Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with the movie or the real story, I'm just celebrating their achievement in my own way.
Thank you to those of you still reading. Hope you like how this turns out.
Chapter 15 – Halloween
By the time Verchota, Mac and I made it back with the drinks for the party, the atmosphere along our hallway was building. Handing over the supplies to some of the guys who were ready we left to change.
Although it was a Halloween party and the normal themes applied, Buzz, Pav and I had managed to lay our hands on a few special costumes which we figured would be well received even though they didn't actually follow the theme of the night. We had agreed that Mac would make sure we were all ready so we could make a grand entrance, the rest of the guys had no clue what we were planning. In fact no one really knew what everyone else was doing either, we'd heard there would be the usual smattering of Devils, Dracula's and probably a zombie or two, so it would be good to see what everyone had selected.
The only regular girls around the team were the two wives and Ellie, plus Magic's fiancée when she was in town, and they'd all been tight lipped about what they were going to wear, the girls in the dorm however were more forthcoming, telling us how revealing their costumes would be in the hope they'd get invited. They were going to be anyway, and it was actually more likely to be a progressive party, because several were planned on other floors of the building, so we'd probably make the rounds at some point if things got a little flat with ours, although from what I'd heard, everyone was hoping to drop in on us as the celebrities in the dorm. Not that we were really celebrities, but you mention the Olympics and it seemed sometimes we bore that celebrity brick around our necks. Most of the girls that threw themselves at us were there for the fame we might bring them rather than wanting us for ourselves, but it didn't stop us from hanging out with them. Most of the guys wouldn't turn down free female company at any time, so considering the number of female residents it wasn't a surprise that there was a regular rotation of girls hanging around.
My roommate had already gone to help sort the music to get the party started so I was alone as I pulled on my costume, it felt kind of ridiculous, but it would give everyone a laugh, which is why we'd chosen to do it. Mac rapped on my door a few minutes later and announced everyone was ready.
"Whose damn idea was it to do this?" I grumbled good naturedly as I lifted the final part of the costume and began to drag it over my head.
"Buzzy, it's always his fault. I think he's trying to upstage Gayle and the girls," Mac answered fiddling with the expensive looking camera around his neck and lisping a little from the vampire teeth he was wearing.
"So what are they wearing?" I asked, knowing that whatever Gayle and Barbara chose to wear they would look stunning.
"All a big secret, they've all been locked in Ellie's room for the last hour refusing to open the door," he answered taking a look down the hallway, presumably checking that we were still on track to make our appearance.
"Are you ready? The guys are wanting to make a grand entrance and Ellie's leant me her camera to capture the magic moment." He held up the item hanging around his neck and waved it at me.
"Sure," I sighed tugging the head for my costume into place.
A moment later we stepped out into the hallway, meeting Buzz and Pav in the hallway and we made our way down to the lounge, the music was already blaring and a babble of voices wafted towards us. Mac entered first, ensuring that we could get into the room for the full effect to be noted.
The boys had been right, everyone got a kick out of the costumes and they all overlooked the fact that two of them should have been girls. Ellie had earlier leant me her camera so I had been able to capture a few photos as I stood back when they made their entrance. I kept it hanging round my neck for safekeeping until she arrived and claimed it back. With all the commotion around Bah, Buzz and Pav, I wasn't noticed so decided to head to the kitchen for a drink. Opening the door I wondered if Ellie would actually show up, although with Gayle around I guessed she'd have little opportunity not to, the woman was determined to integrate Ellie into the team and for now it seemed to be working, albeit slowly.
"Hey Mac, what can we get you?" Jimmy asked indicating the array of bottles available in the large buckets on the floor as I walked into the kitchen.
"Whatever's going," I answered, absently.
"That Ellie's camera?" OC asked pointing at the object strung around my neck.
"Yeah, I borrowed it to get a few snaps of Buzz and the guys," seemed pretty obvious to me that it belonged to our resident photographer and that it would come in handy, but I had to remember that most of the team had no idea what our Coneheads and I had been scheming with.
"You taken lessons on how to use it too?" joked OC.
"It's not that hard," I commented taking the open bottle Jimmy held out to me as the door swung open admitting Rammer and Silk.
"You may want to have it ready, the girls are on their way down and from the conversation I had with Gayle and Leslie earlier I think they've got something pretty big planned," OC implied, above the guffaws from the guys who had just entered.
"Can't be any bigger than what Bah and the guys have done," Rammer choked, still laughing about the antics going on next door.
"They only came dressed up as the Coneheads!" Silk gasped, his eyes watering from the laughter he was still trying to suppress.
"This I've got to see," OC sniggered and headed to the door.
"Jack, we're supposed to wait for the others," Jimmy counselled in a warning tone.
