Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chapter Eight

I don’t remember dreaming, but waking up proved just as good. Evie silenced the alarm, snuggled back into me and stopped. I was hard as a rock.

“Mmmm, good morning gorgeous,” she purred, rolling to face me. She was so beautiful it sent an spear of longing through me. When I’d first seen her in the airport, I thought she was pretty or hot. Now, she lay in my bed with her hands moving down my body. Every single person in my life was squarely in her corner. Evie was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.

I touched her too; my hands warm from being tucked beneath her sides while she slept. The soft, velvety feel of her secret places turned my brain to mush. I could only think of one thing: being closer to her. Those bright hazel eyes closed halfway, drowsily, as I slipped inside. Her lips parted in a tiny gasp as if she were still surprised to find that I wanted her so much.

“God you feel incredible,” she breathed. The smallest movement of her body rattled through me, magnifying like she’d struck a gong. Tiny swing, big noise. “Sidney,” she whispered.

“Oh God,” I said. Everything about her made my heart pound and my cock throb. I didn’t know which sensation was more enjoyable, more dangerous. Perhaps first thing in the morning was too much for us, before my brain had a chance to believe again that she was in fact real.

“Baby.” It was the first time she ever called me something but my name or ‘husband.’ I stroked into her deep, wet cleft, wanting so much to bring her pleasure; wanting to block the rest of the world from our bedroom so she would never have to do anything but let me love her.

I love her, I thought. I’d thought it before, like something incredible to be looked at in disbelief. In out of control moments, like shaking with nerves before picking her up the first time or running from the club, desperate to be alone together. Her smile, the way she shut the guys up with her own smart remarks, the feeling that I filled her body to the very brim and a single drop of anything more than her and me would overflow and waste all that promise.

She sighed. Her body was molten, liquid and I stirred her little honey pot in the way I was beginning to learn she liked. We moved slowly, still half asleep. I couldn’t think of how to tell her what I felt. So I squeezed her in my arms and kissed her, the roll of my hips making her body shudder, and hoped she would get the message.

Evie came with a sharp sigh, a little sob of breath like she was surprised. Her slick heat clenched at me, rippling down as the same flutter passed through her stomach. My brain registered only one thought: elation. My life and career were defined by Big Wins, and that’s how it felt to push Evie over the edge.

The rush of victory was all I needed. A tiny release of the mind that I’d conquered, that I’d won, that I’d lived up to what she expected of me and what I expected of myself. I lifted her hips and ran myself in deep just before light burst behind my eyes. She held me close as I drained myself time and time again, marveling at how something, anything could feel so good. Even after, when I was finished and tender, I craved the sweet, hot squeeze of staying inside her.

Evie’s head fell back to the pillow. I put my lips to her ear. It was only fear of scaring her away that kept me from telling the whole truth. So I told half.

“I didn’t even know it could be that good.”

Her hand settled at the back of my neck, tracing through the hair that was damp with exertion. “You rock my world too, Sid.”
____

I love you. I’m obsessed with you. What are the chances that you’re actually going to want to marry me? Because otherwise we should stop now before you’re the one. Oh who am I kidding? You’re it.

I didn’t say that. But if Sidney knew Morse code he’d surely pickup the message my heart was beating through my chest.

Again the worst part of my day was unraveling myself from his embrace. The air outside the bed felt sub-zero. He followed me to the bathroom and we brushed our teeth in silence, looking at each other in the mirror. Something had happened. Something like in Winnie-the-Pooh where Something is probably the Whole Point and so Something gets capitalized like it’s the title of The Story.

We dressed in silence, bumping into and touching each other needlessly. Sidney dropped to one knee and pulled my sock up over my foot. With a pang I pictured him doing that for a kid, our kid. A little brown-haired girl with her father’s smile.


I must be getting my period, I thought. Because my hormones are flying around like a Jackson Pollock painting.

We drove thirty minutes but I couldn’t think of anything to say. I simply reached over the center and took his hand, which he held tightly and pulled into his lap. When he stopped in front of my building, I felt sad. He reached for my cheek and drew me in for a light, sweet kiss. My stomach dropped twenty floors.

“I’ll miss you,” he said quietly.

Thank God, rang my brain. It’s not just me. “Pick me up after work? And tell the arena I haven’t abandoned my car?”

He nodded. “Right here, six o’clock.”

I kissed him again, like eating too many cookies before some closes the box. “Okay. Hurry.”

Attempts to settle my mind were useless, so I allowed myself to revel in the afterglow all the way upstairs and across the office. When I got to my desk I would focus on the day. Or at least try. But I didn’t make it that far.

“Guess that answers that,” Libby said. She was my co-worker and desk neighbor, my age and a lot of fun. More than once she’d ended up on our couch after she, Beth and I had torn up the town.

“Answers what?” I asked slowly, pulling myself from a vision of Sidney’s sleeping face.

“If I really saw what I thought I saw this morning. Judging from the look you’re wearing, it’s more.”

Oh God. It was my first thought, forced back down my throat like swallowing bile. Then I remembered we were doing this, Sidney and I, we were doing this together. We’d gone to a restaurant and a party together, openly, in public. And virtually no one had noticed. I’m okay. We’re telling people. So with a deep breath, I pulled a calm look over my face.

“If what you saw was me and my new boyfriend, then you’re right.”

The smile that spread across Libby’s face was like paint tipping over onto the floor – slow, wide, permanent. It was barely to her ears when I gave up. My mask cracked and I squealed and we jumped into each other’s arms in a fit of hysterics. A few heads poked out of cubicles nearby.

Robbie, the office hot guy who used to do some print modeling for American Eagle, stood up at his desk. “What? Did someone see Justin Beiber on their way in this morning?”

Libby, who was completely in love with Robbie, turned slowly and gave him a huge smirk.

“No. But I did see Sidney Crosby. He was kissing Evie goodbye downstairs.”
____

I went to the rink early. By the time guys started arriving I’d been on the ice for a while, just drifting around in the empty building, thinking. Chris Conner and Paul Martin arrived next, followed closely by Max.

“How did I do, Captain?”

“Great. It was perfect.” Max had outdone himself, choosing public things that felt private. The ideal first step. I would not have been so smooth myself. He chucked me on the shoulder like he was just doing his job.

At the end of practice, I poked my head into Coach’s office. This was the part I hated, the part no one else had to do. It really should have been done before last night. I dropped into the black cushioned chair opposite his desk. It was the hot seat – you got summoned there when you were in trouble, or when you were being scratched. Good thing I hadn’t spent much time in the principal’s office as a kid because I was pretty uncomfortable.

“Hey Sid.” He looked pensive for a moment, then gave in and put me out of my misery. “Good time last night?”

I sank farther into the seat. “Yes.”

“So this is a thing now.”

“I hope so.”

He just smiled at me, the way I had seen him with his pre-teen son. It was something like pride in his eyes. “I hope so too. I’ll clear the way. But first, tell Mario.”

I was already on my way. His office was upstairs and I knew he’d be there. It always caused a little fluster when I walked through the main offices. You’d think these people would be used to me by now, I thought. They spent time with Mario every day. He was tapping away on his computer when I knocked on the door frame.

“Sidney. How was your date last night?”

That one got me. I was halfway into a chair and froze. Had we been spotted? Photographed? My stomach twisted in a painful knot – I was caught up in Evie and I really didn’t want this to get away from us so quickly.

“Relax,” Mario said. “I do know what goes on in my own house.”

Of course. I’d brought Evie home the last two nights. We’d used my entrance and never left my part of the house, but it was only fair to assume Mario would be aware of a new person under his roof. Not that there had been many.

“Her name is Evie. Evelyn. I met her on my flight back from Toronto.”

He nodded. “A week ago? She’s been over twice and you didn’t come home twice, so I would say it’s going rather well.”

I blushed. It was like talking to my father, only I would never talk to my father about this. There was no talking. Only him telling me that women wanted my money and my fame and I’d lose both the first time I let my guard down. Mario was another story, but still a tough one.

“She’s incredible. And the guys all love her. Vero too. She’s…,” I ran out of things to say that didn’t make me sound like I’d fallen in love with someone I’d just met. Mario leaned his elbows onto the desk.

“Bring her over for dinner.”

Oh God. Hi, I know it’s only been a week but I’m a maniac and do you want to meet my pseudo-parents? Will you wear my ring? What do you think of this wallpaper for the nursery our first five kids will share?

“It might be a little soon.”

Too bad for me that Mario was not having it. But instead of telling me I had no choice, he made a simple and very salient point.

“Sid. This is not the first girl you’ve dated.”

Well of course it wasn’t, but there hadn’t been much dating going on. There had been some sex, some hiding, some changing my phone number and some panicked escapes. So if that’s what he meant by dating, then yes. But not like Evie.

“Let me tell you a secret. I did my share of dating back in the day. It was not as bad as it is for you –no bloggers, no Facebook. But there was still a lot of interest and I had to be very careful. Then the moment I met Nathalie I stopped caring. All that pressure and the fear of causing problems just disappeared.”

My hands were shaking. Maybe I wasn’t crazy after all. “When did you know?”

He smiled kindly. “Three days. Maybe four. By the end of the week, I was thinking of her as my wife.”

“Funny,” I said, relief flooding through me. “Because that’s how we met….”
____

My cell rang at five o’clock and every single head in the entire office appeared above its respective cubicle. People ran out of their offices then stood around looking at potted plants. The copier whirred to a stop, calls were dropped in mid-sentence. It was like someone hit the mute button on the entire floor.

I stood up, gave them all a glare and answered the phone. “Hi Sidney.”

Every mouth in the place dropped open, surprised to be proven right.

“Hey,” he said. “How’s work?”

There was no time like the present to just get this out of the way. “Everyone in my office knows, and they’re all watching me talk to you.”

He giggled. If I’d had it on speaker the whole place would have fainted. “You’re joking.”

“Oh no. Fifty people are looking at me right now, trying to decide if I’m a con artist or a pathological liar. Except for Libby, she saw us this morning.” All the eyes darted to Libby, she nodded emphatically.

“Put me on speaker.”

I almost dropped the phone. This was not the Sidney who quietly asked me to wear his jersey to the game. This was the Sidney who asked me to use the front door then held my hand in front of a hundred people. This was the Sidney I’d seen that morning in the bathroom mirror, the one who knew that Something had passed between us.

“Evie, do it,” he laughed. I pushed a button on the phone and held it up over my head. Giving up all pretense, the entire office crowded in.

“Uh, hi everyone. This is Sidney. It’s nice to meet you. Is Evie’s boss there?”

Allison actually blushed like she was nervous to talk to him. “Yes, I’m Evie’s boss.”

“Could she get out of work ten minutes early? We’re having dinner with the Lemieuxs.”

I’m sure Allison agreed, as did everyone else in the room, but all I heard was my heart pounding in my ears. The Lemieuxs. Mario Lemieux. Sidney’s second parents. Do they know I stayed over? Twice? That we’ve known each other a week? Oh my God, Sidney has lost his mind.

“Okay, thanks. I hope to meet you all soon,” he was saying. Everyone was watching me as I stood there, mouth open, trying to process. “Evie?” he asked.

I put the phone to my ear and turned away. Coworkers began wandering off, discussing the most exciting event of the day. I tried to catch my breath.

“Hey, is that okay? We have dinner with Mario? He wants to meet you.”

A hundred concerns flashed through my mind: What does he know? Who told him? What do I wear? Sidney anticipated them.

“It’s okay. I’ll take you home to change. They’re really nice, perfectly normal. I mean… normal for me. You know. They’re going to love you.”

