That last chapter definitely had you guys thinking and I loved hearing from you and I'm glad that I'm keeping some of you guessing (won't tell you who's guessing in the right direction tho'!) So I was getting ready to throw a wrench in the works but then I had this conversation with someone and....
The regular duty to return me to the airport had fallen to Lauren and I found that I didn’t mind spending a little girl time with Mario’s eldest, even if it meant holding onto the holy shit handle of her car while it careened at top speeds through the early morning traffic. This particular morning, she’d barely snuck back in the house, her hair still wet and she was wearing a pair of jeans that looked an awful lot to me like they really belonged on a guy with more junk in the trunk than she had.
I wasn’t brave enough to ask her about that yet though. Maybe it was because I didn’t think I actually wanted to hear the answer.
“So have you and Max…?” Lauren shoots me a look that I hope she’s not going to make me interpret as she turns her baby Beamer onto the highway. It’s a question I had been longing to ask her when we’d gone to the spa together but hadn’t had the courage to. But now that Max had told me that things weren’t quite as they seemed, my curiosity was getting the better of me and besides, I’d decided it was easier to ask about Max then where she’d actually been last night, though I was willing to bet it hadn’t just been a house party.
“Almost,” she finally answers as she puts her foot to the floor and shoots past a slow moving minivan, flicking the driver the bird when the haggard looking mother leans on her horn. “We were like, right there,” Lauren confides with a roll of her eyes and a dramatic sigh. “That’s when he decided that he couldn’t go through with it. Can you believe that?” Actually I could and Max went up in my estimation for having had that kind of self control, although it was that kind of self control that was beginning to make me more than a little impatient with Sidney. “I mean literally, my legs were wrapped around him and that’s when he decides he can’t be the one to deflower me. Can you believe that shit?”
“Wow…really?” It’s the best I could come up with as I stare straight ahead, trying very hard to erase the image that had just sprung into my head.
“I know, right? Actually, once I got over being like, entirely mortified he told me that he thought it would be better for me to be with someone closer to my own age for the first time and I guess he was being like…thoughtful or whatever but…I mean, hello? I was naked so it was just a little humiliating.”
“So you’re a…?” I feel this immediate sense of relief in thinking that I’m not the last virgin on earth and can’t help but grin at her, wanting to wrap my arms around her and thank her for not being the worldly big city girl that I’d been thinking she was.
“God no,” she snorts rolling her eyes at me again as she slams on the brake pedal and dives off of the highway and onto the turn off leading to the airport. “I mean not anymore, thank god. Who do you think I was getting the wax for?” she asks as the car rolls to a stop at the next red light. I shrug, because that’s the best and only answer I can come up with. That had been what I’d been trying to work out in my head. “I mean, when Max suggested Tanger I was like…oooh, yeah, he’s nice to look at plus he has the same accent which, I mean, c’mon, it’s totally nice to listen to right?” I nod, clenching my teeth and trying very hard not to think ‘here we go, from the frying pan into the fire’. Max was going to have some definite explaining to do. “But he’s so, like, friggin’ shy and I did not want to be doing all the running but it wasn’t like that at all and he was such a gentleman about the whole thing. I am soooo glad that’s out of the way.” I literally had to push my mouth shut and force an agreeable smile on my face when she looks over at me before stepping on the gas again.
“So…I mean…just so I’m clear…you arranged to lose your virginity with Kris Letang?” I had to get her to tell me, out loud, that that’s what she’d done because it just didn’t make sense in my head.
“Well you don’t want to do that with someone you actually care about. Am I right?” she laughs like there’s no way in the world I’m going to disagree with her. So when she turns to me, I smile and nod, because it seems like the right answer. Completely weird and utterly foreign an idea as it seems to me. “I mean, can you imagine? The blood and the pain? Doing that with someone you actually like?” She shudders as if the thought itself makes her sick.
“So now you and Max…?” I don’t know how to ask this and part of me thinks I should be telling her to turn the car around so that I can have a serious discussion with that boy, but as soon as I ask the question, her high, free sounding giggle fills the car.
“Oh don’t get me wrong. Max is like…so great. I mean, I’d totally date him but I don’t think he’d ever be serious about anyone. He’s such a boy,” she grins conspiratorially over at me and I can’t help but at last completely agree with something she’s said.
