"Minni, you up?" Buzz Schneider opened the door our shared dorm. I was still in bed and I heard his snort in laughter. "Minni, you got to get up."
I merely covered my head with the comforter to help drown out his voice. I was used to this. I would go to bed late while he went to bed early. I really didn't care. We were the same age, me a few months younger. We had graduated together and that had started the ball rolling.
We had always been together from the time I could remember. Being about three months apart in age, our parents had kept us together. If I wasn't at his house, he was at mine. It was just that way. Then when we were sixteen something had happened and I went to live with him permanently. It was heaven.
We graduated high school together. That was amazing. We were always known as Minni and Buzzy. We were rarely apart, even though Buzz had his own siblings. Then we headed to college together. My uncle figured out a way to keep the two of us together while we were in college in the Twin Cities. It was expensive but my family wouldn't hear anything about me paying for it myself.
I counted down from ten. Just as I hit one, I felt the bed give as a hundred-sixty pound body landed on me. I laughed at the same time he did, the two sounds mixing together. He pulled the covers off my head to look at me. We were so much alike in every way it was odd. He was dark headed and so was I. Our eye colors were the same, a rich brown. The best part is we were both short, neither of us over 5'7.
His smile brightened as he sat up, which meant he had a thought. This could go either one of two ways. A) He would force me to make breakfast, or B) make me get up to go play a little one on one.
Luckily for me it was the latter.
"Get up, Minni." He said, shaking my foot.
I scrubbed a hand over my hair and looked at him, my head hitting the pillow again. "Why?"
"I challenge you to a game of one on one. You up for it?"
"I don't know, Buzzy. Last time I kicked your ass."
"You got lucky."
"Luck had nothing to do with that."
"Then prove your mettle. Let's go. I'll get the gear."
I couldn't argue with that. We didn't play full on contact but Buzz was an aggressive player. Fun to play, but aggressive. I never wear pads and I was swift enough to stay away from him when he decided to go for a power play.
I jumped up and starting stripping. Buzz only smiled before walking over to his side of the room. We really didn't care if we were a man and a woman living together. We weren't afraid to strip in front of each other considering we had shared a room growing up.
He was ready before I was because I couldn't find my decent sports bra.
"I got it." He tossed it at me. I caught it in midair and put it on. "I don't know why you insist on wearing them things. You look better with a normal one."
I looked at him. "If we're playing a game, I will not wear a fancy one. It sucks wearing one in general."
He smiled, his eyes lighting up. "Let's go."
We were finally downstairs and walking across the campus to the U when I got a brilliant idea. "Hey, Buzz?"
"Yeah?" He kept pace beside me. Both our gear was slung across our backs in our duffle bags.
"Race you." I was gone before he could even answer. I could hear his exasperated yell as he followed me. I was better suited for this because my gear was in a backpack duffle instead of a normal duffle. I hit the stairs before he did naturally and danced around like an idiot. "I win!"
"Yeah, because you cheated. You always cheat." Buzz said. He normally would be out of shape but since he was training for the Olympics, his stamina had really improved.
I gave him a pointed look as he opened the door for me. "I do not."
"You've always cheated, especially when we were kids."
"You're just jealous because it wasn't your idea first." He shook his head as he headed to the locker room to change clothes. I laced up my skates, put on a helmet, grabbed my stick and got on the ice.
It felt good being on the ice again. I hadn't for the last three months because Coach Brooks had it reserved. While I worked, Buzz would train and then sometimes they'd have two a days. It was hard on him but he had nice meal waiting on him when he got home. I always made a lot because sometimes he brought the team over. I didn't mind. It was like that at home but I could tell they were all tired.
As I warmed up, I thought about the teammates I hadn't met. The Boston Boys as they were called. Buzz rarely had them over. I knew why but I thought it was kinda retarded. I wasn't in the least bit prejudice about Minnesota or Massachusetts. The guys were good players and that's all that mattered.
"Let's do this."
I looked up as Buzz skated onto the ice. He was bulkier now but that didn't mean a thing. He always looked bulky. He sent the puck to me via slap shot. I bricked it back and the game started.
We were skating after each other and laughing hysterically. He got one shot on me and missed. I was laughing so hard I let the next one go in and that brought the score up 1-0. My next three shots sank into the net nicely, bringing me up 3-1. Buzz gritted his teeth as he nudged me, sending me careening into the boards. He made sure I was okay before moving down the ice. The freebie he took made me mad but it was a price I was willing to take considering I hadn't worn any pads.
On the last go around, he got two shots in, making the game 4-3. It was the last play before I had to leave. Buzz had the puck and was making his way down the ice when I slid between his legs, taking the puck with me. I had to scramble to get up on my feet before he turned and got to the black circle before I did. I got up and fired at the goal from center ice. It went in then bounced out after hitting the metal pole. Our little game ended in a tie.
Buzz threw his arm around me as we headed from the ice to the bench. That's when we heard the claps. I knew many of the people who were watching us. The rest were the Boston boys.
"Great job, Minns. Not many get that many shots on Buzzy." The tallest one on the ice said.
"Thanks, Bah. I try." I said with a smile.
"Yeah, she tries extra hard to get on my nerves." Buzz stated playfully.
"Bull crap! If it hadn't been for me, you would never have been able to make the wrist shot."
"That's a load of bull."
Bah only smiled at the banter between the two of us. He was used to it by now. In the course of four years, Bah had become one of my best friends. Buzz would be my best friend but he was my cousin so he didn't count. Bah, Pav, and Buzz made up the Coneheads and they acted the same way.
I turned around and looked. The guys behind me were the Boston boys. They had to be. One was in a blue jersey, one was in brown and the last was in a grey one. The one in the grey was the one who had spoken to me. His dirty blond hair was his obvious trade mark.
"Hey. You must be from Boston." I said as I sat to pull off my skates.
"You would be right. I'm Jack O'Callahan. These are my boys Dave Silk and Mike Eruzione." He offered his bare hand.
I took it (my mama raised me to be respectful) and shook it. "Minnesota Schneider, Minni for short, although Bah likes to call me Sota." I shook my head at that.
"Are you Buzzy's sister?" Silky asked me.
"No. I'm his cousin but we were raised as siblings."
"You got some skill. Why don't you play?" Rizzo asked.
I shrugged. "Never really wanted to. I played for the high school team with Buzzy because I was better than the boys but that's about it."
"I bet Herb's seen you play."
"Probably but it doesn't really matter. There's no girls team here so there's no point in my pursuing it. Although, Buzz will make it to the NHL. That I'm certain of. You all will f you keep playing like this."
"Minni, quit talking to my boys so they can get out here." Brooks called to me.
"Sorry, Herb. I was just leaving." I called back. "I'll meet you at the house, Buzz." He waved his hand to signal he knew what I was talking about. I stood and slung my bag on my shoulders. "See ya, guys."
I heard them mumble as I left the rink. I figured I better go grocery shopping for something for dinner.