Home > The Chase (Briar U #1)(15)

The Chase (Briar U #1)(15)
Author: Elle Kennedy

I see a ditzy blonde who got kicked out of one sorority and banned from another, who’s always on academic probation, whose father had to call in a favor to get her into college, whose brother called another one in to find her a place to live.

I see a screw-up.

With a heavy heart, I say as much to Brenna, but a roar from the crowd drowns out her response.

Her gaze hasn’t left the ice once during our conversation, and now she’s shooting to her feet. “Are you blind, ref!” she screams. “That was tripping!”

A group of guys a few rows behind us start cackling at her outrage. “Hey, it’s not our fault your shitty players can’t skate without tripping over their own feet!” one of them mocks.

“Oh, you really want to go there?” She spins around and I smother a laugh.

Aside from her silvery-gray scarf, she’s wearing all black again, plus the red lipstick I’m beginning to realize is her trademark. With her dark hair loose and her eyes blazing, she looks like a total badass. She kind of resembles Gal Gadot, the actress who plays Wonder Woman. Come to think of it, she resembles the original Wonder Woman too.

AKA she’s frigging gorgeous, and the boys she’s glaring at do a double take when they notice who they’ve been heckling.

“The only shitty thing I see is the huge dump your goalie just took on the ice,” she taunts back.

I snort, a chortle breaking free.

“Take a look at the scoreboard, douchenozzles, and tell me what you see,” she chirps, pointing to the screens above center ice.

The score clearly reads Briar – 1, Harvard – 0.

None of them follow her gaze. “Watch your mouth,” one snaps.

“Watch yours,” she snaps back.

“Your boys are pussies,” he jeers. “Standing there begging for a call instead of taking it like a man. Oh nooo, the bad man tripped me!”

His buddies break out in gales of laughter.

“Don’t make me come up there,” Brenna warns, hands planted firmly on her hips.

“Don’t tempt me. I don’t fight chicks, but I might make an exception for you.”

“I don’t hit men, either,” she says sweetly. “But luckily I don’t see any men around here. Do you?”

“You bitch—”

I yank on Brenna’s arm and force her to sit back down. “Relax,” I order. I’m acutely aware of the death glares all around us.

“They’re a bunch of jerks,” she grumbles. “And that ref was a dick! Anderson was totally tripped. They should’ve called a penalty.”

“Well, they didn’t. And we’re about three seconds away from getting assaulted, or thrown out. So let’s move on, shall we?”

“Move on, huh? You mean, what you should be doing right now instead of obsessing over one trivial comment?”

I clench my teeth. “Sorry if it bothers me that one of the guys I live with thinks I’m nothing but a fluffy sorority girl.”

“You know who else was viewed as a fluffy sorority girl?” she challenges. “Elle Woods. And you know what she did? She went to law school and showed everyone how smart she was, and then she became a lawyer and everybody loved her, and her slimy ex tried to win her back and she sent him on his way. The end.”

I have to smile, though her recap of Legally Blonde isn’t quite a parallel of my own life, since I won’t be going to law school despite the fact that everyone else in my family has. Well, except for Dean. He followed his own path, deciding at the last minute to bail on law because he realized he’d rather coach hockey and work with kids. If my parents were rich snobs with sticks up their asses, they’d no doubt be horrified that Dean Heyward-Di Laurentis became a gym teacher.

Fortunately, my parents are awesome and supportive, and now Dean’s paved the way for me to be able to veer off course too.

Once I decide what I want to do, that is. I love fashion, but I don’t know if I want to design clothes, and fashion merchandising doesn’t interest me much, either. My goal is to see how the rest of my college career plays out before I make any final decisions. And senior year we have work placement, so I’ll get an even better idea of what I like or dislike.

“It doesn’t matter how other people see you,” Brenna finishes. “It’s how you see yourself—” She stops abruptly, then curses up a blue streak as Harvard ties up the game.

“How do you like them apples!” her new archrival yells.

“How would you like an apple shoved up your ass!” she retorts, but her tone is absent-minded, and her gaze is still glued to the game. Her eyes fill with admiration for one brief moment before narrowing angrily. “Ugh. Connelly. Why does he have to be lightning on skates?”