“Okay,” I heard myself say. “I’ll be downstairs in forty-five minutes.”

“Great… and Evie?” he paused. “I can’t wait to see you.” It wouldn’t do to faint. Not when I’d probably faint again later.
____

I really was losing my mind. As she exited the building I thought that I’d missed the way she moved, the mittens she wore. It had only been nine hours. When she climbed into the car her scent triggered a happy response in my brain, like something remembered from years ago. Completely ridiculous and I knew it. She kissed me quickly.

“I am so nervous!”

I was too, but not on her part. They really would love her. I worried about myself; this was too much, too fast, too big. My life was a lot to take in and Evie was getting the crash course. Still she was here and she was being honest.

“I might pass out.”

“Then I will enjoy carrying you to my room.”

“Oh my God, your room. Do they know I stayed over?” she asked. I nodded. “Jeeeeeez. They must think I’m some kind of gold digging slut, staying over twice. And you stayed out – do they know that?”

I nodded again. “They know you’re not or I wouldn’t be bringing you to dinner.”

“Oh right. Just you watch. Mario’s gonna have a lie detector in the dining room and it’ll be like Meet the Parents.” But she laughed.

In her room, she dug through her closet. I sat on the bed and watched her slip her trousers off and slide into dark skinny jeans. She pulled on a poppy-colored flowy blouse that somehow managed to accentuate her shape anyway. High black riding boots zipped over the jeans. I couldn’t stay still as she shook her hair out. I caught her on the way up, pulling her into my chest. Her eyes were a little troubled.

“Please don’t worry, it’s going to be fine.”

“I know,” she conceded. “Just nervous. I feel like I’m interviewing for a job.”

Evie hit the nail right on the head. People seemed to think that being with me would be like winning a prize, but really it was like winning a pageant. You had to hold it up, shine your crown every day and never, ever be less than poised. Or at least that’s how we all imagined it, since it had never yet happened. I kissed her, lips were even softer than I remembered.

“I’m a good boss,” I said.

She slid her hands around my waist. “And the benefits are great.”

“I know it’s not easy but I promise, if you’ll try, that I will do everything I can to make it worth your while to be with me.”

Those bright hazel eyes narrowed slightly as she smiled. “I know you’re worth it. Me, I’m the question mark.” The heat of her skin radiated through her silky shirt. My hand felt ready to burn a hole at her back. I hugged her, just hugged her tight, and whispered into her ear.

“No question.”

It eased my mind to talk to her and to get even a little bit closer to telling her how I really felt. How much I felt. It may have seemed frantic but there was no denying it. Even being next to her in the car felt like a win. She fiddled with my iPod and just sat there like a dream I’d had my first few years in the League: wondering who she would be, what she would look like, how she would taste. The proverbial She. Maybe not The One forever, I hadn’t thought that far ahead, but at least The First One. I’d given so much of my life to the game and gotten by promising myself there would be more later, there would be something else just for me. And I hoped she was here now, humming to herself as she tried to remember the name of that Keith Urban song she liked.

“Take your cat and leave my sweater?” she asked, focusing my attention.

“You’ll Think of Me,” I answered. How poetic.
____

We went in the front door of the house, not Sidney’s side entrance. The place was huge, but warm and comfortable. I was definitely in someone’s home. Mail was strewn across a table in the foyer and a single sneaker lay outside the coat closet. Sidney took my hand.

“We’re here,” he called out. A large granite island took up the middle of the kitchen, racks of pots and pans hung overhead. A blonde woman bustled away from the stove.

“You must be Evie! I’m Nathalie. I’m so glad you could come over.”

“It’s nice to meet you. And it smells fantastic.” I took her kisses to the cheeks and couldn’t help but smile. Sidney put one hand on the small of my back like an anchor. When Mario came in, I retreated a step.

“Evie, a pleasure to meet you.” He really was tall. I shook his hand and managed a coherent response. Nathalie passed us each a glass of wine.

“We’ll just eat in here tonight,” she said. “No sense in four of us in that big dining room.”

I felt Sidney squeeze my side. He must have told them I’d be nervous. I was sure this house had a massive formal dining room somewhere, just waiting to intimidate me.

“The lie detector takes up the whole table,” Sid whispered in my ear. I laughed, feeling a little more comfortable with each sip of wine.

We sat and ate, talking easily. Mario and Nathalie were friendly and polite. I knew they were getting information from me but I appreciated that they did it in conversation, and seemed to really want to know about me. It wasn’t an interrogation. But eventually there was no avoiding the topic at hand.

“So you guys met last week?” Nathalie already knew the answer – Sid had told the story. He even included the part about us pretending to be married.

“Yes. And I met the rest of the team the next day.”

“And then we went out last night,” Sidney volunteered. “Out out.”

Mario nodded. “Go okay?”

Sidney looked at me for confirmation, and I agreed. “Yeah, it was fun. Nothing happened.”

That seemed to suffice. Obviously Mario and Nathalie knew all this but I understood their desire to hear it firsthand. They didn’t push the issue. Instead we finished the delicious meal in good company. At the end, Nathalie asked Sidney to help Mario get ice cream from the freezer in the garage. It was a classic mom maneuver.

“Evie, thank you for coming. I’m sorry it must feel like we’re putting you on the spot.”

I scraped a plate. “Not that much, actually. I thought it would be worse!”

“We just know how careful Sidney is, and rightfully so, but sometimes… well, between you and me, sometimes he is too careful. The longer you wait, the bigger something becomes. You know?”

“I think that’s why he wanted to go out last night. Just do it. No big deal if we didn’t make it a big deal.”

Nathalie nodded. “If that’s true then he must really like you. Because Sidney does not do things unless he is absolutely certain they are the right things to do.” She was so sincere and protective but also proud, proud that Sidney was doing something for himself. I felt proud that something was me.

“I really like him too. It’s crazy though, isn’t it? I’ve known him for a week!”

“With Mario, I knew in three days. Dumped the guy I had been seeing because there was just no question. Of course I felt crazy too. I didn’t tell him that until we were married.”

It felt great to share a laugh with her, this woman who would become so important to me if Sidney and I really did have something. That’s why he brought me here, I knew. He wanted me to see how all this had gone right, had been worth it, how it could all work out in the end. It was working right now.
____

Over dessert we talked about everything but hockey. Evie had relaxed visibly and I guess I had too – my arm was around her shoulders, resting on the top of her chair. I had never done that in front of the Lemieuxs before, been comfortably couple-like. But Evie and I sat so close it felt like a double date.

She didn’t even get awkward at the end, when it was clear we were saying goodnight to go to my room. I was they already knew we’d been spending nights together. There was certainly nothing to be ashamed of – if anything, it was the opposite. Not too many girls made it into my bed but those who did never made it to the dinner table.

“You did great,” I said the minute we were out of earshot.

Evie threw her arms around me and kissed me, slipping her tongue into my mouth in what instantly went from zero to a hundred degrees. Her palms went up my back and her hips fit into mine. I pushed us against the wall and let her grind against me.

“Thanks,” she finally said, breaking the kiss but still rubbing against my lap. I caught the hem of her shirt and whipped it over her head. Underneath she wore a pink bra with black trim. I kissed along the swell of one breast, then the other, as Evie knitted her fingers into my hair. When the bra was gone, I sucked at her nipple and unzipped her jeans.

“Boots,” she whispered. So I dropped to my knees and made quick work of those zippers too. But instead of standing back up, I pulled her pants down and kissed the inside of her thigh. She breathed out hard. My lips stroked away at her skin until I pressed my face into the cleft between her legs.

“Sid,” she said this time. I nuzzled against her, feeling the wet heat already spilling from her body. I tugged off her panties, pressed her ass to the wall and set one of her legs over my shoulder. We’d been so gentle with each other the past few nights, but the feel of her juicy softness on my tongue made me flashback to our first night together: all the wrestling and panting and calling each others’ names. As I slurped away, I knew she was thinking the same thing.

She came quickly, too quickly. I wasn’t even close to done with her, my tongue and fingers working together to create that perfect pitch. A loud whimper escaped from her lips and I knew she was biting back a scream. One of my hands was flat on her stomach, holding her back as she bucked hard against my face. I stayed here, lapping honey from her pot, until she had to beg me to stop.

“Please, baby, I’m….”

I led her to my room, leaving her clothes strewn around the doorway and dropping mine as we went. She moved right to the bed, crawling across the mattress on hands and knees then staying there, looking at me over her shoulder. I was a second behind. I kissed down her spine, my hands kneading the perfect rise of her ass.

“Hold onto the headboard,” I said. She was already halfway there.

Once her hands were up, holding her body where we both wanted it, I couldn’t resist teasing her a little. I ran my tongue slowly up her ripe slit, displayed as it was and waiting for me. Evie rocked back, begging for it, but I stopped. Two seconds later I slid my aching cock into her.

“Ohgod,” I said sharply. There was no other way to describe it. Beneath my chest, Evie gasped. As I moved she moved, magnifying every sensation. When I pulled she pulled, stretching the length of me inside her. When I pushed she pushed, doubling our speed of impact. My hands slid under to cup her bouncing breasts. I tugged on a nipple and her pussy clenched. Then I moved my other hand to her clit and pulled both at the same time.

“Fuckthatfeelsgood,” she moaned. I thrust hard, almost boarding her into the wall. The next time she was ready for it, nailing back into me. I reached into her hair and she held tight to the headboard. Before long we were grunting and groaning as we slammed into each other.

Her warm body held mine like she was trying to suck a lollipop off the stick. I pounded home thrust after thrust, watching her where I disappeared into her and the white of her knuckles where they gripped the headboard. Still my hand worked at her hot button, making sure she was never less than completely occupied.

“Sid, God…,” she gasped. “I want you to come with me.” I couldn’t have held out much longer anyway. She shifted her hips to change our angle and on my next stroke, she cursed. “Fuck, yes. Right there.”

I honed in like a laser and delivered a series of quick, hard hits to the target she had placed. She jerked in my arms. Finally, she whimpered. “Baby, please.”

I let it go. The anxiety and the fear went. The relief that so many things I worried about had passed seemingly unnoticed. It didn’t require much for me to express my happiness by burying a thick load into her body. She came a second later, holding herself down hard onto my cock and rolling against my lap. I couldn’t see her face but the noise she made was all I needed. That noise was only for me.

I bear hugged her waist and pulled her down onto her side. The comforter went over us. I knew we’d need to clean up, but I wanted another moment in the perfect continuity of the night.

“Evie, you’re incredible.” It wasn’t really everything, but it was damned close.

She put her arm back over my side and squeezed whatever she could grab. “I’m crazy about you too.”
____

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chapter Seven

“You’re not making this easy, you know,” I said. We sat in the car in Flower’s driveway, waiting for the windows to defrost.

“What do you mean?” She wore a smile that said she knew exactly what I meant. She warmed her hands in front of the vents.

“Every time you make those guys laugh it gets harder for me. I have to be so careful.”

Again, she played dumb. “Careful of what?”

“Not to screw up.”

She laughed, a tinkling little sound. I loved that sound, loved when we were alone together and it was just for me. There seemed to be plenty of Evie’s personality to go around but I liked knowing that part of it was mine alone.

“So you’re saying that I’m too good at making your friends like me?”

I leaned over the center console. “Yes.”

She came close, her mouth almost touching mine. “Sidney, there’s something you should know. Before we… go any further.” She gave me a big, slow blink. I stayed quite.

“I’m too good at a lot of things.”

