Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chapter Thirty

The rest of the night carried on with relative ease. I sat with Mario, Nathalie, and Riley and we enjoyed the Penguin victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Geno played like a man with something to prove, notching two goals and two assists to carry the team to a 5-1 win. At least he was channeling all of this negative energy to a productive source. Well, besides beating the shit out of me. After the game, the box emptied pretty quickly and soon enough, it was just myself and Riley.

“Fun game,” she commented, snagging one of the remaining glasses of wine.

“Indeed it was,” I replied, walking over until I was directly in front of her. “Now, why don’t we go back to my place? You know, I’ve got a little time until the flight leaves for St. Louis.”

“You’re going away?”

“For a mini-road trip. And don’t I deserve a going away present?” I watched as she rolled her eyes and shook her head no. “But, I could get you out of this dress.” I snaked my arms around her waist and brought her closer to me. “Just think how good it would look on my floor.” I heard her mumble something about me not getting away with this, but I ignored her. “I could put my hands here.” I brought them down to her ass. “Or here.” I moved one hand to graze across the top of her cleavage and I watched as she closed her eyes and licked her lips. “Or maybe I could throw you on the bed. I remember how much you enjoyed that.” I watched her facial expression as she remembered our encounter last night. “Or screw the bed. I could fuck you in the living room. Wouldn’t you like that? Or in the foyer. Or right here if you wanted. I could do that thing you like, with my hand.” I traced a finger up her inner thigh and heard her moan slightly. “Or I could do that thing with my tongue. Remember that?” I watched her physically shudder and she reached out to pull me closer. I moved my hands back to her waist and massaged the small of her back. “What do you want, Riley?”

“I want you---”

“Oh yeah?”

“No, you didn’t let me finish. I want you to agree to meet my parents. Please.” I heard an undertone of begging in that statement and figured if I tried a little harder, I might be able to get away with it.

“No, no. Let me do all of this for you first. And then we’ll talk about meeting your parents.” I began kissing her neck until I felt her tense and push me away.

“If there’s no agreement first, then there’s no sex.”

“No agreement.”

“No sex.”


“Fine.” I watched as she turned on her heel and headed out of the box. And to think, it seemed like I was so close. Believe me, I wanted to be with her, but I just wasn’t ready to meet her parents yet. A step like that takes weeks of mental preparation. Everything had to be perfect for them so I could make a good first impression. I never felt like I was good enough for Riley, I’m selfish, loud, obnoxious, and self centered. And she’s everything opposite of that. But for some reason, God only knows, I had won her over and I wanted to win her parents over too. I know Riley would probably feed me some line about how her opinion is the only one that matters and that’s true to a certain extent. But, I wanted Riley to have her family’s support on this one and that meant making a good first impression and we’re back to square one. I grabbed her glass of wine, downed the remnants, and headed out to meet up with the team.

Riley’s Point of View
I had to get out of that room as fast as I could. If I stayed for one more second, I would have given in and let Max have his way with me right there on the floor. Not that that would have been all bad. Once I was outside and at my car, I felt my heart beat return to normal and I took that moment to actually be proud of myself. I actually resisted Max Talbot. The Max Talbot. I was playing with fire here. And could it be I wasn’t getting burned? Max seemed to be suffering, his efforts to seduce me weren’t working, and before long, he’d be groveling at my feet and dying to meet my parents. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty damn good. Which is why, when I got home, I called Vero and asked if she wanted to come over and spend the night. We’d have a good ol’ fashioned sleep over complete with pedicures, gossip, and junk food. Ultimately, it didn’t take much arm twisting for her to oblige. Around three in the morning, when all of the Cheetos were gone and we were relying on coffee to help us pull an ‘all nighter’, we started talking about Max. I actually couldn’t believe that subject hadn’t been brought up until now.

“How are you guys doing?” Vero asked from the foot of my bed. She was sprawled on her stomach, sucking on popcorn kernels.

“We’re doing really good. We said ‘I love you’ last night after we had sex for the first time,” I answered, unable to keep the smile from my face and the blush from my cheeks.

“How was it?”

“It was the perfect moment. Just hearing him say those words literally sent shivers down my spine. I haven’t felt this way about anyone before, V.”

“No, I meant the sex.” She started laughing and I threw a pillow at her, hitting her square in the face. She tried to retaliate, but I fended her off.

“See! That’s what you get for being a bitch!” This time it was her turn to hit me upside the head with a pillow. Once we finally caught our breath, I answered her original question. “The sex was so fucking amazing.”

