“What are you talking about? Nothing’s wrong.” Jonathan slammed his car door shut and looked at his friend.
“Keep that shit for someone else. You’ve yelled at half the team for no apparent reason, you were really aggressive and even the coach didn’t want to talk to you because of your attitude today.” Kane crossed his arms over his chest, trying to stare his friend down. They were in reversed roles this day. Usually it was Jonathan trying to get Patrick to talk. “Is April driving you crazy already or what is wrong?”
A bitter laugh escaped Jonathan as he leaned against the car. “You have no idea.” He hadn’t planned on telling Patrick, because he already knew what his reaction would be, but in the end they were friends and Patrick could maybe give him some advice this time. He’d done it before. And so Jonathan told him what had happened the day before, starting with the incident in the morning and ending with the kiss in the kitchen and the dinner they’d had in silence, neither one looking at the other. He hadn’t seen April this morning. He was pretty sure, she’d avoided him.
“You did not really tell her that you’d be using her?” When Jonathan nodded, Patrick let out an exasperated breath. “What on earth possessed you to say something like that?”
“I don’t know. But I told you before that she needs a place to stay and work. I don’t want to feel her like she’d re-paying me with sex or whatever. That would be horrible.”
“I don’t think that she thinks about you that way to be honest. Nobody who knows you at least a little would assume something like that about you.” Pat ran a hand through his short hair, but looked up immediately again. “How about this: Don’t avoid her, be normal towards her and see what happens. Maybe she’ll initiate something. Then you can go ahead and bang her on the table, against the wall or whatever. I don’t care. Just get it out of your system and act like yourself again. Don’t get me wrong, I like the aggression on the ice, but NOT during practice. Keep that for the game.”
“Okay, okay.” It had been a while since he’d seen Patrick like that. His advice was good, though. And he was right of course. Jonathan needed to keep the aggression off the ice with his teammates. It would come in handy the following day in the game.
On his way home he picked up Chinese take-away, not in the mood to cook today or let April cook. After the last two days, this was okay. He didn’t even know whether April liked Chinese food or not, but he willing to take that risk.
When he entered the living room, April was sitting on the sofa reading a book. She put it down so quickly that he didn’t have a chance to see what she was reading. He wouldn’t ask. Maybe she didn’t want him to know what she’d chosen to read.
“I brought lunch. I hope you are hungry and like Chinese food.” He put the carrier bags down on the table and took off his coat. December was just around the corner and the temperatures had dropped over the last days.
“I love Chinese food!” April jumped up from the sofa, following the smell of the food. While Jonathan was taking off his shoes, she got two plates out of the cupboard and just wanted to open the bags, when Jonny pulled her back to take her place.
“I’ll take care of this.” He piled food on the plates and turned around to her, handing her one of the plates. “I thought we could maybe watch a movie. I haven’t seen Miracle in ages.”
“I’ve never seen it, but I’d love to.” She turned around to get forks and knives out of the drawer. When she turned around, Jonathan was still standing in the same spot, staring at her with a blank expression on his face. “What?”
“You have never seen Miracle? Seriously?” Her nodding was barely noticeable. “But you do know how to skate, don’t you?”
She hesitated, but in the end she said: “Yes, it’s just been a while.”
“How long?” He walked with her to the sofa, put his plate down on the table and started looking for his DVD of Miracle. When she didn’t answer he asked again: “How long?”
“When my parents realized that I would never become a figure skater when I was seven, they stopped driving me to the rink.”
Jonathan spun around so quickly that he nearly lost balance. “So, you’re telling me that you haven’t been skating in what? Fifteen years?”
“Yes.” Her voice was barely audible when she sat down. Knife and fork clutched in her hand she watched him as he turned on the TV and started the DVD. Finally he sat down next to her.
“We’re gonna change that.”
“I’ll go ice-skating with you. We’re having the day after the game tomorrow off, so we can go to the United Center together and I’ll show you.”
“Oh, no no no. I’m not planning on making a fool of myself. Not gonna happen.” All the color had drained from her face.
“Relax.” He put his hand down on hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. “We’ll be there completely alone, so nobody will see you, if you fall down. You can’t live with me and not know how to skate.”
April considered this for a few seconds, but then she nodded. “Okay. But I have one request.”
“Can I shoot some pucks? It looks like so much fun and if I actually go skating, I want to try this.”
“That can be arranged. And now we’ll watch Miracle. Next movie on the list will be Slapshot, just so you know.” He was sure that she hadn’t seen that one as well, but he wouldn’t ask.
They sat in silence and watched the movie together while enjoying their Chinese food. Every now and then Jonathan looked over to her to see her reactions. When he asked her after the movie what she thought, he was pleasantly surprised. She’d really enjoyed watching it. Perfect!
But after the movie, April got dressed in her boots and coat and left him alone. She wanted to get some fresh air, maybe go shopping a bit, so he had the apartment to himself. At first he thought that this would be good, but half an hour after she’d left, he found himself thinking. Too much, too hard. He needed distractions from his own thoughts, so he decided to work out a bit. That could never hurt.