“You about ready?” Emily asked her friend who was in the process of scrunching her hair. They were both showered and dressed now, but still a bit out of it. They both had on short pairs of shorts and tank tops. Emily’s being purple and Ashley’s blue.
“As ready as I’m gonna get.” Ashley shrugged, giving her hair a final spray to keep the waves just right. Emily on the other hand just put her hair into a messy bun. She didn’t have time to dry it yet so she figured the lazy up do was good enough for now. The guys’ game wasn’t until five, she would have time to freshen up before then.
The two girls slipped on their flip flops, turned out the lights and left the room. They walked towards the elevator, and found Max waiting for the door to slide open.
“Mornin’ ladies.” He smiled warmly when he noticed them.
“Hey Max.” Ashley nodded, giving a grin.
“Late night wit yo boys?” Max chuckled.
“Uh-huh.” Ash mumbled as she yawned. She was not a morning person.
“Is everybody else already down there?” Emily asked, changing the subject.
“I don’t think everyone is but I know your sister and Leah are. And so are Geno, Jordy, and Sid, so I’m assuming Ashlen is too. Those are the only ones I know for sure.” He replied and Emily nodded.
The elevator doors slid open and their conversation died off as they stepped inside.
Max studied Em’s face as she stood, leaning against the handrail on the wall of the small elevator. She looked tired, but still pretty. He could tell she hadn’t put on any makeup, but it wasn’t necessary anyway. Her eyes held a look of pain in them as she stared off into space. He could tell what she was thinking by reading her expression.
“He told me he meant it. Geno, loving you, that is.” Max told her, in French, answering the question she chose not to ask.
Ashley raised an eyebrow, confused.
“Do you think he’s completely serious?” Emily asked calmly in response, “Do you honestly think he’s in love with me?”
“I don’t know. He says he is, but he can’t know for sure. You two haven’t even been dating two weeks yet.”
With her arms folded and a scowl on her face, Ashley sighed. She knew they spoke French when they were hiding something, and she felt completely left out. But, the fact that she had a massive headache already kept her from objecting to their use of the foreign language.
“Max, were you being serious when you told me not to drink anything last night? Did Geno really tell you he was going to try to have sex with me?” Emily looked at him with a solemn expression. Her eyes were wide, reminding him of a sad puppy. He had prayed she wouldn’t bring this conversation up again, but now she had and he had to come up with an answer fast.
“Well, not in so many words…”
“Max, you basically told me he was going to get me drunk and rape me.”
“Whoa, whoa. I never said that!” He protested, though as he thought back that probably is what he made it sound like.
“Then why did you tell me not to drink anything?” Emily asked, not quite angry at him, but confused.
Max shrugged a bit, his hands in his pockets, “It was just precautionary.” He said, “I’m a guy, I know how guys think. I know what we want and do when we’ve got some booze in our system and its late at night and we’re alone with a hot girl. I figured if you were sober, he wouldn’t be able to take advantage of you if it came to that. Plus, look at Ash. She obviously got trashed last night. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t wanna feel that today, right?”
Emily nodded, considering what he was saying, “It’s not like I feel much better anyway, though. You had me worried sick the whole night, emphasis on the sick.” Her hand rested on her upset stomach, “But, I mean, thanks for looking out for me I guess.”
The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open, revealing the lobby area of the hotel. Ashley walked out ahead of the other two towards the restaurant. Max placed a hand on Emily’s shoulder as they followed.
“You’re not mad at me, are you?” He asked, returning to using English.
Emily turned to meet his gaze. He was smiling innocently, and even if she actually was mad at him, it’d be impossible not to forgive that face. “No, Max. I’m not mad.”
All seven heads turned to look in the direction Leah was looking, an uneasy expression covering her face. When they all saw what she had, they knew why.
Dan Bylsma was staring directly at Jordan from across the room, his arms folded across his chest and an eyebrow raised up high, accenting the displeased look the rest of his face showed. He was slowly shaking his head, making whatever disapproval he was feeling more apparent.
“Shit.” Jordan cursed only loud enough for his table to hear. He quickly looked away from Dan and down at his coffee.
Lauren, Tyler, Sidney, Ashlen, and Marc-Andre cracked up.
“I knew you weren’t gonna get away with it! I just knew it!” Tyler exclaimed, still laughing out loud.
“Oh, shut the hell up.” Jordan demanded, but no one listened. “You don’t know if that’s why he was looking at me like that. Maybe he’s mad cause I took the last hash brown.”
“Oh, yeah. That must be it.” Lauren agreed sarcastically. Her and TK just kept laughing.
