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.
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.”