Chapter 7: Bloody Flirting
Apparently the Montreal game was early in the day since Vincent skates off the ice after they’ve won in the afternoon and as he does, he scans the seats looking for Chelsea, “the way [he] did after every game” (64). This scene really hammers home the point that Vincent is head over heels for her and it is adorable.
On the other hand, the set-up is confusing. He’s looking for her around the tunnel as the Philly team heads off the ice, which, fair enough. But there’s apparently a lot of fans there trying to get autographs, which is odd—the whole point of the tunnel is that it’s difficult for fans to get close to the teams. The most I’ve ever seen is a high five or a player giving a fan a stick as he leaves. Instead here the team is hanging around on/off the ice long enough for Vincent and Chelsea to have a long chat and various players giving autographs.
After a hockey game ends, both teams get right off the ice unless they’ve won the Cup. The home team might stay to salute the fans for a moment. At Coyotes games, at least, the next step is that the TV announcers between-the-benches says who the Stars of the Game were and if they were the home team players, they come out onto the ice and toss a hat (sometimes a tshirt) into the crowd, whoever is still around since arenas clear out surprisingly fast. The visiting team is not hanging out and signing autographs at this point.
In the above photo, you can see hockey players leaving the ice. (It’s the Blue Jackets. I’m guessing they don’t have their jerseys on because it was a fan appreciation kind of night and they were raffled off or given away). This is a typical set up and not one that’s particularly conducive to autograph hounds or, for that matter, chatting up a girl.
(This author clearly knows hockey stench and NHL rules about suits and things, but between this bit with the tunnel/autographs and the earlier bits about the practice facility, I have to wonder if she’s ever actually gotten to attend an NHL game.)
But Vincent manages to chat with Chelsea. And she surprises him by reaching out to him, brushing sweat away from his face—only it’s not sweat, it’s blood and she’s concerned about a cut that ought to have stitches.
He didn’t want to get noticed for opening a vein (66).
Hey, dude, she’s concerned about you. That’s a good sign, no?
On the other hand, I think it’s odd that Chelsea, who the text has made clear is gun-shy and has a panic attack at the thought of Vincent’s interest, is comfortable not only reaching out to touch him three times but also ends up with blood on her hand.
She insists he needs stitches and he takes a chance, saying he’ll get stitches if she goes out to dinner with him. Chelsea at first says she’s worried she’ll get sleepy while driving back to Philadelphia, but Vincent says she can call him while driving to keep awake. Next she says she’s not sure since she doesn’t date, but Vincent says he just wants to chat.
He didn’t care that he was hanging his personal life out for all the world to see. For twenty fans to dissect and—of course—an ever-present camera guy to record (67).
I think Chelsea might care about that latter part, once it’s on tv. But he persuades her since he Boy Scout promises—and he assures he was even an Eagle Scout.
When she says yes, she reaches out to “stop the blood flow from his eyebrow down into his eye” (67) the third time she’s touched his face. (Which, as you can see from the above photo, is highly unlikely but sure.
But he ended up covering her hand with his, pressing her touch to his face for a moment before he shifted her fingers down to his mouth. Pushing his luck when he should just be grateful for her consent, he brushed a kiss into the soft center of her palm (67).
I’m sure this is supposed to be sweet and we know that Vincent is aching for Chelsea (he’s been pining for her for 9 months) and Chelsea is being brave and able to listen to her feelings/take a chance instead of drawing back because of her past. But all I can think is—her hand is covered in blood! What are you doing, Vincent? Vincent’s apparent hematolagnia (and yes, now my search history includes “sexual interest in blood”, and thank you novel for making me ponder that) doesn’t faze Chelsea since she says yes to dinner.
Now go wash your hands, the both of you, and get your stitches, Vincent. Geez.