I realized I hadn’t thought about her since gearing up for the game. I had just gotten swept up in the intense rivalry, so focused in the moment, that I had forgotten all about her and what she must have seen.

And Jo did not look happy. She wasn’t even looking at me; her line of sight was focused in the carpet on the ground below her. I approached her and stood right beside her as she leaned against the wall, waiting for her to stop picking at her cuticles and acknowledge my presence.

“Hey, Jo.”

She turned her red-rimmed, hazel eyes on me, glaring at me as she looked at my face. “What happened to you!?”

I turned my head and looked at her, not sure why she asked that question. Surely she had at least heard, if she wasn’t watching. I knew she wouldn’t want to watch the game, but this was different. “Fight.”

Fight?! What were you thinking? You are not a goon, Kristopher Letang,” she barked quietly, using my full name to let me know she wasn’t pleased. Not pleased? Hell, she was livid. “It is not your job to go out there and fight.”

“Did you see it? It was Hartnell.”

“So?”

“So, do you not want me to defend myself? He had that coming to him.”

“And is this what you had coming to you?” she asked, reaching up to brush her fingertips against my bruising cheek. It stung and I tried my best not to wince, but I couldn’t hide my reaction. She sighed. “How could you fucking fight him?”

“He asked me if I wanted to go. I went,” I explained, wondering why she was putting up such a fuss about it. To me, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I knew she was feeling residual grief due to today’s date, but this was like two different things to me. In the scheme of things, it was just a little skirmish—the refs had stepped in once we fell to the ice, I was fine and relatively uninjured (if only a little sore), and she knew all about the circumstances between me and that asshole Flyer. “He bit me and got away with it. No suspension. He had to pay, somehow.”

“And you had to be the one to do it?”

“I had to stand up for myself. He crossed the line, and I had to show him—and everyone—that they can’t do that. If you let one person walk all over you, everyone else will. I had to make it clear that if someone messes with me, they won’t get away with it.”

“And you couldn’t let one of the big guys take care of it?” she asked, pleading for an answer that I couldn’t give her. She folded her arms across her chest as she took her defensive stance. Yup, she was pissed. “You don’t think all those fights in the first were enough to show them that they can’t mess with you guys?”

I sighed, not wanting to do this now. I had a good game and I was riding that high, and I felt like Jo was blowing a fight out of proportion. “What do you want me to say to you, Jo? I did what I had to do.”

“And did you have to do it today?”

Grabbing onto her arms, I pulled her against me to try and soothe her. Her body was still tense, but she didn’t try to push me away. “It was just a fight. It wasn’t a hit. It’s not like what happened to James. And did you see? I scored a goal, too.”

“Scoring does not make up for this, Kristopher. I know the game, I know how it’s played, and I know that shit like this happens. But for you to get your vengeance today....”

She relaxed her posture as she released her emotion, and I held onto her. “Jo,” I cooed quietly in her ear, trying to find anything to say to comfort her when I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong. Bringing her to the arena with me had seemed like a great idea, but I hadn’t anticipated this. Stupid Flyers.

Before I could think of something, Dupuis interrupted us. “Piglet! Who is your new petite amie? And why haven’t you told us about her?”

“Piglet?” she asked quietly, looking up at me with confusion on her face. Thankfully she ignored his questions and concentrated on my horrible nickname. Then she left the circle of my arms and turned toward Duper. “Why did you just call him that?”

“Jo? Is that you?”

“Um, last time I checked...” she quipped.

Dupuis smiled up at me, and I knew I’d be hearing about this somehow in the not-too-distant future. Probably during the flight. And on the bus ride to the hotel. And during the whole entire fucking road trip. Everything had happened so quickly and I hadn’t told any of them that Jo and I had gotten back together. He tried to cover his tracks. “I didn’t recognize you. But now I see that this is where Letang has picked up his newfound sense of humor. You’re really rubbing off on him.”

“Well, I’d definitely say there’s some rubbing going on,” she joked, never unable to pass up a smart remark, even when she was feeling upset.

He laughed and patted her shoulder as he headed toward his wife to say his own goodbye. I kidded, “Thanks. Now I really won’t hear the end of it.” Pulling her toward me again, I pressed my lips over hers and ignored the pain, but she didn’t react or respond. I tried again, and she kept her lips pursed tightly and turned her head to deny me. “Jo....”

