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Chapter 4

Alice

It's after school, and I have realized that I need to try my hardest to make some friends. I even have the perfect plan. 

Our hockey team, The Fighting Devils, has a fan club that has been leaving notes all around campus. They are searching for new members, and even though I know nothing about this violent sport, I think this could be my chance. 

Many girls are in the fan club, and I will join them.

Brilliant plan, right?

If only I wasn't so nervous...

I suck in a deep breath to calm myself. It's cold inside the ice hockey arena, and the sounds of guys grunting and hitting the puck fill my ears. People sit on the bleachers, watching the practice as if put under a spell, and my eyes land on Winnie.

A smile spread over my lips.

Winnie is the girl whose number was left on the fliers. She is the chairman of the fan club and is supposedly friendly. We texted earlier, and she told me to come and meet her here. 

"Got to make it over there, I guess," I mumble as I pave my way past people and someone looking like a coach. 

I'm kind of nervous and suddenly hear giggles. I lift my eyes to scan the area, wondering if it's me the girls are laughing at.

On the top of the bleachers sits two women. I've never spoken to them, but I know who they are—Isabella and Danielle, known best for being cleat chasers. And also rumored to be bitches.

I swallow thickly and keep walking. Soon, Winnie spots me and gets this excited look on her face.

"You must be Alice!" Winnie beams at me and taps the place next to her with her mitten. "Come and sit with me! Are you cold?"

I'm blushing. I've never had a friend, and Winnie's already friendly demeanor is new to me. 

"Hello there," I say and sit down. Winnie is taller than me. A freckled, pretty blonde with rosy cheeks. "You're Winnie, right?"

"Yup, yup!" She looks pretty excited. "And you're the fan club's new member—welcome onboard!"

My cheeks burn brighter. "Thank you..."

Winnie, who doesn't seem to have a problem talking to people, grins mischievously at me. "So, Alice, what do you know about hockey? Are you a big fan?"

"I can't say that I am..." I grimace, hoping she doesn't think I'm stupid for wanting to join the hockey fan club. "I'm just trying to make friends? Is that a stupid reason to join?"

"Not at all!" Winnie's dimples show. "Many of our members just join to be part of a community. Making friends on campus can be hard. I know of others who joined the fan club to make friends, but two girls are into the sport. The rest kind of only observes the actual games."

That eases up some of my worries, and I smile. "Cool."

Winnie smiles, then points to the field to make conversation. "The good hockey players don't stick around for too long. NHL pick them like berries, and... If I were to make a guess, I would say either Andrew or Nathan won't finish the entire college season."

Nathan?

I blink when a guy is tackled into the plexiglass. The one who delivered the tackle is none other than Nathan. I glance behind me when I hear Isabella and Danielle giggling.

I'm unsure why I'm bothered, but I kind of am. 

"They got their eyes on Nathan," Winnie whispers to me. "On Andrew too, actually... Once those guys make it into the NHL, anyone dating them will be set for life. I suspect that's their goal."

I arch an eyebrow. "Those girls are only out after the money?"

"Terrible, right?" Winnie shrugs. "Most girls in the fan club are the same way, honestly."

"You're not?" I tease. 

"No!" Winnie smiles at me, a bit guiltily. "Like, it would for sure be nice, but I'm just the chairman because I've always been around hockey," she nods forward at two similar-looking players. "Jake and Mark, those two loons over there, are brothers. I'm their beloved childhood friend. That's why I watch these games."

"Oh..." I smile. 

"Yeah," Winnie studies me with curious eyes. "You went to the same high school as Andrew and Nathan, right?"

I resist the urge to grimace. "I sure did." 

And it wasn't pleasant.

Honestly, this isn't a subject I would like to turn into a long conversation. Andrew might not have bullied me like Nathan, but both of them are friends and probably dislike me.  

Or, I don't know. 

Nathan confuses me. I'm still unsure why he approached me yesterday, but I've been on my guard since then.

"Were they nice to you?" Winnie asks. 

I lift my head to answer, but a shadow has fallen over us. We are sitting at the bottom of the bleachers, and Andrew is standing against the plexiglass, breathless and sweaty. 

Hockey players look even more intimidating when they are wearing ice skates. So freaking tall.

"Hello, Winnie," Andrew beams at her before focusing his eyes on mine. His widen a little. "Oh, are you thinking about joining the fan club, Alice? I had no idea you liked ice hockey!"

I'm unused to Andrew not calling me Picasso. It's a nice change, yet I still don't trust him. 

"I'm just trying to make friends," I shrug, a bit wary if he will keep being friendly or not. "Winnie seems cool."

"She is, she is..." Andrew grins at me. "But I'm the best person to ask if you want to know more about the sport. We could exchange phone numbers, and I could—"

"Enough!" Winnie growls at him and places her hand on my shoulder as if to show I'm under her wing. "Alice is a freshman under my care, and I won't let you date and dump her—she won't be one of your victims!"

