Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chapter Fifteen

Max’s Point of View
Riley walked away from me and into the arms of a waiting Geno. I had to admit, they were a good looking couple. The way he towered over her and completely engulfed her as they embraced. He was a good four inches taller than me and for some reason, this sparked a jealousy in me and made me desire to be taller for her. Not that she was taller than me or anything, but still. There they were kissing in the middle of the locker room like it was no big deal. Well, I guess it wasn’t, seeing as how they’re dating. But it makes my blood boil, nonetheless. I watched as she sat down carefully on the bench with her back to the room to afford us all some privacy. Her legs were tucked up beneath her and through her hair I could see the letters of “MALKIN” making a peeking appearance.

“You wanna get dressed sometime this century?” Jordan called from across the room as he slid a t-shirt over his head. I didn’t respond, only made my way to showers. After I returned, Geno and Riley were still sitting there. Only this time, she was outwardly facing the room because the vast majority of the guys were gone and those who remained were fully clothed. I heard Geno ask her out to dinner which I thought seemed standard. But when I heard her decline and then invite him over, my heart almost stopped beating. I saw a stupid grin spread across his face as he placed his arm around her waist and they exited the locker room. A few minutes later I got a text from Jordan that read “we’re going out for a few drinks, come along”. I contemplated it for a moment then decided against my better judgment to join them. I needed a night away from thinking of Riley. I needed a break.

Riley’s Point of View
I made my way back up to the regular part of the arena, so Geno and I wouldn’t exit together. Neither one of us felt like dealing with the media tonight. I hopped into my car and waited until I saw his car approaching. I backed out of my spot and got in front of him so he could follow me back to my house. I don’t know why I was suddenly nervous. I’ve had guys over before and it had been no big deal. But I felt the need to impress Geno for some strange reason. Even though he clearly didn’t mind my imperfections one bit. When we reached my house, I let him pull into the garage. You never know if a fan could have followed him back here, so I thought it best to conceal his car. And I left my own on the street in front. After parking his car he came back out to me and I shut the garage. Geno’s eyes widened as he saw all of the flowers still adorning the front of my house. I made a mental note to have the trash guy come take them away.

“Why all flowers?” Geno asked staring at the bouquets.

“Ryan got them for me,” I answered.

“Oh, sorry, should I have…?” he asked looking down at the ground.

“NO!” I practically shouted at him. “No, I don’t like flowers all that much anyway. To tell you the truth, I prefer chocolate.” At this he smiled and we made our way inside.

Max’s Point of View
I went home and changed before I went out to the club with the guys. It took me longer than usual to get ready and I felt as if my actions were in slow motion. However, I finally decided on jeans and a button down with the sleeves rolled up. I put on cologne, fixed my hair, and was ready to go. Once I stepped foot in the club, the smell of alcohol attacked me. It wasn’t a smell that I had any aversion to either. I made my way through the crowd and over to the bar, ordering my usual. With the drink in hand I met up with the rest of the guys in the VIP section.

“I wanna take home something pretty tonight!” Jordan howled as he downed another shot. I watched as two blondes to his left giggled, hoping it would be one of them…or both.

“What took ya so long?” Tyler asked as I took a seat next to him.

“Oh, you know…” I responded not quite sure what excuse I had anyway.

“Yeah, man,” he answered. Clearly he had had a few and my non-answer was answer enough for him. I surveyed the scene around us. Jordan chatting it up with the two blondes, Tyler leaning dangerously close to a pretty brunette, and Sid and Kris having a drink and sharing a laugh a few feet away. Everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves except for me. I took a sip from my drink, closed my eyes, and pressed the bridge of my nose between my thumb and forefinger. Before I could open my eyes, the aroma of a beautiful perfume surrounded me. I looked to my right and saw this pretty blonde sitting next to me. She smiled and offered her hand.

“Hey, I’m Kate,” she said. I noticed she had green eyes, just like Riley.

“Max,” I replied, releasing her hand.

“I know,” she laughed. “I was at the game tonight. You looked hot out there.” I smiled knowing exactly where this was going. It was the same strategy every time you went to a club. A girl would come up to you, compliment you a bit to try and inflate your ego, then make some small talk, and she would end up back at your place. I was tired and wanted to get out of there, so I figured I’d skip all the steps in the middle.

