The Fictional Hockey League

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

Friday, March 6, 2015

Offside: Post 21

Chapter 26: (In)Convenient Concussions & Creepy Possessiveness
Please note that posts may be a bit slapdash and a bit irregular through the month of March. My sincere apologies!

Logan is all glowy and in love, so you just know that bad things are coming. There’s still just under 100 pages left of the novel, so there’s no way that a Big Bad won’t show up, especially as things are going so well. (Spoiler: There’s more than one coming.)

He’s in the hockey shop (the one that sells duct tape, and no, I’m never letting that go) having gotten his skates sharpened. (I think it’s a little weird that everyone in this town gets their skates sharpened mid-week at the hockey shop instead of, say, pre-game at the rink, but whatever. I’m just lazy, I guess.) Mr. Talbot, the shop proprietor we met way back at the novel’s start when Billie first (bought duct tape and) discovered the new Beer League, semi-casually asks Logan if their team is going to be playing in the upcoming Cornucopia Tournament. Upon learning that yes, that’s the one, he inquires if Billie will be playing, and for a moment Logan is pretty awesome. His thought process/explanation is all “Billie is on the team, ergo, Billie plays” and disappointed in Mr. Talbot’s lack of support for Billie.

All that changes, however, when Mr. Talbot asks Logan if he’d known that the tournament has contact.

“No, I…” his hands tightened at his side as a slow burn began to creep up his neck. Could she be that stupid? (427).

1.      His hands are both at one of his sides?
2.      He doesn’t think that this could be a misunderstanding. Instead, Logan jumps immediately to anger, enough to have physical reactions.
3.      He calls the woman he loves “stupid”.

Look, I totally understand wanting to protect the one you love. And I understand that hockey is a potentially dangerous game. (After all, I play non-contact and still have been injured in multiple exciting and painful ways, albeit mostly due to my own klutziness. I so don’t want to talk about how I sprained my ankle. How I broke my wrist wasn’t much better. The concussion wasn’t my fault, though.) However, I don’t think immediately getting angry and declaring that he’ll find a way to change her mind, is necessarily the way to go.

We will, however, get a chance to find out, naturally, since Logan is heading to Billie’s house right after his skates are finished, in order to have a “kinda-sorta official first public date” … which is dinner with her whole family (425). And he shows up at the house, where Bobbi lets him in, with “concern and anger battling inside him” (427). There’s no way this could go poorly!

Neither Bobbi nor the triplets’ father are particularly happy to see him, although there’s no real explanation given as to why. I mean, their father’s reasoning could be anything, since while he’s having a fairly good day, he’s not entirely lucid. Bobbi’s cool reception isn’t gone into. I don’t know if readers are supposed to assume it’s because Bobbi knows about the Billie-as-Betty Deception Assault (in which case, be mad at Billie, but no this novel isn’t going there) and is worried that Logan is still in love with Betty or if readers are supposed to assume it’s because Bobbi is with the Wrong Man (Gerald instead of Shane) and therefore just all-around unhappy and bitter.

Speaking of Gerald, when Logan enters the kitchen (where both the triplets’ father and grandfather are), he acts “as if he was the man of the house” (430). That’s so not okay. Asshat. (Sorry. Pet peeve of mine is when people step in and take over.)

The family and guests sit down to dinner and Logan, in a happy surprise (to me) decides that among the family is not the right time to talk to Billie about the tournament. Gerald, however, goes right to that topic (presumably just to make conversation as he doesn’t say anything about it being contact.) This leads to a whole lot of conversation about the team’s name (Angry Pirates) and dancing around the urban dictionary definition of the same. I’m not sure why the book doesn’t specify the meaning, since it clearly has no problem talking about things like penises. (Note! No information on Logan’s penis in this chapter, weirdly enough. His mouth waters when he sees Billie in old jeans, but the state of his crotch goes shockingly unmentioned.)

Anyway, Gerald is annoyed that he doesn’t know what an angry pirate is but Bobbi does, and he steers the conversation back to the tournament. The triplets’ dad is with it enough that evening to know that it’s a full-contact tournament (starting the very next day, in fact), which leads to Bobbi declaring that Billie cannot play and she’s insane to have thought she could. Logan joins Bobbi in saying she cannot.

Billie is stubborn and says that she’s healthy and she can play. This defiance leads Logan to realize that he loves her. Which, 80 pages from the end of a romance novel, can only spell doom.

“There’s no way in hell I’m letting you play in a hockey tournament where there will be a bull’s eye tattooed to your ass” (437).

Regardless of whether Billie should, medically, play in this tournament, Logan’s high-handed flat-out forbidding her to play rubs me the wrong way. So I’m quite pleased that Billie’s answer is that just because they’re having Teh Sex doesn’t mean he gets to tell her what she can or can’t do.

Oh, but Logan has the Big Guns and isn’t afraid to use them. Even though we have had Billie explain the situation (how she got sent home from her team because management decided she was a risk) in her own POV sections, the narrative pulls a fast one and informs readers (through Logan’s l337 google-fu) that aaaaaactually, that was Billie’s second concussion.

Billie is pissed that Logan googled her, but she says she’s recovered and can play.

Yes, getting a concussion significantly increases your odds of getting another one (if injured. Not, like, just walking around and being hit by the Concussion Fairy). But if Billie has no symptoms, then really, she can play, in my (I have NO MEDICAL DEGREE) opinion. However, here’s the thing—she’s an adult who has been given all the relevant information—which means even if a doctor doesn’t think she should be playing (which is never specified), she still gets to make her own decision.

(Of course, the way this text occasionally throws new information at the readers, Billie might be having symptoms and doctors might be telling her not to play and we just don’t know…)

Logan declares that he won’t be in the game to protect her—he’s refusing to play. Just like Billie, that is a choice he is allowed to make for himself, although I don’t actually see how that helps anyone.

But before any of this can be truly worked out, an unexpected woman shows up.

She wore a form fitting leather jacket, one that emphasized either one heck of a padded bra, or implants (440).

Welcome home, Betty-Jo. We’ve heard so much about you. So nice to now be introduced to your breasts.

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