Bitty sets up a patreon with a low monthly goal to offset the cost of his baking supplies, offering rewards like early video access, Skype cooking lessons, and personalized recipes. At higher tiers Bitty will actually cook for you: $75 gets you an overnighted dessert, etc.
His normal viewers snatch up the rewards quickly, but it’s still not quite enough now that he’s baking for SMH and several Falconers.
Jack himself has been banned from pledging, but that doesn't stop him from telling his teammates about the site; wealthy, young, hungry teammates who promptly start trying to one up each other to get the ‘best’ rewards.
But the Falconers pledges are soon dwarfed by an anonymous donor who’s French and French-Canadian dessert rewards must be delivered by courier to an unknown destination. Since these requests seem to coincide with Jack’s home games, Bitty is sure the donor is actually his boyfriend and he plays along, dutifully handing off secret packages several times a month.
At least, Bitty thinks this is the case until a few months later when Alicia comes for a visit and asks that Eric please stop sending food because Bob’s been cheating on his diet using Eric as a middle-man.
“Bitty, my dude, this is pretty fucking bad,” Shitty counters. “Pretty sure that’s not supposed to happen when you win a Cup.”
“No, man, Cup’s revenge for that time he shit in it,” Snowy yawns.
“He is like little gremlin, how he become so handsome is mystery,” Tater is holding the baby, now, with its weird little bald head and huge blue eyes watching the room. Maybe. One eye is a little off. Or they’re both off.
“Zimboni come from Cup, now he return to cup,” the baby squeals delightedly as Tater holds him above the silver bowl and lowers him slowly until his feet touch the bottom.
“Zimboni come back,” Tater announces regally like he’s channeling some ancient ceremony. “Return, now!”
They all wait a few seconds. The baby spits up.
“Oh, no, sweet-pea look at your face,” Bitty takes a Falconers’ rally towel and dabs at the baby’s chin, cooing, “did you make a mess?”
“Please tell me someone is recording this,” Lardo chirps. “I need a video record.”
“Fuck, I’m trying but,” Holster flips his phone around and the screen is white. “Every time I try to take a picture of him it seizes up.”
“Cup magic, bro,” Snowy says sagely. “There’s a reason you can’t prove this shit.”
“Has anyone called Bob and Alicia?” Bitty asks, taking the baby from Tater and bouncing him on his hip gently. “I feel like they should be here.”
Shitty raises his hand.
“Like twenty minutes ago, they should be here any time.”
“Oh, look at my handsome man,” Bitty teases as the baby babbles happily, grabbing at Bitty’s shirt. “You’re so tiny I could just eat you up.”
“This is heartwarming and disturbing,” Shitty laments. “My sweet Jack is a baby.”
“Your sweet Jack is just a sweet baby,” Bitty corrects softly, making funny faces at the child. “A sweet baby with some kind of serious vision problem, bless his little heart.”
“I know, honey,” Bitty leans down and presses a kiss to the barely-there wisps of hair on the crown of the baby’s head. “You’re doing the best you can.”
A loud knock on the door startles them all and every eye turns to the baby, whose face twists up but stops just short of crying as Bitty resumes bouncing and whispering softly, jerking his head to the entryway so someone will answer.
Shitty gets there first and checks the peephole.
“Bitty, they’re here.”
“Well let ‘em in!” Bitty half-shouts, a sound the baby mimics with a happy screech.
“We came as fast as we could when you said Cup magic, we —“ Bob is barely in the door when he catches sight of Bitty and freezes, nearly tripping Alicia behind him.
“Pahhhhhhhh,” the baby gurgles reaching out from Bitty’s arms when he sees Bob.
“Crisse de Tabarnak,” Bob says, stunned, and the baby squeals when he hears him. “Jack.”
Bitty has never seen Bob move so quickly, leaping over the back of the couch and taking Jack gently from Bitty’s arms. The baby babbles excitedly and slaps at Bob’s cheeks while the Legend rambles in soft French and begins to tear up as Alicia rushes from behind.
Bitty catches ‘boy’, ‘little’, and ‘snow’ before he gives up trying to poorly translate. What he really gets out of it is Bob is very happy to see his child…as a child.
“I woke up and he was in the Cup,” Bitty explains as Bob reluctantly hands the baby to Alicia, who immediately begins crying as well.
“It’ll wear off,” Bob says brusquely, wiping tears from his face. “A day or two at most.”
Tater coughs to get Bob’s attention.
“Are his eyes okay?” Snowy asks gently, still too blunt for Bitty’s comfort.
“Oh, he’s fine,” Alicia soothes, running a hand over Jack’s scalp as he nods tiredly against her chest. “His eye muscles are just a bit weak; shouldn’t be a baby long enough to need the eyepatch again.”
“Eyepatch?” Bitty’s brain short circuits.
“Our Little Snowball,” Alicia giggles softly, kissing Jack’s head. “Ah, he still smells like I remember. Bobby, come and smell him.”
“I already did,” Bob answers, hanging back. “You boys have a presser to get to,” he reminds them. “Tater, Snowy, hop to. Shitty, Ransom, Holster, Larissa, you should head out as well. We’ll take it from here. Eric will update you when Jack’s back to normal.”
The apartment clears out slowly until Bitty is left alone with a tiny version of his boyfriend and said boyfriend’s parents.
“He’s so small,” Bitty says, laying out a blanket for Alicia to lay Jack down on; Jack immediately sticks his foot in his mouth. “And flexible.”
