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The Rulebreaker
Author: Claire Contreras


Prologue

 

 

Maverick

 

The fact that our hockey coach is making us sit down and pen letters like we’re in the 1930s is the first ridiculous thing about this assignment. The second is that I’ve been paired up with a girl. A girl who plays soccer, not even hockey. What the hell am I supposed to write? I hope you don’t touch the ball with your hands by mistake? I sigh heavily and set my pen down for the third time.

“Cruz, you better pick up that pen and start writing like Alexander Hamilton, before I kick you out, or worse, make all of you run an extra mile on your behalf.”

There’s a collective groan around the room. “Hell no, Coach. Cruz, just write something, anything.”

“What the hell am I supposed to write?” I look around at my teammates. “What are you writing, Rogers?”

“That I hope she scores a triple.” Rogers shrugs both shoulders.

“You got a softball player?” I frown. “Why did I get a soccer player? I don’t know anything about soccer.”

“Who cares? The point of this is to learn, to lend an ear to someone who may need it. it’s not to recruit each other into your sport,” Coach says. “Just ask her how her week was, if she has a dog, I don’t care.”

“Fine.” I sigh again and pick up the pen and start writing.

Her name is Rocky. That’s a pretty cool name for a girl, so I start my letter with that.

 

 

Prologue Two

 

 

Rocky

 

“That boy I keep writing letters to – ”

“The one I don’t like?” Dad asks, frowning.

“You don’t like any boys, Dad.” I roll my eyes. “But yeah, that one.”

“What about him?” Mom asks.

“He’s going to a sports summer camp this summer.”

“A sleep away camp?” Dad’s tone already tells me everything I need to know without even asking.

“Mike, let her talk. Jesus.” Mom shakes her head, sighing. “What about this camp?”

“It seems pretty cool. They have hockey, soccer, basketball. It’s only like an hour from here, so it’s not even that far.” I bite my lip. Dad’s frown deepens. Mom’s face is serious, but I feel like maybe she’d budge. “It’s not cheap, but they have scholarships for those of us who can’t pay the full price.”

“Do you have a brochure?” Mom asks.

“Beverly.” Dad starts, but shuts up the moment mom shoots him a look.

“We’ll be working all summer, Mike. This may be a good option for all of us.”

“And this boy is going?”

“Yeah, but it’s not like that, Dad. We’re just friends.”

“Until he sees you.”

“Mike,” Mom says.

“It’s true. That boy will take one look at her and say he wants more than just friendship. I know how this works.”

“Of course, you do.” I roll my eyes. “I think I can make my own choices.”

“She’s right, Mike.” Mom shoots him a look. “Do you have his phone number? I want to speak to his parents.”

“Ummm . . . ” I bite my lip. “Yeah, I think I can get his number.”

I’ve been secretly speaking to Maverick for the last six months. We really are just friends though, which is nice, and contrary to what dad thinks, he’s not going to freak out and change his mind when he sees me. We’ve already also seen each other at the park and spoken there. He’s even joined me in soccer matches, so there’s absolutely nothing for them to worry about. All my friends have the biggest crush on him, and I get it. Maverick is very cute, but his friendship means so much to me and I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize it, so he’ll remain in the friendzone forever as far as I’m concerned.

 

 

PRESENT

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Rocky

 

I close my eyes as I sit down on the bench and let out a heavy exhale. I’m so tired. I’ve been up since five in the morning, which is the norm, but last night I made the grave mistake of going out with some friends and we got home entirely too late for this shit.

“Rocky, are you done with the weight room, or have you not even started?”

“I’m done.” I don’t even bother to open my eyes. “I’m going home to take a nap.”

“Maybe I’ll go with you so I can get a glimpse of those hot-ass roommates of yours,” Ashley says from across the room.

I laugh, my eyes popping open. “You wouldn’t think they’re so hot if you actually hung out with them for a day. The only thing they talk about is COD and hockey.”

“The only thing we talk about is soccer and hot guys,” Ashley says.

“And hot girls,” Leyla adds.

“And hot girls,” I repeat with a laugh. “I guess we’re not so different after all.”

“Are they dating anyone?” Leyla asks. “Maverick and Colson, I mean.”

“Yeah right.” I scoff. “They’re forever playing the field.”

“I guess they might as well enjoy it while they can,” Ash says. “You know, before their penises shrivel up and they can no longer get them up.”

“I am so glad I don’t have a penis,” Leyla says.

“And that you don’t like them either,” I add.

“True.” She laughs.

I grab my bag and swing it onto my shoulder as I stand up, saying bye to my teammates as I walk out of the room and head to my car. According to the time, I have about twenty minutes to myself in the house if I get there as soon as possible. My roommates should be at hockey practice, or at least, their first leg of it. Our schedules coincide in that way. We normally have two practices a day between classes, and because two of us are taking the same online class, it means Maverick and I have the exact same schedule. Colson’s is similar, but he helps out at his uncle’s pizza shop on the down-low since we’re technically not allowed to have paying jobs while we’re in school. It’s dumb and part of the reason half of the athletes in our university are currently facing jail time, but that’s a story for another day. When I pull up to the house, I see Maverick’s car parked out front. I lock mine and walk toward the house quickly. I’ve known Mav since we were ten years old and I’ve never known him to miss a practice.

“Mav?” I call out as I open the door and shut it behind me.

“In here,” he says from the kitchen. His voice sounds congested as hell.

“Oh no.” I let my bag fall to the floor by the stairs and finish walking over to the kitchen, where he’s sitting in front of a bowl of soup. “You’re sick?”

“Yeah.” He sniffles. “Fucking sucks.”

“So you didn’t go to practice?”

“Coach wants me to self-quarantine, you know, because of all the bullshit.”

“The bullshit meaning the pandemic?” I back up a step. “Should I be near you?”

“I don’t have the virus.” He shoots me a dirty look. “I have a cold.”

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