Chapter 2

Even after a long day of skating, Mila was still ready for practice at five.

"Hey Mil." said Danka as she skated over toward Mike and Mila.

"Hi Danka." said Mike, eyes glued onto the slender & athletic, blonde-haired beauty.

"Oh hey Mike, what's up?" asked Danka. She brushed her fingers through her long, blonde hair and situated it so that she could get her helmet on. Mike stared at her mesmerized

"Uh…Oh, nothing really, how 'bout you?" asked Mike.

"Well, I started the first day of my senior year today." answered Danka.

"Cool," said Mike, "I remember the first day of my senior year."

"Wasn't that last year though?" asked Danka. Mike blushed.

"Yeah, it was, wasn't it." answered Mike. Mila rolled her eyes.

The rest of the team, which mostly consisted of guys, finally arrived, along with Coach Fremont and a middle-aged woman in a navy blue business suit.

"Afternoon team," said Coach Fremont, "This is Mrs. Hardgrave of the US Women's Olympic Team. She's here to check out my female hockey players. If you're any good, then you go on to Colorado Springs for the official try-outs for the Olympic team."

"At best, Coach Larter can take twenty girls." said Mrs. Hardgrave.

"Is there an age restriction?" asked Danka.

"Between the ages of 18 to 30." replied Mrs. Hardgrave.

"But I'm only seventeen." said Danka nervously, "Coach Fremont made an exception for me to be on this team, because of my brother and sisters."

"Brother and sisters?" asked Mrs. Hardgrave.

"Yeah, the Petrov kids. Probably some of my best players. There's five of 'em. Lutka, Navka, Nick, Mila and Danka." said Coach pointing out each of the Petrov siblings.

"Four sisters?! All on the same team?" asked Mrs. Hardgrave.

"Yup." answered Coach Fremont

"Interesting."

"Alright enough small talk. Let's get started." said Coach Fremont, "Let's start with a warm up game. Danka, I want you in the goal, Nick, you're center. Navka and Kurt, I want you two at left and right wings, Frank and Amy, take defense. For the other side, I want Lutka at center, Mila and Lee at left and right wings. Liz and Larry take defense and Jeff in goal. Alright girls, let's show Mrs. Hardgrave what you've got."

"Girls, you did excellent today," said Mrs. Hardgrave, "but I've decided that I'm only taking the Petrov sisters." Mila, Danka, Navka and Lutka all let out little squeals.

"Try-outs begin in Colorado Springs on the thirteenth and continue for the rest of that week. I have to be going now. It was a pleasure meeting you Mr. Fremont." said Mrs. Hardgrave. She shook Coach Fremont's hand and then left the arena.

"Job well done girls." said Coach Fremont as he shook each one of the sister's hands. Some of the other team members came over and congratulated the four sisters too.

"Oh my god! Ma! Pop! Guess what?" yelled Mila as she stormed through the front door, followed by Navka, Danka, Nick and Lutka.

"What? What? What? What is all the commotion? asked Ludmila as she quickly walked into the hallway.

"Oh my god Ma, there was an Olympic scout at practice today! And she chose me, Navka, Lutka, and Danka to come try-out in Colorado Springs for the Olympic team! How amazing is that?! I mean Lutka and Navka just got their citizenship, so they can try-out too. I mean, Ma, this is awesome! You gotta let us go!" exclaimed Mila, exasperatedly.

"First of all, what does citizenship have anything to do with hockey?" asked Ludmila.

"You have to be an American citizen in order to represent the US in the Olympics." replied Danka, matter-of-factly, "See, Lutka and Navka were born in Russia, so they would have needed citizenship in order to even try-out."

"Oh, I see. And what is this exactly? Something about Olympic hockey team?" asked Ludmila. Mikhail and Galina joined Danka, Lutka, Nick, Navka, Mila and Mama. The whole family crammed into the hall to hear what was going on.

Frustratedly, Mila tried to re-explain everything, "Ma, there was an Olympic scout at practice today. She was looking for female hockey players to come to Colorado Springs to try-out for the Olympic hockey team, and Lutka, Navka, Danka and I were chosen."

"That's wonderful!" exclaimed Mikhail, "I'm so happy for you girls."

"You have to let us go!" exclaimed Navka. Ludmila glanced over at Mikhail.

"Well Mikhail, what do you think?" she asked.

"Of course they can go!" he exclaimed. Lutka, Navka, Danka and Mila shouted for joy.

"Alright then it's settled, Danka, Lutka and Navka can go to Colorado to try-out." said Ludmila.

"What about me?" asked Mila. Her smile melted away from her face.

"You do not have permission to go." said Ludmila sternly.

"She doesn't?" asked Mikhail.

"Why can't I go?" asked Mila, her voice slightly rising.

"We discussed it this morning. You play too much hockey, so the answer is no." said Ludmila.

"But Ma!" yelled Mila, "You have to let me go!"

"Ludmila, why can she not go?" asked Mikhail.

"Because she has to find a job!" said Ludmila angrily.

"Ludmila-"

"No, the answer is no." said Ludmila.

"Ma! I can't believe you!" yelled Mila. Angrily, she stormed upstairs and into her room, slamming the door behind her. Mila tossed one of her Slipknot CDs into her stereo and blast the volume up purposely. The song Duality filled the room.

Shortly after, there was a knock on Mila's door. Mila turned her stereo down and opened the door. It was Mikhail standing on the side.

"Mila, may I come in?" asked Mikhail. Mila nodded as her father entered her room. Mila went over and sat down on the bed, as her father wandered around the room looking at the various posters of bands like The Used, System of a Down, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance and Sugarcult, that hung on the walls.

"Mila, do you really like these tattooed boys?" asked Mikhail pointing to Chester Bennington's picture.

"Pop, I like their music, that's it." answered Mila as Mikhail sat down on the bed next to her.

"I forgot that you are tomboy." said Mikhail teasingly.

"I'm not a complete tomboy, it's just that I don't have time for guys or dating. The only guys I have to worry about, are the ones I have to defend during a game." said Mila. Mikhail smiled.

"Did you know that I competed in the Olympics?" he asked.

"Really? Why didn't you ever tell any of us?" asked Mila, "What sport? Did you win any medals?"

"I was a skier, and no I never won any medals. I did go to the '72 games in Sapporo, the '76 games in Innsbruck and the 1980 games here in Lake Placid." answered Mikhail.

"Really? Pop, that's amazing. I just wish you would have told me sooner." said Mila, "You know, I've never even seen you ski."

"I was 16 when I went to the '72 games. Then I met your Mama and we got married and had Lutka. Then two years later, we had Navka, and when the 1980 games came around, your Mama and I decided to stay in Lake Placid and raise a family, and you were our first American born baby." said Mikhail, "It was because that I was a skiier, that I wanted all of my children to share a love of sport with me. That's why I always loved that all six of you were so active and why I never objected to you playing hockey."

"That's really cool Pop." said Mila.

"I want you to go to Colorado Springs with your sisters. I will talk to your Mama and convince her to let you go." said Mikhail.

"Thanks Pop." Mila smiled. Mikhail leaned down and kissed Mila's forehead, his salt and pepper moustache brushed against Mila's skin.

"I'll go talk to Mama." said Mikhail getting up from Mila's bed. As Mikhail walked toward Mila's door, he took one more look at one of Mila's posters. He continued toward the door and mumbled, "Crazy tattooed boys."