Authors: Melanie Ting
Wake Up Call
© 2014 by Melanie Ting
First Edition, July 2014
Second Edition, May 2015
Editing by Amy J. Duli
Cover design from Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae
ll rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, places, or events is coincidental. Characters, names, organizations, businesses, locales, events, and incidences are either used fictitiously or are a product of the author’s imagination. Really.
when ice meets heat?
Kelly Tanaka dreams of playing hockey for a top university team and even winning a scholarship. To achieve that, she’ll need to focus hard and switch to a new competitive team. A relationship right now would be a distraction.
Phil Davidson is tall, dark, and determined. He’s been Kelly’s best friend since they laced up skates together as kids. Now, their last year of high school means his last chance—to show Kelly they should be more than just friends.
They’ve scored many goals together, but can Kelly and Phil find chemistry off the ice as well?
y biggest goal
ever and my first kiss happened on the same weekend.
Only one of these events was awesome.
We were warming up for the championship final of the Midget house league. A pass blew by me deep into West Van’s side of the ice. I skated after the puck, and one of their players passed it to me.
“Thanks,” I said. He jerked his head up to stare at me.
“Fuck. You’re a girl,” he said.
No shit, Sherlock.
Then he grinned. “Well, winning this game is gonna be even easier than I thought.” Number 25 made a kissy face at me. West Van had finished first in regular season play, so they had a ton of swagger. Our team, North Van C5, had finished fourth, and battled through the playoffs to get here.
“You wish,” I said. “You’re definitely going down.”
“Yeah, right. The only thing going down will be you—on my dick.” He made a hand motion, in case I didn’t know where that was located.
What an asshole. I skated away, but his teammate number 12 was watching us and read the name on my jersey.
“Hey Tanaka! Five dollah sucky-sucky?”
Sexist and racist. Beating these guys was going to be a huge pleasure.
Phil Davidson was cruising the centre line and watching us. Phil was one of my best friends. He was an awesome hockey player. In fact, he was so good that other parents sometimes complained that he was even on our team, saying he should be playing up in rep hockey. Phil had a lot of stuff going on—like swimming, soccer, track, and guitar—so he wouldn’t have time for everything if he played rep as well. That was nice for our team and really nice for me, since he had been the centreman on my line forever. By now, we had a sixth sense of where the other person would be on the ice.
“Everything okay, Kelly?” he asked, as I skated back into our zone.
“No problem,” I told him. Trash talking wasn’t really personal. Guys just glommed onto whatever was easiest, like the fact that I was half-Asian or a girl. Now that I was fifteen, I took a lot more grief because most girls had switched to girls’ hockey. I wasn’t switching. I had played on the same hockey team since I moved to North Vancouver, and I liked my coach and my teammates. Why mess with something great?
The game got off to a bad start. West Van scored two goals in the first period and we spent way too much time running around in our own zone. Our head coach, Jerry Jankowski, talked to us between periods about calming down.
“You’re letting your minds get ahead of you. Win one shift, and don’t think about the outcome of the game.”
He was right. I was too aware of how important the game was, but I needed to keep my focus small. Our line went out first: me, Phil, and Evan Novak.
Phil won the face-off and sent it back to the defenceman and we all took off. A perfect pass came to Evan, who zoomed along the boards into the West Van zone. Two guys were converging on him, so he fired the puck forward. It rang around the boards where I picked it up and went directly at the net. A big d-man rushed out and steered me towards the corner, but I kept control of the puck and made a short pass back to Phil.
Phil snapped his shot off right away and drilled it top shelf. Beautiful goal! Evan and I skated over to congratulate him.
“Top cheds! Way to go, Phil.” I hugged him and even through his mouthguard, he had a huge smile.
As we skated back to the bench, I passed number 12, who should have been covering Phil. “Who’s sucky-sucky now?” I called out, and he swore at me.
