Pucked Over Page 3

I spot Randy about twenty feet away from them, his helmet under his arm. His beard is lush and magical, and his grin is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. He runs a sweaty hand through his hair, pushing it back off his face. It’s wet. Probably sweat-soaked. I should find that gross. I don’t.

Instead, a backbeat starts up in my clit—full percussion. It’s like a deejay made a home in my underwear, and my vagina’s where all the bass resides. Fuuuuuck. Why does he have to be so hot? Why was I such an asshole last time I saw him? The tiny flutter in my stomach turns into a tornado of hummingbirds. Heat lasers from my vagina through my body, exploding in my cheeks.

“Come on, Lily!” Daisy Waters, Sunny’s mom and my “Momma Two,” as I’ve come to refer to her over the years, tugs on my arm. “Let’s go upstairs to the bar and get ourselves a drink before everyone gets there!”

I look away from the insane hotness, shutting down my memories before I melt into the floor and lose the ability to speak.

“Can I have pop? And can I order some food?” Brett, my thirteen-year-old cousin asks. He’s endlessly hungry, and he’s with me tonight because he’s friends with Michael—and he’d say Miller and Randy as well—after going to the hockey camp they volunteered at this summer.

“There’s tons of food! Don’t you worry!” Daisy ruffles his hair.

He ducks out from under her hand and hurriedly rearranges his ’do. In the past month he’s gone from wearing jogging pants and not caring what he looks like to spending forty-five minutes in the bathroom, fixing his hair and using far too much body spray. It could be worse. He could smell like most preteen boys: more goat than human.

Daisy links arms with me, chatting away about the engagement party she’s throwing in two weeks for Sunny’s brother, Alex, and his fiancée, Violet. She rambles on about how excited she is. This party has been a constant topic of conversation over the past month. It’s pretty much all anyone’s been talking about—that and this fundraiser.

Sunny’s older brother also plays professional hockey. Alex is center and team captain for Chicago, the team Miller and Randy also play for. Violet, Alex’s fiancée, is actually Miller’s stepsister. It’s a weird circle of love—almost like a soap opera, but with athletes and without inter-dating.

I spent an excessive amount of time at Sunny’s house as a kid, and she and I annoyed the hell out of Alex on the rare occasions when he was home. He spent most of his life at the arena. He’s a little strange, and I knew him before his hockey fame, so I’m well aware of his nerd status in high school. I guess he’s hot, but I can’t see him as anything other than a surrogate brother who used to help me and Sunny with our homework.

Daisy’s still talking, but I’m not paying attention. I’m too preoccupied with the fact that we’re about to pass all the players, and Randy’s still there, a smile on his gorgeous, sweaty face.

“Of course you’re coming with us. Can you get the weekend off work?” Daisy asks.

“Oh yeah, for sure.” I nod absently.

“That’s wonderful news! Sunny wasn’t sure you’d be able to manage it. I know you have such long hours with two jobs and all, but we’ll take care of your ticket to Chicago. Alex has plenty of room in his house, so you can stay there with us. It’ll be a great weekend!” She squeezes my arm. “Oh! There’s Miller and his parents and Alex and all the boys! Let’s go say hi! Sunny’s there with them. Come on!” She starts dragging me toward the group of players, which contains Randy.

I dig my heels into the rubber flooring and pry her fingers off my arm, scrambling for a reason not to go with her because I have the feeling my body is going to go rogue the first chance it gets. She knows about the Randy situation—or at least she knows the toned-down, PG version of it—but I can’t explain this to her. “Oh… uh… I need to use the bathroom. I’ll meet you upstairs in the bar.”

“We’re just going to say hi, sweetie,” Daisy gives me one of her knowing-mom smiles.

“I really, really need the bathroom, Momma Two.”

“Aw, come on, Lily. Michael’s over there,” Brett whines in his pitchy, almost-changing voice.

“You come with me, Brett.” Daisy puts a hand on his shoulder and winks at me. “We’ll meet you up there.”

I nod vigorously. “Sure. Great! See you in a minute!”

I’ve spent most of my life figure skating in this arena—Alex used his connections here in Guelph to get the space for the exhibition game—and now I work here, teaching skating lessons. I know where all the best bathrooms are, including a secret one not far from the bar where the afterparty’s being held.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to come to this. I can’t deal with seeing Randy. I have too many conflicting emotions—like lust and embarrassment and self-preservation, if that’s an emotion. I bypass the crowded elevator and hit the stairs. I take them two at a time and go right, instead of left toward the bar, at the top, heading for the hidden bathroom at the end of the hall.

I open the door, flick on the light, and lock myself in, exhaling a long breath. Turning on the tap, I shove my hands under the cold spray, hoping it will cool down the rest of me. Randy fucking Ballistic is a goddamn problem.

There are a million things in my life I regret. Staying with Benji for seven years is one of them. Not having Randy fuck the living hell out of me while I had a decent excuse to do so is another. Now, I can’t be sure that’s what would have happened, had things progressed differently, but I’m guessing.

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