Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Chapter by AJadeLion
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The day of the scrimmage. The boys are anxious. Genny does a thing.

"

Charlie woke up before he realized he’d fallen asleep, sitting up sending his English book and book light tumbling to the floor. Quietly he pushed himself off his bed and got dressed with only the light coming through the blinds over his dresser.

Mostly dressed for the day, Charlie made his way over the motionless lump in the other bed. “M” he said, giving the other boy a light shake. Having roomed with Mathieu for over a year now, Charlie easily ducked the pillow that came swinging at his face. He increased his shaking approach slightly  “Mat. Come on. You’re going to hate me if I don’t give you enough time to get ready before breakfast.”

Groaning, Mathieu emerged from under his comforter and pillows he’d shoved his over his head to squint suspiciously at his roommate. “Je m'en sacre*”  

Charlie rolled his eyes and then gave a small pout “Expect you do care and I don’t want to be responsible for you murdering someone because you’re pissed off today.”

“I’ll murder someone because school starts too f*****g early and you can’t stop me.” Mathieu continued to complain, but he’d switched to English and started to work his way out from under his covers which Charlie took as a positive enough sign to leave the room.

Less than 20 minutes later Charlie was headed over to the dining hall, copy of Beowulf in hand. He had British Literature first period and while Friday periods were too short for long in class writing, there almost certainly would a quiz on the content. And since he’d fallen asleep at some point while reading the night  before, he was in need of a refresher.

It wasn’t hard to find their normal table, Carmen and Dylan were already engaged in words, despite Charlie’s opinion that is was still too early to be passionate about anything.

“You’re going to eat the damn biscuit.” Carmen’s words were clipped and cold, a tone only slightly gentler than the one she reserved for tearing people apart in meetings. Most people besides Dylan would be crumbling under her stare.

Sometimes people forgot just how steely Dylan’s grey eyes could get when he wanted to take a stand. Not just protecting himself but deliberately pissing Carmen off by showing that he could almost match her. It wasn’t something anyone else would dare to do. “No. You don’t don’t control me. I said, I’m not hungry.”

“I don’t f*****g care.” Charlie silently sat down next to the fuming Carmen, Lucas sent him a sympathetic glance from across the table next to Dylan. Charlie returned the look before opening up his book and directing his attention there.

“Pax. Children let’s not have this fight right now,” Maddie gently pleaded, affectionately leaning in between before grabbing the biscuit off of Dylan’s plate. Smiling she tore in half and bit into one side before tossing the other half back at her partner. “Eat that.” Silently but obediently Dylan began chewing. “Compromise Car.” Carmen made a small sound that indicated she was not the world’s biggest fan of compromise but had still been settled enough to not pick another fight with Maddie right there.

It was not a new fight for Carmen and Dylan and it certainly would not be the last time they’d have it. It was rare to see actual see Dylan eating, he simply held a constant indifference to food that set him apart from every other teenage boy ever. Carmen, on the other hand, never seemed to sleep and instead held up the upmost respect for the fuel of food. They bumped heads over it at least every couple days. Maddie would not be losing her job as peacemaker just yet. It was amazing how she calm her best friends when they were fired up to the max with a simple touch or smile or sentence. It was clear they both loved her very much.  

Lucas looked up from his plate, relieved to find a lull in the conversation “Oh. Congratulations Charlie.”

“Thanks” Charlie mumbled automatically without looking up “Wait what?”

“Didn’t you read Alumbaugh’s email?” Natalie, who had been engaged in conversation with Mathieu, leaned over to ask.

“No” Charlie said in realization “I totally forgot to check”

“You’re an acting captain” Lucas said casually.

“Seriously?” Charlie also realized that he’d forgotten to vote for who he thought should act as captains through preseason. The team would re vote before the start of league play but unless an acting captain really screwed the team over during preseason, they were pretty much shoe-ins for the rest of the season. He’d gotten a C last year, become JV’s unlikely, quiet leader that they’d grown to depend on. It still came as surprise that they hadn’t secretly all hated him and couldn’t wait to vote someone, anyone, else in.

“You, Ryan and Jamie.” Mathieu confirmed dryly. Ryan, was a given. Even on days when he accidently knocked players onto his goalie he oozed leadership. He was vocal to his teammates but never talked down to them. He had stamina like nobody’s business and the number of minutes he could average per game was frankly ridiculous and so there was no arguing that he was one of the hardest workers. Jamie Boer was the third of his brothers to go through the Great Rapids hockey program but now as a senior perhaps he was ready to step out of their shadows. He was quieter sure, but also level headed, a student of the game and he never hesitated to stand up for a teammate. Charlie prayed he could hold his own alongside them.

