Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chapter Ten

Once I was safely secure in the passenger’s seat, Max took off out of the parking lot and made his way to my house. I had given him the directions and now we drove in silence. I replaced my sunglasses and sat back with my window cracked a little. After a little while, I felt the car begin to slow but I kept my eyes shut.

“Oh. My. God,” I heard Max breathe incrediously.

“What?” I said finally opening my eyes. I saw him staring in the direction of my house. We were parked outside on the curb and I turned to my right to get a better look. There were dozens and dozens of flowers of every kind. All of which adorned my steps and the path leading up to them. There were balloons bearing the phrase “I’m sorry” tied to the banisters and the railings. And finally, there were stuffed animals of every size scattered throughout the floral mess.

“Wow,” Max stated simply.

“Keep driving,” I said, not wanting to face all of that nonsense in front of my house.

“Where to?” he asked me, pulling out from the curb.

“Anywhere,” I answered, fully meaning it. I resumed my former position. Eyes closed, with my head resting on the back of the seat. I’m not sure if I dozed off or not, but before I knew it, the car was stopped and the engine was off. I opened my eyes to see this adorable house. It was brick-faced with a cute little well kept flowerbed in front.

“I’m renting,” Max grumbled as he got out of my car. He came over to my side and opened the door for me, helping me out of the car. He led me up the steps and into the house. The inside was just as adorable as the outside.

“This is so cute!” I squealed as I walked around the spacious living room.

“Again, I’m renting,” Max countered.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever you say,” I responded. “I wish my house looked like this!” At this remark, Max gave a small smile, clearly more comfortable than before.

“It could,” he said wrapping his arms around my waist. “Marry me.” I laughed and stepped away from him.

“Okay, one, you’re renting, so you most likely wouldn’t be living here forever and two, no,” I said to him. “And you say Geno’s infatuated? Take a look in the mirror buddy.” I shoved past him and walked into the kitchen. The granite countertops glistened from the overhead lights. I ran my hand all along the counter until Max pulled it away.

“Such lovely hands,” he said, grabbing the other one as well. I pulled them both away from him and continued into the living room. Finally, I plopped down on the couch.

“I like it,” I said, giving my seal of approval.

“My offer still stands,” Max said smiling at me.

“I think I’ll pass,” I returned. He looked at me amused.

“Hungry?” he asked making his way back to the kitchen.

“Starving,” I said as I took a seat at the island. “What do you have?”

“Everything,” Max said as he opened the fridge. And it did indeed seem as if he could have everything. It was massive.

“I think I’ll have Chinese,” I said, pulling a menu out from underneath a bowl of fake fruit.

“Ah, good choice,” Max said, looking over my shoulder to read the menu.

“You don’t have to stand so far away,” I said sarcastically. However, he took this as a cue to move even closer. His lips grazed my neck as he read off his potential wants from the menu. I ducked away and walked to the other side of the kitchen and perched myself on a countertop. “Wow, so much more spacious.” I let my legs swing back and forth.

“Even from over there, you still attract me,” Max spoke, leaning on the counter.

“You know that made no sense, right?” I asked him. “Just order.”

“Fine, what are you having?” he looked down at the menu and tried to decide for himself.

“Um, I’ll have the General Tso’s Chicken. Not spicy,” I recited the same order I always had.

“Freak,” he replied.

“What’s wrong with my order?” I asked turning around to look through his cabinets.

“The whole point of that is for the spiciness,” he said, still staring down at the menu. He finally made up his mind because within the next few minutes he was calling in the order. “It’ll be about half an hour. And I know exactly what we can do in that time.”

“And I know exactly what we won’t be doing,” I replied, moving back to the living room. I laid down on the couch and stretched across the whole thing. Max came over and laid on top of me.

“This is quite cozy, dontcha think?” he asked, nuzzling his face into my neck.

“Um, no,” I pushed him off of me and he made a thud upon hitting the floor.

“You like it rough?” he asked me.

“Yes, but in this case, no,” I responded grabbing the remote. I turned on the television and began a boring game of channel surfing. By the time I got to 1024, the doorbell rang.

