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Golden Boy's Golden Girl

Chapter 1: New Season, Old Memories

Tick, tick, tick, tick
The minute hand on the clock slowly creeps towards the eight, signaling the school bell to release me for the weekend, but it still seems to be two thirty. I close my eyes for a minute, hoping it to be a ten minute leap like it usually is when I'm in bed as I mindlessly tap my pencil on my completed math homework, my eraser hitting the doodle of the Rangers logo in the corner of my paper. My eyes open and I look at the clock, ignoring the poster telling me to do otherwise because it will not make class end faster. It's only been a minute. I groan and put my head on my desk.
"Do you have an issue, Miss Finch?" My math teacher asks, lowering her glasses to get a look at me. I swallow and tug a lock of my hair out of habit.
"No Miss Walmsley." I lie.
"She's probably eager to go get some hockey tail from my dad's team." the kid behind me with the "hockey flow" of brown hair and dark eyes smirks and tugs at the hair on the back of my neck. I whip around and glare at him.
"Go jump off a cliff Brian." I snap at him. "You're just jealous that you're stuck in the nosebleeds even though your dad's on the board of directors, while I get to watch the game from the Rangers bench, so -" I blow a raspberry at him and whip around again to yelp in pain. The asshole still has a hold of my hair. I smack his hand and free it from his grip.
"You're going to get it when the bell rings!" I growl at him.
"What are ya gonna do, Finch? Set your dad's ghost on me?" my eyes narrow and I shoot up.
"Lucy, Brian, that is quite enough!" Walmsley yells at the both of us.
"He/She started it!" Brian and I yell together.
"Well, I'm ending it! Now sit down Miss Finch before I give you detention." I sigh and flop back down, grumbling over how big an asshole Brian Lincoln is, though when I look at the clock, I smile a little when I see that five minutes has passed since Brian started being a dick (though the dick switch was never shut off.). I tap on my desk with my pencil before returning to doodle in the margins of my homework, flashing this stuck up bitch Payton a smirk when she stares at me in my hand-me-downs with a look of pure distain. She thinks girls like me should be prosecuted for fashion crimes. Hey, just because I would rather use my saved money for a jersey or a pair of jeans instead of a tank top and yoga pants, doesn't mean I wouldn't like to dress like that. I just like the comfort of my jeans, sue me!
Tick, tick, tick, tick.
The minute hand is moving faster now that I've found something to occupy my time. I manage to doodle chibi Disney princesses, still focusing on the ticking seconds until freedom until finally
That glorious bell gets me off my seat and gathering my stuff, humming "The Good Old Hockey Game" as fast as I can possibly go.
"Have a good -" Walmsley starts before I sprint past her.
"Bye, Walmsley!" I call behind me as I race up the stairs to get to my locker." I unlock it and shove the lock in my pocket before dumping the books in my arms to the bottom, grabbing my hat and horn. I sprint back down the stairs and grab the first friend I see by the handles of her wheelchair. "Hockey night, come on, Margie, let's go!" I scream as I push her towards our bus. She starts to get loaded on and I climb in to sit in the seat in front of where she normally sits. I stretch out along my seat as Margie wheels over beside me and smiles.
"Someone's eager for her first game behind the bench." she comments, blowing the overgrown dyed blonde bangs from her face, casting me her signature amused sideways glance with dark brown eyes. I chuckle.
"Margie, it's my roots!" I point out. "You think I'm not gonna be psyched for the opportunity to share a bench with the boys!?" I ask, gripping her arm which is slung over the back of the seat.
"And remember what you promised earlier." Margie adds patting my shoulder.
"Get you a date with one of the players." I reply monotonously. "I promised nothing. I said I'll try if I get any solo time with them." I correct. Margie nods.
"So...did you talk to any of them, yet?" Margie asks. "How are they?"
"They're pretty cool. I talked to Skinner for a bit between exhibition games during practices, I think that went well." I admit rubbing my arm and feeling my face go warm.
"You have a crush!" Margie shrieks, causing the entire bus to turn and look at us. I flush.
"He's a good player, I won't lie, but no, it's not a crush." I explain to her going pink again. "And don't talk so loud, you'll get me in trouble!"