“Whatever your crazy rationale, I’m pissed that you did this. I mean, geez Kris, you invite me to your game, today, and do this? Why would you do that?”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t plan for it to happen. It just did,” I told her, figuring she had to have been forgiving me if she had stopped using my full name.

She groaned. “Bullshit. I’m still mad.” Then she looked up at me with those red eyes as her finger lightly traced the scab on my lip. “You’re not allowed to kiss me until this is healed. Maybe that will you teach a lesson.”

“But I won’t see you for days. Won’t you give me a proper goodbye?”

When Jo went to reply, I took advantage of her open mouth and let my wants take over. I knew she couldn’t have been too mad because she kissed back, and her tongue slipped into my mouth as I held her face in my hands.

Something was wrong and I separated us, speaking quietly. “Have you been drinking?”

Jo nodded and quickly tried to explain. “Kels bought us all beer. It was so hard to watch the game, Kris, but I had just that one until I couldn’t watch anymore and I left. Are you mad?”

I shrugged, not sure how to feel about that. She didn’t get drunk, but she still drank. “Where did you go?”

“Kinda wandered around. Couldn’t leave, because I couldn’t get anywhere on crutches with no car. I can’t fucking wait to get this thing taken off on Friday.”

I chuckled. “Good to know you can’t run away from me though.”

“You should never give me a reason to run anywhere other than into your arms,” she said and then shook her head. “That sounds like the stupidest thing ever, but I mean it. Don’t you dare do something like that again.” I tried to interrupt but she wouldn’t let me. “Fights happen in hockey, yadda yadda, but that was not something spur of the moment. You knew it was going to happen, and you could have avoided it.”

For a moment, I thought about telling her how that was not her philosophy. That was my attitude toward life, so how the hell did I let it happen? It didn’t even occur to me until just now how impulsive that had been. How did I end up getting carried away, letting my emotions taking control? It dawned on me that something bad could have happened or that I could have gotten hurt as we fell to the ice, or that maybe I could have injured myself in the fight. I never really done that before: I never fought with my own personal agenda, but I did stand up for teammates when the occasion arose. That was just being a good teammate, though; I better served the team from the blue line, not confined to the penalty box or—if things had really gone badly—injured and in the press box. But I fought Hartnell because I wanted to, with complete disregard to the consequences.

While I realized that Jo really was rubbing off on me, I wondered if the same was true for her. Or if her change in mind-set had to do with the simple fact that she was forming an attachment to me. After all, when she felt like she had nothing to lose, she had that carefree, devil-may-care attitude. But now she was talking about being cautious and careful. It was one thing to say she cared about me, but she was now demonstrating it—which meant light-years more to me than words.

Because she sure meant a lot to me. Jo was like a ray of light, breaking through the clouds on a bleak day. It’s not that my life was dark without her—but it definitely was brighter with her around. She was my best friend, my mode of relaxation, my guru, my cheering section, my motivation, my reason to grow and improve and be better, my comic relief, my spontaneity, my smile, my heart. Jo was my sun, and I was just a planet revolving around her.

I decided not to broach the subject because I wasn’t sure how she’d react or if she felt as intensely as I did. “Speaking of somewhere to run,” I segued, pulling my keys out of my pocket and detaching the key to my apartment. “We didn’t get a spare made, so regardless of if you actually use this, will you be there to let me in when I get home?”

“Sure thing. Just let me know, so I can be there.”

“Thanks,” I said, leaning in for one last goodbye kiss. Once again, she turned her head and denied me. “Jo—”

“I was completely serious about this. I’m mad. No kissing.”

“But I’m leaving,” I play-whined, cupping her chin. I was sure if we locked lips again, she would have to kiss me—she wouldn’t be able to stop herself.

“And like I said, maybe this will make you think twice before you start throwing punches that don’t need to be thrown. Keep that in mind on Thursday before you go all Muhammad Ali again. I’m not gonna let you go without letting you know that I’m still crazy about you, Kris, because life’s too short for that, but I won’t stand for this kind of blatant recklessness again. You picked the wrong day to try my patience on this subject.” She pressed her lips against my discolored jaw so softly that it didn’t even hurt.

