The Good Luck Charm Page 54

I take a few selfies—something I don’t usually do—first of me kissing the dog tags and another of me wearing them. The chain is long, so they sit quite nicely in my cleavage, which is pretty great at the moment, considering my yoga top. I send the pictures to Ethan along with a thank-you.

My phone buzzes less than a minute later, my stomach knotting as I answer the video call. “Hi.”

“Is this okay?” He’s in a hotel room, shirtless.

“The view you mean?”

He grins and laughs. “I meant me calling. I’m glad they got there. I was worried they’d be late getting to you.”

“Thank you for these.” I finger the dog tags.

Ethan’s eyes are soft. “They look good on you. You’re gonna rock that exam tomorrow, baby.”

My stomach dips over the endearment, his sweet expression, his thoughtfulness. “It’s been nonstop studying around here the past week, so I have my fingers crossed. How’s everything there?”

“Good. Just getting ready to head to the rink for practice.”

“I should let you go, then.” There’s awkwardness for a moment. “Good luck out there tomorrow night if I don’t talk to you before then.”

“Thanks, baby, but you don’t need luck if you’ve got skill.” He winks and we both laugh.

I end the call feeling both lighter and heavier. I miss him and now I have this piece of him.

Even though I don’t buy into superstitions all that much, I find myself touching the smooth steel of the dog tags the next evening during my exam. I press them to my lips as I answer question after question. I only struggle with one problem; the rest I seem to breeze through. I leave the exam feeling confident that I’ve done well, and I’m finishing the semester and the course on a high.

I get home in time to watch the last period of Ethan’s game. I pour a well-deserved drink and settle in, excited to see that Minnesota is up one goal. They keep the lead and Ethan manages an assist with three minutes to go. LA can’t catch up, and Minnesota takes the win. I send Ethan a quick message:

Lilah: Nice work on the ice tonight—no good luck charms necessary.

It’s a long while before I hear from him, likely because of postgame interviews and time spent in the locker room. I’m already cozied up in bed and half-asleep by the time I get a response.

Ethan: Mad skills here. You kill the exam?

Lilah: You know it.

Ethan: That’s my girl. What’re you up to now?

Lilah: In bed. Early morning for me.

I don’t get a response right away, which is a bit of a surprise all considering, so I fire another text off, second-guessing myself as soon as I hit Send.

Lilah: No innuendo about me being in bed?

Ethan: I kept those all in my head. I’m trying to be good over here, and you baiting me is unhelpful. Go to sleep so you don’t mess this up for me.

Lilah: Night <3

Ethan: Sweet dreams, baby.

When Ethan comes home the next day and stops by with flowers, I suggest we go out for a postexam, game-win celebration drink. He doesn’t invite himself in afterward, and he doesn’t try to kiss me—well, not on the lips. All I get is a peck on the cheek, and when I try to give him back the dog tags, he tells me to hold on to them until my exam results come in.

Even without the tags, they win the next two home games and head back to LA, hopefully to finish out the series and move on to the finals.


Wednesdays have secretly become my favorite day at work because that’s when Emery comes in for her weekly PT and a checkup. She’s a bright light in my week. It’s been long weeks of hard work for her, but she’s recovered well, and based on her progress, she’ll be able to return to the soccer field soon.

I peek into the physio room, taking a moment to watch her as she goes through the exercises, determination making her push hard. As happy as I am to see her doing so well, I’m a little sad that she’ll be done with treatment soon and I won’t get to see her anymore. I’ve grown attached to her, which isn’t something that usually happens with patients, but then I don’t often see them on a weekly basis like this. Which is maybe why becoming a practitioner is so appealing, especially if I get to work with families. I’ll be able to see progress as it happens, as I have with Emery. I feel like I can really make a difference.

She waves when she spots me at the doorway. “Check this out, Lilah!” She does some kind of move that would probably pull all sorts of muscles if I were to try it.

“Looking good.”

“Right? Dr. Lovely said one more week and he thinks I’m clear to play summer league. Took forever, but it’s been so worth it.”

I mirror her enthusiastic smile. “That’s fantastic news.”

“I know.” Her grin falls a bit and she fiddles with her ponytail. “I’m kinda sad I won’t have a reason to come here anymore, though.”

“Miss checking out the lovely doctor?” I cross over to where she’s standing.

Her smile returns, impish this time. “It really is too bad he’s so old. Maybe when I’m of legal drinking age, he’ll be interested.”

I laugh at the idea that midthirties is old to her. “May I request that you don’t break anything else in order to test that theory, please?”

“Uh, yeah. I have zero plans to break any more bones. Um, I don’t know if this is, like, allowed or whatever, but maybe, I don’t know … we could keep in touch once I’m not a patient here anymore? Or you could, like, come see a game or something if that’s not allowed.”

“I would love that.” And honestly, I probably would’ve found myself at a game even if I hadn’t had a direct invitation, but this certainly makes that easier. “Actually, I might be taking some courses there in the fall.”


“Yup, so maybe we can meet up for coffee, or something.”

She claps her hands and does a little jumpy thing before throwing her arms around me. She releases me before I can return the embrace. “Awesome. I’m staying to take extra courses this summer, and it looks like I get to keep my lifeguarding job, so I’ll be around.”

“What’s the boy situation looking like?”

She makes a face. “I went out with this guy last week, but he thought coffee would get him an invitation back to my apartment. There’s a graduate student in my building who offered to help me study for my human biology final, and I totally wouldn’t mind if it ended up being hands-on.” She nudges me with her elbow and gives me an exaggerated wink.

I laugh at that. “Just make sure you’re safe about the hands-on part.”

“Oh my God! Do not do that parent thing with me. I already have a mother who is way too interested in having those kinds of conversations. Oh! Speaking of parents, you’ll probably meet them. They’re picking me up today.”

“Are they here for a visit?”

“Yeah. They’re driving across the country in an RV for fun. They’ve already done the entire West Coast, so they figured they’d head this way before they go south again. I swear, my dad has no idea how to relax. They’ve gone on, like, four trips already, and he’s only been retired for four months. Anyway, they’re stopping here for a few days. Personally I think my parents are kind of having a hard time with me not coming back for the summer and this is their way of managing, since I’m pretty much their only kid.”

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