Because of poor calculations on my part, Miranda is 18, not 16… with the Winter Olympics set for 2018 or 2022, I don't think Mimo would make the team at 14, so she had to wait 4 years. My mistake for thinking there would be a Winter Olympics in 2020… I am also selecting my own site for the Games because I thought it would be an interesting story if Miranda played for the US on French soil… (and I don't even want to think about how old I will be in 2022…)
Maggie's Golden Girl
"Kill her, Miranda!!!"
Maggie yanked on Bianca's arm, pulling her back down onto the bleachers. "Please, Bianca. They're going to ask us to leave." She eyed the security guards, who, in turn were eyeing them.
"Oh, yeah?!" Bianca retorted, giving one guard a particularly hairy evil eye. "Let 'em try!"
Maggie rolled her eyes at her long-time partner. "Honey, this is a hockey rink, not the boardroom. No one here cares if you're the head of Cambias or that your mother is Erica Kane."
Bianca gave Maggie a look. "When my mother gets back from the restroom, she better not hear you talking like that."
"Bianca, just the thought of your mother in a public restroom in a hockey arena makes me want to laugh. Really, just think about it."
"Just the thought of Erica Kane knowing how to say hockey is weird enough," Kendall muttered from Maggie's left.
Maggie stifled her smile as she and Kendall surreptitiously bumped fists. Bianca hmmphed just like a mini-Erica Kane and crossed her arms over her official Team USA hockey sweater with the number 11 embroidered on the back under the name Montgomery-Stone.
Jack put a comforting arm around Bianca's shoulders as they waited for the face-off in the Canadian end. "I understand, Bianca," he said softly.
"Do you, Uncle Jack?"
The gentle, sweet man paused for a long moment. "No, not really, but I can sympathize."
Bianca rolled her eyes and looked back at the ice. "Go, Miranda!" she shouted, watching as her incredibly talented daughter prepared to slap the puck away from her opponent the second it hit the ice.
"It's a two minute penalty," Zach said from the other side of Kendall. "We're on the power play."
"Come on, Miranda!" Bianca shrieked, bloodlust in her eyes. Maggie seriously began to fear her. "You can do it!!" The puck was dropped and Miranda slapped it away almost immediately. "Give it to Miranda!" Bianca shrieked at the ice. "Give it to her!!!"
"Keep it down!" someone yelled from a few rows behind them.
"You keep it down!" Bianca shouted back at them.
"Bianca!" Maggie exclaimed.
"What?!?!" Bianca looked at the half dozen or so startled faces staring at her in stunned silence. Her hands flew to cover her mouth in shock. "Oh, my..."
"Sorry," she muttered ashamedly.
"It's okay, Binks," Kendall reassured her. "But, chill, kiddo. Seriously."
"Bite me, Kendall," she growled under her breath.
"That's Maggie's job," Kendall replied sweetly.
Bianca sighed. "Yeah… it is…," she murmured, giving Maggie a coy look from beneath her lowered eyelashes. Maggie gave her a smoldering look and growled sexily, leaning in close to the brunette.
"I'm sitting right here!" Kendall shouted at them, startling the still very-much-in-love women apart. "Yeesh!"
Miranda had scored 4 goals and assisted on 1 other in a pool play game against France, whose team consisted of most of Miranda's classmates from middle school until she had graduated high school. Her fifth goal came on wrap around, skating behind the net with the puck then jamming it home under the goalkeeper's pads as she slid across the crease.
Team USA went undefeated in pool play, outscoring opponents 21-3. Miranda had 9 goals.
Maggie hurried to the women's room, not really wanting to leave her seat, but unable to wait any longer after the giant soda she drank during intermission. Hurrying into the large tiled restroom, she skidded to a stop in shock.
Seated on the very edge of bathroom attendant's chair was Erica Kane, her thumbnail jammed between her teeth as she chewed on it nervously. The play-by-play was being piped in over the PA system and Erica was rocking back and forth on the chair, her anxiety a palpable entity. Here, far away from the prying eyes of the media, Erica Kane could quietly go stark raving mad with nervousness.
"Um, Erica?" Maggie asked softly. "Are you okay?"
La Kane started in surprise and looked up at her daughter's partner. "Oh, Maggie!" she exclaimed. "I didn't see you there." She stood up and straightened her cashmere sweater then wiped her palms on her designer jeans. "I was just… You know... I needed to use the restroom."
Maggie stifled her grin. "Are you sure?"
