Forums → Art, Music, and Writing → Burning Ice (by: Acmed)
Well, here's my novel that was originally for NaNoWriMo, but lost pace with the word count. I wasn't gonna finish it by the 31st. BUT! It inspired me to continue it anyhow! So, the first chapter of Burning Ice:
Chapter 1: Painless Agony
Michael Lambert first looked at a glass wall on the boards of the rink as he got the puck behind his team's net. After a large hit from behind, he saw shattered glass and empty bleachers. All's he could hear was a ref's whistle for icing (and the broken glass). Anything after that moment was black.
Opening his eyes slowly with many blinks to get his vision back, Michael was back in the locker room. He didn't see much lockers, just teammates surrounding him, and a doctor next to him checking his heart rate.
"Good morning, Sleeping Beauty." His teammate Grant Sullivan said, slightly sarcastically. He was a good friend of Michael, but had a dead serious expression planted on his face, "Nice job taking that hit. Without you, we lost the game." Michael hadn't realized he was out cold for the rest of the game. It was only half way through the first period. He was probably their star defender. The backup defenders barley see any ice time, but they did today. They all lost their man on every breakaway, and cost the Hillside Eagles the game. It was lucky their goalie only gave a 5 point blowout, and nothing worse.
"I know how to take a hit, Grant." Michael replied.
"You also know how to avoid a hit, Mike! That guy was far away enough for you to run a marathon!"
"It was an icing call, play was over anyways!"
"It doesn't matter if you..."
"Ladies!" Coach Adkins interrupted loudly, "Settle your argument at teatime, okay?" Michael was standing up again, stretching and yawning, like he took a sudden 2 hour nap. He acted like this comes as often as breathing. But it really did.
Every since the day Michael could speak, he would say "Hockey" or "Check" or "Knock Out" every so often. He could not only take a hit; he could hit as well. Playing hockey in the basement with his dad when he was four years old, was like playing in the NHL with Niklas Kronwall. As his dad was on his knees playing mini sticks with his future NHL star, he'd receive a full on body check by his violent checker of a son. Of course he never said that. He started skating at age 5, played in toddler and children hockey leagues ever since. Although he got often game misconducts for checking (which isn't allowed in younger leagues), he was a great defender, who scored more than his great friend Grant, who played left wing. Once the 11-12 season started, he crushed bodies from every inch of the boards and ice. He set a peewee league record of minutes in the penalty box (most of them roughing, boarding, and crosschecking).
As a junior in high school, Michael was used to hits he gets on the ice. Most people find it scary, but Michael found it to test his man inside him. He got an A+ at that. Only a B- student at school, he kept his grades up to play his game of hockey. He reminds himself of this every day. Not socially retarded, but not the biggest fan of many other students. He had a few friends in his high school years, but they're all hockey fanatics. Which is the only thing Michael sees inside his friends. It's not like he gets talked to, but more of "if I hear you mention hockey, I'll go and talk to you". He was a bit undefined on the radar for quite some time. He wasn't at all ever noticed, that nobody had the time to bully him with threats or fists (maybe because they hear about his record of hard hits from hockey). It only made school worse for Michael with a limited amount of people to talk to.
It was going to be another brutal day at the prison so called school, Michael had thought to himself. As much as he acted like he usually did in school, he was deep down excited about hockey practice after school. But his hatred of learning kept him from showing it. As the first bell rang at the same time Michael walked into his day's worth a nothing, he slouched down the main hall passed peppy cheerleaders flirting with the cool jocks that seemed to notice Michael as much as they notice a gust of wind in Italy. Better yet to say: they ignored him. His locker was probably at least a mile from all 6 hours, which got him to class barley 7 seconds before the second bell rings. His locker is a piece of crap. You have to put in a wrong combination to at least un-jam it. He needs 8 large tugs to get his locker open. It was practice at school. To his misfortune, everything that happen once to a few kids, happened all to him every day.
As Michael approaches his locker as an invisible force, he felt a slight tap on his shoulder. It didn't feel like a rubber band snap sort of tap, but a light tap from another someone. That someone could be anyone, as most of his friends are slightly embarrassed to talk to him anyways. He turns slowly, but casually, as he didn't want to knock away a chance of someone to talk to. He finally saw the force who got his attention, and almost jumped from shock. The eyes were looking AT him for some particular reason. And even more shocking: they were female eyes. She smiled as she could tell Michael was indeed not expecting this. It proved Michael was indeed socially retarded to any human being...
"Hi", the mystery girl had said, "I'm Jackie. Jackie Westbrook." She stuck out her hand with long nails painted hot pink at the ends of her fingers. She had a blinding smile. Trying his best not to be awkward or anything, he took the hand and shook it normally. So far so good.
"I'm Michael Lambert," He replied with a smile, "It's great to meet you." His facial expression was calm and relaxed, but really a drum solo was going on in his chest.
"You must be new here, do you need help getting around the school or anything?" Jackie had asked. Michael had thought she was kidding. He then realized what was happening.
