I'm back! Sorry it's been so long everyone. I just had a lot on my mind and I needed to step away from the writing for a little while. And I must say, I definitely needed it. Breaks from writing really help me to relax and take my time with my writing.

My time off got me thinking about what it is I want to do with my writing in the future and whether or not I want to continue posting my stories on here. But there are the haters out there that constantly put me down and make it hard for me to have fun with my writing.

So all the haters out there? Here's what I have to say to all of you. I don't care. You can say what you want about my writings, but I won't give a damn of what it is you have to say. You're entitled to your opinion, and I respect that. But if your opinion tries to put me down, good luck with that.

So I'm going to keep writing and posting my stories on here. But I may also try to branch out and begin posting stories on other sites as well as Gaydemon. An email I got a few weeks ago told me to check out AwesomeDude, so that's a possibility.

But here are also some things for the future. I may post sporadically. There may be times in the future where I don't post a chapter one week. That will only be because I need to focus and work on schoolwork and writing won't be my number one priority.

If there's a week where you don't see a chapter, just send me an email and ask me when you'll see another chapter. I try to reply quickly, but sometimes it takes me a little while. But I do respond to every email.

And one more thing. I'm sorry posting a new chapter took me so long. But it gave me time to remind myself why it is I write in the first place: my enjoyment. I write for fun and so help escape from the craziness of my life. I'm not here to impress anyone. I'm here for me.

And I need to say one other thing. To all those of you out there that support me and what I do, thank you so much. You guys (and some girls) are one of the main reasons I write these stories and I've seen that they can help people.

I got an email some time ago from a reader who told me that after he read my stories, he broke up with his abusive boyfriend. He soon found a great guy that he loves with all his heart and he knows loves him as well. And now, their wedding's set for December.

Stories like that show me that I am capable of doing something good, and that makes writing these stories all the more fun. Thank you all so much again for your wonderful support. I wouldn't be here without any of you.

Thank you all again. I hope you all enjoy Chapter 9 of Is It Possible...?

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Chapter 9

My body begins to wake up from the best night of sleep I've had in a really long time. My eyes slowly creak open and while I expect to find the sleeping face of Greg, all I see is a pillow. I slowly rise off the soft mattress and find the room empty, but when I press my hand to where Greg was sleeping, I feel it's still a bit warm.

I pull the covers off my and stretch out my arms and legs before stepping out into the hallway. Walking into the living room, I look into the kitchen and see Greg standing at the stove, him still wearing nothing but underwear and I hear a soft sizzle. Taking a sniff, I smell...meat? But isn't Greg a vegetarian? I walk into the kitchen and walk up behind Greg.

Taking a second to look at his firm ass confined in his tight underwear, I slowly snake my arms around Greg's waist and rest my chin on his shoulder. "Smells good," I say.

Greg laughs. "I made sure I was quiet waking up so I could make breakfast."

I look down and see two pans on the stove, eggs cooking in one, bacon cooking in the other in its own fat. If there's one thing that makes a breakfast good, it's fat. "But I thought you didn't eat meat," I say.

"It's not real bacon. It's bacon made of meat substitute. Like tofu."

Meat substitute? It looks no different from regular bacon. "How?" I ask. "It even smells like bacon."

"I don't question it, I just eat it. Want some? I can throw a few more strips in the pan."

I've never had tofu in my life. I've always thought it was weird because whenever I think of tofu, I think of the weird white block it comes in. But, I'll try any food once. "Sure, I'll give it a try."

Greg smiles and places a few more slices of fake bacon into the pan (facon. Is that a term for fake bacon?). As Greg cooks the food, I grip him a bit tighter and close my eyes. "You're a cuddler, aren't you?" Greg asks me.

I laugh to myself. "A little. There's just something about hugging people that I like a lot. Never really understood it, but I went along with it."

Greg turns to me and smiles. "Good thing for me. I like cuddling and hugs too."

He leans a bit toward me and presses his lips to mine. Man, I can't get over how amazing these feel. Greg pulls back and turns his attention back to making breakfast. "If you want, you can grab a cup of coffee and take a seat on the couch. I'll bring breakfast into the living room in a minute."

"I think I'll take you up on that offer."

I give Greg's cheek a peck and walk to the coffee maker, the coffee pot full of the sweet, black drink. "Mugs are in the cabinet to your right," Greg tells me.

Finding the cabinet in question, I pull out two mugs and set them down next to the coffee pot. "You want a cup too?" I ask.

"That'd be great, thanks. Sugar's in that small container to your right and cream is in the fridge. Just a packet of sugar in mine is fine."

I grab the carton of cream from the fridge and a few packets of sugar before adding the coffee to the mugs. I take the two mugs to the living room and set them down on the coffee table. "Mind if I turn on the TV?" I call to Greg.

"Go ahead."

Grabbing the remote, I flip the TV on and quickly find SportsCenter. Almost immediately, I see highlights from last night's game and I'm captivated by what I see. Did we really play that well last night? Watching it makes the game seem much more like a slaughterhouse than a hockey match.

As I watch the game, I don't notice Greg taking a seat next to me and placing a plate of food on my lap. I look down and see eggs, toast, and Greg's fake bacon on my plate. "Eat up," Greg tells me. "We have a flight to Vancouver in a few hours and we still need to shower and pack."

"Right."

I take the fork on the plate and start to dig into my breakfast. Greg's fake bacon is actually pretty good. Not as good as real bacon, but still pretty good. I quickly devour the food and set my plate down on the coffee table and fall back into the couch. Greg finishes up a minute later and does the same.

He and I just sit in silence, watching highlights of other sports games. As we watch, I find myself glancing back over at Greg several times, his eyes focused on the TV. I slowly scoot a bit closer to him, Greg not looking away from the TV. My shoulder finally brushes up against his and he looks up at me.

I glance away for a second before looking back at him. "Um...is this okay?"

"Yeah, yeah it's fine."

Greg looks at the TV, but I keep my eyes set on him. Feeling a bit bold, I slowly start to move my hand toward Greg's back. My hand slips between Greg's back and the couch and I suddenly feel Greg's body stiffen. I quickly pull my hand back and look down at my lap. "S-Sorry. I...I shouldn't have done that..."

"No, no it's okay. I...I liked it."

I look back at Greg and see his face is a bit pink. My hand slowly returns to behind Greg's back and he suddenly bristles again, goose bumps on his skin. "Are you sure you're okay?" I ask.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Your hand's just a bit cold."

"Sorry..."

"Don't worry. It'll warm up in a minute or two."