"Oh, Lulu, you're such a goodie-goodie." Margie giggles as I break out a word find.
"Whatever, Margaret." I roll my eyes and start my word search and putting my earbuds in my phone and popping them into my
ears to listen to my pre-hockey playlist. Such as players have their good luck rituals, so do I.
"Feelin' coming in the air/ hear the screams from everywhere/???? I'm addicted to the thrill/ It's a dangerous love affair/ Can't be scared when it goes down/ Got a problem tell me now/ Only thing that's on my mind/ Is who gonna run this town tonight." I sing to myself as I bob around a little as I do my word find and doodle in the corner of the page. I'm lost in my world of Rhianna, Eminem and Down With Webster that I don't hear Margie yell at me.
"LUCY WAKE UP! Time to go!" I jolt a little and stare at her before running off the bus. I run up the grass and the wheelchair ramp installed for my mother back when we were in the accident and run into the kitchen, where I smell cleaning detergent, fresh clothes and my mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies.
"Hi, sweetheart, I made cookies for you so you can bring some to the boys before the game!" Mom called after me as I run to grab my jersey and wash up for the game.
"THANKS, MOM!" I call down to her, running back down to stoop down so I can give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I grab a couple cookies and run back upstairs, eating them as I get dressed for the game. I throw on my blue Skinner jersey over my clothes and tie it a little so it looks less like a dress and more like a shirt that hugs my waist.I kick off my skirt and grab an old pair of skinny jeans, tugging them up over my butt and wiggling so they fit. I nod and reach for my dad's old Rangers hat, setting it in front of me as I put on a little makeup, pale foundation, natural eyeshadow and white eyeliner to make my blue eyes look bigger than they are and try to contour my chubby cheeks and hide my light dust of freckles, but huff, wiping the powder off and going from square one. Once again, I powder my face just enough to hide the freckles, but not to look like an iced cake like I had in my abysmal first attempt, then once again I add a natural looking eyeshadow and subtly line it, adding black mascara to accentuate my God-given long lashes. I decide to fix my lipstick (or gloss, I hadn't decided yet.) when I was headed to the game. I brush my thick hair out and decide to straighten it and pull it into a high
ponytail, tying it with my signature Rangers blue hair scrunchie. Normally, I wouldn't give two shits about how I look when I go to the game, but tonight is different. A season opener plus
my first game as part of the Rangers organization? I have to dress to impress. I grip the necklace around my neck and reach for my dad's old Rangers ballcap. It a simple blue with the Rangers logo, but tears spring to my eyes all the same, making me thank my hindsight for investing in waterproof makeup when I decided to buy it before Dad's funeral. I can still smell
his cologne as he settled it over my head when he had got his new one (which I also have, but I don't want to wear it.), the power in his voice when he screamed at the refs for a bad call, I can smell the popcorn we used to share during games.
All that, I sigh as I tell Mom what I want to do and walk to the tiny graveyard in Baden, Ontario; is now lost to memories and buried away in a hole six feet deep. I sigh, unplugging my music and popping my phone in my jeans pocket before passing through many nameless stones on a gravel pathway, watching the torn laces (which had lost their aglets long ago.) of my
shabby Nike sneakers flop limp with every step I take.
I hate to sound like Christine Daae here, but the passing bells and sculpted angels seemed for my father the wrong eternal companions when you put them up with his warm, happy nature in life. The all-too-familiar path leads me to the fledgling grass covering the dirt where my father lays, leaving a mere headstone in sight. I bend to one knee and take off my hat, forcing my hair to flatten on my head as I dug in my jacket pocket and pull out the sketch from his favourite movie that I had made in art class that day. I fold up the drawing of Esmeralda in her red Feast of Fools dress and tuck it into the pot of flowers beside the grave.