“You wanna come back to my place?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” she purred as she got up. I followed suit and as we made our way out of the club I heard Jordan’s voice ring out over the crowd.

“Yeah Max! Yeah!” he called as we reached the door. I rolled my eyes and led her to my car.

Riley’s Point of View
“I like you house,” Geno said as he took a seat in the living room.

“Aw, thanks,” I answered, bringing him back a beer from the kitchen. He took it graciously as I had a seat next to him. He put his arm around me and I cuddled into him curling my legs up to the side. I closed my eyes and listened to his steady heart beat. I leaned my head back and instinctively he brought his face down to mine. I felt the soft pressure of his lips as his tongue looked for entrance. I allowed it and while doing so, turned around so I was seated in his lap. He leaned forward to put the beer on the coffee table and once his hands were free, he placed them on either side of my face. I liked the feeling and responded by kissing him back more aggressively. Almost as if I wanted to prove something to myself. However, I felt Geno back off. And when his breathing returned to normal, he spoke.

“I not want do this right now,” he started apologetically. “Really like you and want first time more special.” I thought my heart was going to break. I didn’t think I could be any more fond of him than I already was and here he was, being the most absolute perfect gentleman. It was so sweet that it hurt.

“Oh Geno,” I said snuggling back into him and turning on the TV, “thank you.” He kissed the top of my head as he reached back for his beer.

Max’s Point of View

When we got back to my house, Kate didn’t waste any time. Her mouth was attacking mine before I even had a chance to shut the door. I guess it’s because she thought that’s what I wanted and she didn’t want to disappoint. In fact, I needed it. I needed a living, breathing, distraction from Riley. Anything, anyone. I brought Kate into my living room and threw her down on the couch to which she squealed in delight. I straddled her, lifting her shirt over her head and kissing a trail down her neck. She writhed in pleasure beneath me and in a swift motion I brought her on top of me. Her hands meticulously worked the buttons of my shirt and once it was discarded, she went back to my mouth kissing me deeply. She moved on to my neck and began biting down. I couldn’t stifle the moan that escaped.

“Riley,” I called without thinking. If she heard it, she didn’t acknowledge it and just continued to bite. “Oh Riley.” Again nothing. I began to think that maybe I only called Riley’s name in my head. “Riley.” Third time’s the charm.

“Excuse me,” she said looking down at me. “My name’s Kate and I do not appreciate being called someone else’s name.” And she was right. I was a complete douche to call her the wrong name. But, I also didn’t like being reprimanded in my own house.

“Alright, Kate,” I began, “It’s been a lovely evening and maybe I’ll see you around.” I got up off the couch and led her to the door.

Riley’s Point of View
I stood in the doorway as Geno leaned on the frame.

“Goodnight,” he said as he leaned in to kiss me.

“We’ve been saying goodnight for fifteen minutes,” I laughed as we pulled apart.

“I no want to go,” he answered frowning at his feet.

“You have a flight to catch early in the morning! Go!” I said shoving him down the pathway. I had already opened the garage and his car was now sitting in the driveway.

“I’ll miss you,” he said sweetly.

“You too,” I said as we kissed one last time.

“I’ll call you,” he replied getting into his car.

“I know,” I answered smiling. He laughed and eventually drove down the street. I ran back inside the house, grabbed some ice cream from the freezer, and hopped into bed. It was nearing 1 AM and I was unusually wired. I looked over at my phone and eventually grabbed it, flipping through the contacts. Who could I text?

heyy max. you up??

i’m at your beck and call.

what are you up to?

well, I WAS sleeping. but now im up, talking to my favorite person (:

lmao shuttup. && stop using those smileys. girls use those. =p see?

yeah yeah yeah. what are you doing up so late?

late? isnt your night normally just getting started around now?

normally. but that doenst answer my question. things didn’t go so well on your date with geno?

not that its any of your business but they went perfectly fine. thanks for asking.

hey! wanna go for a drive?

don’t you have a flight to catch?

i’ll be over in ten.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chapter Fourteen

Most of the game was uneventful until late in the second period when Max decided to be a moron and get into it with Dean McAmmond. The first couple seconds of the fight were standard, nothing too severe. But soon, I was on my feet with the other 12,000 fans around me when a right hook from McAmmond sent Max hurtling to the ground. He was only down for a few seconds, but a trainer quickly made his way over and helped him off the ice. About two minutes later the period ended. I wanted to go see him, but not with all the guys around. So I stayed in my seat throughout the whole intermission and when the third period was about to begin, I left the arena and made my way to the player’s entrance. I saw my guard and with a wave he let me pass through. I quickly walked towards the locker room and slowly pushed the door open. Sure enough Max was sitting at his stall looking through his phone.

