Love all your comments, but I just want to reiterate that I am NOT trying to make Sid into a bad guy, just a little self centered, self absorbed and a little thoughtless in the way that men who are used to getting their way can be. Plus, the more I watch Max goof around, the more I like...
“So he slept over,” Kensie prompts, dragging her fingers through my hair, which I think shows a great deal of self control to have waited this long to bring up the sleeping form on the couch.
“Yep,” I reply noncommittally.
“So…?” she stares at me in the mirror and then rolls her eyes when I merely shrug.
“Oh…fine. Sid and I had…a little fight. Little,” I reiterate, holding my hand up with my finger and thumb only an inch apart.
“And Maxipad is here for moral support?” she asks, but makes it sound more like a comment, which is probably just as well considering a bleary eyed Max has just rounded the corner and is now leaning in the doorway to the bathroom sporting nothing more than a pair of black boxer briefs. He scratches at his cropped brown hair, the dark T and shield on his bicep bulging as he blinks at us and smiles.
“Comment allez-vous deux belles dames çe matin?” he asks, leaning against the doorjam so that his arm is stretched above his head, lengthening his side and making his ribs and six-pack even more prominent. It’s a sight that makes my mouth go dry and memories of his body similarly stretched out over me while he held on to the headboard of his bed for better leverage, my legs wrapped around his hips fill my head. Now, just as then, the urge to rake my fingernails down his ribs, to feel him shudder beneath my fingertips, is overwhelming.
“I don’t know Mel, how are you this morning?” Kennedy asks, grabbing the towel on my head, pushing it down over my eyes and giving my hair a quick rub before removing it altogether, leaving us all staring at my reflection in the mirror. “Foxy lady,” she muses, tossing the towel towards the sink and running her fingers through my hair instead, tousling the now very short strands into place.
“Well…don’t just stand there gawping,” I glance nervously towards Max who is alternately staring, gap mouthed, at my reflection in the mirror and then at me, as if he can’t decide if what he’s seeing is real.
“Il est court…et…et rouge,” he sputters, making my stomach tighten.
“You hate it,” I mumble wretchedly, reaching up to touch a very deep red edge of a chunk of hair. Number nine Raggedy Anne slut red Kennedy had called it as she’d mixed it together.
“It…it doesn’t matter what I think,” Max says quietly, inching forward until he too is running his fingers through my hair, reminding me of how I’d fallen asleep to his gentle ministrations. “Sid…,” his voice trails off as his gaze meets mine in the mirror.
“He’ll hate it, we know,” Kennedy grins back at my reflection before grabbing the back of my head between her two hands and planting a kiss on the crown of my head.
“But what do you think?” I ask, turning to stare up into Max’s concerned expression.
“I think…I think…Il est très énervé, very… very sexy,” he replies, running his hand up the back of my neck where all my golden curls used to be and where now there is a very sharp point at my nape, almost like an arrow to that sensitive spot where his fingers stop and dig in. My eyes flutter shut and I have to bite down on the inside of my cheek to stop from moaning out loud. In one night he’d discovered all the magical spots that send me rushing to the edge of bliss and in all these months Sidney’s barely discovered one. It seems so entirely unfair. “But he will hate it,” Max agrees quietly, removing his hand and stepping back, giving me room and air, both of which I feel like I suddenly need.
“I don’t want to lose myself anymore,” I tell my reflection in the mirror and I hear Kensie chuckle somewhere behind me where she’s cleaning up the mess we’ve made. Standing, I carefully take off the towels we’ve draped around me and lean forward toward the mirror, turning my face on way and then the other, studying my new reflection. “I thought red might help me be a bit more…feisty.”
“Who doesn’t like a feisty woman?” Max chuckles from where he’s found a seat, at the edge of the bathtub, one of the only untouched towels we have left draped across his lap.
“Sid, for one,” Kensie answers, broom in one hand and a bag of my hair in the other. “He really strikes me as one of those guys who think women should have long hair and be barefoot and pregnant. I mean this is the guy who calls your chosen career path ‘dress up’, “she adds derisively.
“Well I think it’s sporty,” I muse, standing straight, my hands on my hips, my chin high as I smile at my own reflection. “I think I’ll fit in at Pugh’s better than I did looking like that small town girl next door.”
“You’re going to take the job?” Max asks, aiming his broad, easy, jovial grin at me and I can’t help but grin back at him.
“I want that job. I’m taking that job,” I reply, and find myself pulled into a three way bear hug. “You never know, maybe I’ll get a tat next,” I add as they finally let me go.
“Now, now let’s not get carried away,” Max laughs, grabbing my face between his two big hands and planting a kiss on the tip of my nose. “You don’t need anything else to make you beautiful.” I blink into his sea storm coloured eyes and find that my own eyes have begun to fill with tears.
“What I wouldn’t give for Sid to say that,” I sniff, blinking back the tears, which is a losing battle.
“S’il ne le te dit pas, alors il est un retard,” Max replies in a hoarse whisper before kissing one of my tears away and then gathering me against his warm, solid body and wrapping me up in his strong arms.
“Woooweeee!” A chorus of wolf whistles and cat calls erupted in the room and I wasn’t even going to look up, assuming it was just Vero in another new low cut outfit, but when the noise didn’t immediately die down, I do look up to find Max on the arm of a curvy red head in a skinny black metallic leggings and a grey and silver striped baby doll dress that whose wide horizontal stripes only served to accent her curves.
