Free Agency - an NHL!Bitty interlude
Jack is contemplating a move now that his contract with the Falconers is up. He and Eric weigh the options.
They’re spread out in the theater room, Eric on his second glass of wine, Jack on his third beer, staring down a whiteboard covered corner to corner in haphazard scrawl and laminated NHL team logos.
“The Kings are rebuilding next year.” Eric offers. “Good opportunity to start fresh. The endorsement market in Los Angeles is lucrative, and the team has more than enough cap space to match Carolina’s offer. Bonus: closer to yours truly.” Eric pauses. “Also Parson.”
“Kent won’t stay in Vegas.”
“You sure about that?”
“The Avalanche are gunning for him, and the legal weed is a draw. It seems to be helping Jeff’s back injury.”
“Kent’s not going opt for Denver just because Troy loves pot.” Eric sighs. “So, back to LA.”
“What’s the downside?” Jack counters.
“Downside: it’s Los Angeles. The Rams are hogging a lot of the sports coverage.”
“But the Kings are a great team. Consistent post-season appearances, good management, warm, sunny weather.” Jack takes a swig of his beer to emphasize his point, waggling his eyebrows at Eric while he pokes the Kings logo on the board with his toe, scooting it down.
“No love for the Canucks?”
“Edmonton and Calgary are capped but want to be considered down the line…Winnipeg and Minnesota showed some interest, but you might be fighting for attention if they draft high this year.”
“You’re ignoring the six.”
“I’m not, just building up to it.”
“Blackhawks are out because they didn’t float an offer. Boo, Blackhawks. Bruins would be uncomfortable because of the rivalry, Penguins are waiting on you, which I’m not fond of…and the Canadiens just don’t have the cap space. Unless someone retires you’d be playing for less than your current salary.”
“But I’d be in Montreal.”
“But you’d be in Montreal. And it’s the Habs. So, up-voting French Canada.” Eric moves the ‘Canadiens’ bar higher. “Well, maybe it’s alright to go home for a season or two. As long as you don’t start buying vacation homes left and right, money isn’t going to be an issue for a long time.”
“Oh, so you don’t know about my harem full of handsome young men with a penchant for Italian race cars.”
Eric pulls the Stars logo off the board and tosses it into the pile of discarded teams. “I always thought it was suspicious we had six pool boys living in the guest house. So rude of you not to share.”
Jack laughs and tickles Eric’s side with his toes.
“You’re taking this surprisingly well.”
Eric wraps a hand around Jack’s ankle and pulls, the resulting tug of war causing the couch cushion to slide just enough for Jack to roll onto the floor.
“We’re forgetting something important,“ Jack grunts, sinking into the cushions as he tries to climb back up. "Customs.”
“Customs,” Eric sighs, flopping back into his chair. “Border security. That’ll definitely put a damper on things, won’t it? A whole extra fifteen minutes a trip. Wow. I don’t know if our marriage can handle that.”
"Bits,” Jack laughs and pulls Eric onto the floor with him.
“Nope. I’m sorry, we’ll have to get a divorce,” Eric laments, throwing an arm over his face and playing up his somewhat faded accent. “Seriously, though: is any of this helping? You only have a few days to decide.”
Jack pulls Eric tight against his side and nuzzles his neck – a move Eric has learned is right out of Guilty!Jack’s playbook.
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“I re-signed with the Falconers yesterday. Four years.“
"Wait, then what was all this for?”
“You put so much effort into it I didn’t want to ruin it.”
Eric snags a throw pillow and whaps Jack square in the face.