the things you people make me do...
“The piece de resistance?” Sidney repeats, linking his arm with mine as we walk down the darkened corridor. It’s hard to believe there will only be another few times of walking down this cement corridor with him.
“Yes, the last piece that goes down the runway. Usually it’s a wedding gown, but it doesn’t have to be,” I explain, still feeling that fluttering in my stomach as I think about it. “He says I have this natural sense of drama,” I add, thinking of the way Gareth had held his hands out and made this sort of explosive gesture followed by a sort of rain of petals with his fingers. I’d been entranced by his hands and the way it made me feel and I wasn’t over the excitement yet.
“So what are you going to do?” Sidney asks, actually sounding interested, which makes me feel even better. I can’t get the smile off of my face.
“Well the whole Fall storyline is leather and latex, black on black, very structured, so I’m thinking if do something that feels like those designs but in a completely different colour palette,” I explain as we walk through the doors into the dressing room, my brain wrapping itself around the idea of doing something very flowing and feminine and yet still futuristic like the rest of Gareth’s designs.
“You are trying to get yourself traded,” Tanger’s hurling a balled up sock at Max who knocks it away with an outstretched hand. His quick reflexes only remind me of the way his muscles stretch and flex underneath the tight under armor that he’s wearing and I find myself biting my lip as he bares his teeth at Kris. “Tu sais à qui elle appartient, faites tu pas?”
“Of course I do,” Max is growling back, looking like he does right before he puts someone into the boards. “Je ne suis pas stupide.”
“Then start acting like you’re not stupid. Move on. Get over this stupid obsession of yours,” Jordan hisses, turning to stare at us as we stopped inside the room, which then falls eerily silent.
Oh god, I think, here it comes. This is when they tell him. This is when Sidney finds out what I’ve done.
“I thought you told me you were going to stay away from Lauren?” Sidney is staring at Max in that ‘don’t make me injure you’ sort of way and I feel myself go very still beside him as I hold my breath and wait for one of the guys to pipe up and tell the truth, but they all just stare back at us, waiting for Sid to make a move.
“I should have known. When she left the other night. I should have known it was you,” he continues, and I wait for someone to flinch, to bat an eye, do something that will give it away, but they all just keep staring at us, silent.
“It wasn’t Max that left with her. I took Max home.” It’s Flower’s voice, from somewhere behind us and it should have made the entire room exhale, so why re we all still standing there, holding our collective breath?
“You don’t have to cover for…,” Max is staring at me as he says it, the look on his face telling me that he can’t lie anymore and I feel my knees start to go weak. He’s going to tell Sidney and then Sidney isn’t going to love me anymore and then what am I going to do?
“Alexei…It was Ponikarovsky,” Jordan pipes up, turning to watch the young Russian coming into the room with his wool overcoat, as if it isn’t early Spring and already warm outside. Maybe not warm to a Russian I think as he pauses, mid step, realizing that every head had turned and every pair of eyes was on him.
“What?” his gaze took in the whole room and his face blanched, which only made the colour of the love bite on his neck more livid.
“Mario’s daughter,” Sidney lets go of my arm and marches over to grab the young Russian’s lapels. I let out the breath I’ve holding and feel my knees buckle beneath me. I would have gone down to the floor if not for a pair of strong hands pulling me back up to my feet.
I stared into the deep twilight blue of Max’s eyes and blinked.
“I wasn’t with Lauren,” he says quietly, almost under his breath as he helps me sit down in Sid’s stall. He doesn’t let go of my arm though, as he stands over me, giving me that look that says ‘you have to believe me’. It shouldn’t matter, I knew that. If he was my friend, then it shouldn’t matter if he was getting a little sumthin’ if it was on offer, and I knew with Lauren that it probably was. It shouldn’t have mattered and yet it did. More than being afraid of Sidney finding out, the idea of Max with her….
“I believe you,” I reply, though there’s a voice in the back of my head that says ‘no you don’t’. “Not that it matters,” I add quickly, because it seems important to say it, to put it out there. “I mean, you’re both adults, no matter what Sidney might think, right?” I add, as if I’m trying to make small talk as I stare at the way the long line snug fitting shorts hug his thick thighs.