“Hey,” I said quietly, making my way over to him.

“Hey yourself,” he replied giving me a bright smile.

“How are you feeling? What’d they say?” I asked quickly.

“I’m fine, I’m fine. And it’s nothing really, no damage done,” he said easily. I looked at him hard and I already saw the beginnings of a black eye forming. He saw me looking at it and reached up his hand to touch it. I swatted it away.

“Don’t touch it! You’ll make it worse,” I said.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” he laughed. I stared at him intently.

“Just shut up for a minute okay?” I asked him and he nodded. I gently put my hand where his had been. Tracing over the right side of his face with my left hand. I watched him wince a little. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be, you’re doing much more good than bad,” he answered softly. I smiled a little as he closed his eyes. I let my hand wander from his face up to his hair. Running my fingers through it slightly. He took my other hand and laced our fingers together, resting on my thigh. He opened his eyes again and he were face to face. Then he leaned forward and found my mouth with his own. I kissed him back, not entirely sure why. I soon moved both hands to the back of his neck and his hands lingered on the small of my back. After a minute we pulled apart and he stared at me. “Are you doing this because you feel sorry for me?”

“Maybe…I don’t know,” I answered honestly, because I wasn’t too sure myself.

“Okay,” he replied and moved back to my mouth. Again, I let him and again I found myself enjoying his touch. It was new to me and different and I had wondered what it would be like to kiss him. And, I had to admit, he was skilled. His tongue worked expertly through my mouth and his hands caressed my back in all the right places. After our last kiss, I looked at him, his face still close to mine.

“I’ve wanted that. I needed that,” he spoke tenderly. I smiled at him and looked around the room. And almost instantly, I wished I hadn’t. My eyes landed on the place where all of Geno’s belongings were and a surge of guilt washed over me.

“Geno,” I stated. One word was all I needed to explain to Max just how bad I felt.

“It’s okay, Riley,” he tried to comfort me, but his effort fell flat.

“It’s not,” I said simply. I got up to go. “I’m sorry?” I heard the questioning tone in my voice. He got up too and before he let me leave, he kissed me one more time.

“Again, don’t be,” he said and I turned to leave.

Max’s Point of View
I watched her leave and I couldn’t wipe this ridiculous grin off my face. I was an idiot. Why should a girl get me this crazy? I walked back over to my stall and sat down again. Without thinking I ran my tongue over my lips briefly and I could still taste her. It was a sensation I never wanted to go away. I shouldn’t be enjoying it this much anyway because she felt sorry for me. Maybe that kiss would have happened one day on its own, but today, it was because she felt sorry for me. Although, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to it than that. Everything about it felt so right. It felt as if from that one kiss, the pieces of the puzzle were finally falling into place. I wanted to be with her, I had to be with her. I allowed myself to get lost in replaying our kiss in my mind and before I knew it, the guys were barreling through the door. And by the excitement in their voices, I could tell that we won. I barely acknowledged them until I was spoken to.

“Dude, why are you blushing?” Jordan asked causing everyone in the locker room to turn and look at me. I put a hand to my cheek and felt the heat.

“Um, no I’m not,” I replied defensively. Jordan squinted his eyes and looked at me knowingly.

“You totally are! Did something happen with Riley? I saw her come in here just before we were going out,” he raised his eyebrows suggestively and at the mention of Riley’s name, Geno turned on his heels and Ryan shot daggers at me.

“Whaaa….what the fuck? No,” I answered quickly. “She’s dating Geno.” At this remark, Geno breathed a sigh of relief and went back to undressing. While Ryan continued to give me the death stare. Jordan looked as if he wasn’t buying this one bit. In a sudden motion, he bent down and was about a quarter of an inch away from my face.

