|From a Mile Away
Author: Laelyn24 PM
"No one's told you? We Minnesotans can smell a hockey player from a mile away." 1980 Olympic hockey team meets a girl - shocking, I know!Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Chapters: 11 - Words: 39,175 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 07-05-12 - Published: 01-12-12 - id: 7735432
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own the movie Miracle or anything that remotely relates to it.
A/N: Please bear with me in this chapter. I tweaked the beginning, because for whatever reason I always thought they were at a bar in Minnesota. I know you hardcore Miraclers might find that a tinsy bit annoying, but it works for my story, I think. I'm hoping that writing this will get me back on track with some other stories I've got. Enjoy!
If there was one thing Mara hated about waitressing the pub near the university, it was that students often brought their homework with them. Accidents happen in every public eatery, but there usually wasn't the possibility of ruining someone's life. What if she knocked a glass over and drenched their papers? They'd have to start all over again, and it would be her fault. She just couldn't bear that responsibility. She could only hope that the students had enough sense to bring the less important papers with them. Fortunately for Mara, she hadn't experienced such a tragedy; it was just something she thought about when serving those particular students who brought homework into the bar.
She was in the middle of serving one such table. They each had a packet out in front of them, so she had to be extra careful while balancing the serving tray. She placed pint glasses on the table and then lowered a pitcher slowly as to not slosh it everywhere.
"Anything else?" Mara asked with a smile.
They all shook their heads and then pressed on with their work. She shrugged slightly and then weaved her way back to the bar to prepare for her next table. Glancing across the room at her next order taking their seats, she made sure that her notepad and pen were in her apron pocket, trekked back across the room and stopped at the end of the table.
"Welcome back, fellas – although, haven't some of you graduated?" she asked, looking at them skeptically. She knew a couple of the boys sitting around the table were Gopher hockey players.
"Mara!" Phil Verchota said with a wide grin, "You are looking at members of the Olympic hockey team."
The other boys smiled proudly. Mara grinned and nodded. "I have a hard time believing coach kept you around, Philly."
"Awe, come on, Mara," Phil replied as the others chuckled.
"Anyway," Mara cut in, looking around at the rest of the bunch, "What can I get for you boys?"
"Three pitchers," Buzz Schneider said.
"Hey, you're Buzzy Schneider, aren't you?" she asked, finally placing him.
"Yeah, do I know you?" he replied.
She shook her head. "Nah, but I've been following the Gophers for a while now. My pap always took me. Now you are a good hockey player!" She laughed at the offended look on Verchota's face. "Is there anything else I can get you guys?"
A chorus of "no" rang out with the exception of Verchota, "Yeah, how about a date?"
"Plenty of ladies out there, Philly," Mara replied, gesturing with her hand as she walked away. "Take your pick."
She was filling up the second pitcher behind the bar when a fellow waitress came up next to her. "What the hell are Janny and Verchota doing back here? Didn't they graduate?"
"Believe it or not, Kel, they made the Olympic team – apparently that whole table did. I assume they are practicing at The Barn."
"Great! More hockey players!" Kelsey said with a smile.
Mara rolled her eyes and placed the final pitcher on the serving tray. She hauled it back over to the boys and set the tray on the end of the table. Looking around the table, she groaned inwardly; they were each working diligently on a packet of paper. She rolled her eyes and rested the pitchers in the middle of the table.
"What are you guys working on?" she inquired, passing the glasses out.
"Coach gave us homework," Janny informed her. "It's some kind of psychology test."
"Did he say what for?"
"No. We're just supposed to get it done," said one of the boys Mara didn't know.
"A hell of a way to celebrate the occasion," Mara replied with a sarcastic smile. "I'll leave you all to it then. Let me know if you need anything – other than a date," she added sharply before Verchota could speak up.
Mara made the rounds and checked on her other tables.
"Need a refill?" she asked, picking up the empty pitcher. The four boys looked up from their papers, consulted one another, and agreed on a second round. Mara looked over the shoulder of one of the boys, it looked a lot like the test Verchota and his friends were working one. "You guys don't happen to be members of the Olympic hockey team, do you?"
They all nodded with some surprise. The one nearest to Mara laughed. "It's a recent development, but yeah. Do we smell like Olympic hockey players or something?"
"Well, considering that the only other people in this place taking a test are hockey players, I thought it was a logical guess," Mara replied, nodding in the direction of the Minnesota boys. "But you know…you do kind of have that hockey smell."