“That’s a bad thing?”

“It is when he’s on the other team.”

“Oh. Whoops.” It’s obvious I need to study the Briar roster. I only know Fitz, Hunter, Hollis, and a couple others I met in Brooklyn on New Year’s. “So he’s the enemy?”

“Damn right he is. He’s dangerous. If he gets you one-on-one, you’re screwed. Doubly screwed if it’s a breakaway.” She points to Briar’s side of the rink. “And so is that jerk who’s got Hollis pinned behind the net. That’s Weston. We don’t like him either.”

“I went to school with a guy named Weston. He played hockey too.”

Her head swivels toward me. “Swear to God, Summer, if you say that you’re friends with Brooks Weston, I’m punching you.”

I stick out my tongue at her. “No, you won’t. And we’re totally talking about the same guy—how weird is that? I didn’t realize Weston went to Harvard. For some reason I thought he was on the West Coast.” When I notice her glare, I grin. “Relax, we’re not BFFs or anything, but we did hang out in high school. He’s a fun guy.”

“He’s an evil demon goon.”

“Doesn’t make him any less of a fun guy.”

“True,” she says grudgingly. “I just don’t like the idea of my friends fraternizing with the enemy.” She raises her index and middle finger, then points them back and forth between her eyes and mine. “I’m watching you, Greenwich Barbie.”

Smiling broadly, I lean in and smack a kiss on her cheek. “I love you. You’re my spirit animal.”

“You’re such a dork.” Rolling her eyes, she refocuses her attention on the game.

Watching live hockey is such a rush. It’s fast-paced, intense. If you take your eyes off the ice even for a split second, you might come back to a completely different game.

Harvard was on the attack before. Now it’s Briar’s turn. Our forwards rush toward Harvard’s zone, but they’re offsides.

Brenna curses impatiently. “Come on, boys!” she shouts. “Get it together!”

“Can’t get nothing together when you SUCK!” her heckler crows.

She gives him the finger without turning around.

There’s a face-off to the left of the Briar net. The centers are coiled rattlesnakes ready to pounce as they wait for the puck to drop.

“Nate’s the center,” Brenna tells me. “That’s Fitz on his right, Hunter on the left.”

My gaze unwittingly shifts to Fitz. His jersey number is 55. I can’t see his face because of his visor, but I can imagine the lines of deep concentration creasing his forehead.

The puck drops and Nate wins the face-off. He gains possession but passes the puck off immediately. To Fitz, who skillfully stickhandles it, deking out two opponents. It’s hard to believe someone so big could be so graceful. His six-two frame flies into Harvard’s zone, and excitement dances in the air for anyone wearing black and silver.

The puck was dumped behind the net and Fitz chases after it. He slams someone against the boards and wedges out the puck with his stick, then flicks a quick shot at the net. The goaltender easily stops it, but I don’t think Fitz was trying or expecting to score. He was creating a rebound for Hunter, who shoots a bullet at the net.

The Harvard goalie stops that one too, just barely.

Brenna wails. “Why!!”

“Because we’re better than you!” her new best friend sings.

It happens again—I turn my head for one measly second to glare at Brenna’s heckler, and when I look back, Briar doesn’t have the puck anymore. A Harvard player passes to Weston, who snaps it to Connelly, and I suddenly remember Brenna’s warning about what happens if this particular player gets a breakaway.

“Get him!” I urge the Briar defenseman who’s chasing after Harvard’s captain.

But nothing can keep up with lightning. Connelly is too fast. He turns into Keanu Reeves, moving all Matrix-like, left and right, speeding away from his would-be defenders. If there was dust on the ice, every Briar player would be left in it.

Brenna moans and hangs her head. Connelly shoots. Brenna doesn’t even look. I do, and I can’t fight my disappointment as I watch the puck fly past Corsen’s glove.

“GOALLLLLL!” a voice blares out of the PA. Seconds later, the buzzer goes off to signal the end of the game.

The Harvard fans erupt with joy as Briar loses.

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