It's not often Tris gets to go to a hockey game. Between school and work and the ticket prices, it never seems to work out in her favor. But a co-worker won a pair of tickets to tonights game, and offered to take her with him. Al knew how much she loved the Blackhawks, and she was beyond ecstatic that he thought of her first.
"Want a beer?" he asks as soon as they sit down. She takes a moment to survey her surroundings —they weren't the best seats, but they were free— and decides that she'd rather have this experience whole.
"No thanks." He smiles at her and takes off to get one for himself.
While waiting for the lights to dim and the music to start, she looks at everyone who is seated around her: a couple of guys in jerseys behind her, a family who is patiently trying to explain what's about to happen to their little boy in front, and a man in a nice business suit a couple seats to her left. She lingers on him for just a moment, and briefly wonders if they have met before. There's something that is all too familiar about him. She also notes that he's quite attractive. When she catches his eye, they exchange a small smile, and she continues to survey her surroundings, a small blush on her cheeks.
"Woo!" she cheers with the rest of the crowd when the lights dim, and waves at Al who is just making his way back. He sets his beer down and they clap as the music begins and the players make their way onto the ice.
"Thank you, again, for bringing me," she says as they sit back down.
"Well, I know how much you love it."
"I do love a good game." Al smiles, and it causes Tris to break out into a wide grin, too.
"Okay. So I'm not as familiar with all of this as you are, so you're gonna have to help me out here," Al says.
"No problem," she responds. "Ask away and I shall answer." A noise causes her to look quickly to her left. The man in the suit is looking at her, a full grin on his face now. She furrows her brow for a second before turning her focus back to the ice, a sour thought in her head that he was laughing at her.
The first period is very uneventful —no fights even— and the score is zero to zero. Of course, the one game she can attend would be boring. During the intermission they make their way down to the concession stand where Al grabs another beer and Tris grabs a popcorn and a water. On their way back to their seats she notices the man in the suit is no longer alone— another man in an equally nice suit has joined him. This man too looks familiar, but she can't quite place either one of them.
Not even two minutes have passed in the second period when the other team slams a Blackhawk player into the boards. The crowd boos as the player lays on the ice, booing even louder when the referee's don't call a penalty.
"Oh come on!" she yells. "That's boarding!"
"What's boarding?" Al asks.
"It's when a player pushes another into the glass unnecessarily rough. It's usually a five minute penalty, but now these ref's just fucked us out of that power play opportunity."
"It would have only been a minor," she hears from beside her, and turns her head to see both men looking at her.
"A minor?" she challenges, "He was nearly knocked out!"
"Yeah, but he wasn't bleeding." She eyes the two men for a second before giving them a curt nod and turning her focus back to the game.
"What's his problem?" Al asks quietly, and she just shakes her head.
By the end of the second period, the Blackhawks are losing by three.
"Sorry," Al says as they watch the zamboni make it's rounds.
"For the game being a crappy one." He offers her a smile, and she smiles back.
"You had no way of knowing, Al, so don't apologize. I'm still very happy to be here."
After another goal is scored, the Blackhawks seem to forget about playing to win, and start playing for revenge. The first instance comes in a small skirmish that results in minor penalties for both teams. As soon as those are over, another skirmish breaks out, this time turning into an all out brawl.
"Yeah! Kick some ass!" Tris yells, standing and cheering as helmets and gloves and sticks go flying. Al looks a little taken aback by this sudden outburst from her.
"You like the fights?" he asks.
"Like? Are you kidding? It's the best part!" She cheers again as the Blackhawk player finally gets the upper-hand and takes his opponent down.
"It's a shame Eaton isn't playing tonight." Tris turns to her left to see the second man staring up at her. She decides to take the bait.
"And why is that?"
"He would have had that guy knocked out in half the time. Williams isn't as good as Eaton is."