"Ummm," Michael started, "I've been a student in the district since kindergarten." Jackie Westbrook's facial expression turned into a mild shock face into an embarrassing laugh and smile.
"I'm so sorry," It was obvious she felt bad. Michael couldn't notice that. He was too busy thinking about human interaction he hadn't felt in quite some while, "I've never seen you around school before." Shocking. Michael thought. It's been early January and still only 10 people in the school knew his name (only 4 know his last name).
"I just seem to slip a little under the radar," Michael said. He couldn't fail to throw away a conversation with a girl who talked to him without saying the word 'weirdo'. "But I do need help finding room 78. They changed my schedule recently, and I don't know where it is." Lies. Michael could walk the school blindfolded to every class. His schedule had never really changed either. Just a little strategy to take a long walk with the girl. Jackie Westbrook was pleased to do so.
"Of course I will. I owe it to you. Besides, my first period is just down the hall from there." Jackie waited patiently with her blond hair reflecting of the ceiling lights. Michael, trying not to star, quickly grabbed his stuff from his demented and sad locker, and walked away without just the company of himself.
"So I see you play hockey." Jackie mentioned as they walked slowly down the small hallway towards class. Michael had noticed he was wearing his Hillside Eagle hockey jersey from the game last night. Luckily, it didn't smell.
"I do. I play here, for the Eagles. I'm the star defender," Michael remembered most girls either like tough hockey players, or muscular football players, so he felt much more confident than before.
"Really? Sweet! I've been to a few of the games before. My boyfriend plays center." When Michael heard the words 'My Boyfriend', he was shattered. Maybe he shouldn't get his hopes up too much next time he meets a girl. "Ryan Roberts ring a bell?"
It did ring a bell. That center had never scored once in the past 3 years Michael had known him, but gets all the fame from the school for his hit. He stapled gun people to the boards like papers to a billboard. Just like Michael. He never scores, even if there were a breakaway with a down goalie right into the slot. Michael can shoot from the blue line and make it. And every guy who had ever came to him in the neutral zone, got pass him effortlessly. Lucky for Ryan, Michael was there to stop their offensive chance. But nobody cared for the number 45 defender in the back, they cared about the cool jock who played center as an assistor. Michael found him a pathetic loser. Knowing that the girl he recently just met had a relationship with him, made it feel so much more personal.
"Yeah. He's a great center," told Michael, lying upsettingly. For every great play he would get, Ryan would give him a good old punch in the gut as a reward. And boy did he feel proud to have such sportsmanship. He had reached his destination to room 78. So much for a fun filled conversation he was expecting.
"There you go. Mrs. Smith U.S. History." Jackie said smiling, not knowing the fire burning inside the socially beaten Michael Lambert. She waved and walked down the hall to her class. He was then feeling less excited for hockey. It wasn't about Ryan Roberts, but just feeling upset.
And speaking of Ryan Roberts.
Michael never felt a blow to the nearby lockers coming at all off the ice. Brutally hurt to his back, he looked up to see the eyes of someone he'd seen before, but knew who he strongly disliked.
"Out of the people you never talk to, you decide to talk to my girlfriend?" Ryan had said sternly. An evil grin widened upon his face, "You know you can't impress anybody who isn't in your imagination."
"I can beat the hell out of you if I wanted to, Roberts." Michael snapped, still aching on trying to get up, "I'm the star player..."
"And who's getting all the love now? I AM! Because I'm not a ******* who doesn't speak to anybody. I'm social, I'm loved, and you can't keep up with this 'I'm a better hockey player'. I'll shine this year, and you'll be bowing on your knees."
Michael got up finally got up. More man than he ever felt in his life, "You want to put your money where your mouth is?" Michael gave him a shove. It wasn't hard enough for Ryan to fight back, but left with words of wisdom:
"You'll be sorry!" Ryan had left the building... Or at least the hallway. Well. Michael thought. It was fun while it lasted. A girl talking to you, than a hit from the lockers and threats of getting beat up. But it was worth it. Shaking off the slight pain in his left shoulder, he strutted into class.
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Chapter 2: An Effortless Triumph
Days go by fast when you aren't looking forward to something. Michael had found this strange. He was still indeed looking forward to kicking the idiot out of Ryan Roberts. Maybe he was being too cocky? He wasn't afraid of the center playmaker, but yet, Michael wasn't so sure. He loved the sport, no matter what happens. Problems he had that day shave off onto the ice with anger in his checks and shots. Although, he had never really had a problem in school until recently. Ferndale, Michigan had never really been of place of strong hatred or emotions. Just a small, quiet town just off of Detroit, where Michael's mentor played in.
It's okay to have someone to look up to as an inspiring role model. But Michael likes hiding it because he finds it a bit creepy (but what else does he have to lose?). Ever since 2005, Niklas Kronwall had officially been signed to the Detroit Red Wings. The best defenseman Michael had ever known. He had changed the hit of "Kronwalling" to Michael's variation of a blow to "Lambertscaped". He believes effortless nicknaming should be carried on forever for the sake of the defenseman.
