Delay of Game

By: Catherine Gayle


NO MATTER HOW many of those stupid sticks I peed on, they all said the same thing in the end.

Which meant two things. One, I was royally fucked. (Oh, the irony.) And two, Daddy was going to absolutely murder me.

Granted, he would only kill me if he found out. Since I’d only learned just now that I was pregnant, I definitely didn’t have a game plan yet. I didn’t know what I would do, so I supposed that called for a third thing it meant, too—that I was scared out of my freaking skull and didn’t know what to focus on first. But whatever I decided on, I had at least a little bit of time. Daddy wasn’t the most observant person in the world, at least when it came to anything that wasn’t hockey related. I didn’t have to make any sort of rash decision that I might later regret, beyond the one I’d already made and couldn’t take back.

Anyway, with this, I could take the time to figure out what was best. If there was such a thing. I wasn’t convinced there was.

There wasn’t time right now to worry about it, though. My father was Scotty Thomas, a legendary coach in the National Hockey League who was currently finishing up his second season coaching the Portland Storm. Legendary because he’d started coaching when he was only twenty-six, after being forced to retire as a player early, after a slew of injuries. He’d coached his first NHL team to the Stanley Cup Finals. They’d lost in seven games, but in the twenty-eight years since then, he’d won the Cup four times as a head coach. That put him in some pretty rare company, and the Storm organization hoped he could lead them to the same end. It might not happen this year, but they were closer than they had been in a while…and a lot of that was because of him.

Today was the final game of the regular season, and since I was Daddy’s personal assistant—he’d officially hired me when I’d turned eighteen so he could justify paying me a salary—I had to get him out the door in time so we wouldn’t get stuck in traffic on our way to the Moda Center. Personal assistant was really just a glorified title meaning I made sure I got him where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there, but the pay was pretty damn good for an insanely easy job that I had already been doing for years, anyway.

With trembling hands, I shoved the pee sticks and their boxes and plastic wrappings and instruction booklets into a brown paper bag and crushed it all, then buried it in the trash can in my bathroom. For good measure, I took that trash bag out, put a fresh one in, and took the evidence down to the main trash can in the kitchen. No reason to leave that stuff lying around where our housekeeper might find it and tell Daddy. I doubted Rose would do something like that, but you just never know about people. Better to take precautionary measures than have to sort out the consequences later.

Oh. Haha. Yeah, that was kind of what was going on. Except I had taken precautionary measures. I’d been on the pill since I was sixteen, and I never did the deed without a condom. But there was that one night a little over a month ago, with Brad, when the condom broke. And the pill isn’t fail-safe.

Clearly.

It had been a bad date. It hadn’t even been good sex. Definitely not worth ending up a freaking out, shaking, preggers mess over.

I still don’t know why I’d slept with him. I mean, he was hot, sure. And he wasn’t a hockey player, so that was a huge bonus in his favor, at least with me. I’d spent my entire life around hockey players, almost constantly. I didn’t want to have a relationship with one of them beyond working for my father. I didn’t even want to have a one-night stand with any of them. So when a guy who didn’t play hockey asked me out, I tended to jump on it whether I was really attracted and interested or not.

That was what had happened with Brad. He’d hit on me at the gym. But this guy, the hot-but-boring non-hockey-playing biomechanical engineer who couldn’t find my clitoris with a detailed map, step-by-step instructions, and a compass? There was no chance in hell I was ever going to go out with him again after that night. I’d known it from the moment he’d pulled the car up in front of the Red Robin at Cascade Station.

Who takes someone to a cheesy chain restaurant like that for a first date? They weren’t even cheesetastic. They were the bad kind of cheesy, like those plain-Jane slices of processed crap they called American cheese.

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