Erica gave her a patented Kane hair flip. "Of course, I am. Why wouldn't I be? I just needed to use the ladies room."
"Don't look at me like that, Maggie Stone. You may be my daughter's partner and my granddaughter's second mother, but you don't know me."
Maggie grinned. "Erica, I know you better than you think I do. I think almost 20 years of being around you gives me a little insight."
Erica gave Maggie a look that at once time scared the young doctor to death, but now Maggie knew it was Erica just being Erica, and stalked over to the wash basins.
"You think whatever you want, Maggie," she said haughtily, reaching under the faucet and washing her hands. With as much dignity as she could muster, she dried her hands off and stalked out of the bathroom. "I'm going to watch my granddaughter win a gold medal!" she shouted over her shoulder as she went.
Maggie's grin blossomed fully as she watched the decidedly nervous woman depart before her bladder reminded her she was on a mission to find an open stall and ease the pressure.
Erica stood out at the concession stand, her back to the counter, her elegantly manicured thumbnail back between her teeth. Watching the entrance to the bathroom, she waited until she saw Maggie rushing out and back into the arena in a hurry to catch the rest of the period. Once she was sure Maggie was back in at the seats USA Hockey had gotten for them, Erica hurried back over to the bathroom and slipped inside, taking her place again on the edge of the plastic chair to listen to the play-by-play on the Public Address system, rocking nervously back and forth.
In the semi-final game against Russia, Miranda had her third hat-trick of the tournament, two goals in the second period and the final one after the Russians had pulled their goalkeeper in order to add a skater to the attack. The empty netter took any wind that their Russian counterparts may have had left out of their sails.
The US had advanced to the Championship game with Miranda leading the way.
As the second period started in the Gold Medal game, Miranda won the face-off and quickly skated away from the circle, waiting for a return pass from her teammate and best friend Casey. They cycled it around, looking for an opening to take the shot, wanting to put a good one on the tough Canadian goalie. This was their biggest rival and to meet them for the gold medal in the Olympics was what Miranda had been waiting for since she joined the player pool at USA Hockey when she was 14. Well, honestly, she'd been waiting for this all her life.
There were two shots on goal by the USA before the Canadians cleared the puck and started their own attack. The USA 'keeper, a small girl from Minnesota named Allison, swept aside a long shot and the puck was quickly turned back up-ice, Casey and Miranda quickly sending the puck back and forth as they skated over the blue line.
Casey wound up and took a wicked slapshot that hit the goalkeeper square in the chest, the hollow 'thunk' resounding from where the frozen disc had impacted the 'keepers chest protector. Miranda spotted the loose puck as it bounced away and skated in quickly.
"Loose!" a Canadian defenseman yelled. "Loose puck!"
"Clear it!" someone shouted. "Clear it!"
"Randi!" Casey screamed. "RandiRandiRandi!!!"
"I go!" Miranda shouted back. "I go!"
In the blink of an eye, Miranda had the puck on her stick blade and whipped a wrister just under the goalie's arm on the glove side. The black disc hit the back of the net and the red lamp flashed on, the sound of a buzzer filling the arena.
Yessssssssssss!!!!!" Casey exclaimed, plowing into Miranda with joy, beating the rest of her teammates by seconds as they all piled on.
"Goooaaaallll!!!!" Zach yelled, leaping to his feet as everyone around him exploded out of their seats and the arena shook under the weight of the cheers. "Yeah! Miranda!!!" He grabbed Kendall in his arms and kissed her hard on the lips.
Bianca screamed like a little girl and grabbed Maggie around the neck. "Yeah!!!!!!!!!! That's our daughter! That's our daughter!!" She kept repeating that as she jumped up and down, her arms still tight around Maggie's neck.
Maggie managed to hug Jack with Bianca hanging onto her back then grinned down at the ice with tears stinging her eyes.
"Yeah, Randi!" Spike exclaimed, high fiving with his Uncle Reggie. The young Slater was awaiting his turn on the ice for Team USA, having followed his father's blind, and Maggie would add misguided, loyalty to the Detroit Red Wings and a love of the game. "Yeah!!"
Greenlee was throwing confetti with her son, Leo, both of them screaming and cheering before Leo grabbed Maggie in a hug, reaching past his grandpa Jack to do so, and lifting the small woman off her feet in his exuberance.
The living room at Fargate's boarding house erupted in cheers as the gathered Pine Valley citizen's watched the game on Myrtle's new 56 inch plasma screen, purchased for the elderly woman by Zach when her eyesight began to fail. Sitting regally on the sofa, still holding court at her advanced age, Myrtle smiled at the image on the large screen of Miranda being mobbed by her teammates.
