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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Drama · #2278876
the 11th chapter in this story
Mia stood out in the hallway right outside the locker room with Lukas, her hand wrapped in his big one. After what she’d seen at the hospital with Rocco, she was scared for Lukas to be out on the same ice as him.

Lukas, why didn’t you just ask to be a healthy scratch this game? Rocco is going to seriously injure you!

Tears threatened to spill down Mia’s cheeks as much as she tried to keep them at bay. She hoped Lukas saw how scared she was for him.

Her reaction was something Lukas had sort of expected. She still hadn’t told him what happened between her and Rocco, but her attitude towards him hadn’t changed. In fact, she seemed even more scared of Rocco than normal.

“Mia,” Lukas breathed, reaching up to cup her cheek in his hand, “I promise I’ll be fine. Zeke and Jax are going to be on the same line as me. I’m sure Rocco will focus on them.”

Mia chomped on her lower lip and didn’t bother hiding the trembles in her hand. Deep down, she just knew Rocco saw Lukas as competition.
Ever since Rocco had basically confessed to her that he was in love with her, her fear for herself and Lukas heightened. Rocco had to have been watching them at the restaurant. She knew he couldn’t have been blind to Lukas’s actions.

She didn’t dare tell Lukas about Rocco seeing him as competition, however. She figured Lukas didn’t need any more worries.

I’m just scared for you. I don’t want you getting hurt. I care about you, Lukas.

Lukas’s heart thumped at her words. She cared about him. Well, it wasn’t like he didn’t know that, but just seeing her say it made it all the more real.

“I know you do. Sweetheart, I’m a hockey player. Rocco doesn’t scare me.”

What Lukas really meant was “Rocco doesn’t scare me on the ice. His actions towards you off the ice make him scary.” He figured Mia didn’t need to be told that. She had enough fears of her own.

He swiped at the tears rolling down her cheeks and, for a single moment, his eyes stared at her lips. What would be better than giving her a gentle kiss on the lips to show how he truly felt about her?

Mia stepped closer to Lukas and reached up a hand to touch his face. She startled at some of the roughness and realized Lukas had a bit of a beard going. It was a good look on him.

Lukas slipped his hand underneath Mia’s arm and rested it in the middle of her spine. She was so close to him. She was so close, he could smell her perfume.

Mia’s heart thumped harder and harder against her chest as Lukas leaned in. Why hadn’t she done this before? Had she really been in that much denial about how she felt towards Lukas?

The next thing she knew, Lukas’s lips brushed against hers. It was a small movement, almost unsure, like he didn’t know how she’d take it.

More, Lukas, more.

Lukas pulled her to his chest and this time, gave her a proper kiss. He saw stars and the heavens opening and angels singing. His heart beat out a drum just like Mia’s was doing.

“Mia, I love you, baby girl.”

Mia smiled against his lips and shaped her hand to form the “I love you” sign.
Rocco pulled his helmet down over his head a little harder than he needed and spat on the floor of the bench. To anyone else, the heavy breathing just meant he was out of breath from his long shift, but Rocco knew the real truth. He was staring down one target and one target only.

Lukas had been a minor figure in the storyline between Rocco, Zeke, Katrina, Mia, and Jax. The only reason Lukas had any part to play at all in the past was because of his crush on Mia.

This game, however, wasn’t going to be about his rival with Zeke, it was about Lukas.

As mad as he was at Zeke for even telling Lukas this information in the first place, he was even more pissed at Lukas for using his sister and girlfriend against him. Was Lukas trying to make himself an enemy for Rocco?

Rocco had seen the entire interaction between Lukas and Mia in the hallway before the game. Declaring their love for each other and their first kiss. And it made Rocco sick to his stomach.

He knew that Mia could do whatever she wanted. Mia wasn’t his puppet, but he couldn’t help the jealousy that consumed him. Mia was the last connection to Darcy and Amber that he had. And in the fog of his four-year grief, he couldn’t separate Mia being his surrogate little sister and the thought of Mia being his girlfriend.

He looked back at the ice and growled at the sight of Lukas celebrating the goal he’d just scored. This kid could not be on the ice for much longer.

He ignored the nasty look Zeke shot his way and only focused on Lukas. The kid hadn’t even noticed the almost murderous look on his face. That would soon change.

When Lukas’s blue eyes locked on his, Rocco raised his finger and pointed it right at Lukas’s heart. He knew the kid couldn’t hear him from across the ice, but he knew Lukas could read his lips.

“You won’t be in the game much longer, kid.”

He laughed as Lukas turned his head away from him and laughed even harder when Zeke spat in his direction. Oh, this was going to be a fun shift.

