The girls made it to Robinson in record time, which really shouldn’t have been surprising since Erin was driving! And on the way there Melany had explained why they actually needed to stop at the mall. If she was going to be having dinner with her dream guy, she wanted sexy lingerie under her Penguins tee and well-worn jeans. She didn’t want to change her look, that wasn't her, but with the slight chance that she could get him in a dark hallway… well, new undies couldn’t hurt!
“I just think that it’s a smart idea.”
“But Mel, what if he doesn’t see what’s underneath your clothes??”
“Well, then I’ve got a reason to see him again!”
Erin just shook her head and laughed at Mel’s optimism. She thought about finding something too, but would that seem over the top? As they pulled into the mall’s parking lot she asked for her friend’s opinion; mainly to get the courage to buy something since she was pretty sure she already knew Mel’s response.
“So, do you think I should get something too?”
“Well, I want to… but… it’s just… I don’t expect anything to come from tonight other than dinner. I know that he broke it off with you-know-who recently. I’m not a rebound girl!”
“Listen… we’re going into the stores and we’re both going to find the sexiest, frilly underwear we can! Then we’re going to run and get the groceries, and then it’s off to Geno’s… GOT IT?”
Erin nodded and Melany grabbed her arm, dragging her towards the doors. Thirty minutes later they each had a bag holding their old unmentionables.
“Alright. Next stop is at the store to get the few things Geno didn’t already have. What exactly does that mean we have to get?
“Well, we couldn’t really get it figured out… so, we’re gonna grab it all… including bake ware.”
Mel lifted an eyebrow but said nothing.
“Don’t look at me like that! He’s a little difficult to communicate with you know.”
“Haha, that’s true. Let’s get goin’ then sister! I haven’t decided on dessert yet. You think they’ll actually eat dessert?”
They both laughed as they pulled out and drove over to Wal-Mart. Mel was just getting out of the car when her phone rang. All that came up was Unknown Caller. Oh god, it’s him! He’s probably calling to back out. Well, you won’t know unless you answer the phone.
“We’ve done all the ‘cleaning’ so if you’re done you can come over now.” Phew.
“We just got to the grocery store. But it won’t take us long to get everything.”
“I… see you soon.”
“Ok… oh, do you eat apples?”
“Apples, yeah. Why?”
“Curiosity. Bye Crosby.”
Mel turned to Erin who was looking at her rather expectantly and gave her a confused look.
“Well, that was weird.”
“That guy is one tough nut to crack.”
“I’m sure you’ll try your hardest to figure him out though. C’mon, let’s get everything and get going! I wanna see Geno… Uh, Geno’s house…”
“Yeah, just the house… right!”
After splitting up to cover more ground, the girls met in the middle of the store to check out. They paid, packed everything into the back of Erin’s vehicle and looked at one another.
“Ready to go hit on some hockey players Mel?”
“Nope! I’m ready to go get hit on by a certain hockey player! I hope they like this combination for a meal!”
Sid hung up the phone. What were you going to tell her? I’m glad I hit you with a puck? Oh that would go over so well! God Crosby, you’re an idiot. He jumped when Geno appeared beside him. He’d been so lost in thought that he hadn’t heard the guy walk up to him.
“Sid! You call?”
“Yeah Geno. I called them. They were just getting to the store. Did you and Erin decide on the menu for tonight?”
“Huh? Oh, no. She say that they bring everything. And that we like what they make.”
“So you don’t know what we’re going to be eating?”
“No. But I’m sure taste good. Melany say anything?”
“She asked me about apples.”
“Maybe. Everything put away? Is the kitchen clean?”
“Sid, calm down little buddy. Everything perfect. Come. We go relax with TV and wait.”
He smiled at Geno and nodded, laughing when the Russian flipped over the back of the couch and landed with his legs crossed against it. Obviously he’d perfected that move a while ago.
They’d been flipping through the channels when an episode of NCIS popped up. He’s watched it a few times, and Geno seemed content to keep the station. Then the bad guys came into view and started speaking in some foreign language. Geno smiled and he realized that they must be speaking Russian.
“Did they say anything funny?”
“No. Just talk about killing. Why we always bad in TV?” He said the last with a smile so Sid didn’t worry that he was offended. They watched the rest of the episode in silence and another episode was coming on when there was a knock at the door. He shot out of the lounger and laughed when Geno hauled himself over the couch in a backwards movement similar to the one he’d used to get onto it. They both raced for the door but Geno got the first. He opened it with a smile on his face.