Greg and I continue to watch TV and the goose bumps on Greg's back slowly start to go away. Taking another step forward, I grip Greg's side a bit more and pull him a little closer to me. I hear him suck in a breath and he looks up at me, color in his cheeks and nose. He and I stare at one another, neither of us saying a thing.

Taking the final step, I lower my head and give Greg a tentative kiss, a sharp spark going down my spine. Pulling away, I see a small smile on Greg's face. "I...I really liked that," I say nervously.

"I did too. Um...would you like to try something that you might like even like a bit more. But only if you're up for it."

"Uh...okay?"

Greg suddenly turns to me and grips my shoulders and gives me a hard shove. I fall onto the couch and I'm about to get back up when I feel something crawl over me. Greg suddenly appears just above my face, his face even redder than before and his hands on both sides of my head. "You okay?" Greg asks.

"Um...w-what're you doing?"

Greg doesn't answer and starts to lower himself onto me. I feel his legs rest on top of mine, followed by his hips, then his stomach and chest. Greg snakes his arms underneath my armpits and places his hands underneath my shoulders while his face is barely two inches above my own. With his chest on mine, I can feel that Greg's heart is racing just as much as mine is right now.

Greg lets out a hot breath that hits my face, smelling of coffee and breakfast, but I don't notice. My arms slowly rise off the couch and my palms find Greg's back a second later. I just look up into Greg's bright amber eyes, the color mesmerizing me as they seem to swirl with the force of a hurricane.

I swallow a bit of saliva that I've managed to fill my mouth with and lick my lips. "S-So..." I start to ask.

My question is never said as Greg firmly presses his lips to mine. Lost for a second, I feel myself losing to the kiss. Greg's lips are too fucking soft for me to be thinking about anything else. I pull Greg as close to me as possible, never wanting to let him go. My fingertips press into Greg's firm shoulder blades and I hold on for dear life.

God, I can't even think straight right now. All that's on my mind is Greg. How his body feels against mine, how there's so much heat behind his lips, and how he smells like cedar wood (I love the smell of cedar. It reminds me of Mom and Dad's house because our floor was made of cedar).

Wanting more of Greg, I dig my fingers even harder into his taught back, trying to pull him even closer to me. But as I do, Greg suddenly pulls away. I reopen my eyes and see what appears to be pain in his face. "What's wrong?" I ask, concerned.

Greg sits back up and I do the same. He reaches behind him and his fingers come back with a bit of blood on them. Worried, I take a look at Greg's back myself. Right where my hands were, I see three small cuts in Greg's back, each of them bleeding just a bit. I look down at my fingers and see a bit of blood on them too.

I look back at Greg and find him still wincing a bit. "I-I'm so sorry," I quietly say. "I...I didn't mean to hurt you..."

Greg looks back at me and smiles a bit. "Don't worry about it, Tanner. It doesn't hurt much anymore." Greg stands up off the couch. "Why don't you head for the shower? I'll handle clearing off the coffee table. Bathroom's the second door down the hall."

I nod and Greg takes the plates and heads for the kitchen. With a sigh, I stand up and head down the hall and slip into the bathroom, closing the door behind me. I see that the bathroom, although a bit small, is a nice one with a tile shower with glass door, granite countertop, and metal works.

Reaching for my underwear, I slip it off and step into the shower, closing the door behind me and turning on the water. Taking a second for the water to heat up, I step into the spray and enjoy the feeling of warm water running down my body. I'm so distracted by the feeling, I don't notice the bathroom door open and close.

I run my fingers through my short hair and soak it a bit more. "Got everything you need in there?"

My heart jumps up to my throat and I turn and see Greg through the fogged up glass. "Christ, you scared me," I say, holding my chest. "Yeah, I'm good thanks."

"Cool. Do you...have room in there for one more in there?"

My heart quickly starts racing and my hands and feet quickly feel cold and numb. Greg...wants to get in the shower with me? "U-Uh...it'll be a tight fit..." I quietly say.

"That's kind of the plan."

I watch Greg through the glass as he quickly pulls off his underwear. Despite the glass being fogged up from the steam, I can see the outline of Greg's dick. Feeling a bit embarrassed, I turn my back to the door and listen as Greg steps in and closes the door behind him. I feel him standing behind me as I stay facing the tile wall.

God, I can't even say a damn thing. "Tanner, are you okay?" Why's he asking me that? "You're shaking a lot." I look down at my hands and see them trembling and I can feel my knees buckling. "Look, Tanner. I...I moved a little too quickly and I can tell you're really nervous about me being in here with you. So I'm getting out."

I feel Greg starting to reach for the shower door handle when I spin around and grab him by the wrist. "N-No. No, I'm...I'm really fine, Greg. I was just getting the idea of another guy being in a shower with me into my head. So...please stay?"

Greg stares at me for a second before releasing the door handle. "Okay, I'll stay..."

He turns and faces me and we both stand in silence. After a few moments, I find my eyes starting to fall from Greg's face. The slowly trace down Greg's body, from the firm chest, to the sculpted stomach, and finally...I'm staring at another man's dick. I mean Greg's dick and mine aren't very different.

Greg and I are both cut and both of our pubes are pretty short (I trim mine sometimes and it looks like Greg does too). But there's one thing I notice that's different: Greg's dick is soft while mine's sticking out in front of me. Completely embarrassed, I find myself staring at the shower floor and my feet.

As I stare at the floor, Greg steps a little closer to me and slowly wraps his arms around my stomach, standing in the spray of the shower with me. "Are you doing okay?" he asks me.

Swallowing a bit, I nod. "Yeah, I'm okay. This actually feels pretty good..."

Greg smiles. "I'm glad it does, Tanner. I don't want to rush you into anything you may not be comfortable with. We're taking things slow, but it looks like you're taking some pretty big steps."

I pull my head back a bit and look down at Greg. "How so?"

"Well, you spent the night with me in my bed and held me all night, you volunteered to stay for breakfast instead of rushing out the second you woke up, you wrapping your arm around me on the couch, the kiss, and the fact that you're standing in a shower with another man while your cock's poking me in the stomach."

I look down and see my cock still is hard and I blush in embarrassment. "S-Sorry. I saw you taking off your underwear and...and I just got hard..."

"Don't be embarrassed, Tanner. Remember what I told you in the gym showers back in August? Erections are perfectly normal things. I-I'm starting to get one too."

Slowly putting my eyes on Greg's dick, I see it starting to swell as well. And it's so...fucking hot. Pure instinct taking me over, I grab Greg and pull him as close to me as possible. He and I stand underneath the spray of the showerhead, our hair matted to our skin and our faces just inches apart.

Greg's amber eyes are barely half open, lust in the irises. "Want you so fucking bad..." I whisper.

