The much anticipated Mexico chapter! Woot!
And thank you guys for your concerns, it meant a lot!
“Okay, tomorrow is going to be our fourth day in Mexico! We cannot, I repeat, C-A-N-N-O-T just sit by the pool all day, go to the bar and have dinner and possibly dance. We need to get out and do something!”
Mel looked at Erin. She knew her friend was right, but the fact of the matter, she was enjoying just lying there and doing nothing. The guys were planning on going golfing tomorrow though, so she knew that they would be able to find something ten times more fun than that to do and by the time they all met up for dinner they could brag about how much more fun the girls had had.
She mentioned her idea and Erin’s eyes lit up, and she smiled. But it was that creepy smile that Geno did in the FSN commercial a couple years ago. She’s obviously been spending way too much time with that guy, she’s emulating his mannerisms!
“That’s gooood,” Erin began, raising her eyebrows, “I think we can do better.”
“What are you thinking?” Mel asked, knowing she probably wasn’t going to like the answer.
“Well, what’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do when you go to the beach?”
“Ooooh! That bungee jumping thing, but you’re in the circular cage!”
“You’re a dork,” Amanda laughed.
“What? Those things look like so much fun!”
“Let’s pretend for a minute that you’re a normal person Mel,” Erin said with one of those looks that said she was so far from the mark it was crazy. “Try again.”
“Fine… parasailing??”Mel asked, thinking that there was no way in hell the rest of the girls would ever agree so it was probably a pretty safe bet.
“We’re going to do what?!” Amanda looked a little concerned. Erin just laughed and pulled a brochure out of her beach bag. Mel looked it over and passed it to Amanda who was now smiling.
“This is going to be awesome! But I bet spots go quickly. We should call right away!”
“Taken care of,” Erin replied nonchalantly, humming as she spread the brochure out across her lap. “I called yesterday and set it up for tomorrow with their top guide. And, for those of you with a fear of heights, we get to go snorkeling too! How awesome will that be?!”
The three were talking animatedly when the guys walked into the restaurant and Mel licked her lips. Sid was wearing a cotton button-up shirt. He’d rolled up the sleeves to show his muscular forearms and had the top button open, mostly because it was damn near impossible to get a shirt that would fit around his thick, tree trunk of a neck, but it also meant that she could see his chest and her mouth watered at the thought of how they’d christened every square foot of their room in the condo the six of them were sharing, along with a couple of other places, Mel thought with a secretive grin.
“Whew… excuse me ladies, but I’m gonna go grab my hub-hunky defenseman!” Mel glanced up at Amanda. She was blushing and not looking at them. What’s her deal?
“You’re leaving us? Why?”
“Are you kidding? The way you were looking at your man…I got the like…contact hornies and I suddenly have the need to get up close and personal with my own hockey player!”
The three laughed and when the guys got to their table Amanda wasted no time in grabbing Brooks’ arm and dragging him away before he could even say hello.
“I guess it’s just the four of us?” Mel nodded at Sid as he sat down beside her, taking the spot that Amanda had just vacated. She grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him close for a kiss. He tasted like fruit, and alcohol and he looked so rested and tanned and… and she wanted to tackle him!
“If you don’t stop playing tonsil hockey it’s going to be just the two of you,” Erin snorted as she sipped her drink. Mel laughed against Sid’s lips and nipped them before dragging herself away.
“Fine. I’ll be good. For now.”
“Damn,” she heard Sid whisper. She laughed again and they ordered dinner while they told the guys what they planned to do the next day. Geno mumbled he’d rather do that but Erin told him it was a girl’s only thing since the boys already had plans to go golfing. He pouted for a moment until Erin shared a bite of her pasta. He seemed just fine after that.
They called it a night early so that everyone had a chance to get some rest before their fun-filled excursions. They yelled through the door that Amanda better be up early enough tomorrow or they’d leave without her.
Brooks opened the door, ran to the kitchen to grab something and as he ran back to their room, he gave a thumbs up before slamming it shut once again. Everyone laughed before retiring to their respective rooms for their ‘rest’.
Morning came too early and Sid blinked repeatedly as the sun came through the open curtain. He was lying on top of Melany, just the loose sheet covering them. He loved that she always untucked the sheet from under the mattress. She was the only other person he knew who did that.