“Did he have any updates on Frederick?” Charlie tried to change the subject.

“Nothing for certain but it didn’t seem too bad. Unlikely to play today but that’s not all that surprising.” Lucas responded evenly.

“So one of the new freshmen are getting their day in the sun and getting to play on varsity since it’s not a league event and they won’t get stuck? Or are we just not playing a goalie? Or do you get to pad up?”

“Uh, He actually said that Coach Blake had an emergency goalie at the school for us. Which should be an adventure. He was really vague about it.”

“Good luck keeping the team calm about that” Natalie nudged Mathieu in the side but didn’t dispute what he said.

“Fantastic. I’ll worry about that once I’m done being quizzed on fricking Beowulf.” Charlie dropped his head to arms on the table in despair.

“You’re going to eat breakfast.” Carmen said with far less edge than she’d used against Dylan. “And you’re not going to fight me on it.”

Freed from Physics, his final class and quiz of the day, Lucas found himself killing the unusually small amount of downtime wandering the halls. He was exhausted from the mental energy three quizzes and worrying all day had taken but also far too restless to actually relax. He’d considered hopping on a stationary bike for a bit but had been scolded by Derek their trainer who didn’t want him working out so close to warming up. He’d tried to start working on that freaking English Honors paper that had just been assigned but all he was coming up with was an empty google doc.

So, he continued to wonder, anxious and uneasy and then angry that he didn’t have enough mental focus to control his own damn emotions, and then more anger that he was angry. Yeah, it was proving less productive than he might have hoped.

Having deciding that he’d killed enough time for it to be semi reason to start getting ready for the scrimmage, and changing into gear and stretching. Lucas started thinking about where his teammates might have headed to.

Lucas peaked into the locker room and scanned the chatter and chaos and immediately backed out. Some days he could deal with, even thrive on the frantic, excited energy that was a pregame locker room. People were stretching, preparing their gear, standing shirtless for no good reason. It was a unique environment.  Other days there was nothing appealing about it whatsoever. As a writer he loved to study people, look at them for extended periods of time in observational silence as he learned about every inch of them, quirks, movement, behavior and personality. So there were times  when being in a crowded room with 20 or so other people in constant motion with loud music made him feel like his head was going to explode.

The stadium was empty, ice clear and Lucas instantly relaxed at the sight. Teammates changing may have forced to grow up distant and disconnected but different arenas were just amazing to see. Great Rapids had a beautiful one just across the street from their main school campus. Lucas surveyed the whole thing before smiling as a familiar sight caught his eye in the corner and he started to make his way towards it.  

Mathieu was sitting in the empty stands the perfect image of teenage angst. Oversized sweats, headphones on, curled up in small ball. Lucas used his ridiculously long legs to climb over seats rather than using the stairs to sit next the french-canadian. “Hey” Mathieu didn’t respond and chewing on his lip Lucas pulled Mathieu’s left earphone out and put it in his own ear “Hey. Habs game?” Mathieu nodded, looking directly at Lucas for the first time

“Sens are in town” Before befriending Mathieu, Lucas had never listened to radio hockey games but he’d grown to find it calming to share headphones with the other boy and just sit and listen. Mathieu relaxed slightly, leaning against Lucas ignoring the armrest stabbing him in the side.

Lucas smiled “Are you f*****g falling asleep on me? We still have a gam-” Any malice was lost as Lucas cut himself off with a yawn. Mathieu gave him a look that blatantly read ‘you were saying?’. “Ok. So I take it you slept about as well as I did last night.”

Mathieu gave a noncommittal shrug but sat up a little straighter. “You okay?” He asked after a long pause. Lucas startled. Carmen and Mathieu would bite his head off for asking them that and Charlie and Natalie weren’t exactly open books either. No one ever asked him though.

“Why?” He asked with suspicion, unable to come up with an actual answer,

“For starters this broadcast in is french and you haven’t said anything about that.”

“You’re wearing off of me. You know that? I’m learning french.” Lucas split the difference and tried to only dodge Mathieu’s concern. It was true anyways, he understand far more french than he’d ever expected to. Given that almost all of his french vocabulary was profanity and hockey terms, it was still more than he thought he’d learn.