Hillside Arena was the name of the Eagle's home rink. It's original name was Ferndale Hockey Recreation Center, but since it lay right across the street from Hillside High School, and the team reserved so many practices and games at the rink, the Ferndale council decided to name it Hillside Arena, home of the Eagles. They never got around to changing the tiled letters to it on the front of the arena, but still rightfully claim it as their own. The players walk to the arena every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Today was everybody's weak day, mid way through the week. It didn't stop any of them from trying their best at the sport they've always loved. The sound of skates skidding on the frozen field, and the loud echo sounds of slap shots to be heard throughout the bleachers. It was home for the Hillside Eagles. Ferndale was the "Local Hockeytown" of Michigan.
Michael never felt the feeling of a cool winter day to match the cool feeling of the hockey ice breezing right on your face when you walk into Hillside Arena. No matter what happens, even if he got shot, he would plant a smile right onto his sad or mad face. There's no bad moods in the sport of hockey (but there is plenty of violent moods). With the heavy bag filled with sticks and helmets and pads, and a pair of black and white skates in his hands, he pushed the doors open with his back, proudly wearing his number 45 jersey. He immediately ran into the doors that led into the locker rooms of the rink. He threw his bag on the nearest bench he approached in the abandoned locker room. He could hear the bangs from the sticks hitting the ice, and the sound of bodies nailing other bodies with brutal force. He threw on his skates and furiously tied them tightly. He quickly put on his pads and helmet, grabbed his stick, and stood up. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a large figure. He turned to see the Eagles' backup goalie Ben Federick, sitting on the bench with his long black hair going over his saddened and depressed face. He was a pretty skinny kid (rumors say he's anorexic. Michael never believed it), but the goalie pads made his look much more thick. Michael wondered why he wasn't out the ice again.
Michael went over and sat next to Ben. Although he might've noticed Michael, he didn't look up or say a word. "Ben, come out on the ice," Michael said quietly to Ben. This has been going on for 2 weeks. Ben hadn't been going out onto the rink without motivation from Michael.
"No," Ben easily replied without anything to think about, "Nobody needs me. I haven't played since last year. Gareth will always be goalie and I won't ever get my time to show what I got." Michael thought he couldn't argue that. Ben was right, their starting goalie, Gareth Wantuck, was one of the best in the league. He showed up to every game, every practice, and had never gotten too sick or too injured for him not to play. Michael still needed to get him on the ice.
"You're a great goalie, Ben. It doesn't matter if you don't play as often as Gareth, but you still need to practice. What if one day Gareth got pneumonia and couldn't stand up?" Michael hoped Ben would give a good answer.
"It wouldn't happen." Ben replied.
"But let's say it did."
"It wouldn't," Ben snapped. He was a bit annoyed by now, "But if it did, I guess I'll have to play."
Michael saw that Ben Federick's spirit was finally lifting, "And you need practice to play." Ben looked up at Michael. Not a sad or mad face, just a straight, non emotional face. It looked like more of confidence. Ben (already dressed) put on his helmet, and his blocker. He grabbed his red goalie stick, and marched out of the locker room with pride. Michael felt like Ben's only friend. He had never seen him talk to anybody, or yet see him without a depressed expression on his face. Whenever Ben was down, Michael was always there to pick him back up. Ben had never had anyone who cared as much. Michael would hope one day that Ben's self esteem could be brought up by himself, but this day had never came. One day he'll learn, Michael thought. One day he can make it on his own, make friends, be happy. Michael was starting to sound like a parent to Ben. But he knew deep down in that boy's dark, sad heart, he found Michael as a mentor.
Michael put on his gloves and joined the rest of his team for the warm-up on the ice. He could see Gareth on one side of the ice blocking almost every shot that came his way. Most of the shots came shooting to Gareth from their star left wing, Grant Sullivan. Grant was the team sniper. His shots were lightning fast and zoomed right to the wanted goal area perfectly. He would've saved the game the day before, but of course, Ryan Roberts would hog it all the way to the slot, but defenders poke checking it away effortlessly. Still, nobody could understand how he ever made the team in the first place.
Michael looked to the other side of the ice to see Ben in the goal crease, trying his best to block the shots. He looked a little cold, but tried his hardest. He could see he was improving as each shot came, and Ben believed that, too. As one rocket shot came just wide of Ben's glove, it hit the back of the net hard. The shot was from Ryan Roberts, fuming as he went over to the innocent goalie.
With a hard shove, Ben Federick fell down on his butt to the ice. It didn't hurt him physically, but Ryan doing that was uncalled for. He already has problems alone.
"You stupid little piece of crap!" Ryan Roberts hollered to the downed goalie, "Block the shots next time! You're probably the worst player on the team! How did you get on here anyways? Huh? What do you have to say about that?" The shocked and mad goalie sad nothing, as he looked at the overrated center raging. Michael couldn't let that happen. He skated from the bench to the goal. He stopped right in between the two, with a mist of ice flies from his skates. Ryan's look in his eyes was easily read by the bystander of Michael Lambert, not stepping down from a fight for his friend.