“A delivery for Max?” I heard the man say.
“Yup,” Max returned. I heard the rustling of the bag and the exchange of money. In a moment, Max walked back into the kitchen. I followed and watched as he sat the food down and opened a cabinet.

“Whatcha getting?” I asked as he continued to search.

“Plates,” he said matter-of-factly.

“You don’t need to impress me, to tell you the truth, I actually love eating out of the cartons,” I said smiling at him as he turned around.

“Thank God,” he sighed, “me too.” Max ended his search and came back to the bag. We each grabbed a carton, then switched when we realized we grabbed the wrong ones. Max then made his way over to the table.

“Nope,” I said pulling him away, “we’re eating on the couch, in front of the T.V. where all Chinese food should be eaten.” Max looked absolutely relieved and grabbed his container as he followed me to the living room. I grabbed the remote and found a hockey game as we settled in to eat our food. It was Dallas against San Jose. I was definitely rooting for Dallas. I couldn’t help it. Loui Eriksson was a hottie. Now I know how that makes me sound like a severe puck bunny. However, I actually do love the sport. I just also appreciate that the men playing it happen to be quite attractive. We ate our food and talked animatedly about the game while I tried to convince him to admit that he’d fuck Loui.

“You know he’s a fine piece of ass,” I said as they showed a close up on him. “Plus he has that gorgeous accent. And those gorgeous eyes. And that gorgeous nose.”

“I would not fuck him!” Max protested.

“You don’t wanna do him even a little bit?” I asked. He contemplated this for a moment before sighing.

“Ugh fine, I guess I would,” Max said, “but I’m only agreeing with you because you’re hot.”

“I’ll take that,” I answered smiling. “I love me some Loui.” I closed my eyes and sunk into the couch. It was one of the most comfortable couches I had ever been on.

“Now what?” Max asked, clicking off the T.V.

“Actually, do you mind if I take a shower?” I asked, starting to get up.

“Be my guest,” he said. With this I scampered out to my car, grabbed my gym bag, and ran back inside. I knew keeping the bag in my car would come in handy someday.

“I have shampoo and shorts,” I said, rifling through the bag. “I just need a shirt.”

“That can be taken care of,” Max said as he led me upstairs and into the master bathroom. The shower was immense, with a rainhead showerhead. After I put my stuff down in the bathroom, Max went into the bedroom and looked through some drawers. He eventually came back into the bathroom with a t-shirt yielding “Talbot” on the back in bold letters, the number 25 beneath it. It was his Penguin’s shirt.

“A little full of ourselves are we?” I asked as I put the shirt down and began to close the door. “Be out in a few.”

Max’s Point of View:
I watched her walk into the bathroom and shut the door behind herself. I heard the door click and the water begin to pound. I closed my eyes and imagined her in the shower, the water glistening over her perfect figure. I had to shake my head clear and keep myself under control. It took so much energy not to bust down the door and run in there. I leaned my head against the door and sighed, dying to be in that room. As soon as I did this, as if on command, I heard her let out a moan and I lost control. I banged my hand on the door without even knowing it and made a grab for the knob. I twisted it sharply and much to my dismay, it was locked. Thank God it was though because I don’t know what I would have done if I was granted access through the door. This gave me time to back up and I took a few deep breaths and headed downstairs. Fresh air was what I needed.

I headed towards the back door and on my way walked through the kitchen. As I walked through, I heard Riley’s cell vibrate on the counter. I looked over to see that it was Ryan.

“Hey Ryan,” I answered.

“Max?” he asked uncertain of who it was.

“Yeah that’s right,” I replied, leaning on the counter.

“Why the fuck are you answering Riley’s phone?” he asked angrily.

“Because she’s in the shower and can’t get to it right now,” I said coolly.

“What?!” he shouted.

“Yeah, so can I take a message?” I asked in a mocking tone. I heard him take a deep breath on the other end of the line.

“Tell her to call me,” he said quickly before hanging up.

