Part of me wanted to take Evie home and wrap her up and pretend no one is going to be anything but happy for us. The rest of me knew that if we’re out there on TV, we should be here together, letting people see us.
Me: Come down after the game.
Evie: Yes dear.
Let it be said that I sparked this game and drove us to a win. In reality it wasn’t just me. All the guys seemed to sense what was on the line and if I’d played terribly, they’d have held it up for me. Instead we were all flying and at least a few of my prayers were answered when rebounds and lucky bounces added to a few hard-earned goals on the scoreboard. Evie probably ended up on the Jumbotron more often than she wanted as I had two goals and an assist in our 5-2 win.
“You would marry the first girl you had sex with,” Gronk shouted over the celebratory hug after my second goal.
“Play like this every night and they’ll love her,” Coach said on the bench.
“Mon ami, save something for later,” Flower admonished me.
We hustled into the locker room after the buzzer and I took a minute to wipe my face. I usually didn’t bother to get cleaned up before TV interviews but tonight would have a different feel and I wanted to look like someone who Evie would want to marry.
“You guys obviously had a lot of energy out there tonight. Talk about what drove that,” the Fox reporter asked.
“Well we definitely got off to a good start and when shots start dropping you have to take advantage….” That’s as far as my standard answers got me.
“Tell us about Evie,” someone else broke in.
I couldn’t help but smile at the mention of her name. “She’s here tonight. Hope she had fun.”
“Aren’t you a little young to be getting married?”
“We’re not married yet. But no, lots of the guys are married pretty young and it seems to work out for them.”
“Do you worry about the pressure this puts on her, being married to you?” asked someone very frankly.
I cut my eyes toward Max who was tapping away on his phone, undoubtedly a lewd text to one of this harem. Maybe a mass text to all of them. Jordan was a few lockers down, stripped to the waist for the benefit of anyone who would look at him. They were excellent friends but their way of life had never been mine.
“It took Evie about five minutes to win over this team. I expect she’ll have the same luck with our fans.”
Vero squeezed my hand as we plowed our way into the lounge. It seems every wife and relation and friend of the entire team had come out tonight, hoping to be part of the action. It had been scandalous enough when I’d turned up with Sid in the first place, but now I was some kind of fairy tale princess engaged to prince charming and they all wanted to be characters in our story. The whole room turned.
“Evie!” Kelsey burst through the crowd and threw herself on me. Tyler had called after practice to say she almost made herself faint with excitement when she heard the news. If there was anyone after Vero I would be sticking with, it was her. “I am so happy for you! Sid is so lucky!”
She said it nice and loud. There would be no nay-sayers in here tonight, at least not to my face, after a welcome like that. Other people starting coming up to congratulate me – the Dupuis, the Cookes. I felt better seeing genuine smiles on their faces. They all cared for Sid and didn’t treat him like he was made of glass. We would need these people in our lives. I was still wrapped in congratulations when a young guy in coaching staff gear tapped me on the shoulder and motioned toward the hallway.
“Coach Bylsma wants to see you,” he said.
I tried to hide the sudden paleness that revealed my fear. Other people had always been involved in Sid’s decisions for his life and career. Suddenly, I was not only a decision he made himself but someone who might influence those decisions in the future. I wondered if Coach wanted to warn me not to get too mouthy.
“Hey Evie,” he said from behind his desk where he was looking over statistics.
“Hi Coach,” I smiled. “Sid gets confused when I call you Dan.”
He laughed. “The media are in there hounding him about you. You wanna go bail him out?”
Are you kidding? I thought. To me, the post-game locker room was some kind of sacred territory. It was home to the raw emotion of win or loss and was the physical representation of everything the players put into the game – which is really their whole lives.
“I don’t think I…,” I started.
“Normally I would say the same – the players personal lives have no bearing on what happens on the ice. But this is only going to get bigger and consume more of his time if we don’t take care of it. So go in there, sit on his lap or something and let them see you for a minute. It’s all they need. Tomorrow we’ll go back to business.”
“But he won’t want….”
