Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chapter 34

Sidney lay there in bed just staring at Misty, who was asleep on his chest. He’d been awake for a while, but he’d been afraid to move. If he moved he might wake her up, and then she’d probably move off of him and he wasn’t ready for that. He wanted to stay here like this, holding her, as long as possible.

Instead he watched her eyelids flutter every now and then, her chest rise and fall with her breathing, and the corner of her mouth twitch on occasion. Her hair fell over her shoulder, cascading down to the bed, and if he wasn’t pinned down the way he was, he’d be running his hand through it. He could still smell coconuts in it.

Sidney thought about last night, about seeing her outside the rink. Once he’d gotten over the shock at seeing her and having her run away from him, which he still didn’t understand, he’d realized that he hadn’t been that happy in a long time. Seeing her had stirred something up in him he wasn’t sure he’d ever felt.

Misty had driven 9 hours just to surprise him for a night or two with plans to turn right around and drive 9 hours back. Her time on the road was almost as long as she’d planned on seeing him for. No one had ever done that for him before. He’d never forget it.

His heart had surged at the first smile she’d given him, when she’d decided to come out with him. It was strange, because he already knew he was in love with her, but this feeling now, this was different. It was more intense. It was like he suddenly realized a part of him had been missing for the past few months.

He wished that he had the balls to tell her. It just wasn’t that easy. He’d never, not once, ever felt like he loved someone before. No matter how much he loved her, it just wasn’t easy to come out and say it. There was always that fear of rejection, that he’d misread something and she didn’t even feel remotely the same. There was the fear that if he told her and she didn’t feel the same way he’d be crushed. There was the fear that it would ruin their relationship and he’d never see her again.

Even so, he’d felt something shift in their relationship last night. He couldn’t explain it, couldn’t pinpoint a moment when it happened, but he knew it did. Things were different between them now. They were no longer just friends. They weren’t together, they’d never even indicated to each other that they wanted anything more than friendship, but he felt it. He just wasn’t sure what exactly that was, and what it meant for them.

He heard a tiny whimper escape from Misty’s lips and she shifted slightly. He watched as her eyes slowly opened. She took a moment before turning her head so that those beautiful blue eyes of hers connected with his. He felt himself smile at her and watched as her lips turned up into one of her own.

“Morning,” he said.

“How long have you been awake?” she asked.

“Not long,” he lied. She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously, obviously not believing him. She could usually see through his bullshit.

“You could have woken me up, you know,” she chastised.

“I just didn’t want to bother you,” he told her, only telling half of the truth. She sighed and rolled her eyes before pushing herself off of him and glancing at the clock on the nightstand.

“Boy am I not looking forward to doing the walk of shame into the hotel later,” she half laughed. He couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped him.

“I’m sorry about forgetting to bring you back last night,” he apologized, even though he wasn’t sorry at all.

“No biggie,” she assured him as she sat up and stretched out. He suddenly wished he hadn’t given her some clothes to sleep in last night so that she’d be doing that naked instead of in a baggy t-shirt and shorts. “So where are we going for breakfast?”

“Pardon?” he asked.

“Breakfast. Where are we going? I know you, Crosby. There’s no way there’s anything edible here to eat.” He laughed and got out of bed right after she did.

“I know a place.” He watched her collect her clothes from the night before and watched with disappointment as she walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind her, to change.

They hadn’t discussed how long she was going to stay in town for, and he knew he had to bring it up. Vero was right last night, like she usually was. He had to ask Misty to stay longer than just last night, or even just through tomorrow. She’d just gotten here and he wasn’t ready to see her leave yet.

Once they were both dressed he gave her the tour of the house before they left for breakfast. As they sat across from each other in a booth at the tiny diner it was like they hadn’t been apart at all. They talked and laughed throughout breakfast like they’d done all summer long. When the conversation finally hit a lull he decided now was as good a time as any.

“How long can you stay?” he asked. She shrugged and stuffed a bite of a chocolate chip waffle into her mouth.

“As long as you want me,” she replied, dunking a home fry into some ketchup. If that were the case, she’d never be going home.

“You don’t have to get back to work?” he checked. He didn’t want to exactly jump straight at asking her to stay until Christmas, which was a few weeks away.

“It’s closed until after the New Year for renovations. I told you that,” she replied, giving him that look she gave when someone really should know better than to make the comment they just had.


He watched as she stuck her fork into the eggs on his plate, taking a large mouthful. He hated when people ate off of his plate. It was one of his biggest pet peeves. Except when Misty did it. Instead he moved his plate a little closer to her and took a bite of her chocolate chip waffle. She smiled and wrinkled up her nose at him in response.