"It'll be fine," he argued and disappeared, Rammer and Silk trailing after him, as they slowly calmed down, only to erupt into laughter again as they obviously saw the guys again.
Jimmy and I stood in silence and sipped our beers, then eventually the door opened and four women entered. I picked out Gayle immediately, she was dressed as a black cat, compete with mask and tail, her costume clearly clinging to her statuesque frame. Barbara had opted for a longer dress in red and black with splits up both legs and a tight fitting bust, with her dark hair and makeup she resembled photos I'd seen of a voodoo priestess. The other two women I didn't recognise immediately, but realised after a brief moment that they must be Ellie and Leslie.
"Put your tongues back in boys, before we cast a spell and remove them," Gayle observed while exchanging a glance with a woman in a thigh length black outfit and black and white wig and dark heavy makeup, when she smiled back a couple of her teeth had been blacked out to complete the look.
The one to really stand out against the others however was in vibrant red, a corset style top left little to the imagination about the body it covered and the slightly flared skirt fell to mid thigh, and matched with a red and black mask, a short black wig, red lace gloves and red thigh boots with high heels.
I noticed her eyes even behind the mask as she glanced between me and Jimmy, "Gayle, you've outdone yourself, you look amazing, you all do," I added, choosing my words carefully so as not to spook the real target of my compliment. "Everyone's gathering next door why don't you go say hi and we'll bring you some drinks."
Gayle looked towards Jimmy, "where's OC?"
"He'll be back," Jimmy answered a little uncomfortably, Gayle seemed a little pissed, then she turned to me.
"Well as you're here you can help out," she didn't get to say anymore as the door opened again this time admitting Magic and Morrow, they quickly swept their girls up into hugs and admiring comments about their outfits before whisking them out of the room again, leaving just 4 of us.
I raised the camera and snapped a few shots of Gayle before turning the camera to Ellie who hurried across the room towards me, her hand in front of her to block the shot. "You don't need photos of me," she insisted standing right before me.
I looked at her, she had that deer in the headlights look in her eyes, "alright," I agreed reluctantly handing the camera over to her, "but you look fantastic, you should have at least one photo of yourself."
"He's right Ellie," Gayle insisted, "Jimmy why don't you three pose for me," she quickly took the camera from Ellie before she could argue, Jimmy crossed the room, the toilet roll from his mummy costume trailing behind him. We looked an odd bunch, a mummy a female devil and me as Dracula, Jimmy wrapped an arm around Ellie's waist and drew her between us and we posed for a few photos, then Gayle got carried away, making each of us pose with Ellie, before we were interrupted by more people entering the kitchen looking for the booze. Jimmy wrapped an arm around Ellie and gave her a glass of wine before leading her into the other room.
After taking off and splitting my sides over the Coneheads I became embroiled in a conversation and forgot that I was supposed to be with Jimmy to escort Ellie, but he seemed to be doing alright when he brought her into the lounge and they circulated together for a while.
It was a lot later when the party had thinned out somewhat that I saw Ellie enter the room alone, she had been gone a while, I knew that because Gayle and Jimmy had both been looking for her, wanting to check she was okay. I staggered towards her intending to tell her how hot she looked, but by the time I'd climbed over the seemingly half dead bodies which littered the floor she was leaning against the wall, Mac was with her, I figured she was okay and instead meandered my way to the kitchen for more beer. I don't remember much about what happened next, but I do remember seeing the pair still talking when I came back, she seemed happy, Mac was casually leaning against the wall, his hand on her waist as he leant forward to say something, for a moment it reminded me of the night on the train in Finland when I'd stood with her in the passageway outside her bunk.
I wasn't jealous, or mad or anything, I guess I was surprised, but since she ran away that weekend, it seemed like they'd connected somehow there had been a different vibe between them since that first day at Lake Placid when we'd walked into the hotel and found her facing off against the Gopher boys. Ellie and I were cool, Europe had been more of a distraction, her to have someone to lean on when we flew; as for me it was a bit of an attempt to show off in front of Mac and his boys. Ellie was the only girl to travel with us on the trip and the one I had started a relationship with, not that the team knew that, only Doc, Jimmy and Mac were part of that inner circle.
Someone nudged my arm and waved their beer bottle at the couple I'd just been observing. "Whatta ya know!" Verchota slurred in my ear as he wobbled and slung an arm around my shoulder to steady himself. "Looks like Mac's melting the Ice Queen."
I hadn't heard her called that before, "Ice Queen?" I slurred back making sure I'd heard him right, while my empty hand rubbed my temples, trying to clear my head and stop myself slipping back to my musing.
"Yeah, Ellie, what's he got that we ain't?" he grumbled.