“Ah! I knew it! Not gonna lie, Max always struck me as the kind of guy who would be fantastic in bed.”

“Well, your intuition was right. He was beyond fantastic. I just can’t even put it into words. How’s Marc?”

“Have you seen the way he moves when he’s in net? That speaks for itself.”

“Point taken.” We burst into another round of laughter as Vero went on to tell me some story about Marc’s bedroom acrobatics and how he accidentally knocked down a picture behind their bed, sending glass shards everywhere. I struggled to catch my breath when she was finished. I never ever laughed this hard in my whole entire life. I went on to tell her about our night in Mario’s box and then the whole ‘meet the parents’ issue.

“I wonder why Max doesn’t want to meet them. That’s so weird,” Vero pondered after I finished explaining.

“I know right? So you know what I did?”


“I put him on sex probation until he comes around on this issue.”

“No way! That’s such a good idea! I have to use that on Marc next time he doesn’t do something that I want.”

“It’s like a big game because you get to try all of these fun ways to seduce him until he eventually gives in. Max has no will power, so it should be happening soon. Although, I’m running out of ideas.” I watched as Vero scrunched up her face in concentration and then suddenly jumped up in excitement.

“Okay, just go with me here. How do you feel about road trips and bustiers?”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chapter Twenty Nine

I waited in the living room for Max to come downstairs and after a few minutes, I saw him come sulking around the corner. He plopped down heavily next to me and I put my head in his lap.

“Shouldn’t you be taking a pregame nap?”

“Oh that’s right, I didn’t get a chance to tell you before, I’m not playing tonight. Healthy scratch.”

“Because of the fight?”

“Because I can’t put my helmet on without being in excruciating pain.” I felt a twinge of guilt in the pit of my stomach. No matter what anyone said, I was always going to see myself as the reason that the fight took place.

“I’m so sorry.” Max caught that the tone of the conversation had drastically shifted and reached down to stroke my hair.

“Whatever you’re thinking right now, stop it.” He smiled down at me and just as I was about to say something, his cell phone rang. He reached into his pocket, looked at the screen, then looked at me, then looked at the screen again, and back up to me.

“Who is it?” I saw his blue eyes go wide.

“It’s Mario.” Getting a call from Mario for no reason was a pretty big deal, so I sat up and leaned in to hear what was said. “Hello?”

“Hey, Max! How are you?” Mario asked from the other end.

“I’m fine and yourself?”

“I’m doing pretty well. Listen, I know you’re not playing tonight and I’d like it if you’d come sit up in the box with me. I’ve been meaning to talk to you and I figured this is the perfect opportunity. We’ll have a few drinks, watch the game, it’ll be fun.”

“I…um…yeah! I’d love to! Thanks so much for offering.”

“No problem at all, Max. I’d also really like it if you brought someone. Maybe a girl? Maybe a relative of one of your teammates? Maybe a Malone? I don’t know, whoever you see fit.”

“How did you---?”

“I’ll see you tonight, Max.” And with that, he hung up. It was sort of like being summoned to the principal’s office. You stressed about it all day thinking, ‘What in the world did I do?’. Only this time, we knew exactly what we did.

“I can’t believe he knows,” Max said quietly, still looking at the phone in his hand.

“I can. I mean, he’s co-owner. He probably knows a lot more than you think he does. I’m sure he wants to be on the up and up about his players. I know I would.”

“Yeah, but this seems different. Like really personal.”

“But I guess since it’s affecting the whole team, then he’d want to know what’s going on. Especially since there was a fight, and a write up in the paper, and the fact that you’re not playing tonight.”

“You’re right. That makes sense.” Max nodded even though he seemed like he was still in a daze. We put off talking about the issue for a couple more hours while we lounged around lazily, ate pizza, and watched TV. Eventually though, Max knew it was time for him to leave so he could shower and get dressed before we had to go over. We decided that we’d take separate cars so nothing would look suspicious. When I was choosing my outfit, I decided on a simple black dress that showed just enough skin so as not to offend Mario, but tempt Max at the same time. I still had to make sure he caved first. Once I was dressed, put on my makeup, and grabbed my jacket, I was out the door and making my way to the Igloo. I made my way down to the player’s lounge and met this guy named James who worked at Mellon. Max told me that James would be the one to bring me up to Mario’s box. So, after a treacherous climb, I finally arrived. For the most part, the box was empty with the exception of a few staff members and people I didn’t know. I spied an open bar with glasses of wine sitting on the surface, snagged a glass and grabbed a seat at a table. As the minutes ticked by and the glass emptied, more people began filing in, until at last, Max took a seat across from me. He seemed pretty distracted and didn’t notice what I was wearing until he actually sat down.