"Sit down and shut up!" she barked at Tad and Aidan, who were playfully chest-bumping each other in celebration. "There's still a ways to go in this game."
"Yes, Myrtle," Tad muttered ashamedly.
"Yes, Myrtle," Aidan echoed in kind.
"Good." Then she winked at the screen, the cameras briefly focused on the celebrating Kane-Montgomery-Stone clan before switching back to Miranda. "That's my girl."
In the bathroom, Erica Kane shot off the plastic chair, shrieking in joy as the play-by-play of the goal was piped into the bathroom over the PA system.
"Miranda!" she exclaimed, arms thrust high over her head. "Yes!"
As her words echoed off the tile walls, she became intensely aware of the odd silence punctuated by the sound of running water and 5 women looking at her strangely. Clearing her throat, she tossed her hair regally and stepped up to a sink to wash her already clean, and now chapped, hands. Checking her make-up in the mirror, she pursed her lips to smooth out her lipstick and made an incredibly dignified exit from the restroom.
Surrounded by her teammates, getting pats on the helmet in congratulations, Miranda glanced up in the stands. Finding her lunatic mother wasn't hard to do, seeing the Chairperson of the Board of Cambias International bouncing up and down while hugging Maggie from behind. Miranda high-fived Casey once more then skated for the bench, giving her parents a quick wave as she reached the boards.
She grinned beneath her mask when her mother stuck her fingers in her mouth and let loose with an ear-piercing whistle, then screamed Miranda's name.
With 8:34 left in the game, "The Incident" as it would be called in the Montgomery-Stone household from that day forward, occurred.
The USA was up 3-2, with Miranda having scored another goal on a power play. Canada had control and had just crossed the blue line when Emily Varner, the big defender for the USA, swept the puck away from a charging Canadian near the boards. Miranda skated quickly over to retrieve the puck, reaching out her stick to control it. Her concentration was on the puck and turning up-ice when a Canadian winger body-checked her hard from behind.
Miranda was completely unprotected and went headfirst into the dasher boards. The heavy 'thump' of her helmet and body hitting the boards practically echoed through the arena, the protective glass rattling in its frame as Miranda crumpled to the ice.
"Hey!" Maggie exclaimed, leaping to her feet. "That's checking!"
"You can't do that!" Zach bellowed.
"Miranda!" Bianca screamed, watching her precious child lying unmoving on the rink. "That's my daughter, you bi-!"
"Bianca!" Kendall yelled, slapping a hand over Bianca's mouth. Bianca struggled with the scrawny hand, giving her sister a decidedly deadly look. Kendall wasn't about to give up, though.
The arena was filled with whistling from the stands, the European version of booing, as the referee called the five minute Match penalty for intent to injure, ejecting the Canadian player from the game and sending her to the dressing rooms. In women's hockey, all body checking is illegal and results in at least two minutes in the box, so this was an especially nasty penalty.
As Bianca and Maggie stood anxiously in their seats to determine the severity of the injury to their daughter, who was being helped off the ice by Casey and the team trainer, there was a huge commotion, followed by a blur racing in from the mezzanine.
"Arrêt!" an usher shouted, "Arrêt!!"
"Oh, my God," Bianca muttered.
Maggie watched in awe as a whirlwind bulled into the arena and attempted to get at the Canadian player as she was exiting the arena. "It's your mother!" she exclaimed in awe.
Caught up in the arms of a security guard, arms and legs flailing, was Erica Kane, shouting any number of invectives at the Canadian girl. "That was my granddaughter!" she shouted. "You can't do that to my granddaughter!"
"Jack!" Maggie shouted over her shoulder, but saw that he was already on his way down the stairs.
"Oh, my God," Bianca repeated, quickly following her Uncle Daddy with Maggie on her heels.
"Yeah, can you say 'International Incident'?"
By the time they got closer to the bench, they could hear Miranda trying to reassure the extremely pissed off Diva. "I'm okay, Grandma. I'm okay!"
An Olympics official was shaking his walkie-talkie at Erica, the antenna dangerously close to putting out an eye. "Vous devez partir de l'arène," he said firmly. "Maintenant. Allez. Maintenant!"*
"What?!" Erica exclaimed. "You can't kick me out!"
"Well, it's not like you were watching the game, Erica," Maggie reminded her. "You've been in the bathroom the whole time."