“He doesn’t want to tell them anything, that’s how Sid is. But there’s no choice here. Once they’re over the surprise they’ll go back to hockey or they’ll go away. He’ll be happier then. Now, Evie, if you’re on this team, you follow coach’s orders,” he said. Then he pointed right toward the locker room door.
I took a deep breath. People were coming in and out as I approached and I could hear all the noise. Probably I was going to get another eyeful of Jordan’s naked ass – no complaints – and be blinded by the smell of gear and sweat.
Sid must have been thinking of how to answer a question, because his eyes darted toward the movement as if looking for distraction. Well he found it. An unmistakably genuine smile came to his face and when he didn’t turn back, everyone turned toward me.
“Hey Evie,” Sid said.
In that moment, it was just us. I could have curled myself right into the lap of his hockey shorts and kissed his face off. But people were starting to ask me questions and make room, so I squeezed in next to him and sat on the bench.
“Nice game,” I told him. I knew he wouldn’t want me to kiss him on camera. That was for us, not for everybody watching at home. The camera crews seemed disappointed but it didn’t stop the questions: did I enjoy the game, how’d it feel to be on TV, would I be coming to all the home games. I answered so many in a row that Sid laughed.
“Hey, what about me?” he said. For all his desire to keep private things private he was handling it with grace. Finally the communications director shooed the cameras away. Most of the guys were still finishing changing and Sid was way behind in his stinky gear still covered in sweat.
“I’ll go wait in the…,” I said, standing up.
Sid’s eyes followed the last camera out of the room and watched the door shut. Then he pulled me in hard and kissed me. His lips were so soft it made my knees buckle. The salt of sweat was on his lips and the material of his under armor shirt still damp beneath my fingertips. He obviously didn’t care as he tipped me slightly to the side and really kissed me. People hollered and clapped.
“Save it for the honeymoon!” Flower yelled.
I stood against the bar watching Evie dance with Jordan. There was no reason for her to keep her 87 shirt on and no real reason for her to change – everyone everywhere would know soon enough. I found that I didn’t care except it looked hilarious to see Jordan dancing with someone wearing my number. When the song changed and they came back from the makeshift dance floor, I held fresh beers out for both of them.
“Couldn’t find anyone in a Staal shirt?” I asked.
Jordan swigged half his drink in one sip. “I like when they play hard to get.”
Evie stepped on his toe and spun away.
There were a lot of people out tonight. Normally I didn’t tag along on post-game outings but tonight it seemed like the perfect cap to the day. Parts of my private life would always be public – Mario had taught me early on to accept that. My romantic life was the last part of it I was holding on to, not that there had been much to hide. Now there was everything. Evie leaned over a table to steal a fry from Geno’s plate.
As I watched her I knew that most people in the bar were watching too. It was strange, they were usually looking at me. Tonight they were looking at Evie just as much, watching her as she just went about having fun with her friends. She hadn’t kissed me or clung to me; she wasn’t showing off her status. She knew she didn’t have to.
Not that it stopped a few people from trying.
“You know you can’t have any fun after you’re married,” a blonde in a denim skirt with those furry boots said, squeezing in between me and Jordan. She was pretty in a lot of makeup and some pretty stiff perfume. “I think you need one last hurrah before you tie yourself down.”
She batted her eyelashes at me then looked at Jordan in an obvious way. As if we’d never been hit up for a threesome before. And if she thought of Jordan as a backup, someone to take home after I turned her down, she sorely underestimated Gronk’s ability to pull chicks.
“Jordan,” I said with a serious face, “I didn’t know you were getting married.”
I left him there to let her down easy.
“Can you believe she’s wearing a fucking Crosby t-shirt? It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Vero and I barely made it to the bathroom mirror before we heard the two girls in the stalls talking loudly about me. I had been expecting it, feeling my hackles rise all night as people stared and whispered. Finally it was time.
“I can’t believe he’s marrying her. She must be pregnant. Because she sure as shit isn’t special.”
Vero looked at me in the reflection. I just shook my head – it would always be like this, no use in getting worked up over two jealous girls. I would have left altogether but I really had to pee.
“He’s probably got a girl in every city on the map. What difference does it make who he knocks up at home?”
