Page 46 of The Keeper

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Billie texts me just as my food arrives.

Billie: Good win tonight. You’re a beast.

Cal: You watched?

Billie: God help me, I did.

Cal: Was it a sacrifice for you?

Billie: Surprisingly, no.

Cal: LOL

Billie: Whatcha doin’?

Cal: Eating room service and overthinking a locker room brawl.

Billie: Brawl?

Cal: Well, more like me getting punched in the eye.

Billie: Yikes.

Cal: Second-string goalie has issues.

Cal: Should I still come to your dad’s party tomorrow?

Cal: Black eyes probably aren’t black tie material.

Billie: No, it’ll make you look tough and intimidating.

Cal: I’m pretty sure nothing makes me look tough or intimidating.

Billie: LMAO

Billie: Well, a black eye will. And it’s probably kinda hot. Send me a pic?

Cal: Scandalous

Cal: *sends pic*

Cal: Your parents will think I’m a brute.

Billie: Meh, you’re a hockey player. Goes with the territory.

Billie: Plus, you’re my fake boyfriend, so you don’t actually have to care what they think.

Cal: True, true.

We textand flirt for about an hour before I hit the post-game wall and need to sleep. I get all the party details and tell her I’ll see her tomorrow night. I go to bed smiling, thinking about how she watched the game tonight.

Billie Hirsch watched the game to seemeplay.

* * *

This morningI am summoned to the hotel conference rooms to have a meeting with Castellano, the entire coaching staff, and Evan Kazmeirowicz.

“Castellano got in his face and wouldn’t back down. He had to be restrained by several players after he struck Cal in the face,” Evan explains.