I glanced over at Sidney’s sleeping form in the car and smiled. We’d left New York just after my parents had gotten home from work. They’d been surprised to find Sidney sitting in their living room holding their daughter’s hand, but were more than happy to hear the news that we were now together. I’d packed up a bag, packed some stuff for Bauer, refusing to leave him behind this time, and we’d left. We'd spent the first part of the car ride talking over everything, ending any hurt feelings we had left. I pulled off at a rest stop just outside Buffalo to fill up the tank with gas and Sidney woke up as the car slowed.
“Where are we?” he asked groggily.
“Buffalo. We need gas,” I told him. He nodded and got out of the car when I had parked.
We both went inside to use the bathrooms and I took the opportunity to get an energy drink and a snack to keep me occupied while I finished off the drive. Sidney then tried unsuccessfully to convince me to let him finish the drive, but I refused. He hadn’t slept the night before so I wasn’t going to let him get behind the wheel.
“Suck up the fact that I’m driving your car, Crosby, and get some sleep,” I told him as we got back in.
“Have I told you how much I love you yet today?” he asked. I giggled, still relishing those three words like they were my oxygen.
“Only a million times,” I replied.
“Oh. Maybe I should stop then,” he joked.
“Don’t ever stop,” I begged. He leaned over the center console and kissed me, sending lightning bolts shooting through my body.
“That’s not in the plans.” He settled back into his seat and we were back on our way.
It took about half a mile before Sidney was fast asleep again and I focused on the road ahead of me. When I spotted the sign signaling my exit as we pulled into the Pittsburgh area, I let out a sigh of relief. It was about 3 am and I was exhausted. Driving always made me tired, and driving through the middle of the night certainly wasn’t helping.
Finally I pulled into Sidney’s driveway and then into the garage. We got out of the car, letting Bauer out while we grabbed my stuff out of the back. After lugging it all inside, we went straight upstairs and collapsed onto the bed in Sidney’s room. Bauer didn’t join us, obviously sniffing around this new location.
“I’m so tired,” I whined as I lay there, unmoving.
“Thank you for driving,” Sidney said, placing a kiss on my forehead. I turned my head to face him and kissed him.
Sidney then turned on his side to face me and pulled my body into his before latching his lips onto mine. It still took my breath away, and probably even more so now. It didn’t take long for the kiss to become a little more heated. We may have slept together before, but not since we’d admitted our feelings to each other.
“How tired are you?” Sidney asked breathlessly when we pulled apart.
“I’m wide awake now,” I returned.
His mouth crashed back down onto mine as soon as those words were out of my mouth. He rolled me as we kissed so that he was on top, and I shivered at the feeling of his body covering mine. Every touch of his set my body on fire and it occurred to me that this was what making love felt like. I realized at that moment that I’d never loved Mason. I couldn’t have if I’d never felt like this with him.
“I hope you don’t get sick of hearing this, because I have a lot of making up to do, but I love you,” Sidney whispered to me as we cuddled up together.
“Never. I love you too.” It was late, or early depending on how you looked at it, but Sidney and I fell asleep just short of the sunrise.
Sidney pulled into the parking lot at the same time as both Gronk and Flower. He finished the last of his coffee before getting out of the car. He stood there and waited for the other two to catch up so they could all walk in together.
“What the hell are you doing here so late?” Gronk asked. He was right. Usually Sid was earlier for practice than most guys, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go of Misty until the last minute this morning.
“I decided to stay in bed a little longer today,” he replied, matching his pace with theirs.
“What’s with the goofy smile?” Flower asked, giving him a strange look. Sidney hadn’t realized he was grinning like an idiot, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t sure he’d ever stop smiling like this.
“I’m just in a good mood.”
“You get laid last night or something?” Gronk asked. Sidney rolled his eyes, but didn’t respond.
“It is nice to see you in a good mood again,” Flower told him. They walked the rest of the way to the locker room in silence, but the silence didn’t last long. Max was on him the second the door opened.
“How’d it go?” Talbot asked. It only took a second for him to see the look on Sidney’s face to make up his mind. “You fucking got her!”
“What’s he talking about?” Flower questioned as Max slapped Sidney on the back.
“The guy manned up and went and got his girl!” Talbot announced.
“You did get laid!” Gronk exclaimed.
“Yeah, I told Misty,” Sidney confirmed.
“What’d she say?” Flower wondered. He couldn't help but beam at his teammates.
“She came back here with me.”
The three of them, along with the other guys who had overheard the exchange all congratulated him. It felt good. Things finally felt right again. The girl he was in love with loved him back and she was here in the same city as him. At the moment, things could not be any better.
I sat in my seat at the rink staring out at the empty ice. I’d come to the rink for the game with Sidney, so I was super early. Even so, I didn’t mind. I’d brought a book to read to kill time before gates opened and people began to show up, but I hadn’t so much as reached for it. Instead I took the opportunity to just look out over the empty arena.
I’d always loved the smell of an empty rink when the ice was fresh. People who had never experienced that would think I was crazy, but there was something magical about that smell. Now though I realized that the smell of the ice in this place was something even more special. I’d be sad when the smells of the food cooking at the concession stands wafted their way down to me.
The gates opened not much later and I watched as people began to filter in to both their seats and to concessions. Once they had arrived and the music started playing, the moment was over and I pulled out my book to read until the girls arrived. I hadn’t talked to any of them yet even though I’d received about a million messages from them. Obviously they knew what was going on. That was confirmed to me when I heard a squeal come from behind me.
“You’re back!” Vero’s voice called out as she practically ran down the stairs to get to me. Heather and Kelsey were hot on her heels. I stood up to accept the hugs they all gave me.
“I’m back,” I repeated.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell us you were back!” Heather exclaimed. I shrugged.
“Sorry guys. I was a little busy.”
“Sure you were,” Kelsey cracked and we all laughed.
“So, what happened? Tell us everything!” Vero demanded once they’d all sat down around me. And I did.
When the game that night was over I made my way down to the family room with the girls. It seemed that everyone was dying to hear about Sidney and I, and I spent the whole night laughing along with them. I was in a great mood, and happy that I had all of these people to share that with.
“Come here, you big softie,” Vero said to Sidney when he walked into the room to get me. She gave him a hug as he laughed and thanked her. Then he walked over to me and gave me a kiss, which caused the room to yell over at us.
“You should come out with us tonight to celebrate,” Heather suggested. Sidney turned to look at me to see what I thought.
“That’s sweet, thanks, but I think I just want to stay in tonight,” I told them. Sidney smiled down at me and kissed me again.
“Would you two get a room?” Tyler Kennedy joked as he walked into the room to get Kelsey. I didn’t care. I was happy and in love. Nothing was going to bring me down tonight.