“Piglet!” Duper yelled, poking his head back in the lounge for a second. “You’re the only one not on the bus yet! Let’s go!”

“Go on, Piglet,” she giggled. “See you when you get back.”

“See you.” I gave her a squeeze as I left her in the lounge with the rest of the girls, who started gathering their things and heading toward their cars. Jo followed Kelsey, and I wondered where she’d be dropping her off: her house or my apartment.

Sighing as I sunk into the uncomfortable bus seat, with no room to stretch my tired legs, I hoped my cuts and bruises would heal in the next four days. Otherwise, I’d be having a less-than-welcome reception upon our return from Buffalo. I could fully understand the reason behind her anger, but I truly appreciated that she didn’t fly off the handle or blow up, knowing that I was going away. It’s never a good idea to walk away mad from someone you care about because you never know what could happen in the meantime. Just because we always said see you instead of goodbye didn’t mean we weren’t aware of how, sometimes, you never get to see that person again—in fact, we knew that very well.

“What was the hold up, Letang?” Staalsy called. “You’re always the first one on, ready to go.”

Dupuis, like always, took it upon himself to answer for me. “Trouble in paradise. He was groveling, non?”

I sighed again, looking out the window. “She’s just a little mad about the fight.”

“Who?” TK asked. “What’s going on? Who are we talking about? Why don’t I know what you guys are talking about?!”

“Jo,” Duper told them, and I winced as I saw their expressions. They were each a little speechless, probably wondering why I hadn’t told them or why I was hiding it from them or if I was possibly withholding other information from them. “Seems like our Piglet has been keeping secrets.”

“It’s been, like, two days,” I mentioned, trying to convince them that it had only slipped my mind.

“Which explains the end of your scoring slump,” Gronk laughed, finding his own joke and double entendre hilarious. “But come on... Jo? Mad about a fight? No way. Fights are panty-melters, especially for wild girls. I’m surprised she didn’t jump on you right there in the lounge! Maybe then we would have noticed her.”

Rolling my eyes and gazing back at the window, as the bus lurched forward toward the airport, I repeated, “She’s mad, remember?” They didn’t know about James, and it wasn’t my place to tell them, but even if Jo was remotely turned on by fighting, no way would it have had that affect today. The guys wouldn’t understand that without knowing the whole truth, but I wasn’t about to explain. They let the subject drop.

Talbot moved into the seat next to me. “So, you fucked up?”

I shrugged, not having the answer. Did I do something Jo didn’t like? Yes. But did I do something I shouldn’t have? No. “We’ll be okay. She’s mad, but she’s not, like, furious with me.”

“Then why the long face?”

“I’m in the doghouse until I’m healed. She wouldn’t even let me kiss her,” I confessed, wondering why the hell I had just told him that.

“So how are you going to make it up to her?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You like this girl, right?” I nodded. “You just got back together with her after being miserable without her, non?” I nodded again, wishing he’d just get to his point. “So, what are you going to do to make her unmad at you?”

“Did you just say, 'unmad'?”

Talbot waved his hand in the air, like his choice of words was completely irrelevant. “Do you have a plan, or not?”

“No,” I shook my head.

“Then be glad you have me around, because have I got an idea for you.”

17 comments:

  1. oh boy.
    i can only imagine what max's idea could be.

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  2. I think I need a Max in my life. Not to mention a Kris, but if I get a Kris, then a Max has to come with him right?

    Here's to epic updates!

    I can't wait until Wednesday. Never losing to Jersey again.

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  3. oh my word i love max
    good update:)

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  4. an idea from max oh god.... this should be good!

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  5. oh god max with a plan is just asking for trouble..

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  6. max to the rescue!! I'm a puddle of goo this chapter was so cute. Your Kris = extremely romantic and you can just keep that coming without complaint from me!

    Great chapter!

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  7. Oh no!! Max + idea = trouble. Watch out Kris!!!

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  8. oh no Max has an idea!!! I can't wait to see what he had planned!!!

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  9. I don't know what your doing to me.. but here I go again quoting far too much.

