The following is an original piece, written by Holly A. Phillips in 2007. It’s a story based on her favorite hockey player, Sean Avery. Read previous sections of this story here, here, here, and here (okay, so it’s kind of long).
“You can sit down,” she said.
I took her word and sat on the couch.
“Did you have fun at the game last night?” I asked.
“Um…it was okay,” she said.
“Well, I met your friend Amanda. She seemed to have a good time.”
Yeah,” she said. She was eyeing an outfit.
“Kate, ok,” I said. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she said.
“No, seriously,” I said. “I know you’re upset. Come here.”
“Well, if you already know I’m upset, why are you asking?”
“Just come here,” I said. “Please.”
She put the camera down and sat on the other end of the couch, so she wouldn’t touch me.
“Tell me what’s up,” I said.
“I am mad at myself for being mad about it because it’s stupid,” she said. “But it just seemed wrong that you invited me to the game when it’s not really my thing. So I went and I saw all these other girls you obviously invited and I just wondered how many of those cheesecakes do you eat on a weekly basis?”
I tried to keep myself from laughing. She looked gorgeous even when she was mad. She held her hands together and sat them in her lap.
“Kate, it isn’t stupid,” I said. “She comes to all the games. I went out there looking for you.”
She was hesitant.
“I know we haven’t really talked much,” she said. “But I was excited to see you more and then I saw her and…she isn’t me and none of those girls are…”
“Don’t think about them,” I said. “Really, is isn’t like that.”
“It just took a lot for me to go there,” she said. “I don’t chase after guys.”
“So I’ve noticed,” I said. She finally smiled. “You okay?”
“Good,” I said. “Well, I can let you get back to work.”
“You don’t want to stay?” she asked.
Friday came and I was relieved. Practices had been running over the last few days in order to prep for the game. The Kings had us beat in the rankings; coach kept telling us over and over. It was going to be a tough game. I could easily pick apart my teammates, since I knew them. But I needed to actually be on the ice for this one. I was going to have to squeeze in a few jabs past the ref and see if I could stay in the game. Coach pulled me aside after practice. He dropped the Times’ sports section on his desk in front of me. “Black vs. Kings: The Most Anticipated Fight of the Season.”
“Nice article,” he said. “The game is sold out.”
“Oh yea?” I asked. “I hadn’t seen this yet.”
“What do you think? You’ve never played against any of those boys before.”
“Well no, but I played with them for seven seasons,” I know their moves.”
“Good,” he said. “We could use it. The new guys are nervous. Don’t get your ass in the box the entire first period.”
“Let the others get the penalties. Use your head. Play what you know they’ll play.”
“Got it,” I said. “Thanks.”
“Should be a good one.”
When I got back to my apartment, there was a newspaper in front of my door. A section of the story was circled with red pen. It read:
Black is quiet on the subject of women. Despite the obvious female crowd he draws in Madison Square, he said it’s just part of the game.
“As with most professional sports, there are women around,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean there’s one by my bed every night.”
Black puts women in a category with his Kings’ days, as part of his early hockey career.
“I’m not saying it wasn’t flattering,” he said. It is. What man wouldn’t want it? It’s just not as extreme as it seems. I’d like to think I could get laid without my hockey record.”
Thanks, Ed. Written below the article was, “Nice! Good Luck tonight. —K” I’d given her another set of tickets along with a promise not to fuck it up again. I was making progress. I sat on the couch and hoped to fall asleep until game time. But I had no such luck; my mind was racing. I couldn’t get too many penalties that night. I knew it was going to happen; it was a habit for me when I got on the ice.
Hours later, I put on my suit and began the walk to Madison Square.
Next Friday, I’ll post the FINAL installment of “Black & Blue” — When Wade finally meets his match against the Kings. In the meantime, help me shop for a Halloween costume on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7