Greg's hands press into my lower back. "You have me," he whispers back. "And I'm not going anywhere..."

On that note, I lean in and crash my mouth against Greg's, lips and teeth mashing against one another. God, what have I been missing all these years? This is so fucking hot that I'm practically dripping pre-cum. My fingers dig into the hard muscle of Greg's back, me being careful to watch my nails this time.

His hot breath covers my face and I take in his wonderful cedar scent. I don't even care that it's hard to breathe with the water coating my face and my mouth pressed against Greg's. All I care about is Greg and how amazing a kisser he is. The soft lips, the heat of his mouth, the firmness of the kiss, it's fucking...indescribable.

After what feels like an eternity, I decide I want a bit more from Greg. My tongue slowly starts to slide out of my mouth and makes its way for Greg's. I quickly feel Greg's teeth against the tip of my tongue. Greg suddenly stiffens at my tongue and, just when I think he's going to pull away, he pulls me even closer to him and I feel this tongue dancing with mine.

This is entirely new to me and I know one thing's for certain: I fucking love it. The feeling of Greg's wet firm tongue with mine is probably the hottest thing I've ever experienced. My whole body is tingling in excitement right now. My fingers won't stop shaking, my chest is tight and full of heat, and it feels like there's a battery attached to my cock right now.

I'm so fucking hard that it feels like my dick is about to explode. I deepen the kiss with Greg, trying to get as much of his wonderful taste as possible. I open my mouth as wide as I can just so I can feel all of Greg's tongue. Our mouths don't move and our lips stay firmly locked in place, but our tongue are fighting it out.

The heat in my body continues to build as I kiss Greg. I can feel him getting warmer by the second as well. All of a sudden, I feel my dick start to spasm and it causes my whole body to tighten. I dig my fingers into Greg and feel he's a lot stiffer than a minute ago. The sensation starts to ease after a few moments and I slowly pull away from Greg.

I take a second to get my breath back and look at Greg. His face is a dark red and he's gasping for air. "W-Wow..." I quietly say.

"Yeah...wow," Greg replies.

"What was that?"

Greg looks down and I look down too. All over Greg's and my lower abdomens are several white streaks and spots of cum and beneath that are two deflating dicks. "We...we came from a kiss?" I ask.

I look back up and see Greg beaming at me. "It was a fucking amazing kiss."

It takes me a second, but I smile too before pulling Greg back into another tight embrace. "Best fucking kiss I've ever had in my life."

Greg smiles even brighter and gives me a soft kiss, sending a shock that's just as powerful as the one from a minute ago through me. "We should probably get cleaned up," Greg says.

"We should."

Greg reaches past me and grabs a bottle of shampoo. "Close your eyes," he tells me. Confused, I relent and hear the cap of the bottle open. A few seconds later, Greg's soapy fingertips are running through my hair, creating a pillow of suds on my head. "You okay?"

I keep my eyes closed and smile. "More than okay. I feel great."

Even though I can't see him, I can tell Greg is smiling. I stay perfectly still as Greg washes every inch of my body. The whole thing is so fucking hot that if I didn't already cum, I'd be shooting all over the shower door. Greg washes the last of the suds off of me and I reopen my eyes to find him pouring shampoo into his own hands.

I reach out and grab Greg by the wrist. "You had your fun, now it's my turn."

Greg slowly smiles and I scoop the shampoo out of his hand and into mine. He closes his eyes and I start the same routine he did on me, wishing his hair and scrubbing his body with a bar of soap. I enjoy the last part a little too much and spend just a little longer than I should have with it, but it was worth it.

Once Greg's washed off, I turn the water off and we stay in the shower, dripping wet. "Need a towel?" Greg asks.

"Y-Yeah, thanks."

Greg and I step out of the shower and he grabs two towels, handing one to me. We both dry off in silence before wrapping the towels around our waists. I look at Greg and see his hair is a complete mess. I choke back a laugh and Greg looks over at me. "What?" he asks.

"Um...your hair."

Greg looks in the mirror and sees the shaggy mop that is his hair. "Give me a sec."

He reaches over and grabs a tube and pops the cap, pouring a little liquid into his hand. He runs his fingers through his hair and within seconds, his hair is in its usual slicked back fashion. "Much better," I say.

Greg smiles and washes the gel off his hands. He opens the bathroom door and I follow him to his bedroom. "Do you have any clothes?" Greg asks me as we walk in.

"Yeah, casual stuff, but...no clean underwear. I still need to get back to my apartment to pack."

Greg walks over to his dresser and opens a drawer. He reaches in a pulls out two pairs of underwear and tosses one to me. "That should work for now. It might be pretty different from what you're used to wearing, but it'll work."

I look down at the underwear and feel my mouth drop open a bit. I'm holding a pair of small, black trunks that look like they wouldn't fit a child. "There's no way these'll fit," I tell Greg.

Greg's towel falls to the floor and he starts to slip into a similar pair of trunks. He secures them around his waist with a snap and I see they're barely long enough to reach his thighs, but they make his ass look amazing. "They'll fit, trust me," Greg says.

Sighing to myself, I drop the towel and start to step into the trunks. I slide them up my legs and as they reach my waist, I struggle to get them over my ass and stuff my junk into the front. Finally managing to pull them up, I snap them to my waist. God this thing is tight. "Um...I-I think it's a little small," I say.

I look at Greg and see he's staring at me wide-eyed and with an open mouth. "N-No, they fit perfectly. Look in my mirror."

Greg points to the wall and I see a mirror hanging there. I look at myself in the trunks and am really surprised. These...don't look half bad on me. They really make the bulge in the front a lot more noticeable and they hug my waist and legs firmly, but not too tightly. But as I turn to look at my ass, I see that it looks awesome.

Looking back at Greg, I see he's a bit red in the face. "Can I just say I'm holding back so much from just throwing you onto my bed?" he asks.

Smiling, I walk over to Greg and snake my arms around his lower back, resting my hands on his firm ass and giving both cheeks a firm squeeze. Greg yelps a bit and I smile. "I'm holding back so fucking much too," I whisper.

I bend down and give Greg a soft kiss. It's not like the hungry ones from the shower, but it makes me as hot as the other one did. Greg returns my kiss and his hands find my ass as well. I pull away after a few moments, my face warm. But as I look down at Greg, I feel a large pit suddenly appear in my stomach.

Greg takes notice and makes a face at me. "What's wrong?"

I pull away from Greg and take a seat on his bed, my hand hanging low. "I...I really don't know..."

I feel Greg take a seat next to me and he rests his hand on my shoulder. "Talk to me, Tanner," Greg quietly says.