    "For a moment, I thought about telling her how that was not her philosophy. That was my attitude toward life, so how the hell did I let it happen? It didn’t even occur to me until just now how impulsive that had been. How did I end up getting carried away, letting my emotions taking control?"


    "While I realized that Jo really was rubbing off on me, I wondered if the same was true for her. Or if her change in mind-set had to do with the simple fact that she was forming an attachment to me. After all, when she felt like she had nothing to lose, she had that carefree, devil-may-care attitude. But now she was talking about being cautious and careful. It was one thing to say she cared about me, but she was now demonstrating it—which meant light-years more to me than words."

    The theme weaving through this story is rediculous. You are a genious with a theme, the whole story turns into a tapestry of conflicts that all seem to lead them back to each other and I LOVE IT! The give and take and love and ughh I don't even know what to call it... Devotion? It's incredible to see them working it out to be together and learning from each other. I want this kind of connection with someone!

    "She was my best friend, my mode of relaxation, my guru, my cheering section, my motivation, my reason to grow and improve and be better, my comic relief, my spontaneity, my smile, my heart. Jo was my sun, and I was just a planet revolving around her."

    Just what I thought you had me with 'he was my path of righteousness' you hit me with 'she was my sun and I was a planet revolving around her'. Magical.

    Then, Talbot... oh dear. I am nervous/excited to see what he has planned for Jo and Kris. I seriously doubt he has the ability to comprehend the depth and significance of their bond. But, maybe that is a good thing, he can offer a suggestion that is fun? Lighten up their deep emotional connection with another set of handcuffs?

    So excited for more. I know it will be good, Chapter 58!! :D

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  10. Oh p.s. YAY for motivation! haha.

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  11. A perfect way to start a new week... a perfect update from you.

    "You should never give me a reason to run anywhere other than into your arms". That was my favorite line. So sweet.

    Roles are now reverse: Jo as the reflective one and Kris, the spontaneous guy. Wow! Only you to create such a turnaround. Awesome!

    And Piglet? lol!!!

    And Max? I'm smiling already...

    And as for motivation, I'll be your cheerleader whenever you need it! :D

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  12. "She was my best friend, my mode of relaxation, my guru, my cheering section, my motivation, my reason to grow and improve and be better, my comic relief, my spontaneity, my smile, my heart. Jo was my sun, and I was just a planet revolving around her." - and - "He was my boyfriend, yes; however, he was also my lover, my friend, my confidante, my counselor, my hero, my spiritual guide, my caregiver, my safety net, my inspiration, my path of righteousness. He was, to me, everything that one person could possibly be to another." - were my favorite parts of the last 2 chapters. Jo's made me say a pretty similar statement to my boyfriend yesterday :) I love it!

    This chapter was just awesome and I can't get enough from your words. Thanks so much for writing those stories and making my days brighter!

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  13. "You should never give me a reason to run anywhere other than into your arms".
    -Favorite line. Sooooo sweet. Kinda surprised me coming from Jo though!

    I don't know if I'm the only one..but, she pissed me off a little going all crazy over the fight. I understand what happened to James and that it was "the day" and all, but she still pissed me off a bit.

    Piglet hahahahaha poooor Kris!!

    Can't wait to see what Max's idea is : | ohhh god.

    Great update Jay!

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  14. Oh good God. I have a feeling I'm gonna loooooove whatever Max is cooking up. Unless it's something stupid and will only make Jo more angry which is always a possibility :P Either way, I am SO SO SO excited for the next update! Maxime + schemes = one hell of a combination.

    I know how hard it is to be motivated to write (just look at me lmfao) but this update was truly fantastic, as always. You write so wonderfully that no matter what you come up with, it will always be spectacular and we'll always love it, Jay.<3

    P.S. This line. Oh mannn. Hahahaha
    “Who?” TK asked. “What’s going on? Who are we talking about? Why don’t I know what you guys are talking about?!”

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  15. Love the Gordie Howe hat trick!

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  16. I'm with Judith, I love the way they have described their feelings for each other in the last 2 chapters. Just beautiful.

    The last time Max gave Kris advice about Jo I believe she ended up handcuffed to the bed. Not Max's exact advice but still...

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  17. Just perfect in length...loved how mad Jo was at Kris, because I think she was right to be...what was he thinking?

    Max + advice = priceless!

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