She had apologized the first time they’d spent the night in a hotel, but she couldn’t stand to be cocooned in the blankets. He completely agreed. They had found themselves wrapped up as if in a straightjacket a couple times, but that suited him just fine. Being wrapped up in her was delightful.
Nuzzling her neck, Sid growled her name. He could hear the smile in her voice as she told him good morning. He repeated it back and they both threw on the pjs that were strewn about the room from the night before.
He went out to the front porch and grabbed the basket that arrived each morning with breakfast goodies from the resort while Mel set the table. They had their food delivered. Most of the time they didn’t wake up in time to get breakfast in the main dining room. Not like it mattered. A five here, a twenty there and they could get just about whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it delivered right to the room. It was good to have money sometimes!
Erin had wandered into the kitchen by the time he got back and he smelled the coffee that was currently on drip. Brooks appeared too, a fresh set of ‘love marks’ crisscrossing his back. Sid raised an eyebrow but said nothing. Hello pot? This is the kettle, he thought to himself as he arched his back just to feel the fresh welts in his own skin.
“I swear,” Brooks started when he sat down. “It’s just like rooming with Geno again. Damn woman sleeps like the dead, hates to get up in the mornings.”
“We know,” the two girls laughed. Mel took a sip of orange juice before looking at Brooks. She was eyeing him curiously which made Sid offer a penny for what she was thinking.
“Amanda was talking last night and just from the way she spoke… it was kind of weird.” She returned to staring at Brooks. He was staring back. “Did something happen in Vegas?”
“No, not that I know of,” his friend replied. Sid wondered what she was getting at. Brooks hadn’t said anything since they’d arrived at the resort. And he didn’t seem different.
“What do you mean babe?”
“Nothing. I must’ve been confused. She just started to say a word but then corrected herself. You aren’t hiding anything from us, right?” Sid looked at Brooks. The man was boring holes into his plate. He had that wild look right now, the one usually reserved for those poor souls that he met on the ice. Like someone was gonna pay.
“What would I have to hide?”
“Well, she said ‘hunky’ but that was after she’d started to say another word.” Mel replied suggestively, arching her brows as she waited for an answer.
“What could she possibly have started to say that sounds like hunky?” Sid asked, looking from his girlfriend to his friend, and Mel looked away.
“Oh, I don’t know,” she replied as she looked out the window at the beach, the waves that were crashing. “Maybe something like…hubby?” Sid noticed Brooks’ hand tightening on his fork and the only thing he could think was, no way, no fucking way. Mel had turned back toward his silent friend. “You and Amanda got married in Vegas.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement and one Brooks didn’t have time to refute as Amanda showed up right at that moment.
“You told them?! I told you that I wanted to tell them today, while we were out there together. You’re a punk!”Sid almost laughed. He’d seen Brooks take on bigger, meaner opponents than Amanda and come out better than he was doing now.
“I didn’t tell them anything babe! You’re the one who almost let the word hubby slip last night, Mel called me on it. But I hadn’t said yes or no. You’re the one giving it away! You practically just told them by yelling at me.” Amanda stared down at her prey as if she was trying to decide if she was going to dole out further punishment. Luckily for Brooks, all it took was a smile as he patted his lap. Amanda sunk down on his legs, her arm going around his shoulders to keep herself upright.
Sid couldn’t believe what he was hearing right now. Brooks was married. To Amanda. A woman he’d known for like two months! Yeah, again with the pot, like you haven’t thought of asking Mel to marry you! He corrected himself as he shook his head slowly.
He schooled his features, portraying a calm face even though he was going crazy in his own mind. Did Mel expect a ring now? She hadn’t hinted at things. They both knew that this was something big, but that big? Was she thinking like that? What about Erin? Geno didn’t seem to be in a hurry.
“I want to hear all about it,” Sid heard Erin say as the three girls got up and practically ran to the living room.
“What made you do it?” Sid hissed at his friend and teammate, who, for his part, merely smiled and shrugged.
“What? Marry her? I asked, she said yes, there was a chapel. End of story. I know it’s crazy. But I also know it was the right thing to do.”