Glancing over, I see Greg's eyes are filled with concern. As I stare into those eyes, I flash back to ten years ago, to high school, to that classroom. I can still smell the smoke in the room, hear the sound of the explosion, and see Greg's broken body. My throat closes up and my stomach fills with an indescribable pain.

My fists clench and I feel the backs of my eyes stinging. Greg moves closer to me and I feel him wrap his arm around my lower back. "Tanner, why're you crying...?"

Opening my eyes, I finally feel streams of water falling from my eyes. "I...I can't stop thinking about it..." I whisper.

"Thinking about what?"

"H-High school, and how...how much I hurt you..." My eyes close again and I feel a sob in the back of my throat. "I...I think about what happened every day, nightmares keep me up at night, and every time I look at you, I can't help but see you lying on the classroom floor. I want to be with you so bad, Greg, but I..."

My sentence stops short as another sob escapes my lungs. As I quietly cry to myself, I feel a body pushing me back onto a bed. Falling with a thud, the same body crawls on top of me. I reopen my eyes to find Greg lying on top of me, his head on my shoulder and fingers tracing up and down my arm.

He stares down at me with worry in his face. "I'm sorry, Tanner..." he quietly says.

The apology confuses me. "W-What...?"

"The way you're feeling is partially my fault." I look up at Greg in shock. "Remember our talk the week after the explosion?"

I think back and see the conversation between a younger Greg and myself, how angry Greg looked and how horrible I felt. I nod up at Greg. "I told you you'd be feeling the guilt of what happened for the rest of your life, and it looks like you still remember everything that happened.

"I was just...angry about how nothing in my life back then was the way I wanted it. I did want you to remember what happened to me, but when we had that talk two months ago, I expected you to stop feeling guilty about the whole thing. But...but I guess the guilt I made you feel all those years ago was worse than I thought."

Greg's face slowly starts to turn into one of regret. I grab him and pull him into a tight hug. "Please don't make that face. You and I both know I deserved the guilt."

"Don't you dare say that, Tanner. I wanted you to feel bad about what happened and how our relationship was in high school, but not to feel guilty. With the explosion, there was no way you could've known that air canister was going to explode. So please stop beating yourself up over something that happened years ago.

"I want you and all of you in this...relationship. So please just let your guilt go so I can have all of you."

I look over at Greg and see his eyes are practically begging. I give him a very small kiss and hug him tightly again. "I'll try..."

Greg's body slowly starts to relax and his taught muscles begin to ease. He lifts his head up and softy smiles down at me. "That's all I need." Greg gives me a kiss and sits up, sitting on my waist. "C'mon. I need to pack and we need to head to your place and grab your stuff."

I wipe my eyes dry and sit up too, hugging Greg around the stomach. "We can't just lie down for a few more minutes?"

I give Greg my best puppy dog face and he rolls his eyes. "Just for five minutes, then we really need to get that shit done."

We exchange a smile and I fall back onto the bed, Greg falling on top of me. There are a lot of things I'm going to need to learn if I want to be in a relationship with Greg. But one thing's for sure: holding and kissing him are my favorite parts of it.

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"And welcome back, hockey fans. Liam and Lauren here, here to give you up to date hockey coverage. We're into the third period of the Kings and Maple Leaves game in the fifth week of the 2023 season. How's the game looking so far, Lauren?"

"Liam, neither team seems to be letting up at all. Both teams have an unrelenting offense and an unbreakable defense, the score tied at 0-0. I'm hanging on the edge of my seat."

"So in your opinion, who do you think has the best chance of winning?"

"I actually think the Maple Leaves will win it, Liam."

"You not having much faith in the Kings this time around, Lauren?"

"It's not that. The Kings have had their best season in years so far. They've played sixteen games so far and have only lost two. I think they have a better chance of losing this one than winning."

"Just because they're winning a lot more than they're losing doesn't mean they're going to lose this one, Lauren."

"I know that, Liam, but the Kings seem to be running out of steam. There's a little less than four minutes left in the game. If they don't score soon, I don't see them making it through overtime."

"I see what you mean, Lauren. Even with new head coach Gregory Natick, the body can only last so long."

"But I must admit, Liam, the Kings are doing some amazing things with their new head coach."

"You said it, Lauren. Over the past five weeks, we've seen the Kings do things they've never even done before and they've become a much tighter unit under the watchful eye of Coach Natick. Let's just hope that eye is enough to keep them focused for the last three minutes and forty-seven seconds."

"Puck is in the Maple Leaves' faceoff circle, White facing off against Hansen. The puck is dropped and the Maple Leaves take possession. Hansen passes the puck back to McDowell, who starts to take it up the ice. Hansen is blocking White as McDowell controls the puck and...and it looks like we've got a bit of a confrontation here, Liam."

"Sure does, Lauren. White and Hansen look to be exchanging a few heated words. This might...the gloves and helmets are off. This is about to go down. White swings wildly at Hansen, oh! A sharp right hook from Hansen to White's jaw! But White's standing strong and he grabs Hansen. Oh! That's going to hurt later, Lauren!"

"It sure is, Liam. That was a direct hit to Hansen's nose by White. The two are exchanging blows one after the other. Referees stop play and let the fight continue. Oh! White lost his helmet with that one! Both players fall to the ice and the refs rush in to break it up. Wow, White's still fighting!"

"That's going to be a five minute penalty for him, Lauren. Hansen will probably get two minutes for retaliating against White. Either way, this was not what the Kings needed right now."

"My words exactly, Liam. The referees escort both players to the bath and...wow, I would not want to be Tanner White later on."

"Why's that, Lauren?"

"I can feel the anger in Coach Natick's eyes right now."

"Oh, I just got a chill down my spine, Lauren. If there's one thing I wouldn't want, it's to be on the opposite end of Coach Natick's glare."

"Either way, Liam, the Kings are going to be a man down when Hansen's penalty is up. Then they'll have to survive another two minutes. Let's see if they can do it."

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My fist flies at my locker, causing a sharp snap to echo throughout the locker room. "It is just one game, priyatel," Vladimir says, using another Russian word for friend.

"Yeah, Tanner," Gunnar says, giving my shoulder a pat. "We still have another sixty-five games left in the season. And we've only lost a few times. No team is perfect."

We should have been had I just kept my temper in check. We should've won that game. But I had to fucking lose it for all of us. Watching the Maple Leaves score that goal in the last minute was horrible. We tried everything we could to score the tying goal, but we didn't have enough time to get it in.