Tris scoffs. "Williams might not be as good, but at least he's not an asshole like Eaton. Have you ever seen how he fights? I mean, I'm all for getting down and dirty, but there's still a line, and he crosses it every time. It's like he gets off on it," she says, making a jerking motion with her hand. "There's a reason the other teams chant 'four no more!' when he takes the ice." The two men share a look and a smile. "What? You disagree?"
"Well, I disagree," the first man says. "But it's nice to know your opinion anyways." Tris scrunches her eyebrows and turns her attention back to the two players that are now being ejected from the game.
The game finally ends, with Chicago losing five to one. Tris sighs as she and Al pick up their things to toss on their way out. She notices an odd look on Al's face, and turns around to see the first man standing right behind her.
"Is is a habit of yours to hover behind people?" she asks, craning her neck. She hadn't realized just how tall he was as they sat there. Or how blue his eyes were.
"Just ones I find interesting." Tris narrows her eyes as he sticks out his hand. "I thought we should properly meet. I'm Tobias Eaton, number four. You know, 'that guys who gets off on it'."
Tris blushes furiously, fumbling for a second as she puts her small hand into his large one. "Tris," she says. "And I'm…really sorry about that. If I had known…"
"If you had known you'd have kept it to yourself? Now where's the fun in that?" He smiles so wide, she thinks he must be fucking with her.
"Okaay. This is sufficiently awkward. I'm going to go now," she says, finally removing her hand from his. She doesn't know why, but she feels like she's missing something without his hand around hers.
"Wait," Tobias says. "This is Eric Monroe, number twenty-two."
"Hello," she says. He returns her greeting with a wave.
"We're gonna go out with the guys and get a beer. Would you like to join us?"
Her heart races a bit. She's very intrigued by this man in front of her, but she came here with Al, and it would be insanely rude of her to just ditch him.
"You're boyfriend can come too," Eric adds.
"Oh he's not my boyfriend," she says entirely too fast. The smile that breaks out across Tobias' face makes her blush again. He leans down so only she can hear him; she holds her breath as he speaks.
"That's good to know." A wave of goosebumps erupts where his breath meets her skin. She looks up at him through her eyelashes, feeling very shy all of a sudden. As he walks away, she has the urge to call out to him.
"If you change your mind, we'll be at Mulligan's over on Fifth street." He gives her a half-cocked smile that makes her insides flare with curiosity. It isn't until they are out of sight that she remembers Al is even here with her.
"Sorry," she says. "I just…that was weird, right?"
"Yeah. Guy seems like a creep."
"Well, I don't know about that."
"Did you want to go? Cuz we can if you want to."
"No, no. Let's just go."
As they walk through the concourse, she secretly hopes she will run into him. If he were to ask her again, she would definitely say yes.
She saved and saved for a single ticket. It took her almost a month to set enough aside; she wasn't going for the cheap ticket this time. She wanted to be right where he could see her, and if there was something there, if he recognized her, she would take it as a sign.
It took some hard decision making, but when she bought her ticket, she decided that directly across from the players bench was where she needed to be. She silently prays that he'll be playing tonight, since he's fresh off a five game suspension. She puts on some light makeup, dons her jersey, and makes her way to the stadium.
The lights dim, the music starts, and she holds her breath as the players make their way out onto the ice; she smiles when she sees him in uniform. This is going to be a good night.
She doesn't pay much attention to the game, just to the boy with the deep blue eyes and the number four on his back. He doesn't get much ice time —which is normal— but when he does, she finds herself watching his every move. She calculates the hits like he does, and cheers him on when he does his job as enforcer and takes down someone from the other team.
Two periods have already passed, and nothing has happened; he's hardly glanced up into the stands. Perhaps this was a bad idea and she should have gotten a ticket closer to the bench. That way she could have at least yelled over the glass at him.
He makes his way onto the ice again, and she watches as he does what he always does— blocks the other teams offense from making a goal. What neither one of them expected was for the play to shift quickly to the other end of the ice, the puck finding it's way in front of his stick. With a flick of his wrist it bounces off a skate, earning him a goal.
