I slipped out of the car, gazing around at the crowd that was heading towards the small entrance of the massive arena with wide eyes. They were loud and getting aggressive already and I looked at my roommate Shelly with a doubtful expression.
“Are you sure about this?” I asked her as she laughed and gave me a reassuring smile.
“I am. This team is everything to this town, Holly. They’re excited but they’re not going to kill you or anything like that. Promise.” Her deep blue eyes were warm and sparkling and I bit my lip, making her laugh.
Shelly grew up in Calgary with her family and her brother signed on with the pro team last year. She lived hockey her entire life since Logan was a few years older than we were. The pride that she felt for him was like a halo around her every time she mentioned the team or Logan. Shelly was a vibrant person to begin with though. She led the way to the doors, and we waited in the crowd until we walked inside.
Shelly took an immediate right, and we walked to box seats that were located at center ice. Her dad already had season tickets as a hockey fan and just upgraded for this year. I marveled at the large space with seats, a large glass window for watching, and access to a buffet and drinks just a few feet away. Her parents were already there, and my heart dropped as I met them for the first time. We went to college a few towns over and I usually visited my family in New York for the holidays. We were still in our first year of college and this was so new to me. So overwhelming.
Her mom hugged me, and her dad did the same. They were walking around the generous space as other family members arrived and I inhaled slowly and walked to the glass to look down at the ice. The team was skating out there in their uniforms but no helmets. It was obviously a practice before the actual game but still intense as I let my eyes move over them. I knew that Logan was number 23 and found his jersey, taking in the gorgeous man in person as he grinned at one of the players. He resembled his family with the same blue eyes and warm smile and I watched him for a moment as I took in the moment alone. His hair was more of a chocolate brown, but Shelly had hers colored into a bright red. She had since I met her. It was anyone’s guess what her natural hair color was, and I’d never asked.
I jumped as she popped up beside me, handing me a cup. I glanced at her to see her smiling down at the ice.
“What is this?” I asked as she giggled.
“It’s iced tea. I want to keep our good seats, Holly. I also don’t need to be drunk to feel the high of being here.” Her joy was written all over her pretty face and I laughed before sipping the drink.
I came here for college to get away from New York. It was beautiful in Canada and I had an aunt living here in case I needed anything. It was far enough away from home to feel like I was independent with the comfort of my wonderful aunt nearby. I liked it.
I sipped the tea, relieved to find out that it was just that. Shelly loved to have a good time and when I first met her, I didn’t think that we’d get along. She liked to go out and have fun without being a complete drunk and bashed. I liked her. I was just the shy girl out of the two of us. Shelly was also responsible and wouldn’t drive us home after drinking. I trusted her that way. I did within the first week of living with her.
The arena darkened, and everyone gathered at the glass as the introduction to the game began. It was all lights in the team colors and an enthusiastic announcer. I couldn’t help but feel the excitement in the room as well as the entire arena and I watched as guys started to skate around in the dim light.
The family was bouncing with excitement as they announced the guys playing, one of which was Logan. They screamed, and I jerked in surprise and Shelly grabbed my hand. She told me about how much everyone wanted this for Logan for years. They weren’t pressuring him to achieve it but were thrilled when he did.
The lights came up, and the teams moved to the middle of the rink. I dropped into one of the seats and took it all in, joined by Shelly. I didn’t get the specifics but loved watching the guys move flawlessly on their skates in sharp turns and fast movements. I picked up on the way they communicated on the ice and watched as they passed the puck to one another. It was addictive.
By the first intermission, I was as jumpy as everyone around me. Logan was a good player, and it showed. He missed his first goal in the NHL by mere inches, but the shot was incredible. Shelly dragged me to get some food at the buffet and we discussed everything over our plates. She explained what I was uncertain about and her parents joined us, explaining even more. I fell in love with the entire family by the end of the game and we all left together to meet Logan for dinner. He reserved a room at Vine, a popular steakhouse in the city.
“Doesn’t he go out with the team after a game?” I asked Shelly as we walked to her car in the parking lot.
“I guess so. Tonight, he wanted to celebrate with all of us. First game and all.” She smiled as the wind blew the hem of her oversized jersey boasting his name up slightly, making her look tinier than she already was. “He got the private room for us. He might bring some of the guys along. I could only hope so!! Did you see some of them? Hotter than hot.” She laughed, and I joined her as she unlocked her door.
“There were some cute ones out there. They’re so… capable? I don’t know.” I slipped into the passenger seat and watched as cars sat in lines around us.
“They’re hot as fuck,” she barked out as I gave her a surprised look. “Seriously. I have had several crushes since I could see. Logan forbid me to ever date any of his team members or anyone involved in hockey at all. I’m sure he’ll still try to pull that card with me.” She laughed. Shelly looked around at the cars. “If we ever get there. At this rate, I’ll never meet any hockey players ever again.”
Within an hour, we were on the street and heading towards the restaurant. It was in a great part of the city with open windows to see all the lights of the buildings surrounding it. I looked around the crowded dining room as we walked through to the private room. Even that had a window to highlight the city. I recognized all the family from the game and there were a few other faces filling the space.
Logan was leaning against the wall, sipping something in a glass. Shelly ran across the room and he managed to hug her without spilling it as I watched with a smile. His love for his sister was evident on his face and she pulled back to tell him something.
Shelly turned to gesture at me to join them as my heart dropped in my chest. His eyes locked on mine as I stumbled forward on shaking legs.