She kissed me then, breaking into a smile against my lips. It made me smile too and that made for an awkward kiss. But it may have been my favorite one yet.

I took her home with me. Not to introduce her to the Lemieuxs, not to put her on the spot or parade her around in front of anyone. Just so she would know that there was a place for her in my life too. Evie helped herself to a t-shirt from an unfolded pile in my room and I pretended not to watch as she stripped to her panties and pulled it over her head. Then she climbed into my bed.

“Your laundry smells good,” she said as she snuggled down under the covers. I wanted to dive in there and maul her. I wanted to stand at the foot of the bed and watch her fall asleep in my sheets. I settled for a tie, slipped in next to her and gathered her against my chest. Evie traced her fingertip over my bare skin, sending my brain back toward the ‘maul’ option.

“You’re spoiling me.” Her hair was soft against my side.

“Not yet.”

She smiled. “I like sleeping next to you. When do you go away?”

“Friday. Just for a few days.”

Evie burrowed in closer and wrapped her arm around my waist. Her long bare leg went over mine, hooking me close. “Okay, I can probably go a few days.”

I wanted her to want to be with me every second of every day, the way I’d wanted her for the past five. It was like some alternate universe - I wanted her to be clingy. But that was selfish and could only end badly.

She rubbed her leg against mine, skin on skin. “Want to give me something to remember you by?”

I did and I would, as often as I could before leaving. Then again the moment I got home to make sure she didn’t forget. Her mouth was soft and willing. Her hips went flat beneath mine, the mattress holding her up like an offering. I teased her breast with my tongue, flicking her nipple until it stood at attention. She sighed and I kissed back up to her neck. My fingers teased her soft thigh then pressed into her cleft. A groan escaped my lips as Evie wrapped her hand around my shaft and stroked gently, as ready as I was, taking me right to her entrance. Once again she opened her eyes and watched mine as she guided me inside.

“Sidney,” she whispered. Her depth was intensely warm and forgiving, slowly taking every thought from my mind as it claimed every inch of my body. I kissed her quiet as I began to move.
____

Dear God, I thought. He was so heavy; massive chest and shoulders, those sturdy thighs and that muscular ass. His weight poured down over me like he was rolling a tube of toothpaste from the bottom to the top. Every last drop of pleasure squeezed right up to the brink.

“Baby,” he breathed. Neither of us would last long. Our first night together had been all grabbing and throwing, knocking over lamps and christening every available surface. Since then we’d been slow and kind. Sidney was taking the time to learn me and that made my heart squeeze – how easy it would be for him to take the prize and move along. There were no end to his options. But he stroked and sighed like he wasn’t going anywhere unless I went with him.

Bubbles started popping in my brain and I came. The firm plane of his shoulder muffled my tiny cry. I squeezed his body tight and rode out the orgasm as he patiently, politely waited until I’d had my fill. Then he moved harder, revving himself into the red. “Okay?” he asked softly. I kissed him with as much force as he thrust; it was all the answer he needed.

It was his game face, the face he made trying to see a way out from behind the net. Then it was gone as the focus broke and he dropped his head. His eyes closed and he moaned quietly as I felt him pump into me.

“Okay, I won’t forget you,” I whispered.

Sometime in the night he must have woken up and set his alarm, because it rang at 8 AM. Disentangling myself from his warm limbs was torture. As I dressed I applauded my plan – everything I’d worn to the game I could wear to work, minus the Crosby jersey. I even had a clean top folded away in my purse. The only thing I hadn’t planned was leaving my car at the arena.

“I’ll drive you,” Sidney insisted. I hated to wake him but it was worth it to watch him pull sweats on over his naked backside. I whistled like a construction worker.

“Hey baby,” I wiggled an eyebrow at him. He turned, shirtless, and looked at me like I was an idiot. Then he flexed. Before his muscles could relax I was a boneless heap, flat on the floor. Sid lowered himself down over me.

“I don’t have anywhere to be for hoooouuuurssss,” he drawled. “So don’t play games you can’t win.” I settled for lying on the carpet as he put on the rest of his clothes.

When we got into the city, he drove right past the arena. “You, uh…,” I started.

“I’ll pick you up after work. Max has something planned for tonight.”

The idea of Max’s plans for any night was enough to make a grown woman blush. But that’s not what he meant.

“Don’t think about my friends like that!” Sidney cried.
____

A full practice after a hard-fought game was always a slog. It had been worse lately since I’d been expending my energy so fully on extracurriculars with Evie. But when I got tired I thought of the nights… and I got a second wind. And a third. So long as I didn’t slow down my game, no one was going to complain about my off-ice activities.

I lay face down on the trainer’s table as he worked out a sore spot at my hip. Hip flexors had always been a problem for me. As he dug into the swollen tendon I was silently glad that Evie and I had been taking it easy on each other. Our first night had been epic and three days later I was still feeling the effects.

One thought had been on my mind all day: Around sunrise, as the light started seeping into my room, I’d woken up. Maybe she’d moved or something, but I realized that we hadn’t set the alarm for her to make it to work. The last thing I wanted was to disrupt her life – that part was coming, if we stayed together. Road trips and summers away and all kinds of crazy things my life required. I already knew wanted that with her, at some point. But it couldn’t be forced and it definitely couldn’t come as a surprise. For now at least, her life was her own and I had to hope for good luck.

I unspooled her from my arms and quickly set the alarm. As I reached for her again, the dark bed sheets such a contrast with her delicate skin, I noticed a small scar behind her left shoulder. It was a perfectly straight line, half an inch long, raised like it hadn’t been stitched. I couldn’t believe I’d missed it before and I instantly felt bad, for two reasons. First, sometime at some point Evie had gotten hurt. It could have been ten years ago but the thought turned my stomach. Second, it was a tiny but forceful reminder that I didn’t really know anything about her. Not yet. I pressed my lips to the scar then covered us completely with the heavy, dark blankets. Nothing was going to hurt her while I was around.

“There you are, boss,” Max sauntered in wearing a t-shirt and spandex sport shorts. I swear his under clothes were the smallest on the team and he wore them openly, like he couldn’t wait to be scandalous in the background of some unsuspecting photo. “You like the plan for tonight?”

“Yeah. Evie said she’d come.”

He climbed up onto the next table. The trainer finished with a particularly harsh dig into my joint and left me with instructions to lie still for ten minutes.

“You really like her, eh? I can see it when you are with her.”

For all his bluster, Max was a romantic at heart. He just liked to romance every woman in sight. ‘Equal opportunity’ was Max’s motto, and so far he had never disappointed any of his customers. But he wanted to see everyone else happily shacked up, maybe because he knew we weren’t built for his lifestyle.

“I do like her. She’s…,” I was at a bit of a loss. It didn’t matter, Max just nodded. He’d been the Wizard behind the curtain the last few days – he knew exactly what I meant. “Thanks Max, you’ve been a big help.”

That smile always lit up his face like a five year old boy. “Wait until tonight!”
____

I felt a thousand pairs of eyes on me. Everyone in the building must know. Every person on the street must sense His presence and be waiting, watching to see who He interacted with. In this city, Sidney Crosby got capital letters. The elevator seemed slow, the lobby too wide. I spotted his gleaming black Mercedes down the block and hurried over with my head down.

“You’re going to crash into someone,” he said, suddenly appearing before me so that I crashed into him. I jumped back startled. He wore that ageless, mile-wide grin like he’d just cracked himself up. I swear you could see it for a mile around. With one hand on my shoulder to steady me, Sidney leaned down. “Don’t look so nervous,” he stage-whispered. A wool hat was pulled down over his ears, a dark overcoat covered his huge frame. Surely that couldn’t be enough to hide him – I felt the atmosphere pulling in around him, like he was a center of gravity.

“I’m… I’m not,” I tried pathetically to cover my surprise. I hadn’t expected to feel so cagey.

He kissed my cheek quickly then the smile was back. “Want me to take off my hat?”

I dragged him toward the car. We’d have a dog pile on the sidewalk if so much as a single person spotted him. Of course his girly laugh didn’t help much. When we were safely into the car, he tossed his hat at me.

He took me home to change, but told me only to wear something casual. I found a sweater in my closet, brushed my hair and came out to find him elbow-deep in my underwear drawer.

“Bring these,” he tossed something over, I caught it and folded, holding it up. Plain white bikini underwear. He looked from them to me.

“Boy scout,” I laughed.

As we drove across town, my stomach growled loudly. Not five minutes later he pulled into the parking lot at a sushi restaurant. It was nearly seven and the place was hopping. I took a deep breath, wondering if this was it.

“Wait a sec,” he said as he parked, then came around my side and opened the door. It made me giggle. I climbed out, right into his chest as he stood there unmoving. There was an unfamiliar look in his eye.

“Front door or kitchen door?” he asked. That was it: simple, immediate and up to me.

Deep breath. “Is it too soon?”

He shrugged. “Maybe.” His hand slipped into mine, warm and solid. “Maybe not.”

I knew what it was then, the look in his eye that I didn’t recognize. It was fear. Not just fear of being seen, or being seen with a girl, but fear that I would say no. Eventually this would have to happen. Maybe if we said it was no big deal then it was no big deal.

“Front door.”

The smile he gave was worth the risk.
____

I don’t know what came over me. I’d never used the front door at this place even when I arrived by myself. But something told me this was the time, that the longer we waited the scarier it would get. That morning I had told myself that Evie’s life needed to be as important as mine if we were going to work. But there was also no way it could work without this.

“Front door,” she said. I nearly fainted.

The restaurant was packed and we were headed upstairs to the private room. I held her hand, kept my head up and lead her through the crowded room. People saw me – it passed through the diners like a wave. I always felt their recognition even as I tried not to acknowledge it. I was just a person on his way to dinner, holding hands with a beautiful girl. It was perfectly normal for my palms to be sweating, right?

“Evie!” Jordan shouted as she topped the stairs. He wore a plaid shirt with rolled up sleeves and jeans – he was a giant cowboy at heart. He hugged her then Flower and Vero did the same. Kris came around the table, with someone right behind him.

“Beth!” Evie said. Her roommate smiled like she’d been crowned Miss America. She hugged Evie then stepped back into Kris’s arm. Evie looked from one to the other and moaned in jealous disbelief.

I draped my arm over her shoulder. “Again with the thinking about my friends!”

We sat around a u-shaped table with a sushi conveyor in the middle, grabbing dishes as they went by. Jordan was next to Evie and tried almost every plate. When he reached for another, Evie took the last from underneath his arm.

“Hey!”

“I don’t get any food if you sit before me!” she said. Watching her eat sushi was adorable – the pieces were big but there was no silverware, meaning every slice was one huge mouthful. Evie gave up after a couple and took to biting them in half.

“Having trouble fitting that in your mouth, Evie?” Max called from across the table. I would have hit him if he were any closer, but she didn’t even pause.

“Just warming up for the big game later,” she deadpanned, pressing her leg against mine under the table.

For the second time in two nights, she made Flower choke on his drink.

An hour later we were back on the road. Max loved to plan activities. Mostly he loved to see and be seen in the newest and coolest places. So I parked next to him at the aquarium.

“You are a sick bastard, Max. You take us for sushi, then to the aquarium?” Evie asked. She held my bicep in both hands, tucked in against my side. This would be even more public that the restaurant but she showed no hesitation.

Night. Life. read the sign across the front of the building and people in all sorts of dress made their way inside. The lights were lower than usual and bars had been setup in the foyer. Music thumped through the place, different kinds coming from different directions. The huge rotating cylinder tank was lit so the tropical fish seemed to glow in the dark.