“I haven’t been with her, or anyone, since…,” I shake my head, dragging my gaze away from him and staring instead at a spot on the floor. I don’t want to hear it, and yet, I do. “I promise you,” he adds, quietly, his voice husky as he tips my face up so that I have to look at the deep, dark endless oceans in his eyes.
“Well you know what they say about playoffs,” I reply brightly as Sid returns to my side, shucking off his jacket and stepping out of his shoes.
“No,” Max says quietly, taking a step back and holding his hand out to give me a hand up. “What did he say?”
“Sid was just telling me how you all have a rule,” I tell him, putting my hand in his and feeling his thick, warm fingers close around mine. “No sex during playoffs.”
“Esti de tapette de calisse,” Tanger growls at Sid who flicks him the bird. “More like more sex. Rien comme un bon démodé n’établissent avant un jeu.”
“And maybe that’s why I can step it up and you can’t Tanger,” Sid shoots back, starting an all our riot of discussion pro and con sex before games. I stare down at Max’s hand curled around mine and then up into his intense gaze that tells me without having to ask, just what his take on the discussion would be, and feel a shudder run through my entire body.
“Good luck,” I give his hand a squeeze before turning to buss Sidney’s cheek and, putting one foot very deliberately in front of the other, I manage to walk out of the room before my knees give way again and I have to press my back against the cool, concrete wall and let go a number of colourful profanities.
“What’s up buttercup?” Kensie asks, appearing out of the crowd with a large slice of pepperoni in one hand a giant coke in the other.
“I’m just reminding myself to keep my eyes on the prize,” I tell her breathlessly and she just grins back at me.
“Yeah being in that room can be a little distracting,” she agrees, allowing me to wrap my arm around hers ‘as she leads us to the elevator. “Particularly when Kris is playing with his hair, I just want to reach out grab it and run my fingers through it and make him call me mistress,” she adds with a lecherous grin that helps to erase the feel of Max’s hand on mine.
“Does that mean you want Jordy to grow out his mane?” I ask as the metallic doors slide open.
“No, he’d look stupid with long hair,” she sighs. “I’m just saying, I wouldn’t toss that furry little Frenchman out of bed for eating poutine,” she adds, with a snort as the doors slide closed behind us. “You know what I mean?”
“I think I do,” I agree, staring at the closed doors and imagining an altogether different furry Frenchman feeding me half melted cheese curds and gravy off of my own stomach, and feel something low inside of me clench at the thought. “Yeah, I think I do.”
“You were serious?” Mel stares at me, incredulous, as I turn to open my bedroom door and leave her behind.
“Of course I'm serious. I have to concentrate. I need all of the strength and stamina I can get. I can’t have you waking me up at two in the morning and wearing me out,” I tell her, turning to cup her face in my hands and planting a long, soft kiss on her lips. “It’s only a couple months,” I add, kissing her once more and feeling my body telling me just how stupid an idea this is. Damn, it was always easy to give this up for a couple of months before when it just meant not going to pick up girls at a bar, but this…, I let my hand roam down over the curve of her ass and pull her hips towards me so she can feel how much I don’t want to go through with my own idea.
“But we’re getting married in a couple of months,” she reminds me, her hand slipping between us to cup my quickly hardening dick. “I thought we were getting in some practice time,” she adds, her hand sliding up and down the length of me, making it even harder and making it almost impossible to turn her away.
“It’s not that I don’t want you,” I whisper to her, pressing against her hand and wondering if it’s too much to ask her to get me off so I can sleep. “I just have to keep my strength up. As it is,” I sigh, peeling her hand off of me and pressing my lips to the centre of her palm, “I’m going to have to have a cold shower now. Don’t make this harder for me Mel,” I add, kissing the tip of her nose. “Just use the spare room and it will be like it was before, for a while. Not forever,” I add, already worrying about the Caps in the second round. I just can’t see us having trouble with the Sens.