"Stop." Michael simply said to the center. Stop. What else could he have said? He didn't want to start anything with the man who had overreacted to talking to his girlfriend. Although Michael knew he can (and wants to) beat the living crap out of Ryan, he didn't want to start a situation he'd later regret. If he wants to get recognized at school, he wouldn't want people to note him as the man who starts stuff with fists and feet. Just as long as Ryan didn't do anything stupid.
But of course, he did, "Oh, Mr. Tough Guy is here to save the day now is he?" Ryan had completely turned his way to the defender, now ignoring the still down goalie, watching the whole thing explode, "You're standing up for this little moron who can't block a single shot? How pathetic! It's like the mob of the losers coming at the most best hockey player on this team!"
"Don't be so cocky, Roberts," Michael snapped, interrupting his rage, "We can all agree, that even Ben can score more goals than you as a center!"
"What do you mean by, 'even Ben'?" Ben had asked, interrupted by an unleashed fury of Ryan Roberts to Michael.
"I'M BEST AT EVERYTHING I DO ON THIS ICE!" Ryan's face had turned bright red, he'd be practically melting the ice if it weren't so cool in the arena, "I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE CRAP FROM YOU LITTLE LONERS!" Ryan Roberts was so close to strangling the star defender, who was standing right in his face, not moving an inch, and not showing a glimpse of fear. Coach Adkins had immediately skated over to the controversy (that was overreacted by the 'great' Ryan Roberts). He was pretty mad, but not as mad as Ryan would have ever been.
"What is going on here?" Coach had screamed to the center's face. He knew Ben Federick and Michael Lambert were innocent and had nothing to do with this.
"You want to hear all of it? Fine! Ben can't get in front of one lousy shot, and Michael is over here telling me to stop telling this kid how to make him not suck!" Ryan's voice could be heard throughout the whole rink and bleachers. Coach had heard him loud and clear, but didn't listen to a single word.
"Shoving an improving goalie does not help him! Don't you learn anything from kindergarten?" Coach had maybe gone a bit overboard, but yet, so did Ryan before. Why does he care so much? Why does he get so angry, so fast? Michael's mind was thought loaded, but stilled paid close attention to what would happen to the self named 'best at everything he does on ice', "Don't pull any of this again, Roberts!" Coach Adkins turned in disgust to the bench. Michael turned to the side of the goal crease to the still sitting down goalie, looking up at his face. He was mostly blank faced, but Michael knew he was happy somebody looked after him.
"Come on, let's get up," Michael said, pulling a hand out, helping up the bully beaten friend. Ben grabbed his hand and Michael pulled him back up. Before Michael or Ben could say anything else, Michael got pounded by a force of a wrecking ball. He fell to the ice, with an aching back, and turned slowly to the source of the huge blow. Ryan Roberts was flying at him. He landed on top of Michael Lambert, throwing punches of bowling balls at him. Michael didn't have any time to fight back, Grant Sullivan from the other side of the ice came and pulled Ryan off of him. And by his side from the bench, was Coach Adkins.
"GET OFF MY ICE!" Coach Adkins hollered, "PRACTICE FOR YOU IS OVER! DON'T EXPECT MUCH ICE TIME THIS SATURDAY!" Coach was so mad it was almost funny. Even Ryan Roberts was shocked by the thunderous voice of Coach Adkins. He was speechless, and skated to the bench with his head down. Coach turned, much more calm, to the left wing Grant Sullivan, who had stopped the beating almost immediately. "You'll be playing center this weekend, Sullivan. Don't screw it up." Coach said, skating away to gather the team for drills. Grant was beaming, never had he had a chance at such a position. He didn't care notice his friend Michael on the floor, still hurt from Ryan's unexpected smack down Coach Adkins blew his whistle to start the first drill of practice. Michael got up to still see the bright and happy Grant Sullivan on his way to the center of the ice for drills. Ben stayed at the net, waiting for Gareth to come. They do separate drills with the assistant coach, Coach Stevens, until they get called together for a scrimmage or drill that involves them. As Coach Adkins was explaining the drill to the team, Michael caught Ryan on the bench. Obviously upset, his head was down, looking at the floor of the bench area. Who knows. Michael thought. Maybe we'll win the second game this Saturday. He smiled and listened to the rest of the drill.
Chapter 3: A Hopeless Aspire
Everybody gets that feeling inside that the week is almost over, and that the weekend will be coming up with staying up late, and waking up later. Michael always got that feeling, and he hated it. He feels like the days go by much slower, and when the weekend does come, it's a lot less fun than he thought it would be, and ends in an instant. Michael walks into school, the same routine as usual. Slouch tiredly to his locker on the other side of the school with his close to 600 pound backpack. A little sore from hockey, but that was usual, and ignored by the fact that he was about to die of no sleep. Most kids happy that they're all grown up and in high school, Michael wishing he was back in P.M. preschool with naptime (which he never did sleep during). He basically sleep walks to his locker. He can't get much sleep in classes, as teachers keep him up front for no good reason. Boy, was he the luckiest junior who ever lived in Ferndale.