“Face it, Jordy.” Sidney smiled, “You’re in trouble and you know it.”
“First of all, if I’m in trouble so is my boy Geno, here.” Jordan stated, Geno just shrugged, “Second of all, if we were in trouble, wouldn’t Coach be coming over here and saying something to us bout it?”
“That’s true.” Geno agreed, though he wasn’t so sure.
Marc-Andre laughed, “All I have to say is I hope you guys brought cash. A lot of cash.”
Ashley was the first of the three to enter the restaurant. She immediately spotted Jordan and went over to him and the rest of his table, Max and Emily following close behind.
“Morning baby.” Ashley greeted her boyfriend with a kiss. He motioned for her to sit on his lap, so she did.
Max took a seat by Sid and Geno, leaving Emily with her own boyfriend’s lap. Before she could sit down, however, she was called from a voice across the room.
“Jordan, Geno, Ashley and Emily.” Dan Bylsma’s voice yelled sternly, “I need to speak with you four, now.”
“Shit.” Jordan swore for the second time.
“What’s going on?” Ashley asked as she stood up.
“You guys are screwed!” Lauren sang with a grin.
The two girls and their boyfriends stood from their seats, looked at each other without speaking, but didn’t make an attempt to follow Dan. That is until he yelled, “Now!” again.
Their table, along with the others occupied by Penguins, didn’t try to hide their amusement as the four of them walked past and towards the room Dan had just entered. Emily could guess what this was all about. Dan was probably going to say he knew about them sneaking out last night, that broke the rules and Evgeni and Jordan would each owe him a thousand dollars. For a couple of million dollar making hockey players, one grand wasn’t going to kill them. She figured this wouldn’t take long, and then she would be able to get some breakfast.
“I told ya the kiddos were gonna break the rules.” She heard Billy Guerin chuckle right before they left the restaurant and were in a small, dimly lit room. It had a desk, some chairs, a television set and some plants. Dan was seated at the desk when they walked in.
“Have a seat.” He said calmly, and they did as they were told. “I expect you know why I called you in here?” Dan continued.
Jordan, not ready to be convicted just yet, tried a last ditch effort to get out of it before it began, “I’m sorry, Sir. I haven’t eaten my hash brown yet, you’re welcome to have it if you’d like.”
“Excuse me?” Dan asked, not having a clue as to what Jordan was speaking of. The looks on the girl’s faces showed that they didn’t either.
Jordan looked around innocently, “Oh, you mean this isn’t about the hash browns?”
“What? No. No, this isn’t about hash browns.” Coach was still confused, but he tried to stay serious, “I have reason to believe that the four of you snuck out of the hotel late last night and went to the beach.” He said, looking each one of them in the eyes as he spoke with confidence.
Emily and Ashley looked at each other and then at their boyfriends, who were looking back at them. There was no way to get out of it now. But leave it to Jordan to try.
“The beach? Late last night? Snuck out? Us?” He sounded utterly shocked with the accusation. “You must be mistaken, Coach. I assure you we did not partake in any such activities.”
It was tough to hold back the grin that was making its way to Emily’s face as Jordan spoke. There was no possible way anyone would buy a word the boy was saying.
“Oh, I apologize then. It’s my mistake. Of course you guys didn’t do that.” Dan said, a hint of sarcasm stood out in his voice, “But before I let you guys go, maybe you could help identify these people for me so I can figure out who really snuck out.”
With the click of a button on Dan’s remote, the TV set turned on and a black and white overhead video of the inside of an elevator was on the screen.
“Let me fast forward. Maybe you can identify these faces.” Coach fast forwarded to when a familiar group of four people stepped inside the elevator. Two boys and two girls.
“Going down.” Ashley said on the screen and she pressed the button. Dan paused the tape then. The shot gave a relatively clear picture of each one of their faces. It was obvious it was them.
When none of them said a word, Dan spoke up, “So doesn’t ring a bell?” He asked, “Here, how about I fast forward it to a little later. Maybe you’ll be able to make out the faces better.”
The images on the screen sped up until Dan finally pressed play right before the part where the four of them got back in the elevator to go back up to their rooms. “This is my favorite part.” Dan whispered while on-screen Ashley exclaimed, “That was fun!”.
“And we made it back without getting caught!” Jordan cringed, watching as he shot himself in the foot, “Suck on that, Danny B!”
Dan turned the volume down but left it play as he stood up. “So enough with the games, kids.” He stated calmly, “You didn’t take me seriously when I said I’d fine you if you broke the rules. But here we are, doing just that.”
