It’s June 23, 2007 and I am sitting here at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio with my best friend, Erica and her family. Tonight her older brother Patrick is being drafted by an NHL team. Pat is expected to go first overall and right now Dale Tallon, the general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks is standing at the podium about to announce the first pick of the day.
“With the first pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks select Patrick Kane, forward, London Knights,” the gray haired man with the glasses announced.
Patrick stood up and hugged Pat and Donna before hugging Erica, Jess, Jackie, and lastly me.
“Congratulations Patty cake,” I said using the nickname that I have called him since I was six, “You deserve it.”
“Thanks Ally,” he said kissing my cheek.
“What the hell is up with my brother,” Erica asked while we were taking pictures of Patrick putting on his Blackhawks jersey and draft day hat.
“He’s happy that he’s finally going to be living out his dream,” I replied not knowing what she meant.
“I meant why did he kiss your cheek,” Erica replied, “He never did that before.”
“I guess he’s just caught up in the moment,” I said blowing off the thought that maybe the boy I’ve had the secret crush on for fifteen years would actually feel the same way about me.
The media surrounding Patrick after the draft was over was insane. Reporters from TSN, ESPN, Versus, and every media outlet worldwide wanted to talk to him. After we were finally able to leave we all went out to a nice dinner to celebrate his accomplishment.
We went to Martini Modern Italian, a quiet little five star restaurant. Pat and Donna wanted to give their son the best meal possible and that is just what we got. I sat in between Patrick and Erica.
“You’re awfully quiet tonight,” Pat said smiling at me, “That’s a big improvement from the girl who never shuts her mouth.”
“You sound so much more intelligent with your mouth shut,” I fired back smirking causing everyone to laugh.
“And so their battles begin again,” Donna laughed as did everyone else that was at our table.
“I swear you two are going to get married one day,” Pat said and we both made gagging noises. Erica just tapped my arm under the table because she knew I had a crush on Pat.
I never told Pat that I liked him, he was always away with his junior team and Team USA’s junior team that I never got a chance to be alone with him over the breaks he had when he came home because he was hanging out with his friends that he had here and I was always with Erica and Jessica going shopping and either to the nail or hair salon.
“In his dreams,” I joked because in my dreams we were together and he loved me.
“I prefer non-bleached blondes,” he said smirking and I smacked him upside his head.
“You keep talking like that you will start your rookie season on injured reserve,” I said sticking my tongue out at him.
“Grow up Alloser,” Patrick said rolling his eyes.
“I hate you,” I lied but he didn’t know that and Erica laughed.
“The feeling’s mutual,” he joked back and I didn’t know if he was serious or not.
I could feel my heart breaking in my chest when he said those words. I didn’t know whether he meant them or not. He and I always argued like any girl’s best friend would with her brother but it was different for me.
Patrick and I didn’t see very much of each other throughout the summer since he was so busy flying back and forth to Chicago to meet with team doctors for his physicals and meetings with the team and his agent for a contract deal that would have him playing in the NHL right away.
“Make sure you behave yourself and call us when you get there,” Donna said hugging Patrick goodbye as we all stood in the airport watching as Patrick was off to leave us for the NHL season. He was signed two months ago to a three year NHL contract and would be gone six to nine months depending on how well his season went.
“Hey girls, Ally included,” Patrick said picking up his bad, “When I come home shopping spree on me for all of you.”
Erica, Jess, and Jackie squealed and I smiled, “What’s wrong,” he asked.
“I’m trying to figure out how to spend all of your money,” I lied.
“Hey guys do you mind if I talk to Ally alone,” he asked and everyone shook their heads no and I followed him to a secluded part of the airport where we wouldn’t be interrupted.
“What do you want to talk to me about,” I asked as we both leaned against a wall.
“I know now is not the time to tell you with me leaving and all,” Pat began.
“Don’t even worry about apologizing for all of our fights over the years,” I smiled, “It’s kind of fun fighting with you.”
“Well I guess our fun we have fighting with each other is our way of convincing ourselves that we aren’t in love with each other,” he stammered and I felt my cheeks get hot as he took a step forward and grabbed my chin so that I was looking at him.
“Of course we love each other you’re my best friend’s brother,” I said pretending not to know what he was getting at.
“Don’t play dumb Ally,” he smiled. “You’re a beautiful and intelligent girl who I have had a crush on since I was six years old.”
I turned my face sideways and I heard him chuckle and step forward, “Erica told me how you felt a long time ago but she made me promise that I wouldn’t say a word to you about it that is why I always picked a fight with you so I would keep myself from kissing you.”
“Well, what’s stopping you now,” I asked. Oh yeah, I was bold.
“I don’t want to kiss you and leave knowing that I left you behind it would kill me every day not being able to kiss you,” he admitted.
“Well I don’t care about you leaving, I care about you,” I said taking his hand in mine and intertwining our fingers.
“I meant every word I said,” he said looking into my eyes, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I smiled and he put his forehead against mine.
“Aw screw this,” he said capturing my lips with his own and I smiled into the kiss and I immediately felt him smile back.
Fireworks went off in my head and the whole world didn’t seem to matter. I was quickly brought back down to Earth when I heard his plane being called.
“Flight 1088 to Chicago is now boarding,” the voice on the PA said.
“Well that’s me,” he said sighing, “Be by your phone tonight because I’m going to call you.”
“Alright,” I smiled and he gave me another kiss.
“When I come back home I will take you out on a date,” he said, “No wait, I have a better idea. Once I get settled in with the team and I get some free time I’ll bring you out to Chicago.”
“Sounds good,” I smiled as he took my hand and we began walking back towards the terminal where we left his family.
We let our hands drop to our sides so they wouldn’t suspect anything because the “I Told You Sos,” would be flying around.
Pat hugged everyone goodbye once again and when he got to me he whispered something in my ear.
“Make sure you’re by your phone tonight, I love you.”
“You too,” I smiled as he pulled away and gave his ticket to the stewardess at the gate. He waved goodbye to everyone and winked at me and I did all I could not to cry. I hated saying goodbye but this time me saying goodbye was just the beginning of something great. One thing I was certain about I was in love with Patrick Kane and he was in love with me.