“That’s nothing watch this,” Bob snatches a rogue puck from the pool table and lays down beside Jack to rest the rubber disk on the baby’s belly.
“Oh, Bobby, clean that off before –”
It’s too late, the puck is in Jack’s mouth before they can blink and Alicia is dying with laughter. The sound is infectious and Bitty can’t help but slide down on the blanket opposite Bob, giggling at the happy noises Jack is making.
“He really loves that, doesn’t he?” Bitty tickles the baby’s tummy and gets a muffled giggle around the puck. “Cutie-pie.”
“His favorite baby toy,” Bob smiles, blowing softly over Jack’s sparse hair as he gnaws. “We had stuffed animals and blocks, anything and everything we could find but his favorite was always just a puck. He’ll be back to normal soon. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.”
“And the presser?” Bitty asks, fingers dancing as he counts all of Jack’s toes.
“I vote we take him in like this,” Alicia chuckles. “No one will question it, this is obviously our child.”
“Wish it worked like that,” Bob sighs. “Just have to wait it out.”
Jack stills and Bitty watches as his parents do the same.
“Uh, oh,” Alicia whispers. “Incoming.”
“Tabarnak,” Bob curses. “I definitely don’t miss this part.”
Bob before the draft:
Jack, you might want to keep more downlow. You like girls, too right? There's no need to make your career more tenuous and risky.
Bob after the draft almost snuffed the brightest joy in his life:
I'm so proud of you for everything that you've done, Jack. And I would love to meet your boyfriend and have I told you how proud I was of you yet? And its completely cool that you have a boyfriend. I'm hip and whatever you choose, I'm behind you.
One time (awhile back) this boy and I were talking. I had already had a few warning bells go off with this guy, but I had ignored them because he seemed like a perfect match on paper.
Now this boy, let’s call him Bob, was also a writer. So one day Bob and I were talking about our perspective stories that were in progress and Bob decided he had a big problem with one of mine. Ya see, in this particular story my main character is unapologetically a murderer even though she is the “good guy.” Bob is NOT here for it. He informs me that NO reader will ever be able to enjoy this story. At all. His reasoning being: people do not like bad guys.
After Bob informs me that I should shelf this story, I point out that his argument is pretty inaccurate. In fact, violent/morally-gray protagonists are some of the most celebrated characters in fiction. Some of the examples I gave were Edmund Dante, Roland Deschain, and heck even Dexter.
Bob then explains that while he understands my “confusion,” those characters are different. You see, the previously mentioned characters are okay because they are guys***. Apparently, male characters can be morally ambiguous in their pursuit of something greater, but female characters cannot.
I then bring up characters such as Daenerys Targaryen, Becky Sharp, and Carrie, who are all protagonists but at times they commit morally ambiguous/to downright wicked actions. And spoiler alert, people still love them (even if they think they are “bad people”). Bob then interrupts me to let me know I am missing the point: nobody, especially a male audience (he made sure to emphasize that point), will accept a murderous female character as a good guy because it is simply “not believable.” Women apparently can either be bad or good.
He cautioned me, A WOMAN, to not misunderstand women in my writing. He also told me, a person who studies literature academically, that I might need to do more research into what a “protagonist” really is and what the main character should represent.
Anyway, I ended the conversation. The next day Bob asked me out. I said no. Bob then told me I was a “self-absorbed slut just like the rest of them.”
And that children, is why you NEVER ignore warning bells.
But guys, Jack dressing up as his dad for Halloween would be so fucking funny. He’d get Bitty to paint a black eye on his face and make it look like he got a tooth knocked out (alternatively, he takes out his own fake tooth bc there’s a good chance he already has a fake). He’d throw on an old pens or habs jersey and go around and ham it the fuck up. He’d smile charmingly and tell people to call him Bobby and just start spouting all these inspirational quotes that Bob keeps stealing from his uncles.
Alicia absolutely LOST IT when she sees him, and she only laughs harder when Bob spends the first part of the night pouting cause his son is making fun of him. (But secretly he’s teary and flattered that his son chose to dress up as him for Halloween the same way he was when 6yo Jack did it the first time.) Both the Zimmerparents and Bitty have the picture of Jack and Bob on display somewhere and Shitty keeps one in his wallet that he pulls out for stars at sometimes. It’s a family classic.
Received an anonymous ask requesting Jack and Bitty playing each other for the cup and it turned into the Bittles and Zimmermanns dealing with the grim reality that they will have to chose sides in a big way.
In which Alicia is intense, Suzanne is offended, and Bob is just tired.
About ten minutes after the Falconers clinch the Eastern Conference title - when Jack is done with his interviews and off the showers - Coach mutes the 70″ television in the Zimmermann’s media room and sucks in a rough breath.
“So, how ‘bout that? Our boys, facing off in the final.”
It’s not like they didn’t all know this was a possibility: the Falconers this season’s defending champions after the Schooners were dethroned the year prior; but suddenly the what-if scenario they’ve all hypothetically debated for so long is real and looming.
“Well, clearly we’ll support them both,” Alicia placates. “I mean, thank goodness they both already have rings so it won’t be as painful when the Falconers take the title-”
In a heartbeat, the atmosphere cools, and Suzanne coughs politely before scooting away from Alicia’s side of the couch.
Pffft, so how weird is Jack going to feel when he finds out his ‘attention-hog’ father has been pulling focus on purpose all these years because he knows his anxious son has problems with social situations?