"Hi, Daddy," I smile and touch the gravestone. "I drew you something in art class today, I thought you'd like it because it's Esmeralda." I sigh and dab at my eyes. "I miss you, Daddy." I kiss the three fingers of my left hand and press them to the shown picture of Daddy on the stone like we used to do back when we first watched the Hunger Games. We'd kiss the first three fingers of our left hands and touch them together before I went to school or he went to work. "Our dream's coming true tonight, Dad." I smile. "We're almost there." I sit there for a little while, telling Dad about how the exhibition games went and how everyone in our section misses him still. I'm not even aware of the time until I hear a horn honking. I whip around and check my phone, gasping when I see it's a little over an hour and a half before puck drop.
"Hey, Lucretia!" I see a pickup truck on the path behind me. The door opens and a boy jumps out. "Your mom said you'd be here." I nod and smile. It's one of the guys on the team and I cock my head to the side. He's one of the rookies, I know it.
"Hi," I take and take the time to assess him. Dark hair pushed to the side (making me grateful for the lack of "flow" and dark eyes. His jersey sleeve is poking out of his hockey bag and I see a "24" I think it's Ryan Murphy "Ryan, right?" I ask. He nods and I smile.
"Hi, Ryan." I greet and stand up, crossing my arms. "And I told all of you, call me Lucy." I tug on my jersey. Ryan hums and laughs.
"Alright, Lucy it is." Ryan nods and I marvel over how much he looks like my father for a second and he speaks up.
"Listen, your mom said it's ok if me, Jeff and Chris take you to the rink." Ryan offers. "We skipped dinner, so we're going to get drive thru, you eat yet?" I shake my head. "Come on, get in." I nod and we head to the truck. I make for shotgun, but Ryan's already taken it beside Chris MacKinnon, so I struggle to climb up the stirrup to get to the door. My legs flail for a moment, in time for another door opens and almost hits me in the face, sending me staggering a bit. "Skins, careful!" Chris yells. "You almost hit Lucy in the face!"
"Oh, fuck!" I hear Jeff's voice from in the truck. "Sorry, Lucretia." he awkwardly helps me in and I blush.
"It's Lucy," I correct with a chuckle.
"Sorry," Jeff says again making me giggle.
"It's ok, the windows are tinted, you didn't see me. Just be careful next time." I put a hand on his arm and he smiles.
"Visiting your dad?" Jeff asks. I nod.
"I drew him something from his favourite movie today in school, I thought he'd like it, so I left it at his grave." I smile a little. I should say our favourite movie."
"What is it?" Jeff asks. I blush.
"Hunchback of Notre Dame." I smile. "Anything Disney, really, but Hunchback of Notre Dame was Dad's and my favourite." I look down. "I haven't watched it since the accident."
"Maybe the loss is still too fresh." Jeff adds blushing. I smile.
"Maybe..." I sigh. "Maybe one day I'll be able to watch it again." I fiddle with the pin on my jacket a bit and watch as
Jeff pops an earbud in and starts to rap along with an Eminem song, I start rapping along with him and he stares at me, holding out the other bud.
"You wanna listen?" he offers. I nod and take the bud from him and pop it in my left ear. Sure enough, he's listening to Mockingbird.
"Hush little baby/don't you cry, everything's gonna be alright/Stiffen that upper lip up little lady, I told you, Daddy's here to hold you through the night/I know Mommy's not here right now and we don't know why we fear what we feel inside/Things may seem a little crazy pretty baby but I promise Mama's gonna be alright." I sing under my breath, watching rural Ontario flash by as we hit Highway seven and eight to head to the Aud.
"So you like Eminem." Jeff breaks the long silence from the cab and I stare at him before giving a small nod. He gives me a grin and I can't help but stiffle a giggle when I see dimples come out, so cute! "Cool." I blush and this little mutual like prompts a long conversation fromo the highway to the throws of suburban Kitchener, broken only when we stop at a McDonald's. Ryan turns and looks at me.
"I'll make you a deal," he offers. "You keep your mouth shut about us eating at McDonald's before a game, I'll pay for you, deal?" he holds his hand out and I shake it promptly. "Ok, what do you want? Chris, two wraps and large fry with a Coke?" Chris nods and Ryan looks at me. "And you?" I hum.
"Ten piece McNuggets and two quarter pounders with cheese, two fries and a Coke." I smile when Jeff orders a Big Mac and a ten piece McNugget meal with a Sprite.
