DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the real people, who own themselves. I only own Laurie Erickson.
I admit that I'm having some problems with the formatting; hence the
lines between scenes. Please forgive my lack of expertise.
I also don't know why I think Kelly is nine. It seems I read/saw it somewhere, but that could just be the crazy talking. Enjoy!
She may have been young, but Kelly Brooks was in love.
He was tall, and strong, and handsome, and he played on her dad's hockey team at the university. Kelly liked hockey as much as the next nine-year-old girl; she went to the home games and cheered for the Gophers, but she never actually cared about what happened in the games until she met him. Every time he took the ice Kelly wanted to scream his name, but with her mom sitting next to her, she had to scream for the whole team equally. And every time he got hit Kelly winced as if she were the one being checked.
He was one of the younger guys on the team, and Kelly liked that. It meant that he was only nine years older than her; some of the other players were as many as thirteen years older than she was, and even she knew that it would be strange to like someone who had been in high school when you were born. But he was young, and that endeared him to her even more. She imagined that his teammates made fun of him for being the "baby," and that it would make him shy and sweet.
Kelly also liked his name. She'd never gone so far as to actually practice writing her name for when they were married, but she knew what it would be: Kelly Ramsey. Mrs. Michael Ramsey. She liked it, especially compared to Kelly Brooks. Brooks wasn't a very exciting last name (unless you were a hockey player), but Ramsey was, well, at least longer. She knew that the other guys and even her dad called him Rammer, which she didn't like too much. In her head, she called him Mike.
Even at nine, Kelly thought that Mike Ramsey was the most handsome man she had ever seen. Her mom always told her she was going to be tall when she grew up, which was good, because Mike was tall. Kelly liked his dark hair, the way it curled and how it wasn't too long but just long enough. She liked that he didn't have a mustache, like some of the other boys; that would have made him look creepy. She liked his face and the way his cheeks were always pink, as if he had been out on the ice, even when he hadn't. But the thing Kelly liked most about Mike was his nose. She loved the way it turned up just a little at the end. It was the cutest thing about him, which, in Kelly's opinion, was really saying something, because there were so many cute things about him. Whenever she daydreamed about the two of them together, Kelly always pictured herself kissing the tip of his nose. And when she imagined their children--without ever imagining how those children would be made--she always pictured them with her curls and his nose.
Kelly remembered fondly the day they first met. It was lucky that they had ever met; Dad didn't want his home life and his work life getting too close. The whole family had been out shopping at the grocery store one Saturday afternoon, Danny sitting in the basket her mom pushed and her dad looking at things on the shelves. They were walking down the baking aisle and were right by the cupcake tins when he turned the corner. Kelly looked up as he stopped short, staring at her father. She looked at Dad and then at the boy, who said, "Uh, hi, Coach."
Her dad looked up. "Rammer. Hey." They both looked down at the six-pack of beer in one of the boy's hands and the bag of chips in the other. The boy blushed and put his hands behind his back. Kelly smiled, already liking him. "Rammer, this is my wife Patti, my kids Danny and Kelly. This is Mike Ramsey, one of the boys."
"Hello, Mike," her mom said, smiling warmly.
"Hi, Mrs. Brooks," he answered. He looked relieved that Mom was so nice, and Kelly was jealous of her mother for an instant. But then he smiled down at her and nothing else mattered.
"I better go, some of the guys are waiting for me. See you, Coach. It was nice meeting you all." Her dad grunted in response and her mom waved a little, and then he was around the corner and gone. But Kelly Brooks was a changed girl. She was a girl in love.
No one knew about Mike except her best friend at school, Laurie Erickson. Even though Kelly had described him in great detail, Laurie still wanted to know what he looked like, so Kelly smuggled a program from one of the games to school. At recess they sat under a tree and looked at the pictures of her dad's players. Laurie agreed that Mike was cute, but she thought Rob McClanahan was even better looking, a disagreement which almost led to a break in their friendship. Kelly invited Laurie to one of the games, with the strict warning that they couldn't giggle or stare too much or everyone would know. Laurie agreed solemnly, then asked, "But we can stare a little, right?"
At the game Laurie managed not to giggle, but she did shriek an awful lot. She watched Rob's every move, even when he wasn't on the ice, and commented every time he did something. After a while Kelly stopped paying attention to her friend and focused on the game.
