An EXCERPT from ICE FAIRY by S. L. Danielson
So many people thought that they were an item, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were the best of pals, on and off the ice, but that was all. Sam’s heart lay along a different destiny, one which his parents did not know about, nor his coach. It was hell not being able to tell them he was gay; not even in a sport where a few of the other boys were as well, but he dared not speak about it. He’d found solace in Amber being the only one to know, and it was enough for him. At least for now. A gentle whack was felt on his arm and he turned to see Amber grinning at him. “Buy you a soda if you want. I don’t have an apple for the teacher.”
He rolled his eyes. “Oh, no thanks. I’m good. I’ve got my water bottle over there. Too much soda will keep me up too late and give me cavities. Can’t have that.”
“Oh, heavens no,” she agreed and after a quick push-off on her blade, she was gone.
Sam let out a deep sigh. It’d been quite the January afternoon with Amber there. Just the two of them… and the few dozen other skaters who fought their way around the oval like they were on a cold treadmill. The oval was never enough for him; he had to do more.
A sudden wave of boisterous voices broke his silent reverie as he nearly slipped from the prep for a scratch spin. Oh shit, he thought as he saw what they were wearing. It was the hockey players… what he called the ‘demons’ of the ice. They left ruts so deep he’d requested the Zamboni nearly scrap the surface down to the base. He dug his toe pick in, fists balled, and snatched his water bottle from the top of the wall before the rude, crude boys could make their way over to it and knock it over, or maybe spit in it.
You won’t touch my bottle, oh hell no. Why did they have to share the ice with these assholes? Why couldn’t they have an entire rink devoted the athleticism and beauty of figure skating and not the boorish, blood sport show that hockey was. What was the whole point of it anyway? To see how many fist fights one could get into in a single game? Sam shuddered at the thought. He’d seen these games in action and the teeth flying out of their mouths. No thanks.
As the boys passed by, a few called out to him as he stood by the wall and drank his water; he retreated the closer they came. “Takin’ a break, Sammy boy? I’m sure that’s such hard work, huh?” One of the boys started harassing Sam. He looked over his shoulder at his chuckling brethren.
Sam didn’t respond but continued drinking. He wished they’d just go away and leave him alone.
“Hey, where’s your hottie, Sammy?” another asked, obviously referring to Amber. He wanted to reply, but why give them what they wanted by responding?
After most of the line passed, carrying their enormous overstuffed bags and spitting randomly into the seating area, Sam glanced up and saw someone he kinda knew, unfortunately. It was that big kid, Brett Z…something. He could never remember last names of the people who got on his nerves. His parents had worked with him to remember names, but he still had a tough time with it. Like now.
As the tall, built blond passed by, Sam caught his eye briefly – that was a mistake. Brett stiffened and shot him a look back. “What the fuck are you lookin’ at, ice fairy boy? You just go about your little twirls and shit. This is a man’s sport.” He held up his bag and slapped it, fairly snarling like a grizzly bear afterwards.
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