"God, you two are almost one in the same." Chris observes after he orders into the mic. I grin and crack my knuckles, laying back and watching as five bags pass into the window. Ryan examines the contents and passes two bags to the back. "Jeff's is on the left, yours is the right." Ryan says, handing me the Coke and Jeff the Sprite. "Don't forget, hold your silence to
Spott," he winks as Chris pulls into a parking lot for us to eat. It's silent as we eat, broken by a burp from one of the boys or a slurping from me as I sip at my drink.
"Got your speech ready, Oh mighty hype child?" Chris asks me, making me snort.
"Yeah. Got it all up here." I put a finger to my head and lean between the seat, almost poking myself in the eye with the straw, making me shoot back before it goes into my eye.
"Smooth." Jeff laughs, making me shake my head.
"I know, right?" I agree snorting as we finish. I shove the bag into the bin at the front of the car and we speed over to the rink. I bounce a little when we get there, getting to park closest to the door. Jeff hops down and I open the door, staring at the giant gap between the seat and the pavement. Jeff's starting through the door, but comes back as Ryan holds it open to help me down. "Thanks." I laugh off my stupidity and he laughs with me.
"No problem...race you to the dressing room!" he sprints off after me and I shriek.
"Jeffrey!" I yell after him, trying my best to get my tiny legs going after him. I know there's no chance of me beating him in a foot race, but still have time to laugh and sip at my Coke when I get to the dressing room. He turns and the dimples decide to make an appearance again.
"I win." he says cheekily. I roll my eyes and laugh it off.
"You had a head start." I point out, prodding a finger into his chest. "If it was fair, I'd have smoked you." I try to fix my ego, even though I know I'd never beat him in a race.
"Just in time, boys." I didn't pay attention to the others until I hear Spott and the rest of the team laughing. "Come on, get dressed. Lucy, turn around, they won't be decent." I obey this order and cover my eyes until I hear Jeff yell:
"OK, YOU CAN LOOK!" I open my eyes and turn around before screaming. Many of the players are still half dressed, many only in their hockey pants.
"OH, MY GOD, JEFF, YOU ARE A CHILD!" I shout, covering my eyes again when I see him naked from the waist up.
"She's so innocent she won't even look at a shirtless guy." one of the rookies chuckle. I cast him a look and look up at the nameplate above him, which reads BEN FANELLI
"Ha-ha, very funny." I retort dryly. The boys all laugh and I huff, pouting as I sit in a chair Spott offers to me as Spott gives the boys last minute strategy for the Kingston Frontenacs. As Spott talks, the boys finish getting dressed before they run off to do a lap around the rink, me following (with Fanelli and Jeff slowing down so I can keep up, because hell, I just
can't miss this.). The boys let me sit with them while they watch the new opening to every game to pump up for warm up. Even I get lost in the whimsy and excitement of a new season literally on the threshold of starting in less than an hour. The guys run back to the dressing room and out to the bench, letting me tag along as they chuck pucks into their net as I stand where Spott stands and watch. They toss their pucks to the ice and tape their sticks when Spott announces it's time to change into their jerseys and helmets for warm ups. I get excited even more as I see the guys get their jerseys, gloves and helmets on. Jeff decides to put his gloves on before his helmet and I laugh, shaking my head as I help him secure his helmet. The boys race onto the ice and I hear the screams, cowbells and horns from the fans above. I turn to Spott, who's looking at his final roster. "Can I go watch warmup from the bench?" I ask with a small twinge of hope. Spott looks at me and grins, gesturing to the door.
"I won't stop you. Go ahead, kid." I grin and run to the bench, sitting at the end of the bench and tossing more pucks out to the guys. The head trainer Dan Lebold hands me a Sharpie and puts me to work by having me help put numbers on Gatorade bottles so the guys know which bottle is meant for which players (especially around cold and flu season.). I obey orders with a nod and Jeff skates over to me, spraying snow on the board and a little in my face.
"Sorry," Jeff mutters. "Can I get a drink?" I toss him the bottle I just marked for him and he squirts a mouthful into his mouth. "Thanks." He gives me his Dimples again and I can't help but laugh.