We bought beers and a few people in line give us slaps on the back, saying hello. Evie followed me toward the coral reef, Max leading the way. We walked from tank to tank, examining tiny fish and marveling at the big ones that swam in slow circles, seeming to stare back at us.

“Look at that one,” she whispered. I took the excuse to get very close and press a tiny kiss to her ear. She didn’t turn. “I ate that one for dinner!”

It had been a long time since I’d visited an aquarium, but the experience was totally different in the nightlife setting. Evie bobbed to the music, bumping against me in a delightful way. We shed our coats and I kept a hand around her waist. With so many exotic things to look at no one was noticing us, but it still felt great to be in a public place with her. First hurdle: cleared.

She went right to the glass at the octopus tank, squeezing in front of Jordan. The octopus was climbing the glass, its suckers stuck to the opposite side barely an inch from her face. If she’d been five years old she couldn’t have looked more excited. As it moved, the suckers stuck and released – within seconds we were all pressed to the glass.

“Octopus!” Flower yelled and wrapped himself around Vero, flailing his arms and making her scream. They collapsed into giggles that gave me a pang of jealousy – I wanted that kind of closeness.

Evie seemed to sense it and came close to me. Then she shook like she was being electrocuted and whispered, “Jellyfish!”

The tank was behind me and it was even cooler than the octopus. Translucent jellyfish drifted motionless in black light, eerie and ethereal in their stillness. It made me hold my breath. Evie turned her chest into my arm, lifted onto her toes and planted a kiss on my cheek.

“This is fun,” she whispered. “Now take me to the crocodile!”
____

By the time we were done oohing and aahing, it was past 10 PM. I yawned so big I had to cover my face with both hands. The boys laughed at me.

“Somebody keeping you up at night?” Jordan asked, blonde hair sticking out from under his baseball cap like a little leaguer.

“It’s true that they say about professional athletes,” I said.

“What?” he asked, suddenly excited. The giant puppy wants a treat. “What do they say? I don’t know.”

I rolled my eyes. “Guess no one’s ever said it about you then.”

They gave up the fight and let us go home. It was cold out as we reached our respective cars. I realized that in less than a week these guys had become my friends and I hadn’t even noticed. That’s how great they were. I wrapped Max up in a bear hug.

“Thanks, Max,” I whispered.

“You were perfect,” he said.

Sidney fired up the heat and the seat warmers, which were my favorite part of his fancy ride. We waited for the car to warm up. Six days, I kept thinking. Six days.

“Your car is still at the arena,” he pointed out. I just nodded. “Want to get it?” I shook my head. We drove back to his place. Again I’d packed something for the morning just in case. I took last night’s t-shirt off the chair where I’d hung it and slipped it back on. Sidney was in bed first, looking like the world’s most incredible body pillow. Instead of giving me the far side, he moved over. I slid in next to him.

“I made it warm for you.”

I couldn’t help put lay on my back and look up at him. The brown of his eyes seemed black in the dim lighting, bottomless. His pale skin glowed healthily. And that smile… I smiled back.

“Thank you,” Sidney said. “I know it’s….”

I knew it too and so I couldn’t let him finish. This was not a night to be ended with apologies for things we couldn’t change.

“Can’t wait to do it again,” I told him.
____

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chapter Six

I could get used to this.

Evie was asleep against my side, her head on my chest and my arm around her back. Somehow the blanket had rolled completely around us like a cocoon, and we were trapped. As if I wanted to move. Feeling the shallow, even rise and fall of her breathing I looked around the room in the weak morning light.

Four ornate-looking posters were lined up across from the bed – each one an etching of a woman beneath a flowery awning in different poses and shades. The titles said, in French, that they represented the four times of day: morning, afternoon, evening and night. They were beautiful and evocative, with a hint of something whimsical. I thought they were a good match for Evie herself. Along the far wall, a few classic movie posters hung in frames: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singing in the Rain. The room was full of color, from scarves draped haphazardly over the corner of her dresser to the bright stripes on a bag sticking out the closet door. On her nightstand, just within arm’s reach, was a paperback copy of a book called One Day and I read a few pages until she stirred beneath the covers.

Her leg slipped over mine, turning her body until she was nearly on top of me. “You’re so warm,” she purred. I ditched the book and wrapped around her, keeping the blanket up. She fit so nicely, my arms perfectly comfortable crossed behind her lower back. It had been a long time since I woke up next to the same girl two mornings in a row, and possibly the first time I’d ever wanted to make it a serious habit.

She lifted her head, one eye squinting against the light. “What time is practice?”

“Morning skate today, game tonight. Will you come?”

Her soft lips twisted like she was thinking. “Hmmm, Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, so many things to do….” I kissed that look right off her face until she held me as tightly as I held her.

“I don’t want you to be late two days in a row,” I lied, because I definitely didn’t want to let go.

“I’m pretty sure ‘I was in bed with Sidney Crosby’ is an acceptable excuse around here. I might need a note though, or no one will believe me.”

“If you want a doctor’s note, you have to submit to a full body examination.”

She giggled and rubbed against me, making me groan. If we didn’t get up now we never would, but it also meant no fun before the game. Having sex on game days was a constant point of contention among coaches and players; they wanted us to save our energy. Try convincing Max or Jordan to keep it in their pants for anything less than the Stanley Cup final.

“Come on, Cros. I’m not getting blamed for you dragging your ass around the ice tonight.”

I rolled on top of her, just long enough to show her that I really, really disagreed. But I got up all the same. “You sure you want me thinking about it all day long? I have like eight hours to think up things to do to you later.”

She walked naked to the dresser, opened the top drawer and fished out a pair of panties then stepped into them, pulling the simple cotton fabric up her long legs and settling it over her perfect ass. It was another pair of those bikinis I loved, this time white ones with a tiny pink bow just below each of her hip bones. I groaned and tossed around in the bed. Evie climbed right back onto me, pinning the blankets so I could move or touch her. Her tongue slipped past my lips and she pressed her crotch to mine, rolling her hips down.

“So… mean…,” I breathed. “I will make you pay for this later.”

The smile on her face didn’t reach her eyes – there I saw only lust. “Wouldn’t want you to waste the whole day thinking up something boring.”
____

I left the bathroom door open and stood before the mirror in just my panties, brushing my teeth. Sidney sat up in bed, watching me from behind and occasionally meeting my eyes in the mirror. I combed my hair, put on a little makeup, then balanced the ball of my foot on the edge of the counter and started rubbing scented lotion into my skin.

“Dear God!” he moaned, flopping back to the mattress.

Getting dressed was difficult, and I debated whether or not I already needed to change my panties. I zipped into a pair of trousers then let Sidney pick my sweater. He finally got out of bed as I was putting on my earrings. Those pouty lips touched the place where my fingers had fastened the clasp against my lobe. He pulled on last night’s clothes and was ready to go when I was.

He reached for the door knob to let us out of the apartment, then changed his mind and pushed me against it instead. We’d shared a toothbrush, so he tasted familiar and clean. He was heavy and solid, like sleep itself and my entire body cried out to be taken. I may have whimpered. Sidney wasn’t doing much better, but he was grinding against my hip.

“Wear my jersey again for the game?” he asked. Inviting him over last night had ulterior motives – yes I wanted him to myself, but I also wanted him to be comfortable. Whatever his fresh new feelings for me, Sidney was gorgeous, famous, a hero. I figured the only reason the world never saw him with a girl was because he didn’t let them.

His hot chocolate-colored eyes were concerned. My heart squeezed, knowing this wasn’t easy for him – wanting to move forward, worried what could happen. But it didn’t really have to mean something; there would be thousands of people in Crosby jerseys at the game. In the arena I was just another girl with an impossible crush.

“Can I keep it on after?” I smiled.

He made a face. “Stop stealing my ideas!!”

I hummed to myself throughout the day, doing a terrible job of keeping the smile off my face. If anyone wondered what I was up to, they didn’t ask. And they certainly never could have guessed. Beth agreed to be my date and met me for dinner before the game.

“I see you left most the apartment intact,” she said, taking a seat across from me at a nearby cafĂ©. “And there were only a few handprints on the foggy mirror.”

I covered my face – any damage had been done the first night, but we certainly hadn’t taken last night to put the place back together. Beth laughed at my expression.

“I take it everything is good in fantasy hockey player dream date land?”

“Seems that way. It’s been what, 5 days? Barely? It’s like Freaky Friday and I’ve traded lives with someone really, really lucky.”

She shrugged, her classic laid-back demeanor accepting even this in stride. “Hey, it beats the hell out of trying to get picked up in the supermarket.”
____

I was dressed, halfway through my pre-game peanut butter and jelly when Jordan caught me staring at my phone. I tried to shove it in my pocket, but I was wearing under armor and only succeeded in dropping it to the floor in a clatter.

“Easy, dude. If you act all weird she’ll know it’s you’re a virgin.” He gave me a goofy smile, two inches of blond hair sticking out crazily from all around his ball cap. I opened my mouth to chirp back but my mind was blank.

“Should I call her?”

Jordan rolled his eyes theatrically. “If you don’t, you’ll be thinking about trying not to think about it and then you’ll just ask me again in an hour. So yes, because you are very annoying.”

I threw a piece of bread at him as he left. Then I hit my speed dial. She answered late in the ring, like she’d been searching for her phone. “It’s 5:06. Are you eating a PB&J?”

It caught me off guard and I laughed sharply, like a girl. Oh God, I suck. But Evie laughed too. “It’s not fair all this stuff you know about me!”

“Well I paid ten dollars a month for HBO, just wanted to get my money’s worth.”

“I… I just wanted to say hi.” I cringed at my own lameness. Should have asked Max for help.

“Making good on your promise to think about me all day?” she asked. I could hear the smile in her voice, and the single low note in her tone that told me she had been thinking about the same thing. I had to clear my throat.

“Yes.”

“Good. And good luck tonight. We’ll come down and flash you during the warm-up.”

“Careful,” I told her. “Max will moon you right back.” We said goodbye and I held the phone in my hand for an extra moment. Now I could think about the game, at least with most of my brain.

By the time we hit the ice I was as focused as ever. I had to remind myself to check the stands for her, but I was glad for the break. One of my goals for the season was to get a little better work-life balance, so that when work ended early like it did last year, it wouldn’t take me all summer to get over the surprise.

At first I didn’t see her, but it wasn’t long before Cookie pointed her out. She wore a Pens Winter Classic hat pulled down over her dark hair and a navy blue sweatshirt zipped up to her chin. She gave a tiny wave of mitten, our eyes locked together as if there weren’t five thousand people in the arena. We just stared at each other like some kind of stupid movie until Jordan ripped a shot at the boards. It hit the glass right in front of her, making her scream. Everyone around her jumped too. Evie took off her glove, pointed at Jordan and jerked her thumb over her shoulder like she wanted to take it outside. Then she put up her fists. The tiny scowl on her face was so serious and ridiculous that Jordan doubled over laughing.

I smacked him with my stick, both as a captain and to defend Evie’s honor, and gave her a last smile. She pointed at Jordan like she wouldn’t forget.

“Sure you can keep up with one?” Duper said, skidding to a stop next to me.

“Not at all.”
____

Live hockey had always made me nervous, but I was a basket case watching the Pens. Every time Kris went down to block a shot I saw him cooking in Sid’s kitchen. Jordan plastered someone to the boards but all I could think of was him plowing a space for us on the dance floor at Tre. When Flower took one off the helmet I yelped.

Beth handed me a fresh beer. “I spiked it with Xanax.”