“Congratulations mon frère!” Even over my iPod I can hear Max and Dupers calling to Tanger as he walks towards the bus with his bag in tow, a shit eating grin on the usually quiet defenseman’s face. Narrowing my eyes, I notice yet another one of those cherry air fresheners hanging from the handle of his carry one bag and shake my head.
“Seriously, you guys are such frat brats sometimes,” Bill G pipes up and I’m glad I’m not the one that actually said it out loud.
“Tangs took one for the team this time,” Dupers laughs, slapping Kris on the back who at least shows a certain amount of reticence and turns a light pink as his teammates greet him like the returning hero.
“Do I wanna even know?” I ask, to which Max quickly shakes his head, laughing.
“No, definitely not. We wanna hear your big news, don’t we mes amies?” he grins, wrapping his arm around my shoulder and giving me a familiar squeeze. “So how’s it feel to be back in the saddle again?” Either my poker face needs work or Max just knows me too well, but it seems like he only needs one look at me to know that things didn’t go the way that he’d obviously thought they would when he and Gronk snuck out the door New Years Eve.
“No way! Still?” Gronk stares at me like I’ve just grown another head and then he shakes his head and has the temerity to look at me like I’ve somehow disappointed him. “Dude...seriously?”
“It’s not like what you guys are...doing,” I shrug, feeling very self conscious under the shocked gazes of my teammates. “I’m not ready for that kind of commitment yet.”
“Commitment? It’s just sex,” Gronk shudders, like the thought of it actually meaning more than just a roll in the hay has given him a serious case of the heebiejeebies.
“It’s not just sex or it wouldn’t be. Not with Mel. It would be like saying...well I don’t know what, but it would be more than sex and I don’t know if I’m there yet,” I try to explain, glad that Gronk’s case of the yips is seemingly more amusing than my lack of carnal knowledge of my girlfriend and most of the guys have lost interest in my pathetic explanation.
“Seriously, give me one good reason you aren’t ready to commit to that poor girl?” Max asks, and I open my mouth to tell him to fuck off, but when I look over at him, that ‘I’m fucking with you’ smile I expect to see isn’t there. Instead, my usually impish friend is staring back at me with an entirely too serious look on his face.
“She’s got a nice rack,” Dupers points out, just to be helpful and start me off I’m sure.
“Oui, et elle n’est pas dur sur les yeux,” Flower throws in his two cents, as if it’s required.
“Don’t forget she’s only known your pathetic ass votre vie entière,” Max adds, still not so much as cracking a smile as he faces me down with this expression on his face that I know too well. It’s the look that says ‘don’t fucking bullshit the bullshitter’.
“Oui, it’s not like she’s after your bags of money,” Flower agrees with Max. Well of course he does. He almost always does.
“A way out of the Harbour amounts to the same thing,” I mutter but the look on Max’s face makes me take it back, which I do, with a shrug. “I don’t know...I’m just not feeling what I think I should be feeling, if this is right I mean.”
“And what’s that, exactly?” Billy G asks, looking up from the paper I assumed he was actually reading. “Sorry, I know you guys don’t think you need the old guys advice but uh...in this case it sounds like you need someone’s advice that actually knows what they’re talking about,” he adds, folding his paper over carefully, along the creases, before tucking it up under his arm. “So, what is it you think you’re supposed to feel?”
“I don’t know,” I shrug, feeling really self conscious now that the elder statesman of our team is looking down at me. “I just...I guess I’m waiting for whatever you’re supposed to feel when you know it’s right...you know that ‘she’s the one’ feeling.”
“Right, and what do you think that’s going to feel like, just curious,” he adds and the smile on his face tells me I’m being mocked and I feel the tips of my ears go red in response. I can’t help it. This is bad enough without everyone else knowing that I’m a complete relationship retard.
“I don’t know...I just figured I’d know...like maybe a fucking bolt of lightning or something.” It feels kind of stupid when I say it, but it’s the truth. That’s exactly what I keep waiting for, like the fucking hand of God is supposed to come down and light her up like a fucking Christmas tree with a fucking blinking neon sign over her head that will tell me I’m making the right choice.
“Yeah well, I don’t think it works quite like that,” Billy G chuckles, which makes me not want to look at him and causes me to shift uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
“Well then what the fuck am I supposed to feel? I keep hearing that I’m gonna just know but....”