Erica tossed her hair and glared at Maggie, but the doctor was making eye contact with her daughter, who was nodding reassuringly back at them.
Erica turned to Bianca. "Your partner has an attitude problem," she informed her daughter.
Bianca gave her a look then snorted. "Hello, pot, meet kettle."
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
Jack took Erica by the arms, pulling her back towards the mezzanine entrance. "Merci," he said to the usher. "Merci." He looked at the hellion he was married to. "Come on, Erica, back to the bathroom."
"I know, I know. You're Erica Kane, that was your granddaughter, they don't know who you are. Let's go."
Erica allowed her husband to lead her out of the arena, threatening everyone and their dog on the way out. Maggie looked at Bianca in awe.
"And you thought I was the one who would lose their mind," Bianca cracked, giving her partner a little grin.
"Gotta admit, Boom-Boom, I never envisioned Erica Kane as a violent hockey parent."
Bianca snorted. "Yeah, join the club." She looked over at her daughter, who was getting a small cut on her eyebrow attended to by the team physician. "How is she?"
"She's fine. Ready to get back on the ice." Maggie watched Bianca physically relax. "Come on, let's leave her be."
They made their way back to their seats, watching as the game got back underway. A few minutes later when Miranda leapt over the boards and onto the ice during a shift change, the spectators in the stands roared their approval.
Suddenly, Kendall burst out laughing. "Oh, I am never going to let Mother live that down!"
After a moment, Bianca started chuckling right along with her sister. "Me, neither."
"Can I-?" Maggie began.
"NO!" they both yelled back simultaneously.
The Canadians fought back and scored the equalizer with barely 3 minutes left in regulation to force a 5-minute overtime period. It was sudden death, so whoever scored first would win the gold. If no one scored in that overtime, the teams would be forced to go to a shoot-out and no one wanted to see this hard-fought game end that way.
The puck was dropped at center-ice and Miranda won the face-off. Casey dumped the puck into the offensive end and the overtime was on. Canada quickly controlled the puck and turned it back up towards the defensive end, cycling the puck quickly around, looking for an open shot.
A shot from the left winger was blocked out by the 'keeper and Emily quickly swept the puck out of the zone. The Canadians regrouped in the neutral zone and started back in, looking for another shot. Casey poke checked the puck away and Miranda went after it, swinging her stick at the loose disk, hoping to pull it over the center line to start an odd-man rush.
As she swept her stick across the ice, a Canadian defenseman was skating in, intent on gaining control of the puck. Miranda's stick made contact with the Canadian's skate simultaneously, the stick catching the metal blade and the skater losing her balance and falling to the ice.
A groan went up from the crowd as the referee's arm went up, calling a delayed penalty.
"No!" Bianca exclaimed. "Not on Miranda!"
"Oh, man," Zach groaned. "That's tripping and there's only 3 and a half minutes left!"
Casey gained control of the puck and the ref blew the whistle, stopping play and sending Miranda to the penalty box for 2 minutes. He indicated the tripping as Miranda skated over and stepped into the box.
"Dammit!" she growled, flipping the plastic mask of her helmet up to wipe the sweat off her face. "Dammit!" She glanced up in the stands and saw her mother and Maggie watching her and gave them a shrug. "Well, crap…"
"It's okay, Miranda!" Maggie yelled from her seat, knowing the young woman couldn't hear her. But she knew Miranda could see them and she wanted her to know it was alright. "You're okay! You're okay!"
With a sigh, Miranda slumped onto the seat and looked at her stick. There was a small crack were the Canadian's skate had made contact with the wood. She pulled off her glove and tested the strength of the blade, knowing she wouldn't have time to get across ice to get a new stick once the penalty expired.
That is, if the Canadians didn't score on the power play first…
Team USA was managing to hold off everything Canada threw at them. Shot after shot, ricochets off the 'keepers blocker, off her stick, into her glove. Three face-offs in the USA end, dangerous until someone cleared the puck out of the zone.
A Canadian defenseman retreated for the puck and they started back into the USA zone. Time was winding down on the penalty and if the penalty killing unit could hold them off for 20 more seconds, the USA would be back to full strength.
It would give the USA a little over a minute to try to mount an attack of their own.
As time ticked off the penalty clock, Miranda prepared herself to take the ice as quickly as possible. Canada cycled the puck around to their best scorer, setting her up for a wicked slap shot.
