Melany came awake with the light coming through the curtains again and smiled to herself. These wonderful Sidney dreams need to stop before I decide to just stay in dreamland. Her muscles ached in a way that should have bothered her except in her mind she was lying next to Sid, her head on his chest and that made the pain feel less. It felt so real that she could imagine his arm around her as well, his fingers splayed across her back in a protective, possessive manner. She sighed and burrowed into her imaginary hockey player.
The light chuckle that followed her burrowing brought her right back to reality though. Her head shot up and she found herself looking into, not another pillow, but the smiling eyes of Sidney Crosby.
“It wasn’t a dream.” She knew it was a statement more than a question, but her mind was still trying to process everything and in her own defense, she was still pretty sleepy. She could remember everything that happened, at least up until the middle of the game. That’s when things started to get fuzzy. She wrinkled her nose as she attempted to recall what happened after the second period.
“Do I smell that bad?”
Focusing her eyes once more on the man lying next to her she couldn’t help but grin.
“Oh yes. You positively reek. But you’re so comfortable…so I’ll just hold my breath.” He laughed as she drew in an exaggerated breath, held it, and placed her head back on his chest. The hand on her back came up to tangle in her hair and she expelled the air as she slid up and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.
“That’s all I get?”
“Morning breath. I refuse to duel with your tongue until I’ve brushed my tee--”
“EEEEEEEK!! HOLY SHIT!”
Mel stopped in mid-sentence when they both heard a scream outside the door. There was only one other female in the house that she knew of, and she needed to know why Erin was screaming. Grabbing the duvet to wrap around her body, she ran to the door and pulled it open. Sid was right behind her. They looked out into the hall but couldn’t see anyone. The door across from them flew open and Max popped out shirtless, holding an alarm clock in one hand, and Tanger was right behind him in nothing more than a towel. She couldn’t help but stare, mouth hanging open, until Sid nudged her shoulder. She gave him a sheepish grin before walking slowly down the hall.
“Erin?? Erin, are you ok?”
Melany heard a couple noises and then a muffled laugh. It sounded like she was going to live, but she thought she had better check, just in case.
She knocked on the door, praying that nothing bad was happening, and waited as she heard footsteps padding across the floor. The door opened slightly and Geno’s head popped into view.
“Uh, hey Geno… is ummm, is everything ok in there?” He stared at her for a minute and then turned, looking back into the room. And then he pushed the door back against the wall. Erin sat in the middle of a giant bed wearing an away jersey and the blankets wrapped around her.
“Good morning Mel… I, uh... I was a little disoriented when I first woke up. I think I scared ten years off of his life.”
“As long as you’re ok…”
“I am now, now that I’m wide awake. Shouldn’t you be wearing clothes?”
Glancing down, Mel came to the full realization of what she was wearing. Or better yet, what she wasn’t wearing! She looked at Erin and they both started laughing. Geno looked a little confused but let out a few small laughs.
Sid was staring down the hall, waiting for Mel to scream if she needed help. Max, who had finally put down his ridiculous excuse of a weapon, came over to stand beside him.
“So, Mel… she’s got some nice --”
“Don’t even think about it. I don’t want to hear what’s going through that twisted, Penthouse Forum filled head of yours. And I’m going to pretend that I don’t know that you’re picturing her naked right now.” Max slapped a hand on his shoulder and laughed.
“Don’ worry Sid. She wouldn’t have me even if I pleaded with her.” Sid wasn’t so sure, but if Max was going to think that, then he wasn’t going to set him straight!
They were still chatting when a movement caught Sid’s eye. He looked up to see Melany walking toward them with her head down, shaking her head and smiling to herself. As she came closer she looked up and her step faltered for a split second when she noticed that it wasn’t just him in the hallway. Then she quirked an eyebrow and Sid realized he was probably staring. She came to a stop in front of them.
“Good morning gentlemen. How did you sleep Max?”
“Probably not as well as you did.” She blushed.
“Well, you could have cuddled with Kris. I remember you offering that to him.”
“Yes, but he’s not as cuddly as Sid here.” She blushed again.
“That’s probably true,” she said as she looked up at Sid. “He really is quite comfy to wake up next to.” Then she blushed even more. He could see it trailing down her throat and spreading over her chest and he wanted to run his tongue everywhere her skin was tinged pink. But he could wait. He really could.
“Listen, as much as I love hearing how much you both adore me, I really want to go find some food. So how about we all go back to our rooms, find some clean clothes, and get some grub.” Sid heard her grunt something and looked down to see a look of frustration cross her face. “What is it? You don’t want to get food?”
“I don’t think I have any other clean clothes. Well, an extra pair of lacy,” he watched her glance at Max who seemed completely enthralled in the conversation. “Umm, yeah, so do you think there’s anything here? I just need a t-shirt and sweats.”