“You want it in cash?” Jordan asked, done messing around. He reached for his back pocket to get his wallet.
“I didn’t even tell you how much you owe yet.” Dan smirked.
“Yeah, you said a thousand dollars, right?” Ashley said, though the look on his face made her unsure.
“Ashley, Ashley, Ashley. I did say a thousand dollars, that is correct.” He was pacing back and forth now, still smirking as he talked, “But I said a thousand dollars per rule that is broken.”
Emily and Evgeni looked at each other, unaware of the number of rules they could have possibly broken. As they recalled, Dan hadn’t even told them all of the rules he had. Geno took her hand in his as they sat there waiting for Coach to continue.
“Do any of you want to take a guess at how many rules the four of you broke last night? Any one? Geno, how bout you. Take a guess.”
Geno’s eyes moved from Emily to Dan. He shrugged, “Four?”
“Oooh, good guess, but no.” Coach was quite obviously amused with himself, “How bout you, Em. Take a guess.”
“Um, I don’t know. Five?” She guessed. All she really wanted to do was go eat and get out of this cramped room. She was beginning to feel claustrophobic.
“Noooo. Not five. Ashley?”
Ashley shrugged, “Seven?”
“Wrong again.” Dan chuckled, “Jordan, what do you think? How many rules did you four break?”
“How bout you just tell us, Coach.” He replied.
“Fifteen. You somehow managed to break fifteen rules in one night. Fifteen.” Dan looked and sounded serious again. He picked up a piece of paper from his desk and read its contents aloud, “Sneaking out of the hotel. Staying out past curfew. Disturbing the peace. Male and female contact after hours. Drinking an excess amount of alcohol. Drinking that alcohol on an alcohol free beach. Littering. Lying. Insulting the coach. Insulting the coach’s intelligence. Public display of affection. Breaking and entering. Trespassing on private property. Breaking the rules. And thinking you weren’t going to get caught.”
“I object!” Jordan exclaimed when all fifteen ‘rules’ were stated.
“Overruled!” Dan shot back.
“Coach, come on.” Geno said, his voice pleading for him to say he was kidding. None of them thought all of those rules were legit. Obviously sneaking out and trespassing were a couple ones they couldn’t argue with, but Dan’s last two sounded like ones he pulled out of his ass.
“I assume none of you have fifteen thousand dollars on hand at the moment,” Dan continued, ignoring Geno’s last comment, “But Jordan, Geno, you guys owe me the money by next week. Got it?”
Jordan sighed, “Coach, you’re being a bit unreasonable..”
“Got it?” Dan repeated, not caring about Jordan’s protesting.
“Got it, Coach. We’re sorry. Not happen again.” Geno said for everyone. He could tell Emily and Ashley weren’t comfortable being stuck in the situation. He didn’t think the money was that big of a deal, especially for the two of them. They had enough that it wouldn’t hurt them much at all. But Jordan wasn’t worried about the money, he was more concerned with his pride. Jordy knew the guys would mess with him about the whole thing. It wouldn’t be the first time he did something he shouldn’t have and got caught in the process. This would hurt his non existing bad-ass reputation.
“Thank you, Geno. This ought to be the last time you boys defy me. I’m not afraid to add on to that list and your bill. Don’t try anything funny tonight. You can still go to that festival and enjoy yourselves, just don’t do anything that you know will cost you.” Dan said, seriously, “We’re here to play hockey. I said it once and I’ll say it again. You guys need to focus if you wanna repeat this year.”
“Dan,” Ashley began, her voice quiet, “Are you mad at us?”
By us, Dan knew she meant her and Emily. She felt bad, thinking that she was responsible for the lack of focus Jordan was showing. She didn’t want to be the reason for the Pens to lose the cup this year. And she didn’t want Dan to think she was.
He shook his head, “No Ashley, I’m not mad. But I don’t want it to happen again. Okay?”
“It won’t. I promise.” She swore.
“Good. Now go get some breakfast.” Dan smiled, “As for you boys, let’s make a deal. For every goal either one of you score today, I’ll take a thousand dollars off of your total.”
“What about assists?” Jordan asked, liking the sound of Dan’s proposition so far.
“Five hundred. Sound good?” He replied.
“Sounds very good.” Jordy smiled. He was getting a good feeling about this game.
Dan nodded, “Alright then. It’s a deal. Now get outta here.”
“Thank you, Coach.” Geno said as he stood up to leave.
“No, thank you.” Dan smiled, hoping that some good would come out of this. Preferably in the form of a win.