Looks like a lot of you definitely picking sides here so I am curious to see what the results are after this chapter.
“Aren’t you mister popular today?” Bergie smirks as my phone begins to vibrate across the table towards the plate of sushi we’re sharing. Rolling my eyes, assuming of course it’s my mother asking if I can come to lunch, again, I grab my phone and then grin.
“Hey Max! You on your way?” I ask, popping another Ikura roll into my mouth.
“Uh...actually no,” he replies, and then I’m back to rolling my eyes.
“Let me guess. You met some hot chick in New York and you just rolled out of her bed and missed the flight?” I laugh and Bergie grins back at me, sharing a knowing look that says ‘that sounds like Max’.
“You realize it’s her show today, oui?” Max says slowly, like he’s talking to Gronk and not me, the way we do when we’re treating Jordy like the retard he can be sometimes.
“Is it? I’m kinda busy here so, you know, I guess it might have slipped my mind,” I snort, rolling my eyes again.
“It’s worth fifty percent of her grade, it’s kind of important. At least tell me you’re going to call and wish her good luck? Send some flowers maybe?” he says like it’s an order and not a suggestion.
“I’ll call her after the game,” I sigh. The last thing I need right now is another distraction. It’s bad enough that Charline is sitting two tables away having an animated conversation with some husky looking bobsledders. There’s utter silence on the other end of the line. Or, I should say, not silence exactly. More like disapproving breathing while he’s waiting for me to say something. “Okay, whatever. Have some roses sent for me while you’re on the way to JFK. If you get the next flight you might get here in time for the after game party after we kick Kane’s ass!” I call across to the next table and then turn to high five Toewsie. A general cheer goes up from our table so I don’t exactly hear what Max says, only that he’s talking, so I plug my ear with my finger and yell into the phone. “You are coming right?”
“Like I said, you’ve got a lot of people there. I mean the whole fucking country is cheering for you. She’s just got sa mere ici. I thought I should stay, for her,” Max replies and part of me wants to call him a fucking puss but I’m in too good a mood to fight with him.
“Whatever man, your loss. It’s gonna be epic,” I laugh and snap the phone shut because Bergie’s eyeing the last eel roll and you don’t get sushi this fresh back in the ‘Burgh.
“No, no. I said slicked back. This isn’t about her hair, it’s about my clothes,” I snap, grabbing the comb out of the hair dresser’s hand and dragging it through the model’s hair until it sits flat to her scalp. “Like this. Do you think you can manage that?” I snarl, giving the hairdresser my best ‘or else’ look before I turn to go back to supervising the choice of outfits. If it’s one thing I’ve learned today is that you can’t let the models choose their own.
“Nervous?” I spin, my heart leaping in my chest, to find Max standing behind me with a huge bundle of daisies in his arms and I immediately find myself grinning from ear to ear.
“Omygawd, a friendly face. You have no idea. I want to throw up,” I blurt out, gazing longingly at the flowers but knowing I can’t touch them, not yet. Not only is it bad karma to take flowers before the models hit the runway but if I get pollen on my hands and then on the clothes and then god forbid one of the models has hay fever... “I can’t believe you’re here. I thought you left to go to Vancouver!” I realize, feeling a surge of guilt. I know some of the guys have tickets to the next couple of games and Sidney was expecting him.
“Yeah well, he’s got all of Canada rooting him on and from what you’ve said about your mom...I thought maybe you needed my support more than he does,” Max says sweetly and I find myself standing there in the middle of absolute chaos, feeling like I could just sit down and have a good old fashioned cry. It must show on my face, because Max puts the flowers aside and pulls me into the circle of his arms and just holds me until I can breathe again.
“Sorry, I’m a mess. This is like...it’s like the Calder Cup for me. If I can get past this then I have a chance at working in a design house and....” Max holds me at arms’ length and looks down at me like I’ve just grown another, less attractive, head.
“You know if you two get married you’ll never have to actually work a day in your life, comme ca?” he asks, as if I don’t know that my boyfriend is a multi-millionaire.
“If you think for one minute that I’m the kind of girl that would sit around eating bon-bons and watching Coronation Street and Oprah all day...,” I begin, feeling fired up at the very idea anyone would mistake me for one of those girls that grabs onto the coat tails of a shooting star and once there digs in her claws for dear life, scoops his plastic and shops all day long, drops a rug rat once every three years and figures getting a mani pedi once a week is actual work.