“Hmmm, your lips look swollen. You were definitely kissing somebody,” he said, a grin breaking out across his face.

“Dude, back the fuck away from me. I was just punched in the fucking face. I’m pretty sure that if that happened to you, some parts of your face would be swollen too,” I answered, shoving him.

“Okaaaaay Maxie, whatever you say,” he called as he headed off to talk to Tyler. That was such a close one. Ryan continued to glare at me as he made his way over to sit down next to me.

“Listen to me,” he began in a low tone, “you stay the fuck away from her. Do you hear me? I don’t want you in her life messing everything up for her, okay? Just leave her alone, or I promise you, I will make your life a living hell.”

“Well, well, well, those certainly don’t sound like the words of just a protective cousin. If I didn’t know any better, it sounds like you have some sick, creepy incestuous ‘thing’ for her,” I said triumphantly as I watched his face flicker first to shame, then to rage. I felt his fist connecting with my face before I actually comprehended it. But in an instant Jordan and Sid were holding him back. Blood trickled down from my nose and I could feel someone putting a towel up to it. It was Kris.

“Thanks man,” I said gratefully and pinched my nose with the towel. Kris nodded but remained seated next to me.

“Dude! You need to calm the fuck down,” Jordan started. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately, but you’ve gotta stop. Seriously Ryan.” I watched as Ryan shrugged the guys off and in a huff returned to his own stall.

Riley’s Point of View
I hastily made my way out to my car. How could I do that? I had been so good all day with Max and last night. Sure I teased him and tempted him, but that was fun. Just fun. And here we end up kissing. There were so many opportunites to do it yesterday when the sexual tension was at its highest, but I didn’t want to then. Actually, I didn’t even know if I wanted to now. I did feel sorry for him, but why did that mean I had to let him kiss me? And more importantly, why did I kiss him back? I couldn’t quite put a finger on what I felt in that moment or what I felt now for that matter? I drove a few blocks but then realized that I didn’t even stay to congratulate Geno. He played a great game with a goal and three assists. So, I hooked a U-turn and made my way back to the arena. Once I parked the car, I hastily made my way to the locker room and without even knocking opened the door. Thank God no one was completely naked, but the scene I saw before me was even worse. Max with a bloody towel up to his nose, Ryan fuming at his stall, and all of the other boys just simply confused.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked to no one in particular. Jordan took the liberty of answering on behalf of the group.

“Well, Ryan went ape-shit and punched Max in the face because Max made some kind of remark to him, I don’t know what he said though,” Jordan explained. I looked over at Max although he wouldn’t meet my gaze. The crowd began to disperse and I took a seat next to Max and waited for him to say something. When he didn’t, I started the conversation.

“Let me see,” I said referring to his nose. He removed the towel and while it was a bloody mess, it didn’t appear to be broken. “You’re a fucking moron, you know that?” At this, Max gave me a small smile.

“I know,” he said, “but it’s all part of my charm.” I rolled my eyes at him and his smile grew wider.

“What’d you say, Max?” I asked tiredly. He looked down, almost with guilt.

“All I said was that it sounded like he had a creepy incestuous thing for you, you know with the way he’s so overprotective,” Max said. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I didn’t know that it was that obvious or that Max was that perceptive.

“You know that’s crazy, Max,” I answered calmly.

“I know, but it really set him off, it was weird,” he said, contorting his face into an expression of curiosity.

“Max, wouldn’t you be upset if someone thought you had an “incestuous thing” for one of your cousins?” I asked trying to divert the attention away from myself and Ryan.

“I guess so,” he replied, placing the towel back up to his face. At that moment Geno walked out of the showers. He was wearing black gym shorts and he had a towel draped over his shoulders, his bare chest glistening with droplets of water.

“Well, I guess I should…” I trailed off. I had no idea why I was making it sound like going back to my boyfriend was a chore.

“I know,” Max answered looking down to avoid meeting my eyes. I got up to go but before I took one step I turned back to him.

“Please take care of yourself, okay?” I asked quietly. And with that I turned and sprinted at Geno. When I reached him, he lifted me off my feet and held me in his arms for a deep kiss. I kicked my feet in delight until he eventually set me down.

