**Sooner than expected but also alot shorter than I would like... let me know what you guys think I can do to make this better! ALSO... I'm not familiar with Chicago at all so I don't know that names of any bars there; just in case you're wondering why the 'bar' doesn't have a name yet lol***
"Whoo Kaner! What a game, eh man?" Sharpe yelled, slapping my shoulder on his way through the dressing room. "So we out tonight or what?"
"I don't know, I was planning on just heading home..."
Soupy yelled in protest, "No way! We just crushed the Ducks and you wanna go home?" He shook his head in shame. "You're letting me down here Kaner... out tonight buddy!"
I sighed and nodded my head, pulling my skates off one at a time. There was no point in arguing with them, I knew I'd eventually cave and go out with them anyway; might as well skip the battle.
The sports bar was only a few blocks away and it was a fairly warm September night; we opted to walk. Sharpe, Steeger and Biscuit ran ahead; always excited to hit the bar, while I walked behind with Tazer - my best friend on the team.
"Everything ok Pat?" He asked, looking on ahead to make sure the rest of the guys couldn't hear him.
I shrugged my shoulders and continued on beside him. "I don't know... it just..." I let out a loud sigh and stopped walking. Tazer stopped walking too, turning to face me. "Do you ever wonder... what's this all for?"
The look of confusion on his face told me his answer before he spoke. "I don't know what you mean."
"Don't get me wrong, I love this. I love ALL of this. The money's great, I have a great time with the guys and I get to spend everyday playing the game that I love but... at the end of the night, what's the point?"
Tazer shook his head slowly, "I'm still not sure I'm followin ya.."
"There's gotta be more than this. More than, going out every night and drinking... just to get up and do it all over again. I guess I've just been feeling lately that I need something else in my life."
"Like... a chick? Aren't you still banging that girl from the apartment next to you... what was her name?"
"Laurie and that's not exactly what I meant... I mean, I don't think that's what I meant..." I wasn't sure what else to say, it's alot easier to talk about sex than feelings when it came to hockey guys, even Tazer.
"I think I know where you're coming from Pat. I kinda felt that same way before I started dating Sam." Tazer's face lit up when he said her name. Sam was a local girl from Chicago whom Tazer had met at a charity event. Sam's little sister Trisha was sick with cancer; she was 7. "Before Sam I kinda felt... lonely once we got home from a game, especially away games. It sucks coming home to an empty house. You should get a girlfriend, it'd be good for you."
I nodded my head in agreement, I knew that feeling all too well. I started walking towards the bar, Jon followed my lead and soon we were approaching the door. I grabbed Tazer's arm before he reached Ed, the bouncer, and pulled him back a step. "Weren't you scared that she was going to use you?"
"Sam didn't seem like that kind of girl to me but, you'll never know if you at least don't try Pat." I gave me a smirk and nodded towards the bar. I followed him through the salon style doors and up the long wooden stairs into the humid pool-hall.
I couldn't help but shake my head when I saw Sharpe sitting on a couch with a blond girl wrapped around him. I wasn't a saint by any means and had had my fair share of one-nighters; but that was occasional and I never expected them to go any further than that.
Sharpe was the kind of guy that wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to beautiful women. Catching the smile on his face and the wink he threw me as I made my way past him towards the rest of the guys; I was sure I'd hear about this tomorrow.
I hung around for about an hour before I decided to head home. Tazer was sitting in the corner with his phone pressed against one ear and his finger stuck in the other, judging by the goofy grin on his face he was talking to Sam. The rest of the guys were playing pool with some girls we had met; all of them were over-dressed for a pool-hall... or 'under-dressed' depending on how you looked at it.
I waved my goodbyes to the guys, who were too focused on our new 'friends' to bother putting up a fight. I nodded at Tazer who shot me a questioning glance before giving me a small shrug, pulling his phone a few inches away from his ear and giving it a shake. I took this to mean he would call me later.
"Have a goodnight Mr. Kane." Ed called from the door as I made my way down the street.
"Thanks Ed, you too."
I continued walking back down towards the rink's parking lot. Noticing for the first time that night the cover of the paper that was being displayed in the Chicago Times dispenser. It was a picture of Tazer and I posing with the new NHL game. I chuckled to myself as I popped in some change and pulled one out. I tucked it under my arm and continued to my car.
Cars flew by me as I reached the outside of the rink and I saw a couple standing by the bus stop waiting for the next shuttle. They were laughing and hugging as I unlocked my door and threw the paper into the empty passenger seat.
As I pulled out onto the road and headed back to my empty apartment; the girl was sitting on the guys' lap, her lips were on top of his.
I glanced back down at the paper next to me and tried to find some humor in the irony as I drove into the night alone.
"Chicago's Wonderboy Patrick Kane: On Top Of The World"