Bear with me, one of those in between chapters that's a necessary evil but gives an explanation that I think is important.
“Jackie,” I hiss into my phone, backing out of the way of one of the equipment guys with his load of freshly odorous laundry.
“Melzybub,” comes the reply on the other end of the line. “Were you just watching the game? I thought they were going to lose that one for sure and....”
“I’m at the game and I don’t have time for play by play. Jack, babe, you know I love you right?” I ask, my...no our long time friend and younger brother of Sid’s two earliest teammates, Jack Chiasson. I can hear him pause. Better yet, I can picture the stunned and confused look on his young handsome face as he tries to figure out what I could possibly want, because there arevery few people in this world he know what's going on right now in my life and he is one of them and as far as Jack is concerned, I am the luckiest girl in the world.
“And I love you princess...what have you done?” he asks, drawing his words out in that lilting inflection that he doesn't often use at home where still no one knows. No one but me.
“It’s more like what have you done,” I begin, checking covertly around me for little ears that might be listening in. Finding none, I still put my hand over my mouth and hunch my shoulders before I begin again. “When I told you that I would cover for you, you know that never extended to actually...doing it right?” I ask, feeling guilty as I say it. All the way down here, amidst all the celebrations, no matter how many times I went over it in my head, it just didn’t add up.
“Mel, babes, can you be a little more clear here because I am so not picking up your moves right now.” I can see him, staring in consternation at some spot in space, his lips pursed, his brow furrowed as he tries to figure out what I'm trying to say without saying it. There's no use, clearly I'm just going to have to come right out with it.
“Did you ever...and I can understand if it came to that at some point, but did you ever tell Sidney that we...that is, that you and I...that we did...it?” I ask, feeling an immediate and very heated rush of blood to my face and up into my ears the moment the question escapes my lips. It doesn't help that there's an immediate whoop of laughter on the other end of the line, either.
“It? Did it with you? O.M.G. Melody Kelly you have lost your mind girl,” he barks, and I can see him doing his best Tyra impersonation, hair flipping, finger snapping, eyes flashing. “As if anyone in this town would have the balls to touch S.P.C.’s property, puhleeze woman,” he continues, as if it's even a question, and if it isn’t....
“But he said Jack...he said Jack said I was...,” my voice trails away as the fog of memory begins to lift and things begin to come clear.
“Well girlfriend I am shocked and amazed that you thought it was me when honey you know damn well it was that blonde hunka hunka burnin’ love he brought back with him that summer before the lockout,” Jack corrects me, although I can already see him now, in my mind’s eye, with his tan and his cocky attitude and that sneer of his....
“What do you mean no?” he snarled as I backed across the seat of my Duster, putting as much distance between me and the friend Sidney had brought back from hockey camp. There was a look in his eyes that scared the shit out of me and suddenly it didn’t seem like such a bright idea to have lured him here, in the hopes that he would bring Sidney too. “Good old Sid never said you were such a cock tease,” he snarled in that mid American accent that didn’t do anything to make him sound any smarter than I already assumed he was not. Still, all my sarcastic retorts and smart aleck remarks failed me as I watched his big meaty hand reach for me. “I think you’re going to suck my dick and I think you’re going to like it, bitch,” he added, for good measure, grabbing at my hair just as I reached back to open the door causing me to tumble out onto the grass.
It’s hardly dignified, but the moment my ass meets the ground, I started to crab walk like crazy backwards and away from the car. It’s a stupid move, I realized, even as my butt skimmed the ground. My keys were in the car, for one thing, and if this friend of Sid’s was half as fit as Sid was, I wasn’t going to be able to outrun him. But I did know the woods around the lake and he didn’t, I decided, so if I had to run, I was way less likely to break a limb doing it.
“Get yer asssss back here!” he called, slurring his words as he crumbled a beer can in his oversized paw of a hand. I stared at that hand, imagined it pressing down over my mouth while his other one reached again to get into my jeans and got up, still backing away. Most of my brain was screaming at me to run, but there was a part of me that was fascinated with the utter contradictory nature of his blonde buffoon to my dark haired boy. I wanted to ask what it could possibly be that Sidney saw in him that had made him bring him here to our little town.
