Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Clear as Ice - #HockeyFiction Prompt Six

Prompt six is defensemen.  
Previous prompts are here: Prompt one, Prompt two, Prompt three, and Prompt four, prompt five.

There was an advantage to needing to go straight to meeting the junior girls team right after the game.  No press interviews.  Al usually tried to skip press interviews after Piranhas games anyway.  He couldn't win with the rivalry stuff, either he agreed there was one and spent every interview talking about it all the time, or he skipped and the press speculated that he wouldn't talk to them because he was so emotional or some nonsense. 

But Al had showered and changed into street clothes that he hadn't sweat buckets into and he found he didn't mind needing to stop and meet up with the junior players.  He wondered if Sienna had stayed.  He didn't care of course, it was just curiosity.  She had been good with the junior players at least.  Some of the folks who got invited to games and got special attention seemed the treat the whole experience like they were some sort of royalty.  Like the players owed them something.  Something more than just the game itself.

"Hey, Stop, you in a hurry?" Spruce, one of the defensemen, asked. 

"Meeting with the junior team that played the period break.  And then I get to go home. You off?"  Al asked.

"Yeah, I'm all set.  No one ever wants to hear from defense after the game."
"Are you telling me you're sad not to talk to the press?" Al shook his head and continued down the hallway. 

"They are missing out on my sparkling Bull Durham impressions, but no.  Do you need help talking to the junior girls team?"  Spruce winked.

"Ew," Al said, "tell me you did not just wink about teenagers."  Spruce was twenty-two so one of the younger players on the team, but still. 

"Yeah, no, not horning on high schoolers.  But come on, we all know who's waiting with the high schoolers."  Spruce wiggled his eyebrows.

Al shook his head and shoved Spruce.  "You are incorrigible." 

"Do you think that will go over better or worse than unstoppable?" 

Al rolled his eyes.  He looked over at Spruce.  "Do you really want to meet this Sienna, or are you just bored?"

"Why can't it be both?"

"Are you able to behave in front of the junior team?" 

"Junior hockey players love me.  I can talk to them about how I save your ass.  Uh, expect I will remember not to say ass.  Probably." 

"You have to explain to Daisy why you were there if anything ridiculous happens.  When something ridiculous happens." 

"Daisy loves me," Spruce said. 

Normally Al would have chuckled, but something in Spruce's tone stopped him.  They were at the door. Al decided to leave it for later.  They went inside.  The junior players were all gathered around Sienna again.  She was sitting on a table, still wearing the jersey they had given her. 

"Here he is," Sienna said, "oh and it looks like he brought reinforcements." 

"Hi, folks," Al said. "I'm sure you know Spruce." 

Two of the players immediately yelled "Spruuuuuuuuuuce!"

"Well," Sienna said. "They have all been helping me learn all the good hockey terms, but I'm sure you all have questions for the real players, so go on ahead." 

"Actually," Spruce said.  "I have a question for Sienna.  Still think volleyball is more fun?" 

Sienna smiled. "Volleyball will always have my heart, but hockey has been amazing to learn about." 

"I say any sport you can play in a bathing suit isn't much of a sport," Spruce said. 

Well, Al thought, it hadn't even occurred to him to worry that Spruce was going to be embarrassing about other sports.

"Oh really?" Sienna said.  "Well does that mean you think just anyone can play volleyball?" 

Al moved his hand, meaning to place it across Spruce's mouth, to yank him or something but he wasn't quite fast enough in the post game state of energy. 

"Volleyball is easy," Spruce said.

"Cool.  Well, then you shouldn't have any trouble playing a game," Sienna said.
Leave it to Spruce, Al thought.  Although really, what he should have done was left Spruce in the hallway.