Home > Scoring Chance(7)

Scoring Chance(7)
Author: Teagan Hunter

“I think we’re going to hit up Slapshots. Guess it’s tradition or something. Want to come?”

Going to the hockey-themed bar downtown is a team ritual, but today I have something I have to do first.

“I’ll meet you guys there later.” For a moment, I contemplate telling Greer where I’m headed, but I don’t want to field the million and one questions he’s going to have, especially after yesterday.

“Sure, man. No problem. Text me when you’re on your way.”

I nod, then head in the opposite direction. In the parking garage, I climb into my gray Porsche 911 Turbo S, firing it up and relishing the way she purrs to life under me. I’ve never been a big car guy, but the moment I saw this beauty, I knew I had to have her. Besides, me spending the money on myself really pissed my dad off, which made me love the car ten times more.

I send the gate guard a wave as I squeal out of the garage and head toward my destination. Less than ten minutes later, I’m pulling into the makeshift parking lot and throwing the car into park.

I grab my trusty Comets baseball cap and tug it down over my head before hopping out of the car. The place is empty for the moment, but I’m sure people are going to start showing up any time now for their midday pick-me-up.

I head straight for the person I came here to see, and the moment she spots me, she lets out a long, exaggerated sigh and lifts her eyes skyward.

I think I’m supposed to be offended by how unhappy she is to see me, but I can’t be, not when I know Scout doesn’t really hate me. She wants to be my friend, and I want to be hers. Outside of my teammates, I don’t really know anyone else here, and it would be nice to talk to someone about something other than hockey sometimes. Hell, even all the girls I’ve tried dating are only interested in one thing—the game. For once, I want to talk to someone who doesn’t just see me as a hockey player. I want them to just see me, and based on the way she doesn’t seem to give a flying fuck about who I am, Scout just might be that person I’m looking for.

I laugh, then send her a wave. “Heya, friend. How’s your day?”

She gives me a pointed glare. “Still not friends, Miller.”

“Sure we are, and as your friend, I’m here to support your small local business. Can I please get a black coffee with—”

“One packet of sugar and a shake of cinnamon.”

“How did you—”

“Know?” She lifts her brows. “I remembered.”

The corner of her lips twitch like she wants to laugh at her own joke, and part of me is dying to see it. In fact, I kind of want to see her really laugh, like throw her head back and just let it all out.

She punches my order into the tablet, then swings it around for me to pay. I make sure to tack on a twenty-dollar tip for the three-dollar coffee.

When she turns it back around, her eyes narrow on the screen for just a moment, but she doesn’t say anything. Instead, she tucks her lips together and spins around to grab my drink.

“Busy today?” I ask her, flipping my hat around and leaning my arms against the truck.

I’m used to food trucks sitting high up off the ground, but she’s lowered this one just a bit. I wonder if she did it to make it less intimidating for customers and kids.

“Yep.”

That’s all she says, but at least it’s an answer, which is a hell of a lot more than I’ve gotten out of her in the last two weeks.

She turns around with my coffee in hand, securing my lid on the top before sliding it over to me. Then, she does what she usually does: ignores me.

She starts rearranging things, moving bowls around and stacking trays. I stand and watch the entire time, not saying a word.

As the seconds progress into minutes, her movements become more and more relaxed, like she’s growing used to me standing there. I’m not sure if I should be flattered that she’s feeling comfortable in my presence or offended that she’s so easily able to pretend I don’t exist.

A good five minutes pass before I start getting antsy and just have to say something to her.

“Got any plans for the rest of the day?”

She pauses, then peeks up at me.

Okay, she didn’t jump, so maybe she didn’t forget I was standing there.

“You’re still here? I forgot all about you.”

Ouch.

“Really? I thought you had such a good memory, though,” I say, taking a sip of my coffee. It’s scalding hot and tastes like someone bottled sadness and served it over hot coals. She must not miss my wince, because she holds her hand out for it. “What?”

“Your coffee. Hand it over.”

I heed her command and slip the cup into her hand. She sets it to the side, then grabs one of the clear cups I’ve seen her use for iced coffees and grabs a pitcher from the fridge. She fills it about three-quarters of the way up, then dumps some ice into it before emptying one packet of sugar and adding a splash of milk to the mix. She caps the drink, gives it a shake, and hands it my way with a straw.

“Here. Try this.”

Eying the cup with skepticism, I pull the straw from the wrapper and stick it into the lid, then take a small sip. And it’s good—so much better than the hot coffee I’ve been drinking every time I come here.

“I notice you make a face every time you take a sip of your coffee.” She shrugs. “I’m guessing you don’t like hot coffee and cold brew might be more to your liking. The milk helps cut down on the bitterness that can occur.”

I’m surprised. Coffee has never been my favorite thing to drink, but it gets the job done, so I always suffer through it. I’ve tried to doctor it up with the sugar and cinnamon, but it’s never good. This may just be a game-changer for me.

“I take it you like it?” she asks after I’ve taken my second drink.

I nod. “It’s good. No offense to whatever that other stuff was, but it’s not for me.”

“No offense taken. Not everyone likes hot coffee. I think it tastes like burnt water, but that’s just me. Give me a vanilla cold brew any day of the week.”

This is the most Scout’s ever talked to me and certainly the most she’s ever revealed about herself, though I’m not about to point that out because I’m terrified she’ll stop talking to me again.

“Can I try the vanilla tomorrow?”

Just like that, her scowl slides back into place. “I thought you were joking about coming here and bothering me every day.”

“Am I bothering you?”

She doesn’t answer immediately like I expect her to. Instead, she chews on her bottom lip for a minute, contemplating that, likely wondering how honest she should be right now, eventually settling on a quiet, “No. You’re not bothering me.”

I grin, and her scowl deepens, causing me to laugh.

“Okay, now you’re bothering me. Go away. I have to get ready for the lunch rush.”

As she says this, two cars pull into the parking lot, and I know from experience that this place is about to be loaded with people looking for their midday caffeine fix and sugar high to get them through.

I shake my cup at her. “Thanks for this.”

She nods but doesn’t say anything else.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, friend.”

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