“Whoa,” he said, a smile breaking out across his face.

“You like?” I asked, downing the rest of the wine.

“I love. Where’d you get that?”

“I’ve had it for a while. Thought I’d break it out tonight. It seemed like the right time. By the way, have you given anymore thought to my proposition?”

“Yes, and my stance is still no.”

“Oh really? Well, that’s a shame. I was really hoping you’d changed your mind.”

“Nope, because I have a theory.”

“And what’s that?”

“You can’t resist me as much as I can’t resist you. Sooner or later you’ll be begging to have me in your bed and you won’t give a damn whether or not I agree to meet your parents.”

“I beg to differ. I have an unusually strong amount of will power. You on the other hand, not so much.” I smiled at him and watched as he grabbed a napkin from the corner of the table and pulled a pen out of his pocket.

“You know, you’re impossible to live with,” he said as he began scrawling something across the napkin.

“I never said it’d be easy,” I replied with ease. He shook his head and slid the napkin across the table. ‘I love you’ stood out in bold letters across the white background. This was only the second time I’d heard it from him and technically he hadn’t even said it this time. But just seeing it written there was enough to send my heart into overdrive. I felt myself smile involuntarily and I looked up at him to find that he was smiling right back. This was a moment I wanted to remember forever and capture in my memory. But then I watched as his expression changed from happiness to terror and I quickly realized that it was because Mario was standing over my shoulder, reading the note.

“Mario! Hey!” Max said, practically tripping over himself to get over to him. I stood up and took my place next to Max. “This is Riley.”

“Hi, Mr. Lemieux,” I said politely, having absolutely no idea what to call him.

“It’s so nice to meet you, Riley. But please, it’s Mario,” he responded. Awkward greeting, officially over. “Now, I hope you don’t mind if I steal Max for a little while.”

“Oh no, not at all. Steal away.” Mario smiled pleasantly and began to walk away, assuming Max would follow him.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Max whispered in my ear before trailing behind Mario. I watched the two of them convene on the other side of the room and I barely noticed the pretty blonde woman who had come up on my right.

“You must be Riley,” she said suddenly. I turned to face her and I guess she read the puzzled expression on my face because she quickly added, “I’m Nathalie, Mario’s wife.”

“Oh, it’s so nice to meet you,” I replied, repeating the statement her husband had made to me.
“I’ve heard so much about you, I feel like I know you already,” she remarked. I inwardly cringed at the thought of this. She probably heard something along the lines of: “Riley Malone? Oh yeah, she’s that whore that’s tearing the whole damn team apart.”

“Is that so? I hope it was nothing too incriminating.”

“Not at all! I’ve heard how you’re the beautiful cousin of Ryan and how you’ve seemed to capture the heart of one of the most ‘un-capturable’ men on the team.” I felt the heat rise to my cheeks immediately as I thought of Max. But then it occurred to me that even though she probably knows about my relationship with Max, she could also have been referring to my ‘relationship’ with Geno. “How are you two doing?” I figured it was best I go the safe route and assume she meant Geno.

“Oh, Geno and I are doing well. We’re very happy.” I gave the best diplomatic answer I could. I thought for a minute I had succeeded until she lowered her voice and leaned in closer to me.

“Please, Riley. I know that’s not true. I’m pretty sure you’re a little bit happier with Max, no?” She winked and I breathed a sigh of relief. Someone else I could confide in.

“So much happier.” I laughed as she led me to our seats.

Max’s Point of View
I felt bad about leaving Riley by herself, so I hoped to make whatever conversation I had to have with Mario short and sweet.

“How are you doing, Max?” Mario asked once we were far enough away from Riley and Nathalie.

“I’m fine.”

“No, Max. Really, how are you doing?” I sighed, it was no use sugarcoating it. He’d get it out of me anyway.

“Terrible actually. I can’t stand what’s going on with the team. I can’t stand not being able to play. I can’t stand fighting with Geno and Ryan. And I can’t stand having Riley constantly blaming herself. I’m just as much to blame as she is. But she never gets that.” I didn’t have any idea how impossibly good I’d feel just saying that. It felt like a thousand pound weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. “And even though all of this is going on around me, I’m happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. I know that sounds crazy, but I have Riley and for some reason that makes it all worthwhile.” Mario was watching me intently, as if taking in everything I was telling him very carefully. It was a good two or three minutes before he spoke again.

“Do you love her?"

“Yes. I love her.”