"Nice save, Jannie!" she yelled after he deflected the puck yet again.
"What happened?" Laurie asked, tearing her eyes away from the penalty box, where Rob was currently spending two minutes.
"Our goalie just kept the other team from scoring," Kelly explained. "That's Jannie. He's really good."
"Oh," Laurie said, completely disinterested. "Hey, look! Rob's going back in!"
After they dropped Laurie off at home, Kelly sat in the back seat listening to Danny snore and thinking. Laurie hadn't been interested in the game at all, only in Rob McClanahan. She had hardly noticed when anyone else did something good, and had squealed "Rob won!" at the end of the game. Kelly had lived with her dad long enough to know that the game wasn't about single players but the whole team, and that focusing on just one player wasn't fair. She knew that even if she was in love with Mike Ramsey, hockey would never be about just watching him, and she thought that he wouldn't want it that way anyway. She didn't invite Laurie to any more games after that.
One day in the summer her mom sent her back upstairs to change clothes. "I have to drop you kids off at the rink, so you'll need something warmer than that," her mom advised.
"Mom! I don't want to stay at the rink all day!"
"I'm sorry, Kelly, but I have an appointment and the babysitter just called and told me she's sick. It won't be that bad, I promise."
Kelly trudged back upstairs, pulling on a pair of jeans and wishing she were going to the pool instead of a freezing cold hockey rink in the middle of June.
As they got out of the car, Mom said, "Kelly, try to keep your brother out of trouble. Daniel, don't go causing any trouble for your father, you hear me?" Kelly slammed the car door; Danny was already scampering across the parking lot by that time. Her mom rolled down the window and called, "Have a nice day, kids!" before driving away.
Danny ran off to harass the rink manager while Kelly went to check in with her father. All he told her was to keep Danny out of the way before turning back to his paperwork. Kelly sighed and wandered into the arena, weaving between the seats until she came to one across from the bench. She and her mom and Danny always sat up behind the bench during games, and Kelly had often wondered what everything looked like from this side. Right now, well, it all just looked like an empty arena. She wished she had her skates, and was just about to go ask the rink manager if he had any she could use when a pack of guys burst onto the ice. She recognized some of them from the university team, but there were others--the dark-haired goalie, the tall blond boy--who were new to her. She wondered if they were any good, then laughed at herself. They should be good; they were the Olympic team, for goodness sake. She certainly hoped they were good, and would win, and her dad would be happy.
Her heart leapt when she saw Mike on the ice. He was talking to John Harrington, who said something that made Mike laugh. Kelly smiled, proud that Mike was on the team.
The boys got into a circle and started stretching, talking and laughing the whole time. She watched them, not hearing what they talked about, until she heard Mike's voice say, "That's Kelly, Herb's daughter."
"Never!" a boy with a funny accent said, loud enough for her to hear. "She looks way too sweet to be Herb Brooks' daughter."
The boys all laughed and Kelly blushed. Before too long her dad and Coach Patrick came out on the ice, and Kelly sat back to watch the practice.
"Daddy, can Danny and I skate for a while?"
Herb looked up, surprised. "You brought your skates?"
Kelly shook her head. "No, but Mr. Thompson has some we can use."
"All right, go ahead. Just make sure you get off the ice when they clean it."
Kelly stood on her toes to kiss her dad's cheek, then ran out of the office. Danny was waiting in the hall, jumping up and down, holding one pair of skates while another sat at his feet. She grabbed the skates from the ground and raced her brother to the ice.
Danny sang "I've Been Working on the Railroad" while Kelly helped tighten the laces on his skates. As soon as she finished the bow he leapt out of his seat and ran stiltedly onto the ice. Kelly tied her own skates as Danny zoomed around the ice. When she joined him, they played tag for a little while before he grew bored of the game. "I want to play hockey, Kelly," he whined.
"Fine. Go find some sticks and a puck, and we'll play." Kelly skated in circles while he was gone, trying to be as graceful as the girls she saw figure-skating sometimes. It was hard to do wearing hockey skates, though.
The sticks Danny came back with were adult-sized and almost taller than he was, but he pushed the puck around nonetheless. Kelly chased after him and stole the puck, skating toward the far goal with it. Danny was fast, but his legs were short, and Kelly made it down the ice and shot the puck into the net before he caught up, whining as usual. "No fair! Your legs are too long. You play goalie and let me shoot," he ordered. So Kelly stood in the goal and tried to block her brother's often wild shots.