“No, non that’s not...I’m saying or trying to say de ma proper manière maladroit,” he adds with a half a grin, “is that I think it’s good. No it’s great that you know you don’t have to do this but you have a dream too. It’s good,” he adds earnestly and the fire in my belly goes out.
“Merci mon ami, vraiment merci,” I whisper, grabbing his face and giving him a quick peck on the lips. “Now go, get a seat out front. There’s a surprise at the end of the show you don’t want to miss,” I add with a wink before turning back to what is almost a non-recoverable disaster of a wardrobe cart. “Fucking models,” I mutter, grabbing a now empty hanger and looking around for the half starved thieving whore who’s grabbed the mini dress from it.
“The flowers?” Max asks, retrieving them from the table behind him and I hold my hands out defensively in front of me.
“After. Save them for after. But thank you Max. I’ll see you later,” I grin before turning to slap another stick thin hand away from the rack. “Oh, Max, did Sidney tell you I loved daisies?” I turn to ask and he looks down at the bouquet and then back up at me with the most curious expression on his face.
“Uh...no...I mean, mais oui! He told me to get these for you. This?” he laughs, pointing at the huge bunch of white and yellow flowers in his hand. “This is totally him. All him. Would I buy flowers for a girl? C’mon, this is Superstar we’re talking about. I don’t have to buy flowers for some chick, they beg for it!” He adds with a wink and a grin before turning to head back out towards the curtain between this chaos I’m in and the chairs around the runway. I watch him go, shaking my head and laughing.
Max. That boy...
“Hey, bitch, did I say this outfit was for you? You don’t have the tits to hold up the halter, are you shitting me?” I growl, snatching a long, flowing sun dress from one of the she-giraffes and handing her form fitting evening gown instead. “Have some cake or something. Guys don’t actually like hip bones, I don’t know if you know that,” I add, shaking my head.
I stare at my phone, as it dances and bumps its’ way along the table. It’s pretty funny when you watch it from table level which is what I’m doing, because the table feels kind of cool and I feel like I’ve just drunk a whole case of JD. Finally I reach out and grab it, and stare at the display.
“Maximus dogimus, if you’re calling to tell me we could have used your two goals against Detroit...,” I begin, closing my eyes against the throbbing in my head.
“I saw the score mon ami. Je suis vraiment très désolé,” my friend replies and manages to actually sound like he means it. It makes me wonder if he lost a bet.
“No, what I called about...did you get the photo I sent?” Cracking one eye open, I tab to the icon for my received texts and begin to scroll through.
“If this is gonna be some skinny ass model you picked up at the show...,” I begin but Max sighs impatiently on the other end of the line, so I stop my usual line of questioning. “Could you just tell me man, please? My head is banging and I swear...I just need to like sleep or something,” I mutter, wondering if Nathalie packed me any Advil.
“Did you even call Mel to wish her good luck?” he asks, with that tone in his voice that makes me think of my father. ‘Did you do your stretching exercises before you went out son?’ I’ve gotten over that so Max doing it has about as much of an effect on me.
“Well I’ve been sort of busy here. Didn’t you get her the damn flowers?” I grumble, wishing he’d just get to the point and get on with berating me for being a bet friend or whatever so I can go back to remembering the shots I missed or didn’t take. Fucking Miller....
“The picture. Did you get the picture yet?” Max asks impatiently and I finally find his message somewhere about twenty five down from the top and open the attachment and then I just sit there, staring at it, for a long time.
“Wow,” I breathe, staring at the vision on the display of my phone, and then, when my brain actually starts to tick over, I email it to myself and then open my lap top so I can see it better. “I don’t think...I mean...is that Mel?” I ask, which is stupid because it’s obviously her, just...more so. I’ve never seen her look like that. Like some fashion magazine has gotten a hold of her and did things with her hair to make it bouncy and to her lips to make them look all...full and sexy and as for the rest.... “She looks like an angel,” I mutter, still dumbstruck by the vision in silver and white that is now blown up on the screen of my lap top.
“Oui, elle est un ange...and if you’re not completely blind, ce que je commence à penser que tu es, that, I believe, is her fucking wedding dress.” At first all I’d seen was the white toile and the silver threading but sitting back, putting it altogether, yes...I can't deny that what she's wearing could be a wedding dress.
“But...I haven’t...we haven’t...Oh for fuck sakes, I haven’t asked her so how could it be? How can she be wearing a....?”
