Falling- Part 4
I’ve been to the Verizon Center before, but for like concerts not for a hockey game. And certainly not to see a player on said hockey team that I was somewhat seeing? I don’t even know what to call Andre and I at this point, but I know this is a pretty big step in our relationship so I am completely buzzing walking up to get my ticket. I spot the booth that says willcall and head over to it, there’s no one in line so I walk right up. “Hi! I have a ticket under Andre Burakovsky” the older man sitting behind the window smiles and takes out my ticket and what looks like a pass asking to see my ID to confirm it’s me, “I always sit here for willcall and I don’t recognize you and Andre never leaves tickets for anyone- so I’m gonna assume this is your first game?” he says still giving me a smile. I nod yes, smiling because he said Andre never leaves tickets, he really must not bring girls around much. The man smiles again, “Okay well, this one is your ticket. Usually it would be for the box with other family members, but Andre asked for you to get a rink-side ticket tonight. So just show it to the workers inside and they will direct you, and this” he says holding up a laminated pass, “is so you can get down to him after the game, again just show the person working your section and they’ll be able to direct you where to go”. “Thank you so much!” I say accepting the passes smiling, “I’m Doug by the way, if you keep coming back we’ll get to know each other” I laugh, “And I am (Y/N), I look forward to it!”.
Heading into the Verizon Center all I see is fans dressed in Caps gear everywhere, quite a few Burakovsky jerseys I notice, I guess he’s pretty good then I think to myself. I look down at my ticket, Section 108, Row 1, Seat 3. I look up at the sign to see what section I was currently at and I wasn’t too far from where I needed to be so I make my way there looking at everything. Like I said before, not my first time here, but this is the first time I ever felt the need to really look at what was in the arena. There was Capitals posters everywhere and seemingly everyone had on Jerseys and player tees. I look down at myself, I wore jeans, white converse, and a Capitals hockey shirt I bought this morning. It’s not a Burakovsky shirt or anything, don’t wanna scare him away. I see the sign for Section 108 and go over showing the man my ticket, “well you are right down there my dear, up close and personal!” I smile and make my way down to where I was sitting, he wasn’t kidding I was literally basically on the ice.
Settling into my seat I soak up the view, I got here at 6:00 so no one was out on the ice yet. There was fans but the place wasn’t full still, but soon enough it will be. I pull out my phone to look at the text Andre sent me last night, “If you wanna see me in warmups, be there at like 6:20” I smile, I’m here, and here early, of course I wanna see Andre. I see the refs down by the door looking like they’re getting ready to come out, I wonder if Andre will notice me. I mean, I’m really close but like he’s gonna be focused. My thoughts are interrupted when people come sit down next to me. It is a Dad and his son, probably about 5 years old. “Hi, I’m Cayden!” he says sticking out his hand to me, I laugh, “Hello Cayden, I’m (Y/N) looks like we are seat buddies for the night!”. His Dad laughs and says hello to me as well, “This is my FIRST Capitals game I am SO EXCITED!” he says basically jumping up and down, “It’s my first game too!” his smile grows even bigger and just seeing how excited he is got me even more excited.
The opposing team of the night, the Philadelphia Flyers, started to skate out on the ice. From what I read this morning on various sports apps, this was a pretty big rivalry. From the corner of my eye I see a flurry of red jerseys coming out of a tunnel, my stomach does little flips, I was about to see Andre for the first time on the ice. “So who’s your favorite player?” Cayden says looking up at me, “I’m pretty new to hockey, but I would have to say Andre Burakovsky” my lips turning into a big grin just saying his name, “Mines is Tom Wilson” he says so matter of factly. I smile at him, “Well I hope he notices you, I’ll try and help!”, from what I understood Tom was one of Andre’s best friends, and former roommate. Not that Andre told me this, I totally stalked everything I could about Andre on tumblr.
The whole team was on the ice now and I noticed Andre over at the bench getting a drink of water. His number 65 was easy to spot on his tall frame. He was talking to another player who was wearing a number 43 jersey, I couldn’t make out the name on it though. Andre was smiling brightly, it made me smile, even out on the ice he still had that damn charming smile. They started to skate away from the bench and to join the rest of the team, my view really was amazing. Right now there was a player with the last name Oshie standing right in front of me, I’m trying to learn names and numbers so I can actually know what is happening. Andre was bent over getting ready to take a shot, after he shoots he skates over right to where I am. My heart races a little as we make eye contact and his mouth grows into a big smile, his mouth forms a crooked kind of smile, but it’s perfect.
Next to me, Cayden was waving his arms furiously trying to catch Andre’s attention, I smile and decide to do the same making Andre laugh. He stopped just in front of Cayden and motioned that he was going to throw the puck over, he flipped it over just so lightly and Cayden caught it. To say Cayden was ecstatic was a severe understatement, he was literally bouncing up and down, “(Y/N) I GOT A PUCK ANDRE IS MY NEW FAVORITE, BUT I STILL LIKE TOM OKAY DON’T TELL HIM”. I laugh at him and high five him, it was really sweet of Andre to do that. And I knew he wasn’t doing it just because I’m right here, he was over on the other side flipping one over to another girl holding a sign asking for a puck. People must really love him if they make signs specifically for him I think to myself.