“ Yeah, go back and put on… whatever it is you have to put on, and I’ll go find something out in my car. There are always clothes in there.”
“They don’t smell like a locker room do they??” He glared at Max when he burst out laughing.
“No, they’re clean. And Max, don’t you need to get ready too? Or do you plan on going out sans shirt today?” Max gave him a dirty look and spun around, leaving just him and Mel in the hallway. “Geno and I stocked all the bathrooms with stuff to ‘freshen up’ as girls like to put it. Let me grab my jeans and then you can use the bath off of our room while I find you those clothes.”
She looked so good, standing there against the doorway wrapped in that damn comforter. Sid couldn’t help himself and ducked his head to kiss her. She was too fast for him though and she turned her head at the last second so all he pressed his lips to was her cheek.
“You really have this thing about kissing in the morning don’t you?”
“Lean down please,” Mel ask him. She might have an aversion to kissing on the mouth when she woke up, but she wanted to touch her lips to some part of him. She watched him tilt his head questioningly but he did as she asked. When he was close enough she took his face in her hands and placed a kiss to his forehead and then both of his cheeks. Then, with one more caress of her thumb over his lips she backed away. “Good morning Sidney.”
He smiled and returned her greeting before snatching his shirt off the floor. Throwing it over his head as he walked out the door, she couldn’t keep the smile off her face. Then, grabbing her bag and her bra, she wandered into the bathroom.
“Oh good lord I look like crap!”
Her hair was a rat’s nest, there were small traces of eye shadow or mascara in the corners of her eyes, and her lips were swollen from those wonderful kisses… ok, damage control. Rifling through her bag she pulled out her toothbrush, first things first. After brushing her teeth she felt much better, even when glancing in the mirror again. She was just finishing up when she heard a knock at the door.
“Hold on a sec,” Mel yelled while searching for her panties. So what if he’d seen her in all her glory last night. “Ok, come in… wait! Who is it?”
“It’s Sid.” Came the confused reply from the other side of the door. She pulled at the door and watched as the look of confusion left his face. She’d have to thank the lady at the store yesterday for talking her into buying two different pairs of underwear to go with her bra. He seemed to recover quickly enough though. “Who else were you expecting?”
“Well, there are three other men and one woman in the house right now. And with Max... goodness… who knows what that damned Frenchman would come up with!”
“He’s really not as bad as you might think.” Just then, like he knew they’d been talking about him, Max poked his head into the bedroom.
“Sid, when are we leaving? Tanger’s getting antsy. And my stomach is grumbling.”
“Ahhh! Max, get out! I’m not decent!” Mel ducked behind Sid and the door as she yelled, hoping he hadn’t seen anything. He just chuckled and walked away. She could hear him whistling down the hallway. “Not as bad, huh?”
“Ok… he’s that bad. But you gotta love him.”
Fifteen minutes later the group left, deciding to just take Sid’s vehicle instead of three different cars. No one was quite sure how they all fit in there, but as they all piled out and into the parking lot they were laughing like idiots. Sid threw his arm around Melany as they headed into the Cracker Barrel.
“Are you sure this is the smartest idea?”
“They love it when we come here,” he told her. Then he brought his head down closer to her ear. “Good tippers.” He noticed she shivered and smiled. She couldn’t be cold in his warm-up pants and hoodie, so that must’ve been more of a personal chill. I wonder what else gets to her.
The hostess smiled when they walked up and she grabbed a handful of menus before leading them back to what they’d deemed their favorite table. It was the same one every time. Even if Sid just came with Mario and Nathalie, they always got the circular table in the corner. It was nice, because it was closer to the back, so people would have to purposefully go by everyone else to get to them. And most fans, they were really good about letting him and the others eat without too much of a hassle.
Sid pulled out the chair beside him and motioned for Mel to sit down. Taking the seat beside her, he made sure that they were close enough for his knee to touch hers when he stretched. The first time he moved, he watched her jump when his leg pressed against hers. Max, who’d taken the seat on her left, tried to hide his smirk.
Drinks were brought out and orders were placed before the conversations began. Max started laying on the charm. It didn’t seem to matter that Sid had spent all night with the girl, or that she had a hand on his thigh right now. Max was still flirting. Good thing he liked the guy. His mind wandered some while Max monopolized all the free time she had but her fingers never left his leg. He tensed while he thought about Max more. It wasn’t exactly that he did mind Melany being so friendly, he just wanted to talk to her some more, alone. He was still lost in his own thoughts when he heard her murmur something but didn’t quite catch it, so he looked over at her with a raised eyebrow.
“I said, Erin and I will be right back. If the waitress comes could you get me another water please.”
“Oh… yeah, no problem.” She smiled at him and walked away. He found himself staring at Max. “Look at you being Mr. Friendly.”