A nudge on his arm indicated it was Rocco’s turn back on the ice. He climbed over the bench and zeroed in on Lukas as he lined up for the faceoff.

“Watch your back, little squirt.”

Lukas only shifted a little bit to his left and gritted his teeth. Rocco couldn’t get to him. He had to keep his promise to Mia that he wouldn’t let Rocco get into his head.

Zeke won the faceoff and Lukas quickly took control of the puck. He rounded the back of his net and started skating in the direction of the opposite goal. He spotted another teammate on the right-hand side and quickly passed the puck to him.

As he rounded the corner of the net so he could get in front of the goalie, he spotted Rocco charging at him. Rocco’s pupils were dilated, his nostrils flared, and his breathing was so heavy, Lukas could almost see smoke coming out of his mouth.

He skated out of the way right at the last second and bit back a laugh as Rocco slammed into his boards.

“Don’t look so much like an angry bull next time, Rocco. Might help you see your target a little bit clearer.”

He thought Rocco would simply come to battle him in front of the net, but as he watched, Rocco lowered his head and charged at Lukas once more.

Lukas’s eyes widened in shock as Rocco nailed him in the chest. He lost all of his breath, but the force of Rocco’s hit and the nearly 20 pounds he had on Lukas sent the young player flying across the ice. He crashed into the boards, glass shattering all around him, and blacked out.

Up in the suite directly above the bench, Mia slammed her water bottle hard onto the table and watched in horror as the glass shattered around Lukas’s body. The medical staff was already on the ice taking care of him.

“Mia,” Katrina whispered, a gentle hand wrapping around her wrist.

The eighteen-year-old looked at Katrina and gestured towards the door.

We have to get out there. I’m certain Lukas is being taken to the hospital.

Katrina was already gathering up their purses and quickly handed Mia her light blue coat. As shaken up as she was, her material instincts were kicking in.

“C’mon, honey. I’m sure Zeke already knows we’re following Lukas to the hospital.”

The two of them squeezed their way through the crowds and made their way to the exit doors. They stepped into the cold night, but Mia barely noticed the cold. She was already fiddling with her “stress-ball” which she kept in her coat pocket. She wasn’t even sure how she was still breathing. Was Lukas breathing? At least, on his own?

“I hope something happens to Rocco for that hit. I mean, that can’t be legal.”

Normally Mia would have replied in some way to Katrina’s factual statement, but she couldn’t. She stared out the window at the falling snow and reminded herself to keep breathing. In and out, deep breaths, just the way she’d been taught.

She’d warned Lukas about this exact thing before the game. She’d warned Lukas about Rocco coming after him. Living in a hockey family, she’d seen over the years what rivalries can do. How sometimes rivalries can make games look like wars. Zeke had gotten some pretty nasty injuries, especially with his hatred of Rocco over the years, but what she’d seen tonight took the cake.

Mia wrapped her fingers around her “stress-ball” and gave it an extra hard squeeze.

Kat….I don’t like the thoughts in my head right now.

Katrina brought her hand down to the left turn signal and glanced at Mia.

“Thinking the worst about Lukas already?”

Mia bit her lower lip and fiddled with her seatbelt.

I’m really worried about Lukas. That hit is going to be replaying in my head for a while. But there’s something else.

Katrina nearly pulled too far out of the parking lot as the ice under her wheels made it hard to turn, but she eventually straightened herself and parked her car in a spot a few feet from the hospital doors.

She turned to look at Mia and winced at the tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Mia, spill it out, honey.”

The way the glass shattered around Lukas and the way his body was crumpled on the ice just reminded me of when Darcy and Amber got into the accident. Their bodies were in the exact position as Lukas’s was. I’m sure Rocco didn’t intend for that to happen.

Katrina nearly choked on air and very quickly turned her head away from Mia so that her tears weren’t seen. A similar thought had entered her head when she saw the hit, but she’d pushed it aside to get Mia to the car. Now Mia had confirmed what she was thinking. But no, Rocco couldn’t have…

“Mia, I-I don’t think Rocco was trying to kill Lukas. Sure, he’s mad because of how Lukas treated him the other night, but I don’t think he wanted to kill him.”

Mia unbuckled her seatbelt and let out a shattered whimper.

No, not kill Lukas. I don’t think that was his intent. I hope. But seeing the glass shatter had to be punishing someone. I know Lukas, but who else is Rocco trying to punish?

Katrina gestured for Mia to get out of the car and took in a sharp breath of air. She shook her head as if scolding herself. Mia was simply distressed and worried about Lukas. That hit wasn’t a punishment. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder if Mia was telling the truth.

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