“How? I’m not judging man, I just… how did you know it was the right time?”
“I just did. I don’t exactly know how to explain it but…the minute it came into my head I was like…sure, let’s do this,” Brooks answered slowly with the sort of smile on his face that said he was actually enjoying being married. “Haven’t you ever done something on the spur of the moment?” his friend asked, turning the tables on him.
Sid thought back through his life. Everything had always been planned, mapped out and set in stone for the most part, until Mel came along and threw him for a fuckin’ loop. She was definitely not planned. He smiled as he thought about how he had blurted out that that he loved her.
“Yeah, I have.”
“And it worked out.”
“Then go with it. Just let it happen as it will. Now, let’s go rouse Geno or we’ll never make tee time!” They were both laughing as they popped into Geno’s room and literally dumped him onto the floor. They were still laughing twenty minutes later as they stepped out of the condo and headed off toward the resort’s golf course.
“Now, you just hold on tight and enjoy the ride senorita!”
Mel looked over at her friends knowing that her eyes were probably as big as saucers. They’d been about to do rock, paper, scissors for who would go first when suddenly Amanda had yelled ‘NOT IT,’ and Erin had quickly followed with her own denial, so here she was, strapped in an uncomfortable harness, waiting to be tugged up into the air by a balloon/parachute thingy.
Erin was counting out the money they’d agreed to give their sexy guide to keep him all to themselves for the entire day. It was well worth it already. Instead of the normal spot, Alejandro had taken them to a more secluded spot for parasailing, and he’d had champagne and fruit delivered to the boat.
Not that it had been all that difficult to convince him to ditch the other appointments he had for the day. They had already paid him far more than if he’d taken the other people, and besides, he’d openly admitted that he found the three of them utterly charming, which, Mel hoped, meant that at least they’d all have smooth rides. She also knew why her friends had made sure she was the first up, they were all having way too much fun flirting with the Latin Romeo, Erin especially.
“So… Al, can I call you Al?”
“You can call me anything you want, señorita” he said with a wink.
“Wonderful. Well Al, I’m just curious. How many other groups of people do you have lined up today, after us?”
“Just two. Kind of a slow day I suppose.”
“Well, what if we wanted you all day? Could you reschedule? Or pass them along to someone else?”
“I could, but I think my boss would want some…extra compensation.”
“Of course, we understand, because you’d be losing out two commissions like ours, right?”
“Si. And then of course we’d need some…refreshments and the extra gas…are you sure I’m worth it?”
“You give me a price, and we’ll decide that.”
“Okay. Two other groups and giving you ladies the grand tour until you meet up with whoever it is you’re with… let’s ballpark it at $1500.” Then he smirked, like he’d given them a huge amount. It was the one time Mel had laughed to herself about the money Sid made.
“I’ll make you a deal,” Erin told him. “Throw in a place for lunch that doesn’t just have seafood and we’ll make it an even two grand.”
Al had almost choked on his bottled water. Amanda slapped his back gently.
“We’ll take that as a yes. Now, you call your supervisors, we’ll decide who’s going first, and then you suit up the ‘winner’.” He’s just nodded and made the call.
The sudden jerk of the chute caused Mel to let out a squeak and then she was being pulled into the air. One of her friends was yelling for her to smile to the camera and as she ascended she let out a scream of excitement.
The view that she got as she reached the peak height of her journey gave her a panorama of the beach near the resort, the resort itself, and the clear, turquoise water surrounding them. Breathtaking was the word that came to mind. Mel stayed there for a while, feeling the sun caress her skin as the breeze ran through her hair but all too soon Erin was screaming for her turn. So, reluctantly, Mel allowed herself to be dragged down and after returning back to the boat, she grabbed her cell to see if Sid had sent her any texts. She snapped a picture of Erin getting strapped in and sent it quickly to Geno as Erin tried to stop her. The reply however was not from the Russian.
Why is no one here to greet me? I’m hurt chère!
“Max is here?! Did either of you know he was coming down?” Amanda failed to keep the smile off her face. “Amanda??”
