All I can say is ouch! Suddenly Mel is the bad guy? I don't think life is so black and white...
Who the hell are you?
That’s what I ask my reflection as I brush my teeth, the same question I’ve been asking myself every morning for a week. Who the hell are you and what have you done with that nice girl from next door from Cole Harbour? What kind of person are you that you would sneak out in the dead of night and crawl into some other man’s bed?
Who in the hell are you?
The strange part of it is, every morning I have an answer for that question.
I’m sad. Sad that this isn’t everything I wanted it to be, this new life. It’s almost there, almost perfect, but not quite.
Does that make it fair? To cheat on the man that I’ve loved since I could tie my shoes? Hell no, of course it’s not. Even if he does treat me like…like an accessory, a bobble to put on and taken off at will. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. That’s what was so perfect about it. I wasn’t going to be one of those girls who complained when he didn’t have the time or inclination to pay attention to me and now that I have this fabulous job that should matter even less and yet….
I’m angry. Why does it feel like I’m the only one bending over backwards to make this work? I may not be as pretty as some of the other Wags, as Lauren has been so quick to point out, but I try. I’m stylish. I wear the right things, I get along with his friends, Nathalie and Mario like me so why isn’t it enough? Why doesn’t he look at me like…like Jordan looks at Kennedy? Like…
No, no I shake my head and refuse to think about the way Max looks at me. That’s the heat of passion, that doesn’t count.
Or does it? Does Sidney look at me like that when we make love? I spit out a mouthful of toothpaste and stare at my reflection. You know damn well you don’t know the answer to that question, I tell the woman looking back at me in the mirror. Most of the time your eyes are screwed shut while you think of someone else!
It was a stupid, impulsive thing to do. I was angry. I felt humiliated. I felt neglected. I ran for comfort. I didn’t mean for it to end up with us in bed….
Or did I?
Fuck! Be honest with yourself for once. You can’t stop fucking thinking about him. Every time you see him you start to squirm and your mouth gets dry and all you can think about is him…naked…inside of you….
And now Lauren knows, or at least I think she does. The last thing she said to me was that she was keeping an eye on me. She gave me that whole military silent my eyes are on your eyes thing. I’m watching you….
As if she’s not sleeping her way through the team.
As if that’s somehow better than what I’ve done.
It’s just sex. It isn’t love. What I have with Sidney, that’s love. I want him for the rest of my life. Max…I just want him. But I can’t…not anymore. It was a mistake. It was just a crazy, stupid, impetuous thing to do. Sid can be better. We can be better. We just need more practice. Max has had all those girls and it’s obvious Sid isn’t the man whore type. I need to just give us more time.
It will be better.
It has to be.
“You’ll wear the enamel off of your teeth if you keep that up.” I look up from staring into the sink to see Kennedy leaning in the doorway, watching me with a concerned expression on her face. “Penny for them,” she adds, raising a single eyebrow before pushing off from the door jam and joining me at the sink, hip checking me out of the way as she reaches for her toothbrush.
“I’m just…do you ever wonder…I mean, are you and Jordo serious?” I ask, rinsing out my toothbrush and dropping it in the cup at the back of the sink before heading for the edge of the tub with a handful of mousse.
“Me and Jordan?” she smiles to herself, her toothbrush making slow circles on her front teeth while she stares dreamily ahead. “I don’t know,” she answers after a long while, spitting into the sink before attacking her molars with zest.
“That’s it? You don’t know?” I ask, dragging my fingers through my hair, looking for texture, not spikes.
“Well…if you’re asking if I see a future like with babies and picket fences then…,” she gazes into the mirror with a strange half smile on her face and then she shrugs and spits again. “I guess so, sometimes, yeah. But then sometimes I wake up, like this morning and think…why tie myself down to just him? I mean…there are so many hot guys in New York and I haven’t even travelled yet. Who knows who’s out there? I mean…even his brother Marc is crazy hot in his brooding, quiet sort of way,” she adds with a smirk as she leans in to splash water on her face. “What’s this about? You having second thoughts about Saint Sidney all of a sudden?” she asks, turning to me, hands on hips.
“I don’t know…maybe,” I admit, rising to head over to the sink to wash the sticky remnants of the mousse off of my hands. “I just don’t have that…butterflies thing,” I admit, reaching for a towel after running my hands under the tap.