The mood for all of us has been pretty somber, even with Greg, who I haven't seen since the game ended. God, my face is killing me. I forgot Hansen could throw such a good punch. The bloody nose and split lip is evidence of that, but I think I managed to get a few good punches in here and there.

But in the end, the fight wasn't worth it. I close the locker and start to slip my suit on, careful around my face. As I'm changing, I hear someone enter the locker room and I see Greg standing near the exit, looking as stoic as usual. "You all played well," he says.

That comes as a surprise to me and the team. "But they played even better than you did tonight." And there's the Coach Natick we all know. Praise with an underlying bit of bite. "You both were evenly matched in terms of strength and skill, but stamina was the final key to the Maple Leaves being able to come out on top.

"You all had the drive to keep going, but that drive wasn't enough tonight. Finish getting dressed. Our flight back to Los Angeles leaves in a few hours."

Everyone resumes putting their suits on, but I notice Greg giving me a look and it makes my stomach fall a bit. He turns and walks out of the locker room while I go back to changing. As I tie my tie, a text message comes on my phone. I pull it out of my pocket and see Greg's name on the screen.

'We need to talk. But not until we're on the plane home. You're sitting next to me.'

I sigh at the message and slide my phone back into my pocket. If there's one thing I don't want right now, it's to have a conversation with my coach. And if there's one thing I really don't want right now, it's to have a conversation with the man I've been secretly dating for the last five weeks.

After getting dressed, the team and I head for the airport, where we're on a plane and up in the air about three hours later. I find myself staring out the window at the dark sky, reflecting on tonight's game and what I could've done better. As I stare out at the clouds flying underneath, I feel a tap on my shoulder.

Looking over, I find Greg looking over at me, his phone in his hand with the screen facing me. I look at the screen and see a note.

'We need to talk about tonight's game.'

Holding back a sigh, I take the phone and quickly type my reply before handing the hone back to Greg.

'What's there to talk about? We lost. We just need to win the next one.'

Greg types quickly over the screen and hands it back to me.

'There's more to it than that. We could've won and you know that, Tanner.'

'How? We were all dead tired and even if we wanted to keep going, we couldn't.'

'We could've won had you not gotten yourself thrown into the penalty box with less than four minutes left in the game.'

The words hurt me and anger starts to build inside of me.

'Hansen was pissing me off, so I slugged him to shut him up.'

Greg rubs the bridge of his nose between his thumb and finger before typing a new message.

'That's not the point, Tanner.'

'Then what is the point?'

'The point is that you need to learn to control your anger on the ice. Had you not thrown that punch, you wouldn't have gotten the fighting penalty and we could've won tonight. That may sound harsh, but it's the truth.'

I stare at the message for several moments, contemplating the words as they sit before me. Greg takes the phone back before I can even type a response.

'Face it, Tanner. We need to work on your anger. I know that ever since you started playing with the Kings, you've gotten into one hundred and twenty one fights. That's insane for a professional hockey player, and it needs to change.'

I take the phone back and type my response in anger.

'Greg, fighting is a guaranteed part of hockey! It's what some fans even want to see when they come to a game!'

'But that doesn't mean you need to give them a fight. Fights only bring bad outcomes, like tonight. You were thrown into the box when we didn't have much time left in the game because of you fighting Hansen. Had you not gotten into that fight, we could've won.'

'Hansen was giving me shit.'

'That's no excuse for it, Tanner. Hockey players are vicious on the ice, whether or not they're your friends. You can't let what they say get to you.'

Looking up from the phone, I look around the general area of the plane. Most of the team has fallen asleep and the ones that are awake are engrossed in their phones and laptops with music playing in their ears. The only ones not like that are me and Greg. "It's hard to not let them get to me," I quietly say to Greg.

Greg moves a little closer to me, resting on my armrest. "Do you know why that is?"

I shake my head a bit. "It's been like that ever since I was younger. I mean I'm not the most violent person in the world and I get mad from time to time like every other person. But when I'm on the ice, there's nothing but anger."

"Have you ever tried to talk to someone about it? Like a therapist? The team offers them to players who feel they need it."

"No, because I thought it was a normal thing to get into so many fights. Do you think I should?"

"I think it would be in the best interest of the team, Tanner. We can't have you getting thrown into the box every game because you cause a fight. You're the captain of the Kings. If you can stop getting into so many fights, the rest of the team will follow your example and be more careful about fighting as well."

"So...so you're saying I shouldn't get into fights anymore?"

"I didn't say that. Like you said, fighting is a part of hockey. I'm not telling you to stop getting into fights, some of which can't be avoided, but to stop getting into so many of them. If you do that, we can become an even stronger team."

Greg glances around before softly placing his hand on top of mine, quickly bringing heat to it. "And I don't want you to be so angry all the time. We've been...together for the last five weeks, Tanner. And while I've really enjoyed the time we've been together, I can still feel you holding back from being the boyfriend I know you can be.

"So don't just do this for the team. Do it for me."

Greg's pleading eyes stab right through me. Sighing to myself, I turn back to him. "Okay. Okay, I'll go and talk to one of the team therapists."

Greg's lips slowly part and reveal his perfect smile. "Thank you, Tanner. But I'm going to recommend a different therapist instead of the ones the team uses. And trust me. He's amazing at what he does. I can set up an appointment with him tomorrow and you can see him tomorrow afternoon."

"Okay. Thanks, Greg." I look around the plane and see everyone is in much the same state as before. "Um...do you think anyone would mind if I...I don't know, rested my head on your shoulder?"

Greg smiles again and shrugs his right shoulder. I slowly lean down and lay my head down on the awaiting shoulder, letting out a deep breath. Taking a few seconds to close my eyes, I reopen them to find a phone screen in front of my face.

'If someone asks, I'll say you got a few too many travel sized vodka bottles and passed out on me.'

I smile at the screen and quickly type my response.

'I wouldn't expect anything less.'

Greg takes the phone away and slides it back into his pocket before looking back the papers on the tray table in front of him. I slowly close my eyes and listen as the roar of the turbine outside my window. But the quiet, easy breathing coming from Greg quickly lulls me to sleep.

----------------

The next day, a day off from practice, I'm heading to the therapist Greg recommended. Greg didn't give me one bit of information on the guy except what his address was. For all I know, this guy could be a serial rapist that likes to skin people for fun. But Greg wouldn't send me to someone like that...would he?

Shaking my head out, I turn down the last street and find the address in question, but this looks like the last place any therapist would be working out of. It's a very large metal warehouse, but it doesn't look old and decrepit in any way. In fact, this place looks to be in incredible condition.

Finding a parking spot, I get out and see there are very few cars here. I lock my car and walk for the front door. When I walk in, my hands shoot for my ears from the amount of noise in here. The sounds scraping metal, mechanical equipment at work, and lots of shouting fills the large warehouse.

