Georgie has a routine when his first season with the Barons starts.
Not a superstitious one. Not something he has to do in an attempt to improve his game, the team’s chances at winning. It's just something he does, something that happens.
He wakes up, misses Robbie, trains, misses Robbie, eats, misses Robbie. Drinks with the team and misses Robbie. Plays hockey. Misses Robbie.
He talks to Robbie, and that soothes the ache somewhat, at least while they are talking. It’s difficult to get Robbie to talk about what Georgie wants to hear, about his life and his classes and their friends, but when he does, Georgie can feel the weight in his chest easing out. He can breathe.
When Georgie does the talking, he’s left feeling like shit for feeling like shit while he lives the life so many people dream of. Robbie is great at reminding him how great Georgie’s life supposedly is. Still, Georgie loves Robbie so much it hurts, and the frustration he feels when Robbie dismisses Georgie's attempts at explaining his problems doesn't dampen his love.
After the calls end, Georgies goes back to missing him.
The fact that the season isn’t going the way he would like for it to go doesn’t help, because he’s left either thinking about Robbie or about how he’s not giving his team defence or offence, that he’s becoming a liability. How the team is a mess, and fans, the media, have decided Georgie is an easy target to blame, are already talking about how he was a waste of a first-round pick.
Thinking that maybe he’s only able to play with Robbie, and nowhere else, and his NHL career is going to be over when it has just begun.
The routine continues as the season progresses.
He wakes up and misses Robbie. Plays hockey and misses Robbie. Drinks with the team, misses Robbie. He drinks some more. Goes out with Mac, listens to him telling some story from juniors as he drinks his beer and all he can think about is how he would rather be anywhere else, as long as Robbie was with him.
He calls Robbie, at home, and it doesn’t help anymore, not even hearing his voice, not even saying I love you and hearing it back can help Georgie forget how alone he is, how far away everything he loves feels.
He hooks up.
He feels like dying.
And he misses Robbie.
The routine doesn’t change, after.
Georgie thought he missed Robbie as much as it was humanly possible, before. He quickly learns that that isn’t true, once he loses Robbie for good, and he’s still waking up and missing Robbie, and training and missing Robbie, and eating and missing Robbie, and playing hockey, bad hockey, worse every game, and missing Robbie.
He’s still drinking with the guys, more every time, team outings the only time he spends with the Barons. The only contact he has with anyone other than his brothers and his mom.
He tells his mom about the breakup. He didn’t want to tell her, didn’t want to tell anyone, but talking to her is part of his routine, part of what makes his life feel less unmoored. So they talk, and he pretends everything is fine, but she can see through the lie and he breaks down.
He hangs up, and he misses Robbie.
He trains and he plays, and sometimes he doesn’t go out with the team, but stays home, alone in the appartement he only got because it would give him privacy to be with Robbie. He drinks good whiskey, figured he could at least drink the good stuff, but it feels like a waste once he gets too drunk to even appreciate it.
He finishes the bottle anyway.
He opens another one.
This time, he gets drunk enough he doesn’t miss Robbie, for a bit.
So he does it again. And again.
Georgie doesn’t talk to Willy anymore. He always asks about Robbie, and Georgie can’t tell him what happened, not yet.
He hates that Robbie not only deleted him from Facebook and blocked him on Instagram, but that he also did it to Willy.
Georgie doesn’t blame him, but he hates it.
He thinks Willy will hate Georgie too, if Georgie tells him why Robbie did it.
Georgie wouldn't blame Willy either for that.
He gets a new routine, then, the nights he stays home.
He’s reluctant, at first, to start checking all the BU team’s social media for updates on Robbie.
That reluctance goes away quickly after a few drinks.
Robbie is in some pictures, a few videos. He looks happy, wrestling with Lee in a story by some guy he doesn’t really know, probably a freshman. There are parties and team pictures and even a grainy interview posted on the school newspaper's Twitter.
There are house parties and study sessions in the library and a picture of Robbie sleeping on the bus and Georgie misses Robbie but also the life they shared.
He checks Robbie’s stats, and it’s obvious Robbie is not suffering from losing Georgie on the ice. Georgie may not be able to play anymore, not without Robbie, but Robbie is doing well.
Georgie feels so proud he could cry, and he does, once he remembers he has no right to be proud of Robbie. Not anymore.
All he can do is miss.
He stays home more and more, and when he goes out, he doesn’t stay with the team. He can always find somebody to help him forget, for a couple hours, how much he misses .
After a while, not even Mac invites him to team outings.
His roadtrip routine does change.
He used to read on the plane. Nothing too deep, just thrillers he would buy in the airport. Now, he’s often too hungover for that, just sits alone and sleeps through the flight.
He goes out with guys he knows in other teams, gives Kerrsy a handjob in Chicago, for the old days, and is too drunk to care that Kerrsy doesn’t return the favor. He fucks a brunette whose name he doesn't think he got in Denver, and barely makes it back to the hotel before curfew. Sleeps with a guy in Tampa and is too fucked up to worry it may end up in Deadspin.
Georgie fidgets all the way to Boston. He hasn’t been this close to Robbie in months, even if Robbie doesn’t show up to the game. Of course he doesn’t. Georgie still aches as he looks at the stands during warmups.
Georgie’s family makes the trip, and he manages not to reach for the wine all through dinner, scared he’ll say something he regrets if he does, and it’s good. It’s nice to be with them. Nobody asks him about Robbie, but he knows they wonder. Wonder what happened, what did he do.
He tells them nothing.
He misses Robbie so much he gets wasted on overpriced minibar bourbon as soon as he gets back to the hotel.
It doesn’t help anymore.
His season is mediocre, and so is the Barons’.
Georgie gets a sports therapist.
Daniel talks about routines, sometimes. Good routines, bad routines.
They work on that, on creating routines that will help him fix his hockey, and maybe everything else in his life will fall into place after that. They work on the alcohol thing, even if Georgie refuses to talk about that, at first. Tries to stick to on-ice issues. Daniel gets it out of him eventually.
The season starts, and Georgie wakes up, trains, plays. Talks to his mom. Doesn’t drink with the team. Doesn’t open the minibar. Doesn’t stalk anyone who knows Robbie online. Doesn’t hook up.
He misses Robbie.