Another week closer to release day! I thought it would be neat to let you meet the leading lady and gent of Clean Sweep today. Let's get to know Coach Jane Bratkowski and Tore Ahlberg a little better.
Coach Jane is the only child of retired New York State police officer Jonathon Clinton Bratkowski. Her mother passed away when Jane was quite young. Being raised by her gruff but loving father, Jane has become tough, outspoken, and not one to suffer fools well. She won gold on the USA women`s Olympic team and turned to coaching afterwards. During college she met and married Wildcat player, Tore Ahlberg. They divorced after a family tragedy. She never remarried. Jane is in her early forties.
Tore grew up playing hockey in Sweden. After coming to the States to study history he continued to play hockey. While in school he met and fell in love with fiery redhead, Jane Bratkowski. Jane and he married and then divorced. Tore played for fifteen years in Philly then retired from the game to become the Wildcats Head of European Scouting. Tore has never remarried.
Here's a snippet starring Jane and Tore--
"Look at this view." I stepped out on the patio to stand beside my ex. The light from the moon was just beginning to tint the night sky. Stars were now out by the thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands. "Pretty romantic."
"Yes it is." I placed my hands on the smooth wooden railing then breathed deeply. "Do you think they see the Northern Lights up here?" I asked, my sight moving over the stars winking above.
"I think I read somewhere that there is a town in Manitoba called Churchill that is supposed to be the premiere place to view the Aurora Borealis. Seems to my memory that the lights are seen later in the year, like end of January on through May. Back home we see them earlier, from September to March in Lapland."
I had to look at the man. He had this wistful sort of homesick cast to his voice. I should have kept my sight on the cosmos. The soft glow of the moon made his hair lighter. His mouth was tremendously kissable. I took a step back from the rail and faced him. Tore continued to study the constellations.
"We call it Norrsken."
"Call what what?" I asked, wondering if he still kissed in the same slow, dancing, maddening way he had before. Tore chuckled.
"The Northern Lights. We Swedes call then Norrsken. You never did have luck with our language, did you?"
"No, no luck with the Swedish. Or Swedes, I suppose." A sharp image of our last fight appeared unbidden in my mind. I was standing at the top of the stairs watching him walk out the front door, bags in hand, never to return to my life. The fucked up part was that I been the one to lay the dynamite around the base of our marriage. Me and me alone. Jane set the explosives then pushed the plunger. Repeatedly. Until the man could do nothing to make me happy except leave the burning bridge behind.
Tore looked at me. It was too dark to read what was cooking behind those baby blues of his. The call of his arms and the succor that they would offer was nearly as loud as the bellow from Kate Fovea about stew on the table. He reached for my face. I closed my eyes as the back of his fingers slid over my cheek.
"Maybe if you opened all your closed doors a Swede could step in out of the cold."
My lashes floated upward when I heard him walking away. He dropped my overnight bag onto the bed. Tore paused at the door as if there were something more he wanted to say. If there was, he kept it to himself. He made a sharp left and disappeared from sight. I stood on the patio, lake air chilling me to the marrow, until our hostess called us again. A shaky breath fluttered over my lips. The fists my fingers had been in relaxed.
"Well shit balls."