“Who do you think it is?”
“Shut up, Mike.” Brooks hissed under his breath as he pulled his pads on for practice.
Somehow he’d been able to avoid Emily as she picked up Cosmo after she’d arrived back at the apartment, and Brooks was in the clear as far as calling her ‘work place’ went. He’d explained everything to Mike, who in turn had lied to Emily and told her that he just wanted to know when she’d be back.
It seemed to work anyway, cause at this moment Emily was hanging out with Cosmo somewhere, supposedly oblivious to the thickening plot that was developing around her and Brooks. “Think its Jose? I think its Jose… you should go punch him.”
“Mike!” Brooks snapped, slamming the roll of hockey tape down on the bench in between them. “Even if it was… I’m not going to punch anyone. I have no reason to… she’s at perfect liberty to fuck whoever she wants.”
He tried to keep his tone even but he was sure Mike could probably hear how much he didn’t agree with what he was saying.
Wasn’t there some kind of law that said a girl couldn’t fuck multiple guys on the same team?
Even so, Brooks lifted his head and shot an angry glare at Jose as the goalie laughed along with something Semin was saying. He shook his head, trying to clear away any ill emotions he was feeling, but that became almost impossible as Ovechkin came into the room. “Just what I needed today.” Brooks sighed, glancing over at Mike who was waving to the loud Russian; his eyes wide like he was in complete awe, as usual. “Jesus Christ.” Brooks murmured as he got up and pulled his shoulder pads on.
“I’m so serious right now! You need to fucking see what she can do… I was railing her but she was doing some weird fucking gymnastics shit.” Ovie continued as he moved through the locker-room towards his stall. “I can’t even explain to you how good this girl can fuck.”
The next time Brooks looked down at Mike, he was no longer watching Ovie.
Their eyes met and Mike made a quick jerk with his head, as if trying to tell Brooks to not do whatever he was thinking about doing. Brooks and Ovie had had a few run-ins before, and it never ended up in Brooks’ favor, especially not once Boudreau got involved.
Brooks tried to keep that in mind, tried to keep himself focused on getting ready, but he couldn’t. “Backstrom… you need to see the titties on this girl.”
“Enough!” Brooks finally spat, turning around to face a glowering Russian.
“Problem?” Alex asked sarcastically as he pushed himself off the bench and onto his feet.
Brooks nodded. “Yah, I got a problem… how about you shut the fuck up?”
Alex glanced back and forth between Backstrom and Brooks as if figuring something out in his head. He finally gave his friend a small smirk, before he turned around to face Brooks completely. “How ‘bout you sit down, and I forget this happened… unless you wanna keep running your mouth off at me, then we can take this outside.”
“Or we can finish this right now, you dumb shit. What? You don’t have enough girls throwing themselves at your feet; you have to go pay for it? Or is it just because you know who she is?”
Alex furrowed his brow in confusion before glancing around the room, looking for an answer. “Dude, what the fuck are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Emily, you idiot! I know you were with her yesterday!”
“Whoa! Like… your neighbor?” Brooks nodded and scowled at Alex. “Well, I wasn’t with her yesterday… and what the fuck are you talking about paying?”
The whole room went quiet and Brooks glanced behind him to make sure that none of the coaching staff had come into the room yet. Mike was the only person standing behind him, and he looked terrified. “I… ah… never mind.”
“Brooks.” Someone said quietly from the side of the room. Everyone in the locker-room turned to look at Scott Walker who was sitting on the bench. “I was with that Emily girl yesterday.”
Brooks just nodded; it was all he could really do. Walker was a good guy, one of the older guys who had watched out for him when he first got drafted to the team. “Would you maybe… let me explain though?” He added quickly, motioning towards the door with his head.
Mike just shrugged and gave Brooks a tug towards the door, as Walker pushed it opened. Brooks and Scott walked a few feet away from the door before they said anything. “Listen Brooks… you don’t have anything to be worried about, ok? She likes you, I know she does… she talked about you a lot the few times I did meet up with her and, well I figure that’s what you’re so upset about… what with your little outburst there at Ovie.