"No problem." I get up and shove him a bit. "Now go warm up so you don't pull a muscle, you silly boy!" I joke with him as he skates off. I laugh as he jokes around, trying to get me to come on ice, even though I'm not going to do something that dumb. I sit on the bench and watch the guys when I finish labelling bottles and follow the guys to the dressing room when that
buzzer sounds. I sit and watch Spott give the guys last minute line adjustments and changes before looking to me. "And, as you guys are aware, we got a speech coming from Lucy, so...I'll leave her to it." he gestures to me and I stand, almost going to the center to the room, at the tip of the logo and not stepping on it.
"Ok..." I hum. "I'm really a person of few words, but I'll try my best." I chuckle a bit before getting excited. "This is the first game. This game, it's going to leave an imprint of what this team is capable of, of what you guys are capable of. Just pretend that there's no Kingston fans in the crowd wanting nothing more than to see you choke. I want you to focus on one thing and one thing only." I look to the boys and my eyes seem to lock on two sets of brown eyes.
Ben Fanelli's and Jeff's. "For the rookies...I want you to focus on proving yourself, tell those fans out there that you do belong in that jersey. For the vets...I want you guys to prove that you still deserve to be here. Because, guys," I grin. "When all else doesn't work, these fans will stay loyal. And I can tell you newbies one thing," I look to Ben. "These fans are among the loudest and most faithful in the entire CHL." I smile at them. "So get your asses out there and win this thing!"
The guys yell with me and I hold my hand out, feeling more and more foolish for trying to get this to go. I start to pull my hand back when I hear one person stand up.
It's Ben. He puts his gloved hand on top of mine and smiles at me. I smile back and Jeff gets up and follows suit. Slowly, each of the guys puts their hand in the pile until everybody's in. I hear one of the overagers, Dan Kelly look to me and nod.
"Let's go Rangers on three." he tells us. "One...two...three!"
"LET'S GO RANGERS!" the boys and I yell, breaking the huddle. I help Dan Lebold take the boys helmets to the edge of the bench and set them up for the team introduction, unable to stop smiling when I see the laser light show and the new hologram light show. I stand straight and tall for the team introduction and I can't help but be shocked when the announcer says my name, too. Jeff flashes me a thumbs up and I smile, deciding to wave to the crowd, unable to keep the smile off my face when I hear the crowd roar.
"This is gonna be good!" I yell to Spott.

Kitchener's up 4-3 with fifteen seconds left in the second period when the ref's arm goes up. Delayed penalty coming for the Frontenacs when Chris MacKinnon slides the puck to Jeff, who puts it away like it is nothing. The bench goes wild and I join the madness happily, hugging Mike Morrison, the backup goalie. Ben Fanelli's beside me and he puts my hand out with the rest of the guys to get a fist bump from the entire line. Even after five goals, I'll never not want to do this. I'm pumped and can't help but squeal when Jeff comes back in for a line change. I don't give it a second thought when I throw my arms around his shoulders.
"That was amazing!" I tell him with a grin. Jeff laughs and takes his mouth guard out of his mouth so he can get a clear word in.
"Think so?" he asks. I kiss his cheek before going red.
"I know so. I also know that's probably gonna be the first goal of many!" I pat his helmet and grin before I realize that I just kissed Jeff Skinner on the cheek.
"That kiss -" I start. Jeff laughs.
"We'll talk later...maybe...over a pizza?" I blink.
"You are not just asking me out in the middle of a hockey game?" I ask. Jeff blushes.
"Is that to blunt? Sorry, forget I asked, I was -" the buzzer goes off and I grin, hugging his arm as we get up and make to the dressing room.
"Saturday night at eight work?" I ask with a smile. Jeff blinks and grins a little.
"Yeah..." he laughs nervously. "I'll pick you up." I smile.
Tonight couldn't go any better. Not only did the game end with a 6-5 victory for Kitchener, but I also go home with my Mom with a date for tomorrow night. Not a bad first game.
"Oh, just wait until Margie hears about this." I smirk to myself.



@SynonymforSarcasm thank you

Great start