“Please… she may be talking to me, but that’s just because you aren’t saying a word. And it’s not my thigh that has her handprint all over it. Maybe you should interrupt me more or something.”
Sid looked down at his glass thoughtfully. The waitress did come by and he remembered to ask for her water to be filled. He felt a hand cross over his shoulders and looked up to see Melany walking around him and sitting back down. She beamed a smile at him when her water showed up and he took over monopolizing her conversation.
The meal came and went, with more talking, and lots of laughter. He noticed that she and Erin seemed to fit in just fine with a group of hockey players, and Sid found that he was actually surprised that he was enjoying himself. It wasn’t that he didn’t have a good time when he was out with the guys, but they’d never done this before. No one took their, what label did he give her, significant other, girlfriend? Whatever it was, none of the guys brought girls out to breakfast with their teammates the morning after they met. But this worked. It was like a big group of friends just spending time together. Like they’d known each other forever.
Oh god, that’s it…. friends. She doesn’t really want to be anything more than friends. Last night must’ve been like a one night stand. That’s why she wouldn’t kiss me this morning. It had nothing to do with the morning breath. It’s an act. I’m an idiot. Here I am, wondering how to ask for her number without sounding like a fool, she’d probably want Max’s number. He’s more into one-night stands. He must’ve made a face because he felt a hand on his chest. Looking down, Sid could see a flash of concern in her eyes as she stared at him.
“Hey, are you alright? Did you get a bad egg or something? You look a little upset.”
“I’m fine.” You just don’t want me as anything more than a friend.
“Yep. Good to go.”
“Ok… uh, well, we should probably get back to the house. You guys must need to go your separate ways and pack and everything. And we,” she glanced at Erin before looking up at him again, “we should get headed home too.”
Sid just stared at her face for a moment. Until the crazy line of thought, he’d been under the impression…ok, he didn’t really know what to define her. But now, well, now it was pretty clear. So, snatching up the bill off the table he stood, waiting impatiently until the rest of the group was up and then headed toward the cashier. He paid and started toward the door when he felt an arm link in his. Turning his head he saw a head full of red. Erin.
“Thanks for breakfast. And I hope you’ve had as much fun as we have.”
“I know that I haven’t had that much fun just watching a game in a long time.”
“Good. Glad we could be of service. We’ll have to do it again sometime.”
“I don’t see that happening.” He saw her eyes widen a fraction.
“I just… maybe if you’re with Geno or something. But I don’t visit him as much as I really should.”
“Well, if Mel was coming up then I’d probably come with her, or vice versa… Hey…wait…What’s with attitude mister? You don’t want to see her again?”
“I think you’ve got it backwards,” Sid replied through clenched teeth.
“What?!” He felt her tug on his arm and the next thing he knew they were outside by the row of rocking chairs. He wondered briefly where the others were but glancing around he didn’t see anyone. He looked at Erin, waiting for her to talk, but she just stared at him.
“That’s what I asked you! Why would you think that she didn’t want to see you again?”
“I was going over some things in my head, and that’s the conclusion I came up with. It makes sense you know.”
“In what twisted world does her making dinner for you, having sex with you, spending the night with you, and then going out to breakfast with you mean she’s not interested??” Well, when put like that, I sound like the idiot. Sid couldn’t decide and figured this woman knew more about Melany than he did. He took a deep breath and sighed.
“She didn’t want to kiss me when we woke up. And when we got here she just kept talking to Max. He’s the biggest manslu--… pla--… he’s easy as fuck! It just made sense. I thought she wanted me, but I guess it was just a onetime thing. Like the game the other night. Nobody beats Brodeur like that. Fluke. Case closed.”
“Do you always have the whole hockey is life metaphor going?”
“I… no. It just makes sense. Like Max goin--”
“If you use one more hockey analogy I swear I’m gonna break your kneecaps. Now, let me tell you something and you better listen, and listen well. I don’t know what your issues are, but if you aren’t interested in her, don’t use some lame as excuses to back out of this. And just for your information, smart ass, while we were in the bathroom she was mulling over how she’s given you her number but that she didn’t get yours, and just what that might mean, so all that…bullshit you were spouting…so uncool. Now I know that she doesn’t get up here as often as she would like to and maybe not as much as might be convenient for you, but she was kinda hoping you wouldn’t hold that against her. And, by the way, I know, for a fact, that she’s kind of crazy about you. Now, I’m going to go join the group of people by your car. I suggest you get your shit together and your head on straight, then you can join us.” With that, she walked away.
He tastes like maple syrup and butter and pancakes in general.
That was the only thought that passed through her mind as she felt his mouth on hers. His tongue ran along her lower lip and she gasped, giving him the chance to plunge inside. One hand came up to twist into her hair, while his other one held tight to her waist. After just a moment he pulled back and released her. Mel knew she looked like a fool, but she couldn’t keep the grin off her face.