“I’m not that bad!” I said, covering my half-unraveled glove with my free hand. Beth leaned across in front of me and spoke to the guy in the next seat.

“She’s nuts right?” she asked. He nodded with a smile. “You’d think she knew them right?”

I slapped her hard on the leg and she smacked me back, but she shut up.

The Pens eventually scored two goals, one by Tyler Kennedy and one by Kris, who managed to lose his helmet in the process. His goal-scoring celebration appeared to happen in slow motion, all that dark hair rippling in the breeze like a shampoo commercial. Beth breathed out.

“Cor, I want that one.”

I toasted against her beer. “Wait till you hear his accent.”

We waited until most of the stands had cleared out, then someone come to escort us downstairs. I felt much better with Beth there, since the lounge was full of wives and girlfriends again. This time I kept Sidney’s jersey on – everyone already knew, or they would soon. Those women I’d met two nights before remembered me and I was happy to see friendly faces. Then there were the same few with skeptical sneers like I didn’t belong there, least of all wearing 87 on my back.

“Woah, tough crowd,” Beth whispered. Matt Cooke’s wife chatted happily about the game as she kept intercepting her young son at the snack table. Another tyke in a Pens’ sweatshirt decided I was a tree and he was a monkey. He was halfway up my leg when his father came in.

“Hey Kody, no climbing the new girl!” Pascal Dupuis said, pulling him off me. “Sorry Evie, he is very friendly.”

“He’s making me feel very welcome.” Pascal’s wife came over, carrying their newborn. They were the perfectly cute couple. We were discussing kids’ names when Max arrived. I instantly felt relieved – I may as well have known Max forever for the way he put me at ease. Something about his swagger and good-natured humor made everything he said the truth. If Max liked me, I figured everyone else would too.

“You’re barely married a week and already talking babies?” he laughed, but he petted the infant’s dark hair with real affection. “I suppose they’d be cute though, as long as they don’t have Sid’s lips. Come on, I’ll take you inside.”

“Beth,” I called. She excused herself from Cooke’s wife but didn’t make it even halfway to me.

“Hello, ma chere. Je suis Max.” He had her hand to his lips and one eyebrow wagging. I laughed out loud. Beth simply smiled at him.

“So you’re the one,” she said.

He pretended to look shocked. “I am only the one for you, chaton.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Max led the way and hollered into the locker room, “Ladies coming in!” He paused then there was a momentary crash that sounded like a building tipping over. “That’ll be Jordan getting undressed again. Pretend to be surprised.”

But no one was naked. They were all dressed and ready to go – and I realized they’d been waiting for me to arrive. Two nights, two games… they were trying to figure out who I was going to be. Only Sidney, smack in the middle of the room, was completely unaware. He stood, black suit hugging and draping in all the right places and I hissed in a sharp breath at the sight of him.

“Hey.” He moved toward me, but it was a little awkward. Should we kiss? Most of the team had seen us kiss in the club, but that’s hardly the same as in the locker room under full lights. Some kind of statement would be made here and that’s why they’d stayed

But Sidney really didn’t know. Or he didn’t care. I saw the moment, three steps away, when he decided. His eyes set, his shoulders relaxed an inch and he put his hands on my cheeks. “Hey,” he repeated. Then he kissed me squarely on the lips.

His mouth was so soft and his hands so warm, it made my heart flutter. I knew everyone in the room was staring, so I slowly lifted one foot off the floor like I was Audrey Hepburn kissing Gregory Peck. It was all the permission the guys needed – they whooped and cat-called at full volume.

Sidney blushed, breaking away. “Morons,” he said under his breath. Beth poked me in the side.

“Oh, Beth. This is Sidney. You’ve uh… met already.”

He looked away, embarrassed, but Beth didn’t do embarrassed. “So this is what you look like standing up,” she said nice and loud. Now he really blushed. She patted his shoulder in apology.

“Hi,” Jordan appeared over us like the Eiffel Tower. “I’m Jordan. Sid’s friend. Evie’s friend. I’m friends with Evie.” Max was right behind him. Beth played nice but kept glancing past them toward where Kris was punching something into his phone. Max finally got the hint.

“Tanger, don’t be rude you French bastard. Say hello to the pretty lady.”

Kris looked up then did a double-take. Beth was very pretty – dark blond hair cut to her chin, a broad smile and an enviable body. He quickly slid his phone into his pocket. Then he ran a hand through his hair and again, time got a little slow, a little sticky. We both sighed out loud.

“For the love of God!” Jordan threw his hands up and wheeled away. Kris smiled like he’d just won a hand of poker. Two seconds later he was talking to Beth in a very low voice. She leaned in so close you’d think she was hearing through the zipper of her jeans.
____

I had my arm around Evie’s waist as we watched her friend fall for Kris’ charms. It took about ten seconds – a considerable hold out on Beth’s part, compared to how long it usually took Tanger to work his magic.

“Flower invited us over, if you want. Vero is sick but she wants to see you.”

Evie smiled. “She’s so sweet! Can we bring her something?”

“I brought games to play, they’re in the car.”

A handful of the guys decided to join us, including Kris who offered Beth a ride. Soon Flower’s driveway was a parking lot of black sports cars and SUVs. Vero greeted us at the door in very stylish matching sweats.

“Yay! I have been so lonely today and now you are here!” She threw her arms around Evie, which made my heart squeeze. I relied on my friends a lot to help me see people’s real intentions. I’d been burned a few times by fake friends – not all of them girls – who were looking to latch on to what they thought was a glamorous life. If they liked Evie this much, especially Vero, then I knew she was a really good catch.

And it was a good thing. Because I’d only known Evie for five days and one round into Scattegories I was sure she was the girl of my dreams.

The instant the timer had been flipped she went to work, firing off answers and looking for mine, quickly and efficiently deciding which option was best and moving on. The letter had been W and we already had twice as many points as any other team.

“Uh oh,” Jordan said, clearly unhappy with TK as his teammate. “Evie’s just like Sid. This ought to be really fun.” His tone made it clear that meant not fun at all.

I wasn’t listening. “I might ask you to marry me for real,” I told her so everyone could hear.

“Two more rounds and we’ll trade, Jordan. You can be on my team. Then we’ll be the smartest and the best looking,” she said. He grinned like a kid with candy.

Flower interrupted.  "I know you're new, Evie, but please stop calling me Jordan."

She did in fact leave my team and won a few rounds with Jordan. TK suggested we switch to a game where everyone played for themselves, so we chose one called ‘One Liners’ that Max had brought. It gave you a category and you had to fill in the blank, trying not to put the same answer as anyone else. It started stupidly enough.

“Things you shouldn’t have to pay for… happy endings,” was one submission.

And got dirtier.

“Things you shouldn’t do with glue… lesbians.”

Evie laughed at every one, even admitting to writing a few zingers. But the more raucous it got, the closer I knew we were coming to the personal jokes. The locker room humor left nothing out.

Kris read the next ballot. “Things that should come first… Evie.”

The room was silent for a beat. The she said, “Well that’s not Sidney’s.”

Flower choked on his beer. He actually had to get up and run for the sink. Jordan lay back onto the floor, his massive frame just shaking with laughter. I put my head in my hand and silently sentenced them all the wind sprints in the morning.

Her arms went around my neck and she pressed against my side. “Only kidding!” she told everyone. But the damage had been done. She was one of the boys now.
____

I fished myself a beer from the fridge and turned as Max came into the kitchen wearing an ear-to-ear grin. He stopped expectantly.

“Thanks for that one, Max.” I knew he’d written it. Of course he had. He probably meant it too – something about the scruffy beard and the open buttons at the neck of his shirt said that the lucky lady always got treated right. But that wasn’t the point.

“It’s gonna be a joke in the locker room regardless,” he shrugged. “Better if you’re in on it, eh?”

I had a good idea that the guys held nothing back from each other. Sidney seemed a little shy about that stuff, but maybe not. Every guy at that table could already know what I looked like naked and what I sounded like when I came. Max was right; I might as well be in on the game. He took my contemplation as hesitation.

“Sid didn’t say anything, though….”

I cut him off. I wasn’t worried. “Then I’d better give him something to talk about.”
_____

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chapter Five

I had never overslept a day in my life, but I did that morning. Sometime in the night one of us had pulled the blanket down from the back of the couch. It wasn’t big but we were curled so tightly together that it covered all but my feet. Evie slept on her side with her head on my arm. Light was pouring in the windows when I finally came around.

Thank God that was real, was my first thought.

Oh shit I have to leave, was my second.

“Evie,” I whispered. “Evie.”

She nuzzled her face into my bicep, away from the thin curtains that did nothing to darken the room. The barest motion was enough to send my heart rate off the chart, zinging wildly through my body. I was sore in all the right places and they were all pressed to her bare skin.

“Baby, I have practice.” Distantly my brain registered the term of endearment, but I liked it.

“Hockey is cancelled,” she whined. “Canada is closed.”

I laughed as she dragged an arm free and rubbed her eyes. Then she peeked under the blanket. “You can’t go to practice, you’re naked.”

I should have left ten minutes ago, since I had to drive to Sewickley before coming back to the rink. But the Penguins were going to have to wait a damn minute today. I squeezed her in as tightly as I could and kissed her neck right up to her ear. She turned. “I threw your clothes out the window.”

I lifted my head. One leg of my pants was visible in the doorway, where I’d dropped them barely inside the door last night. “I can borrow some of yours.”

“I have sweatpants that say Bootylicious across the ass,” she offered. “It’s a long word, so they’re pretty big.” I rolled over until I had her pinned face down and put all my weight on her back. She groaned theatrically. Her cell phone rang in the distance.

“I’m totally late for work,” she said.

I let her up and she turned over, facing me. It was a compromising position to say the least. Her face turned serious as she rested her head, our lips less than an inch apart.

“What?” I asked. Please don’t… whatever. Please don’t take this away.

“Last night was awesome,” she said with a slow, teasing smile.

I exhaled deeply. “Imagine how good tonight is going to be.”

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I sat on the couch, wrapped in the blanket and decided I didn’t care about being late for work. Sidney Crosby was naked in my hallway, walking in an out of where I could see, searching for his underwear.

“Did you hide them?” he asked, stopping in the door. Then he put one forearm against the frame, higher than his head, and leaned his entire naked self across the narrow space. He even crossed one foot over the other and just smirked at me.

I didn’t bother trying to close my mouth. He was wide and thick and smooth and I actually drooled as he popped the muscle in his outstretched bicep, strong enough to shift his whole body with the smallest movement.

“I wish I hid them,” I admitted. Then I pointed behind him, where my coat had been pushed up against the wall. He lifted it from the floor and found his shorts. As he stepped into them, bending that incredible ass right over in my line of sight, I whimpered like a sad puppy.

He threw my underwear over his shoulder.

When he was dressed he felt it was safe to come near again. I stood, dropped the blanket and earned myself a rueful smile. Now that we’d been together a lot of our pretense was gone. We wanted each other like crazy. I would never have imagined he would kiss me in front of a club full of people – not Sidney Crosby – but he’d gone right out there and made it count.

“Evie, I need to see you tonight.”

I unwrapped my bare arms from around his massive shoulders. “Hurry.”

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“Ooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwowowowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” Jordan howled as I tried to sneak into the locker room unnoticed. So much for that. Instant applause broke out and I felt myself blush furiously.

“Well well, nice of you to join us,” Coach said. But he was smiling too. “She leave you any energy to work with today?”