“You can stay as long as you want, you know,” he said after a minute. She grinned across the table at him.

“Thanks, but I only have enough clothes for a couple of days.” He felt the disappointment hit him like a semi. Then a thought struck him.

“So go buy new clothes,” he suggested. She lifted her eyebrows at him and snorted out a laugh.

“Yeah, I don’t have the money to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe just to stick around here a little longer,” she said with a shake of her head.

“I’ll give you money,” he offered. He watched her let go of her fork, and heard its loud clatter when it hit the plate. Her expression told him exactly what she thought of that idea.

“No. I’m not taking your money for clothes,” she told him firmly. She picked up her orange juice and took a long sip as if the conversation was over.

“Well, I don’t want you to go yet,” he blurted out heatedly before thinking about it. The straw fell out of her mouth and back into the glass. She didn’t say anything for a moment and he wanted to take it back.

“I don’t want to go yet, either,” she whispered, avoiding looking into his eyes.

“Then please just go shopping. I don’t mind. Really,” he practically begged. He wished it was possible for him to sound a little less like an idiot, but at this point he almost didn’t care. He needed her to stay in Pittsburgh as long as she could.

“I guess I could just get a few things.” He felt himself begin to smile.

They spent the next few minutes discussing how this was going to work. He couldn’t exactly head to the mall with her and take her himself, because he’d get mobbed. He said he’d give her his credit card to which she rolled her eyes at him. Did he think if she used a credit card with his name on it that they’d believe she knew him and it was okay for her to use it? Eventually he made a phone call. Finally it was settled. She’d go shopping with Vero tomorrow while they were at practice, and Sidney would pay Flower back for whatever she spent.

“I still don’t like it,” Misty told him as they walked into the lobby of the hotel. He sighed.

“I know. You don’t have to say that every 10 seconds,” he replied.

She glared at him while they waited for the elevator. A couple of people got off the elevator when it arrived and Sidney slunk low, pulling his hat down, hoping they wouldn’t recognize him. They didn’t so much as give him a second glance. He couldn’t even imagine what people would think if they saw him at the hotel with Misty who was still obviously in clothes meant to be worn out on a Saturday night and not to brunch on Sunday.

“I told you to stay in the car,” Misty commented as the elevator doors closed them in.

“I wasn’t going to just circle the block until you were done,” he argued. She shrugged and laughed when he put his head down so the group waiting for the elevator on Misty’s floor wouldn’t see his face.

She threw her stuff back into the bag she’d brought with her from home and they made their way back to the lobby. Sidney went to get the car while Misty checked out. By the time he pulled up in front, she was waiting for him. She threw her bag in the back seat before hopping in beside him.

“I hope it’s not an inconvenience for you to have to move into a different bedroom for a while,” she said as they started to drive away. He furrowed his brow in confusion.

“What do you mean by that?” he asked.

“You told me I could have any bedroom I wanted when I came to visit. I’m taking the master suite,” she announced with a grin on her face.

“Like hell,” he responded with a laugh.

“It’s not polite to go back on your promise to a guest,” she joked. It was good to have Misty back.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chapter 33

Sidney parked and I followed him and Vero to the club. We walked right in and headed upstairs to the VIP section. Music was blasting, everyone had a drink in their hand, and it did not look at all like the kind of place Sidney would like to go to. I could also see that there were already guys from the team there.

“What the hell? How did I beat you two? What’s going on?” a guy asked, walking up to us. By the way he looked at Vero I guessed he must be Marc.

“This is Misty, the girl from this summer. We stopped to pick her up on the way,” Vero told him.

The girl from the summer? I gave Sidney a strange look at that and he smiled sheepishly at me. Then I caught the grin Marc threw over at Sidney before shaking my hand. What was that about? I followed them further in and smiled when I saw a familiar face looking at me in surprise.

“Hey, Max!” I greeted him as he got up to give me a hug.

“Misty! What are you doing here? Sid didn’t tell me you were coming in.”

“He didn’t know. I surprised him tonight.” He gave me a wink and a laugh before making room at the table for us to sit down.

I was introduced to the rest of the guys and girls that were at the table with us. There were a lot of comments calling me 'the girl from the summer' and it was a little strange. It didn’t bother me that Sidney had talked about me, but I couldn’t figure out the looks everyone kept giving him. Why was everyone looking at the two of us like that?