She smirked as she walked away to get them a refill. When Mara returned, the boy with the moustache asked her, "What do you mean we have that hockey smell?"
"No one's told you? We Minnesotans can smell a hockey player from a mile away." She winked at him.
"How do you know we're not from Minnesota?"
Mara raised her eyebrows in disbelief. "Really? If the accent wasn't a dead give-a-way, your pal's shirt there certainly was. No one from these parts would be caught dead in a Boston shirt."
"Fair enough," he replied.
"Well, anyway, congratulations on making the team. It's a shame it isn't more of a celebration."
"Yeah, it's pretty awful – 300 hundred questions," the boy wearing the Boston shirt added.
"Seriously? Yuck! Good luck, boys." Mara walked away shaking her head.
As she walked behind the bar, Kelsey ambushed her. "So who are those boys? And how come you always get the good tables?"
"I have no idea. Don't you make conversation with your customers?"
"Well, yeah, but yours always seem more interesting," Kelsey replied and Mara glanced around at Kelsey's tables: a group of girls, an older couple, and a mix of what looked like couples.
"Okay, fair point," Mara agreed. "The table I just came from, those boys are also playing on the Olympic team."
"Really? How do you know?"
"They smell like hockey players," Mara said sarcastically. She glanced at the Minnesota table just as a couple new faces join. She smiled and cut in before Kelsey could comment on what she said, "Oh look, Mac is here!"
"Rob McClanahan?" Kelsey squealed as Mara walked away. "He is so dreamy."
Unfortunately Mara wasn't out of earshot when Kelsey finished her thoughts on Rob. She rolled her eyes at her boy-crazy co-worker. As she neared the table, she grinned, watching Rob and his friend greet the boys at the table.
"Robbie McClanahan!" she said loudly. "I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
"Oh, come on, Mara," Rob replied with a laugh, giving her a hug. "You knew I was going to try out for the Olympics."
"Just didn't know you'd make it!" Mara jested. "I guess Coach Brooks knows what he's doing after all."
"I hope he does," Rob replied. "Oh, hey, real quick, this is Mark Johnson." He gestured to the boy that had come into the bar with him.
"Nice to meet you, Mark."
"Did you meet all these other guys?" Rob asked.
"We weren't formally introduced, because someone doesn't have any manners," she told him, giving a pointed look at Verchota. He just narrowed his eyes back at her.
Rob pointed at each other boys in turn as he introduced them. "You know Janny. That's Buzzy Schneider. You know Christy. Bah Harrington and Mark Pavelich."
"Excuse me? Did he just say your name was Bah?" Mara asked, just wanting to clarify.
"Family nickname – it sort of just stuck," Bah explained with a shrug.
Mara nodded and Rob spoke back up. "Mara's grandfather is the rink manager, so you might see her around on occasion."
"Glad we got that out of the way, Rob. I didn't want anyone thinking I was stalking them or something." Mara grinned. Wanting to resume her duties, she asked Rob and Mark if they needed anything.
"Just a couple of glasses would be great!" Mark said.
When she returned with the glasses, she leaned into Rob and quietly said to him. "I met some of your other boys over there."
"Yeah, I saw them when I came in."
"Boys from Boston, eh?"
"Herb really knows how to make things interesting."
Mara chuckled and then went to check on the other boys.
"How are you boys doing?" she asked. "I see you lost one. Did he give up?"
"Yeah, he needed to get out of here."
Mara nodded. "Well boys, my shift is nearly over, so do you mind if I give you the bill. If you need anything else, I think Brenda will picking up my tables; she take care of you."
"Yeah, sure. No problem." They pooled together their money and handed it her.
"See you boys around, I'm sure," Mara replied with a grin. She moved around to her others table, picking up their bills along the way and stopping at the Minnesota boys table last.
"Can I get you guys anything else before my shift is up?" she asked. Most of them shook their heads.
"Are you sticking around for a while?" Rob asked.
"Probably not," Mara replied with a half smile. "We'll have to catch up another time. I've been in since before the lunch crowd and I've got to be up early tomorrow."
"Come on, Mara, stick around," Verchota prodded, smirking. "We haven't even danced yet."
"Like I said earlier, lots of other ladies around tonight, Philly," Mara said with a wink. "See you boys later."