I'm a girl who plays boys hockey, and have been trying for years to find a book that deals with...
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The first time I met Chelsea Delfina she was standing in front of a room full of high school boys in a bikini. I’d gone to school three years under her our entire lives, and the girl was nothing short of a legend. In fact, I’d be lying if I said that when I chose to play hockey three years before I met her, she wasn’t a partial influence. But none of the stories prepared me for the experience that was Chelsea in person. I walked into the living room my new team was packed into, trying not to look shocked when a kid I didn’t recognize moved one of the pillows off the couch to make room for me. I sat down silently, pulling my legs up onto the couch. From what I’d gathered, a lot of the kids had just gotten back from a week at the lake, and they were now carefully examining Chelsea Delfina’s ass. “So let me get this straight,” a tall skinny kid said from the corner, leaning forward around three or four other guys to address Chelsea, “Eric bruised your ass?” She rolled her eyes, acting not even remotely entertained by his attempt at humor. “He was driving the boat, Debra. And you’re not funny.” “I can’t even see what we’re looking at,” the kid sitting beside me offered, a mischievous smile spreading across his face. Another senior, whom I recognized from his bright orange hair and other distinguishing ginger characteristics as being known only as Red, leaned forward from a few kids down to shoot my neighbor a smile and said, “I’m surprised you didn’t say, ‘Bend over, I’ll show you ass bruises.’” The kid beside me laughed, letting out some noise between a seal bark and a high pitched squeal before responding, “I save those jokes for you, hot stuff.” Chelsea scoffed at all of them, rolling her eyes and setting her hands on her hips. Then, without any warning, she turned around and hiked up her bikini bottom, exposing not just two nasty looking bruises, but most of her amply sized ass as well. Just as she did, a tall, tan, dark haired and ridiculously attractive kid walked back into the living room, holding a can of Pepsi and wearing nothing but a pair of swim trunks. “Jesus Christ, Delfina, my parents are here.” “Chill, Borden, I’m just showing the boys here the damage left by our week at the lake. If you don’t want my semi-bare ass in your living room, maybe you shouldn’t cause me physical pain.” He leveled a playful gaze at her before shooting back, “Well your ass is old news, I’d just rather my father not hit me because you suck at tubing.” “You got those bruises tubing?” I asked, the words coming out before I even realized that I wasn’t part of this conversation at all. I expected an awkward silence to follow, during which these kids would try to figure out who I thought I was, speaking when not spoken to, but without missing a beat, Chelsea Delfina just looked at me and started talking. “I got the right one tubing. Eric Borden, king of the women beaters, almost killed me.” “For the last time,” Eric interjected, trying to defend himself, “it was an accident. And when did I become king of the women beaters, exactly?” “This summer when you knocked that girl’s helmet off,” Red told him, raising his eyebrows and shooting him a “you remember” look. Eric rolled his eyes, conceding defeat, something I’d see him do a lot in the coming months as far as Red and Delfina were concerned. “Alright, fine, but I never intentionally hurt Delfina. She got that second bruise her damn self.” “Banging McSan?” someone asked, eliciting laughter from the rest of the group. “Ha-Ha, you’re all so funny. It was an ill advised slip ‘n slide manufactured from a tarp and a shit ton of lake water and laundry soap. What are we sitting here talking about my bruises for, anyway, I thought we came in here to watch a movie?” Eric held up a DVD case between two fingers, flashing it at Chelsea, “That’s what I left to go get, super genius. Ladies and Gentleman, for your viewing pleasure, Miracle on Blu-Ray.” And then, almost magically, the entire room went silent, stopped screaming at each other, and settled in for two and a half hours of great hockey. When the movie was over, Chelsea yawned, stretching her arms over her head and reaching for her clothes on a nearby end table. “What’re you doing?” Red asked her, his voice accusatory and a little tense. She shot him an annoyed looked, shimmying back into her jean shorts, “Putting my clothes back on. Problem, Red?” “Are you leaving?” “Could I leave even if I wanted to? Delfina rule number five: team nights are all night.” “Damn straight,” he agreed, ignoring her when she rolled her eyes yet again at their ridiculousness. “Unless you’re Debra over there, who’s going home tonight to study,” the kid beside me smiled, pointing at the tall scrawny kid from before. The skinny kid held up his hands defensively, already defending against the screaming that was about to follow, “Sorry I have a future ahead of me. We can’t all waste as much intellect as Chelsea Delfina.” “Debra, f you,” she said, throwing it over her shoulder casually, like it was nothing. At that, Red turned around, an amused smile on his face as he reminded Chelsea, “Hey, we don’t use that kind of language on this team. Coach Tough Kid Dave says so.” “Coach Tough Kid Dave can suck a d,” she shot back. “We all also can’t suck as much d as Chelsea Delfina,” Debra contributed, and I took a breath, bracing for the World War III- sized attack I was sure was coming. Chelsea, though, didn’t even flinch, just smiled and rolled her eyes at him. I’d hung out with some of them before, and I’d been practicing with the team for a few weeks, but she was new to me. There’d been a lot of talk about her, but she’d been on vacation for most of the month of August, when I joined this team full of hooligans. That night at Eric’s, though, she lived up to most of their talk: intelligent, insanely funny, and shockingly beautiful. A few hours later, when everyone was settling down in front of the TV again in the massive living room, she walked out, returning a few minutes later with an armful of pillows and blankets. She threw them methodically to the boys strewn all over the room, before draping herself over Red and Eric, dramatically throwing herself onto them. “Dibs couch.” Red, whose short fuse I was already starting to notice, started protesting immediately. “Bullshit, Delfina,” he snapped, “You can’t call a couch Eric and I are already sitting on.” “Um, weird, because I just did,” she shot back, smiling brightly at his annoyed expression. It was the first of many fights between the two of them. They never ended in any hard feelings, and yet they went on forever, sometimes lasting days or even entire weeks at a time. That first night, the compromise, brokered by Eric, as it always was, was to share the couch, a plan everyone whispered would go south very quickly. Which was easy to predict, as 6’ 4’’ Red didn’t leave much space for Chelsea’s 5’ 11’’ frame on Eric’s short couch. And, sure enough, the silence of fifteen teenagers trying to sleep kept being broken by such gems as, “Fuck you, Red, get your disgusting feet away from me,” “Hey whore, could you please stop trying to rape me?” and my personal favorite, “Seriously, why is some part of your body continuously touching my dick?” “Enough!” Eric yelled after that one, standing up from where he was laying next to the kid they called Debra. He walked over to them calmly, grabbing Chelsea’s blanket and rolling her easily off the couch. Just as she was screaming, “Ow, asshole,” he grabbed Red by both ankles, dragging him off the couch and onto the floor beside Chelsea. Then, with a satisfied smirk on his face, he stretched out on the couch himself, fluffing the pillow behind his head. Chelsea threw a pillow at him, hitting him square in the face before saying, “What the f were you thinking?” “That you’re obnoxious, he’s whiny, and I want to sleep.” “Not what I meant. Retard over there has two bad knees, you can’t just grab him up by his pale skinny ankles,” she said, nodding over to Red, who was sprawled out dramatically on the floor, taking up too much space, with his elbow in the “bend over, I’ll show you” kid’s ribs. Eric just rolled his eyes, muttering, “Delfina, go to sleep,” before rolling over and falling asleep himself. It was nothing really, a simple exchange and explosion between friends, but I sat up that night thinking about them and their team dynamics. And for the first time in my entire life, I understood what it was like to be surrounded by a group of people who lived for something more than your average high school bullshit.