“Hey Geno. Let us through the door. This is a little heavy to carry. Sid, what a surprise. What are you doing here?”
Sid watched the smile on Geno’s face dim a little and as he saw Erin and Melany pull into the driveway one thought passed through his head.
Melany looked up as they pulled in and noticed there were too many cars for just Sid and Geno to be there. Oh no. What if Oksana showed up or something? She was pretty sure that they were done, but she had no way of calling to see if they were walking into a war zone. I should’ve just said we could exchange numbers. Crap.
“Who do you think is there?” Erin asked, turning to Mel as she put the car in park. “I don’t recognize the car.”
“Dunno. But Sid didn’t call me, so I guess it’s not anything that we sho--,” she was cut off by the ring of her cell. Unknown. Shit.
“Houston, we have a problem.” Double shit.
“Is it Oksana?”
“What? No. Nothing like that. Max and Tanger just showed up with beer and want to order pizza.”
“Is anyone else supposed to show up?”
“Not that I know of… HOLD ON!” She snickered as she heard one of the guys yelling for Sid to get his giant ass in the living room. “Do you want to reschedule?”
“Do you want to?”
“Well, I was kind of excited to have a home-cooked meal. But I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”
“Hold on, let me ask Erin.” She clicked the mute button on her phone and looked at Erin. “It’s Tanger and Max. You still wanna do this?”
“We bought enough to make two pans of dinner and dessert on the off chance some of the guys showed up. I say we do this. Besides, this underwear wasn’t cheap!” They both laughed and Melany hit her mute button again.
“Yes?” She smiled at the hopefulness in his voice.
“Come to the door and let us in. We’ll be there in a jiff.”
They jumped out of the car and went to the back to get everything out. With both their hands full of bags they wandered up to the front door. Melany hit the doorbell. Both girls turned to look at one another when they heard voices, a scuffle, a couple curses and what sounded like someone or something being pushed into a wall. Then the door flew open.
“Well, what do we have here? You don’t look like pizza delivery boys.”
Mel glanced past the smiling Frenchman and noticed Sid was standing, well, leaning against the staircase trying to look nonchalant, and Geno had Tanger shoved into the wall of the foyer. She laughed and Erin looked past Max and let out a laugh as well. Max turned to see what they’d found so amusing as Geno finally let go of Tanger and pulled him from the wall.
Erin looked to her friend and then to Max who was smiling at them once again. “May we come in, this stuff is kinda heavy.”
“Oh, let me grab some of that for you. We had no idea that Geno was having company or we would NEVER have come over.”
Melany chuckled, not believing a word of it. “Well, this was supposed to be a private dinner. So if you’re SO sorry you could just help yourselves out the door.”
Max laughed as he handed Erin’s bags to Tanger and took the others out of Melany hands. “But it looks like you have plenty to go around. And I haven’t had a great home-cooked meal in a long time.”
“You really are a charmer, aren’t you Mr. Talbot?”
“Please, call me Max. Or Superstar. Or just plain Amazing.” He turned and started walking away. The girls looked at one another and just shrugged, following him and walking past the two guys they’d actually came to see. Sid grabbed Melany’s hand and stopped her.
“How’s your head?”
“I’m ok. It doesn’t hurt. But I think there may be a bit of a bruise.” She turned to show him the proof of the puck. “Is it too bad?”
She watched as he slowly lifted his hand to touch the side of her face and they both jumped back when there was literally a jolt of electricity.
“I can explain that! When we were running to the door… I mean… It was the whole socks on carpet thing and static… you know what I’m trying to say right?” He said the last part quietly, not wanting the others to hear him make a fool of himself.
“Yep. You were trying to save us from the crazy Frenchmen, and in the process tried to electrocute me. Makes total sense.”
Sid’s jaw dropped when she made fun of him but then he saw the smile on her face. He couldn’t say anything though because Max had come back into the foyer. He looked around and noticed that they’d been the only two there.
“Your presence is required in the kitchen. Your friend would like you to come help her.” Sid watched as Max slid his hand to the small of her back, turning her away as he continued to talk. “It’s Melany right? You’re the one Sid hit today. How is it that you are here to make dinner? Shouldn’t he being doing something nice for you?” He snaked his hand around her waist and started leading her toward the kitchen.
“Well,” he heard her start while they walked away from him and he followed, wanting to hear her answer. “I was so surprised when he agreed to my joke of dinner. And then I thought that it would be different if instead of us going to a restaurant where there would be crowds and fans galore, we had a quiet dinner. And unbeknownst to me, Geno had asked my friend to go out. So the two of us conspired together to do something for the two of them.”