“I can just sleep,” she offers, looking up at me with her doe eyes, which, with her new pixie cut, seem to be even bigger. “I’ll just sleep. I’ll keep my hands to myself,” she promises. I want to believe her but it’s not really her that I’m worried about.
“Yeah, in the guest room, now go,” I chuckle, pressing my lips one last time to her brow and then turning her around and giving her a pat on the ass. She looks back at me with narrowed eyes and for a minute I think she’s going to argue some more, but then she heads down the hallway, her hands clenched at her sides.
I turn and head into my rooms, heading directly for the shower. I do need that cold shower.
“Mel,” he doesn’t argue, doesn’t ask why I’m here, even though the question is in his eyes. He just looks down the driveway at the cab and then back at me. “Do you need money for the cab?” he asks and I nod, once, feeling a little sheepish at having to ask. He grabs his wallet from the dish beside the door and jogs down to the end of the driveway. I watch him go, rubbing my hands along my arms where the chill of the early morning hours has my skin crawling with gooseflesh. He doesn’t seem to notice, or isn’t affected by it, I notice, when he returns in nothing but those boxer briefs he wears and takes my hand, pulling me inside with another furtive look around.
As if I’ve been followed. As if anyone would guess I’d come here.
“He meant it,” I tell him quietly, as his hands take over rubbing at my cold skin. “The no sex during the whole play offs. He meant it. He wanted me to sleep in the spare room,” I add, which had felt like adding insult to injury. I’m not enough to make him want to break his superstitious silliness. I had even lain awake, waiting for him to come down the hallway, tell me he’d been wrong, but he didn’t. He never came.
“Il est un imbécile,” Max replies quietly, reaching over to lock the door. I watch his hand turn the deadbolt and a shudder runs through my entire body. “You can stay here, if you want. I’ll make up a bed…,” he begins, but his voice trails away when I reach out and begin to trace the cross fleur de lis on his ribs with my fingertips. “Mel…Melody,” he says my name more forcefully, his hand snapping around my wrist. I look up at him, and I know that I probably look just as lost and confused as the last time I came here and I wouldn’t blame him if he turned me away, but he doesn’t. Something goes soft in his expression and I feel his arms wind around me as he pulls me into the circle of his arms, against the warmth of his skin and I close my eyes, reveling in the warm clean scent of him. “C’est une mauvaise idée,” he sighs, and I can’t tell if he’s telling himself or me but when I look up at him, feel his hand touch my cheek, I don’t care. I know it’s a bad idea. It’s a crazy idea, but when his lips, trembling, take mine, I forget how stupid this is and relax against his body and reach for his tongue with mine.
He moans into my mouth, moving to press me against the wall, and I feel him, hard and ready, pressing into my stomach. Running my hand down his back, I feel his muscles twitch beneath my fingertips and as my hand slides down over his ass, I feel him pull back. But I haven’t come here for him to pull away from me too. So I grab onto his ass and pull him to me, climbing his thigh with my other leg, wrapping myself around him.
“Ma petite, tu sais ce que tu me demandes?” he asks, breathlessly, his beard burning my skin as he kisses his way down my neck.
“Oui, je veux que tu me fasses le sentir quelque chose,” I sigh, arching my neck, wanting more. “Make me scream Max, make me beg,” I whimper as his hand locks around my thigh, pulling my legs up and around his as he tries to take me to the stairs but doesn’t even make it half way up them before he puts me down and reaches for the zipper on my jeans.
I push his hands out to the way, my fingers clambering with the zipper before I push them down over my hips and he drags them off the rest of the way, tossing them to the bottom of the stairs. Then his mouth is on mine again and the feel of his beard, of the wiry hairs on his upper lip rasping against my tender skin does nothing to dampen my need as I wrap my legs around him, pulling him deep inside of me. I ignore the way the stairs digs into my back, reaching for the railing and using it to lift my body off of the ground while my other hand presses against the wall, nails digging into the plaster, feeling paint lifting off as I scramble to stay with him, to meet him thrust for thrust as his body presses into mine, deeper and deeper, harder and harder until I can’t breathe, until there isn’t anything but his name on my lips and I cry I to the heavens as he pulls me close and our bodies meet one last time, my back arching like a bow string, his hands clenched around my waist, his back straight as an arrow and I hear my name as he growls it between his teeth and I feel…I feel everything.
