She Sees Pain From Behind a Lens

Five beers in, and he saw her. Seven beers in, and he forgot about her, everything but the way the light flashed in her green eyes.
But, his teammates didn't drink quite as much as him and news spreads fast.
When the new photographer shows up at practice the next morning, "She's the girl from the bar!" was heard in every corner of the locker room.
Neither of them were looking for a fairy tale, and neither will get it. They will simply get a rocky, terrifying love story between two people who started off on the wrong foot.


1. After Four and a Half Beers


   After an early lead in the 2nd, the Blackhawks were celebrating a win over the Arizona Coyotes with drinks at Venture, the nearest 18-and-over club. After three beers Kane was starting to feel the effects, the slowing of his thoughts, the slowing of his heartbeat. It was nice. After his fourth he could tell that his speech was slurring significantly. And halfway through his fifth, he saw her standing by the bar.

   Her back was towards him, long hair flowing down it in endless waves; he liked her dark hair.

   Patrick rested an elbow on the bar, turning slightly on his stool before he waved over the nearest bar tender. The man walked up wearing all black with tattoos running up and down his left arm. He leaned against the counter, getting close to Kane's face so that he could be heard over the music.

   "Can I get you another one?" His eyes watched the hockey player as he took another swig and then pointed with the neck of the bottle to the girl with the dark hair.

   Without looking at him, Patrick replied, "Send one of these to her." He took another drink and glanced over at the bartender, noticing his apprehensive stare but too drunk to put two and two together. The other man just shrugged and grabbed another beer from a cooler under the counter. Patrick watched as he walked over there, popping the top off the bottle halfway towards her. She turned when he was in front of her, and he gave her a greeting nod, taking the glass from in front of her, refilling it from a pitcher, and then setting it back down again. She smiled up at him as he raised the beer and they clinked them together, both taking a sip from their respected drinks.

   Kane felt his lips pulling tightly together as he watched them. The man said something and she laughed, and before he knew it, he was stalking over there, beer in hand, and he inserted himself in between her and another pair of women who leaned in and started talking faster when he brushed up against the one directly behind him. Some of her hair swung over her shoulder as she turned to look at him.

   He could feel the heat from his cheeks. He could feel the anger in his chest, ready to come out whenever he opened his mouth; but he suppressed it.

   Pat looked at her a moment before letting the rage slip from his eyes.

   "You didn't like the beer I sent over?" The bartender let out a short laugh, beer still to his lips, before he looked back over to the girl.

   "You got this one?"

   She nodded, a small smirk coming to her face, "Yeah, I got this one. Thanks Chris." Chris nodded and strode away with his drink. Kane noted that even though his brain was foggy, her eyes seemed bright and clear. He glanced at the drink before he slowly pulled out the thought that there was probably only water in that glass. Her eyes flashed as the lights hit them, and he watched as the green in her eyes became visible for a second. The smirk on her face turned into a laugh when she said, "Thanks for the drink," tipping her glass towards the other end of the bar where Chris stood. He nodded and they both took a sip at the same time. His eyes took in her every move as she looked down and then out into the crowd of people on the dance floor. As soon as the bottle was off his lips, the words were spilling out of them.

   "What's a beautiful woman like you doin' standing at the bar alone?" She laughed and shook her head, watching the crowd for another moment before connecting her gaze with his again. You see, about the time that Kane had realized that she was most likely drinking water, his foggy mind had realized that he needed to turn on the charm if he was going to get this girl to agree to go home with him.

   "Meeting people," was all she replied, spinning her drink around in the glass. He flashed her a smile.

   "Well, you met me."

   She laughed again, glancing down at the bar before looking back at him, "That's very true." Her lips pursed as she took another drink. He stuck out his hand.


   "Emily," she smiled, fitting her hand into his. His were starting to sweat without him noticing. A few moments passed with her hand in his, mostly because he had grabbed it back when she tried to pull away and now he was just playing with her fingers. He leaned in closer, still watching their hands, glancing up only as he finished his sentence.

   "You know, this doesn't seem like your kinda scene," he nodded at her drink, "why don't we go back to my apartment, it's easier to talk there and," he leaned in closer, quieting his voice, "I can show you a better time than this place can." His lips were almost to her ear, his breath fanning across her neck. He pulled back slowly, watching the smile on her lips while she laughed. It came up to her eyes as the lights flashed against them again; the greenish color intoxicating him more than the alcohol.

   "You know what, I'm good."

   Patrick was taken aback.


   "I'm good. I was actually just thinking about going back to my place, alone," she added when she saw his drunken eyes light up, "but have fun, stay safe, and uh..." she grabbed the beer from his hand, setting it down on the bar, "lay off the beers." She sent a wink his way while she turned, weaving her way past a couple who were fighting. He watched her retreating figure, hips swaying back and forth along with that dark hair of hers, until she slipped past a man on the dance floor who was spilling his drink everywhere while he rocked out to the music.