Sidney and I remained sitting at the table even as everyone else moved around and mingled. Sidney said he wanted to stay as discreet as possible, which I understood. Someone was always sitting with us to talk to so I didn’t mind. That is until I was a few drinks and shots deep and “Shooting Star” came on. There was absolutely no way I could hear that song and not dance.

“Dance with me!” I said to Sidney as I got up and held a hand out to him. He gave me a look like I was crazy.

“You know I don’t dance,” he told me.

“Too embarrassed?” I joked. He gave me a look that told me that he was. I leaned over to whisper in his ear. “I can think of a thousand ways to embarrass you that would be worse than dancing just off the top of my head.”

He looked at me cautiously for a second and then sighed. He took my hand and stood up. Sidney knew I wasn’t bluffing when I said that. We made our way to the dance floor and I began to dance immediately. Sidney kind of stood there for a moment awkwardly. I rolled my eyes at him and grabbed his hands, pulling him closer to me.

As I danced in front of him he eventually picked up on my rhythm and began to dance as well. For someone who was so convinced that he was a bad dancer, Sidney really wasn’t all that bad. He just had to let go and have fun, which he began to do the longer we danced. I wasn’t about to let him go after just one song and we ended up dancing for quite a while. We only stopped when my drink ran out and I decided to get another one.

“I’ve got it,” Max said, coming up next to me and pushing my hand holding the $20 bill away. I saw Marc and Kris Letang were with him.

“Hey, thanks.” I took the drink when it arrived and took a sip.

“How did you get the kid to dance?” Marc asked curiously.

“I guessed correctly that he didn’t because he was embarrassed to be bad,” I told him. The three of them looked at me like I was crazy.

“Yeah, okay, but how did you get him to dance?” Kris pushed. I grinned and took another sip of my drink.

“I told him I could think of a thousand ways to embarrass him worse.” They started laughing.

“See, I told you this one was un petit petard,” Max joked.

“What did you just call me?” I asked him. They all laughed again. “I took Spanish!”

“He called you a little firecracker,” Kris explained. I grinned over at him.

“Oh, Maxy, you shouldn’t have,” I said batting my eyelashes and giving him a light slap on the shoulder.

“Would you care to dance, petard?” he asked, holding out his hand.

“Why I’d love to, el mujeriego,” I responded. He lifted an eyebrow at me. “I called you a womanizer.” He laughed as he swung me out towards the dance floor.

“What has that boy been telling you about me?”

Sidney watched Misty talking to some of his teammates at the bar with a smile on his face. He was currently supposed to be listening to some story Staalsy was telling, but his mind had wandered elsewhere. He couldn’t even begin to describe the feeling he’d had when he’d realized that it really was Misty here in Pittsburgh.

“Dude, really? Just go over there with her if that’s where you want to be,” Jordan said after punching him in the arm.

“I never said…..”

“You didn’t have to. It’s obvious,” Goligoski chastised.

“At least your description of her was spot on. She’s a rocket,” Tyler Kennedy threw in.

“Hey, who girl with Talbot?” Geno asked, sitting down at the table.

Sidney glanced over along with everyone else at the table. He was less than thrilled to see that it was Misty. They were out on the dance floor dancing a little too close for his liking. Fucking Talbot. He knew, he fucking knew. He was there this summer and saw then. What the fuck was he doing? He watched as they danced and smiled. He cringed when Max suddenly dipped Misty and she came up laughing.

“He’s mowing your lawn, man,” Jordan said. Fucking Talbot.

“Is there a reason you’re sitting here watching Max dance with Misty instead of getting up and stopping it?” Vero asked storming over.

“V, come on,” he started. She stopped him with a glare.

“What is wrong with you?! She came to see you, not him. Get your ass off out of that chair and go get her!” she ordered. For someone who was so tiny and looked so sweet, Vero could be terrifying.

“Alright, alright,” he said as he stood up, holding his hands out in surrender. Sidney trained his eyes on Misty and Max and began to walk in their direction. Before he even got to them Misty saw him and beamed over at him. Then she parted from Max and walked over to him.

“I didn’t think you were ever going to come back out here,” she pouted. At least he knew she would have preferred dancing with him over Talbot.

“I was just keeping your girl warm,” Max shot as he passed.

Sidney glared over his shoulder at him. Max chuckled and winked knowing full well that Sidney couldn’t say anything about that with Misty right here. There was just no response to that without making his feelings for her obvious, and that was probably not the right way to tell someone you were in love with them. Fucking Talbot.

“I’m not really sure I’m up for more dancing,” he told Misty. She giggled and nodded.