The goal seemed to boost our confidence, and everyone started playing better. A few shifts later, Dex, our best defenceman, led a rush up the ice. He deked through almost the whole West Van team and fired off a hard shot that went in five-hole. Everyone on the bench leaped up and cheered. Now it was a tie game!
On our next shift, Phil brought the puck into the offensive zone, and I skated alongside him. He flipped me the puck and I took it behind the net and delivered a pass to Evan, who was just coming down his wing towards the goalie. About five seconds after I made the pass, I got hit big time.
I totally wasn’t expecting a hit that late. I went pretty hard into the boards and onto the ice. It hurt, but nothing major, and I popped back up. I looked around to see who had hit me and it was 25, that jerk-off from the warm-up. But Phil was already on him, giving him a two-hander across the chest and cursing him out. The guy hit the ice and Phil got called for a crosscheck. In the power play that followed, West Van scored their third goal and took back the lead.
Randy Lum, our assistant coach, yelled at Phil when he got back to the bench. “Stupid penalties won’t help us win the game, Davidson.”
Phil shrugged and sat down beside me.
Then I started in on him. “Phil, I’ve told you, stop protecting me. I can handle things myself. I take the number and get them later.”
“Yeah, Kelly, like your body checks are going to hurt anyone.”
“I’m fine. I don’t care if I take a hit if we can make a good play. We need to beat these guys, and you can’t let it get personal.”
“Whatever.” Phil was ignoring me. He always did whatever he wanted.
Coach Jerry knew exactly what was going on, so he switched up the lines. I was now playing with Marcus Craig and Andrew Lum. We would be a fast line, but not too much size. Jerry was trying to prevent Phil from taking any more dumb penalties.
The game went back and forth: we’d get a catch-up goal, then West Van would score again. Late in the third period, the score was 4-4. Phil had gotten the tying goal, a beautiful blast from the high slot that seemed to freeze the goalie and then bounced in off the post.
Then my line went out. Marcus brought the puck in and did a fancy no-look drop pass. I picked up the puck and dealt it cross-ice to Andrew and went right to the net. Andrew zoomed in and shot the puck hard but the goalie put his blocker on it. The rebound squirted out to me, and I shot right away. It went high, and the goalie reached for it but missed.
I threw my arms in the air. Marcus and Andrew grabbed me and we all cheered. Now we were ahead 5-4.
After that, the whole team hunkered down, played great defence, and withstood a desperate drive by West Van as they pulled their goalie and fired everything they could at the net. When the buzzer sounded, we started whooping and piling on our goalie, Jim Mendez. But there wasn’t even time for a ceremony, because there was another game and the Zamboni was waiting to get on. We shook hands with West Van and filed off like any regular game. I went to the handicapped washroom to get changed all by myself. I felt a little lonely, but only for a moment.
Wow, I had just scored the winning goal in a championship game! If that wasn’t a dream come true, I didn’t know what would be.
fter I took
my gear off, I heard the assistant coach’s voice through the washroom door. “Kelly, come into the dressing room when you’re done. We’re all decent now.”
Two seasons back, some of the moms decided that I needed privacy, and ever since I had to use the washroom to change. I hated it. I got dressed, shouldered my hockey bag and went down the hall. I knocked on the door but walked in without waiting, since it was so noisy in there that nobody could hear me anyway. The room stank, but the familiar odour of sweat and hockey gear made me smile.
Everyone started yelling at once.
“Here she is!”
“Woooo, Sparky, great goal.”
“She never scores, I guess she was saving it for the big one.”
“You the man!”
Some of the guys started throwing tape balls and squirting water at me. They were decent in that nobody was naked, but some guys hadn’t bothered putting shirts or pants on yet. Nobody cared about me seeing them since we’d known each so long. This was the part I really missed: being in the room after a game, joking around and making fun of each other. Getting changed with only the toilet for company wasn’t exactly the same.