Ten seconds on the penalty…
The winger wound up and swung at the puck…
Seven seconds left on the penalty as Allison went down on the ice quickly, barely seeing the black pellet whizzing right at the net. She managed to get her blocker on it and knock it off target, where it clanged off the pipe.
The crowd 'oohed' at the sound. The puck bounced out toward the blue line. Two seconds left on the penalty as two Canadians went after the loose puck. Casey went with them.
The penalty expired…
Miranda burst out of the penalty box, already at full speed.
As the two Canadians converged on the puck, Casey reached in and swung her stick. She made contact with the puck just as it was coming off one of an opponents stick and it ricocheted out beyond the center line.
"Breakaway!!" Zach shouted as they watched Miranda sweep the puck into her control. "It's one on one!!"
With everyone's momentum carrying them towards the USA goal, Miranda was the only one going the opposite direction. She had the puck on her stick and it was going to be her against the goalkeeper and no one else.
She skated in hard and fast, pulling her stick back for the hardest slap shot she could ever imagine taking. The goalkeeper had skated out, hoping to cut down the angle, backing up towards the net as Miranda skated in closer.
Miranda wound up, bringing her stick down fast toward the ice, her eyes locked on the 'keeper. As soon as the girl committed and started to go down for the block, Miranda pulled up short, knowing exactly what she was going to go.
In the blink of an eye, she stopped the slap shot and deked, quickly pushing the puck forward before catching it with the backhand and pulling it back to the right. As the 'keeper moved to her right for the block, Miranda moved to her right and put the puck on her stick blade.
With a snap of her wrist, she lifted the puck off the ice with a shot towards the goal going top shelf. For a split second in time, the entire arena held its breath and it seemed almost deafeningly silent.
The red lamp flashed on.
The horn sounded.
Almost simultaneously, the roar from the crowd nearly ripped the roof off the arena.
"YES!!!" Maggie screamed, her arms over her head. "MIRANDA!!!"
"YES!!!" Bianca echoed. "YEEESSS!!!"
They turned and grabbed each other in a hug, tears in their eyes as everyone around them exploded in celebration.
Miranda watched the puck hit the back of the net and threw her arms up over her head.
"Yeah!" she exclaimed, turning to face her teammates as they raced to engulf her, some flooding over the boards at the bench, the ones still on the ice dropping their sticks and gloves in their haste to celebrate.
They converged on the tall girl and swamped her, falling to the ice in a huge pile of screaming, celebrating young women. Cheers rained down on them along with confetti and small American flags. The joyous noise was truly deafening.
"That's our daughter!" Maggie sobbed with joy, pressing a kiss to Bianca's cheek. "That's our daughter!"
"That," Bianca whispered, "was all because of you." She kissed Maggie on the lips, then again on the forehead. Then she gave Maggie an all-knowing shrug. "She's just being a Maggie's girl."
With a teary grin, Maggie pulled Bianca into her arms and they held each other tightly, both their hearts bursting with pride.
Chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" filled the arena as the team accepted their medals, each girl waving to the crowd before bending down to have the medals placed around their necks.
The Stars and Stripes waved high and confetti was thrown back and forth by Americans in the crowd.
Miranda stood on the podium with an American flag draped over her shoulders, looking down at the ribbon around her neck, in complete and total awe of it all. She took the golden medal in her hands and caressed it gently, then looked up into the stands.
Finding her mothers in the crowd, she smiled at them. They weren't hard to spot, surrounded by a group of loving family members, all sporting blue Team USA jerseys bearing her name and number. Reggie and Spike were waving an American flag, Kendall was standing on her seat, Grandpa Jack was hugging Grandma Erica, Greenlee was, well, Greenlee, an arm around her own son, Leo.
And there were her parents. Her mother Bianca, standing behind Maggie, her arms wrapped around Maggie's shoulders. She could see the tears on her mother's face and all her love in her eyes. When Miranda made eye contact with Maggie, that's when her tears started to flow. Maggie, her hero, her protector, her biggest ally, beamed down at her, love, happiness and most of all, pride, shining from her smile. So, this was really all worth it. The 5 a.m. practices, the late night stick sessions because that was the only time when they could get ice-time, the bruises, the twisted knees, the sore legs and arms… All because that one person believed in her the most, more than she sometimes believed in herself.
As they turned to face the flags that would be raised and the opening strains of the National Anthem began, Miranda suddenly couldn't wait to get off the ice and put this medal where it truly belonged.
Around Maggie's neck.
*"You must leave the arena. Now. Go. Now!"