Room For More(10)

By: Beth Ehemann

“A what?”

“A jaguar. You know, a woman who goes after younger men?” She wiggled her eyebrows.

“You mean a cougar?” I laughed.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s it. I knew it was one of those feline animals.” Shoving a cookie in her mouth, a devilish grin slowly crept across her face.

“What?” I asked nervously, unsure I wanted to hear the answer.

“I was just thinking about that sexy, young man and what he could do to this old pussy—cat.”

She giggled uncontrollably.


“Okay, I’ve heard enough.” I stood up and walked around to the other side of the counter.

“Where are you going?” Darla was still chuckling.

“To chat with the woman in one about her urinary tract infection. That’s gotta be more fun than listening to you purring like a cat.” I stuck my tongue out at her and walked away while she continued laughing at herself.

“Well, well, look who decided to show up!” Viper called out as I walked into our locker room at The House. Our first practice started in ten minutes and I’d barely made it on time.

Good start, idiot.

I stayed at Kacie’s until the last minute. Actually, way past when I was supposed to leave, but it wasn’t my fault. Sophia and Fred took the girls out for doughnuts unexpectedly. Kacie and I don’t have a lot of alone time, so when she chewed on her bottom lip and gave me a little look with those sexy green eyes, suddenly, nothing was more important than burying myself inside her one more time.

“Shut it, Sally.” I glared at him. “I told you I’d be here and I am.”

Big Mike and a few of the other guys were putting their pads on and lacing their skates up. I went around the room shaking hands and getting filled in on everyone’s summers.

Big Mike’s wife, Michelle, had finished the first part of her pregnancy and wasn’t puking anymore. They would be finding out what they were having in a couple months and he was beyond excited about it. Who knew a father could be that proud before the baby was even born?

Louie, our backup goalie, and his girlfriend broke up—again. He vowed to be a bachelor for the rest of his life and asked Viper to show him the ropes and all the best clubs around Minneapolis. Viper was all too happy for the new project. God help the both of them.

Viktor’s nine-year-old son checked another kid into the boards at his peewee hockey game and was suspended for two games. The kid needed five stitches to close his chin, so in Viktor’s eyes it was completely worth it. That crazy bastard spent so much time in our penalty box, he should’ve had his mail delivered there.

“What have you been up to, Murphy?” Louie asked as he slammed his locker shut.

“Uh, nothing really. Spent a lot of my summer up north at my girlfriend’s place.”

“That’s right. I heard you were all pussy crazed over some chick.”

Louie was young and had a big mouth, so I cut him a little slack, but any more vulgar comments about Kacie and I was going to have to show him exactly why I was the captain of the team. I didn’t like people talking about her like she was one of Viper’s insignificant whores.

“Pussy crazed is an understatement.” Viper laughed. “I barely saw this guy all fucking summer. Thought I was going to have to file a missing person’s report.”

The locker room erupted in laughter as Viper walked over and slapped me on the shoulder before shaking my hand. “You know I’m just giving you shit, bro. Good to see you.” He leaned in suspiciously for a hug and quietly said, “Coach was looking for you awhile ago. Just a heads-up. He was mumbling and kicking garbage cans, bitching about not taking this season seriously.”

I sighed and ran my hands through my hair in frustration as Viper went back to the bench and finished lacing up his skates.

Might as well get this over with.

“Come in!” Coach Collins yelled after I knocked on his office door.

“Hey, Coach.”

He looked up from his paperwork and stared at me for a second before leaning back in his chair, folding his hands behind his head. “Murphy. Wasn’t so sure I’d see you today.”

“Come on, Coach. You knew I’d be here. I’ve been here every day for five years.”

He rocked back and forth slowly in his chair, his face set in a stern glare. “You’re right, you have. I just normally see you around here more in the summer. You were a little… absent this year. It worries me.”

“I know—”

“I don’t think you do know,” he interrupted. “These guys, they depend on you, look up to you, even the older ones. You’re the anchor of this team, Murphy.”