“It was really nice what you said about Charlie.” Mathieu fidgeted, he rarely gave genuine compliments about anything than hockey. Lucas felt strikingly touched.

“I thought it was true. He deserves it. He really proved himself last year.”

Mathieu nodded in agreement. His silence was telling of something, Lucas was sure but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

Neither heard Jamie coming up behind them and startled as he spoke. “Hey. Canadians One and Two. Nat sent me to find you, she doesn’t want Charlie to worry and anyways Ryan would like everyone getting ready in the locker room soon. So unless something’s up it would be great if you could head down there.”

“Of course. Thanks Jamie.” Lucas removed the earbud and stretched to stand up. Mathieu made a small sound of complaint from where he hadn’t moved “Come on M. It’ll be okay, you’re gonna be fine.” Mathieu’s breath hitched but he obediently stood and shyly took Lucas’s outstretched hand.

Lucas knew that Mathieu hated being weak with the burning passion of a thousand suns. He considered that perhaps that Mathieu had been hiding from Natalie and Charlie who both loved him with the same burning passion so that they wouldn’t see that he was, in fact absolutely terrified to make his return to the ice with the team.  


Charlie glanced around the locker room silently. For once the room's atmosphere seemed to almost match the level of anxiety that was constantly swirling around his mind. No one had heard from Frederick which while could mean good things, also left their imaginations to run wild completely unsupervised. And regarding supervision, the coaching staff was nowhere in sight which meant that the responsibility of calming the room fell entirely to him. Jamie and Ryan. Jamie, across the room found Charlie's eyes and made questioning eye contact. As far as Charlie could tell, they had about the same amount of ideas of what the do. Ryan, on the other hand was standing, silently surveying the room with an air on power in his stance. Next to him, Justin was trying to disappear into the wall.

"Ok! Listen up, River Otters." Ryan clapped his hands and everyone's attention shifted over to his side of the room. "We have a game to play. This is our first opportunity to play as a team. We are all on this team with positions to play and roles to fill. The coaches have the job of putting a full team on the ice. For now, we have to focus on what we know how to do. If the coaches need our help they will bring it up to us. But for now, the offense needs to get ready to score and the defense get ready to shut down. As for worrying about the rest of it, you voted and you left that responsibility to the three of us."

Charlie watched Ryan hold the attention and respect of all of their teammates and found himself wondering if Jamie was being filled with the same strange combination of pride and failure. Ryan was such a natural at the leadership thing, calm, collected and confident, all natural predecessors to charisma. Charlie and Jamie on the other hand, were shy and quiet, almost afraid to have the attention of the whole room at one time.

Ryan signaled over to Charlie with a gentle nod of his head. Charlie gave a sharp intake of breath and willed himself not to pass out, of course Ryan had had to pass it to him, the junior who was brand new on varsity rather than the other senior with two varsity seasons under his belt.

"You know the coaches believe in us. They believe in our abilities and the work we've put in as a team. I think we owe it to them to do the same and believe in them as well as doing everything we can to prove that we've earned that respect and belief." Silence greeted Charlie as he sank back down into his stall, he'd gotten the same amount Ryan had and now all of the eyes in the room where still trained on him. Jamie nodded in solidarity and appreciation. Ryan, from where he was leaning against Justin's side as he laced his skates beamed with a surprising amount of pride.

"You all heard Charlie. You ready to prove to the coaches that we're a freaking good team? Game focus?" Jamie got a unified cheer peppered with a handful of stick taps in heroic response.

  "Team?" The teens all turned as their coaching staff reentered the room. "I'd like to meet our emergency goaltender for the day. This, is Genevieve Vahn." No one knew what to expect from the emergency goalie that Coach Blake seemed to have such faith in. Even so, the petite Vietnamese girl shyly appearing in the dressing room was more shocking than most of the team was prepared for. “Treat her well.”



*Je m'en sacre is a quebecois expression for "I don't care/give a damn/f**k" 


© 2017 AJadeLion


Author's Note

AJadeLion
This accidently ended up being a little bit of a filler chapter. I'm even less happy with the way it turned out in comparison to the others, so hopefully I'll be struck by inspiration soon to fix it. Also I am not an ice hockey player, I play field hockey and did research but there may be things that don't make sense.

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Added on January 18, 2017
Last Updated on January 18, 2017


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AJadeLion
AJadeLion

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18, a Filipino bisexual anxious field hockey player with a love for photography, fashion, sports, and writing " more..

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A Chapter by AJadeLion