I put my hand on Vero’s arm lest she throw the stall open and drag the girl out. She had been taking shit like that for years – Marc didn’t cheat. He might have been the only one, but I knew from the way Marc looked at Vero that he didn’t cheat. She knew too but it still hurt to hear people assume all hockey players did.
“He could knock me up any day,” the second girl laughed as the toilet flushed. Two seconds later she opened the door and came face to face with me. Without thinking she said, “Shit.”
I just gave her a snotty look and slid past. When her friend was out there was some hurried whispering and neither of them washed their hands in the rush to leave.
“Fuck ‘em,” Vero said. It didn’t feel funny, but I laughed anyway.
Back at the bar, Sid was having a hudled discussion with Marc and Kris. As we rolled up they broke apart, nearly ho-humming in their effort to act distracted. I’d have to find out about that at home. Kris passed me a fresh drink but Sidney stopped it in mid-pass.
“Everyone in here is watching us,” he said. He was huge against my side, a solid wall of muscle. Without question he was the sexiest guy I had ever known. My knees virtually knocked as he smiled at me with an eyebrow raised. “Let’s dance.”
Sid wasn’t much of a dancer, so he must have really wanted to get this show over with. I’d seen a number of girls approach him while they thought I wasn’t looking, or even when they knew I was. They didn’t care. The world was probably full of nice girls who could make Sid happy, but they were never the ones rubbing against him in a bar.
He took my hand and led me through the crowd like he was parting the Red Sea. We filed a little way into the small crowd. The second his arms went around me it was like a blackout on the world. He kept his movements small and held me close – it was a reasonable dance, but more about just being close together. And letting whoever wanted to see, see.
“Last time we danced was the first time we kissed,” he said.
“And that led to some other first times,” I teased.
“Like our first time being engaged.” His lips were at my cheek as he spoke over the music.
“But not the first time I’ll be your wife.”
The song changed but Sidney didn’t. He led without meaning to lead, his strength completely in charge of any step we took. It was hard to reconcile this sweet, slightly awkward guy with the superstar I’d seen at the game. Sure he was a stud but this was no heartbreaker. And tonight he was way out on a limb for us.
“August,” he said suddenly. “Next August.”
“You’ll be 25?” I guessed.
“Let’s get married then.”
I didn’t to answer. He just kissed me. We stopped moving, his hands tangled in my hair and we just kissed in the middle of the dance floor. I bet the whole place was looking at us. Camera phones were probably whipping out like switchblades.
Let them, I thought to myself. Let them do what they want. I know what I’m doing.
Apparently my kiss was agreement enough. When we came up for air, Sid held my face. The look in his eyes made my stomach flip.
“Next August,” he confirmed for both of us.
Evie sat on the couch in my t-shirt with some argyle socks pulled up to her knees. I hopped over the back of the sofa and landed next to her just in time for our big news break on DVR. The clip started with a highlight reel of Penguins events – the Cup, bowling, various goals I had scored. Then it cut to our interview.
“You look hot,” she said.
“You look hot.”
Evie laughed. “Not as hot as you. I’m gonna have to get used to that I guess.”
The interview was painless and the anchors follow-up discussion surprised, but brief. After Evie’s appearance in the locker room and our adventures at the bar, it seemed anticlimactic. With no fanfare I hauled Evie up the stairs to bed.
She lay down beside me and offered her perfect lips. Looking down at her, feeling her body pressed to mine in the only place where my life was ever really my own, I knew I would never want anything else. I craved consistency and quality – Evie would be both. Her kiss reaffirmed what I already knew.
“You were amazing tonight,” I whispered into her hair.
“I almost decked a girl in the bathroom who said she wanted you to get her pregnant.”
“I got invited to a threesome with Jordan,” I said, topping her story.
Evie sat up straight, revealing her long, bare back before turning toward me. “Oh really? Really?” She scrambled over me to grab my phone from the desk. “I’ll give you a threesome with Jordan!” I caught her around the waist, flipped her back to the mattress and pinned her down fast. She squealed.
“Don’t start without him! No fair!”
I biffed her with a pillow then shut her up with a kiss. Her arms went around my neck as she pretty much attacked me. Within a minute her ankles were locked behind my back and I was sliding into her.
