Sports aren’t easy on families, David knew that. Sometimes he wished he had not become a professional hockey player. He loved the game. He loved the people involved in the game. He wouldn’t really want to change anything. Not really.
It had been almost two years and he was still working on getting used to being a Bouda. Sometimes the hyena side of him would rise up at inopportune moments. It had happened that night when he had decked someone for chirping him on the ice. The other player had said something about his girlfriend, Rose. Guys running their mouths on the ice was par for the course, agitators were part of the game. Punching agitators was part of the game as well, but it also got him a seat in the penalty box for seventeen minutes. David had beaten the other man so badly, he had to leave the game.
The full moon had been the 25th, between then and losing his temper on the 29th there had been two full games and the first two thirds of a game. Three games in four days. He was tired and there was this animal in the back of his mind clawing its way out. And there was one more game to play before going home.
He didn’t know how the other guys dealt with it.
After the game he made his way to the home locker-room to apologise to his victim. Then David had to defend himself to the media. After swimming through the crap that he had caused himself he finally made it back to his room at the hotel. The other guys were going out to eat but all David wanted to do was to call home.
“Are you alright?” Rose asked, picking up the phone on the first ring.
“You’ve seen worse happen to me.”
“You don’t normally knock guys out.”
“I know,” he sighed, “did Lisa talk to you today?”
“About the sheep? Yes.”
David couldn’t tell what Rose was feeling through the phone, he hadn’t realized how dependant he had gotten on his enhanced senses, “And?”
“And I am totally confused. Is this a hyena thing? I mean, what am I going to do with three sides of beef? And a feather?”
“Well I didn’t know what to get you, so I got you the twelve days of Christmas.”
“I don’t remember the fourth day being sheep.”
“It’s the Faroe Island version; one feather, two geese, three meat, four sheep, five cow, six oxen, seven dishes, eight ponies, nine banners, ten barrels, eleven goats, twelve men, thirteen hides, fourteen rounds of cheese and fifteen deer.”
“Is sixteen a farm?” Rose asked with a laugh.
“I was thinking that maybe day sixteen would be making you like me?” David’s heart was pounding. He hadn’t brought up turning her into a hyena shifter since Thanksgiving, and he hadn’t planned on talking about it over the phone. And she was quiet.
Until, “Makeing me like you and a farm for all this stuff you've given me.”
“Is this a negotiation?”
“No, but you can’t just get animals without thinking about where you are going to put them.”
David laughed, “for now Rob and Lisa said they would keep all of the gifts.”
“What did you do about twelve? You didn’t get me guys did you?”
“I got you chickens.”
“Soooo,” she said with a chuckle, “do you have a place in mind?”
“Do I need to have a place for you to be ready to take this step?”
“It would help.”
David’s hear crashed down into his stomach, “I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.”
“I want to,” she said, “but I talked to Lisa and she thought it would be best if we didn’t live on the property with them.”
“I’m buying a place, I close on the third.”
“What is it like?”
“No, I’m sure you picked out a nice place,” She said, “What is being like you like?”
“Well, I travel around and play a kid’s game for a living,” he said in a jocular manner.
She didn’t take the bait, “that fight, is that the way it is for you all the time?”
“It’s not like that all the time. It is like that sometimes.”
There was silence between them.
“Are you changing your mind?” he asked slowly.
“No,” she said, “I just wonder what will happen when my boss fights with me after?”
“Well, once you are used to it, everything will be fine.”
“That’s what Lisa said,” there was a few seconds of quiet, “When do you guys come back?”
David sighed, “if there aren’t any delays I should be pulling up the driveway after midnight on the first.”
“So I’ll see you for New Years day?”
“I was planing on going straight to your house,” he said.
“You have a key just come on in.”
She sounded more relaxed and so he settled back on his bed, “I will. Unless I just don’t wake up when we land. We still have that game on the 31st, then we fly home.”
“I’ll be here, with all the crazy animal gifts you’ve given me.”
“I miss you,” David said, his voice almost a whisper.
“I miss you too,” she cooed, “and you need to get a goal for me to make up for getting kicked out of the game tonight.”
“I’ll do my best,” David said.
“Will we talk tomorrow?”
“Of course,” he said with a smile, “and when I get home I’ll take you to see the place.”
David thought of something before saying goodbye, “the farm has apple trees.”
“That will be neat” Rose said.
“after we settle I think we should Wassail them.”
“You want to sing to trees?”
“and give them liquor. Yes. After everything, I’m starting to feel like magic is important.”
She laughed. Once she was under control again she said, “and you are a hockey player, so tradition is everything.”
“If it wasn't would I have bought you four sheep today?”