Walking in a bit more, I find that the warehouse is filled with various parts and equipment and that there are several dozen guys at work, welding, screwing, and building what appear to be some kinds of vehicles (I can't tell what half this stuff is). "Holy shit!"

I look over and find one of the workers looking directly at me, mouth hanging open through a thick beard. And unfortunately, he yelled loud enough for everyone in the warehouse to hear. "Tanner White!" another worker shouts.

"THE Tanner White!"

Everyone drops what they're doing and rushes over to me, surrounding me and keeping me from moving. Every single one of them looks to be talking a mile a minute and they're in all shapes and sizes, from large, portly guys with big beards, to thin guys with not a single hair on them, muscled guys, guys covered in tattoos with several piercings, and even a guy with elf ears and full eye contacts to make them look completely black with white irises (cool and creepy at the same time).

As I'm surrounded, a voice yells out. "I pay you all to work on motorcycles! Not flaunt over a famous hockey player!"

The voice sounds familiar. The sea of men parts and standing behind them is a man I've only seen once before, but he looks no less perfect than the day I saw him. He's even making a white t-shirt and jeans look like a fashion statement. And with the jet-black hair and few piercings in his ears, it's like he's a bad boy angel that fell out of the sky.

He steps over and looks up at me. "Hey, Tanner. Glad you came by. Gregory wasn't sure you were going to."

"Leo, you're my therapist?"

Leo smiles up at me. "Sure am. Gregory asked for my help and I owed him a favor. Plus I kind of want to know you a little better. Josh told me some about you, but I want to see who Tanner White really is."

He turns and faces all the workers. "All of you back to work! We have six bikes left to finish and just six more hours left in the day! I'm going to be in my office for a bit and I'd like no interruptions! Understood?"

"Yes, boss!" the workers all shout at once.

"And that's why I love all of you," Leo says with a grin.

"We love you too, boss!" someone in the crowd shouts. "And I mean that in a not gay way!"

The group of guys laughs and Leo joins in with them. They calm down after a minute and head back to their bikes, leaving me and Leo. "Follow me," he says. "We can talk in my office."

Leo turns and heads for the side of the warehouse. We approach a door and walk in. While I expected a pretty run down office, it's actually in just as great shape as the rest of the warehouse. The walls are lined with two large bookshelves, filled to the brim with books on motorcycles, and a very nice wooden desk sits in front of a very large window.

As I look around the room, I find a few pictures on Leo's desk. Curiosity taking me over, I walk over to the pictures and look down at them. On one of them, I see Leo and Josh, both of them wearing very nice suits, Josh in black, Leo in dark grey, and bright smiles on their faces. I see they're standing in front of a very large stone wall with a fireplace and a man in black standing behind them.

As I stare at the picture, I feel a body step up next to me. "I'll never forget that day as long as I live."

I look down and find Leo standing next to me, smiling softly at the picture. "Um...what is it?" I ask.

Leo reaches for the picture and lifts it up. "This picture was taken six years ago on July 18th, 2017, when I finally married the love of my life."

This was from Josh and Leo's wedding. I look even closer at the picture and see two bright rings on Josh and Leo's interlocked fingers and unshed tears in their eyes. "You two look really happy together," I say.

Leo sets the picture back down, but doesn't take his eyes off of it. "It was the one of the happiest days of our lives. This other picture is another of our happiest days."

He picks up the other picture and I see Josh and Leo standing in the picture, in casual clothing this time, but both of their hand are full. In Josh's arms, I see a small pink bundle, while I see a small blue bundle in Leo's. In both of the bundles, I see two very small faces, both of them filed with peacefulness.

Seeing the picture warms me to my core. "When was that from?" I ask.

"This was taken on February 16th, 2019, the day Aiden and Jade Rusden-Trigon were born," Leo says, his eyes shinier than a minute ago.

So this is a same-sex couple and their family. Hard to believe a few months ago, something like this would have either annoyed me or pissed me off. Now, I feel an unsettling urge to have a similar picture to this one, with Greg next to me.

Leo pulls away from the picture and sets it down on his desk before wiping his eyes. He steps behind the desk and grabs the chair and brings it around to the front, placing it near the other chair. "You want something to drink?" he asks.

"Uh...no, I'm good thanks."

He walks over to the small fridge in the corner of the room and grabs two bottles of water before returning to his seat. "There's a bottle of water here if you need it."

"Thanks..."

Leo sits on in the chair and snaps open the bottle of water, taking a few sips and setting it down. He and I sit in silence for several minutes, Leo nursing his water while I try to figure out what the hell is going on. I find Leo staring intently at me, his dark blue eyes both captivating me and making me want to look anywhere else but at him.

After what feels like an hour I finally decide to break the silence. "Um...are we doing anything or...?"

"Done."

The single word confuses me even more than I already am. "Uh...what?" I say.

"You're a tough nut to crack, but I finally understand you a little more, Tanner."

Did this guy just lose it or something? "Uh..." is all I can get out.

Leo suddenly laughs to himself. "Based on your reaction, I'm guessing Gregory didn't tell you about my methods?"

"Methods?"

"I'm pretty good at reading people and am able to know who they are just by looking at them for a bit. I knew that Gregory sent me a tough case when he told me he was sending you here to talk to me instead of a conventional therapist, but at least he knows his boyfriend is in good hands."

I feel all the blood in my body turn to solid ice. How in the fuck does he know that I'm secretly dating Greg?! I try to laugh off the statement. "Aw, come on. I would never date..."

"Don't try to lie to me, Tanner. I know about you and Gregory. There's no need to hide it."

My fake smile falls within a few seconds. I look down at my hands in my lap in shame. "H-How did you know?" I barely whisper.

"If you're wondering if Gregory told me, he didn't tell me a thing. He just said that you needed a bit of therapy for some issues. I knew you two were dating the second I set my eyes on you." My head snaps up and I meet Leo's grinning face. "Yeah, I'm that good. But don't worry. I'm not the kind of guy to out a gay couple, even if one of them is already out himself."

I don't feel any less relaxed knowing that Leo knows I'm dating Greg and that he'll stay quiet about it. "Seriously, Tanner. Your secret is safe with me. Only the biggest asshole would out someone."

Leo reaches behind him to his desk and produces a pad of paper and a pen. "Now, I think we have a few things we need to talk about. More specifically, the thing that happened to you in your past."

My body freezes for the second time in the last two minutes. He can't possibly mean what happened in high school, can he? "Tanner, I can tell there's a lot of pain behind your eyes, as cheesy as it sounds. You're harboring something that's been eating away at you for years."