“He’s going stir crazy already! It’s not like we don’t have room, and I think he’s lonely. He can’t really do a lot. And he promised the doctors that he would only stay for a couple days.” Mel smiled because, of all Sid’s teammates, she loved Max the most. “And… he knew about the wedding and I had to offer him something to keep his mouth shut!”
“Okay Erin, ready?”
“Then you better hold on,” Al yelled as he started up and Erin slowly began her climb. Mel gave Amanda a thumbs-up as she started videotaping again and then she sent a quick text back to Max.
We’re having a gender day. The girls and I are parasailing and sightseeing with Alejandro while your lame ass teammates are golfing! They aren’t far away!
I shall text that runaway man of yours then. Merci!
Mel sat back and baked in the sun while Erin and then Amanda took their turns up in the air. Then, after a delicious lunch at the beach side taco stand, Al led them around, showing off those wonderful little sights that the big tours never want to show you.
By the time the sun started to set, Al had figured out who they were here with. The reason he guessed was a complete surprise though.
“You are with those Penguin men I heard about, aren’t you?”
“We are. How do you know about them?” Mel asked as she stepped off the boat and onto the dock, her sea legs a bit wobbly for the first few seconds.
“Mi… Mike mentioned that some famous hockey players were staying.”
“Who’s Mike? Another guide?”
“No… he’s… he is my boyfriend. He came down a while back for a much needed vacation and has been here ever since.”
Whether he was expecting disdain or anger, Mel knew that they shocked him when instead of letting the topic drop the three of them instantly invited the two of them to dinner.
“You, you want us to come sit and eat with you all tonight?”
“Unless you’ve got other plans. We wanna hear about this romance of yours! For being the best tour guide ever the lease we can do is buy you dinner, and of course you have to bring a date, I mean, you’ve been so great today and we’ve all had so much fun, it’s the least we can do.”
“Well, I will give him a call and have him meet us in the lobby then? Or just at the restaurant?” Mel glanced at her cell. They had thirty minutes until they were supposed to meet the guys.
“Tell him to meet us in the bar in about a half an hour, okay?”
Al nodded and excused himself to make that call. Mel sent Sid a text, telling him to meet them in 30 minutes as well. After a quick stop to freshen up at the condo, the three were enjoying a pre-dinner drink when Al got this big smile on his face.
An equally tan and sexy man came to a stop beside their high table. His hair was a little lighter than Al’s, his features less rugged, but they were positively adorable together. After the introductions were made, Mike disappeared toward the bar for a second round of beverages.
They were almost through those when some live music started player. Mike dragged Erin away and Al pulled Mel onto the dance floor after Amanda promised to watch their clutches. She mentioned something about not having fun now that she was an old married lady as she shooed them away.
The beat was electric. Al was spinning her around with the music and Mel found herself smiling as the alcohol mixed with her fabulous day tossed her inhibitions out the window. She twisted to the beat and as she was spun once again she stayed facing away from her partner.
The music slowed slightly and she rocked her body along with it, one arm up around Al’s neck. They were laughing about something when she opened her eyes and noticed a very angry pair of hazel eyes staring at her from the edge of the dance floor.
Sid stared as his girlfriend held tightly to her little boy toy in the middle of the floor. His gaze took in Erin behind her, wrapped in the arms of some other tan ‘hunk’ and knew that he wasn’t the only who had noticed. He heard a string of muttered Russian curse words and turned to look at his friend.
“What she doing?” Geno asked angrily. Sid wished he had an answer, but he was wondering the same thing and wasn’t feeling much like hiding his feelings as he turned back to glare at his girlfriend, who stopped moving when she finally noticed him but her satisfied smile remained. As he watched, she tapped Erin’s shoulder and then pointed at them, waving.
As they came over, he noticed they were still holding onto the hands of their dance partners and Sid started seeing red. He’d spent all day fending off advances from one woman after another, had looked forward to having a little alone time with his girlfriend only to find her in the arms of some tanned, smooth faced cabana boy who looked like he’d walked off some run way in Milan in his barely creased expensive looking linen suit.
“What the hell Erin?! Who this??” Geno had beaten him to the punch and the big Russian was looking like he was ready to put a beating on someone, but both he and Sid waited as the girls exchanged an amused look. Erin placed a hand on Geno’s arm as she started to explain and Mel attempted the same thing but Sid backed up slightly, staying just out of her reach.
