Rhythm and the Blue Line Ch 36
Brody hung by the blue line, waiting for his defensemen to get to the puck out of the corner. Time slowed as players jabbed at the puck, trying to free it from under skates and sticks. After what seemed like forever, the puck dribbled free and Bax snagged it and started up the ice. Brody followed him and saw Tolya joining the rush. They crossed the red line and Bax dumped the puck down the ice. Brody put on a burst of speed and went after it, colliding with a Devil player along the boards. He grunted and jerked away, focused on getting the puck. Bax muscled his way into the scrum by the boards and Brody was glad for the help. Tolya waited near the goal line, ready to get to open space if he could. Brody gritted his teeth and took advantage of a Devil losing his footing to grab the puck and send it to his winger. Tolya backed up and skated behind the goal as his teammates got into position, Brody moving to the net and Bax going to the boards for the cycle. Brody planted himself in front of the crease, ignoring the player behind him who harassed him with cross-checks from behind. Tolya got the puck to Bax, who sent it to Mark up at the blue line. Mark played catch with his defense partner and ripped a shot on net when he got it back. The goalie blocked it but couldn’t control the rebound and Brody jumped on it. He flipped a shot towards the net and there was chaos as everyone crowded the goal crease. He dug for the puck, desperate to get it in the net. The ref’s whistle shrilled and Brody rounded on the Devil Ataşehir escort bayan behind him; in short order he was joined by his teammates. There was a lot of pushing and shoving but no fights as the linesmen got everyone separated. He went back to the bench and grabbed a proffered drink, gulped it down and wiped his face with a towel. Whatever music they were playing seeped into his thoughts and he wondered how Ryan was doing. They’d talked or at least texted every day since she’d left. Despite that and how busy they both were, he missed her more than he expected he would. He shook his head; no time to think about that now. The Caps were protecting a one-goal lead in game four of the best-of-seven series and half the game remained. A win would put the Caps up three games to one and put the pressure on New Jersey to avoid elimination. Don’t think so far ahead, he chastised himself; looking past the game at hand was a sure way to lose it. Two hours later, he was boarding the bus to go home, exchanging back slaps and high fives with his teammates. An empty-net goal had sealed the Caps’ victory, giving them the chance to close out the series in two days at home. He was psyched and couldn’t wait to call Ryan. He was about to dial her number when he realized he didn’t know where she was. In the middle of a show? About to go on stage? Traveling to the next gig? The hell with it, he thought, and dialed. If she was busy, she wouldn’t answer. As he expected, he was shunted Escort Ümraniye to her voice mail. “Hey, Ryan. It’s me. We won tonight and, well, I just wanted to let you know. Call me later. I’ll probably be up late.” He disconnected and stared out the window, lost in thought. “What’s the matter, Langer?” Bax dropped into the seat next to him. “You look like you forgot something.” “What? No. Just zoned out for a second.” Brody put his phone away. Bax settled back and closed his eyes. “God, it will be good to get back. I feel like I could sleep for a week.” “Sucks to get old, huh?” Brody snickered. “You’ll find out soon enough. You’re what, almost twenty-seven? Athletes start slowing down as they approach thirty, you know.” “Speaking from personal experience, right?” He laughed at Bax’s glare. “Fuck you. Anyway, how’s Ryan? Tell her thanks again for the songs. I sent them to my kids and they love them. They’re hoping the band will play somewhere nearby.” “I will. I guess she’s doing okay. I left her a message but haven’t talked to her for a day or so. This tour thing really keeps her on the move.” “She enjoying it?” “Last I checked, yeah. She sounded a little overwhelmed, and said she panicked a little before the first show, but I think she’ll be fine.” He smiled. “I honestly can’t picture her doing anything else.” Bax laughed. “Listen to you. When did you turn into such a sap?” “You’re jealous. I have the gorgeous rock star girlfriend, and you’re just old.” “Maybe, but Bostancı escort I’m the one who told you that you were a goner over Ryan, and I was right. With age comes wisdom.” Bax winced. “And sore knees.” Brody could only nod in agreement on that point. Despite everyone’s elation over the win, more than one Capital was nursing a few bruises. As always, defensive play picked up in the playoffs and Brody felt like he’d blocked more shots in the last few games than he had in the last month of the regular season. It’d be worth it to advance in the playoffs. Bax closed his eyes again and Brody relaxed into his seat as he stared out the window. There wasn’t much to see at this hour, but in his experience it didn’t matter whether it was daytime or not. The New Jersey Turnpike was one of the most god-awful boring roads he’d ever been on in his life. The scenery never seemed to change; it was like riding on the world’s biggest treadmill. He wondered where Ryan was and how the tour was going. She’d told him she was over her stage fright, but he suspected she was just ignoring it and the thought made him smile. People didn’t call her the “fearless leader” for nothing, but he knew she had her anxieties. He imagined that it wasn’t too different from when he’d started in the NHL. He remembered how excited and nervous he’d been as he’d at last put on the sweater for an NHL team, and it was hard to say now which emotion had been stronger. All he could recall now was the feeling that he’d had to succeed, had to bring his play up so that he could stay at this level. Going back to his minor league team would feel like failure. Somehow, he’d done it. He was willing to bet that Ryan felt that way. Going back to the 9:30 Club wouldn’t be an awful thing, but he knew she wanted more and he hoped she got it. It was going on two a.m.