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Sweet Disposition

Chapter 4

The next three and a half weeks consisted of Claire getting to know the team. She had been learning the different training regiments for each player and all in all getting a better feel for her job. It didn’t take her long to establish her opinion of their routines, throwing out new ideas and strategies for their exercises. Jim was more than pleased with her clear competence and ability to get the group of hockey players to do as she said. She didn’t take their crap and on several occasions had to straighten them out when they stepped out of line or even remotely tried to give her a hard time.

She was tough but effective and the guys really seemed to like her. Jimmy knew that she had been the perfect choice for the job and any previous doubts and any potential regrets that had begun to form soon vanished. She was a joy to work with and she clearly had a strong passion for what she did and he was greatly impressed by it.

She had gotten closer with some of the men on the team, namely Mike, Jeff, Scotty, and Danny, just to name a few. She had gotten particularly close to Claude, their being the same age seeming to bring them together in tandem with her ability to speak his native language with the ease and fluidity of a natural speaker provided a fairly steady base for their slowly growing bond.

Claude liked her and her training style. She challenged him, never sugar-coating things when they worked together, managing to push him without pushing him too hard. His performance in training camp had evidently improved which hadn’t gone unnoticed by Jimmy and the coaching staff. Soon the young centre was paired with her during work out sessions more frequently.

Soon enough, their first preseason game was upon them and Claire was soon going to be putting her training and skills to the test in her first NHL game as an athletic trainer. She was a little nervous, unsure of what to expect. Working practices was one thing, but an actual game was something completely different. The nerves that had begun to build up inside her only seemed to fuel the evident excitement for the impending game.
“Claire!” She squealed in amused surprise as she was grabbed from behind and lifted into the air by a strong, familiar pair of arms. “Put me down Richards!” she laughed as he swung her around, any attempt at feigning any form of irritation flying far out the window. “Oh, on last name basis again, eh?” he grinned, his grip tightening around her middle, “I thought we were past this.” She smirked at his words, “Well, we were… until you grabbed me. Now we’re back to square one, Richards.”

He gasped, an expression of mock hurt plastered on his face, earning giggles from the captive woman in his arms, before a devious smirk took over, “You love me.” She scoffed, shaking her head, “You wish.” Before he could respond, she managed to slip from his grasp, almost able to make a break for it, but found it impossible as his strong arms pulled her back into his cage-like hold, a wicked grin present on his face.

She squirmed in his grasp in a futile attempt to escape. “I’ve got you now Dubois,” he laughed evilly, “You’re not going anywhere.” She pouted and before she could utter a snarky response, Jeff came out of nowhere and unleashed a tickling assault on her sides, eliciting a playful shriek of surprise immediately followed by a bout of laughter from the entrapped brunette. She tried desperately to slap his hands away.

“Carter, I swear to God!” she gasped between laughs. He just cackled in response, resuming his attack on her. “When I get out of this I will end both of you!” she threatened. She tried so desperately to sound serious, but it was near impossible with the constant urge to laugh and the smile that was permanently present courtesy of the two forwards that were torturing her. The two men just laughed, neither letting up. “I’d like to see you try Claire,” Mike teased.

“Hey!” called Jimmy, “Let the poor girl go, I need her for tonight.” Jeff and Mike grinned innocently as they ceased their torment, both backing off after the captain set her down on her feet. The head trainer just shook his head with an amused smile present on his face as he turned and walked away. The young brunette glared up at the taller hockey players, “I hate you…” They laughed, Jeff ruffling her hair as some of the other guys in the room snickered, clearly enjoying the show that the three of them had put on. “I hate all of you,” she added, glaring at the bystanders who hadn’t come to her aid.

“Face it Claire, you can hold your own with us verbally, but when G and Danny aren’t here to protect you, you don’t stand a chance against us,” Scotty Hartnell chuckled, “Your sass can only do so much.” She just rolled her eyes, not wanting to admit the truth.

“What happens when we’re not here?” Claude asked as he walked into the room with Danny and a few of the other guys who had been playing two-touch soccer with them. “We can do what we want to Dubois,” Mike smirked deviously, “And you’re not here to protect her.”

Claire didn’t look too amused with the captain and his best friend, playfully glaring at them. Had they not known her, they would’ve thought that she was actually pissed off. She quickly turned her gaze to focus on him, “You weren’t here to save me from the big, mean hockey players.” A rather theatrical pout had formed on her pretty face as she rushed over and quickly threw her arms around his strong torso, “I was so scared Roo.” His arms wrapped protectively around her small frame as he shot Mike and Jeff a mock glare, apologizing overdramatically to Claire, who in turn, accepted it in an equally animated manner.

He released her from his embrace with a small smile, trying desperately to shake off the realization of how much he liked the feeling of her body against his. He was oblivious to the knowing looks that his teammates shot him as they watched the pair’s interaction. Her cheeks were tinted pink with a faint blush at the close proximity to the young man whom she had grown rather fond of.

Tu sais que je ne peut pas toujours être là pour vous sauver des gars,” he murmured, ruffling her hair with a grin. “Je sais,” she mumbled, her head tilted down as she looked up at him from under her eyelashes, “Mais vous avez promis que vous prendriez soin d'eux si ils m'ont donné mal à.” Danny chuckled as he walked over to his stall to begin gearing up for the game. “Et?” Claude asked condescendingly, a smirk plastered on his handsome face. “Et, vous faites un travail terrible, laissant sortir avec elle. Certains de protection que vous êtes.” He placed a hand over his heart in pretend hurt, “How could you say that Claire? After all we’ve been through together, after all I’ve done for you?” he huffed, “I don’t know if I want to keep you safe anymore!”

She chuckled as she rolled her eyes, taking a step closer, “Tu n'oserais pas. Stupide garçon, vous manquez de travail avec moi.” She playfully, borderline flirtatiously, bit her lip and before he could respond, backed up and walked away. He shook his head with a smile as he turned to his stall to get ready as Danny and the other French-speaking players snickered at their little exchange.

“You should speak French more often Claire,” Mike piped up, “It’s hot and I know you’d have men eating out of the palm of your hand.” He smacked her on the ass as she walked by, something she had grown accustomed to in the presence of hockey players. They didn’t mean anything by it, just harmless and joking flirtation. “You like it when I speak French, Richie?” she asked, a sarcastically sweet smile forming on her lips. “Yeah, girls are sexy when they speak different languages,” he smirked in response, his tall frame towering over hers. She looked up at him sweetly, an innocently seductive glimmer in her stormy grey eyes, “Mon ami, gifler mon cul à nouveau et je vais te casser la main.

Simon Gagne couldn’t hold it back any longer, letting out a loud laugh while Danny and Claude’s laughter was a bit more subdued and restrained. Before Mike could ask what it was she said that had made his teammates crack up, Lavy had called the boys’ attention, signifying that it was almost time to head out for pre-game warm-ups on the ice in front of the crowd of fans.

French Translations
Tu sais que je ne peut pas toujours être là pour vous sauver des gars- You know
I can’t always be there to save you from the guys

Je sais, mais vous avez promis que vous prendriez soin d'eux si ils m'ont donné mal à- I know, but you promised that you would take care of them if they gave me trouble.
Et?- And?
Et vous faites un travail terrible, laissant sortir avec elle. Certains de protection que vous êtes.- And you’re doing a terrible job, letting them get away with it. Some protector you are.
Tu n'oserais pas. Stupide garçon, vous manquez de travail avec moi.- You wouldn’t dare. Silly boy, you’d miss working out with me.
Mon ami, gifler mon cul à nouveau et je vais te casser la main- My friend, slap my ass again and I’ll break your hand


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