“Who the fuck is that?” he snarled, glancing down at their entwined hands and then up at her relaxed, happy smile.
“What? This is Alejandro. He was our guide today… didn’t Max tell you?” Mel looked at him as if he was the one causing a scene and he was left to stand there, getting more irritated by the moment as she leaned into the neck of the young man, whispering something in his ear before letting his hand go and watching him walk away with an indulgent grin.
Max had told him about their parasailing and he didn’t mind if their guide had brought them back to the hotel, but that didn’t explain why she was all wound around him out on the dance floor, looking just a little too damn intimate and cozy for his liking. Sid took Mel’s arm in his hand and steered her away from the group where Geno and Erin seemed to be hashing things out somewhat, with the help of Max and Brooks while Amanda was talking with the two young men with an animated smile on her face.
“He said you were parasailing and sightseeing. I’m pretty sure that didn’t include a private tour of the place and a little bump and grind afterwards,” Sid hissed, pulling Mel close.
“Okay, first,” Mel peeled his fingers away from her arm and looked up at him, tilting her head to one side and looking at him like she didn’t recognize him, “why are you so pissed right now?”
“I have had a stressful day, and I’ve been looking forward to having some time with you and then we get here and I find my girlfriend grinding against some stranger! Wouldn’t you be pissed?”
“Well, yes of course… but if you’d just… can we at least go somewhere a little less obvious to have this conversation?”
“Fine.” Sid was fuming. His anger almost at the boiling point. He took her hand and led her over to a more secluded area. “Now, it’s quieter here. So, what’s your explanation, if you even have one?”
“Seriously Sid, what the hell is your problem?! I mean, he’s ga--”
“My problem is that I’ve spent all day fending off the advances of cougars and their daughters and then I come here and find the one woman I thought that I’d never turn away… practically wrapped around some guy while her gold-digging friend is beside her som--”
“What the fuck did you just say?? If you would shut up for a minute I could tell you that him being that close to me doesn’t mean anything because he’s got a b--”
“Hey, I’ve seen you move like that before, but I thought that was something that you only did in my bed, on your back! So you tel--” Mel cut him off again, but this time it was with a slap across his face. He stared down as a shocked look crossed her face before her eyes, normally bright with laughter, filled with tears. She let out a sob and then turned and took off.
“Mon ami?” Sid turned and found Max staring at him expectantly. “C’mon, you need to meet Al and Mike! They’re hilarious! Where did Mel run off to in such a hurry and why is… Fuck,” Max’s usual shit eating grin disappeared as his gaze searched Sid’s face. “Mon Dieu, what happened?”Sid just sort of stared at him, not quite sure how to answer that question. “Sid? Sidney! Focus mon copain. Why is there a palm print on your face??”
“I… I said something… I can’t believe what I just said…. Wait, who the fuck are Al and Mike?!”
“The guys Erin and Mel were dancing with. You and Mel left to have a little private moment when Erin introduced us to them by way of explaining to Geno what was going on.”
“And what exactly is going on?” Sid asked, starting to feel like he may have just made a huge mistake.
“They’re a freakin’ couple dude! And they’re a riot! Mike’s a huge Pens fan! So now, I’ll ask again… what happened?”
Sid took in what Max had just said as he realized what a fucking prick he’d just been. Then he turned and ran out the way Mel had just gone. He needed to apologize and quick. He had to make this right, and fast! He couldn’t believe how quickly the green eyed monster had taken over. He’d never wigged out like that before but then he couldn’t remember ever being that jealous, ever.
Halfway to the condo he paused to take a few breaths and to figure out what he was going to say. How do you apologize for practically accusing the woman you love of cheating, not to mention accusing her friend of being a gold-digger. Fuck, he thought, he’d really dug himself a hole.
Starting back up he made it to the door and opened it. He called out as he took the stairs to the bedrooms. Their door was shut and he twisted the knob but it wouldn’t budge.
“Mel? Open the door… please!”he called out, realizing this was going to be even harder than he’d anticipated.