“Sid,” she whispered. It was easy to forget I’d known Evie for such a short time – we felt like the oldest and best of friends. But the hot, wet depths of her body made every time feel like the first time. I was always in danger of coming immediately. She sighed once and rolled her hips down into me. In my moment of weakness, Evie rolled until she was on top of me.
Her long dark hair hung over her breasts, tossed around like I’d taken her once already. She moved on top of me, testing out what felt best to her, then began to ride me as she found the spot. I held her thighs and watched her breasts bounce, her bottom lip catch between her teeth when I found the right place. My hips rose to meet her, drawing a moan and I held her waist firmly down as I thrust up into her body. She spread my fingers apart and guided my thumb to her clit. The second I rubbed her little spot she bucked hard.
“Right there,” she said hoarsely.
I felt her body tighten and turn as I worked her from inside and out. She leaned back, offering me a beautiful view of her lines and tightening her pussy around my cock. It was incredible and I wanted so badly to make her come. I throbbed deliciously. Before long, Evie’s head rolled forward.
“Look at me,” I told her. “I want to see you come.”
She nodded smally, whimpering as I drove my thumb harder. Her body responded instantly with a flutter. I took her as far as I dared, my finger so wet with her sweetness that I could hardly get any friction. When she was breathing hard I pulled her down to my chest and rolled her underneath.
“Oh God,” she said in surprise as I pounded into her from the new angle. “Yes.”
Her back arched, forcing her to cling to me. Those gray eyes blazed as her breath because short.
“Sid,” she said. Her fingernails dug into my skin and the sharp sensation nearly made me lose my grip.
“Baby, come for me.”
I didn’t need to ask twice. Evie gasped and held her eyes open wide, boring into mine as she cried out. I felt her body clamp and twist then release like a balloon letting go. I held her head up and watched the force of it bring tears to her eyes. That was enough for me.
I came with a bellow. I didn’t even bother trying to smother it – we were getting married and I would wake the whole fucking house if I felt like it. Evie’s body was heaven, everything I felt for her emotionally was mirrored in the way her body gave itself up to mine. Flower had told me once that when it came to women, when you knew, you knew. Stars burst in my eyes and I knew there was nothing else.
“I love you,” I told her before the shuddering stopped.
She flopped down beneath me. “Alright, I won’t call Jordan.”
Instead we woke to a different phone call. Sidney swiped his phone as it rang and answered with a mumble. Then he jerked straight up in bed. “Now?”
I was up too, looking at him.
“Okay, yeah, just a minute.” He clicked off before turning to me. “Uhhh, my parents are here.”
And so they were. We dressed quickly – I had only my Crosby t-shirt which felt ridiculous now, so I went in the long-sleeved white top I’d worn underneath it. When we reached the door that separated Sid’s part of the house from the Lemieux’s, he grabbed me for a quick kiss.
“They will love you. Because I love you.”
Okay yeah sure, I rolled my eyes.
Mario and Nathalie sat side by side at the kitchen table, two people who must have been Sid’s parents flanked them. They looked up at us like a firing squad.
“Mom, Dad, this is Evie.”
Sid’s mom took me in for a moment then she smiled – it was Sidney’s smile and I felt a bit at ease. “Evie, it’s so nice to meet you.” She hugged me but not too closely: still sizing me up.
His dad made no attempt to cover his evaluation. He had Sidney’s build only bulkier, like a bulldog or a prize fighter. His eyes were not unkind just distant as they looked me up and down like a horse in the show ring.
“Evie, I’m Troy.” His huge grip was very strong, testing me for breakage. I willed myself to smile so that he found none. We sat down to breakfast that Nathalie fussed over. As soon as plates were on the table, Sidney’s father started. I almost admired him for it – no sense in beating around the bush.
“We’re all pretty much family here, so I think we can speak our minds. Sid, your mother and I are not too happy with the way you’ve chosen to go about this.”
Sidney just swallowed a bite of pancake and raised his eyebrows.
“And Evie, since we don’t know anything about you, I hope you’ll answer some questions for us.”