“Yeah right,” I said aloud as I shut the phone. I replaced it to its original spot on the counter then walked to the back door. I stepped outside and looked up into the sky. It was a clear night and the moon was full. All I could think about was Riley. She was so perfect and all I wanted was her. I never felt like this about any girl before. She was different than any other girl I’d been with. She was so comfortable being herself with anyone. That quality alone made her so attractive. Well, not to mention that she was super hot. She had a body to die for. She was gorgeous. Thinking about her made me crazy. I let myself daydream for a while as I stared up into the sky.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chapter Nine

I looked up to see that it was Max. I reached up to grab my sunglasses in a desperate attempt to make it appear that I was fine. Then, I turned on the ignition, rolled down the window, then clicked the car off again.

“Hey,” he said softly, leaning against my window.

“Hey Max,” I replied a little too cheerily. Even to me my voice sounded fake.

“Are you okay?” he asked with genuine concern filling his face.

“Um, yeah,” I lied, “I’m fine.” I forced a small giggle and choked back a sob. Max didn’t buy it one bit. He leaned forward, through the window, and took off my sunglasses. I guess he must have seen that I looked like a wreck because he quickly stepped back, opened the door, and pulled me to him. This gesture of kindness made me lose it again. I cried hard into his shoulder. I felt myself being pulled and I saw him open the door of the backseat. He ushered me in, sat me down, then followed. He closed the door gently and I put my head down on his chest. I cried and cried until I thought I couldn’t cry anymore. Eventually, I couldn’t keep myself awake anymore. I let myself fall asleep in his arms.

When I opened my eyes again, the sun was in a different position in the sky. It poured in the back windows as opposed to the front. I slowly lifted my head from Max’s chest and instantly put it back down. It was throbbing.

“Sleeping Beauty,” Max cooed. I looked up at him and he smiled down. I could only imagine just how awful I looked.

“I am so sorry,” I began, but he cut me off.

“If I didn’t want to stay, I wouldn’t have,” he said and I thought about this for a moment. Just then, I heard my phone vibrating from the passenger’s seat. “It’s been going on that way ever since you fell asleep.”

“Ugh, I’m sorry,” I said, “How did you sleep through that?”

“I managed,” he replied, helping me sit up. Once I was in an upright position, I reached over to grab my phone.

“Seventy-three missed calls,” I read aloud, “and thirty-two texts.” I sighed as I opened my phone. Every single missed call was from Ryan and out of the thirty-two texts, only two were from Geno. The rest belonged to Ryan as well. I skipped past all of Ryan’s and looked at Geno’s. The first one read “i talk to sarge. he explain it to me. i’m sorry. is not true.” The second one said “we talk later when you ready.” I then briefly scrolled through Ryan’s, all of which consisted of some form of “i’m sorry”, “i didn’t mean it”, or “i love you”. I rolled my eyes as I breezed through those messages and threw the phone down.

“Ryan?” Max asked apologetically.

“Unfortunately,” I replied. I looked over at Max who was sitting in the silence, not uncomfortably. He just smiled at me and that gesture made me want to hop in the driver’s seat and just keep driving until I was away from here. “Well, I’m sure you have to go.” I said looking down.

“I have nowhere to be,” Max replied. I was surprisingly grateful for this and relaxed into the cushions of the back seat.

“Thank you,” I said to him as I shut my eyes. I could hear his methodical breathing on my left.

“Can I get you anything? Do you want to go somewhere?” he asked me.

“Um, not right now,” I replied laughing a little. Actually all I wanted to do was sit in my car and never go back home again. A Range Rover. Daddy’s gift. It was so comfortable and I always thought that if I ever needed to live out of my car, it might not be so bad.

“Okay,” he said, “we’ll sit. Sitting’s good.”

“Sitting is indeed good,” I replied taking a deep breath. I caught a whiff of his cologne and it was divine. I breathed in deeply a few more times, making sure to breathe through my nose with extra precision.

“It’s Dolce & Gabbana,” Max remarked. He had caught me and I looked away embarrassed. I could see that my face had turned red from the reflection in the window.

“Good to know,” I mumbled into the glass.

“Do you wanna talk about it?” he asked me suddenly serious.

