It was actually Tater who showed him the video, though not on purpose. Tater had seen the Aces had uploaded a new video to their youtube. It had caught his eye sing it mentioned the new Ed Sheeran album, clicking on it excitedly as some the falcs gathered around the small screen of Tater’s phone.
Jack, who had been sitting next to Tater anyway, wasn’t paying much attention until he heard Kent’s name mentioned.
“Kent’s singing in the stick room!” The hushed laughter of two of the Aces sounded off screen as they cracked the door open slightly to film Kent. “We’ve been trying to get a video of him singing for ages.”
Jack was trapped by the players leaning on his chair and gathered around them, unable to escape he tried to ignore it. He couldn’t ignore it. Kent’s voice had a way to reaching him, crawling into back of his skull. Kent hadn’t sung much back before the draft, very few people had heard him sing. Even Jack had only heard him sing a few times.
The last time Jack had seen Kent was at a game. A game that Bitty had attended. Jack had brought Bitty with him when the team went out for drinks, where they had run into a few Aces, including Kent. Jack had Kent recognise Bitty, and Jack didn’t think it was much of a leap for Kent to figure it out.
On the screen Kent’s voice went into the chorus of ‘Happier’ by Ed Sheeran, Jack only recognised the song because Bitty had been excited about the new album and it was one of the few albums that both of them enjoyed.
“Yeah, you look happier, you do. Ain’t nobody hurt you like I hurt you, but ain’t nobody love you like I love you.” Kent sang. His expressions matched the lyrics as he sung.
Jack stopped pretending to ignore it, the lyrics seemed so heartfelt, and Kent always managed to get a reaction out of Jack, whether he meant to or not. Jack knew rationally that Kent wasn’t doing thison purpose, he was just singing as he worked, but Jack still felt as though it were directed at him.
The video stopped as one the Ace GM’s shooed them away. As soon as it ended the falcs started talking about it.
“Parse got pipes.” Thirdy whistled.
“Maybe he quit, become singer.” Laughed Tater.
“Damn, hey Jack did you know Parse could sing?” Snowy nudged Jack’s shoulder, bringing him out of his thoughts.
The look on Jack’s face must have been something because suddenly they were all looking at him, Marty and Thirdy frowing slightly. They had all met Bitty, they knew who he was to Jack, and suddenly the pieces fell into place for them.
Jack stumbled a bit as he stood up.
“Uh yeah, little bit.” But his voice was weak, so he coughed and repeated what he said. Then he had left.
It was well after practice when Kent called him. He was attempting to make a meal Bitty had left the recipe for and was about to give up when his phone started ringing. He paused when he saw the caller ID, then took a breath and answered it.
“Kent.” He said. On the other end he could hear a deep breath.
“Hey, Jack.” There was a beat as neither said anything. “It wasn’t about you. I mean, it wasn’t meant to be. I was just like that song, but I guess if the shoe fits.” He gave a humourless laugh.
Jack tried to say something, but honestly couldn’t think of what to say. I know you didn’t mean it. I know it wasn’t for me. I know you don’t still love me because you never did.
“You do look happier though, the Falcs are a good team and… and with Bittle too. I saw you guys when we first came into the bar, and you guys looked so happy. And Zimms, I’m happy that you’re happy now.”
“I – thanks Kent.” After their first game against one another, he though that’s how it would always be. Similar to how their relationship had been, all physical and no communication.
Kent gave a quiet laugh on the other end of the line. There was long moment of silence as Jack desperately thought of something to say. If this was when they finally talked to each other, then he wanted to get it all out. He didn’t want this to be a one off, he didn’t want them to go back to having that uncomfortable tension around them. Because after everything, Kent had been his friend. His best friend.
“I want you to be happy too. I was perhaps a little jealous, when you won the Stanley cup, but I was also a little, proud? If that’s the right word. I don’t know. But I just thought, ‘that’s the Parse I know.’”
“Thanks Jack, but you don’t need to do this.” Kent’s voice dropped to a saddened whisper. “I know I’ve not been great. Especially last that November I – I know I’m a dick alright? I just, ah fuck Jack, there’s so much to say.”
“Yeah I know.” Beat. “I was a dick too.”
“Who you? Never.” Kent cursed ast himself and sighed. “Fuck jack, sorry, I know, we’re actually trying for once and I’m already being, ha, well I’m being me. An asshole.”
“Yeah well, we’re both assholes.” Jack took a moment to work up the courage to say his next words. “I shouldn’t have – I should’ve – ah, Kent –” Jack closed his eyes and tried to arrange his words in a cohesive manner.
“How about the next time you’re in Vagas, or if I’m ever in Providence, we can get coffee, or dinner, or something. Hash it all out properly.” Kent’s voice sounded tired.
Jack swallowed thickly, “Yeah Kent, that sounds great.”
“And hey, maybe you can invite Bittle.”
Jack smiled to himself, “Sure Kent.”
“See ya around, Zimms.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you Kenny.” There was a soft sound on the other end of the line as Jack used Kent’s old nickname, the one only Jack had used.
As the call disconnected, Jack allowed himself a moment to absorb what had happened that day. After he had seen the video he had tried his hardest not to think about it. To not overanalyse it. And that call, Kent had tried to apologise, and he had attempted to do the same. They were possibly going to have a sit down and actually talk about it.
Jack tried to gauge how he felt about that. There was a slight nervous feeling, the beginning of what would probably be him overthinking and getting a hell of a lot of anxiety over it. But at the same time, there was a calm wave slowly rolling in, he was going to get over this block that was in his past.
His phone buzzed again on the countertop. Looking at the caller ID he smiled. Any tension he felt drained from him as he answered before the first ring had finished.
“Jack! Honey, I just saw the video, are you -”
“Hey Bits, guess who just called?”