I took a breath and started talking. “I work as a buyer at American Eagle. My parents live in Upstate NY, where I grew up. Sid met them and they love him. I have a brother too. We don’t have a lot of money, but Sid said my house reminded him of yours growing up. I live in an apartment in the city with my roommate Beth, who is kind of dating Kris Letang. I have become good friends with Vero and Marc and the rest of the guys.” I watched their faces and saw that I was doing well, but probably not enough. So I went for it. “I’m not pregnant and I’m not after Sid’s money. In fact, half the bar last night seemed to think my ring was too small by half. But I think it’s perfect. It suits me.”
A flicker of relief crossed his mother’s face. I didn’t expect anyone to believe me just because I said it – anyone with half a brain would use that same argument. But it was out in the open now and could be shot full of holes however they liked.
“But you’re buying a house,” his father pointed out.
“I have offered to chip in, or handle the utilities or something. Sid turned me down.”
Mario offered, “Well he’ll be living there too.”
“And summers?” his father continued.
“Nova Scotia, at Sid’s insistence. Which means I will have to change my job – I’ve talked to them about working remotely for the summer months but I don’t know if it will pan out. But I’m looking forward to Canada,” I said. “And getting to know you all well.”
Nathalie nodded slightly in approval. I would thank her later.
“I know this is sudden and that I must seem like a danger to Sidney. But I promise you that I want nothing but the best for him. I think I can be that person.”
“So do I,” Sid chimed in. “And this is my decision, for my life, which I have made for myself. You will love Evie, I promise. But to be honest, it doesn’t matter. I love her. And I’m marrying her.”
Sid’s mom looked away quickly. His father’s face went red and I waited for it to turn the purple of a plum. Even Mario and Nathalie got unnaturally still – it was obviously not often that Sidney stood up to his father in such an emphatic way. But I didn’t need to look at him, I could tell from his straight-backed posture and the amount of space his form took up next to me that he was not backing down.
It’s not a good idea to argue with someone as physical as Sid, someone used to punctuating his words with strength. It dictated the way he held himself. His father had a similar presence and I wondered if they might batter each other like dinosaurs clashing together. Shoulders were thrown back and heads held high… then his father conceded.
“When?” Troy asked.
And now I knew why Sid had announced a date to me last night. He wanted to have an action plan for this inevitable moment, to show a united front with plans made and no room for questions. It seemed to work.
His father shrugged there was nothing else he could say. He still shook his head. “Married.”
We were excused from breakfast like kids leaving the principal’s office. Evie was nice enough not to say anything about it. I thought of her parents and how happy they’d been, how her father had been concerned but hopeful, how her brother had simply gone with it. Of course I was rich, so there was little question I’d be able to take care of Evie. But that didn’t mean I would do a good job of it. They looked at me and saw someone who could make a good life for their girl, not someone trying to take that very thing away.
“That went okay,” she said. And that part had, but I knew it wasn’t over.
I drove her home. Instead of kissing her across the console, I got out and held her tight. There had been many times I’d backed down to my father’s words but this would not be one of them. If I could fall in love and get married, I could do this.
“Love you,” she said.
I let myself into my side of the house, but boundaries didn’t exist for my dad. He was on the couch watching the news clip on DVR, just the way Evie and I had done the night before. His expressionless face said he’d seen it a few times already.
“She’s a fox, I’ll give you that.”
“No, Sid, she really is. I can see why you like her. I can even see how you’d be scared to keep her around without staking some kind of claim, a few of your teammates are not exactly….”
“STOP.” I didn’t yell, but I said it with punctuation. “I am not marrying Evie because I’m afraid she’ll cheat on me.”
He gave me a look that could cut stone. “She’s not going to cheat on you. She knows where her next meal is coming from.”
“Why else, Sid? Why else would that girl be here, wearing a ring, smiling like she just won the lottery? You’ve known her how long – a month? Not even.”
“Because she loves me.”
He tilted his head slightly. “And you love her. Or you love getting laid every night and not having to worry about it ending up in Hello Canada. Sid, we can find you someone for that, and you won’t need to marry her.”