“Okay, calm down, guys,” Coach Jerry said. “Kelly, have a seat.” Phil shoved Marcus over and motioned for me to sit beside him. I sat down, happy to feel like one of team again. Jerry continued, “I wanted to say, congratulations to everyone here. You played like a team, guys. You outworked them and you deserve this. You worked hard all season and here we are. You’re all champions, so relish this moment.”
Then Randy opened up the door, and a guy from the league walked in with this big silver trophy. Everyone started yelling again. I had this stupid grin on my face; I was pretty much wearing it ever since I walked in. Coach was right; you had to enjoy the moment. In all the years I’d played hockey, this was the first time I’d won anything real.
We all shot the shit for a while, but our parents were hovering outside the crowded room, so we had to get going. I grabbed my bag and went to leave.
Phil called out to me, “Wait, Kelly. Want to come out with us? Some of us were thinking of going to Boston Pizza now.”
“I can’t. April and those guys are out there. We’re doing a sleepover at Karen’s.” Some of my girlfriends had come to watch my big game.
“A sleepover? Can I come too? Please,” begged Marcus.
“Don’t be a douche,” I advised him. “Chicks hate desperation.”
“Okay, see ya later,” Phil said. “Are we still getting together tomorrow afternoon?”
I nodded. We’d fixed up a time to go for a run or bike ride. I always felt kind of low the day after the season ended, so we had decided to set up something fun. But after winning, I felt great.
Our parents were out in the hall, all busy reliving the game and bragging. I could hear my dad’s excited voice.
“Kelly loved skating from the moment I put her on the ice. When we lived in Ottawa, she disappeared from the house one day. Molly and I were panicking since she was only five years old. We called all her friends, and nobody had seen her. Just before we called the police, I took a quick drive around the neighbourhood and I found her! She had taken her skates and hockey stick and she was playing hockey on this outdoor rink a block away. The kids there were all older, but they sort of knew her and didn’t think it was a big deal. She didn’t get upset until I made her get off the ice and come home!”
Everyone started laughing, and I walked up to interrupt. “Dad! I can’t believe you’re telling that old story again.”
It was totally embarrassing, but I gave him a hug anyway. He ran his own florist shop and worked long hours, so he didn’t get to come to a lot of games. He had taken this afternoon off specifically to watch my playoff game.
“Kelly, congratulations on your big goal,” said Mrs. Elliott. “You really snapped that shot off quickly.”
She was the team manager and a rabid hockey fan. In fact, most of the parents seemed to take the game more seriously than their kids. Usually I got a ride home with Phil, and his dad would spend the whole time analyzing what happened and which players needed to improve what skills.
My parents knew dick-all about hockey, and that was the way I liked it. I put enough pressure on myself without having extra. In fact, my mom never came to games at all. She said the skating sound put her to sleep. But my dad came whenever he could, and especially on important days like today.
I could see my three girlfriends waiting for me near the doorway. “Dad, thanks so much for coming to the game. I’m going out with my friends now. Can you take my stuff home?”
“Oh Tak, all we are is chauffeurs for these kids,” one of the moms said, giggling.
According to my friends, my dad was kind of good-looking, and he always seemed to be surrounded by all the blonde hockey moms. I could not see it myself; he looked like my dad. He was on the short side, Japanese Canadian, with thick hair and a constant smile. He did look at least ten years younger than everyone else, including my mom, but that was a genetic Asian thing.
I gave him a kiss and passed my hockey bag to him. He grinned and put an arm around me. “No problem, Kelly. Congratulations on your championship win. You played really well, and I’m proud of you.”
Marcus had managed to get out of the dressing room ahead of me and was chatting up my girlfriends. Some of my other teammates were hanging around nearby, goofing and showing off. I knew the guys wanted me to invite them along with us, but we had plans that didn’t include boys. The four of us took off for a coffee place on Marine Drive, before we went to Karen’s house.
“Thanks so much for coming to my game,” I told them. April Lachance was my other best friend and not really a hockey fan, so it was really nice of her to come.