“Your cologne?” I questioned confused.

“No,” he laughed, “what happened. With Ryan.” He was serious again.

“Oh, I…,” I trailed off. I continued staring out the window watching the sun bounce off of other cars.

“It was me, you know,” Max stated, “I hit him.”

“I figured as much,” I answered.

“That son of a bitch deserved it,” he went on, “seeing you cry was horrible. All of the guys felt awful. It was so wrong of him to say that in front of all of us. The way he talked to you was so…so disrespectful. I couldn’t help but to hit him.”

“He made me feel worthless,” I spoke. I surprised myself with my casualty in discussing the matter. If this had been three hours earlier, I would have been a teary mess.

“You’re not,” Max comforted me, “you’re far from worthless. You’re spectacular. You’re not afraid to be yourself around anyone. You’re not afraid to have a good time. And more importantly, you’re not afraid of your feelings.” For a supposed womanizer, Max was pretty deep. “Geno cares about you. He really does. I haven’t seen him act this way with a girl before. It’s almost as if he’s infatuated. And to tell you the truth, I’m a little jealous. I thought for sure that you would have gone for me, as cocky as that sounds. But Geno is one of the nicest guys I know. I’m glad he has you. And I’ve only known you for a little while, but I already know that you’re great. And as much as it pains me, I’ll back off…for now.” He smiled at me as he finished his speech. Then he grabbed my hand and kissed each finger. “So tempting though.” He spoke into my fingers. He released my hand and I looked back at him.

“You’re great at giving pep talks,” I said smiling, this time actually feeling the smile.

“I’m great at giving other things too,” he said deviously.

“I thought you said you were gonna back off?” I asked giving him a playful shove.

“Yeah, I said it, but believe me, it’s easier said than done,” he looked at me as if he was inspecting me.

“Enough,” I said, pushing his face away.

“One kiss?” he asked me looking pitifully at me.

“I cannot believe you right now!” I laughed at him, “You just finished this whole long sweet talk and here you are acting like a womanizer.”

“One?” he pleaded.

“What happened to respecting your teammate’s girls?” I asked him.

“Um, uh, I don’t know,” he said backing off. “You drive me crazy. I mean, who can say no to me?”

“Apparently me,” I was laughing so hard it was difficult to catch my breath.

“Well, not for long,” he said again drawing nearer to me.

“You’re incredible,” I sighed.

“And is incredible good?” he questioned. My answer was another laugh and he resented that.

“Oh Max,” I said resting my head on his shoulder. He brushed my hair back from my forehead in rhythmic motion. “See! Why can’t you be like this all the time?”

“I guess I have to learn,” he sighed continuing to brush my hair. “Should I take you home?”

“As long as you’re driving,” I replied, handing him the keys.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chapter Eight

“STRIP HOCKEY!” Max’s voice echoed all throughout the arena. My ears immediately perked up and I sat up from my previous horizontal position. I was pretty sure that Max had said that purposely to catch my ear and it worked. I looked over quick enough to see him looking at me. Our eyes locked for a moment, then he looked away swiftly.

‘This could be fun,’ I thought to myself as I hopped over the wall and skated over to the boys.

“How does this work?” I whispered in Kris’ ear as I leaned on his shoulder.

“Um…well…you take a shot and if you miss, you take off something and if you make it, you put something back on,” he explained to me. “Normally we just take off our pads and jerseys….but…um…for you?? I don’t know. Maybe the sweatshirt and skates…I’m not sure.” His stammering was so cute I could hardly stop myself from pinching his cheek.

“Thanks Kris,” I said smiling at him. He returned the smile and began to skate away. “Um, I’m gonna need a stick.” He laughed nervously clearly upset at himself that he had forgotten about that.

“Take mine,” he said handing his stick to me.

“Aw, you’re too sweet,” I said before hugging him and skating over to Geno.

“You play?” Geno asked almost incredulously.

“Absolutely,” I said looking up to him and challenging him with my eyes.

“Well, good luck,” he said, a smile playing on his mouth.