Trust Max to have told me he was going to look after Mel only to pick up some model in New York.
“Boys, boys, make way for the new toast of Fifth Avenue, junior fashion designer for club style icon Gareth Pugh, Miss Mel Kelly.”
My mouth literally falls open. That can’t be…it can’t be….
I watch Max bend over her hand with a flourish, before leaving her in the centre of the room.
“Close your mouth. Tu ressembles à un idiot,” Max hisses at me as Jordy and Fleur get up to congratulate her and I can see the looks on the other guy’s faces. They’re practically drooling while I’m standing there, trying to decide just how inappropriate it would be for me to yell at her in front of everyone.
“Did you talk her into this?” I growl at Max, deciding it would be better to fight with him than her, for now anyways.
“No, I had nothing to do with it, réellement,” Max grins like a wolf showing his teeth. “Mais, je pense qu’elle semble étonnante, non?” I disregard the question of how she looks for the moment, because she looks nothing like Mel and it’s plain that he knows what I think anyway.
“And what about the job? She has an interview before the game tonight with RBK that I….”
“Mais oui, we all know you set up the interview, Monsieur très importante. Not that she could not have earned the job without your help by the way, parce qu’elle est très douée. Not that you would give her any credit for that,” Max snarls back at me, as if he could have done that for her. As if I’ve never done anything for him.
“You do have a thing for her!” I laugh, poking him in the middle of the chest, setting him back on his heels.
“Ne soyez pas un âne,” he growls back, pushing my hand away.
“No, I mean it. Right from the beginning of the summer, you’re always sniffing around. You really don’t want her to marry me do you? Are you that jealous that I have someone now is that it?” Max shakes his head at me and then stands there, laughing.
“Tu vraiment ne comprends pas un chose simple au sujet d’elle,” he laughs, shaking his head and rolling his eyes all at once. “Let me tell you something, mon ami. She doesn’t love you,” he hisses, stepping into me so that our noses are only a hair apart. “She thinks she does. She wants to, but she doesn’t love you and you don’t deserve her love. Elle est trop bonne lointain pour toi,” he adds, giving my cheek a gentle smack before he turns and heads out the door.
My gaze follows him and then falls back on Melody who has obviously been watching our tête à tête with wide, worried eyes. She glances towards the door through which Max has just disappears and then looks back at me with narrowed eyes.
“What did you say to him?” she asks, crossing the floor to stand near, but not too near me. Like she’s afraid of what I’ll do.
“What did you do to your hair?” I demand and watch her steel herself for a reply I can already tell is rehearsed.
“It’s just hair,” she says simply, shrugging a single shoulder.
“I liked your hair,” I point out to which she gives the barest of shrugs.
“Hair grows back, but it’s my hair,” she points out. “You don’t love my hair. You love me,” she adds, and her eyes hold the question that she won’t voice, ‘don’t you?’
“I’m just saying, I just got used to you without pig tails and now this,” I tell her, reaching out to touch the too gelled, too stiff hair that really will take some getting used to.
“So you really hate it,” she sighs, eyes downcast. “I really thought you might be more mature than that.”
“Babe, it’s just hair,” I force myself to smile as I cast my eyes down the rest of her, over her curves in anticipation of what I have planned for the afternoon. “I’m not that shallow.” She looks up at me through her eyelashes and gives me a shy smile. “That’s better. I was just…in shock. I mean…red…it’s very red.”
“Well if I’m going to keep you in line, I thought I’d better amp up my attitude a little.” Pulling her close, I let my hand wander down over her ass and give it a pat, a little harder than necessary but not hard enough to hurt, just hard enough to make her squeak and jump a little.
“I haven’t started in on the whole job thing yet,” I remind her. “We were supposed to meet with RBK this afternoon.”
“I know, and I took that into account when I spoke with Gareth. He’s going to let me do licensed work for them, if you want me to work on your stuff and if they’ll accept some of my other ideas for hockey related off ice wear,” she adds, producing a sketch book from her purse with edgy logo design of a skull with a puck in its jaws and crossed hockey sticks. “And it really isn’t that far,” she adds in a pleading tone, giving me those doe eyes of hers’.
“You’ve thought this through,” I sigh, feeling like I’ve had an end round done on me.
“I’m a smart cookie. You used to tell me that,” she says quietly, a hopeful gleam in her eyes.
“Yeah you are,” I sigh, giving her ass another firm pat before drawing her into a long, soft kiss that makes me think of dragging her into the showers with me, except that I’ve been warned about putting on shows for the guys by Dupers, so instead I turn her around and give her a pat on the ass and push her towards the door. “See you after practice,” I call to her as she sashays towards the door, working those horizontal stripes to great effect.
“I’ll be waiting,” she promises, turning to blow me a kiss, which I hold my hand up to catch, but as soon as she’s through the door my annoyance returns and I wipe that kiss down the leg of my hockey pants.
“Dude, your girlfriend is haaawwwtttt,” TK calls across the room.
“Too hot for you knucklehead,” I call back, picking up a roll of hockey tape and hurling it at him over my shoulder.
“Vero will be jealous,” Flower says quietly, returning to his spot next to me on the bench. “She’ll see that haircut and want to do that,” he adds, letting out a long sigh. “I ‘ope she doesn’t do it.”
“Yeah…how much are extension do you think?” I ask, and then we both shake our heads and laugh.