Eric Bittle enters the Falconers team dinner. It is moodily lit, the silhouettes of many enormous hockey men looming on the other side of the long dining room table. Jack holds his hand slightly tighter besides him and sighs, swearing softly in French.
“Tater, the lights!” Bitty hears someone hiss from across the table.
“Oh! Sorry!” The lights come on and Bitty is faced by an entire team of NHL players, doing their very best to look as intimidating as possible. And given that a few of them have put much larger men in hospital with hits on the ice, some of them are doing a very good job.
Tater slides past him, thumping him on the back. “Hello Itty Bitty!”
Jack has gone from disapproving to very clearly trying not to laugh. Georgia is sitting on the end of the table, rolling her eyes affectionately at her players.
Thirdy and Marty are sitting in the middle of the line of players, in a tableau vaguely reminiscent of the Last Supper. They lean forward, and Bitty feels the nerves rising in his chest. He wasn’t even this nervous going to dinner with Bad Bob and Alicia.
Thirdy clears his throat, and they lock eyes with Bitty.
“Eric Richard Bittle.”
He pauses, clearly intending to do so for dramatic effect, but Bitty is just a touch too nervous to appreciate the dramatics.
Jack scoffs besides him and squeezes his hand in his.
Marty leans forward to join his fellow captain. And then, in perfect unison, exhibiting the synchronisation and teamwork that had led to many a tumblr post about their partnership, they opened their mouths and said,
“What are your intentions with our son?”