12. the yoga incident.

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Starved for air, I skated off to the side to grab a drink of water

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Starved for air, I skated off to the side to grab a drink of water. Thirst wasn't my real problem; sheer exhaustion was. My legs were about as steady as a baby fawn learning how to walk.

Practice this afternoon had been gruelling. Coach Jackson was ornery at the best of times, but he seemed displeased with us today for some unknown reason. I wasn't sure why, since we won our last game. Nonetheless, he had kicked our asses. Thoroughly.

I hopped back on the ice as my shift started again. Luca passed the puck to me and I thought I saw an opening to the right. Pivoting, I accelerated in hopes of getting a breakaway. Hunter appeared out of nowhere to cover me. I couldn't get rid of him on or off the ice, it seemed.

Under normal circumstances, I was faster than Hunter, but I was hitting a wall. I tried to cut left, but before I could, he crushed me into the boards— hard. Way harder than was necessary for a practice game. A bolt of irritation rushed through me.

What was he trying to prove?

"What the hell, man?" I called out to him as he skated away. Of course, he was too scared to stay and face me. I'd like to think that hockey was just hockey, but I was pretty sure that hit stemmed from jealousy over Ryan.

The game clock had almost run out, but I wasn't going to forget what he did the next time we found ourselves on opposite sides.

By the time I got out of my skates and changed, I could hardly walk. I was totally fried. I just wanted to go home and feel sorry for myself on the couch.

November had been unseasonably cold and the wind was bitingly cold again today. After limping home pathetically while freezing my limbs off, I opened the door and walked in to find Ryan practicing downward dog in the living room.

Instantly, my blood pressure doubled; I thought I might have a stroke at the ripe old age of 21. And I definitely wasn't cold anymore.

She was wearing tight navy yoga crops and a bright purple sports bra that left her flat stomach exposed. Her perky ass was up in the air.

God help me, I wanted to grab it. I seriously considered grabbing it.

I was wearing sweatpants that didn't hide much, so I went into the kitchen to get a cold drink and started mentally reciting the statistics for my favorite NHL players. Games played, goals, assists, points.

It wasn't working. My brain wasn't operating at full capacity due to insufficient blood supply.

All of my thoughts just kept sliding back to Ryan. Ryan's body... only fifteen feet away in my living room.

No. Get it together, I told myself. She's just someone you share a place with. Like one of the guys. Except hot. Really hot. Fuck.

"Hey," she called out, hanging upside down. "I'm practicing a new sequence for the class I'm teaching tonight. Want to join? I could use a guinea pig."

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