He approached his safe of such torturous prison toys like books, pencils, and folders, he felt another gentle tap on his back. Now, much more calm and more outgoing in the social world (at least he thinks he his), he turned to see a pretty face. A pretty face that reminded him of Ryan Roberts. That sounded a little weird. But the point being, the face was Jackie Westbrook. She reminded him of her boyfriend, Ryan Roberts, who Michael was never intimidated by. Michael smiled to the blond haired beauty that was standing right in front of his presence.
"I thought I told you before, I'm not new," Michael laughed. Jackie laughed, too. Her white teeth were blinding his eyes so much, he almost squinted.
"I know," Jackie replied, "I just wanted to say sorry to what Ryan did. I talked to him, so you won't have to worry about him," Some girls were whispering by the lockers behind her. Michael caught a few words: Weirdo, why, she, with, him, ugly. Michael put it together easily. People around the school don't expect the popular girl to talk to the known lonely and ignored loser that was just hiding beneath the floors of the school. But it seemed like Jackie had not cared one bit. She actually seemed willing to talk to Michael as if he were a famous celebrity. A girl with looks, AND is nice, AND isn't shallow or embarrassed to talk to him. Michael thought he had won an ultimate jackpot on Deal or No Deal.
"That's okay. Ryan just overreacted about something stupid. I shouldn't have gotten in the way," Michael replied, purposely try to make it sound like it was his fault so Jackie could feel bad. Just because Michael didn't talk to anybody doesn't mean he didn't learn any strategies for talking to women from the conversations he had ease dropped on (Michael never admitted it as creepy. He felt it as learning by listening to others without them knowing).
"It's okay Michael. Ryan should control his anger better. Stopping him was a really big help," Jackie had turned more serious. Not mad serious, but a serious kind of serious, "I feel like I'm looking after him constantly. Can you imagine that he was normal before we ever dated?" Michael couldn't. Jackie was a girl to go crazy for, but not in a literal sense. He could actually remember Ryan always as a bully. He had never witnessed a homicidal like violent rage before though.
"I can't imagine that," Michael said, now hoping that Ryan wouldn't come out of nowhere to rip out his intestines and choke him with them, "I don't think he understands how lucky he is to have a girl who takes care him so nicely." Crap, I said that out loud. Michael kept the straightest face imaginable as he was sweating his brain out with thoughts of 'Why would you say that?' 'Are you stupid?' 'She probably thinks you're a stupid giraffe or something!' But she never did.
"I don't think he does. He never made a right choice alone this whole time we were together. I'm just sorry that he hurt you," Jackie looked pitiful. Michael couldn't stand to see her sad. How could Ryan even bare to make his girl sad?
"I'm okay Jackie, don't worry. Ryan won't hurt me if he tried," Michael said with a small smile to cheer her up. She looked up with a small smile as well. Michael changed the subject quickly before any other conversation started again, "So anyways, I need help finding room 78." Michael smiled and laughed. Jackie played along, she started to like Michael a little bit.
"Just follow me," She replied, again waiting patiently for the boy to get his books. He quickly grabbed everything needed for U.S History, and walked slowly with the beautiful Jackie Westbrook.
Conversation was buzzing between the two. They've learned quite a bit from each other. Jackie was a cheerleader for the school football team and was interested in becoming a veterinarian one day. Michael was impressed, and Jackie was surprisingly impressed to Michael's hockey stories as well. He told her when he was 11, he checked a kid into the boards so hard his arm bent the other way. Most girls find that pretty gross, but Jackie was asking questions and seemed to be into the conversation. He even told him how it would affect household pets if that ever happened to them, and how they would have to fix it. She was very talkative of animals (most likely because her mom is a veterinarian and tells her every word of everything that happened that day at work). Michael had heard the words he was waiting for.
"You're actually pretty cool, Michael. I don't know why people say your weird," Jackie was ignoring the fact that Michael had a gift of injuring hockey players with one hit, but yet never talked to a soul, "You're a great friend. We should hang out some time."
"How about a friendly dinner tomorrow?" Michael asked hopefully. He had made sure to use the word 'friendly' so Ryan wouldn't plan a killing on his soul, "Not anywhere fancy, but like... Buffalo Wild Wings or something..."
"Oh my god, I LOVE Buffalo Wild Wings! They have the best wings ever!" Jackie replied, beaming with joy. She didn't slap him in the face, nor gag and run away, "That sounds great! What time?"
"7:00 sound good?" Michael had tried his best not to scream with joy or do an embarrassing dance, but a smile ran across his face from ear to ear.
"That's great. What kind of car do you have?"
Hesitant, Michael answered in a quiet voice, "A... Ford Fiesta..." Jackie giggled. Michael felt a little embarrassed.