But seriously, please don’t tell my wife… and don’t tell the other guys on the team ok? If they ask just say I was having lunch with her or something… I just…” He sighed and shook his head before looking back up at Brooks. “My wife will kill me. She’ll seriously take my balls and pull them out my mouth.”
“Then why are you doing this?”
“What else am I suppose to do?” Was all he said, before he turned around and headed back into the locker-room, leaving Brooks standing in the middle of the hallway, alone.
“So what are you gonna do?” Mike asked as he
"I don't know... what am I suppose to do? We were already over this. I can't stop her Mike-"
"Maybe she'd stop if you asked her to."
Brooks exhaled loudly as he shook the thought away. He tilted his head to the right and let it land with a thud against the passenger window of Mike's truck.
They sat in the black vehicle, outside of the apartment complex, knowing that as soon as they ascending the stairs to their apartment, they'd have to come face to face with Emily. Brooks just wasn't ready for that at the moment. "Walker said she'd talk about me. He said that she liked me." He added absently as he gazed out the window at the large, brick building.
The words felt so foreign coming out of his mouth.
Everything felt foreign in that moment. He couldn't wrap his mind around what was eating away at him; he couldn't figure out what the big deal was.
He knew what she did, knew who she was doing it with, yet the confirmation - the full knowledge - that she was with a team-mate of his, was just too much.
Brooks knew that he shouldn't care, that he should try to go back on his idea to come out into the open, but he just couldn't deal with it.
"That's a good thing, then. Right? Or wait, is it?" Mike said, pulling Brooks out of his contemplation. "I mean, are we still wanting Emily to like you or... you're going to need to talk to me here man, I'm lost."
"It's just... real now, you know?" He asked, knowing full well that Mike had no idea what he was going through, but he continued on anyway. "I mean... I knew, but- what the fuck is wrong with me?"
Mike opened his mouth to say something, but he stopped, not sure what Brooks needed to hear. "I just... fuck! I shouldn't have so many issues like this. You and Denise... you guys are fucked up, like really... but you're still in a better situation than me." Mike nodded along, not at all denying the fuck-upness of his situation. He had sex to an egg-timer... but at least he was having sex.
"I still think you should just talk to her about it." He said, still defiantly repeating the same thing over and over again, that he had been since they left the rink. "You have to face her at some point and you might as well get it over with... unless you've changed your mind about the whole thing?"
To that didn't have an answer, and after waiting full five-minutes without getting anything more, Mike pushed open the driver's door and ambled up the walk towards the apartment.
He pushed the door open and disappeared inside, leaving Brooks in the truck.
After spending another few minutes alone in solitude, Brooks finally got out of the truck and headed towards him home. He still wasn't sure what he was going to say to Emily, if he was going to say anything, but he knew he couldn't stay out there all night.
When he reached the landing, his door opened and Emily walked out backwards, laughing at something Mike was saying to her.
She turned around and headed towards her place, but stopped and glanced over her shoulder at Brooks. "Hey, I was wondering if you got lost." She smiled, turning around to face him.
Brooks shrugged and finished climbing the last few stairs between them. When he reached the floor, he stood still, staring down at her until she bit her lip awkwardly. "Good practice?"
"It was ok." He said quietly as he continued to search her face for some kind of indication as to what he was supposed to do.
He wanted to be mad, or at the very least, feel nothing. He wanted her to change, her face to take on some different shape or features, something that would make her unremarkable. But as he watched her that didn't happen, she stayed Emily, the same girl she had always been before.
Sure she had her secrets and her double-life, but she was still the same dependable, kind, pretty girl from across the hall that he had come to know. "I should let you get going... have a good night, Emily."
She nodded and watched him a minute longer before she wished him goodnight and back to her apartment.
He watched her until she closed the door behind her and he heard the lock click, before he opened the door to his right.
Cosmo was sitting in front of the door and she squealed when she saw her father. "Dadda!"
"Hey baby girl... did you have a good time here while daddy was at work?"
"Em-me." She said, pointing at the door. "Em-me!"
"Yah I know..." He sighed softly as he scooped her up in his arms. "I wish she was here too."