Except that I knew. It was obvious. Jack Johnson had the confident swagger that Sidney, never having been anywhere near as big as this inbred hick, had never been able to muster. Even if he had, it would have been beaten out of him, I knew as I tried to decide which was the safer bet, the lake or the woods? I could swim, like a fish. I wondered if he could.
“I don’t even want to know what kind of girls you met in California,” I called to him, my own confidence leaking back as I realized that as drunk as he seemed, the big defenseman would probably be unlikely to follow up on his threats. Not that I wasn’t convinced he’d try and I’d end up getting hurt in the process, but I had to means of escape and though I hated like hell to leave my pride and joy behind, this was Cole Harbour and she’d still be there in the morning if I had to come back for her. “But I’m not like those easy bitches,” I added, taking another step or two towards the lake. “We have something called dignity here in the Harbour.”
“You mean you’re a fucking virgin and you’re terrified of the size of my dick,” he called after me, snapping open another beer and leaning against the hood of my car, watching me through drooping eyes.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I grinned back at him, threatening with my teeth like a dog would do. “And maybe you’re impressed by its’ size but I’m guessing it’s probably really...really small,” I add, holding my thumb and forefinger up about half an inch apart. It’s never a really smart idea to make fun of a guy’s manhood, especially when he’s bigger and drunk but it’s amazing what a little humiliation and embarrassment will drive a girl to.
“Why don’t you come see, little girl?” He called back, staggering forward and reaching for the zipper on his jeans at the same time. Chewing gum and walking it wasn’t but his coordination was obviously not what it was out on the ice and I watched with some degree of satisfaction as he fell forward like an old growth cedar being felled.
He lay there, motionless for some time while I waited to see if it was safe to move. Then the snoring started and with a shake of my head and a grin, I walked back up the hill toward the car. Stepping over his prone body, I waited for the hand to spring out and grab my ankle, like something out of Elmstreet but he didn’t move. He just kept snoring and so I slid behind the wheel, put her in neutral and rolled the Duster backwards before popping the clutch, spinning the car around and burning rubber, tears blurring my vision.
“I can’t believe he just booked it like that,” I laugh as I join Tanger, Flower and Mel and a couple of the other guys as we head out to the bus that will take us back to the athlete’s village.
“C’mon this is Max we’re talking about,” Getzy laughs and gives my shoulder a friendly punch. “If I remember correctly, a nice piece of tail goes by and you can lose that guy for days.”
“I think you guys are kind of hard on him,” Mel says quietly, giving my hand the kind of squeeze that says ‘stop it’ but it’s hard when adrenaline is still flowing thick and heavy through my veins and besides, it is Max we’re talking about and Getzy is probably right.
“Mel, you don’t know Max like we do,” I admonish her gently, leaning over to press my lips briefly against her temple. “Believe me, Max would not voluntarily miss a party unless there was a girl involved,” I tell her, laughing as I think about him blindly following some sweet piece of ass through the crowds out in the street.
“J’espère qu’il n’oublie pas sa maison de manière,” Tanger adds with a knowing grin and we all laugh. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d need help finding his way home though and we all know it. Well, all of us but Mel but she’ll figure these guys out the more we hang out with them.
“So there’s going to be a party?” she asks, looking up at me with this earnest, almost hopeful look that I still can’t quite get used to.
“Not really,” I admit. “Probably just some beers back at the village. But not for you,” I continue as we near the bus. “You and Tanger are heading back to the Burgh.” She opens her sweet mouth and I have a vision of her lips wrapped around my cock that makes me take a deep breath before I continue. “Tanger has to be back with the team for practice and even I can’t get tickets to the gold medal game,” I add, stopping behind some of the other guys, using them as a shield to hide us as I turn her to face me.
“I can watch here...at a bar or something,” she says hopefully but I shake my head before cupping her cheek and lowering my lips over hers’.
“I like the idea of you waiting for me there,” I whisper against her closed eyelids. I can’t help imagining it, her, spread out on my bed, her pale skin against my white sheets, waiting for me.
“But I...I want to see you win,” she sighs, moving into my arms and I cradle her there. I used to think I liked her feistiness but I’m beginning to like this needy Mel, this soft, feminine Mel; this Mel who needs and wants me.