"Sorry. Just that car... is pretty weird. Why do people drive it?" Jackie let out another laugh.
"It has good mileage," Michael replied, "Your boyfriend won't mind would he?" Michael had to ask. He knew this kid had some sort of issue and Michael didn't want to make things more complicated for him. Plus, he could smash the windshield on the car if he wanted to.
"It's okay," Jackie said, not worried at all that the fact of him trying to kill Michael at Hillside Arena, "He has to go to anger management classes anyways." Anger management classes? Michael thought to himself. Was this all because of Jackie? Is EVERYTHING because of Jackie? Michael might have been regretting asking Jackie to dinner. A date with a cheerleader most likely wouldn't be worth dying for.
He had ended his journey at room 78. She wrote down her address and phone number on a scrap of paper, and handed it to the brave and confident Michael Lambert. Or, at least he felt like that. Jackie again waves goodbye and walks down the hall. What have I done? Michael thought angrily and confused. I'm taking the anger management kid's girlfriend out to dinner tomorrow who almost tried to kill me on the ice? Isn't that against the rules? I'll die! He'll probably go to my house and beat me with a hockey stick until I lay there motionless! Michael was worrying too much. Ryan was not a light guy for sure, but the fact that he'll never find out, makes things feel much more better.
Michael only met this girl yesterday, and yet she showed interest, care, and humor to the nerdy little Michael Lambert. If he gets jumped by her psychotic boyfriend who should be in a mental hospital, have at it. He'll at least have a good meal.
Uh, I read the first chapter and the titles of the next ones. So far I like how the chapters have that different theme. A very drastic difference in themes. And I like the protagonist. He's a good type to start out with. I will finish the others! Though its kinda a wall of text right now. And because of the short attention span given to me by spongebob I sometimes get lost.
Nice story. It's a bit spotty at times, and there are about 3 grammar issues, but overall I would give it so far an 8.5/10
Next chapter please
Chapter 4: The Unconfident Optimism
The sore and sleepy Michael Lambert lay lazily on the couch watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. He never did his homework right when he got home, as he wanted to rest for a bit. But yet today, it hadn't been 15 minutes until the doorbell rang. Michael awoken from his almost was a coma, and got up with a stretch and a loud yawn. He walked slowly to the person awaiting at the door. Michael opened the front door to a excited and urgent Grant. He had his roller blades on his feet and a hockey stick in his hand.
"Come on man! We need to practice for Saturday! Get the net out of the garage!" Grant was awfully excited for playing center that game on Saturday. Not that Michael didn't care, he was happy he got a shot at it, but he seemed to want to practice and prepare a lot more than usual. Yet, every time Michael needs practice, Grant wasn't there to help as much.
"You know the garage code, go get it yourself," Michael was about to close the door when Grant stopped him by leaving his foot in the way.
"I need someone to play with, bro! Plus, don't you want to impress your little girlfriend on Saturday?" Grant said. Michael looked up right away. Never did he want to hear the words of Jackie and Michael in the same sentence, as Ryan Roberts could use that information to kidnap him in his sleep.
"She's not my girlfriend! I'm taking her out to dinner..." Michael caught Grant laughing uncontrollably, "AS A FRIEND! It's at B-Dubs, not anywhere fancy."
"Still man, you don't take a friend out to dinner," Grant replied, "I don't know a lot about girls, but I know that you don't ask a friend out to a date the second day you talk to her."
"Then why did she say yes?" Michael asked.
"Because for some odd reason, she kind of likes you. And why would she say no to the kid who got beat up by her psychotic boyfriend? " Grant was actually starting to piece this together. Was Jackie just trying to be nice? Did she really want to be friends with Michael. After all, it was an accident. If she hadn't thought he was a new student, this would be a whole other story. Michael just decided to ignore it for now.
"I'll be out in a second," Michael closed the door. He turned off the T.V and headed out the garage door. He was wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Perfect for an outside hockey practice. Although it was January, the snow had been paused for a bit. The driveway was clear, and there was only a bit of snow covering the lawns. Plus, it was only about 30-something degrees. Hat and gloves were worn, and that was all that was needed to keep (a bit) warm for playing hockey.
Grant watched as the garage lifted up to the top. Michael was hauling the net out of a pile of donations they were giving. Mrs. Lambert kept finding more and more ugly shirts and pants that she didn't want her husband to wear. 10 garbage bags of small and outdated shirts lay on the garage floor. Michael eventually got the net out of the swamp of clothing, and dragged it outside to the side of the driveway. Grant, barley waiting for Michael to get out of the way, shot the ball like a rocket as it hit the back crossbar in the net. It rolled quietly back to the sniper.