“One more and we’ll go home. I’m getting a little tired. Sound good?” she suggested. He could handle that.

He couldn’t help but imagine what else they could be doing as they danced. Everything Misty was doing right now was turning him on. He’d almost forgotten the power she seemed to have over him. Every once in a while she’d move a certain way and he’d get a whiff of her hair. It smelled amazing, like coconuts. God, he wanted her.

The song ended and she held up her end of the bargain. She led him off the dance floor and they grabbed their coats. They made their rounds to say goodbye to everyone, and he watched as Misty and Vero exchanged numbers. Once again, it had taken a whole couple of hours for Misty to charm his friends.

They walked out to his car and he began the drive. They talked and caught up through most of it, but his mind remained where it had been when they were dancing. This was the worst it had been. He’d almost figured being apart for a while would calm his feelings, but that hadn’t happened. The distance seemed to have strengthened them.

“Uh, Sid, this isn’t the hotel,” Misty said to him when he parked the car.

“Shit,” he mumbled when he looked up at his house. He’d just driven home automatically without thinking twice about it. “I’ll bring you back in the morning. I really don’t want to drive all the way back down there.”

“No problem. You can give me the tour,” she said as she hopped out of his car. She followed him into the house and he saw her looking around at the parts she could see from the front entrance.

“This is it,” he told her, motioning with his hands. His hand brushed hers as he returned it to his side and he felt a jolt go through his body.

“You know, I think I’m too tired for the whole tour right now,” he heard her say.

He turned to look at her and noticed a strange look on her face. He couldn’t quite read it, but he did see the slight smile. He felt like he knew what she meant. He hoped he was right as he decided to take the chance. He leaned down and kissed her. She responded exactly how he hoped she would, snaking her arms around his neck and kissing him back.

“Let me show you the bedroom then,” he suggested when they parted. He saw the quick smile play across her lips before she turned and headed for the stairs ahead of him.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chapter 32

Sidney finished up the interviews with the press and got into the shower. He’d allowed himself to be talked into going to Diesel tonight. Normally he didn’t go out at all, instead choosing to stay out of the limelight whenever possible, but the guys had been relentless. As he got dressed, Flower made his way over to him.

“I have to stick around a bit and ice my shoulder after that shot I took in the last minute. I’ll be a while. Is there any way you can take Vero to Diesel with you?” he asked.

“Yeah, of course,” he agreed.

“Thanks, man. And remember, you touch her, you die,” Flower joked.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said with a laugh.

Sidney made his way to the family room and found Vero in conversation with some of the other girls that were left. He explained the situation to her and she followed him to his car. Vero was like a sister to him and he never minded spending time with her. He held the door open for her as they stepped outside.

“Thank you, mon ami,” Vero said to him. He crooked his elbow and held his arm out for her. She linked her arm with his and he walked her to his car.

“Marc told me he’d kill me if I touched you. Good thing he’s not here to see this,” Sidney told her. She looked up at him and laughed.

“It’ll be our little secret,” she responded. Sidney laughed and leaned over to whisper in her ear.

“Ours and the dozens of people out here. Think they like me better?” Vero just laughed again as they reached his car. He opened the door for her and helped her in before going to the driver’s side and getting in himself.

Vero got to work getting in contact with everyone else about the night as Sidney started signing autographs. She was usually the social chair for get-togethers. Sidney handed an autograph back to a fan when he glanced up and out his windshield. His breath caught in his throat when he saw a pair of bright blue eyes peering in at him.

“No way,” he whispered. Vero glanced over at him but he didn’t say anything more as the blue eyes disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared. It had been too dark and had happened too quickly for him to see any other features on the girl, but he hadn’t seen eyes like that on anyone else. Was it possible?

“Sid, are you okay?” Vero asked, her voice laced with concern. It snapped him back to reality.

“Sorry, I have to go,” Sidney apologized to the rest of the fans waiting for an autograph.

He didn’t have time to keep signing. He had to find out if it was her. He pulled the car up to the road and looked up and down the street hoping to see where she’d gone. Unfortunately there were groups of people all over. Where was she?

“Okay, Sidney, you need to tell me what’s going on,” Vero demanded.

“Misty. I thought I just saw Misty,” he told her, keeping his eyes on the lookout. He heard Vero’s sharp intake of breath next to him.

“The girl from the summer is here? Where?” Vero was now looking around as well.

“I don’t know. I only saw her for a second.”

“Are you sure it was her?” Vero asked. He just turned and looked at her. “Right, how silly of me to question you. You’re only in love with her.” Sidney groaned and didn’t respond. He’d made the mistake of talking to Vero about Misty.