“Fuck you!” The muffled reply was all he heard. She didn’t say anything else. She didn’t call him names or go on a tirade about his being a tool, or an asshole, or worse. All that followed was silence, he couldn’t hear a sound but her shuffling around the room though when he pressed his ear to the wood.
“Please open up! I… I need to apologize… Mel?”
“Go the fuck away Crosby! I’m pretty sure I hate you right now and I’ve never truly hated anything or anyone in my life!”
“Listen, babe, I lost it for a second. I love you and…,“ The door flew open and he jumped back when he saw the anger in her gaze as the tears rolled down her face.
“Don’t. You. Dare. Don’t think that you can just come up here, say ‘I love you’ and expect me to forgive you like that! It doesn’t work that way!” Sid heard the door open downstairs and then the sound of tentative voices drifted up the stairs. He figured everyone was waiting to see if things were alright.
“C’mon, let me explain.”
“Stuff it! You could jump off a bridge right now for all I care! You just don’t want anyone to hear us fighting. Perfect ‘Sid the Kid’ could never be involved in an actual disagreement with someone. Heaven forbid that happen. Well let me tell you buster, the world doesn’t fucking revolve around you! Now, I told you once and I’ll tell you again… FUCK YOU!” And with that, Mel slammed the door in his face.
Sid heard the click of the lock and leaned back against the hallway wall before he sunk down to the floor. He’d been sitting there a few moments when he heard Erin yell from the floor below.
“He called me a what?!” Fuck, he thought as he dropped his head into his hands. Just when I thought it couldn’t, shit just got worse.
There were a few choice words said about him and then he heard someone stomping up the stairs. He glanced up and saw Erin staring daggers at him. He could tell that he was about to get reamed out big time, and he held his hands up in a symbol of defeat.
“I didn’t mean it. I was pissed and jealous and let it get out of control. I’m sorry.”
“But you still said it, so there has to be a reason behind it. Somewhere, deep down, you must really believe that, or you never would’ve said it.”
“Ugh… no, I mean…” he got up and pounded on the door for a second. “Please Mel, you can’t think that… I just meant that… It’s just that everything’s been so sudden. You only see love like that in the movies an--” The door opened again.
“Leave. Me. Alone. I don’t know how I could spend all this time loving someone who just thinks I’m after his money. You know what? I wish Franzen would’ve taken out your knee you bastard!”
SLAM! The door shut in his face for the second time and Sid reeled back as if she’d slapped him again. Even Erin looked shocked.
“Come downstairs Sid. You won’t get in that room tonight.” He turned at the sound of Max’s voice. He was right, but it didn’t make it any easier to swallow. They’d had a fight before, but this was more than that.
“Will you, will you see if she’ll talk to you Max?”
“Oui, but don’t expect me to try and pump you up in her eyes, I won’t do that.”
“No, just… she needs someone right now and if it can’t be me…,” his voice fell away as he looked hopefully toward his friend.
That said, he hung his head and shuffled down the stairs after Erin. Brooks and Amanda were sitting at the table and Amanda was glaring daggers at him. Geno came in from the kitchen and put a hand on his shoulder before rattling off something in Russian.
“Fuck Geno, I know I messed up.”
“You understand what he said,” Erin asked.
“No, I can see the pity in his eyes and the tone he used… I’m not a complete idiot.” Amanda snorted. “Okay, yeah, and I’m a fucking idiot.”
Mel listened to the exchange outside the bedroom door. She couldn’t believe what she’d just said. She didn’t mean it. But neither would she apologize. Not after what he’d said.
“Mon chère, will you please let me in? He is gone. I know you’re right there against the door.”
She unlocked the door and opened it slowly. Max stood there, a plate with some food in his hands. He held it out to her in a peace offer of and she opened the door wider so that he could come in. He didn’t say anything, just set it on the dresser and turned toward her.
Mel took one look at the sadness on his face and burst into tears. She was just about ready to collapse when she felt his arms tuck her into his chest. They both slid down to the floor as her crying turned into gut-wrenching sobs. She clung to the collar of his shirt, her face soaking the material as she tried to cry out all the anger.
“Ahhh, Melany… do not cry. I have two weakness, beautiful women and crying women. And right now both of them have combined and are in my arms. This is a dangerous situation.” She hiccupped as the sobs started to dissipate. It was hard to be serious around him.