They had all managed to wander into the kitchen where Sid saw Erin putting two pans of water onto the stove. Ok, pasta of some sort. And there’s the apples. Along with oats and flour. What the hell is that going to be? He looked and noticed that Max still had his arm around Melany. And he didn’t like it one bit.
“But Cherie, it was my idea for him to show off for you. Don’t we deserve dinner too?”
“ ‘Ey! I told him to do something to get her attention!” Tanger exclaimed, not about to let Max take all the credit. “You just agreed with what I said.”
The two of them started to bicker in French and Sid watched as Melany took the opportunity to escape from Max’s clutches. She moved over to where Geno and Erin were sort of staring at one another and not really saying anything. She asked Erin something and she just pointed toward a bag on the counter without looking at her friend.
Melany just laughed and grabbed the bag, pulling out a very large, very shiny knife. Good lord, she could kill us all with that thing. I really hope she isn’t a psycho. Or we’re doomed. Then he laughed at his own thoughts. He stopped when he saw her looking up at him with confusion. He pointed to the knife and made a “Psycho” reference and she laughed out loud.
“Don’t worry Crosby, the only thing I’ll be cutting with this are apples.”
“What exactly are you making with those apples.”
“It’s a surprise. You’ve probably noticed all of the items. You aren’t allergic to anything here are you?”
He scanned all of the items on the counter island once more and shook his head.
“Good.” She looked around. “Why don’t the four of you go watch something on TV while Erin and I make dinner. I don’t know about her, but I work a lot better when there aren’t tons of people in my work space.”
“I don’t actually have to do anything until the water boils,” Erin said, finally taking her gaze off of Geno. “So… Geno’s going to give me a tour of the house, right?” Geno nodded his head enthusiastically. Sid bit the side of his mouth to keep from smiling.
“Ok. Then how ‘bout the two Frenchies leave so I can concentrate without listening to an argument I can’t understand.” She smiled at the two of them while she said it and Sid couldn’t help himself that time. He let a small chuckle out. She turned to him, the point of the knife in his direction. “You too Crosby. If Erin’s going, you all have to go.”
He sighed but walked out behind Max and Tanger who were complaining about something and still arguing. He didn’t know why it was such a big deal that no one watch her chop fruit. At the doorway to the kitchen he turned around but she just shooed him from her spot at the island. He shook his head, confused, but did as she asked. In the dining room he stopped and took a seat, wondering what her deal was. And then he heard something. He got up and stood against the wall by the doorway.
He strained to hear what she was saying. Is she talking to herself? Or worse… is she talking to the fruit? He stopped talking to himself and listened again. Then he realized what she was doing. She sings in the kitchen. How cute is that? He smiled and let out a small laugh. She stopped and he held his breath.
He jumped when her heard her voice right in his ear. He turned and blushed, realizing he’d been caught.
“Man, you are really sneaky!” He looked down at her face and noticed she was giving him one of those what-did-I-tell-you looks. “Sorry. Curiosity got the best of me.”
His breath caught when she beamed a huge smile at him. “Go watch TV with the others. Please?”
He nodded but couldn’t make himself move. He just kept staring at her, mainly at her lips. He moved his gaze back up to her eyes and he watched them widen. “You don’t still have the knife in your hands do you?” She quirked an eyebrow and shook her head no.
He grabbed her arms and pulled her closer.
“I didn’t want to get stabbed on accident when I did this.” As the last syllable escaped his mouth he lowered his head and pressed his lips to hers. She tasted like apples, and he decided right then and there that he would never eat another apple without thinking of this girl, this moment.
“Hey Kid, did you have anyth--” Tanger stopped in mid sentence and Sid let out a curse against her lips. “Sorry man. I’ll just let you get back to what you were doing.”
“No, he was just going to join you.” He looked at those smiling eyes and couldn’t help but laugh at her determination to keep him out of the kitchen.
“Fine. I’ll go watch the damn television. We’ll continue this conversation later though Melany.”
“Oh, I look forward to that Crosby.” Then she winked and turned to go into the kitchen again.
Sid let out a sigh and Tanger put his arm around his shoulders. “Oh man, she’s never going to be dull is she?”
“I hope not. And I hope that I have the chance to see just how interesting she can be.” He smiled at Tanger as they started toward the living room. And his smile grew when he heard the faint hum of her voice. I don’t know about dinner, but dessert is going to be delicious.
Hope you all liked it* Let me know!!