“Call it off,” she says simply, putting both of her hands on my shoulders and staring intently into my eyes. “Seriously Mel…you know what I think about him but I know that you love him or think that you do but if you have even one doubt in your head….”
“But it could be just that you know? Cold feet? Ever bride gets them right?” I ask, wanting affirmation that I know she isn’t about to give me.
“Yeah, I think it’s natural to second guess big decisions like this but…you were really set on this Mel. How long have you been set on this? Maybe now that it’s here, is it possible that it isn’t what you really want? Not really?” she asks, giving me a little shake that I know I need but it doesn’t shake my resolve. I want Sid. I’ve wanted him forever. I have to make it work. I’m just not giving him or us enough time and energy.
“I’m not a quitter,” I say out loud, squaring my shoulders and lifting my chin. “We Kelly’s are not quitters,” I add, quoting my mother.
“Oh Mel,” Kensie sighs as I reach out to pull her into a hug. “You shouldn’t have to keep talking yourself into this. If it was right it should feel right,” she adds with a sigh.
“Feeling right and feeling perfect aren’t the same. Don’t you see?” I grin at her as I push her back to hold her at arms’ length so she can see that I’ve come to an epiphany. “I keep expecting perfect and that’s crazy. No one’s perfect. Not even Sidney. I just have to lower my standards and expectations to something close to reality and everything will be just fine,” I grin at her and then pull her in for one last bear hug before I go to put on my clothes for work.
“Still gripping the wood a bit tight dontcha think?” I sit down next to Max as he stares into the middle of the room, not at all his normal self. Even Flower is looking at him sideways, waiting for him to do or say something funny or throw shit, one of the two.
“Don’t you think I know that?” Max growls back at me, without even turning to look at me, his gaze still straight ahead, unfocussed, like he’s seeing something there. His mouth is set in a grim, determined line, which I like, but I don’t see that translating into bodies laying all over the ice, which is what we need right about now. Especially from that Ruutu Neil line. Right now, I’d love to see Ruuts bleed. Now normally that would be something I could expect Max to go out there and do but….
“Well if you know it then we need you to go out there and make some room for us, especially Geno he’s….” I don’t get to finish the thought. Max turns, his dark blue eyes blazing like the edge of flame.
“Geno’s big enough to make his own fucking room out there. Tabernak man! I have my own fucking issues d’accord?” he growls at me before getting up and stomping across the room, heading for the hall, which is where Cookie normally likes to get his head on straight and considering the Cookie Monster’s been getting all the good press with his play lately, I don’t like the idea of the two of them out there, butting heads like a couple of mountain goats.
“I’ve got it,” Jordy sighs, pushing himself up to his feet without having to be asked, and I stare after the two of them, feeling like there’s something I’m missing.
“N’inquiétes pas. Il obtiendra au dessus d’elle,” Flower lays a hand on my shoulder pad and I turn to stare at my quiet goalie who’s been doing his own fair share of gripping his stick a little too hard.
“D’elle? Max is fucked up over a girl?” I ask, trying to imagine Max actually having feelings for a girl long enough to get fucked over by her. Usually his eyes are wandering before he’s even made it to second base, never mind having one stick around long enough to mess with his head like this.
“Did I say her?” Flower shakes his head and laughs. “I meant to say it…it…yeah. Whatever has him so…distracted, il obtiendra au dessus de lui,” Flower smiles but I still feel like there’s something he’s not telling me. Which is fine, I mean, I’m the one who put the rule into place about not bringing your shit from home to work, I just can’t imagine Max having that kind of shit.
“Well maybe I can cheer him up,” I sigh, pushing myself to my feet, rolling my shoulders to get rid of the feeling of Ruuts riding me like a cheap whore as I head towards the doors, half expecting to hear some kind of yelling and cursing, but only silence meets me as I push open the doors to find Jordy leaning on his stick between Cookie, who’s squatting down the hall and Max who’s leaning with his head on the concrete wall. “C’mon guys, we’ve got these guys. We just have to put them away. I know you’re tired, but fuck, we can fucking do this,” I smack Max on the back and immediately I know it’s the wrong thing to do when he turns, shaking his gloves like he’s ready to go. I stare at his hands and then look up at him, confused. “Whatever it is man, let it go. We have a team to put away out there. I can’t have you getting your panties in a fucking knot over some T & A. Besides, I have some more important business with you,” I add, pushing him further down the hall. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. “I’ve thought about this and I think, with how close you and Mel are and how you’ve helped us see the light right from the get go, I think you should be my best man, whaddaya say?”