“You said you’d wear my gold medal,” I remind her, picturing the big etched disk lying between her bare breasts. “I want to bring it home and have you waiting to do that.” I tip her face up and for a moment I’m sure that she’s going to argue, I can see a flash in her eyes but then she blinks and it’s gone and instead she nods and leans her head against my chest again.
“If it’s what you want,” she sighs, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve won something already. She understands, she knows I don’t need any distractions right now and she’s ready to step aside and let me do my thing. “But there’s something you should know,” she says suddenly, turning her gaze up, concern written all over her face.
“Whatever it is can wait, right? I have to go,” I turn her to face the bus that most of my teammates are already on. “Take good care of her Tanger,” I add, turning her over to his care despite the fact that it feels like she’s about to dig in her heels. She refuses to move and turns back to grab a hold of my jacket but I just take her hands, laughing as I lift them to my lips. “Later Mel...I have to go. Be good. I’ll bring the medal home and you’d better be waiting,” I add grinning widely at the thought of her, waiting for me in my bed.
“No, wait, Sid I need to tell you something,” she insists, reaching for my hand but Flower is calling me from the stairs of the bus and I have to go. I blow her a kiss, even though it feels sort of childish but she makes a show of catching it and pressing it to her cheek anyway as I board the bus.
“Chicks,” I sigh, plopping down into the seat next to Iggy, who nods sagely.
“They get in the way man, I’m telling you. Don’t do it if you don’t have to,” he adds, popping his ear buds in. I lean back and stare out the window to see Tanger turning her into the crowd. I watch them until the bus begins to move and then I put her out of my mind altogether.
I know it’s not really fair to send her away like this, as if she’s misbehaved or something but after that amazing fucking blowjob in my room...there was no way she wasn’t going to be a distraction. My dad didn’t need to tell me that I haven’t stepped up to the plate for me to know that I needed to get her away from me for now. This is just too important for me to have her here, adding to the already overwhelming number of disruptions here. I need to focus.
There will be time after the gold medal for the kind of pleasant diversion that she poses now; time enough to develop a taste for the kind of amusing pastime and time enough to get to know one another properly later.
“What rock did you crawl out from under?” I laughed as I watched Jack struggle to squeeze through my bedroom window at the crack of dawn. The knees of his jeans were grass stained and there were twigs in his hair. This was definitely not the same kind of sneaking back into our rooms that we’d done during camp in California.
“What can I say? She couldn’t get enough of good old Jack,” he said while he stretched and looked proud of himself. I shook my head. There was no way.
“There’s no way you got lucky with Melody Kelly. She’s...she’s just a kid,” I muttered, turning over and punching my pillow.
“I told you man,” Jack chuckled as he sat on the edge of my bed, pulling off his shoes. “The first time she caught sight of good old Jack, she was gagging for it.”
“Mel’s never gagged for anything...apart from maybe beer battered cod,” I corrected him, feeling angry and not quite understanding why.
“Hey, it was just like those girls in L.A. They just can’t get enough of this, I’m telling you,” Jack continued crowing, his chest puffed out, this stupid self satisfied smile on his face.
“She isn’t like those girls...and besides,” I sat up, realizing why I was feeling like I needed to put my hands around his throat, “that’s like...like saying you screwed Taylor dude...that’s not right, man. Mel’s like...she’s like my other sister. That’s just gross,” I added, a sudden taste of bile filling my mouth.
“Well, what can I say?” Jack leered at me. “Your other sister is slutty and she loves to suck cock,” he added with a salacious grin before reaching out to slap me on the back. “Now, I’m gonna hit the head and then wash her pussy juice off my dick and then I hope your mom can make a fuck load of pancakes because I worked up quite an appetite givin’ it to little miss four eyes next door, if you know what I mean,” he added, pumping his fist in a suggestive manner that just made me want to gag.
I wanted to argue the point some more but he was already sauntering towards the hallway in that confident strolling sort of gate he always seemed to have and so I just watched him go, wishing that I had balls that big.
Funny thing was, I could have sworn I’d heard the duster pull into the driveway next door before midnight and I know that Mel’s mom is home, I heard them arguing when she went inside. So how he spent the night with her....?
Well, it’s not like he’d like about it, I told myself with a sigh. He’d probably just done the same thing as he did to get back in here. He’d squeezed himself into her bedroom window. It was weird though to think of the two of them doing it right next door. It was weird to think of Mel being like that at all. I mean she hated spin the bottle, how could she have gone from that to....