"Danny!" she yelled when one shot flew over her head. "Don't do that!"
"Well, this stick is too big. I can't shoot right," he protested.
"Let me help." The boy with the funny accent from earlier, the one who had said she looked sweet, skated across the ice easily and stopped by Danny. "Here," he said, moving the small boy's hands on the stick. "Now try."
Danny shot the puck and it slid between Kelly's feet into the goal. He grinned. "Thanks! My name's Danny. What's yours?"
"I'm Mike Eruzione, but the boys call me Rizzo." Kelly watched Rizzo talk to her brother. He had a broad face, and dark hair like Mike's and dark brown eyes. His smile when he introduced himself was bright and friendly, and made him cute. She shook her head when that thought crossed her mind. Wrong Mike.
"That's a funny name."
Rizzo shrugged, not offended by Danny's opinion. "I like it." He leaned down and asked Danny, "Hey, is that your girlfriend?"
Danny made a horrible face. "No, yuck! That's my sister!" He pretended to puke for much longer than was necessary.
"Shut up, Danny!" Kelly yelled, her face red. She hated it when Danny embarrassed her in front of Dad's players, but Rizzo didn't seem to notice. He skated over to the goal and stuck out his hand. She shook it and said, "I'm Kelly."
"Ah, the infamous Kelly Brooks. Right, Rammer said that's who you were. I guess I didn't recognize you with your game face on." He looked so serious that Kelly giggled, and barely remembered to blush at the sound of Mike's name.
"I like your accent. Where are you from? Because you're not from Minnesota, or Wisconsin…" Kelly asked. Then it hit her. "Are you one of the boys from Boston?"
Rizzo looked taken aback for a moment. "Don't tell me you're old enough to remember the '76 playoffs!"
Kelly shook her head. "I don't remember, but I've heard about it." She peered up at Rizzo. He didn't look like he would start a fight with anybody. "It's a good thing you're not Jack O'Callahan. I'd probably be scared if I met him."
He grinned, and Kelly wanted him to keep smiling. "Aw, OC's not that bad."
"Dad said he got into a fight with Rob."
"That's true. But they're getting along better now." He turned to her brother and suggested, "Hey, Danny, why don't you let Kelly shoot on you some?"
"She's not good enough. I'll block all her shots," he boasted. Kelly stuck her tongue out and shoved him as they changed positions.
She stood facing the goal, with Rizzo beside her. Kelly gripped the stick and, biting her lip in concentration, took a shot. It just went wide of the net. She sagged as Danny mocked her, dancing in the goal.
"Hey, come on," Rizzo said, "first thing is, don't let the other guy get to you. Keep your chin up." He tilted her face up and she stared defiantly into his brown eyes. He chuckled. "There you go. Now, get your feet a little wider…" He gave her advice on a few more things, and the next time she shot the puck hit the bar and flew in.
"Attagirl!" Rizzo cried. She and Danny took turns shooting and guarding the goal, and Rizzo helped them along. One time he stood behind Kelly and reached around her to help guide the stick, and her heart flew in her chest. When the puck went in, she turned around and hugged him, before realizing what she was doing and turning bright red. He just smiled.
From off the ice one of the boys yelled, "Hey, Rizzo, come on! Film!"
"Comin', Bah," he called back. Rizzo turned to the Brooks kids. "Thanks for letting me play with you guys." He shook Danny's hand solemnly, then Kelly's. "I'll see you later, okay?"
"Bye, Rizzo!" Danny called as he skated off. As her brother went back to the goal, Kelly watched Rizzo skate away, then turned when Danny taunted, "Bet you won't be able to score now!"
Kelly gritted her teeth and got into position. Right before she shot she heard Rizzo yell, "Keep your chin up, Kel!" and the puck sailed easily into the net. She whirled around, grinning, and saw Rizzo wink at her before he walked out of sight.
Kelly Brooks was in love. He was strong, and handsome, and he played for her dad's hockey team. He had brown hair, and an adorable smile, and the thing that Kelly loved most about him was his kindness. She wondered what it would be like to live in Boston, and she hoped that their children would have her curls and Rizzo's brown eyes.