I feel my blood coursing through my veins. I feel my heart hammering inside of my chest. I feel my lungs expanding as I gasp for breath. I feel my muscles contracting around his dick deep inside of me. I feel his cock pulsing deep within me, filling me with the hot, wet rush of his seed. I feel his breath warm on my neck as he pulls me close. I feel my arms wrap around his muscular neck as he carries me upstairs to his bed.
Mostly I feel wanted, really wanted and I know that when I do finally fall asleep tonight, it won’t be alone.
“Toast?” I turn the corner to find Lauren, Mel and Nathalie busy at making an enormous breakfast. Bacon, eggs, French toast, pancakes, chopped orange sections, grapefruit….
“You guys must have been up for hours,” I mutter, grabbing a section of orange and crossing the kitchen to where Mel is standing over the stove, flipping silver dollar size pancakes.
“Well Mel was anyway. I woke up to the smell of real coffee for once,” Nathalie grins, inhaling happily over a cup of something dark and steaming.
“That’s my girl,” I grin, wrapping my arm around her waist and pressing my nose into her hair. It’s still a bit wet but it smells of strawberries and her skin, where I press my lips at the curve of her shoulder, tastes of vanilla.
“I know you’re not a big breakfast eater,” she apologizes, flipping another pancake before reaching for a plate and shoveling half a dozen onto it before handing it to me. “But I just couldn’t sleep and I thought the girls might like to have a cooked breakfast for once.”
“Mmm, what smells so good?” Mario rounds the corner, already in a suit and tie, hair slicked back. “I have a good mind to call of my breakfast meeting and stay,” he adds with a grin, walking over to press a familial kiss to the top of Lauren’s head before he slides onto a chair next to his wife. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”
“Sid kicked Mel out last night, something to do with the playoffs,” Lauren muses, leaning against the counter with a dry piece of toast in her hand.
“I didn’t kick her out, I just asked her to stay in the guest room as if it’s any of your business,” I snarl at her which only gets me a raised eyebrow and a shrug of her thin shoulders.
“You’re not actually subscribing to that old wives tale are you?” Mario laughs, reaching for the syrup and quickly covering his stack of pancakes.
“What do you know? You used to smoke before games,” I tell him, staying where I am, pressed against Mel, and putting down my pancakes next to the grill, eating them dry.
“You have me there,” Mario laughs, putting three pancakes in his mouth at once.
“Still, poor girl. I hope you slept okay in the guest room. I know the bed is a lot smaller than the one in Sid’s room,” he apologizes, shooting me a dark look.
“I think she must have slept out by the pool,” Lauren interjects, walking by and stealing a pancake from my plate. “I don’t think her bed looked slept in.”
“I make my bed in the mornings,” Mel shoots back, reaching to turn off the burner and turning around to wrap her arms, welcomingly around me. “You should try it,” she adds, though her attention is now on me. “And how did you sleep?” she asks, looking relaxed with the healthy glow about her that speaks of a long, hot shower.
“I should have taken you up on your offer,” I tell her quietly, kissing her lightly.
“I hardly slept at all. I tossed and turned all night,” I sigh, reaching to nip at her ear. “I missed you,” I add, tugging at the collar of her bathrobe, and then stop in my tracks.
“Bug bite,” she explains, tugging her robe back and then reaching for my hand to steer me to the table. “God, I’m so hungry I could eat the entire first line of the Sens,” she grins, pushing me firmly into a chair and then crawling onto my lap and demanding to be fed.
“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of them in no time,” I tell her, feeling her round little bottom pressing down on me, making me second guess my plan of abstinence.
“Good,” she smiles warmly down at me. “I like the sound of that.” I can’t help grinning and when I look around at Nat and Mario they’re grinning back at us in that way that says ‘aren’t they a cute couple’ and I can’t help but think that maybe we are.