"Don't sweat it, he won't get to first base with her, Jimmy stands a better chance," I answered, pushing him upright so that we didn't both end up falling over.
"Wouldn't be surprised, Mac has plenty of charm for the girls when he wants to." Verchota continued, "and I can tell he's got the hots for this one," he half slurred again before finally standing on his own feet and frowning in concentration, "what do you say we have a little fun, first base, I'll bet you ten bucks he's kissed her before the night's out."
"You're on, Ellie don't fall that easy, she's still dealing with a lot of crap over her Dad's accident, she's not going down that road any time soon." I slurred back as I clapped him on the back then stared at my hand wondering why it was hurting. I also knew that after the fling we had in Europe she had sworn off any relationships at least until after the Olympics and I didn't think she was the type to change her mind once she had made it up.
"Be prepared to pay up OC, I always win when Mac's going for a girl," Verchota added then
stumbled away. I glanced back to the door and noticed an empty space where Mac and Ellie had been standing. I'd worry tomorrow how we were going to verify our wager. I was also a little surprised at my apparently coherent thoughts, obviously I could make sense in my head even if what came out of my mouth didn't.
Ellie was gone when most of us surfaced the next morning, several of the guys were nursing hangovers in the kitchen when I dragged myself in for coffee.
"Hey OC!" Silk greeted me, "wild party last night!"
"Yeah, everyone else still sleeping it off?" I asked reaching for a cup and the flask of coffee and glancing at Silk and Rammer who were sitting at the table looking exhausted.
"Most, Magic and Leslie took off early, they've gone out for the day, Ellie left just after, she's meeting her brother and they've taken off to Duluth, they're meeting their brother and Mom there, something about visiting an aged aunt and they're having some family reunion dinner, they'll be back tomorrow." Rammer answered.
"Anyone seen Verchota?" I asked, wondering if we'd had a certain conversation the night before, or if it was something I dreamt in my alcohol induced stupor.
"Not yet, according to Eric he's out like the dead, the amount he drank last night I'm surprised he was still standing," Rammer answered.
"When he's like that chances are he'll sleep through today, he might surface tomorrow although it'll only be for food," Jannie added, "and the chances are he won't remember much of the party either."
"Seems the waste of a weekend," I commented.
"That's how Philly does it," Jannie confirmed.
"What are you guys planning to do the rest of the day?" Silk asked as Mac and Rizzo walked in.
"Thinking we might go bowling, you in?" Rammer offered as the others sat at the table and reached for the plate of cookies that were there.
"I'm in." I nodded.
"Anyone know what happened to Ellie last night, she disappeared early," Rizzo asked.
"She promised to put in an appearance at her brother's party, she came back after you went to bed," Mac commented, taking another cookie.
"How would you know that? Didn't see you around when I turned in." Rizzo commented.
"Took a spin around the other parties myself," he answered, ducking his head a little and taking a big interest in the half cookie in his hand.
"Yeah?" Rammer questioned, a wide grin across his face as he looked at Mac, "how many parties or was it just the one that she went to?"
"You went with her?" I spluttered, wondering what in the hell I'd missed while I was drinking. I'd seen her talking to Mac and them looking quite cosy, but it hadn't occurred to me that they knew each other well enough for him to take her to her brother's party.
"Someone had to look out for her Jack, Gayle asked for your help and what did you do? You bailed right when Ellie needed you most, it wasn't fair on Jimmy to take all the responsibility, so yeah, I gave him a break and took her to her brother's party, you got a problem with that?" Mac practically yelled at me.
Silk glanced between us, I saw the surprised look on his face at the revelation. "Ellie's a grown woman, she can do what she likes, she doesn't need me babysitting her every appearance!" I snapped back, the pounding in my head increasing with the sudden tension in the room.
Mac obviously wasn't going to give me any sympathy as he continued. "Jack, you of all people should know what last night meant for her, she was way out of her comfort zone, what would it have taken for you to acknowledge that and be there for her?"
"And what does that say for you huh? I saw you and her later, you looked pretty cosy together."
"Guys, cool it," Rizzo's voice of reason weighed in on what was fast becoming a heated slanging match and could only lead to one outcome if we continued. I was fighting back out of guilt, I'd promised Gayle that I would be there for Ellie knowing how nervous she was about her outfit although I don't know why, she looked hot.
"I'm fine Rizz," Mac muttered, "Jack's the one that seems jealous about someone other than him talking to Ellie," he continued then turned his attention back to me, "that's all it was Jack, talk, nothing else, you should know she won't date any of us, she needs time and that's not likely to happen while we're on this team. I'm gonna let you cool off, I'm going to see my folks, I'll see you at practice on Monday." He turned and stormed out. Everyone stared at me.