“I think I know where she is,” he said as a sudden realization hit him.

He pulled out onto the street and drove to the only place he could think of that Misty would be. He got out of the car when he got to the coffee shop without a word to Vero. He could see inside and saw a girl standing at the counter. He began to smile. It was her.

I’d wiped the tears away before walking into the coffee shop I’d scoped out when I’d gotten to town. I wanted to at least hold it together until I got back to the hotel room for the night. There was only one other person in there when I walked up to the counter. I ignored them and placed my order.

I stared at the countertop, fixated on one spot as I waited for my coffee. It was the only way I could keep myself from breaking down right here and bawling my eyes out. The cup was placed in front of me and without picking my head up, I turned to walk out. When I did I walked right into a body standing directly behind me.

“God, could you stand a little closer, creep?!” I shouted in anger at whoever this person was.

I heard a laugh in response. I jerked my head up, daggers in my eyes as I got ready to yell at the asshole again. Before another scathing comment left my mouth I staggered back a few steps when I saw who I’d run into.

“Maybe you should pay more attention to where you’re going when you have hot coffee in your hands,” Sidney said to me, a smile playing on his lips.

“Sid?” I choked out.

“How are you surprised to see me? Shouldn’t it be me that’s surprised to see you?” he asked.

“I.....I just.....I wanted coffee,” I stammered, still shocked.

“You came all the way to Pittsburgh for coffee?” he questioned.

“No, I came to surprise you, but....." I stopped talking. What was I going to say that didn’t make me sound jealous?

“But you ran instead?” He looked really confused and hurt as I got embarrassed.

“You saw me?” He nodded and his face fell.

“Why did you run from me?” I struggled to think of something to say when the brunette walked into the shop. She was even more beautiful up close.

“Sid, is everything okay?” she asked in a French accent.

“Yeah, I think so. Vero, this is Misty. Misty, this is Vero,” he introduced us.

The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. How did I know it? Had I just been stupid enough to listen to Sid talk about a girl he was seeing or sleeping with in Pittsburgh during the summer without realizing it? Vero looked like she was about to say something, but I just wanted to get out of there.

“It’s nice to meet you. I’m sorry for interrupting your night. I’m just going to go now.” I lowered my eyes and started to head for the door. I felt Sidney grab on to my arm.

“What? You came here to see me and now you’re just going to leave?” I looked between the two of them and knew my face was getting red.

“I.....I didn’t know about.....I should have called first.” I wanted to die. Suddenly Vero laughed.

“I’m not dating Sidney!” she exclaimed. Both Sidney and I turned our eyes to her in surprise.

“What’s going on? Why would you say that?” Sidney asked in confusion. Vero just looked across the café at me with a smile.

“I’m dating Marc-Andre Fleury. Sidney was taking me out to a club while Marc stayed back to ice his shoulder,” she explained. I felt my cheeks turning bright red as I then remembered why her name had sounded familiar. Sidney had said she was like a sister to him. Then I started to laugh.

“I don’t understand what’s going on,” Sidney said in confusion as he looked between the two of us.

“Don’t worry about it, Crosby. Moments over,” I told him.

“You should come out with us. We’ll introduce you to everyone. How long are you in town for?” Vero asked.

“I’m not sure. I just planned to stay for a day or two depending on Sid. I don’t exactly know that I’m dressed to go out.” She looked me over.

“Do you have anything else with you?” she asked.

“Yeah, at the hotel.”

“Then we’ll go there so you can change. Sidney let’s go,” she ordered.

She linked her arm through mine like we were old friends and we left Sidney standing in the café as we got into the car, chatting away. He gave us a strange look and made a comment about girls being strange before driving us to the hotel. We went upstairs and I pulled out my suitcase. Vero helped me pick and I changed quickly.

“Tell her to stay longer than a day or two,” I heard Vero telling Sidney in a hushed tone through the bathroom door.

“It’s not up to me how long she stays,” he responded. I could hear Vero’s sigh.

“Are you dumb? She said it depended on you. Now she drove all the way down here to see you. If you let her leave that soon you’re an idiot.” Deciding that I didn't want to continue to eavesdrop I walked out of the bathroom and pretended I hadn’t heard any of the conversation.

“Better?” I asked.

“Yes, much. Now let’s head out. Marc’s going to be worried you stole me away,” Vero joked winking over at Sidney. The three of us walked out of the hotel room and got back into Sidney’s car as he drove us to a place called Diesel. I had to admit, just being around him again had my heart fluttering like crazy.