The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Body Check: Post 18-

Chapter 10: Time for the Heroine to Change Her Mind

Evidently, this is the same day that Hayden confronted Sheila-the-Soon-to-Be-Ex, which is why she’s upset and decides to meet Brody at the game (leaning on his car). I’ll get to the plot in a moment, but let’s just go ahead and cover the things I think are wrong, or at least questionable, about the understanding of hockey (and the NHL) shown in this scene. (I won’t reiterate what I said in the previous post about game scheduling, although technically that’s this scene, too.)

Hayden thinks that Brody looks particularly good tonight, although she has never thought he didn’t look good, of course, although his “perfect lips [were] slightly chapped” (121).

He’d confessed to licking them too much during games (121).

On the face of it, I could see that. I have the same problem, actually (well, that and the fact that I’m not a professional athlete, so I’m easily out of breath and thus my mouth is open most of the game. Then again, the photos I take at NHL games tells me that many of them skate with their mouths open too.) However, if he’s licking his lips all game, he’s apparently not wearing a mouthguard. And since professional players don’t wear full face cages, Mr Perfect Brody Croft has almost certainly already lost teeth in his career. Also, he’s putting himself at additional risk for spinal damage and concussions (on impact, the jaw often bites down hard, causing additional traumatic brain injury.) For a man as defensive as he is about actually having taken his college career seriously, he’s not taking very good care of himself.

Oh! I just thought of another answer! Maybe he DOES wear a mouthguard, but he’s just got a scarily long tongue so he can lick his lips around it! That might explain how he got so good that Hayden earlier referenced his talented tongue!

This time when Hayden sees him, she notices he’s wearing a “loose wool suit.”

Brody had told her that with the play-offs around the corner, the league expected players to look professional on and off the ice (122).

Sigh. Where do I start? First, the play-offs “aren’t around the corner” if Brody just got finished playing a game six. Second, the author is apparently inventing a reason to have her character wear a suit even though the real NHL actually does require their players to wear suits to and from games—all season/post-season long! (I covered that along with the magic pants in post 7. I... just… need a drink, perhaps…

At any rate, some important things do in fact happen in this scene. First, Hayden kisses Brody right there in the parking lot. He points out that they weren’t supposed to be seen together in public (as per Hayden’s rules). Next, she suggests that instead of going back to her hotel, they go to Brody’s house. The text didn’t make it clear at the time, but apparently whenever the two of them have gotten together it has always been at her hotel because she somehow thinks that it would help her keep things from getting any more serious. Last, they just take Brody’s car to his house, leaving her rental car in the parking lot. Brody points out that her father will see it and know that she didn’t go home. This will negate another of her rules, potentially, that her father not find out about the two of them. All of this points to Hayden softening towards Brody’s desire to have a relationship.

I however, will point out that given that Hayden and her father have spent approximately 4 hours together since her return to Chicago, and none of them near her car, I don’t honestly believe he’ll see and recognize it. (They watched Game 2 together from the owners’ box, they met for the deposition and Presley left first, and they met at the gentlemen’s club party and Hayden left first). Besides, he’s got other things on his mind. And he’s drunk all the time. Maybe I just don’t care enough about cars, but I can rarely recognize my close friends’ cars in any given parking lot even after they’ve driven me some place. There’s no way I would recognize someone’s rental car.

They arrive at Brody’s house, located in Hyde Park (one of the few places in Chicago I’ve actually been! Great bookstores! Doubt Brody goes to them….) The house is large Victorian, well-kept, with lots of flowers. Apparently Brody’s mom takes care of them once a year. I’m not going to dwell on the flowers because they’re not quite on the magic pants order of troubling, but really? Once a year are all his flowerbeds need to be well-taken care of, weed-free, and return perennially? MAGIC FLOWERS.

After Hayden tells Brody that she saw Sheila and spoke with Doug, they head out onto the aforementioned patio. Brody is concerned that he doesn’t measure up to Intimacy-Bridge-Doug because Doug is “probably much better at those intellectual conversations you’re always trying to have with me” and that he feels stupid by comparison (124). A few minutes later, when Brody is trying to convince Hayden that they have a good thing, he says that they “never run out of things to talk about” (125). So…. Just not intellectual things to talk about, eh?

They talk about how Hayden is sad whenever Brody leaves but that also Brody won’t be retiring any time soon, so she decides sex is better than talking and they start making out on the patio. Brody quickly gets Hayden naked and sweeps her off her feet to carry her to his gazebo, where having sex is apparently his fantasy. These two are not all that imaginative in their sexual fantasy realms.

When Hayden asks why he’d never had any of his hockey groupies fulfill this particular fantasy, he confesses that he’s never brought a woman to his home before, which flings Hayden right back into being concerned that he wants more than she can give.

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