Home > Dirty Toe Drag(7)

Dirty Toe Drag(7)
Author: Toni Aleo

I had no problem fucking Roocie’s sister, but it’s different with Aiden. He’s actually a good friend. He accepts me for who I am and doesn’t question when I go through my phases. Hell, he and Boon are the only ones who even know I go through them. They don’t know why—only my therapist does—but they support me. I can’t lose that, no matter how badly I want Stella. Aiden has made it very clear—stay the hell away from his sister. Stella made it clear too. She won’t be with me unless it will lead to something and I’m willing to tell Aiden about it.

Two things are wrong with that. One, I could lose my best friend. And two, I could give my whole self to a woman, and when she finds out my past, she could leave me and destroy me.

That’s all way too many feelings for my liking.

When my time runs down, thankfully my nose has stopped bleeding. So I throw the towel in the trash beside the bench before taking a long pull of water. I notice Roocie stands, so I do the same, ready to hit the ice. When the box minder opens the door, I bolt out, hoping to get a sick pass from Boon. But Roocie comes out of nowhere and cuts off the pass, taking the puck to the net.

Scores.

Fucker.

I groan loudly as I skate toward our backup goalie, who is now our main goalie, Eller Vanski. He looks at me through his mask, totally defeated, and I feel for the dude. “My bad, bro.”

“I’m off,” he says in a thick Russian accent.

I tap his pads and look to the bench to see our new backup goalie, Josef Adolphson, coming off the bench.

“Super sorry, dude.”

He shrugs but taps my shin before meeting Jo in the middle of the ice to tap his glove. Jo comes toward me with a boyish grin, and I smile back. “Ready?”

This is his first start. I’d be terrified, but this kid looks as if he just won the lottery. “Hell yeah, I am.”

I tap his glove and head for the bench, where Ryan Justice, our trainer, is waiting to check on my nose. He looks it over and grimaces. “Looks broken.”

I shrug. “I’m good.”

“It needs to be set back.”

“Can you do that?”

“Yeah.”

“Then do it,” I urge, looking up at him.

He hesitates. “Let’s go in the back.”

I shake my head. “Do it here.”

He doesn’t hesitate. He snaps my nose, and the pain explodes in my head. The noise is louder than the sounds on the ice, and beside me, Boon gags. “Jesus Christ!”

I laugh as Ryan catches the blood with the towel, and I ignore the watering in my eyes. I need to focus, get ready to hit the ice. I miss my shift since I’m still bleeding, and when the new coach tries to get me to go to the locker room, I refuse. I need to help my team win since we’re down because of me. When my next shift comes, unfortunately I’m still bleeding, so I’m kicked off the bench.

Which pisses me the fuck off.

With little tubes of cotton in my nose, I watch the game from the back as my face starts to swell. The pain is intense, but I’m so pissed about the game, screwing over our goalie, and life, I ignore it as I watch my boys battle. What impresses me the most is that Josef is kicking ass. The Wild are throwing pucks at him with no cares in the world. They’re peppering him like crazy, but he’s in ninja mode. It’s impressive to watch, but we don’t score. And when we lose, I feel the weight of it on my shoulders.

After a nice ass-chewing from our new coach, I head to the showers with Aiden and Boon. They’re both as frustrated as I am. So much change has happened, and I’m not sure we can come back from it. We may be in play-off position, but I don’t see us going far. Which is really depressing since we just had back-to-back wins of the Cup. I doubt we’ll go for a third. Shit is too insane right now, and God knows I don’t have my mental game strong.

“How’s your nose?” Aiden asks as the water runs hot through the showers.

“Eh, hurts.”

Boon scoffs. “Maybe next time, don’t poke the bear.”

I grin. “That’s how I let out my frustration.”

Aiden rolls his eyes. “As someone with sisters, I’m just saying that was pretty rude.”

I look over at him as I wash my balls. “Well, I respect you, and I would never say anything like that to you. Roocie is a dick.”

“He is,” Boon agrees, and Aiden laughs.

“Agreed, but still.”

“Whatever. I got what I deserved, and it felt good.”

“You’re so weird,” Boon supplies, and I laugh along with Aiden.

“He is, but he’s our weirdo.”

I flash a crooked grin to Aiden. “Damn right.”

And I’m lucky to have them.

 

 

I probably made a bad choice letting Ryan set my nose.

He’s a professional, sure, but maybe I should have gone to the ER. We lost anyway, and I hadn’t scored, so they wouldn’t miss me. But still, I wanted to score. I try to bring in air through my nose, but instead of being successful, I sound more like a whistle. Rather, a broken whistle. There is a lot of wheezing and pain. When I caught a look at myself this morning, I was rewarded with not only a nice black-and-blue nose, but two black eyes.

When I sent a photo to Aiden and Boon, they both teased me that I’d never say anything about Roocie’s sister again. They’re wrong. Hell, I should try to hook up with her again, just to stick it to him good. I know I won’t, though. That would involve me talking to her, and she’s as crazy as her brother. Very clingy. Very needy. Both reasons it didn’t work the first, second, or ninth time we dated. She was crazy, but hell was she good in bed.

I sit lazily in a fluffy blue chair as I scroll through my Instagram, hoping to catch a glimpse of Stella while I wait for my therapist to come out and get me. I get bored very quickly, and I go to her profile. There isn’t a new post, but she does have some stories. I click on them, grinning at the candid shots of her and a guy I assume is her friend. He’s very showy, with a full face of makeup and a bright-pink jumpsuit. She’s going to school for fashion, which is how she met him.

I assume.

I wish I could just talk to her, really talk to her. Not this flirty shit we do or the looks and the yearning. If she’d let me, I’d take her out just to talk. Then the next day, she wouldn’t leave my bed. In my opinion, that seems totally reasonable with how much restraint I’ve shown so far. I almost couldn’t let her go when we hooked up at Aiden’s wedding. I wouldn’t disrespect her, but man, I wanted her. So damn bad. I find myself licking my lips as I look at her selfie in what I guess is the community bathroom between classes. Fuck, she’s hot.

I send a heart and then the drooling emoji, but before I can shut down the app, I see she is online. She likes my comment and sends me a heart.

Before I can stop myself, I type:

Wes_McMillan: Having a good day? You look gorgeous as always.

StellaAnn: Busy and tired. You?

Wes_McMillan: Rough night and now therapy. But there is leftover Chinese at home for me, so things are looking up.

StellaAnn: Yeah, saw y’all lost. Sorry. Maybe therapy will help?

I go to type that seeing her would help greatly. But instead, I send her a thumbs-up because, really, what the hell do I say to that?

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