Pucked Page 28

“You’re just jealous, Vi. You’re as dry as the desert. You might as well check yourself into a convent for all the action you get.”

It isn’t a half-bad comeback. Unfortunately, he’s doled it out in front of Alex, who may be looking to add me to his own list of “regulars.”

“Fuck you, slut-bag yeti!” I throw his wallet at his head and miss. It bonks Alex in the shoulder instead. He snatches it from the air. “I hope you get crabs and you scratch your dick off! Now get out, both of you. I have things to do, and your whoriness is stinking up my living room.” I spin on my heel and stalk off to my bedroom.

“It was a joke, Vi!” Buck calls after me.

I slam my door and lock it. Cranking the volume on my stereo, I blast the music, but it’s The Tragically Hip, so it’s not angry or aggressive enough. I choose an album with lots of heavy guitar riffs and loud drums. Stomping across my room, I punch the Waters beaver, which launches it into the wall. Then I throw myself onto my bed and scream into my pillow like a pissy preteen. I feel better, regardless of how juvenile I am.

Two minutes later an insistent knocking begins. I scream, “Fuck off!” but it’s Buck and he’s too dense to leave me alone.

I throw open the door. “Why are you here? Don’t you have a hooker to fuck?”

He kicks at the door jamb, shoulders slumped. “I don’t pay for sex.”

I don’t care if I’ve hurt his feelings. I’m so pissed at myself, and Buck, and Alex for my current predicament. I’m angry and more confused than I was before Alex showed up at my door. He was so sweet up until now and contrary to the media portrayal of him. Maybe that’s his thing. Maybe he gets off on messing with women.

“Would you like me to throw confetti for you?” Buck holds the door open. I lean against it and get nowhere. I hate Buck and his huge hairy arms and bulging muscles.

“I think Waters likes you.”

A useless blossom of hope forms in my chest. I tromp on it with tabloid images of other girls wrapped around Alex and his uncensored comment to Buck.

“I’m not interested in your disgusting friends.” Not anymore, anyway. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to be left alone. I have work to do.” I push on the door. This time he lets go and shouts when it hits him in the face.

As soon as Buck leaves, Alex calls me repeatedly. He must have me on redial. Annoyed, I turn off the phone and toss it on my bed. I’m not interested in anything Alex has to say.

Over the next several days, I avoid all contact with Alex. I make plans in the evenings and delete voice mails without listening and texts and emails without reading. I don’t empty my email trash, though. My lack of action is a problem because it means I can read them if I want to.

The Hawks are playing a home game tonight. I’ve tried everything in my power to get out of going. Okay, I’m lying. I said I didn’t want to go. Buck and my mom pull the puppy dog and giant Sasquatch guilt trip, so I cave. It didn’t take long.

I put real effort into getting ready—something I don’t normally do. I don my rattiest sweats and my most stained hoodie. My mom refuses to let me get in the car.

“I told you I feel like crap. If I have to go, I want to be comfortable.”

“I don’t care if you have Ebola. You’re not going to the game in this.” She gestures to my outfit.

“Harsh. There’s nothing wrong with what I’m wearing.”

“Not if you’re homeless.” She grabs my arm and marches me into the pool house. Then she holds me at flat-iron point until I put on makeup and change into something nice. My mom is well aware of all the gifts I’ve received from Alex. She’s perceptive enough to surmise this has to do with him.

I consider asking Sidney to stop at the pharmacy on the way to the game so I can buy Ipecac syrup as an emergency backup. With the way my stomach is rolling, I doubt I’ll need it.

Our seats are close to the ice again, only a couple of rows away from the Hawks’ bench. I can’t decide if I’m excited or not. Thankfully, beer helps calm the nerves. Puck bunnies cluck like chickens behind us, but they’re difficult to hear with my mom yapping away beside me. She insists Alex is a lovely young man and informs me I shouldn’t believe the tabloids because they’re full of crap. I snort into my beer and remind her everything they say about Buck is true. This shuts her up.

The butterflies in my stomach grow exponentially when the Hawks take the ice. I slouch in my seat as Alex sits on the bench, his face set in a scowl. It’s a challenge to pay attention to the game while trying not to stare at him. He’s shaved since I saw him last, and he doesn’t look so beat up. My beaver drools in my underwear.

Some drama has taken place while I’ve been staring; everyone in the arena is on their feet, people either cheering or yelling. The whistle blows, and Alex jumps the boards. Moving with fierce grace, he snatches the puck from his opponent, pivots, and barrels across the ice.

A powdery cloud follows Alex as he comes to an abrupt stop. He raises his stick and brings it through with swift surety. Everything slows as the puck hurtles toward the goalie. Breath frozen in my lungs, I grip the armrests, waiting. Like every other die-hard fan, I shoot out of my seat, screaming enthusiastically as the puck races past the goalie into the net. Alex scores an awful lot of goals.

The game is full of action. At one point the opposition scores, briefly tying it up. The Hawks take the lead again at the end of the second period with another incredible goal. This time, Alex manages to stay out of the time-out box and the Hawks take the win.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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