HawkeBy: Sawyer Bennett
SEVEN YEARS AGO…
“Dude…you are going to miss your fucking plane. We do not have time for this shit,” Oliver says in warning as we pull up in front of Vale’s father’s house.
My head is pounding, my throat is dry, and I feel like I’m about ready to hurl. Oh, yeah, and I’m still just a bit drunk from last night’s party.
“This will only take a minute,” I mumble as he puts the car in park and I practically fall out when I open the door.
Fuck, I’m hungover. No, wait…definitely still drunk.
Not sure how last night got so out of control on me.
No, wait…I know the answer to that too.
Because I love to get out of control. I love to party my ass off. Love the freedom that comes with a killer buzz. Love how happy and carefree it all makes me feel. Love partying with my boys. Love partying with my girl.
Mostly my girl. Fuck…Vale can hang right with me when it comes to our booze. She’s as crazy and as uninhibited as I am when we’re stone-cold sober, but when you get the two of us going at a party, we take it to a whole new level. We are young, boisterous, crazy daredevils. We get jacked up on alcohol and do stupid, whacko things. Hell, it’s not considered a real party unless Vale and I end a glorious, drunken night getting new tattoos together.
It’s what you do when you’re twenty years old, and we do it well.
Actually, I may have done it a little too well last night. I woke up about an hour ago on the floor of Oliver’s living room, along with about six other people that I didn’t even recognize. There was a girl lying next to me with her head on my shin, drool coming out of her mouth.
For a brief, panicked moment, I had no clue what the fuck was going on. I didn’t see Vale, but rather a strange girl lying there. We were fully clothed. Hell, everyone was, and after a few unsteady heartbeats, I realized we all had possibly passed out right there. Empty Solo cups littered the floor, a fifth of vodka lay next to me with maybe three swallows left in it.
So where the fuck was Vale?
We had come to the party together. Oliver had given it for me, a last farewell throw down, so to speak, in my honor. I was high on life before I even got there, and I actually felt drunk just on impending success. So much so, I considered not even drinking that night, but then Vale cracked open a beer and handed it to me, and without a second thought, I drank it down.
How could I not? All my friends and teammates had come out to wish me good luck. The small community of Sydney, Nova Scotia, nestled on the east coast of Cape Breton Island, boasts only a little over thirty-one thousand residents, but I’m well known around these parts.
As the league’s leading defenseman in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League—better known as the “Q”—my name is familiar to many throughout much of Canada. I’ve been playing for the Cape Breton Oilers since I was sixteen years old, and with my talents, I was drafted into the NHL by the Pittsburgh Titans when I was eighteen.
Third round, sixty-second overall.
For the next year, I had a brief and glorious rise up to Titan training camp, where I made the cut and survived seven games before I was scratched because I pretty much sucked.
Too young. Needs more development. Not ready.
I was sent back to Cape Breton to play another year in the “Q” rather than Pittsburgh’s minor league team out of Wilkes-Barre Scranton, a move that was decided best for me by Titan management. This was fine by me, as it put me right back with Vale, who was content to take some classes in a local college, not sure what she wanted to do with her life. While I had been gone maybe a total of four months, we were still rock solid together, so we just picked up right where we left off.