   The shock of her grabbing the beer from his hands had sobered him to the point where he knew that he was going to remember all of this in the morning. And so were his teammates, because right at that moment Andrew Shaw decided to run over, beer hand waving in the air, screaming, "Kaner got rejecteeeed!"

   Patrick was still staring at the door when another arm wrapped around his neck, jerking his head sideways to collide with a shoulder.

   "I liked her," Jonathan Toews said with a lop-sided grin, shaking Kane's shoulder some more. Jon took another swig from his beer, watching the same spot as Patrick was.

   Pat could feel the anger from before bubbling in his chest again. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Chris walking behind the counter, about to pass them.

   "Get me another one," he shouted at the man with the tattoos. Chris spent no time hesitating before grabbing another beer, popping the top off and sliding it across the bar. Kane angrily drank the last from his fifth bottle and slammed it down on the counter, his fist clenching its neck tighter and tighter as his teammates kept teasing him. He picked up the new one, drinking down half of it before he slipped himself out of Toews' grasp.


   News spread fast around the locker room, and Kane didn't expect anything less. Toews and Shaw had made sure that within minutes of entering the locker room, everyone on the team knew about what happened last night at the party. He had watched as teammates joked and shook their heads at him; telling him that they knew that this was going to happen one day. Pat played along, tuning them out every once in a while until someone new came through the doors, and then the story was played over again.

   Honestly, he didn't really remember all that much about it, those two extra beers afterwards had taken it from his memory. What he did remember though, the bottle being plucked from his hands and green eyes. He could get drunk every night for the rest of his life but he wouldn't lose the sight of those green, clear eyes boring into his own blue ones.

  Patrick's eyes glanced up from lacing his skates as a hand patted his shoulder. Brent Seabrook was standing over him, hand still on Pat, no pity in his eyes at all.

   "She sounds like just your type of girl Kaner," he said. Pat shook his head, returning to his skates as the defenseman walked away laughing.

   The story was being told one last time when the last person, Duncan Keith, walked in, but it was cut off at the very beginning by a loud voice coming from the cracked doorway.

   "Everyone decent?" Coach Q placed his hand on the door frame, balancing himself as he peeked his head around the door, scanning the room quickly. His mustache shifted as he drew his lips in, nodding his head. With one hand still high on the frame and another holding the door open, he gestured with his head for someone to come in. A short girl walked under his arm, long, dark hair flowing around her face, wispy from the wind. A memory tugged at the ends of Kane's memory, but he let it slide as he continued watching her. She can't be more than 19, he thought. Her hands slid up her jeans like she was wiping sweat from her palms. Patrick smiled at her shyness as her lips twitched up, looking at everyone through her eyelashes. 

   "Hi guys," she spoke, her voice sounding more confident than her body language. As if reading his thoughts, she seemed to gain her bearings, straightening up and looking at everyone boldly; straight into the eyes. When she met his, all he could think was: green. green. green. They were even more beautiful without the alcohol coursing through his body.

   Something grew in her eyes, like a smirk that she was holding back. Like the felling of, hell yes, this is going to be fun!

   "You're the girl from the bar!" Pieces of her hair fell over her shoulders as she turned her head and the memory came back to Pat, hitting him like he had been slammed into the boards. The smirk moved from her eyes to her whole face.

   "Andrew Shaw with the good memory even when drunk. I'll have to remember that." She winked at him, and Patrick had to hold back his choking noise.

   All eyes that were on her were suddenly flitting between the two of them. Every voice that had been quiet now broke out into hushed whispers.

   The whispers grew as more voices were added, and soon Coach Q was shouting over the noise, "Everybody listen up!" His face was a little red, not mad, just purely not amused. "Emily here is our new team photographer. I expect you all to treat her as you would any other staff member. She is an equal here. If she is on the ice," he directs his attention back to Emily and quiets his voice, "she will make sure that she is not in the way," back to the team, back to normal volume, "but you must all watch out so that you do not hit her. Understood? Problems will be reported straight back to me." He nodded at Emily and she smiled up at him.

   "I got no objections," she said shrugging her shoulders, turning her eyes to the stalls a few down from him. A couple players chuckled under their breath as she continued, "It was nice to meet you guys, nice to see some of you again," she closed and opened her eyes again quickly, and when she did, her eyes stared hard into Patrick's, "and I will see you out on the ice." With that she gave one last big grin and turned to where Coach was holding the door open. He shut it behind the two of them, footsteps to be heard echoing down the hall.

   Every hockey player was silent for a moment. All laces forgotten, all conversation forgotten, and Kane had forgotten how to breathe.

   "That was the girl from the bar?" Keith asked. A couple mummers of, "yeah" broke out around the locker room. Keith smiled.

   "Well damn, now I have to hear this story."

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