“You played so great tonight,” I gushed as he took both of my hands in his.
“Thanks,” he answered with a smile. “I like you wear my jersey.” I looked down almost forgetting about my earlier purchase.

“Oh, really?” I asked doing a small spin.

“Yeah, look good,” he said proudly.

“Oh Geno,” I laughed sitting down on the bench while he continued to dress. Geno was oblivious to it, but I could feel the tension in the locker room. I had my back turned to them for the most part, to give them privacy. But no one was speaking except for a few nervous comments here and there. I could see Ryan out of the corner of my left eye and all of his actions were being completed in huffy, pissed movements. I wondered why no one was making a bigger deal out of this. Maybe it’s the “everybody gets one” policy? Where everybody gets one flip out no questions asked? But still, attacking another teammate seems in a completely different category. Finally, after what seemed like ages, Geno finished dressing and had his bag ready to go.

“You want go dinner?” he asked as he straightened up his area.

“Actually, why don’t you come over?” I smiled sweetly at him. His eyes seemed to light up as he placed his arm around my waist and led me out of the locker room.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chapter Thirteen

Once again, I opened my eyes, but this time found the sunlight streaming through the window. I looked to my left and found Max still asleep. His breathing was even and he muttered a little. I gently nudged him until he woke up.

“Whoa, what are you doing here?” Max asked startled. He blinked his eyes in the bright sun.

“Waking up,” I replied easily.

“When did you come in here?” Max questioned. He was staring intently at me.

“Oh, last night, around three in the morning,” I answered. My nonchalant attitude caught him off guard.

“Um, why?” he asked.

“I don’t know, I was bored,” I laughed.

“Damn, I can’t believe I missed sleeping with you!” he buried his face in his pillow. I laughed again and laid back down.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to come in here. Sometimes it’s easier to sleep if you have someone next to you.” He pondered this as his cell phone rang. He answered it and put it on speaker phone.

“Where the fuck are you dude?!” Jordan’s voice was frantic on the other end.

“At home, in bed,” Max answered, “Dude, calm down.”

“You need to get your ass to practice right now,” Jordan spoke quickly.

“Oh shit,” Max said. “I forgot about that. Ugh I’m coming.”

“Hurry up! The coach is gonna kick your ass, this practice is mandatory!” Jordan said before hanging up. Max rolled over and out of bed and made his way to the bathroom. I heard the shower turn on and fifteen minutes later Max emerged, wearing only a towel. He shook his head and water sprayed all over me.

“Thanks for that,” I said sarcastically.

“Anytime babe,” he replied going over to his closet and pulling out some gym clothes. He brought them back into the bathroom, dressed, and headed downstairs. I followed him, right on his heels.

“I’m not going to practice today,” I said watching him in the kitchen.

“Don’t wanna see Ryan?” he asked while rifling through the pantry.

“Not at all,” I said as he tossed me a granola bar. “Thanks.”

“No problem. I wish I had time to make you something better. Sorry about that,” Max answered apologetically.

“This is fine with me,” I said while unwrapping the granola bar. I bit into it and only then did I realize how hungry I actually was. “Is this the first time that you had a girl sleep over and you didn’t hook up with her?”

“Actually, yeah it is,” he answered. He smiled at me, grabbed his bag and headed for the door. I grabbed my bag and followed. I opened my car, then threw the bag into the back. “You’re coming to the game tonight right?”

“Yup, I love a good hockey game,” I answered. “We’re season ticket holders.”

“Oh really?” he asked pleasantly surprised.

“First row,” I answered, “but I haven’t been to a game in such a long time.”

“Nice, where at?” Max questioned.

“Right next to the penalty box,” I replied. Max thought about this for a moment.

“I’ll make sure I look for you,” he said.

“Alright,” I laughed, “see ya tonight.” I hopped into my car and drove off.