“Ok. So Max, as I was saying… Fuck it, I’m not even going to pretend I remember what we were talking about.” She turned her head to apologize but Max was just smiling away and didn’t really seem upset by the interruption, which was good, because she certainly wasn’t. What she was fully aware of was the hand wrapped around her waist and the lips that were oh so close to her ear, blowing warm air against the side of her face. She didn’t want to get in the car… that would mean that she had to leave. But, hopefully, if that kiss meant what she hoped it did, this was only the beginning.
“What?” She looked over at Erin and knew that she’d probably snapped at her friend, but at least Erin didn’t look too put out by it.
“I said we should probably get going.”
“Oh… right.” Ok, so, do I ask him for his number? Is that appropriate after last night?? Should I expect him to give it to me… Ugh, why is this so difficult?
Grumbling to herself she opened the door and hopped in the seat still thinking about how to do this in a suave manner. They started back toward Geno’s and she got the most brilliant idea. She watched as Sid placed his phone in the center console, in one of the cup holders and she snatched it up. This way, she could just dial her number and call her phone, without the privacy thing she’d insisted he use yesterday. I think I have a right to his number now, right? She heard a throat being cleared and looked over at him; he just quirked an eyebrow.
“I… well, I w-was going to call myself.” Now those eyes lit up as he smiled.
“Great. Just don’t use the privacy blocker or you still won’t have my number. Deal?”
“Deal.” That was easy.
The ride back was strangely quiet but Mel just tried to think about when she’d be able to come to Pittsburgh again. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t hear Sid talking to her. She just felt him nudge her arm.
“Do you space out like this a lot?”
“Haha, no. Well, sometimes. Sorry, I was just thinking about stuff.”
“Like when you might be able to come to Pittsburgh again?”
“Well, if we make playoffs, maybe you could come to one of the home games.”
“What do you mean if? You better make them. I refuse to believe that my first season as a fan could be over in like two weeks!”
“Did you cheer for a different team before us?”
“Nope. Erin back there invited me to a game last October. First time I’d ever watched the sport in my life. Fell in love with it, never looked back.” Crap, I hope he doesn’t think I’m just some bandwagon fan…
“What do you like the most?”
“The amount of heart you guys put into every game. Even if you end up losing, it seems like for sixty minutes nothing else on earth matters. That type of dedication… it must put a little bit of strain on other things…” she trailed the rest of that sentence, trying not to bring up something that might be completely pointless to talk about.
“Well, I haven’t screwed any friendships yet… but I’ve never tried anything else. It’s pretty much hockey and that’s that.”
“I admire your focus. I wish I had that. “
“You can’t focus?” He sounded truly perplexed.
“Oh, it’s not that I can’t focus… I just… lose that focus from time to time.” Great, I probably sound like an airhead.
“Does that cause problems at your job?”
“I’m a substitute teacher. And no, it doesn’t. But let’s not give away all my mystery here. You should have to call me to learn more things about me.” He laughed and then turned on the radio. Before long the entire car was singing along to songs and laughing when parts would come up that no one knew. Inevitably, Mel found herself mumbling loudly at those parts. She couldn’t help it. The melody was always easy to get, the lyrics just didn’t always come out right.
All too soon Sid had pulled into Geno’s drive and everyone was walking toward their cars. Max high-fived Mel and Erin, telling them that he hoped to see one or both of them again soon, even if it was just for more great food. And Kris, saying it was a pleasure to meet them, bolted for his car. Mel just figured he was shy. Crazy little Frenchie.
She waved at Geno. He flashed a smile and waved back before pulling Erin over toward her car for what must’ve been a private moment. Turning to Sid, Melany let her shoulder lean against his vehicle. She didn’t know how this was supposed to work. It was going to be awkward. How was she supposed to act? All that she really wanted to do was grab him and kiss him again and again until Erin forced her into the car. Would that work though, or would that just make it harder? Sid didn’t give her the chance to ponder over things any longer. Once again she was flattened against the car as his lips claimed hers. He pulled away moments later.
“You… you have wonderful lips,” she told him. He laughed.
“I think Erin’s ready to go.” She glanced over toward the car and Erin was sitting there, waiting.
I don’t want to go. “Well, I should go then.” Tell me not to leave.
“I’ll call you.”
“I’ll answer.” And I’ll try not to wait by my phone until you do call.
She didn’t give him another chance to kiss her. Twisting out of his arms, Mel practically fled to the car. She hopped in and hit the lock button for the doors before she looked at Erin.
“Please just go now before I open the door back up and jump out.” They both laughed and drove off, not knowing that they were both silently chastising themselves for falling so hard so fast for men that were so wrong for them.