“Do you want to know how I knew Kara was it?” Billy asks, sounding dead serious, and when I look up at him he has that ‘father knows best’ look on his face, so I shut my mouth and nod. “Because she wouldn’t put up with my shit, never complained about the job and never asked for anything. Plus she’s pretty damn hot,” he adds with an impish grin. “But seriously kiddo, it’s not like you feel more of something it’s actually like you feel less...less worried that she’s slept with your teammates to get to you, less like she wants you to pay for her parents’ house or that she’s with you for the wrong reasons. It more like...you just feel calm around her. At least that’s what it was like for me and Kara. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong her kid but it kinda sound like maybe that’s what you’ve got going on here but without the whole drama thing, you’re just assuming you’re missing something and my bet is you’re not. But I’ll tell you one thing I do know for sure. If she is it and you keep playin’ her off like this, a year from now when you do figure this shit out, she’s gonna be with someone else.”
“Kens, you awake?” I call across the hall. I’m pretty confident she is. I’m fairly sure I heard her having a mumbled, under the covers type conversation, probably with Jordy.
“Yeah,” she calls back, sounding like she’s been waiting for me to ask. “What’s up?”
“Do you remember your first time?” I ask, hoping that I sound nonchalant.
“Ugh...I wish I didn’t but yeah. Why? Oh my god, is Sid a....?”
“No, I mean I don’t think so, no,” I answer quickly, happy she doesn’t automatically assume that it might be me. “I was just talking to Lauren and....”
“Oh that little tramp. So you heard about the whole Kris thing,” she laughs and suddenly she’s crawling in under the blankets with me and it’s like a sleepover when I was a teenager, except I never had one of those. I heard about them, just, never wanted to get involved with the whole ‘you paint my nails and I’ll paint yours’ scenario.
“Yeah, so...what do you think?” I ask, rolling over to face her, expecting a look of disgust to be on my roommate’s face but she just rolls onto her back and lets out a sigh.
“Smart girl. I sooo wish I’d thought of doing that,” Kennedy replies, catching me entirely off guard. “In fact, when Jordan told me about it, I was totally thinking of setting up a website and pimping that kinky Frenchman’s ass out as a professional cherry popper. I bet he’d have them fucking lined up around the block. Fuck, he could totally quit his day job,” she adds with a laugh, before rolling back onto her side to face me, a big grin on her face. “Oh what? Yours was wonderful and romantic and you think she did a horrible thing?”
“No..I mean...it’s not always that bad,” I mutter, wondering if I really look that shocked and trying to school my features.
“Give me ten girls and I bet you a hundred bucks each they’d say the same thing,” Kensie sighs, flipping back onto her back. “The mess, the pain...I wish someone had actually told me the fucking truth instead of telling me to ‘wait until it’s right’,” she adds, pitching her voice higher and making a face.
“Your mom too huh?” I laugh and she rolls her eyes and nods.
“It’s like childbirth. I mean thank god for the tv and internet, now we all know how much that fucking hurts, now we just need to get the word out about this fucking myth and woman might actually give up on the whole idea of romance and get their heads on straight,” she replies in that ‘sisters together’ way that sounds like she’s about to get up on her soap box.
“So yours was really that awful?” I ask again and she rolls her eyes and wrinkles her nose.
“Graham Meier,” she begins, pulling the sheet up to her chin as if she can protect herself from what is obviously not a pleasant memory. “His parents were away and I thought I was in love and man I had dreamed about how great it was going to be and I had all this romantic rose petals and candlelight thing set up and it was totally great until he put my legs up over his shoulders and shoved that thing inside of me and then....,” her voice trails off and she shudders. Actually shudders in revulsion. “I am telling you, I thought I was about to die. It hurt so bad and then I was crying and he was like freaking out and there was blood and he was totally not prepared for me to be screaming at him to stop and...oh yeah, if I could do that shit over again, I would definitely go for someone that has way more experience with that sort of shit and I would never, ever have done it with someone that I cared about.”
“So you and Graham?”
“Oh yeah, we totally broke up. I couldn’t face him after that. It was just too...icky,” she laughs, letting out one last long sigh before rolling over to face me again. “So, anyway, you and lover boy, everything okay there?”
“Oh yeah,” I lie; painting what I hope is a realistic smile on my face. “Everything’s just peachy.”