"Victims?!"

"Yes, Andrew! You change women faster than underwear!"

"What? How dare you!"

Andrew falls into an argument with Winnie, but I have tapped out of their conversation. My eyes are on Nathan. 

Standing behind Andrew, his ice-blue eyes meet mine before he silently follows the other man through the door. For some stupid reason, my heart races inside my chest. 

Because of fear?

Probably.

Nathan picks up a bag from the floor, and I watch him glug water while looking sweaty and tired. 

The movement of his Adam's apple got me captivated. My eyes rake him up and down. He is bigger than the other guys, but that only adds to why I find him so damn scary. 

"So, Alice..." Andrew plops down beside me, grinning. The movement is so sudden that I momentarily freeze into my place. He smiles at that and probably translates it to me being nervous. "Are you seeing anyone?"

Winnie is growling on the other side of him. "Andrew, she isn't interested in seeing you. Alice is smarter than that!"

"Shut up, Winnie!" Andrew barks, then return to me, smiling again. He is handsome with dark hair and even darker eyes. A real ladies' man, but I'm not interested in players. "So, would you mind answering my question? I'm curious over here, Alice."

I lift an eyebrow at him. "Are you messing with me? Last time I met you, you were calling me Picasso and laughing at my expense," I smile sweetly at him, amused that he is baffled. The only guy who makes me nervous is Nathan—I can handle Andrew. "So, are you asking me out simply to laugh at me if I say yes?"

Andrew finds his footing again, grinning now. "Oh wow, there is some spice to you!" His eyes are interested now. "And no, I'm asking you out because you're hot."

His compliment takes me aback. 

I've never had a guy call me hot before. Never. I'm new when it comes to the dating and flirting front. I have never gone out on a date in my entire life. Never kissed anyone or had sex. 

And now, I've been called hot. 

My cheeks burn, and I stare at Andrew. I'm unsure what to say, but luckily I'm saved by Winnie.

"Like I said, Andrew," Winnie begins. "Alice is smarter than you, and she would never fall for your flirting techniques. And they suck, by the way. How many girls have you called an angel this week?"

Andrew turns away from me. "What is your problem with me? Why are you being such a cockblocker, Winnie?!"

I giggle at their exchange and notice Nathan is silently watching me. He is leaning against the plexiglass, and once he gets caught red-handed for staring, his lips move into a sheepish smile. 

My eyes narrow, and Nathan seems to swallow down a laugh before looking away from me. Bizarre. I wish I could regard him as creepy, but Nathan is stupidly attractive. 

"Oh, and Alice?"

I look up at Winnie. I'm beginning to realize that this girl is always smiling and beaming without a care in the world. 

"Yeah?" I ask. 

"I like you, so..." she wriggles her eyebrows at me. "As a result, you're invited to the frat party this weekend. Fan club members can skip the line, and I will escort you myself."

"Oh, that sounds fun," I'm beaming back, already excited. "I've never been to a party before..."

"It will be a lot of fun," Andrew grins and shoves his shoulder into Nathan's larger frame. "Too bad you said you're too busy this weekend."

I steal a glance at Nathan. It doesn't go unnoticed. I find out his attention has been on me the entire time, and a mischievous smile spreads over his lips before he turns to Andrew. 

"Actually, I think my schedule is open again," Nathan nonchalantly shrugs, speaking calmly. "I will join the party. I live in the same building anyway."

My eyes narrow and my irritation ticks against my jaw. Why do I get the feeling Nathan only said that because I said I would be coming? What is his deal? Is he going to the party to torment me or something?

I continue to glare at his face until his gaze lands back on me. 

Immediately, an innocent smile spread over his lips, and my body quivers in response. Fire races along my chest and my heart is warning me that it's about to jump ship and run away. 

I don't like this guy. Not one bit. It angers me that he always looks so goddamn close to laughing at me. Do I look funny to him?!

"I'm starving," Andrew interrupts. "Winnie, you want to head to McDonald's to grab a burger?"

"Sure," Winnie shoots me a glance. "Do you want to come with us, Alice? Have you eaten?"

"No, I haven't eaten anything yet," I miraculously manage to peel my eyes away from Nathan's face. "But I have somewhere I need to be. So maybe next time?"

Winnie shrugs but keeps her smile. "Suit yourself."

Comments (3)
goodnovel comment avatar
Bella Jersey
So many no buttons and vibes are being triggered here
goodnovel comment avatar
Crystal Paprock
Winnie and Andrew. Heck just give her all three men lol
goodnovel comment avatar
Crystal Paprock
I sense a book with Winnie. Possibly she gets both brothers ;)
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