I can't bear to look at the man in front of me, so I choose to look at my lap. "Did...Josh tell you how I used to bully Greg back in high school?" I quietly ask.

"He mentioned it to me, but he asked that we not go into it too much."

My teeth bite down hard on my tongue and after a few seconds, the secret I've been keeping for the last ten years slips out of me. "I almost killed Greg in our senior year of high school..."

The room is completely silent as I clench my eyes and dig my nails into my jeans. "Okay."

My eyes slowly open and I look at Leo, whose expression hasn't changed from what it was a minute ago. "Y-You heard what I said right?" I ask.

"I did."

"A-And all you have to say is...okay?"

"Um...do you want me to say something besides okay?"

"Yeah!" I quickly quiet my voice. "Leo, I almost killed someone when I was in high school! The guy I'm dating!"

"Yeah, Gregory mentioned what happened to him to me, Josh, and a few of our friends after he transferred to Stanford a few years back. He didn't mention that you were the one that caused that podium to explode. And what's the big deal?"

I'm left in stunned silence. How can he take this so lightly? "Tanner, we all have skeletons in the closet that some of us don't like to talk about," Leo continues. "Hell, I used to be terrified to tell people what happened to me when I was younger."

Leo's face sudden fills with a bit of sadness and pain. "Um...can I...?" I start to ask.

"I was raped when I was 17 years old by my ex boyfriend."

I can't even respond to that. Hell, how can anyone respond to someone telling you that? I watch as Leo wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. "I'm sorry to hear that," I stupidly say. "I can only imagine what you went through when it happened."

Leo nods a bit. "It scarred me for life, but the scar is much smaller than it used to be and I have Josh to thank for that. But we're not here to talk about what happened to me, we're here to discuss you, Tanner. I can tell Gregory thinks incredibly highly of you and cares for you even more than any other person he knows.

"But I can also tell when Gregory called me that he was incredibly concerned about you and I knew something was up. If I had to guess correctly, I'd say it has to do with your reputation as a fighter more than a hockey player."

God, how does he do that?! My hands tighten into fists to try and keep my emotions in check. "Judging by your body language, I'd say I hit the nail on the head," Leo says, writing on the pad of paper. He looks back at me a few moments later. "Would you like to talk about why you're so angry when you're on the ice?"

"How do you know it's just when I'm on the ice?"

"Because I just know you're not a violent person in every day life. And I would advise you not ask how I know something about you. Because I just know." A chill goes down my spine. "Now, would you like to try and explain why it is you get so angry when you're on the ice?"

I slump into my seat and gaze at Leo's boots. "I...I really don't know. I never understood why it is I get so...furious whenever I'm on the ice. When I'm off the ice, I'm just myself. When I'm on the ice, everything just goes...red."

Leo stares at me for a second before taking a note on his pad of paper. "Do you know when this first started?" he asks me. "Like was there a time when you didn't get angry on the ice?"

I dig through my memories for a minute, thinking through the years from when I first started hockey. "If I had to guess, I'd say it was...my first year of middle school."

"So to put that into perspective, the time when you entered puberty."

"Right. I just remember...stepping onto the ice for a game and wanting to beat the living crap out of anyone that stood in my way of the goal. That game was the first time I got a five minute penalty for fighting. The other kid came out of it with a broken nose."

Leo nods and goes to his pad of paper for a minute. "This kid...did he do anything to provoke you to fight? Like insult you or anything like that?"

Going back to that game, I think about the time before I punched the kid. After a few moments, a single word pops into my head. "Faggot..." I barely whisper.

Leo raises an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"

"The kid...he called me a faggot before I punched him."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Absolutely. It was the first time anyone had ever called me by the word and I never forgot it."

Leo takes one more note and sets his pad of paper on his desk. He leans forward in his seat and rests his elbows on his knees. "Tanner, Gregory also told me about this...philosophy you used to have in high school." I inwardly groan. "He told me you've had it your whole life, but after that game, did anything about it change?"

What the hell is he talking...? All of a sudden, the pieces slowly start to come together. After that game...I rethought my philosophy to become more...extreme. "Holy shit..." I quietly say. "That was when I...I started to see gay people as being weak..."

"Because the kid in that hockey game called you a faggot and you started to think gay people were weak and you wanted to show that kid you weren't weak in any way."

I sit back up in my seat and run my hands over my face, realization starting to fall on me. "But...but what does it all mean?" I ask Leo.

"If I had to assume, I would say your fighting is your own unconscious way of showing people that you aren't weak, that you are the exact opposite of the gay stereotype." Leo cracks his knuckles and stares back at me. "Tanner, tell me when you first started to find yourself attracted to Gregory."

My face flushes in a harsh crimson. "W-Why do you want to know that?"

"It's to help me get a better understanding of you."

"But I thought you already knew..."

"Just answer the damn question, Tanner."

I roll my eyes. "Um...I guess it was when I saw Greg for the first time back in August after not seeing him for ten years. He just looked...so fucking good, that I couldn't take my eyes off of him."

I see the corner of Leo's mouth smirk up, but I can tell it's not in a condescending way. He grabs his pad of paper and writes down another note. "So you finally found yourself attracted to another guy three months ago," Leo says.

"Yeah."

"Were there any instances of you finding yourself looking at another guy in any sort of was before then? Admiration, jealousy, something?"

The question confuses me. "Uh..."

"I'm just asking if there were times before you saw Gregory again you looked at a man in a different sort of light."

I'm about to flat out answer no, but my voice dies short. I think about my philosophy and how I always thought the male body should be a pinnacle of perfection. When did that start? High school? No, before that. Definitely around early middle school or even late elementary school.

Around that time, whenever I changed in the locker room or was at the pool during the summer, I found myself looking at the boys around me, looking at their bodies and seeing if they fit into my philosophy. "Um...yeah," I tell Leo. "There were a lot of times I looked at other guys. Greg told you about how I used to think a male body should be as close to perfect as possible?"

"He mentioned it."

"Well, that started around when I entered middle school and stayed with me ever since. I looked at other guys to see if their bodies fit my ideal, in the locker room, the shower, the pool, on the ice, everywhere."

Leo quickly writes down another note. "Did you do the same for girls?" he asks.

"Why would I do girls? They didn't exactly fit into my philosophy, so I didn't look at them very much."

Leo nods again and writes down another note. "So let's recap," he says. "Back in middle school, you started to adjust your philosophy and you found yourself looking at other guys to see if they fit the ideal you had in your head."

"Right."

"Also during middle school, you got into your first fight on the ice after a guy called you a faggot and you retaliated. You fought back because you didn't want to seem weak."

