it’s just boys- what’s the worst that can happen?
On The Ice
‘’Took you long enough,’’ Rick took my hand and yanked me inside.
‘’Sorry my brother was acting like a jerk,’’ I apologized.
As usual.
He laughed and adjusted the yellow cap he was wearing. A faded fishing Logo was on it.
‘’Ready for some pasta?’’ he grinned.
I rubbed my stomach.
‘’Yeah let me just go say hi to Coach,’’ I started to go and then realized he was still holding my hand.
His hand kind of felt nice in mine.
‘’Oh um..’’ his face turned red and he let go.
‘’Sorry,’’ he kicked the floor and I rushed away, my heart fluttering.
Coach glanced at me and checked something on the clipboard.
‘’Hey Natalie,’’ he nodded at me.
‘’Hey Coach.’’ Just then Zach ran right into me. I wheezed and stumbled backward.
‘’Oh sorry Nat, is that okay if I call you that?’’ he was breathing heavily.
‘’Um sure,’’ I laughed.
He gave me a thumbs up ran around me and then tagged Liam with two hands. ‘’Got ya!’’ he yelled.
Liam rolled his eyes and pushed his way through PJ and Rick talking loudly.
‘’Welcome to chaos,’’ he held out his hands and gestured to all the boys screaming their heads off.
‘’Your house is really nice by the way,’’ I complimented.
‘’Yes it is nice isn’t it?’’ he looked amused.
‘’It used to be Edna’s but now it’s all to me,’’ he turned around and started yelling at Kenny.
‘’I didn’t do anything!’’ he roared back.
Coach huffed and stormed over to the rest of the people. The door shut and Benny shuffled in, grinning as usual.
‘’BENNY!’’ everybody screamed.
He waved shyly and walked over to me.
‘’Hi. We haven’t actually met. I’m Benny.’’ the machine said.
‘’I’m Natalie,’’ I replied shaking his tiny hand.
‘’What position do you play?’’ the machine asked in a high voice.
‘’A defenseman how about you?’’ I smiled nervously.
It seemed so easy to talk to the machine. Benny fumbled with the keys as he typed quickly. ‘’A forward,’’ the machine said.
‘’I’m pretty good at skating but the first time I did it, I got a concussion!’’ the machine laughed.
‘’Nice,’’ I laughed.
PJ walked over and stepped in front of me. Great. He’s here.
‘’Heyyy Benny it’s me PJ! Remember?’’ he talked very slow and sounded like a moron.
‘’I’m not an idiot or a five-year-old so don’t talk to me like that please,’’ the machine burned.
PJ shook his head.
‘’Whatever, you don’t know what your missing,’’ he muttered.
Um what exactly what he missing?
I snorted loudly.
‘’I think I do,’’ the machine chirped and with that Benny brushed past PJ and into the living room.
PJ turned to me, gnawing his bottom lip.
‘’Looks to me you just got roasted by a kid who can’t talk,’’ I smirked at him.
‘’Uh huh,’’ he looked me up and down.
I crossed my arms over my chest.
‘’What are you doing here? Don’t you know there’s a weight watchers right down the street?’’ he returned the smug smile.
I cleared my throat. Oh no he did not.
‘’Whatever,’’ I turned around and began searching the boys for someone to talk to.
Rick was talking with Benny and Liam and Zach were occupied. Owen and Kenny and Joey.
Which one?
I picked Joey. He didn’t seem that mean.
‘’Hey,’’ I held one arm behind my back awkwardly. He ran a hand through his hair.
‘’Oh hey Natalie’’ he acknowledged.
‘’So, what’s up?’’ I looked at him.
‘’Nothing much. I mean dog has tapeworm though,’’ he pointed out.
I searched for things to say. What was I supposed to say?
‘’Oh, that stinks?’’ I finally muttered.
‘’He’s a big guy he’ll get over it.’’ he waved me off.
‘’What kind is he?’’ I asked.
‘’A pit bull but he’s really nice,’’ he began smiling.
At least we had something we could talk about. I felt myself untense a little bit.
‘’I love pit bulls everybody thinks their mean but if you train them great, their good dogs,’’ I explained.
Joey seemed to relax. His shoulders fell and somehow his gruff voice got softer.
‘’I know! I try to explain it to people but they never listen,’’ he shrugged.
Joey seemed super nice, maybe a little guarded but pretty cool.
’’I used to have a dog. I named him Snoopy,’’ I laughed.
‘’Aww really? What kind was he?’’ he beamed.
‘’A beagle’’ I recalled. Beagles were my favorite dog of all time. They were adorable.
PJ clapped Joey on the back and he stiffened.
‘’Hey flirting with the barbie doll?’’ PJ smirked.
I huffed. He was so annoying and rude! So different from Rick. I clenched my hand up.
‘’N-no, I was just telling her to move,’’ Joey hardened his face.
I stepped back.
‘’But we were just talking about dogs,’’ I stammered.
My heart skipped a beat.
‘’We weren’t talking about anything.’’
Joey glared at me and walked away with PJ on his heels.
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