I took the slap on the shoulder and the rest of the comments that rained down as I hurried to get my gear on. Geno congratulated me again and took all the credit for my empty net goal. Kris made a rude remark in French and Flower choked on his water. When they’d gotten over the initial hilarity of me actually getting laid, Max took a seat next to my locker.

“Good night?” he asked. For once the pervy Frenchman didn’t actually want the salacious details. Well, he did, but he actually wanted to know if things went my way.

“Incredible. Thanks bro.” I knew he’d done a lot last night to smooth the edges, to get Evie in and make sure I met her halfway. My inner Max-im monologue.

He smiled triumphantly. “Now bring her around again so we can all try to steal her.”

The boys got tired of chirping after a while and when practice was over I went home. It was barely noon and I was watching the clock, waiting for 5 PM. Or did she get off at 6? I had no idea, nor did I have any clue what I was going to do when I saw her again. Actually I had all kinds of ideas but I figured it would be rude to rip her clothes off in the foyer and then fake her death so I could have her to myself forever.

I laid down and tried to nap, tired from being up late and looking forward to over exerting myself again soon. But my mind wouldn’t shut up.

Despite kissing her in the club, I was still wary of taking her to anything too public. The risk was too big and I had to be sure she knew what she was getting herself into. Thank God I met her in Canada, I thought. At least she’ll have some sense of what my life is like. A nice dinner out would be tricky unless we drove to West Virgina, and sitting next to her in a dark movie theater and having to behave myself sounded like the worst kind of torture. I didn’t know what she liked, what she ate, where she hung out. Before two hours were up I had a stomach ache from worrying.

My phone beeped a text. She was still in my phone under her original name.

Wife: I have the apt to myself tonight.

Me: Not anymore.

Wife: 7 PM.

Me: Dinner?

Wife: Just pack your PJs.

Guess that was sorted.

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I’m not ashamed to say that zero work was accomplished that day. I seriously contemplated the logistics of putting mostly-naked Kris Letang in an American Eagle ad, but my mind kept replacing him with Sidney, and removing even those few items of clothing. Every time that image popped up I shifted in my seat, aware that I probably walked like I’d spent the weekend horseback riding.

I wanted to see him. I was crazy turned on by how much he wanted to see me again, and soon. He was trying to be cool but the urgency had been all over his face when he’d kissed me goodbye a hundred times before literally sprinting down the stairs. But I was nervous – we’d gotten away with one in the club; everyone was good and drunk before we did anything worth seeing. In a restaurant the whole world would look toward him. In a movie, I’d get us both arrested for lewd acts. What I really wanted was to build a fort out of blankets and hunker down for the winter. I waited as long as I could, in case he was making plans, but then I just had to act. I needed something to focus on before I levitated above my desk.

“Beth,” I said before she got out a greeting. “Can you stay out again tonight?”

She laughed loudly, probably disrupting the entire doctor’s office where she worked. “Why, do you have another date with your husband? Jeez, Evie you two were like rabbits last night – ten more minutes and I would have gotten the real show of the century.”

“I couldn’t help it! That almost went down in a club. And in a car. And on the fucking front stoop of our building! I just…,” I put my hand over my face. “Beth, what am I doing? That’s Sidney Crosby! This is… this is crazy.”

I had gone outside, into the cold air where I knew no one would be hanging around to hear me. I suddenly needed to sit down but there was no place to go.

“Hey, easy babe. You like him, right? I mean, as a person? He’s funny and dorky and smart and all that nonsense you were going on about when you got home?”

“Yes.”

“So take a deep breath and just relax. He obviously likes you too. I mean, you went to the game and he’s all Sidney Crosby but that doesn’t mean he has to bring it home. When are you seeing him again?”

“Uh… tonight?”

I heard her give herself, or her desk, a high-five. “Get it girl! Okay listen, I think you should have him over. I’ll vacate. Just hang out and hump each other on the kitchen table and pretend he’s not Hockey Jesus. Make sure he’s worth freaking out over before you start freaking out.”

“Okay,” I said, feeling a little better.

“And Evie, mop up afterward.”

I disconnected and sent Sid a message. If it’s possible to seem relieved via text, he did.

Closing time was still a ways off when I packed it up for the day. Every minute that ticked off was one more butterfly in my stomach. I stopped at the market for food then cleaned up the apartment while dinner cooked, keeping myself busy. In the ultimate gesture of feigned modesty, I changed the sheets on my bed.

At five minutes to seven, the buzzer rang. Sidney Crosby is ringing my doorbell, I thought. I beeped him, jumped up and down for five seconds and opened the door.

“Hey,” he said from the top of the stairs. He wore a dark blue v-neck sweater over a white t-shirt and jeans. His skin was so healthy it made me want to drink a glass of milk. Everything about him screamed vitality – not just his size or obvious strength, but the thickness of his hair and the whites of his eyes all seemed almost unnaturally perfect.

I stood stupidly in the doorway as he came down the short hall.

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My footsteps echoed across the lobby of her building and it was the only thing that kept me from running up the stairs. I didn’t want her to hear me stumbling and tripping in a hurry to get to her. So when she opened the door as I was on the last flight, I made myself slow an extra measure. It was worth it for the view.

Evie wore jeans and a t-shirt like some girls wore lingerie. The tiny hole in the denim above the knee on her right leg made me want to kiss that exact spot on her body. A bright yellow vintage-looking top with “Jimmy Buffett” written across it in red letters hugged her like I planned to do. Her long dark hair fell forward over her shoulder and she looked surprised.

“Were you expecting someone else?” I asked. She was the perfect size and like Tetris I sped up as I got closer, wanting to fit right in there.

“You are…,” she stopped, blushing and just shook her head.

“No, you are.” I picked her up around the waist, feet off the floor and carried her inside. We were kissing before the door closed.

She was everything I remembered and a million things I’d added from my imagination. Her neck smelled faintly of vanilla. Best of all she kissed me like she’d been waiting all day to do it. Or maybe that was me. Ten seconds later we pulled away, panting. Then we both laughed. I was half-hard, she was trembling and it wasn’t even seven o’clock yet.

“I had a whole plan for being cool,” I told her, my arms still locked at her back.

She rubbed my earlobes between her fingers and smiled up at me. “I’m the cool one around here.”

The small kitchen was a mess of plates and cutting boards but it smelled divine. A big stock pot bubbled on the stove and another pan behind it popped and sizzled. There was no sign of a cookbook or recipe and every jar within arm’s reach was half-empty. Evie moved gracefully, reaching and turning like a little dance. She handed me plates and silver, then a corkscrew and a bottle of wine.

“I could have brought wine!” I said, but she just chased me away.

She carried out two bowls of salad and pulled her chair in close to mine. The table was square, so we faced each other and sat next to each other. I made a mental note to only ever buy square tables again. I raised my glass to her.

“Thanks for having me over.”

She clinked hers against mine. “I just needed someone to help me clean up after last night.”

The salad was warm greens with baked butternut squash. It sounded weird but tasted insane. I would gladly have eaten only that, but Evie brought out two more dished heaped with andouille sausage jambalaya, not too spicy, and I decided right then and there I was absolutely, definitely in love with her.

We ate quietly for a few minutes, the good food an excuse to cover that we still felt a little awkward together. Finally she drained her wine and proposed a game.

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When I told myself I wanted him to lick my plate clean, I hadn’t been talking about dinner. But the appreciative noises and compliments about the food were charming my pants right off. Then he could be dessert and I could be the cherry.

“Let’s play Two Truths and a Lie,” I suggested. I wanted to know all about him, everything and anything, but I worried it would come off like an interview. And his interviews were deadly boring. This would make it fair, because I’d have to tell as much or as little as he did. “I’ll tell you three things about me. Two are true, you have to guess which one is a lie.”

Sidney leaned over the table, still eating, and nodded. I started off easy: I have a brother, a toboggan and a race horse. He guessed the race horse was a lie.

“Nope. My parents have a few horses, and one is a retired racehorse. His name is Surley Temple and if I were a drag queen, that’s definitely what I’d be called.” I pushed my finished plate away, proud of my dinner. “I’ll have to borrow your toboggan though.”

He went next: He could water ski, liked gummy bears and drank a half gallon of milk a day.

“There’s no way you eat gummy bears.” I guessed correctly.

It went on: I was the valedictorian of my high school class, he had never gone to the prom, I was left handed, he could never bite into a popsicle. Then he volunteered a surprising piece of information.

“I won a Stanley Cup, a Gold Medal and I had my first kiss when I was twelve.” The way his full lips formed the word ‘kiss’ made it hard to listen to what he said. But still the first two were obviously true.

“Lie, you weren’t twelve.” We were close together across the edge of the table. He moved his plate and put his hand on my arm. I’d had a single glass of wine but I didn’t need it to feel languid and dangerous.

“I was sixteen. Driving a car, never been kissed.” He didn’t look embarrassed, just honest like he thought it was a little funny.

“What was her name?”

“Sara McDonald. It wasn’t very memorable, she said after that she didn’t like me anymore.”

I took my thumb from my chin and ran it along his bottom lip. “What do you think she’s saying now?”

He kissed my finger, then me. It was a sweet kiss, our first kiss that didn’t involve groping and fumbling. But it melted my insides all the same. His mouth was soft against mine, the slight taste of brown sugar lingering from the salad. I traced along his strong jaw line.

“Sixteen, eh? You learned pretty quickly.”

“The more you practice, the better you get.”

We cleared the table and he insisted on washing the dishes. That gorgeous blue sweater went up over his giant forearms and I leaned against the counter, watching the little pink tip of his tongue wedged into the corner of his mouth as he scrubbed at the stock pot. Then I went around and just admired his body: broad shoulders tapering down into a narrow waist, that magnificent ass. Sidney looked over his shoulder but kept his comments to himself.

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I felt like an idiot for having shown up empty-handed. Of course we’d be eating. I hadn’t even thought to ask if I could bring anything. But Evie really didn’t seem to care. The least I could do was clean up the mess. I didn’t want her thinking about it later when we were busy doing other things. She made me leave the dishes in the rack and dragged me into the living room to the couch where I’d fallen asleep naked just eighteen hours before. She kicked off her shoes and pulled me down next to her.

That’s what I’m talking about. My arm went around her shoulders and I lifted her knees, turning her body across mine as she flipped channels. When she stopped on some movie station showing The Rock, I leaned us both over until we were laying down, tangled together.

“Mmmm,” she murmured, snuggling into my chest. I kissed her temple and rested my face alongside hers. If I hadn’t seen the movie a hundred times I couldn’t have told you what it was about. I just felt her warmth and the curve of her hip, the weight of her leg thrown over mine. That hint of vanilla on her skin made me want to lick it and see if she tasted like frosting. My fingers cheated under the hem of her shirt, grazing the bare skin above her hip. I moved forward over the gentle rise in her abs, then circled her belly button. The muscles fluttered beneath my touch.

“Oh my God!” she rolled flat onto her back, face turned toward mine. “Pants off, now.” She squeezed her thigh between mine and pushed her whole self against my lap.

“You don’t want to watch the movie?” I tried to tease her but my hard-on was working its way up her leg.

“You’ve been moaning in my ear for the last ten minutes. Don’t try to tell me if was for Nicolas Cage.”

She pulled me up and I obediently followed to her bedroom. Nothing about the room had registered last night except that she was in it and I was in her. Now I saw that it was filled with her life. I wanted to open every book, examine every photo. But she was not having it.

“You are…,” she said, nipping my neck, “making me…,” she moved to my ear, “crazy.”

