The Pucking Wrong Number: Chapter 31

LINCOLN

“I miss the old days, when lots of hot sex made you happy,” Ari complained as I threw a puck at him and smirked.

I didn’t miss the old days.

I could barely remember them, actually. I was so lost in this haze of…bedazzlement, it was hard to think of before.

Sometimes I did miss the days when I was capable of rationality…but my sanity was a sacrifice that had to be made.

Monroe’s altar was the only thing I wanted to worship.

Fuck everything else.

“So, it’s good then?” Ari pressed, his smile fading as he stared at me pensively.

I tried to think of how to describe it to my best friend. To make him understand how, in a moment, my whole axis had shifted. How I’d been completely reborn.

“She’s everything,” I finally said simply.

And he nodded. Almost like he got it.

“You guys looked like you were in your own little world last night. It was fucking weird.”

I chuckled, shaking my head as he winked and started wrapping tape around his hockey stick.

My smile faded as I thought for the thousandth time of those three little words she was refusing to say.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

It tore at my skin, burrowing under the surface, like a sliver I couldn’t get out.

I understood she was scared. I was too.

Falling in love with her had been the scariest thing I’d ever done. Knowing that someone existed on the earth that you would do anything for…die for…cut yourself open and bleed out for…it was a heavy, life-altering feeling.

But I’d jumped over the edge with her. Fallen hard in a way I could never come back from.

I loved her. I loved her so much it hurt. Like she’d torn out a piece of my heart and put it in her chest instead, and now I was dependent on her even to breathe.

She’d wanted to keep us a fucking secret?

That had been one of the craziest things I’d ever heard in my life. Women had always wanted me, even as a young kid. They’d follow me around the playground in droves, begging me to be their boyfriend—whatever that meant in first grade.

As I got older, it only grew worse.

I was the perfect gold star alpha hero that women all over the world thirsted for…would do anything for. Any girl I’d slept with or gone to an event with went absolutely nuts on social media, wanting to tell every person alive they’d managed to bag me for one night.

And the girl who had finally captured me, fucking body and soul…wanted to hide us?

Fuck that.

The door to the locker room swung open and in walked Coach. ‘Alright, boys,’ he barked. ‘It’s time to go out there and kick some ass. Don’t do stupid shit, remember how to fucking pass, and let’s bring home a win.’

As Coach finished his speech, the locker room erupted into a loud cheer, with everyone shouting and pounding their sticks on the ground. The energy in the room was electric, and a surge of adrenaline rushed through me as I tightened my skates one more time.

‘Let’s do this, boys!’ I yelled, my voice barely audible over the noise of the others.

The guys around me were all fired up, slapping each other on the back and exchanging fist bumps.

That feeling. It was what every fucking competitor on earth lived for. The feeling you could do anything, your team could do anything…the energy was contagious. We were ready to win.

I gazed around the room, taking it all in, reminding myself how lucky I was to be here. I could never forget this. Could never forget the sacrifice that had gotten me here.

My brother’s sacrifice.

This was my team. The guys I’d gone to battle with countless times before.

“Fuck yeah!” screamed Ari as we headed down the hallway, into the arena.

It was game time.


The puck dropped, and it was on. The crowd roared as the players raced down the ice, and I lost myself in the game. The sound of the skates cutting through the ice, the slap of the puck against the boards, it was all music to my ears.

The energy of the crowd was on crack as they cheered on both teams. Thanks to Ari and I, the team had amassed quite the following over the last few years, and we could be assured of having a good turnout of our fans at every arena in the country.

We were getting close to scoring, and I could feel the tension building. Suddenly, the puck was flying towards me, and I saw my opening.

I deftly maneuvered around the defender, and with one swift move, I flicked the puck towards the goal. The goalie never had a chance as the puck sailed past him and into the net.

“Better luck next time, boys,” I crowed as I skated past Boston’s goalie—a douchebag if there ever was one.

And then I got a brilliant plan. Before I could get tackled by my teammates, I skated right up to the glass in front of Monroe’s seat, just a few rows up, and I stared right at her. She’d been screaming and cheering for me along with most of the arena—even Boston fans loved me—but she quieted right down as I stood in front of her. Monroe eyed me warily, and it only made my grin wider about what I was about to do. I pointed right at her…and then I made a fucking heart sign with my hands as I stared. The crowd went fucking wild, people starting to point at her.

Monroe wasn’t going to play along, though. She shook her beautiful fucking head and stared off…like I’d been throwing up a heart to someone else.

Alright, dream girl. It was on.

I obviously would have to make it clearer.

The second goal I scored was even better. Ari had just slammed an opposing player into the boards, jarring the puck loose. I had already been charging towards the goal, and as soon as I saw the puck come free, I made a quick pivot, snatched it up, and took off with a burst of speed.

I was skating so fast that Boston’s defenders couldn’t keep up with me. I faked left and then right, and then deked the goalie so convincingly that the prick was left sprawling on the ice. The puck sailed into the net with a satisfying thunk, and the crowd went wild.

I went right to the same spot in the glass, catching Monroe’s eye. Once again, I pointed at her and made a heart sign with my hands. The crowd erupted into even louder cheers. Monroe looked away again, a dark blush creeping up her cheeks, but she was grinning that time…and she didn’t shake her head.

Progress.

“Get it, Linc!” Ari roared as he tackled me against the glass, joined by Peters, Jones, and Fredericks.

The adrenaline coursing through me was making my head spin. What a fucking game.

I scored two more goals, and every time, I repeated my actions.

After the fourth goal, when I immediately skated up to the glass and made the heart sign, she didn’t look away. Instead, she finally met my gaze and held it for a long moment, before smiling and glancing down at her lap.

The crowd’s roar almost burst my fucking eardrums. There was definitely no doubt in anyone’s mind at that point that I was talking to her.

As the final buzzer sounded and the game ended–with a Knights win, of course–I skated over to the bench, a heady sense of satisfaction floating through me that I hadn’t felt on the ice in a long time.

I knew I’d played my heart out tonight, both on and off the ice.

And later, as I headed towards the post-game press conference, I couldn’t help but feel a little smug about the next part of my plan.

When I arrived at the podium, I walked in front of it first. And then I slowly did a turn, showcasing the custom jersey my assistant had wrangled up for me.

I could see the confusion on the reporters’ faces as they noticed the name on the back of the jersey. It was Monroe’s last name. There were murmurs and whispers, and then the questions started to fly in.

But it took me a minute to answer them.

Because the most fucking gorgeous girl in the world was standing in the back of the room, a satisfying, awe-struck look all over her pretty face as she stared at me. Her awe morphed into a brilliant smile, and for a second, I was afraid my heart had actually stopped beating.

We just stood there, smiling at each other like fucking clowns, cameras flashing around us.

And I wondered if I’d finally succeeded in chipping past that last wall Monroe had been guarding her heart with.

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