A Twist in the Ice: How Betrayal Lead Her to Romance

Our Field Geology trip getting canceled because the bus “broke down” isn’t so bad. Instead of wasting away a perfectly good weekend in the middle of summer trying to learn about rocks (which I adore by the way because geology is my passion, but I don’t love it more than a cloud-free weekend), I get to spend it with my boyfriend, Will.

Excitement courses through me as I pull up to his apartment building in my Beetle, the setting sun casting an orange glow on the pale jade walls. I pick up the bag with the champagne and blueberry muffins I baked for him, and, as the elevator ascends, my heart flutters as it always does whenever I’m about to see him.

When I knock on his apartment door, I fix my middle part for the millionth time, knowing how picky he is about hair. His own is never messy, each strand always perfect and flattened.

The door opens and a tanned blonde girl my age pokes her head through. My best friend, Angie Walters. With messy hair. Her tan is deep but I still see her turn as red as ketchup. For a moment, we stare at each other.

It’s not unlike the times we’ve looked at each other in horror, such as when our other best friend, Kelly Kinger, cut off all her luscious hair in sixth grade because her mom wouldn’t let her come to the Austin Mahone-themed sleepover we were having at my house. “Who is it?”

I hear Will call behind her in his usual bored voice. My mouth moves but nothing comes out of it. “Babe, who is it?” Will repeats. Babe? I realize by how Angie flinches I’ve spat the word out. Her blue eyes are wide as dinner plates. A sound comes out of her throat, hoarse and panicky. “Oh, I forgot,” I hear Will chuckle as he thumps towards the door.

“You just lost your voice because I made you scream so much like a —” When he appears, I’m still so surprised at how big he is, and seeing him next to my tiny bestie only emphasizes this feeling. His own blue eyes widen, his mouth falling open slightly.

“Babe?” he asks, surprised. My voice comes out in a vicious growl. “Me or her?” “Shit —” He looks out of place. He usually sports this nonchalant, hockey-bro persona but right now, I’ve never seen him look so… chalant?  He splutters, looking between me and Angie like he can’t figure out which one is his girlfriend and which one is the bestie.

Look. If it had been anyone else, I’d be gone already. In my car, bawling my eyes out. I’d be fine in like six weeks (maybe). But I’ve known Angie since fourth grade. She was going to be my maid of honor, the godmother of my kids. I look at her. “Why?” My voice shakes and angry tears threaten to fill my eyes. She opens her mouth but she sounds like a crow choking on a rock and just gives up, placing her face in her hands. “This… isn’t what it looks like,” Will breathes out the cliche line.

“It isn’t?” I laugh. I take a step back. “I just heard you confessing to fucking my best friend to the point she can’t speak!” Will gives an exasperated sigh like I’m making way too much of a big deal of this. College hockey players. This is who they are.  The signs were there, of course, but ignoring them was easier than letting them fester poisonously in my mind.

Firstly, Will is the embodiment of Chad. From his voice to his mannerisms and the hair of course (which by the way, is currently all over the place like little Ms Traitor’s). Secondly, he once told me, drunk on the eve of his twentieth birthday, that he slept with half the girls at U of T during his freshman year. Then he said I love you to me for the first time and passed out on the couch. Enough said.

Frustrated, he runs a hand down his face. “I thought you were going for that trip to… where was it?”

He says it more to himself. I never expected him to remember where the geology trip was since he never remembers things concerning me or our relationship, from our dates to when we have to visit each other’s families. Last year, he completely forgot my birthday. Which was okay because he was going through a really rough patch.

He hadn’t been drafted by his dream team, the Toronto Icy. To say Will used to be obsessed with the Icy is an understatement. Ever since he was a kid he had dreamed of skating in the Wesley Arena and lifting the Stanley Cup for them. He had memorabilia, he had autographs from players that retired in the early 2000s.

He was so sure they were going to pick him and had already started calling himself an Icy forward, how he would soon replace one of the players in the famous HCH forward line that consists of center Brady Hayes, left winger and captain Sean Campbell and right winger Noah Hughes.

He’d even made a joke about if he was going to be an Icy player, then he’d have to get an “Icy-worthy girlfriend and upgrade” from me, a joke I hadn’t found funny at all but you’d think the opposite from how I reacted. Still, I felt really bad for him when they — or any other team — didn’t select him during the draft. His mood became terrible.

He didn’t want to be around anyone and I kept my distance for two weeks, two weeks where I anguished over him and felt useless because there was nothing I could do for him that would make him feel better. What did make him feel better was hating on the Icy. He got rid of most of his merch – but kept the ones with too much sentimental value.

He began supporting the Chicago Otters and bad-mouthing the HCH line. I was kinda all for it, so long as it brought him back to me, though I knew this wasn’t healthy, and there had to be better ways to vent his frustrations. It’s his final year to get drafted by a team, any team. The Draft occurs a couple of days after the Stanley Cup finals, which are ongoing: the Icy themselves vs the Otters.

I’m not big on hockey myself but it becomes a part of your life when your boyfriend is a player. Your boyfriend who’s just cheated on you with your best friend. “Yeah, the bus broke down,” I say, answering his question about how I’m not supposed to be here, “which I’m pretty sure was just Caden Jones’ sneaking out at night and smashing out some part.

I should thank him with my life because now I know everything.” I feel tired, hopeless. Ms. Traitor still has her face buried in her hands and hasn’t moved for a good minute. I’m not even angry at her, strangely, not really. Just… tired and hopeless.  “And as for you, Angie… I hope ruining a long-time close friendship was worth it for a man.

But then I should have figured it out when you only wanted to hang out with me when he was around during the past few months.” I look Will in the eye, who at this point is looking bored by the whole situation like he wants to go back to highlights about the Icy and Otters. “Fuck both of you.”

I turn away, walking slowly back to my car, willing myself not to cry because I will not shed a tear over a cheater and a backstabbing best friend. The bag of champagne and muffins I baked feels heavy and I want to drop it and get out of there and run somewhere, anywhere that’ll make this pain go away. In my car I sit there for a whole minute, contemplating my entire life, how it’s been a lie, before I drive off, barely aware of where I’m going. Dating a hockey player.

I snort as I turn into the road where my parents’ house is and it comes out as half a sob.

Who the fuck dates a hockey player and expects them to be faithful? This bitch driving a 2005 VW Beetle into her childhood home driveway. Mom, brunette and heart-shaped like me, pokes her head out of the door, sporting a half frown because I’m supposed to be out of town, and a half delighted smile because I haven’t seen her and Dad in forever.

I instantly feel better and the tears stop, though my reddened eyes will give me away and make them worry. I decide not to say anything about Will and Angie. I’m just going to let this issue… fade away. No more hockey players. Scratch that: no more dating. No more relationships. Just me and a glass of wine, forever.

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