Anatomy of a Player(10)

By: Cindi Madsen

Of course, I, displaying my usual grace, said, “In a way they do—frozen water.”

Lindsay’s expression had made it clear it wasn’t time for jokes, so I quickly told her that I agreed, that I was sick of guys and their entitlement. Which was totally true. Sure I’d been thinking more about guys in general, but I was positive there were plenty of player-type guys on the hockey team. In fact, the guy who’d hit on me the other night proved it.

He’d honestly thought all it’d take was a grin, a drink, and a few minutes with him, I could tell. Well, the joke was on him, and now he can go down with the rest of his teammates.

“Whit?” Lyla snapped her fingers in front of my face. “You just left me totally hanging.”

“Sorry. Anyway, I will be covering the sports section, but I’m also going to use it as an opportunity to expose the perks that jocks—namely, um, the hockey players—get at this school, and how unfair it is to other students.”

Lyla pursed her lips, no doubt thinking about her hockey player boyfriend, who I also sorta hoped would help me with hockey terms and getting closer to his teammates. But maybe asking for his help was an ethical boundary I shouldn’t cross—the guy had grown on me after the crazy display he’d made to win Lyla back.

I probably shouldn’t have told her the exposé part, but I’d feel like the worst friend if I lied to her, especially after everything we’d been through together.

“I know it puts you in a bit of a difficult spot, but Lyla, if I pull this off, the editor promised me the front page, plus a full-time job doing real articles. Most people have to start off doing grunt work and crappy stories, and this would help me with my future career.”

I saw that flash of myself in New York City again. This time there were rows of desks and reporters typing away at their computers, in a rush to meet their various deadlines. I sat in the middle of the chaos, surrounded by pages and pages of glorious research. “Right now I’m clinging to this huge opportunity so that I don’t think about stupid guys. I need this.”

Lyla ran a hand through her hair. “I get that, I do. But I’ve met several nice hockey players this past year. Not that some of them aren’t conceited, or that a few couldn’t use a little understanding of how hard the rest of us work to get through school. Or life in general…”

“I won’t ask you for any dirt on them, I swear,” I said. “I’ll only use stuff I find myself. I just need you to help me pull off the hockey terms when I write up the games in the sports section. That’s it.” When she didn’t immediately agree, I grabbed both of her shoulders. “I’ve given up dating and sex, Lyla! Sex! This is the only action I’m going to get this semester.”

She sighed and tossed her bag near the coffee table. It landed with a heavy thunk and sent Einstein leaping off the couch. “Sorry, baby,” she said, then she turned her attention back to me. “You really think this will help you avoid the hump and dump guys?”

I cracked a smile. Last year we’d come up with a hundred ways to describe that kind of “dating” method. Humped and dumped, hit it and quit it, shagged and bagged—the list went on and on. They didn’t seem as funny since I kept receiving the treatment, but they never failed to make me laugh. “I’m so sick of being laid and played—and yes, this will definitely help me.”

Lyla gave one sharp nod. “Okay. I’m in.”

Chapter Six


Two days of cramming hockey terms between classes hadn’t been nearly enough, but time was up anyway. I’d try to fit in a few more minutes tomorrow before the game, but my brain had shut down so I’d decided to focus on the other part of getting ready.

I walked into the living room, where Lyla sat between a stack of books and notebooks, with Einstein curled up on her lap.

“I was thinking of wearing this to the game tomorrow for my first”—I made air quotes—“sportswriting gig. What do you think?” I raised my arms the way you do when you’re showing off your outfit, even though it didn’t show off that much more and no one walked around with their arms in the air like that.