Max was rocking her gently as he whispered calmly against the top of her head. She couldn’t understand him, but it was soothing none-the-less.
“You *hiccup* you wouldn’t try anything Max, and we both know it.”
“Shhhh, no one can ever know that! You will ruin my reputation!” His dramatic whisper made her smile. “Now, let us get a little more comfortable, and then you will tell me what happened.” He was so comfortable, Mel didn’t want to leave the safeness of his arms.
Max reached over and pulled at the comforter of the bed. Dragging it off and bunching it up to place between him and the dresser, he sat back against it and pulled her against him. It wasn’t the same as when Sid did it, but then again, it wouldn’t feel that way since she wasn’t in love with Max.
“No, Santa Claus… yes, Sid,” she grumbled.
“D’accord, but why are we damning him?”
“I was just thinking that this isn’t the same as when he holds me in a similar way. And it’s because--”
“Because you are in love with him. You and I would not last. It would be explosive and fantastic, but short-lived. You and him… that’s more of a long-term thing.”
“But he said--”
“And you said something back that was equally as harsh. I heard the Franzen bit. Whatever he said must’ve been bad for you to use that comeback.”
“He called me… he called me a whore and a gold-digger Max.”
“I think the gold digger part was more aimed at Erin, but explain the other.”
“Did you see Al and I dancing?” Max shook his head no so she explained the dance. He let out a low whistle. “And then Sid said ‘I’ve seen you move like that before, but it was in my bed, on your back!’ and that’s when I slapped him and ran.”
“I will say one thing in Sid’s defense, and one thing only. If I saw the woman I loved dancing like that, I would be jealous as well.”
“But he never let me explain Max. He just got all ‘caveman’ on me, kept interrupting me and then insulted me.”
“I know that. But you love him, non?”
“I do, but I also want to hit him and yell at him right now, but, yeah, damn it, I do love him.”
“And I know that he loves you and I know that he is downstairs right now, kicking himself for the things he said.”
“Good, he should be!” Mel sniffed, rubbing at her eyes.
“You said a couple things too though, things that weren’t so nice.”
“Well… yes, but… fuck… I thought you were on my side Max!”
“There are not sides Mel-uh-nee. Call me Switzerland if you want, but I couldn’t choose between you two. He is wrong, oui, but I think, perhaps you are a little wrong too, non?”
Mel sighed and settled back against him. She felt Max shift and he started to rock gently, as if she was a giant child that he could rock to sleep. He rubbed in between her shoulder blades as they swayed and she could feel herself slowly giving way to exhaustion.
“Thank you for being here Max.”
“I could do nothing else. Now, were I completely healthy I would carry you over to that bed. But if I even attempted that…”
“Maxime Talbot, are you calling me fat?” she asked with a smile.
“Of course,” he laughed back. “Now, get that huge ass off of me and into bed!”
“Yes dad…” She heard Max chuckle as she walked over and fell onto the mattress, crawling up until she was curled on her side of the bed. It was lonely without Sid there though. “Max… could you just lie with me, until I fall asleep?”
She signed as he stretched out beside her and fluffed the pillow beneath his head. He took her hand and brought it up to his lips, pressing a quick kiss against her knuckles.
“Good night Maximus.”
“Sleep tight mon petit ami.”
“Alright… how do I apologize? Can I apologize? I haven’t lost her right? She still loves me… right?”
Sid knew he was pressing Max for information, but he was beyond caring. He’s been sitting and talking with Erin and Amanda for the past forty minutes and he knew now what was going on. No, he didn’t think any of them were gold diggers.
It was just that they were all so passionate about their men, and it happened so fast, that in the back of his mind he was worried that Mel didn’t care as much as she made him think she did. It just seemed like she was too good to be true.
And what was the kicker was that this was something that he knew she was dealing with. And he’d gone and pretty much thrown it in her face, made it seem like she wasn’t good enough for him.
“Max, c’mon man… tell me something. Anything!”
“Whatever you end up doing, you better not spend a big amount of money on her. While it would show her that you don’t mind throwing down cash for her, it wouldn’t make her feel loved.”