We stripped each other bare, kissing each new piece of exposed skin. Her breasts fit perfectly into the palms of my hands. She twisted my bottom lip between her teeth as her hands dipped into my pants. I got her down to her panties and she moved away, laying back on the bed and letting me look her over. Her long, strong legs were pale against the burgundy blanket, the dark patch of hair visible beneath the lace where they met. She wore those little bikini panties I loved: they made me think of campfires and the first snowflakes and breaking curfew to make out under the scoreboard at the rink. Of all the things I’d missed out on as a kid.

I put my knee down between hers, stretched myself out and lay on top of her perfect body. She caught my lips with a kiss so gentle it was almost chaste. We moved slowly. I tried to relax enough to touch her without coming immediately. She was ticklish on her sides, turning her head away to giggle like she didn’t want me to know. There were very faint freckles on her nose, a few more along the side of her neck. Her toenails were bright pink and I kissed her like I had all the time in the world.

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Sidney had a scar under his chin, a little raised line beneath the tip of my finger. There was another in the hair just above his right ear. His eyes were ten shades of brown, like a bottle of maple syrup held up to the light. At the base of his spine, where one set of muscles ended and another began, was a little tiny hot spot. His breath caught as I brushed it and when I pressed harder he moaned softly.

“Baby,” he called me, for only the second time.

It felt like forever before his fingers closed on the only piece of clothing I had left. When those were gone, he settled himself back over me and looked right into my eyes as the head of his cock pressed against my pulsing slit.

Eyes open, I kissed him as he slid inside.

“Sidney,” I whispered. He kept going for miles until I felt his thighs come to mine. He was in to the hilt and perfectly still. I squeezed the back of his neck and stared up at him. “Go.”

There was nothing frantic. We’d been a circus act our first time but now this was something else. His strokes were deep and deliberate. His abs fluttered from six pack to far more as he worked to control the same urges I felt. I arched my back, leaning on my hips and meeting him with measured thrusts. Our faces stayed together; our eyes closed only to kiss. A tiny bead of sweat broke out on his forehead and ran onto his cheek as he worked. I flicked the salty spot with my tongue. The rhythm was perfect, it gave us both pleasure but allowed us to keep going, to stay in control a little longer and enjoy something more than sex.

Few things ends on their highest note, but I’d already learned that being with Sidney was like a cliffhanger every time: it was incredible, shocking, giving you exactly what you thought you wanted as it made you realize there was so, so much more. He watched me come, watched my eyes drop closed and my lip catch between my teeth as I bit down against the sensation tearing through me. Then he waited until I was done and spent before making sure that I saw the moment my body claimed victory over his. He groaned quietly, pressing his face to mine as his hips locked and rocked. Three times he shook, a tiny cry signaling the last wave had passed. Our kiss swallowed the sound of ragged breathing.

It was barely over and already I was desperate for more.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chapter Four

A/N: Huge apology - I thought I'd posted a note at the bottom of the last chapter that I would be on vacation until today. So sorry! To make up for it, this chapter has everyone's favorite: adult content.
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“I think this is yours,” Sidney said.

I took a bite of my steak and chewed it. Yup, too rare. He slid his plate in front of me. Before passing, I ate a piece of broccoli off his. If you looked around the table, our two chairs were the closest together.

I got curious looks from a lot of the wives and girlfriends. I knew from lunch that Sid didn’t bring girls around often, and I had the feeling they were sizing me up. Vero clearly ruled the roost – the guys loved her and she had a million dollar personality. She was also young, gorgeous and her boyfriend was a superstar. She made sure everyone knew that I was with her too.

“Evie,” Max said from across the table, where he was talking with Vero. “You work for American Eagle?”

I nodded.

“Do you think they need some models? I mean, not to brag, but Tanger’s pretty fucking hot. I’ve seen him naked.” Two seats away, Kris choked on his pork chop.

“The idea of modeling is to wear clothes, Max. But I help decide what they should sell. Maybe we could bring back sleeveless shirts. Or start selling underwear. What do you think, Kris? Speedos?”

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I pulled up to the valet at the club. We usually used the back entrance, but I was drunk on her scent and the feeling of her name on my tongue. As the bouncer opened the rope and let us in the VIP entrance, I realized that I didn’t care if I was photographed going into a club with a girl. Not this girl.

The guys came to Diesel a lot. It was usually a good time, and the private balcony VIP room was perfect if I needed to hide out. But I hated the stairs – they were so exposed. The whole club watched them like a catwalk, and saw us climb up.

“Evie!” everyone shouted as we reached the top. She was hugging people, taking a drink from Jordan, laughing with Kris.

Eight hours and she’s best friends with these guys. One day and I’m losing my mind.

I watched how she mingled, Vero introducing her to still more people. The guys would welcome her, and give her a measure of respect because they knew I had no game and needed all the help I could get. Some of the women could be a different story. Frankly there were a few wives and girlfriends I didn’t like – they seemed like gold-diggers with shallow motives for being with my friends. A couple of them had made it known with various levels of discretion that they were looking to trade up if I was interested. I was not.

I didn’t like to think of myself as different from the guys, but I had to be realistic. A franchise player’s wife is generally the queen of her domain. Look at Gretzky’s Janet, or Mario’s wife Nathalie. Hell I lived with them, I knew that Nathalie was the real boss in a lot of ways. Normally I would not have subjected a girl to this so soon. But Evie didn’t look like she needed my protection.

Wife? Was I just thinking wife for real? Easy, killer.

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“Thank you,” I whispered to Max. He handed me a fresh drink and steered me over by the railing. “That’s a couple times today you have rescued me.”

“I said ‘at your service’ when we met, and I meant it. Besides, it gets a little hairy up here.” He’d just pulled me away from two of the fakest friendly girls I had ever met.

“I thought they were going to start ask me what Sid’s like in bed. I told them I only met him yesterday!”

Max just shook his head. “They’re free agents, going to the highest bidder.”

“Maybe it’s the last names. Would you want to be a Goligosky?”

He turned and leaned his back against the top rail. “How are things going with the Kid?”

I matched his pose and sipped my drink. Sidney was across the space, talking to Chris Kunitz. He glanced over and smiled. He’d shed his suit jacket and loosened his tie. The top two buttons on his blue shirt were open. He looked like Clark Kent – total beefcake unsuccessfully pretending he wasn’t the guy to save the world before carrying you off to his bed.

“How are you with inside information, Max?”

He gave me his best take-off-your-clothes smile. “Is there any other kind?”

“Does Sid do this often?” I asked.

“Nope. He’s under crazy pressure. He works harder than anyone, gets nothing but grief for it and still comes to work every day to give us all a job we love to do. He is the most intense person I know. He grew up fast, but in a lot of ways he’s really young. I sometimes worry that he’s forgotten how to have fun.” He drained his glass. “I’m telling you all the bad stuff! Sid is one of my best friends. He’s an excellent person and he needs someone fun and sexy to keep him sane. Know anybody who fits that description?”

“Yes Max, but I want you for myself. Sidney cannot have you.”

I got myself a fresh drink, then walked over to Sid. He excused himself from his conversation and met me in the middle of the room. “What does Max have to say?”

“Just telling him my favorite positions in bed.” I said. His eyes flew wide open. “Okay, okay! He was telling me your favorite positions! Jeez, you gay guys are such a waste.”

He smiled halfway at that. “Was he hitting on you?”

“No, but he was giving me some ideas.”

Not that I need any ideas. My hand was stuck to his chest like a magnet. The size of his body and proximity to his weight combined to make me woozy. My train of thought blurred. I wondered if we could make it to an alley or a bathroom or even the backseat of his car before I tore his clothes off. How fast can I run?

Marc and Kris mercifully arrived and saved me from an arrest for public indecency. The conversation turned away from sex, but that only lasted a few minutes. My hormones were not so easily defeated.

I wonder if Sidney Crosby dances.

I loved to dance. The cheesier the music, the better. The club had filled in and I could feel the crowd surging on the dance floor below. That might be the problem.

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“Do you dance?” she asked.

“Ummm, not really.” I tried to see over the railing, but I knew what I’d find.

“Too crowded down there?”

“It does get a little… close.”

A group of hockey players on the dance floor was usually a mob scene. With me, it was one piece of clothing away from an orgy. I had been groped, squeezed and practically molested on the dance floor. Numbers, whole phones, even a pair of underwear had been stuffed into my pockets. The very few times I had ventured out I was usually drunk and on my way to a spectacularly bad decision.

But I wanted to dance with Evie. I needed to dance with her. Every time my eyes took in her shape under that flimsy top, her freckles or her laugh, my brain fizzed with anticipation. I was desperate for an excuse to press against her body and run my hands over her skin.

“Hold on,” I said. I grabbed Max, who quickly mobilized Jordan, Geno, Marc, Vero and TK. Even Kris, who hated dancing unless he already had a partner, came over.

“Reporting for duty, captain,” TK saluted.

“Safety in numbers,” I told her.

Why is Jordan going first? He’s like a rhinoceros.

We hit that dreaded over-exposed staircase. The whole club saw us and it was like birds on breadcrumbs. A surge of girls moved in our direction. Jordan and Geno bowled into a space and boxed it out for us. I pushed Evie in between them, angling my body to create room for her. Max threw himself on the first grenade that was launched – red dress, jet black hair, enough makeup for a drag queen.

Please let that not be a drag queen, or I will owe Max forever.

Marc and Vero started dancing. Evie stepped in close to me, using my chest as a shield against the people around us. TK peeled off and intercepted a heat seeking missile. At least she was cute. Jordan reached over some people, lifted a blonde into the air and set her down at his feet. Kris hung back and kept a weather eye on the crowd.

If Evie noticed the calculated troop deployment, she didn’t let on. She just moved. Her body rocked to the beat of the bass pumping through the floor. My hands were on her hips, matching their rhythm. I hoped my desire to stay near her covered the fact that I’m a bad dancer.

Her hips swung in closer. One thigh went between mine and I could feel the pressure from her leg inching up toward my lap. I’d be hard in a hot second if she touched me. I was already well on my way. Every nerve ending in my body was screaming to throw her over the nearest table.


Can I kiss her in a club? I would normally never consider it. What a stupid way to end up in the paper, or in Mario’s office getting yelled at by my father over speakerphone. But just a kiss. Hell, Jordan was already kissing the blonde he’s King Kong-ed out of the crowd. No one cared.

What if I’m a bad kisser? Or she doesn’t even want to kiss me? It had been a while since I’d soberly kissed anyone. And even longer since I’d kissed someone who I really hoped to kiss again the next day. I didn’t want to ruin this if a dance was all I was going to get.

The song changed. Her movements were fluid and suggestive, making promises that my body planned to cash in on later. She slid her hand up my arm and rested it on my shoulder. Then I saw her ring.

The ring! You almost forgot the ring! Yesyesyes. I’d looked it up before I got home last night, right after I’d emailed her. A Claddaugh worn with the heart facing outward means the wearer is available and hoping to find love.

“I know what your ring means,” I said, getting as close to her ear as I could.

“What?” She tilted her head up, her face inches from mine.

And I kissed her. I cinched her into me, pressing her weight to all my hot spots, and I kissed her. She opened her mouth slightly, those ripe lips of hers throwing my mouth a welcome party. A few seconds later, we pulled apart.

“I said I know what your ring means. It means you’re hoping to meet someone.”

She smiled. “Not anymore.”

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I didn’t remember more dancing or moving or rushing. I blacked out when he kissed me on the dance floor, and woke up when a door slammed. We were in the alley behind the club and he was all over me.

“Evie,” he said, mouth on mine. “I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to kiss you.”