"Yeah."

"You adjusted your philosophy again to say that gay people were weak, and you didn't want to seem weak to anyone, so you changed, correct?"

"Yeah, I started going to the gym a lot and put on a lot of muscle. It stayed with me through high school."

"And until now."

"Yeah."

Leo stares intently at me for a minute before sighing deeply. "Tanner, don't take this the wrong way, but I think I may have found the source of your anger."

I breathe a sigh of relief. "Okay, so what is it?"

Leo seems to take a second to collect his thoughts. "I'm 100% sure that you started fighting on the ice to show people you weren't weak, to show people that you didn't fit a stereotype, to show people that a gay guy could be strong."

My body freezes at the news. "W-What...?" I say.

"Think about it Tanner. You started looking at other boys around middle school. Also during middle school, you started to get angry on the ice and fought to show your strength, when you and a lot of other kids thought gay people were weak. You fought and fight to show people you weren't and aren't weak, to show people you weren't and aren't a stereotype."

The news comes crashing down on me like a barrel of bricks. "S-So...so you're saying..."

"Tanner, I think you've always been gay and you fighting was your way of showing people that you weren't like other gay guys."

Just hearing the words makes me cold to the core. I fought...to show people I wasn't like any other gay guys? That I wasn't like the feminine gay stereotype? When I expect my spirits to be crushed, I feel like there's...a sudden weight being lifted off of me. I expect to feel destroyed, but I feel my body starting to shake a bit.

After a few seconds, my body falls back into my chair and I feel hard laughter escaping my lungs. This wasn't what I thought would happen at all, but I can't get the laughing to stop no matter how hard I try. I can only imagine what Leo must be thinking right now, that I'm some crazy gay hockey player with pucks on the brain.

Minutes go by and my laughter starts to ease. I take my hand and wipe my eye and find Leo grinning at me. "It's a pretty good feeling, isn't it?" he asks.

"What do you mean?" I ask, still laughing a bit.

"Coming to terms with the fact that you're gay." The last bit of my laughter fades away. "It was the same for me when I found out I liked guys. I laughed for nearly an hour because I was so fucking happy that I didn't need to lie to myself anymore. It really is a good feeling, isn't it?"

My hand presses against my chest and I can feel my heart racing, but I also feel an incredible warmth sitting there. "Yeah," I quietly say. "Yeah, it really is."

Leo smiles and sets his pad of paper and pen aside. "I say that just about wraps everything up," he says. "Just remember one thing, Tanner: you don't need to fight to show people you're a strong person. You're one of the best hockey players in the NHL and no one can deny that, even if you are gay."

The words come out of my mouth before I can even stop them. "There's no 'if.' I am gay, and...and I'm proud to be gay..."

The warmth in my chest starts to burn red hot, and I love the feeling it gives me. Leo grins and rises out of his chair and I do the same. "You've got a long road ahead of you, Tanner," Leo says, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his cell phone. "But just remember you have people in your corner to back you up.

"I'm going to give you me and Josh's number. You can call or text either of us whenever you like. But expect a bit of delay on weekends. Aiden and Jade like to take up our time on those days."

I nod and pull out my cell phone, typing in Josh and Leo's contacts. I slide my phone back into my pocket and look back at Leo. "Um...thanks a lot for this, Leo. I know you and I don't know each other very well, but if it's okay with you, I'd like to get to know you and Josh a bit more."

Leo smiles and gives my shoulder a pat. "We'd like that too, Tanner. We can invite you and Gregory over for dinner one night. Josh makes a mean steak."

I hear two rumbles in the room and I watch as Leo rests his hand on his stomach while I do the same. The two of us laugh a bit at the gesture. "I'll look forward to that steak."

----------------

"Oh! And a hard check on Abramov by Silliman! In case you're just tuning in, we're about halfway through the second period of this fantastic game between the L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks, the score 2-0 in the Kings' favor."

"The Kings seemed to have recovered from their loss with the Maple Leaves and are back with a vengeance. Let's just hope they can keep this through another period and a half of game time."

"That's right, Lauren. We've seen over the past few weeks that the Kings need a bit more work on stamina. They seem exhausted when the enter the last few minutes of the game and that's a huge disadvantage for them."

"Well, Liam, it looks like they've still lot a lot of fight in them. Abramov's back on his feet after that check and he looks like he wants a bit of revenge for that check. Silliman passes to Conger and, oh! White intercepts the pass and he's on a breakaway! The defense scrambles to catch up to White, but he's too fast!

"White shoots past the center line and into Ducks territory! Frederman eases back into the goal in anticipation of White, but White isn't stopping! He's in the attacking zone! White brings his stick back and...he stops the puck! White's stopped the puck on a dime and Lindberg blazes in, stick raised!

"Lindberg takes a shot...! Score! A goal from Lindberg with an assist from White! Liam, this game is entirely in the Kings' favor!"

"You said it, Lauren. That was a beautiful play from White! Tricking Frederman to believe White was going to take the shot and saving it for Lindberg was absolute perfection. And...oh, it looks like we have a situation down on the ice."

"Alan, what's going on down there?"

"Well, guys, it looks like Silliman isn't too happy with White for blocking that pass and he seems to want a bit of revenge. He's skating to White and...yes, the gloves are off and the stick is gone. There's going to be some blood on the ice. White sees Silliman and Silliman winds up for a punch.

"Refs are already moving in and Silliman swings and...White he...he blocks the punch with his glove and is holding Silliman's fist tight in his glove! White's not fighting!"

"Tanner White not fighting?"

"That's what I said, Liam. Tanner White, the hotheaded hockey player, is resisting a fight! Refs swoop in two break up the fight and escort Silliman to the box while White returns to the bench. I say, guys, this is probably a first for me."

"Us too, Alan. Tanner White has never backed down from a fight as long as he's been in the NHL."

"I don't think he backed down, Liam. I think he decided to be the bigger man in the situation. It seems he didn't want to risk his team losing another match, so he didn't fight Silliman. I have to say that I think Tanner White is turning over a new leaf, and it's a very good one."

----------------

I plop down on the team bench and grab my water, squirting it through my helmet and into my mouth. I watch as the refs take Silliman to the box, the crowd cheering them on. I have to say, that was the first time I didn't fight someone that wanted to start something with me. And stopping that fight before it even started felt pretty damn good.

My teammates give me a few pats on the shoulder and back for what I did, but I feel one gloves hand linger for just a moment longer. "I'm proud of you, Tanner," Greg whispers.

It's just for a second, but I allow a small smile to appear on my face.

 

RichardAdams

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