“Okay then, Max.” Needless to say, I was utterly confused by this answer.

“Okay then?”

“Listen, Max. I’m sure you can gather that I don’t like what’s going on with the team right now. Yes you guys are winning and yes you’re keeping it together on the ice, but if things keep up the way they are, and personal affairs begin to intermingle with hockey life, then it will start to fall apart. It’s not bad now, but it could get that way. No owner, coach, staff member, or even other teammate ever wants to hear that two players can’t stand each other or are in some type of feud. But that’s beside the point right now because what you’re telling me, Max, about how much this girl really means to you, is something that only comes around once in a lifetime. And I have the utmost faith that once you square things away with her, everything will be just fine out on the ice.” Was this really happening? Was Mario actually telling me, in a roundabout way, to put something else before hockey? “Just please, Max, please try and work it out with Geno. I know that Riley has to pretend to be his girlfriend for a little while because now the press is involved, but what really matters is who she’s coming home to, and that’s you. He’s jealous and hurt, don’t hold that against him. I’m telling you, he’ll get over it. Just promise me, no more nightclub incidents.” I nodded, trying to soak in everything he was telling me. “And as for Ryan, he’s just playing the protective cousin right now. He’ll get over it as soon as he sees how good of a match you are for Riley. It’ll all work out, Max. Trust me.” And believe it or not, at that moment in time, I would have trusted Mario with my life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chapter Twenty Eight

When I got up the next morning, Riley was still asleep, which I expected. I had woken up earlier than normal so I could drive myself over to my place and change before heading over to practice. When I finally reached the arena, I bolted into the locker room, noticing I was running late.

“Hey man, what’s with the shit-eating grin?” Jordan asked as I approached. I hadn’t even noticed I’d been smiling.

“Oh, I don’t know. Nothing,” I answered throwing my bag down.

“Oh, I think I know. Someone got laid last night!” he screamed punching me in the arm. A couple of the guys whistled and clapped before returning to dressing.

“Alright, maybe I did. But it was kind of a big deal, okay?”

“Max Talbot getting a lay is a big deal?! I thought it was an everyday occurrence.”

“Shut up, Staalsy. It was…uh…the first time with Riley.”

“Dude. You’re fucking with me right? You’ve been hanging around with her for weeks and this is the first time you’ve fucked her?”

“Okay first of all, can we not scream this in a public venue? And second of all, can we not say I ‘fucked’ her?”

“Did you lose your dick sometime between yesterday and today? Since when is the word ‘fucked’ off limits? And, dude, I can’t believe she would even touch you with a ten foot pole. Your face is so fucked up.” Just as I was about to reply, Dan came over to us.

“Trainer, Talbot,” he said to me sternly. I nodded and made my way to the trainer, Chris. When I entered the room, I looked to my left and into a little mirror. I still looked like a complete horror show. And, if I wasn’t seeing things, it looked like my face had gotten worse.

“Um, hey Chris,” I called out. He had his back to me and was writing quickly in a notebook.

“What do you need, Max?” he asked without turning around.

“Well, Coach thinks you should have a look at me,” I answered. Chris finished up his writing and turned around to face me.

“Holy hell! I heard about the fight, but I didn’t think it was this bad.” He immediately began poking and prodding, much to my dissatisfaction. Everything on my face hurt and I’m pretty sure a good majority of it was swollen. “It’s not looking good for you, Talbot. You’ve got some pretty serious bruising going on under your right cheekbone. Your nose isn’t broken though, so that’s a plus. And what’s this cut on the side of your head?” I reached up and felt a sore spot near my hairline on the left side of my head. “Jesus, can you even put your helmet on without being in pain? Go get it.” I did as I was told and came back with the helmet. “Put it on.” I placed the helmet on my head and tried to minimize the wincing and grimaces I knew I was making. “You’re not playing tonight. You need a day.”

“No, seriously, I’m fine,” I protested.

“No, seriously, you’re not,” he replied. “You should go home. I’ll tell Dan.”

“I’m fine though! At least let me practice!” It was too late though. Chris left to go find Dan and I was left sitting alone until he returned five minutes later.