“Parce qu’elle tu aimes,” Max admonishes me, “et elle crois que tu feres la bonne chose.” There’s silence on the other end of the line. A long drawn out silence that asks, will I? Will I do the right thing? Am I going to do the right thing? What is the fucking right thing? “Just call her. Fucking congratulate her at least. Can you do that Creature?”
“Don’t lecture me on my relationship Max, like you’d know how to have one. I’ll call her...I will. Just...what is it to you anyway?” I ask, feeling annoyed at being cornered, in more ways than one.
“You make her unhappy and she doesn’t even know it. Comprends?”
I hit 'end' because I don’t need to have Dr. Talbot ‘relationship therapist to the stars’ tell me that I’m a bad boyfriend. Mel gets it. She understands how important this is. She texted me a good luck message this morning before the game and a sad face and a gift certificate for a back rub after the game. She gets it. I don’t have to follow her around like a puppy and pretend to be interested in what she’s doing.
And he’s got to be reading shit into that dress. That’s so not Mel. She looks great, no doubt about it but it’s not her. Even if I do ask her, she’d never want anything that over the top. She wouldn’t want all that sparkly shit. That’s just something for class.
No, I tell myself, I don’t have anything to worry about except the next game. A must win to stay in this tournament. I have to play better. Mel will understand that I have to concentrate on this. That’s what’s so great about her. She’s not demanding and high maintenance. She doesn’t need me to get involved in what she’s doing. I’m sure she’s just fine.
“Don’t keep staring at your phone dear, it’s rude,” my mother hisses at me as through her teeth which I’m sure, like any good pageant girl, are probably covered in Vaseline to make them shiny and to remind her to keep smiling. I keep waiting for some sign of life from Sid, who I’m sure is berating himself and generally getting down about what happened against the States. I was hoping to distract him, if only for a few minutes, but he hasn’t answered any of my texts so far. “Is that Donna Karan?”
“Is it mom? I’m not sure,” I mumble, knowing in my head I’m supposed to care about some of the VIPs that have been invited to the show, that it’s important for me to introduce myself to them and point out which pieces where mine in the collection, but I can’t help worrying about Sid.
“Now that is definitely Adrienne Vittadini. Darling, you should definitely introduce yourself to her. She is so classy. I would love to tell everyone at the club that you’re working for her.” I glance towards the tall blonde with the impossibly high cheekbones and grimace. Well of course my mother would love her. She caters to that old fashioned twinset and pearls crowd. I was hoping for someone a little edgier, someone like Emma Cooke.
“Is this when I give you the flowers?” I turn to smile gratefully at Max for saving me from my mother. I accept the bouquet this time and his kiss on my cheek.
“Oh...well I see how it is now.” My heart stops in my chest and the spark of warmth I felt with Max’s greeting is quickly blown out.
“Mom this is....”
“So you’re not dating Sidney, you’re dating one of his...teammates.” She says the word like it’s something distasteful to be spat out. She even wrinkles up her nose and looks at the two of us with a cold, disapproving glare.
“You don’t have to worry Mrs. Kelly. Your daughter is far too classy to go out with me,” Max interjects, in an honourable attempt to save me from my mother but I'm not having any of it. If there’s one thing I live for, it’s upsetting mommy dearest.
“You don’t have to lie for me babe,” I coo, turning and planting my lips against Max’s and then wiping my lipstick from his mouth with my thumb. “He’s a superstar. He scored the winning goal to win the Stanley Cup, didn’t you babe?” I ask, batting my eyelashes at him and making my best ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ face. Though Max’s eyes are a little wider than normal, he steps right into his role and snakes his arm around my waist.
“That’s right. They call me Superstar,” he grins, transforming into Mad Max before my very eyes.
“Melody, may I speak with you...privately?” my mother hisses, venom dripping from her words.
“You know what mom...no. Like you said, I have to mingle and besides you told me you were proud of my pieces and I’d like to hold onto one nice thing for the day,” I sigh, picking up the trailing fabric of the full skirt of the dress, the pies de resistance of the show, and, tucking the bouquet into the crook of my arm, I reach my free hand out for Max’s and feel his thick, warm fingers clasp onto mine. “Come honey, you can help me get out of this.” I feel his hand twitch around mine and guess that he’s doing his best not to laugh out loud as I stare my mother down and tug Max behind me in the direction of some younger, more cutting edge designers.