She jumps up from her seat, screaming with the rest of the crowd as number four looks on in shock. It wasn't his job to score, and she can see the surprise that's written all over his face. His teammates congratulate him, and for the first time all night, he looks up into the crowd — right into her storm gray eyes.
She locks eyes with him, and it's like the rest of the arena fades away. He has that half-cocked smile on his face as gloves tap his helmet, but he doesn't seem to notice or care. After he makes his way back to the bench, he doesn't take his eyes off of her for the rest of the night. She doesn't look away either.
After the game he strides onto the ice, over to the glass where she is waiting to make her way down to him. A few kids pound on the glass, and he responds by pretending to hit them. She smiles because she can tell by their laughs that it made their night.
When the crowd finally thins out enough, she make her way down and gives him a big smile.
"Mulligan's?" he yells to her, and she nods. "Thirty minutes," he yells again, taking off his glove and holding up three fingers. She nods again and watches him leave the ice.
Her heart pounds a nervous beat as she mills around outside the bar. She notices Eric first, and he gives her a knowing smile.
"Couldn't resist ol' number four, eh?" he says, winking as he walks past her. She has to resist kicking him.
"Hey." She turns around to see Tobias, a wide grin on his face.
"Hi," she says quietly. He looks at her for a moment before gesturing towards the door. When they are seated with the rest of the team members that are out celebrating their win, he leans in close to her.
"I have to ask. How come you didn't recognize me?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it's not like you don't know your shit. I was just curious." She looks up into his eyes, and he smiles again. She's pretty sure her ovaries are begging her to reproduce with this man.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a caveman out there on the ice. Sweaty. Black mouth guard. Black eyes. Broken noses. You're just…whole right now. I expected missing teeth or something. Also you look very nice in a suit, which totally threw me off."
"I look nice?" he asks, and she feels herself blush as she nods. "Well," he says, leaning in even closer, "If you ask me, I think you look nice in that jersey." She is definitely red now.
They have a beer and talk hockey or whatever other topic comes up within the group. She can feel his eyes on her the entire time, and even caught a few of the other guys looking back and forth between them. Eric even winked at her once and gestured towards Tobias, as if she couldn't feel his stare penetrating her to her very core.
"It's getting late," she says after a while. "I had a long day."
"Okay," Tobias says, standing. He holds out a hand and she takes it. She is not prepared for the electricity she feels, and if Tobias' face is any indication, neither is he.
He walks her to her car, and she stalls, trying to find her keys and thinking of something witty to say. She's enjoyed her evening and Tobias' company, and despite what she said, isn't quite ready for any of it to end.
"I'm really glad you came, and we got to do this," he says.
"Could we…maybe see each other again?" There's a hint of doubt in his voice; it's absolutely adorable.
"I would like that," she says, smiling.
"Even if I'm that guy who 'get's off on it'?" She groans and covers her face with one hand.
"You're never going to let me live that down, are you?"
"Not a chance," he says, grinning. He steps closer now; close enough to feel the heat radiating off of him.
She looks up, unsure of what to expect. His face is serious as he looks down into her eyes— her own dart between his that look black now in this light. He licks his lips; she suddenly wants nothing more than to feel them against her own.
Being bolder than she ever has, she stands on the tip of her toes and presses her lips to his. His arms wrap around her instantly and hers go up around his neck, fingers threading into the hair near the back of his neck. She lets out a soft sigh when he pulls away.
"Shit," he says through heavy breaths, and she laughs. "I mean…that was…yeah." He smiles, a pink tint cropping up on his cheeks, visible even in the low light.
She takes out her phone and hands it to him. They exchange numbers and another fiery kiss before she finally opens her car door.
"Hey, Tris?" he says just before she closes it.
"I'm really glad I met you."
"I'm really glad I met you too, Tobias."