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The following day was a disaster. No matter how I tried to focus on the power play drills we were running in morning skate, my mind kept leaping between two very different issues, both big failures on my part. One was the fact that I’d sort of been key in drawing attention to Goog’s screw-up which led to him being eyed for a trade. Second was the fact that flashing Taz at Mike had not gotten me the reaction I’d hoped for. A double fail that had kept me tossing all night, trying to find a solution, and feeling like a massive jerk.
Washing off the sweat and stink of ice time, I ran a soapy hand over my inkwork, wondering if maybe I might need a subtler approach. Generally, seeing my abs – which I worked damn hard on – was enough to get me a wink or a pat or at least a nod of appreciation from another man. Soaping Taz vigorously, it came to me that maybe Mike might not be into men. Which would make all that flipping around and jerking off last night a waste of good sleep and semen.
“Hey, you want to go do something tonight?”
I looked to the left and there stood Goog. Lanky, adorable, loyal, affectionate, Goog. My best friend and top winger. How could that donkey dick McAllister be thinking of trading him?
“We could do a movie or something. I hear that gay one is really good,” Goog added as an incentive when I said nothing in reply. My being gay was not a secret, but it hadn’t been heralded in the press. Not all of us were Tennant Rowe, although we longed to be. His skills were the stuff of legend and the hockey HOF. Also, his boyfriend was incredibly hot. But the Rowe name was famous in the hockey world. Tazinski? Not so much. Yet.
“I’m kind of tired. Didn’t get much sleep. I was thinking of doing a night in, maybe read a little.” Goog’s expectant face fell. I instantly felt like a shit sandwich with a side of slaw. “But I’d love to grab a movie. Good and gay sounds perfect.”
Goog smiled widely and we made plans to meet up at nine at the Carlisle Cineplex to see the good gay movie. Mind filled with worry, I dressed, shouted at Alfie to remember to turn the key to the bathroom back into Coach, and walked out into air so cold it could freeze the hair off a Yeti’s balls. Coffee sounded good. If I pumped enough of it into me I might be able to stay awake through the good gay movie.
I left the CBC and my car behind, my attention on the small coffee shop across the street from the barn. The Eenie Beanie Coffee & Art Café was a big draw not only for the players of the Rush but for the college kids who attended Dickinson College, just a few blocks away. Being a liberal arts college, most of the oils and sculptures in the coffee shop were from the students. I loved it here. The place was done in bright yellows and cool blues, with small tables and some of the best coffee I’d come across. I grabbed a table after getting a large coffee with a shot of expresso. I was seated under a painting of a big blue man with kittens for hair which would look amazing in my place right over the couch. Making a note to ask about it before I left, I pulled out my book, peeled off my coat, and settled in to read.
I’d read about a half of a page when a warm tingle of something primal slithered up my spine. I lifted my gaze from the book about the wreck of the Baroque Stefano, a ship that went down off the cape of Australia in 1875. I had this thing for ancient ships and shipwrecks, which is why I majored in maritime archeology at Mercyhurst. Someday – after hockey – I had plans to go back to school and get my major then I could submerge myself in underwater excavations. That submerge joke is an old one. Heard it from one of my professors before a summer dive on Lake Erie. Man, I missed those dives and poking around old wrecks…
Glancing up from the pages yet unread, my gaze met Mike’s. He stood about three feet away, large cup of something highly caffeinated in one hand, a leather satchel in the other, eyes wide and sight locked on me. Or, my book. His eyes lifted from my reading material. I smiled. He gaped. It was a look that I was used to. Most people assume hockey players are big dumb oxen, violent and stupid. I might get rowdy on the ice, but I am not stupid. Aggressive and assertive, yeah, I’ll cop to those, but not stupid. Far from stupid.
“I have an extra seat,” I said, pushing at the chair beside me with my foot. Mike’s gaze flew around the packed coffee shop and then, with a sigh that was visible, he took the offered seat.
“Thanks,” he said, placed his goodies to the small round table, and began unwrapping the pale green scarf from around his neck. “That’s some interesting reading material,” he said as he peeled off his scarf.
“For a hockey player, you mean?” I sat back and folded my arms over my chest.
His brown eyes rounded. God, but he was cute. “What? No, I wasn’t going to say that at all. I’ve worked with enough athletes to know that those old stereotypes about all jocks being knuckle-dragging apes is garbage.”
Well, guess he told me. I liked that sassy underside of him. I wiggled around in my creaky chair, my cock way more interested in Mike than it had been in nautical archaeology involving old shipwrecks. Maybe it was the hint of his cologne – fresh and spicy – that was fueling the fantasy of me sucking him off in the men’s room as people ordered latte just ten feet away. He’d like it. I’d make sure he did…
“Glad to hear it. So, Mikey, what have you got for me?”
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