I love reading Romance, music, NKOTB, my dog, baseball and J.J. Hardy.
If you knew me before Ami, you'd understand what my life was. Hockey. I didn't date, I had sex, yes, but there was no dating and no bringing a girl home to meet the parents. I wasn't a player like Leo and Remy, but I just didn't have time for that sort of thing. I was living for hockey.
I liked playing up there. It was only a two-hour drive for us, but I ended up having to be enrolled in school there because the traveling to the games alone involved too much, and driving the extra two hours home wasn't an option. My family rented a house up there, and that was where we lived. They were willing to do anything to allow me to play, even it meant uprooting our family and their jobs.
My schedule didn't permit me to stay with Ami every day and unfortunately wouldn't for a while. We were heading into a six game road trip, and fuck if I was irritable about that. Up until now, I loved road trips and having games every night. Now, they took me away from Ami and that sucked.
The day she was released, Monday, March 1st, marked nearly ten weeks spent in the hospital. She was happy to be released.
First thing she made me do was stop and get her a hamburger.
Then we drove the seven hours from Chicago to Pittsburgh because Ami didn't want to fly.
It was hard to focus on the game when my attention was constantly drawn to the stands and those douchebags sitting behind the girls. Every play they were mouthing off and had something to say.
Leo and Remy both noticed; their heads kept turning to watch when we heard the commotion. One of the guys had shoved Callie, and I wasn't standing for that.
I took the end of my stick and hit it against the boards, scowling at the guy. He looked up, stunned, holding his hands up, and then flipped me off. Well played. What he didn't see was the security guard behind him.
After practice, I had plans to take Ami to dinner before we started the next series and I left for San Jose. This time she was coming with me. Just like I'd asked her to move in with me, I asked her to come on the road with me.
I'd never been in love, but I started to look at my symptoms.
The mention of her name made my stomach tighten? Check.
Heart beating like a fucking girl? Check.
Any skin revealed and I'm hard? Check.
Watching her sleep like a goddamn stalker? Check.
Wanting to know everything about her and what makes her smile? Wanting to be the reason for the smile? Yep. Big fucking checks all around.
Fuck. I was in love.
My dad once told me that you knew you were in love with a girl when you would do anything for her. You'd be willing to change your life for her and would do anything she asked you to.
He also said you'd know they loved you if they never asked you to change your life or anything else.
With Ami it was so much more than that and had been since the beginning, before either one of us knew what was happening. I would do anything for her. She knew that.
Sometimes I wondered when this had happened. When did I become so focused on this girl that nothing else mattered? Was it when I found her? When she opened her eyes? When I kissed her?
I had no answers, no justifiable ones at least. I was in love.
I knew the time would come when I would fall in love, but I never thought it would happen like this, with a young girl in such a brutal scenario.
When I thought about what happened to her, it felt wrong to love her.
The shitty part for me was that not only had I never been in love, but I also never knew what I was missing with Ami. I'd never had a girl that made me feel like she did.
The night before we left for San Jose was when I told Ami my feelings.
Before I got back into bed, I removed my T-shirt. Ami watched, her eyes low on my hips. She inhaled a sharp breath. I could see it in her stare, feel it in her touch. She was waiting on empty words to be defined.
I said what I was feeling in that moment.
"I love you," I whispered, situating myself between her knees. I didn't say anything more for a long moment, letting the words sink in. I wondered if Josh had told her he loved her. I wondered what her reaction was. Was it the reaction she was having now, staring at me, giving me a look that told me she felt what I had just said to her?
It was the first time I had said it to a girl that wasn't family and it was natural, like everything else with her. Sure, I felt like there was a wild animal clawing at my heart, and every other piece of my chest, but I said it and she didn't run from me.
If someone asked me how she changed me, I would tell them my perspective. All that she went through everyday didn't mean anything. There were worse things in life to be bent over. So what if you were stuck in traffic or you locked yourself out of the car? So what if you missed the penalty shot in a playoff game? Didn't happen to me, by the way, I rocked that motherfucker, but what I was getting at was there were worse things to have happen to you. Ami was what changed that perspective, if I ever had thought that way. Maybe I didn't. But she kept me from ever swinging that way in the first place.
What I realized, what I lived for now, was the bond.
No bond is greater than the ones you'll bleed for.
I would bleed for this girl, and I would lay everything on the line and cross any line to protect her. Saving a life was worth something to me.
This girl came into my life for a reason.
I was meant to save her, and I was meant to fall in love with her, and this girl was the reason my life had gone the directions it had.
Hockey owned me. Good or bad, it knew everything about the sweat and blood I poured into it and gave me gratification in return. It gave me the adrenaline I needed, the joy, the love, and the thrill of victory.
Then I fell in love with Ami Sutton.
That was when I found out there was something else that I enjoyed just as much. Being with a girl, loving a girl, taking care of a girl, and giving myself to a girl. She showed me a side of myself that had been there all along. It was just pushed aside by my love for hockey.
Up until that night that I'd found her, I believed that nothing would come close to the way I felt about hockey. Now I know better.