I was on my feet before he finished. As if all I wanted Evie for was sex. Not the way she smiled first thing in the morning, or believing I could hear her voice cheering over all the others at a game. Not the way she looked in the low light on our aquarium date, like I wasn’t the coolest thing in the room for once in my life. Not the way she pretended to cover her eyes when Jordan got pantsed in the locker room. But there was no way to make him see all that.
“I love her. I want to and I will marry her, whether you support us or not. But if you intend to continue living off my money for the rest of your life I suggest you stop insulting my wife.”
It was stronger and better aimed than a punch. My father had wanted nothing more than to be successful in hockey. If he hadn’t failed I don’t know that I would have succeeded – his drive was stronger than mine. I’m grateful for how it worked out. But there comes a time when you have to stop owing people for something you earned yourself.
“Get to know her, Dad. You’ll believe me. Otherwise you’ll be missing out on both of us.”
I had nowhere to go but I couldn’t stay there. I drove around for a while, the way I did when I needed to be anonymous. Of course the entire time I was thinking of her and eventually my car drove itself to her apartment.
“How’d it go?” She opened the door, barefoot in jeans and a Jack’s Mannequin t-shirt. I wrapped my arms around her.
“I told them it was all of us, or just you and me and they could fuck off.”
Evie leaned back to look into my eyes. “Oh Sid, I’m sorry.”
“He’ll come around. They’re so worried about someone taking advantage of me they don’t see when they’re doing exactly that.”
She pulled me into the apartment, shutting the door with one hand. We stumbled still kissing down the hallway to her room. Articles of clothing littered the path – my sweatshirt and hat, her t-shirt, my sneakers. At the edge of the bed I unzipped her jeans and she did the same for me. We tumbled into the sheets in underwear.
Evie’s eyes followed her hand down to the waistband of my shorts where she slipped under the elastic and stroked her palm over my hardening length.
“I can think of a few ways to take advantage of you,” she smiled. Then she slid down beneath the covers in one quick motion and slipped her soft lips over the head of my cock. Her tongue worked deftly as she got my shorts off and gave herself a full range of motion. Then she used it. One hand stroked my shaft in time with the strong, hot suck of her mouth. The other held her hair back so I could watch, taking breaks to gently tickle my inner thigh or run fingernails lightly over my balls. She was on her knees over me, the thin fabric at the hip of her panties stretched nearly translucent across her skin. I ran my hands over her sides absently because all I could feel was the back of her throat.
I made a noise and she repeated her action, taking my tip past the back of her throat and pushing it down like a buzzer. Her velvety tongue felt like heaven polishing the taut skin of my hard-on. It took everything away and focused my mind like a laser. One of her hands cheated up my chest and felt my heart pounding. My hands were on her ass, tracing the tiny gap that ran between her legs. I hit a hot spot and she moaned. The vibration hit my dick like electricity and I came, holding her down and pumping loads of cum into her mouth. She sucked and swallowed eagerly, then licked me clean. It felt dirty to enjoy something so much from someone I loved.
Before she could sit up I had her on her stomach. I laid myself across her back, slid my hands under her hips to tilt them up and buried my cock inside her all at once. She cried out, the sound of pleasure. I held her ass in the air and worked myself deep into her tight little snatch. Evie pulled one of my hands down to her clit and showed me how to move. Within minutes she was pulsing around my shaft. I rubbed harder, making her moan. I wanted to hear that sound a lot.
“Fuck you feel so good,” I whispered into her ear. She giggled softly but I cut her off with a huge thrust that threw us both flat on the mattress. Her legs were together and I was wedged in and driving away. She took over with her own hands and I breathed dirty thoughts into her ear. Everyone was rewarded with a twist or squeeze, showing me that she knew how to play this game too.
I came first. Or just a second before she did. I grunted as the force of exploding inside her took the breath from my lungs. Coming so hard twice in succession rang my brain like a bell. Evie mewled into the mattress, grinding back against me as her body gave out too. She rolled and shook, I stroked and held, and we rode it out together. When she was finally still, I was well and truly emotionally spent. I draped one arm over her side and felt her breathing still ragged.
“And your parents think I’m marrying you for money,” she panted.