"Watch where you're hitting, man!" Michael said, as he went into the garage to get his roller blades and stick. He watched as Grant yelled out areas of the net to shoot at. When he shouted "TOP LEFT!", he shot right under the crossbar in the top left. 9 times out of 10, he would get it where he wanted it to go. The other time, it would be a rocket that the goalie would probably not even had got. Everyone on the team had no idea why he wasn't center, even Ryan did deep inside, but never admitted it. He was number two leader of goals on the team (first was Michael). He was the only one on the team who could intimidate the opposing goalie so much, they back away from every shot.
Michael finished tying on his blades, put his winter gloves and hat back on, and grabbed his lucky blue and black hockey stick (he named his stick "Holly", and referred to it as a "her". He never told a soul). Once he got out he poked away the awaiting ball Grant was about to shoot, and turned around to a perfect snap shot to the empty goal.
"That was a goal," Michael said with a smirk on his face. Not cocky, but a confident personality was Michael Lambert. He was proud of his great gift of hockey, but never bragged or let any other team member feel bad for mistakes (even if he himself hadn't made much mistakes anyways).
"Nah man, a goalie would've gotten that. That was right down the middle," Replied Grant. He got the puck from the net and started for another shot. Michael noticed as he looked at the empty streets, a figure walking down the sidewalk. The head was down, with hair covering one eye, and was wearing a black coat with a black hooded sweatshirt underneath. He walked with his hands in his coat pockets, and Michael knew who it was.
Ben Federick walked up onto the driveway where Grant and Michael were playing. He wasn't shy like usual, he felt much more welcome and comfortable, "Hey Mike," He said, waving the hair out of the way of his eye, "I just came by to say thanks."
"It's no problem," Michael replied with a smile, "I wouldn't let some jerk push you around like that when you did nothing wrong. You just need a little practice, that's all."
"Everyone does. It isn't something to get disappointed over. I just wish I could find the time to get some time in." Ben's head was back down. Grant was listening the whole time. He didn't really know Ben that well, but was as willing and helpful as Michael would be to help out a friend. He went over to the two, and spoke to Ben.
"I'll train you," Grant said. Michael looked at him, and Ben looked up from the concrete to look at him, too.
"What?" Ben asked. He'd never been taken that serious to another human being.
"Yeah, I'll train you to be a better goalie. Me and Michael used to play back when we were 12. We were pretty good," Grant may know a few things about goaltending, but still, Michael could imagine Ben knowing a little bit more since him and Grant only played goalie for 2 years of their young lives. Ben probably played since he was 10, considering his confidence of improving. As much as this thought through his head, he couldn't give up extra work.
"Well," Ben started, "Alright then. Are you sure it won't take up your time?"
"My time at home is to listen to my parents bicker to each other non-stop. I'd rather do anything else." Grant's parents were prone to fighting a lot. It had never gotten too physical (just one time Mrs. Sullivan threw a glass cup at Mr. Sullivan, almost hitting him in the side of the head), but they needed some time to work things out. Just, not in front of their son.
"But wait," Ben said. He seemed to have a lot of questions, "We have schoolwork and practice throughout the week. How'll we fit it in?"
Grant thought for a bit, "The arena is always open on Friday and Sunday. Nobody goes to those except for kids who want extra practice, and they barley go. They leave the nets up, so we can practice there. 6 o clock tomorrow, alright?" Grant was excited, and so was Ben. It was the first time Michael had seen a smile on the backup goalie's face.
"I'll be there," Ben replied, happy as can be.
"And right now we could use a goalie," Michael said. Ben's smile grew even bigger as Michael showed him into the garage. He dug way into the back of the supply cabinet to pull out leg pads, a goalie mask, a glove, a chest/arm protector, a blocker, and a goalie stick. It lay untouched for years.
"How long did you have to walk to here?" Michael asked. He had never seen Ben outside of school until now.
"Just a few blocks away from here," Ben replied. Michael had no clue he lived only a couple of streets down. He left Ben to put on the equipment, and went over to Grant shooting the puck at the net.
"Dude, you're shooting pretty hard, doesn't your arm hurt at all?" Michael asked. Grant was playing for quite a while now, making every shot a bullet to the back of the net. Everybody got tired eventually, but once they're into the zone, it's hard to get them out of it.
"I'm fine. I'll ice it later," He replied. Michael knew Grant for a long time, and he knew that he never remembers anything he said he'll do. Grant's arm was starting to hurt a bit, but he was too excited for playing that Saturday, he didn't stop to rest it.
Before another word was said, Grant Sullivan came in front of the net with the goalie gear on. Michael and Grant were surprised that Ben could fit in the equipment. After all, he was 12 when he played goalie. Ben wasn't that much of a big kid, he was pretty skinny. Ben Federick got the ball out of the net and passed it to the awaiting Grant Sullivan. Right when the ball was in shooting distance, he launched a ball so hard, it almost cried from sheer pain. Ben, obviously not ready, reached out his glove, but to no avail.
