I walked into the gym and saw other volleyball games going on already. I made my way over to Aiden and the rest of my team. We chatted for a few minutes before everyone started their warm ups. Aiden and I jogged and talked before stopping to stretch like we usually did. Suddenly there was a loud commotion.
It sounded like a group of people yelling and cheering. I turned towards the entrance of the gym where the sound continued to get louder. The door burst open and I watched as Wesley, Caden, and Walker ran into the gym wearing cheerleading outfits and yelling at the top of their lungs. Zara and Valerie followed them in with their arms full of stuff. Sidney filtered in behind them all, dressed like he normally is, shaking his head, but with a smile.
“What the hell is going on?” I heard someone ask.
The games currently going on had halted to see what the deal was. I watched in horror as the three guys ran straight for me. I put my hands out and started shaking my head, but it was no use. In front of the entire gym Wesley grabbed me and lifted me into the air while they all continued cheering.
I began laughing as he ran around with me hanging over his shoulder before he passed me on to Caden. Caden started to spin around with me in his arms before passing me off to Walker. Walker started bouncing me up and down to the rhythm of the cheers and I just could not stop laughing. Walker then practically threw me at Sidney.
Sidney hadn’t been prepared for that and barely caught me against his chest with me facing him. My face had ended up mere inches from his. He looked into my eyes and broke out his lopsided grin. I stopped laughing as I smiled back at him. Our eyes were locked and it didn’t seem like either of us wanted to look away.
Everything around me faded as I continued to stare into his eyes. Suddenly a feeling I hadn’t experienced in a long time resurfaced. Yep, there they were. Butterflies. Then came the pounding heart. Oh, Jesus, this can’t be happening. Yet, it was, and I felt the urge to kiss him.
“I hope you don’t mind that we came to cheer you on,” Wesley said coming up next to us. It snapped me back into reality. Sidney slowly put me down once our eye contact was broken.
“Not at all. I just wasn’t expecting this!” I exclaimed.
“Sid told us you were playing tonight so we thought we’d come support you,” Caden added.
“That was really sweet, thank you.”
I looked over at Zara and Valerie who had laid out what looked to be signs they’d made. They both gave me smirks as I backed away from Sidney. I narrowed my eyes at them before turning away. I knew they’d seen how long I was in Sidney’s arms and I could tell exactly what they were thinking. They enjoyed bringing up my non-existent crush on Sidney.
Well, if it was so non-existent, why the hell had I had the urge to kiss him moments ago? I groaned inwardly and scolded myself. The last thing I needed was to have a thing for Mr. NHL. There was just no way that I did and no way that I ever could. I’d done the dating a hockey player thing. It wasn’t for me.
“Good luck, Misty!” Walker called as they made their way over to the side to wait for my game to start.
“You know Sidney Crosby?” Aiden asked when I made my way back over to the group.
“Yeah, I dumped coffee on him one day and the rest is history,” I told him with a shrug.
“I guess that’s a good way to snag an NHL superstar,” he commented. He sounded jealous.
“There was no snagging,” I said. He looked at me in surprise.
“You two aren’t dating?” I shook my head.
“No, not at all.”
“Could have fooled me.” I rolled my eyes and let the comment go, not wanting to get into it.
We continued to warm up while the other games finished. Practically every time I touched a volleyball some cheering came from the peanut gallery. I was having a hard time keeping myself from laughing the entire time. The first games finished and we set our lineup.
As I stepped onto the court before the first serve I glanced over at my friends. The guys were doing some crazy routine and the girls were holding up the signs and cheering. Then my eyes caught Sidney’s. He was just sitting there looking out at me, and when our gazes met he smiled and mouthed ‘good luck’.
I turned my attention back to the court and felt my stomach tie itself into a knot. I was nervous? What the hell was I nervous about? This was just rec volleyball that meant nothing. I’d only been nervous once in my life before a game and that was when I had a college coach watching a match. I’d played so poorly that I’d never heard from her again. Now I almost felt sick and couldn’t figure it out.
Then it hit me. Sidney was here and I didn’t want to play badly in front of him. I wanted to have the game of my life with him there watching me. This was ridiculous. No, that couldn’t be the reason I was feeling like this. Just to prove that it wasn't to myself, I glanced over at him again. As soon as my eyes landed on him my stomach clenched again. Dammit.
Thankfully I managed to battle through the first couple of plays before getting into my groove. Our team ended up with another win and I’d played out of my mind. I was relieved that I hadn’t sucked it up in front of everyone, and especially Sidney. I looked over at them and saw everyone cheering wildly with Sidney standing next to them clapping with a giant smile on his face.
“Nice game!” Zara called out when they made their way over to me.
“Thanks. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.”
“We think we should grab some celebratory beers. How does that sound?” Valerie asked. I smiled and nodded.
“Just let me get this stuff off.”
The seven of us walked into a bar a bit later to stares from everyone in there. The guys were still in their cheerleading outfits and were still cheering. They proceeded to introduce me to nearly everyone we walked by, telling them that I was the next up and coming volleyball star. I don’t get embarrassed easily, but they were real close to making that happen.
“So what are you doing tomorrow?” Sidney asked me at some point in the night. I shrugged.
“No plans really. How about you?” I returned.
“Well, it’s supposed to be nice out so I was thinking of just spending the day out on the lake. Feel free to come over whenever you like if you want.”
“Yeah, that sounds fun.”
The next day I woke up and immediately started to get ready to head over to Sidney’s. I opened the drawer to pull out a bathing suit and found myself staring at my selections. Suddenly I was self conscious about which one I was going to wear in front of him. I hated this. I forced myself to just grab one and put it on.