"What?" I asked, "Ellie is more than capable of taking care of herself, she doesn't need all of us following her every move."
Sometimes OC just didn't think before opening his mouth and now it seemed after months of civility old rivalries were back and the one person who didn't need the attention was the centre of it. I was glad Ellie had taken off for the weekend; it gave both boys a chance to calm down and get over it.
I knew OC's response was out of guilt, he'd been too involved with the party to notice how big a deal the whole thing was to Ellie, it had taken her right out of her comfort zone and she needed a lot of encouragement to even turn up, or at least that's what I'd overheard Lesley and Gayle saying. Jimmy had done his best to distract her, but she drew the line at him following her around all evening like a puppy, which was pretty brave considering the drunken state of most of the team. She had also determinedly decided to go to her brother's party alone and that had been the last I saw of her. It was a surprise to hear Mac had gone too, they hardly spoke at the rink when she was there and their conversations around the dorms were limited to hockey business, so I wasn't aware that they had much in common.
It was clear to us Boston boys that Ellie and Jack had distanced themselves since the European tour and she had spent more time away from the team. In itself it wasn't a bad thing and I'd assumed she was making friends around campus, but the less time she was with us, the more I wondered if that made it harder for her to socialise with us at events like the party last night.
The subject of Ellie was thankfully dropped after Mac left the kitchen and OC slumped into a chair rubbing his temples. To most people it was a sign that he was nursing an almighty hangover, but to those of us that knew him the best it was more than just guilt and too much alcohol. The way he had reacted reminded me of an occasion when he was insanely jealous over someone dating a girl he liked. That was years ago, but it has been the start of his Casanova ways and now he didn't wait for an invitation, he opened the doors when it came to girls he was attracted to. Ellie had been resistant to his charms until the night we flew to Europe, but I wondered if it was only a means to an end and that it was designed as a distraction. On the other hand, if it was why was it Jack and not Jimmy that had made the move? I suspected that Ellie was the one to cool things off after our return and that Jack actually still fancied her although I knew he'd never admit it.
I felt my head begin to pound, I'd done my fair share of drinking and I needed a change of scenery and a chance to ring my own girl, I just hoped that whatever Jack was stewing over didn't mean bad news for Ellie or anyone else.
After OC and Mac blew up at each other in the kitchen the rest of the guys soon went their own ways, but for those of us who had gotten rid of our hangovers we did meet at the bowling alley and for a while there was some friendly rivalry going on as we split into 2 teams. But with a group of hormonally challenged hockey players, it was guaranteed that nothing was going to remain quiet for long and all it took was for 3 girls from the dorms to turn up with some of their friends and before long the place was buzzing.
Mac stuck to his word and stayed away from the dorms for the rest of the weekend. Jack when he'd recovered enough from the hangover seemed quieter, even Silk failed to gain any sort of interest from him in anything.
Although I had got to know the boys from Minnesota better I was still far enough removed to be an outsider and observe the goings on impartially. It was late Sunday when Jack and Verchota were seen huddling in a corner talking in quiet whispers, stopping whenever anyone got close to them.
"Anything you'd like to share with the rest of us?" Rammer called from where he had been watching them from the other side of the room.
Jack and Verchota exchanged looks and whispered some more before checking out who else was in the room. They obviously felt that the assembled bodies would be up for whatever they were discussing they moved towards the centre and got everyone's attention.
"Anyone see Ellie and Mac getting all cosy last night?" asked Verchota, eyeing everyone.
"They talked for a while and he went with her to her brother's party," I replied, sticking to pure facts.
"Philly here bet me that Mac laid one on her last night, I said there's no way she'd get involved with any of us." Jack seemed pretty certain of himself and I had no reason to disbelieve him because I knew she'd spent more time with him and Jimmy since we met. They were the ones to support her when her father's plane crashed.
"I'm with Jack, he knows her better," I agreed.
"He might think he knows the Ice Queen, but I've known Mac longer, I'm telling you there was something happening."
"So did Mac lay one on her?" someone asked from behind me, although in the general hubbub of the room I never worked out who.
"I didn't see anything," Rammer answered to general agreement promting Jack to hold out his hand towards Verchota.
"I told you, time to pay up."
Verchota shook his head an amused look crossing his face, "I've got a better idea. You boys like a wager, how about it, everyone puts in 10 bucks and winner takes all."
"What for?" I could guess the answer, but I had to ask anyway.
"Mac and Ellie, the pot goes to whoever guesses the nearest date to when they get together," Verchota told us with a wicked smile.
There was a little more discussion about how it was verified and those present started offering their hard earned cash.
The conversation continued for a while, but without any conclusion, but it was one that may have taken a temporary break, it didn't mean it wasn't a subject that would stay buried.
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