I have been looking forward to tonight all week. Even though the start of the season has kept me busy with longer practices and team meetings, the days have felt like they've dragged on not being able to see Logan. But it's Friday, and I finally get to see her. I haven't had to opportunity to lay my eyes on her beautiful face since Monday. I did try to casually run into her between classes, knowing her schedule because it happens to be the same as Marc's, but my timing never worked out. I even swung by Marc's room a couple of times for no reason, hoping she would be there, but she never was.

I've tried to avoid texting her too much, hoping that my absence would cause her to miss me and realize that she feels just as strongly for me as I do for her. Though, judging by our few flirty and banter-filled text exchanges this week, I have a feeling that she has already come to that conclusion.

I was going to go straight to her place after practice, but I decided to swing by my house first and grab something to sleep in, in the hopes that I'll get to stay with her again. I haven't had a decent night of sleep since I was with her last, and the memory of her warm body next to mine is the only thing that got me through those sleepless nights.

As I pull up to my house, I hear music bumping from inside, then notice a crowd of people spilling out onto the lawn with red cups in their hands. There wasn't supposed to be a party tonight, but it's becoming more apparent the closer I get to the house, that there is. The alumni game is tomorrow afternoon, and we always host a massive party for all the graduate players afterward. Since we have to play tomorrow, tonight was supposed to be a night off from drinking for the team, even though tomorrow's game is just for fun.

When I open the front door, the first person I see is the last person I wanted to. "I've been waiting for you," Alyssa says as she grabs my hand and cocks her head, giving me a seductive smirk.

I ignore her words and pull her hand off mine without responding to her advances. I sure as shit learned my lesson last week.

I spot Cam just a few feet away in the kitchen. "Cam!" I yell over the music. "What the hell is going on?" I look around the packed house, frustrated.

"Maddison!" He shouts as he approaches and hands me a beer.

"There wasn't supposed to be a party tonight. We have to play tomorrow," I remind him.

"Chill out, Captain. That game doesn't matter." Cam rolls his eyes. "Don't look at me; I didn't know this was going down. I just got home ten minutes before you did." He holds his hands up in defense before proudly looking around the crowded house. "But Jay is in town, and he's the one who made this happen."

"Jay is here?" I ask, surprised. I didn't expect him to be in town until tomorrow. I would've never made plans if I knew he would be here, simply because I know he won't let me get away without partying with him.

"Yeah, man! I don't know where he ran off too, but he's around somewhere," Cam tells me excitedly, before chugging the rest of his beer and heading towards the keg for a new one.

Jay was a senior here when I was a freshman. I wouldn't necessarily call him a friend, but he was sort of a mentor to me in my first year. He was the big man on campus until he graduated, and I filled his role. I followed in his footsteps when it came to how I played on the ice as well as the reputation I earned among the ladies. He was on the way to play professionally when he blew out his ACL his senior year, and ever since, Jay has made it his mission that I would live out the dream that he would never have.

I set the beer down that Cam gave me on the closest surface I can find and start making my way towards the stairs. I try to move quickly so that Jay and the rest of the guys won't notice me. I just need to get to my room, grab a change of clothes, and slip out of here unnoticed. I'm looking forward to hanging with Jay, but that can wait until tomorrow as I had initially planned.  1

 

I quickly barge through the crowd of people. The stairs are only a few feet away when I hear someone say, "Where do you think you're going, kid?"

There is no way to get out of this now. I sigh in defeat as I turn around to give my old mentor a hug. "Jay, what's up, man?" I ask as I swing my arm around his back for a quick masculine embrace.

"Not much, just waiting for your scrawny ass to get here and have a drink with me," He says as he playfully punches me in the shoulder.

"I haven't been scrawny since my freshman year, and we both know it." I give him a cocky grin.

"Hey, I heard you got named Captain today, man. Congrats." He lifts his drink to me in a cheers motion before taking a chug from the cup.

"Thanks, man. But it's not that big of a deal. I've been Captain for the last three years," I remind him as I glance up towards the stairs, wishing I would've made it up there before getting recognized. 

"Well, it's a big deal every year, so come have a celebratory drink with me," He says as he nods towards the kitchen. "It's not every day that U of M's greatest hockey player of all time comes back to town," He teases, referring to himself.

"Pfft. You know I took that title a long time ago, right?" I arrogantly remind him.

"Mmm-hmm," He hums. "We still have to see about that." He finishes his drink. "You get called up to the NHL, and I'll proudly hand over my title," He says, causing my anxiety to seep through again.

Since I met Logan a couple of weeks ago, the unease I feel about my unknown future has decreased. She's been a distraction for me in both good and bad ways, but without her here to pull my thoughts in a different direction, suddenly, all I can think about is the pressure on my chest caused by Jay's words. 

"C'mon, let's grab a drink," Jay insists as he starts towards the kitchen.

"I can't, man. I have plans," I tell Jay as he stops in his tracks and turns back to face me.

"What plans? Cancel them." He shrugs as if my course of action should be obvious.

"I can't. It's for a school project." 1

"Absolutely not." He shakes his head at me. "Since when do you give a shit about school, especially on a Friday night?"

"Since now." I shrug, trying to stand firm against him.

"Is there a chick involved? You trying to get laid tonight? Just have her come here." He looks at me, confused.

"No, it's nothing like that," I quickly tell him as I shake my head. Even though there is a girl involved, there is absolutely no way in hell that I'm letting Jay near Logan tonight. I don't need him to know about her yet. He will be the first to remind me that I don't need any distractions outside of hockey, right before he tried to sleep with her.

"Well, then I'm sorry, kid, but you're staying," He says with finality, but I don't budge.

He pauses before changing his tactic. "At least stay and have one drink with me. I haven't seen you for months, Maddison," He pleads with a softer, less demanding edge.

I don't know if its the pressure I feel to fill this status quo of being who everyone thinks I am, or if I just feel bad leaving Jay hanging that causes me to agree.