Andre was in conversation again with number 43, who I now could identify as Tom Wilson, I don’t know if Andre could see me staring at him but he was pointing at me and Tom turned to follow his stick and meet my gaze. He quickly turned back to Andre with a smile on his face before they got back to skating, I wonder what Andre was saying I think. I should probably start paying attention to the rest of the team, gotta learn the players if I wanna be a credible Capitals fan. I see Ovechkin standing in front of me, he was one guy who I definitely knew since he was kind of a big deal in DC, even if you don’t pay attention to the hockey team. I spy number 46 in front of the net and I know he is Michael Latta, another close friend of Andre’s. No matter how much I try and take my attention off of Andre and on to the rest of the team, I can always feel his eyes on me. The team was lining up now on either side of the ice getting ready to take another round of shooting on the goalie, of course Andre was stopped right in front of me. He turns around a tosses me a wink before skating off to take his shot, my heart is racing a million miles a minute, screw you Andre for doing this to me I think smiling to myself.
“Wow (Y/N) I think Burky likes you” Cayden says grinning up at me, I laugh, “Maybe! I hope so” I say settling back into my seat because the guys were all getting off the ice, well everyone except Andre. It seemed he was in charge of cleaning up all the pucks, I can’t help but laugh and pull out my phone to snipe a quick picture to send to Emily.
“Sitting front row- to see this” I say attaching the picture with some emojis, she responds almost instantly. “(Y/N)! YOU ARE SO CLOSE HE GOT YOU THOSE TICKETS? OH THIS IS LEGIT KEEP ME UPDATED!” I laugh and reply with some kissy face emojis before sliding my phone back into my pocket.
Now that it was getting closer to gametime the arena was filling up, it was definitely a sell out. Looking out at the sea of red jerseys in the stands it’s crazy trying to imagine what Andre is thinking whenever he is out there. I make a mental note to ask him later if he even realizes how many freaking people are in here, like I can’t even comprehend it. Sure for a concert it was like this and more on account of the floor seats, but this was for a hockey game. I guess hockey IS a big deal here, and I have a feeling I am going to be sucked into it too.
The lights start to go down in the building in favor for a sea of red lights covering the ice surface. The PA announcer introduces the Flyers, only to be met by a roar of boo’s from the crowd which makes me laugh. When he calls out the Capitals, the building absolutely erupts. I find myself smiling and clapping too without even realizing it, something about the atmosphere really got me though. After the National Anthem it was time for what I believe was called a face-off. I’m still getting the hang of the rules and everything. I look at the guys on the ice and notice that Andre is not among them, but I immediately see him on the bench. His normal goofy grin is now a serious, stern look. He’s not laughing and chatting away with his teammates like he was during warm-ups, he’s totally focused and in his own world.
And it’s pretty hot.
Right from the minute the puck was dropped the game is physical. I felt like guys were nonstop banging into each other right in front of where I am sitting. Cayden next to me was living for it, I on the other hand find myself worrying about Andre. Like I know he does this like every night and has played hockey his whole life, plus I’ve known him like 3 days, but I still worry every time he takes a hit. The buzzer goes off ending the first period and its 0-0, but a really exciting game nonetheless.
The second period goes the same way, lots of hits, no goals. A couple just misses and even a few fights. Much to little Cayden’s delight Tom got in a fight right in front of us, I was terrified silently praying Andre wasn’t a guy who “dropped the gloves” as everyone around me likes to say.
The third period is just starting and I can just see the frustration on the guy’s faces. They were playing so hard but they kept getting robbed by the Flyer’s goalie, or they would just miss the net. I guess something got them fired up though in between periods though because less than a minute in Ovechkin went down a scored a goal, much to the crowd’s delight. I again found myself on my feet again cheering just like everyone else in the building, hockey is exciting I can’t believe it took me seeing one of the player’s to finally start watching it. The eliation did not last long though, as a Flyers player just scored a goal too, back tied up at 1. The clock ran out and it was headed to overtime.
I could just see the look on Andre’s face, he wanted to win. His frustration showed on the ice too, he was throwing hits and using his size to charge past the Flyers. It worked because before I could even register what was happening, the goal light was going off and the guys on the ice and bench were rushing over to Andre. The rush of excitement I feel is completely indescribable, so I can only imagine what Andre is feeling. I guess my somewhat kind of boyfriend is pretty good at hockey huh?
I look down at my pass to go down and meet Andre after the game and my heart flutters with excitement. I say goodbye to Cayden, he was a great first game partner after all, and head over to the section attendant to find out how I use my pass to see Andre.
To be Continued.