The entire drive to his place I tried to tell myself that the day before had just been some sort of weird fluke. I didn’t actually have any sort of feelings towards Sidney past friendship. I was just thrown off because of everyone showing up to cheer me on. By the time I reached his house I had myself fully convinced that that was all it was.
When I pulled up to his house I only saw his car there. It wasn’t like I was early with it being almost noon so I was surprised that no one else was here. I figured maybe they’d had too much to drink the night before and had slept in later than me. I let Bauer out of the car and walked up to the door. Sidney pulled it open before I had a chance to knock. Hey, no butterflies!
“Hey,” he greeted me. Bauer jumped up on him for attention before taking off into the house in search of Sam.
“You were right, it’s beautiful out today,” I said as I followed Bauer into the house.
“I’m always right,” he joked. I collapsed down onto his couch and gave him a skeptical look.
“Whatever, Crosby. So where’s everyone else?” I asked casually.
“Working.” I whipped my head around to look at him.
“So it’s just the two of us today?” I asked.
“Yep, just us.”
I started to feel a little uneasy. I’d assumed that the whole group would be here hanging out. At no point had I expected us to spend the entire day together alone. I mentally smacked myself. So I’d wanted to kiss him the day before. So what? Big deal. It hardly meant I was in love with the guy. It’s not like we’d never hung out just the two of us before. Get a grip, Misty. I forced myself to forget about the night before. When I’d managed to get that out of my head I began to enjoy myself like I always did when I was with Sidney.
“I can’t believe you’ve never been on a jet ski before,” Sidney called back to me as I followed him out to the lake.
“What can I say? I’m a jet ski virgin.” He laughed.
After he reached the dock I watched him lift his shirt over his head, leaving just his swim trunks on. Aw shit, the butterflies were back. It wasn’t like I hadn’t seen him with a shirt off before, but something was different this time. I felt like I was noticing him in a completely different way.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of his nicely chiseled abs and chest. How had I not noticed how ripped he was before? He looked back at me and I quickly averted my eyes from his chest to his face. He smiled over his shoulder at me before tossing me a life jacket. I stripped down to my bathing suit and put the life jacket on. I watched in disappointment as Sidney did the same, covering his torso.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Uh, Sid, there’s only the one jet ski ready to go,” I commented. This couldn’t be good.
“You think I’m going to let you take your own when you’re a jet ski virgin?” He said it jokingly, but I flushed anyway. Poor poor choice of words on my part earlier.
“I suppose not.” He climbed on and then held a hand out to me. I took his hand and climbed on behind him.
“Hold on tight,” he commanded. I wrapped my arms around his waist and felt the butterflies increase immensely. I took a deep breath and then we were off.
He drove around for a while and I held on as tight as I could. I knew at least part of the reason I was holding on so tight was because I just really enjoyed holding on to him. I found myself loosening up as we circled around and I even began to laugh as he went along. We pulled back up to shore and he turned his head to look back at me.
“Wanna drive?” he asked. My smile grew and I emphatically nodded.
He got off and I slid up. He then got back on behind me. I tensed up again when I felt his body basically engulf mine. His arms slid around me and he grabbed my hands, placing them where they needed to be, our fingers intertwined. He started to explain how to drive it. I had to struggle to pay attention to the instructions.
When he was satisfied that I knew what I was doing he gave me the go ahead. I felt him wrap his arms around me to hold on. I noticeably shuddered at his touch, immediately hating how my body was responding to him. He leaned forward a bit and I could feel his breath on my ear as he spoke.
“Are you okay?” he asked, his lips just an inch or two away from my neck.
“Yeah, sorry. I’m just excited,” I lied. Well, the excitement wasn’t a lie, but the reason I gave him for the shudder was.
“Okay, go ahead. Remember to start slow.” I nodded and started the jet ski up.
It didn’t take long for me to get the hang of it. I had a blast driving around the lake. Having Sidney’s arms wrapped around me didn’t hurt either. When I pulled back up to shore I couldn’t help but have a grin on my face. I grabbed a towel and tossed one to Sidney to dry off.
“Did you have fun?” he asked.
“I had a blast. Thanks for popping my jet ski cherry.”
He snorted and my face flushed again. It was exactly the kind of thing I would say, but again, in this situation it was a poor choice of words. I really didn’t need to be thinking about Sidney and sex at the same time right now.
We headed back up to his house where we found Bauer and Sam curled up on the couch taking a nap. They barely acknowledged that we were back, obviously exhausted from playing all day. Sidney invited me to stay for dinner and I accepted. While I was having an internal battle on the new feelings I had towards him, I wasn’t ready to leave him yet.
“Misty?” I heard Sidney say. I opened my eyes and looked at him at the other end of the couch. I’d fallen asleep.
“Yeah?” I asked groggily.
“Why don’t you just stay here tonight?” I didn’t respond right away. I really didn’t think that was such a good idea.
“I don’t want to put you out,” I declined.
“You’re tired and I don’t mind. Just stay. Please.” There was no way I was staying here tonight.
“Yeah, okay, thanks,” I heard myself say. This was bad.
We both headed upstairs where he gave me some clothes to sleep in. He gave me a hug before I went to bed and my body tingled everywhere that he’d been touching me when he pulled away. We said goodnight and I got into bed. I realized as I was lying there that I’d just spent 12 hours straight with Sidney.
I rolled over onto my side and burrowed my head into the pillows. The t-shirt I was wearing bunched up around my face and I could smell him. The smell sent chills throughout my body. Oh crap. I didn’t just have a crush. I was falling for him.