“Max?” I ask, grabbing the corner of my pillow and shoving it into my mouth to stop from screaming.
“Yeah, who did you think I was going to ask?”Sid asks, sounding a little impatient with me on the other end of the line.
“I thought…well to be honest I thought maybe your dad, or Mario or Flower.” All choices I’d made for him in my own head but had never suggested to him. Now I wish I had.
“I thought you’d be thrilled, with you and Max being so close and everything,” he adds, sounding proud of himself and why shouldn’t he? From where he’s sitting, that’s exactly the right choice and he’s right, I should be thrilled but….
“And what did he say?” I ask, biting down on the pillow again, shutting my eyes tight as I imagine Max standing there in front of Sid, trying to look happy about being asked to be his best man.
“Well, that’s just it. Kinda like you, he asked why I hadn’t asked Flower, or Jordy or Dupes….”
“Yeah, well Dupes is your roomie and you guys are tight,” I add, maybe a little too hopefully. I can hear my voice going up like a squeak and I shove the pillow back in.
“Yeah but…do you not want Max to be my best man?”
It’s a trap.
No it’s not a trap. If he knew something, if Max had said something, he’d be here, knocking my door down, and he certainly wouldn’t be calling me asking if I approve of his choice for best man.
“I think it’s great. It’s just a big thing and I think Max will do great. I mean, I’m a little worried about what kind of pranks he’ll come up with for your bachelor party but other than that…I’m fine. No I’m better than fine. I’m happy. That’s great…I mean, if he said yes, in the end, I mean,” I add, frowning as I think that he might have, well probably should have, said no.
“Well I did kind of have to talk him into it. I thought he’d be totally stoked about it, what with the speech and organizing the bachelor party and everything but he was kinda cool about the whole thing,” Sid adds, sounding a bit let down by both of our less than stellar reactions.
“Well, you guys did have like the longest overtime you’ve ever had. I’m sure he was just tired. After all, Ruutu did sit on him and he did spend half of his shifts pressed face first against the glass,” I point out, trying to be helpful.
“Yeah I know. He’s pretty beat up, but we all are,” Sid sighs, and I can hear him digging his way down into the sheets. “We should have put them away tonight.”
“You will, they won’t have another night like that left in them,” I tell him, enjoying the opportunity to be the supportive girlfriend for once.
“I miss you,” Sid says suddenly, and I feel a giant weight in my gut.
“I miss you too,” I say and mean it. “I mean I hated the idea at first of us not seeing one another through the play offs but…I kinda like talking to you like this,” I add, lying back on my bed and staring at the ceiling. “That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to seeing you,” I add with a sigh, running my hand down the slinky, soft fabric of the teddy I bought today. I’d just been trying it on when he called. I’d been intending to send him a picture on his cell phone to make him feel better.
“I know things haven’t been…perfect,” he begins, and I hear him yawn, “but I appreciate you standing by me Mel. I really do,” he adds, and I curl my knees up to my chest, feeling like I’ve just been kicked in the gut.
“We can both do better,” I tell him, meaning it. “I love you,” I add, thinking that I don’t deserve the chance to make it better and hoping like hell I’ll still get that chance.
“It will be, you’ll see. I love you Mel…good night,” he adds, and I can hear him stifling another yawn.
“Yeah, night Sidney. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” I add, though I’m almost sure he’s already hung up. I hold my phone up, thinking of taking the picture of me lying here in my bed and sending it to him, but decide against it and my thumb slides down to turn off my phone so I too, can head to dream land, but then it slides over and hits the ‘1’ and holds it until it dials my voice mail.
I hit ‘2’ to listen to old voice mail.
It’s Max, his voice thick with sleep but I can hear the grin in his voice as he speaks.
“You’re certainly making a habit of leaving like some kind of bandit, in, out, no sign you were here. Except the smell of strawberries on my pillow and your perfume on my sheets. Fuck…what are we doing Mel? What are you doing to me?”
That’s it. That’s the message.
My thumb hovers over the ‘7’, intending to erase it. But I don’t, again. I just hit end and then turn off my phone and roll over onto my stomach and press my face into my pillow, and scream.