“Go on, go home. Just make sure you’re back here tonight. We’ve got a flight to catch to St. Louis.” I sighed dramatically, but left. I really wanted to see Riley, but I wanted to give her some space too. I was sure she’d get sick of me if we saw each other too often. So, I decided to take a drive. I needed some time to clear my head anyway. I started the engine, and took off, with no particular destination. While I was driving I thought about Riley mostly. Things were starting to go the way I had wanted them to go. I loved her, she loved me. That part was good. That made me feel amazing. There’s no better feeling than to love someone unconditionally and have them love you back the same way. I could spend hours talking to her about absolutely nothing. I loved the way I could tease her mercilessly about things, but I also loved how she could dish it right back. She complimented me. I wanted to hold her and kiss her all the time. I wanted to put a huge ass ring on her left hand. I wanted to show everyone that she was mine and solely mine. But…Geno. That son of a bitch was standing in my way. He wanted her too, that was easy to see. Just look at my face. He wasn’t willing to back down either. If he wasn’t in the picture though, things would be so much easier. All I wanted to do was be able to walk down the street holding her hand! Was that too much to ask? I felt like I was constantly fighting an uphill battle. No matter how hard I fought, there was always someone standing in my way, waiting to take Riley away from me. I had to consistently be on my guard so as not to allow myself to lose her. I had won for now, but it felt like I could never quite keep a hold on her. I continued to let my mind wander for a few hours, until returning to Riley’s house. I opened the door and frowned at the fact that it was unlocked.

“You know, you really should keep that door locked. You never know who could walk in here,” I called out as I entered the house.

“Alright, love you too, bye,” I heard Riley’s voice in the living room, then I heard the clicking of the phone. “Hey, Maxie.” She greeted me at the doorway, throwing her arms around my neck.

“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” I sighed. Oh great, just something else to screw us over.

“Bad then good,” I replied.

“Well the bad news is that my parents are coming to visit. But the good news is that I’ve been thinking about having sex with you. All. Day. Long.” She didn’t even leave time for a breath between those two phrases and the majority of blood in my body began to rush southward. I knew she was trying to distract me, so I had to keep my focus.

“Oh, really?” I managed to ask. “When?”

“Next Saturday,” she replied, hooking a finger in my beltloop. I immediately thought of 50 different ways I could have her underneath me in the next ten seconds.

“That’s nice.”

“Mmm, it is.” She moved her mouth to my jaw line. “Hey! Let’s go upstairs.” She began dragging me up towards her bedroom and since my mine was not really in a proper functioning state, I followed her wordlessly. I allowed her to guide me towards the bed, push me backwards, and sit in my lap. Soon my t-shirt was fluttering to the floor.

“Should I…should I be concerned? You know, about this?”

“No and can you stop talking? I’m trying to concentrate on pleasing you.” The way she drew out those last two words made me salivate at the thought of her pleasing me and I could think of quite a few ways that could be done. But no! I wouldn’t let her distract me with sex.

“But…where…are…they…staying?” I asked when her mouth wasn’t covering my own.

“Jesus, Max!” she got off of me and walked across the room, perching herself in a comfortable looking chair. My mind automatically conjured up an image of us having sex in that chair. See what she’s done? I can’t even think straight now! “Here I am trying to have what I was certain was going to be amazing sex with you and all you can talk about is my parents? You do know that tends to be a major turnoff right?”

“Yes I know! I’m sorry, but you just sprung this on me and I wanted to know what the deal was. But we can talk about it after.” I admit it, I’m weak when it comes to her.

“No, the mood’s dead now. They’re coming into town next Saturday because my mom's old friend is getting remarried and they’re going to be staying with me. And I really really really want you to meet them.” I looked at her and frowned.

“You, um, want me to meet them?”

“Yes, isn’t that what I just said?”

“Yeah…but…well, I don’t know about that, Riley.”

“You’re kidding me right?”

“No, it’s just that I’m not really a ‘meet the parents’ kind of guy. They just never like me. I don’t know why.”

“Honestly, Max? You don’t have to worry about that. I know my parents will adore you.”

“Yeah, well, don’t you want to introduce them to Geno or somebody?”

“No, why would I want to introduce them to Geno?”

“Because you’re ‘dating’ him?”

“Max, I’m not really dating him. And plus, I’m not going to lie to my parents. I want them to know what’s going on. I want them to meet the man who says he wants to be in my life for quite a while. Unless, you’re backing out of that offer?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying at all.”

“Then you have absolutely no excuse to not want to meet them.”

“Riley, you can’t make me want to meet them.”

“Oh, I know, I’ll just take something very important away from you.”

“And, what might that be?”

“Sex. No sex until you agree to meet them.” She said it with a completely straight face, but I knew she had to be joking. That couldn’t be for real.

“Are you kidding me? We had sex one time and you’re already depriving me?”

“Just until you come around on this issue about my parents.” And with that, she flounced off downstairs. These next few days were going to be absolute hell until one of us caved.