No, I decided. It wasn’t worth thinking about. First it was Mike’ little brother and now this...? Shaking my head, I head out to the kitchen to see if there’s going to be food soon. Maybe on a full stomach I can think about this.
“I’m so tired. I can’t wait to curl up on the train and go to sleep,” Kennedy yawns as we watch the luggage carousel go around and around, it’s stainless steel slide waiting for our luggage to be tossed down its’ reflective surface. “It was a good holiday though hmmm?” she adds, leaning against me like she actually needs me for support.
“I suppose,” I mumble, mostly because I don’t actually agree. I didn’t really have that good a time at all but I don’t want to rain on her parade.
“He’s sooo fucking handsome, don’t you think?” she asks for what seems like the hundredth time since we got on the plane. I know she had a couple of those baby bottles of wine on the plane but I can’t decide if she’s drunk or if she really has slipped into that whole purple haze of love thing.
“I suppose,” I agree, although had I had to choose between Jordy, his ginger brother and Tanger who are walking towards us, I keep thinking I’d probably choose Marc or Kris over Jordy, but again, what would be the point of ruining her buzz?
“At least say you’re looking forward to crawling into our own beds and sleeping for like...days,” she sighs as she straightens to stretch her arms over her head. I’m sure I can hear her spine cracking and try not to think about what kind of strange new positions she and the human praying mantis have come up with in the bedroom that has her that badly in need of an alignment.
“I was,” I admit with a sigh as the luggage starts to drop, “but I’m not going back to New York with you.” I wait the three beat minimum that I know it’s going to take for that news to sink in before I add, “I’m going back to the Burgh with the boys. So I guess that leaves you with the big ginger.”
“What? Why?” she asks, suddenly much more awake as she turns and grabs me by the shoulders. “Don’t tell me you’re actually going to go back to Nat and Mario’s and wait there for him like some kind of god damn dutiful girlfriend?” she searches my gaze and when I don’t disagree she rolls her eyes and throws up her hands in frustration. “Do you do everything that pious, self-absorbed, entitled little shit asks you to do?” It should be like a slap in the face, but it isn’t. It also isn’t the first time I’ve been attacked like this and in all likelihood it won’t be the last time either.
“I don’t expect you to understand,” I shrug, “but don’t blame him. If that’s the way he comes off...it’s not his fault. Ask Jordy. Ask any of the guys on the team. He’s not...that’s not really him. You don’t know him, not like I do,” I explain, though I can tell by the way her hands curl on her hips that she’s not buying a word of it.
“So you’re really going to do it? You’re going to go and sit there and wait for him?” She looks at me like what she’d really like to be doing is slapping some sense into me, except that we’re in public and she’d rather not get arrested. Or maybe she just doesn’t want to scare Jordy away by letting him know she has a violent side.
“I am,” I shrug, reaching for my bag as it begins to spin on the carousel.
“I can’t believe you’d do that, that you’d stoop like that,” she hisses at me, eyes wide, like she’s looking at something she doesn’t believe is really in front of her.
“You have no idea what I’d do for him,” I answer quietly, dragging my bag behind me and heading over to where the other boys are saying goodbye to Jordy’s brother.
“You don’t have to you know,” Jordy begins before I shoot him a withering look. “What? I’m only saying. I mean, she’s right. It might do him good to have to do a little extra work once in a while.”
“That’s just the point. I want to be the person that makes things easier for him,” I explain quietly, looking up into the faces of his friends. They all nod because they know, just as I do, how complicated his life can get.
“You’re like his easy button,” Kris laughs, wrapping his arm around my shoulders and aiming me down the hall towards our flight.
“Well you didn’t have to go that far,” I snort, hip checking him away from me only to be hip checked back hard enough that I almost fall, except that his catches me with one hand and pulls me roughly back against him and laughs.
“Going far would be making you my easy button mon chère,” he replies, raising his eyebrows and giving me a half hopeful look.
“You wish Tang, you wish,” I laugh pushing him back.
“No you wish, I think,” he laughs louder, grabbing my hand and pulling me along beside him as if I’m a small child, and for a while and probably as long as I’m on the plane with them, that’s not a bad thing to be.