I was pressed against the wall, no coat, didn’t care. We had plenty of body heat working. His hands were in my hair, pulling my face into those perfect, luscious lips. Our tongues touched and I wrapped myself around him. One of his hands brushed my breast and came to rest on my waist. The angles were perfect – my hip into his lap, his shoulders over my frame.

Finally, with a gasp, he pulled back. The golden highlights in his eyes caught the nearby streetlight and flashed. I exhaled loudly. My body was having a fit. I wanted him here, immediately. Me and Sidney Crosby in a dark alley… it’s possible I’d had that thought before. Which made the reality of this situation even harder to grasp.

Ha ha, hard… grasp… my brain cackled away.

“Would it be too forward if I asked to take you home now?” It looked like he almost meant it. Like there was any chance I would stand around the club in my wet panties for the rest of the night.

“Would it be too forward if I had my way with you in the car?” I answered.

We practically ran through the club. I scooped up our coats and gave Vero a little wink. She laughed so suddenly she almost spilled her drink. Sidney looked ready to slide down from the lofted VIP room like a firefighter. We squeezed through the dance floor, past Max who instantly gave us a thumbs-up. The art of ‘I’m leaving now to have crazy sex’ had long ago been patented by Talbot.

On the curb, we stood side by side while the valet fetched Sidney’s SUV. People were looking at us. Well, looking at him. Then looking at me. I was afraid if he touched me I would be naked before the car arrived. So we looked anywhere but at each other. I would have laughed but I was too keyed up.

If the car had been a sedan, Sidney would have slid over the hood like the Dukes of Hazzard. I might have leapt in through the window. Instead he peeled rubber as he drove away. The club was a ten minute drive from my house and we didn’t say a word the whole time.

Will he think I’m slutty if I sleep with him? Because once he’s inside my apartment there is no way in the fucking world I am not having sex with him.

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I hope she wants to have sex. Please, dear God let her want to have sex with me.

I found a parking spot around the corner from her building. People were still coming and going, it was pretty early. I took her hand and the touch sent pins and needles into my arm. She dug out her keys and turned the lock.

“Upstairs, second door on the right,” she said. Then she opened the door and took off. I ran after her, stairs two at a time. She had the door halfway open and I almost broke it down. I threw my coat on the floor, her coat on the floor and then took her body down on top of them. We were barely inside.

I slid my knee between her legs and lay my whole self across her. The coats were uneven, making her body rise and fall at unnatural angles but I didn’t care. I pressed against every part of her I could find. She wanted it too, thank God. One hand at my neck held my mouth to hers in a deep, ripe kiss. Her other hand was on my ass.

My head was spinning – I didn’t hear the footsteps till they were right on top of us.

“So is this the honeymoon?”

I whipped around and almost jumped up. A blond girl with bangs stood over us. She wore jeans, a sweater and a huge smirk on her face. A blue duffel bag was under one arm. I felt Evie go lax under me and start laughing.

“I’m going to Dave’s,” the girl said, reaching for the door. “You two clean up after yourselves.”

Evie’s laugh, the one from the locker room hallway where no sound comes out, was back. It took a few huge gasps for her to get her voice back. “That’s my roommate, Beth,” she had tears in her eyes. “I didn’t know she was here.”

I laughed too – embarrassed, certainly but Beth hadn’t seemed to care. “You told her about me?”

“I told her I was shaving my legs and wearing lingerie. She figured the rest out. Maybe a little too slowly.”

I pulled my dress shirt off over my head without unbuttoning it. My t-shirt was next. Evie drew her borrowed top slowly up her stomach, over her bra and then through her hair. She smiled at me watching as she reached behind and unclasped her bra, then dragged the straps down her arms and tossed it away. My hands moved on their own – up her smooth skin, across her ribs, over her breasts. She closed her eyes, like she found my touch even better than she’d expected.

Her skin tasted like heaven. I put my mouth to her breast and felt her small, round nipple become tense under my tongue. My hand teased the other until she had a matching set. Knowing that she wanted me, knowing she’d been thinking about the things she wanted me to do to her… I was impressed with my own willpower as I traced the line along her abs with my mouth.

Her jeans came open. She lifted her hips and I hooked the belt loops, pulling them slowly off her lower body. Black lace panties beneath made me groan. I brushed my fingers over the delicate fabric as her body grew tighter and tighter with each pass I made over her mound.

With the tips of my four fingers resting below her belly button, I slid my thumb straight down her front. I felt her coarser hair, over the slope of her clit, then her warm slit. My heart skipped a beat to know she was wet in anticipation of me. I rubbed up and down, enjoying the feeling of the lace between us. Then, testing, I placed my tongue where my thumb had been.

She flinched. Tracing the edges of the material, I ran my tongue along the fold where her legs met her body before going right for the juicy peach in the middle. I pulled the fabric aside and tasted her for the first time.

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My body sang. Instantly every nerve was straining, like a car revving into the red. As Sidney drew what I imagined were hockey plays with his tongue, I said a very dirty little prayer to whoever designed those underwear.

Sidney slid a finger inside me, then two, testing me out. He did not stop with his tongue. Before long, my lower stomach was starting to flutter. I didn’t care that we were on the floor in the hallway in my apartment. I just wanted him to fuck me. I was ready to make sure every person in a three mile radius knew his name from the top of my lungs.

He rolled my clit between his lips while working inside my hot core with his fingers. Every time he changed pressure or direction, my heart dropped like a roller coaster. I pulled his hair, arched my back and whimpered.

My request was granted. He doubled his efforts, giving it to faster, stronger. I was sure he felt my body tensing and rocking, sure he was enjoying torturing me. He threw a look my way as he paused, then with a final lick he sucked me into his mouth as hard as he could.

Good thing my coat was on top of the pile. I came with a scream, a great crashing scream. His mouth moved over me, lapping the juice from my body, but I knew he couldn’t get it all. I shook and rolled for what seemed like half an hour. His fingers, still strong and hot inside my body, coaxed every last drop of affection out of me. When he was finally finished, and I was a weeping puddle of destruction, he wiped a hand across his mouth and straightened until kneeling.

“Your neighbors heard that,” he smiled.

“Did I say your name?” I really didn’t know if I’d spoken in Aramaic or recited a calculus equation, I was too busy being ripped in half by an orgasm like a tornado touching down.

He shook his head. “No. You may have yelled the Pythagorean Theorum.”

“Next time,” I said, reaching for his belt.

As I pulled his zipper down, I tried to revel in the moment. My hand slid inside his pants and I almost came again. This is going to feel really, really good. I pulled down his jeans and pushed them off with my feet. In boxer briefs, I got my first glimpse of his thighs.

“Dear God in Heaven, you are gorgeous,” I whispered. When I made to sit up, he held me down.

“But I want to see,” I said, smiling. He was so hard he’d tear through his shorts in a second.

“I’m going to come the second you touch me,” he said. “Let me be inside you the first time.” He pulled his shorts down, revealing the most beautiful statue this side of the Stanley Cup. I stared, knowing when I closed my eyes the image would be burned into my retina like I’d been looking directly into the sun. I melted into the coats.

Sidney took the two fingers that had done so much damage earlier and returned them to the scene of his crime. He dipped into me, wetting them then ran them over the length of his cock. Once wet, he drew his body over mine. With agonizing slowness he pressed the tip of his penis against my pussy. Then again. Then he pushed it just inside. I was on the verge of a seizure. I wasn’t even sure he was going to fit, but I wanted him immediately.

I grabbed the back of his neck and kissed him, hard. On that note he rocked his full length into me in a single stroke.

The actual chemical makeup of my body changed. Molecules came apart with the force of an atomic bomb. When they reformed, every one had a bare, sensitive edge turned in his direction. On the next stroke, his cock fired every nerve ending in my body. I sobbed out a breath.

“Fuck, how do you make it feel so good?” he breathed.

“Uuuunnnnnhhhhhh,” was my best guess.

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I have never, ever blacked out. But I almost fainted when I touched the top of the space inside her. I was in up to my knees, deeper than I even knew existed in the human body. She was dripping wet and trembling. When she gasped, I knew she’d felt it too. I did it again, drawing another rush of breath from her body. Her hands locked onto my hips and begged instant replay. I obliged.

I leaned down over her, feeling like I was touching every single part of every single part of her. She moaned into my mouth. Her back was arched over the coats, reaching her body upward. I moved more quickly, the tension growing in my body as she writhed beneath. I wanted to do this forever, to move her and move inside her, I wanted her scream to be loud enough to drown out my own.

She twisted her hips, rolling her muscles over my cock. The harder I moved, the harder she twisted against me. Her breasts bobbed like apples, her head thrown back over the pile. I grabbed one to my mouth and licked, bit, sucked. She started to shake.

“Sidney, touch me,” she whispered.

I rose up again and reached my thumb to her mouth. She let it in, over her tongue then over her lip. I placed the moist pad to her clit and she jerked against me. Moving it slowly in circles, I could feel her clenching against my dick. It wavered then came down harder. And again. She was losing it. I moved my thumb more quickly. Her ass lifted off the coats, practically into my lap, jamming her down on me. I rutted into her, breathing hard, trying to keep a grip while pounding her body into submission. She dug her nails into my thigh hard, involuntarily, and squeezed.

“Sidney!” she sobbed loudly as she came. It broke over my cock, flooding the space with hot liquid. Like a vice she clamped down on me over and over, her body rolling beneath mine as the orgasm crashed against her. I hammered into her, milking it, forcing it, relentlessly pushing her. With a moan she fell away beneath me.

Finally! My whole body screamed. I shifted my hips to push more forward and on the third press, it was like an ejector seat firing. The world went zero gravity. My shoulders rolled themselves into her, pushing tension from my upper body down, down and out the end of my aching cock. I moaned, loudly, for the first time had absolutely no control of what was happening to me. When the last sensation had dripped from my body into hers, I collapsed.

I came around from my daze to feel her fingers in my hair. My head was on her chest, her perfect breast just inches from my mouth. I kissed her skin then turned toward her face.

“You were worth waiting till marriage for,” she smiled.

My laugh shook both of our bodies. I would marry her right now if it meant I got to do that every day, I knew. If she ever lets me back in there, the only way you’ll ever find my dick is with deep sea sonar.

“No way,” I said. “Virgins can’t do that.”

Now it was her turn to laugh. “Bed?” she asked.

I stood slowly, unsure my legs would hold me. When they did, I looked down at her lying wasted and spent at an awkward angle on the floor. Her flushed skin called my name. I scooped her in my arms and carried her into the bedroom.

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“It would be exaggerating every other sexual encounter of my life if I said I’ve never done anything even close to this before,” he panted.

We were lying on the couch, having climbed over the back where I’d been bent 90 degrees with my ass in the air while he pulled my hair and made me think things that could burn down a church from a mile away. Before that, we’d been in the bedroom.

“Kitchen next?” I suggested, my eyes so heavy with pleasure I couldn’t open them. It had to be 3 in the morning. We’d dozed a few times, but quickly woken hot and bothered in each other’s arms.

“How do you do that?” he said. “How do you feel so good? I’m afraid I’m going to tear you in half.” With that he stroked a finger across my aching, swollen pussy.

I flinched. “It would be a good, honorable death.”

“It’s suicide if you let me back in there,” he laughed tiredly.

I rolled over, pressing my back against the wall of his chest and my ass right into his lap. He put one arm over me and snuggled close. The edges of the world were growing dark and it wouldn’t be long till sleep ruined all our fun. Behind me, Sidney’s breathing was softening.
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