“It was actually pretty exciting,” she admitted. Charmaine Leung nodded in agreement. She wasn’t a big hockey fan either, but they were my loyal buddies. We all supported each other, like me going to April’s ballet performance or Charmaine’s piano recital.
“Is it hard being the only girl on the team?” Charmaine wondered.
“Not really. If I keep my ponytail tucked in, sometimes I can get through a whole game without the other team knowing.” But I couldn’t deny that the guys were getting bigger and stronger each year, and I wasn’t—no matter how hard I hit the gym. Stupid testosterone.
“Okay, tell me about the goalie,” Karen said. Karen Leighton was nice, but obsessed with guys. I suspected she came to check out the team, as well as cheer me on. She was a serial dater, but currently single. Not surprisingly, she was the one who told me my own dad was hot.
“Oh, Jim Mendez. He’s actually two years older than us, and in grade twelve.”
“And how does he rank on the Tanaka Scale?”
The Tanaka Scale was something I invented when my friends started dating guys. I believed that you could tell how a guy would be as a boyfriend from how he played hockey.
If a guy played dirty and hit behind the play or when the ref wasn’t looking, then he’d probably lie to you and cheat on you. If a guy was a total hot dog, a look-at-my-moves-type show-off, then he was going to be a selfish egomaniac. If he whined about the ref’s calls and his bad breaks, he’d be like Mr. Excuses. There was good stuff of course, but the key was not to get involved with jerks.
Of course this was all hypothetical for me, because I wasn’t into dating yet. A guy would have to be a pretty amazing hockey player for me to be interested.
“I don’t really know. Goalies are different ’cause they’re separate. I mean, most of them are kinda weird. But Jim’s not like that. If a goal goes in, he usually shrugs it off. But there was this one tournament game, and when this big goal got scored on him, he really went off on the d-man for screening him. Like screaming at him and—”
I stopped because I could see that Karen wasn’t really listening. I talked about hockey way more than my friends liked. I got back to the topic of guys. “Well, as a boyfriend, I think he might be the kind of guy who doesn’t take responsibility. Maybe even a little psycho and unpredictable.”
“Hmmm,” said Karen. “So probably no. Okay, new topic. Last weekend when I was leaving Park Royal, I saw Phil with this really hot guy. He was big and sort of blond, wearing a black jacket. Do you know who I mean?”
“Probably Dave Vanderhauf. He’s one of Phil’s best friends, but he goes to another school. Handsworth, I think.”
“Maybe it’s him. Is he totally cute?” Karen wondered.
“I don’t know. I don’t find him cute.” Dave was okay, but he was definitely full of himself. He played rep hockey, and he always seemed to mention it within five seconds of any conversation.
“Huge surprise,” said April. “Who do you find cute?”
I scrunched up my nose and considered this. If I confessed that my nighttime fantasies usually involved me playing on Team Canada at the Olympics, I would probably get pelted with takeaway cups.
“Um, Brendan Morrison is cute.” For an old guy anyway, he was, like, 24 or 25.
“No.” April scowled at me. “Who do you find cute that doesn’t play hockey for the Canucks? Like a normal guy we know. Do you think Phil is hot?”
“Phil? Phil Davidson? That’s gross, he’s just Phil.”
“And you’re just blind,” said Karen. “Phil is not still your little buddy from grade four. He’s the cutest guy in grade ten. He’s totally hot with that dark hair, that gorgeous face, and that athlete’s body. And he’s into you. But if you don’t jump all over that, he’ll start dating someone else.”
Charmaine piped up. She could see I was getting upset, and she hated conflict. “Kelly, that was a beautiful goal you scored. And the winning goal! You must be so excited.”
I smiled at her. Charmaine was so sweet. I figured she wasn’t interested in guys yet either. I didn’t get why everyone was in this big rush to date and stuff. Life was confusing enough.