"That's your first lesson," Grant said. He was pretty serious on this whole training thing, "You need to be ready at all times for the rebound. You never know when a forward will come up to shoot on you. You need to be prepared right after you block the shot. Try again," Grant fired a low shot, easily blocked by the leg pad. It moved along to the left side of the goal, where Michael was ready to shoot. The goalie was up and ready at the side of the net when he noticed Michael. He shot a high snap shot. Ben hit it up with his blocker, as it landed safely back on the ground in front of him. He covered it up as if he was in a real game. He felt very proud of himself.
"Nice job," Grant said. He had felt accomplished as well, "You, young grasshopper, will grow to be the best protector of our sacred home once I teach you everything." Grant laughed, so did Ben and Michael. The backup goalie got up with the ball still in his glove. He accidentally had dropped the hockey ball, and it rolled into the net slowly.
"EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Michael shrieked. He had been making the sound of a goal horn a hockey game. Ben looked at Grant, and Grant looked at Ben.
"We'll work on that later," Grant said with a smile, and got the ball back from the scored goal.
and they barley go
I hope that you don't mind if I do some editing. That word is a grain, I think you meant "barely"
Still, really good.
JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE HOLD ON!
Chapter 5: Regretful Contentment
You are going to die. You are stupid. She thinks you're an idiot. What friend asks another on a date? Ryan will kill you. He's already out to get you anyways. He saw you talking to her, now what will he do when you eat dinner with her? She's brain damaged, or this is a dream. You'll never remember this, and neither will she.
Michael was just having another mental putdown to himself. It was often exaggerated, but the emotion was true. Was he making a mistake? Would he act awkward in front of her? His mind was buzzing too much he forgot to pay attention in Geometry. Mrs. Radford had noticed as well. She was indeed not a happy camper, whether you are good or not.
"You obviously looked focused outside that window, Mr. Lambert. I'm guessing you know this already. Perhaps you can show us the answer of the question on the board," She moved out of the way of the chalkboard to a long problem Michael hadn't known due the fact he dozed off the whole lecture. He stood mouth open, and nothing coming out. His eyes left the chalkboard to Mrs. Radford's eyes. They were as angry as ever. Someone must've snuck inside his chest and started pounding it with a sledge hammer. The bell rung just in time as Michael fled the class to his locker.
In the hallway he passed a girl writing down the homework for Geometry. Michael copied it on his hand with a blue pen. He wanted to run for it before the crazy math could catch up to him. Math was not a subject Michael was good at. Maybe school itself wasn't a subject he was good at. Of course, it had to be 5 days a week. Michael's definition of school is an everyday prison you go to that takes up over 12 years of one's life.
He jiggled and banged his locker until it opened up once more. He put away all that would be alone in the locker for the weekend, and put the items Michael would need to ruin his weekend in his backpack. Considering he is not the brightest, he often does 5 hours of homework per night. It mostly takes a bit longer, since he sleeps during lectures and has to Google how to do the work.
As he put on his 3 ton backpack upon his shoulders, he remembered something that was supposed to happen that night. He couldn't put his tongue on it. Then, Jackie Westbrook came by with a wave. Her wavy blond hair reflected off all the lights in the hall, right into Michael. That's when he realized tonight was the night he would be a victim of murder. Michael couldn't stand thinking about it anymore. So what. Michael thought to himself confidently. I can do whatever I want, Ryan can't stop me. He walked out of the back doors in a strut, as proud and excited as ever.
He walked on the sidewalk to the front of the school, where lots of snow came down that day. He didn't have boots, Michael convinced his parents that boots are for wimpy men. As much as Michael wasn't popular, he sure as hell wasn't wimpy. He heard someone from behind. It was going, "Hey Michael! Hey! Hey Michael!". The sound got closer and closer to Michael Lambert, as the force came up from the side of him. To his surprise, it was the one and only Ryan Roberts. He didn't have the violent dangerous look in his eyes, but looked at him apologetically.
"Jackie wanted me to say sorry," He said simply. Of course, someone had to persuade Ryan to apologize to anybody. Never had anyone seen the big bully feel pity upon one's soul without anybody forcing him to. "I know I've been an *** to you lately, and I feel really bad." More like Jackie WANTS him to feel bad. Michael kept walking as Ryan kept talking. He kept an accepting face as Ryan showered him with apologies so he can leave and move on with his life. "Just as long as you don't leave me with any crap." Ryan ended.
Michael didn't really know what else to say, rather than, "It's cool." Ryan then threw on his best fake smile and walked away.
And little did he know that he was going to take out his girlfriend to dinner that same night. Michael felt invincibly terrified.
A good chapter, if a bit short. You sort of lost me when talking about how his homework takes 5 hours, and he just has to Google everything, but still not a bad chapter.
So far overall, I would maintain the rating at an 8.5/10
I look forward to reading another chapter *nudge nudge*
I really like it. Very enticing and I can't wait for more. Keep the chapters comin
WHERE IS MY NEXT CHAPTER!!!?
I love it I can't wait till the next chapter and keep up the good work acmed-sama
PS-I added sama since I respect you-Fredrick John Vensterg.
long story but cool
ACMED! Y U NO MAKE MORE CHAPTERS!?
long but cool story
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