When I arrived home, the flowers and gifts were still all over my steps and walkway. I pulled into the driveway and hacked a path to my house. I opened the front door and left the flowers outside. I checked the answering machine and it flashed with 53 messages. I didn’t even bother listening to them. I just pressed “delete all” and headed upstairs to go lay down. When I awoke a few hours later, I needed a nice hot one to relax myself. After my shower, I came out and dressed. I didn’t have jersey so I figured I’d just buy one once I was at the arena. I ran downstairs, out the door, and hopped into my car. Once I was on the road, I decided that I actually did have time to stop at a sports store and pick up a jersey for a price that wasn’t a rip off. I pulled into the parking lot and eased into a spot. I got out and made my way inside. A friendly looking man who looked to be in his mid-forties stood behind the counter.

“Hi there,” he said with a pleasant smile, “can I help you?”

“Um, yes,” I replied, “I’m looking for an Evgeni Malkin jersey.”

“Oh, those sell out so fast,” the man said, “but let me check in the back, I might have one left. What size?”

“Well, if you have women’s then medium, but if you have men’s, small,” I said. The man nodded and headed to the back of the store. He disappeared behind a heavy metal door.

“Um, excuse me?” I heard a woman’s voice behind me. I turned and instantly recognized her. She was the woman from the Russian restaurant I went to with Geno the other night.

“Yes?” I said as she approached me.

“You asked for an Evgeni Malkin jersey right?” she asked.

“Yes, I did,” I said.

“Well, didn’t I see you with him the other night?” she questioned. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.

“Um, yes you did,” I laughed. The woman smiled at me. She was older. Maybe late forties, early fifties.

“Are you…together?” she asked gently. Her voice was soft and she waited eagerly for my reply. I contemplated her question. I had never discussed with Geno whether we would make this public or not.

“Um, Geno doesn’t like to discuss his personal life,” I said as evenly as I could. The woman continued smiling at me.

“I’ve been around quite a bit and I can see from the way you talk about him that you are together,” she answered. “Don’t worry, darling. You’re secret’s safe with me.” She winked, took her bags, and left. I turned back to the counter and thought about the odd encounter. A moment later, the man came back out of the storage room.

“We’ve got a small men’s in black,” he said.

“I’ll take it,” I answered. I paid the man and took the bag out to my car. I cut the tags off and slipped it over my head. It was so cute. Then I wondered how Geno would react if I called his jersey cute. I laughed to myself and got in the car and made my way to the arena. I parked in the lot and walked towards the arena. I caught up to the throngs of people headed in the same direction. The man checked my ticket and I made my way inside. I walked through the fans and past the little kids staring around in wonder. It made me remember my first game. Ryan’s dad took us. We sat right up in the front row and when Ryan saw Mario Lemieux skate by, he almost had a heart attack. That was such a good day. I walked down to the glass and stood there. The players were getting ready to come out for their little pre-game skate. I waited patiently, took out my phone and texted a little bit, then turned my attention back to the ice. The players came out with a roar from the crowd. Max came out first. I caught his eye and he winked at me. A girl to my left squealed, assuming he was winking at her and I laughed to myself. She looked to be about fourteen and she was with another girl her age and her father. It was a cute scene that reminded me of my own childhood. Max picked up a puck and threw it over the glass right at me. It caught me off guard and I almost dropped my phone as I tried to catch it.

“You’re an idiot,” I mouthed at him as he laughed.

“You love it,” he mouthed back and skated away. I heard the girl to my left gasp.

“You know him?!” she asked in amazement. I turned and smiled at her.

“Yeah I do,” I said as she continued to gaze at me. “I’ll tell you what, you take this puck. I don’t need it.” I handed her the puck and she looked close to tears.

“Thank you so much!” She said and she turned to her friend and the two of them talked excitedly. A few minutes later I caught Geno’s eye and he smiled at me. However, unlike the moron before him, he knew better than to come over to me and risk causing a scene. I gave him a thumbs up and he smiled in acknowledgement. Then, he too skated away. They all looked so cute warming up. I got even closer to the glass just staring. It was mesmerizing. I loved watching them skate and I would definitely be seated here more often. Just as I was starting to relax, I saw Ryan. He was talking to Sid about something. When we made eye contact, I quickly looked away and I could feel him trying to catch my attention. I wouldn’t give him that satisfaction. I would not look at him. He didn’t deserve it. Looking at him would be like accepting his apology and I was nowhere near ready to do that. That is, if I even accepted it at all. After a few more minutes, the guys eventually went back to the locker rooms and the game was about to begin.