“I don’t need luck,” I returned as I hopped in line behind him. Max was not playing, but standing off to the side giving a play by play of each person shooting. He was leaning against his stick with his helmet off and he looked like he was having so much fun. One by one each player went and then returned to the back of the line. Finally it was Geno’s turn and of course he made the shot. He smiled as he skated past me and I got ready to go. I had never ever shot a puck before and was pretty sure that I looked ridiculous. My result was even worse. The puck missed the net by a mile and I could hear Max snickering to my left.

“That’s a tough break,” he said with mock sympathy.

“Yeah yeah yeah,” I said taking off my Northface and placing it on the bench.

We continued this way for several rounds and at the end of the game, I was the clear loser. On my last shot, I was standing up there barefoot, with only my jeans and bra on. I was shivering so badly that the charm on my belly button ring made the loudest clatter ever. I stepped up to take a shot and missed. Not a surprise.

“And with that, we crown the winner and the loser,” Max bellowed in a “game show host” sort of voice. “Our winner for today is none other than our very own captain, Mr. Sidney Crosby!!” The team clapped for him as he did a little victory skate. “And sadly, our loser would have to be Riley Malone.” To my surprise, there was more applause for me than there was for Sid. I guess being half naked in front of a bunch of hockey players would merit that kind of response. “How about a victory…walk?” Max asked. I sighed and began a small walk around one half of the rink. More whistles and applause. I looked over to find Kris almost salivating and I saw Ryan glaring fiercely at the ground. After I finished, I walked over to the bench to retrieve my clothing.

“You did good,” Geno said skating up behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist. I felt his hands graze my bare stomach and it made me jump with excitement.

“Yeah right,” I said as I stood there happy to be warmed by him.

“Well, you look good,” he said, spinning me around and bringing me into a hug.

“I’m so cold,” I spoke into his chest as my teeth began to chatter on cue.

“I know,” he replied, “get dressed.” He lifted me up and placed me onto the bench. I sat down and replaced each article of clothing, saving my skates for last. “Ready to go?” he asked me as I picked up the skates.

“Yup,” I answered, not wanting to tie them up again. I grabbed his hand and let him lead me to the entryway.

“Where are you going?” Ryan’s voice bounced off the empty seats of the arena. I heard them echo back harshly.

“Geno said he was done and we’re leaving,” I replied with my back still to him. We inched closer to the exit.

“Do you think he really cares about you?” Ryan continued. The edge in his voice picking up.

“What?” I asked, this time turning around to look at him. He skated over so that he was right in front of us.

“There’s no way he cares anything about you. He doesn’t,” Ryan looked over at Geno who was trying hard to process what Ryan was saying. He could tell from the circumstances that whatever Ryan was saying was upsetting me.

“I care,” he said, choosing the words carefully as if trying to think about their meaning. At this Ryan rolled his eyes.

“Riley, let’s be realistic. Do you think you’re any different? Geno has a different girl every night. It’s all part of the job description. You’re just another one. A common whore,” Ryan finished. He looked at me with a face that expressed almost triumph. I inhaled sharply to stop myself from crying. This effort was useless. I felt the hot tears drip down my face. I looked down to see them fall onto the ice. Mortifyingly embarrassed, I looked up at Geno who stared at me in confusion. I looked back down and all I heard was my breath in the awkward silence.

“You’re such a dick,” I heard Jordan speak first. Then after that I heard and felt a multitude of things. Someone skated over to me and made an attempt to put their arm around me, but I brushed it off. My blurry vision didn’t allow me to make out their face. I turned to go and I heard the sound of fist to face contact. I didn’t stick around to see who was the assaulter, although I was pretty sure I could guess who the assaultee was. I darted from the rink, making my way, blindly, down the hallway and eventually to the parking lot. Once I was outside, the air hit my face and it felt good. However, I didn’t slow down until I got to my car. I unlocked it and slid into the driver’s seat. I made a pathetic attempt to put the key in the ignition, but failed. Frustrated, I dropped the keys into the center console, rested my head on the steering wheel and cried. I continued on that way until I heard a knock on my window.