“Okay, but how do I get her back if I can’t use money?!”
“You are no fool mon capitaine. You have a wonderful woman up there who would love nothing more than to be in your arms right now. Trust me, I know this. And you want nothing more than to be up there with her, non? But you embarrassed her I think and I think, perhaps she is not feeling so different. Perhaps you should lean towards that.”
“Showing a little humility would not go amiss, mon ami.”
“Okay… but… like what?” He had no idea what he could do. It wasn’t in his nature to set out to embarrass himself. Hell, Pat or his dad would’ve had his head on a fucking silver platter the minute he did anything out of line. Anything.
He wished he could just tell the world that he loved her and be done with it. She was always on his mind, he was constantly watching her. When they were in a room together, even when they weren’t beside one another, he couldn’t look at anyone else.
Sid laughed to himself, remembering their little movie night before they left for Mexico. They each picked a flick and when she popped her choice in he’d groaned. 10 Things I Hate About You was not on his top favorites. But she’d crawled on his lap and hummed along with Heath Ledger as he sang Can’t keep My Eyes Off of You and he found a brand new appreciation for the song.
“Holy fuck! I’ve got it!”
Max jumped at his exclamation. Sid told him the idea he had and watched as Max’s eyes lit up as well.
“Are you sure you can go through with it mon ami?”
“For her, I’d do anything as long as she understands that I love her.”
“Alright, then I’ll go talk to everyone and get everything ready.”
“You have an hour Max, I won’t wait any longer to show her that I’m sorry.”
“One hour. It will be ready.”
“Mel? Melany?? MELANY!!!”
Mel shot up in bed, the sheets wrapped around her body. She swore she heard Sid yelling, but to her recollection he’d stopped banging on the door and everything a couple hours ago. She’d crashed like the moment Max hopped on the bed. He’d sat against the headboard and she’d fallen asleep almost instantly.
“MELANY! I know you’re awake and can hear me. I love you, and I don’t ever want you to doubt that! I’m sorry that I was such an idiot. I let things get out of hand so quick… I’m sorry. I’m beyond sorry! I don’t even know what that means, but I am.”
She listened as Sid continued to talk. He professed his love and apologized repeatedly and…and she wanted to forgive him. This was so out of character for him. He had to be serious about her in order to talk through a microphone and… wait, microphone?!
Jumping out of bed and running to the balcony she looked down and saw Sid in the lawn beneath her. He was surrounded by a couple giant speakers, tiki torches and a friggin’ mariachi band!
“What the hell are you doing Sid?!”
“I need to apologize, because I’ve been an ass. I want you to know that I’m all in Melany. I can’t… I can’t promise you anything like some of our friends have,” he nodded slightly to the left and Mel turned, noting Amanda and Brooks on their balcony. Amanda stuck her tongue out at Sid and Brooks had his video camera in his hand. Oh lord, this doesn’t look good.
“I don’t expect anything like that you fool! I just… I just don’t want you to think that I’m with you because of your money.”
“And I don’t think that!”
“But you said--”
“I was jealous woman!! You were wrapped around some tall, tanned, good looking guy. And you looked pretty pleased with yourself, you tell me how you’d feel.”
“And had you just let me explain you would’ve heard that he’s --”
“I know now, okay? Just…hey, I’m trying to prove that I love you right now and you’re kind of ruining it. So, shut up and let me tell you how much I love you before I lose my nerve or my dad’s embarrassment sensors go off and he shows up with duct tape!” Mel put her hand to her mouth to keep from laughing.
“You don’t have to do this. I forgive you, you idiot!”
“No, I made a big mistake. And I couldn’t just buy you something to say I’m sorry. That would’ve just made you think that I thought that my money could fix things.”
“Sid, you’re drawing a crowd. Please, come upstairs!”
“No, I told you, I don’t care who sees or hears me! Melany, I’m completely head over heels for you. And I know we’re young. I know that no one knows how this is going to turn out. I know that some people will always have their opinions about us, but… I just want you to know…”
She watched him lower the mic and heard him whispering harshly to someone beneath her. He was muttering that he couldn’t do this and she heard Max telling him to do it anyway. When that didn’t work she heard Erin’s voice say to ‘pull up his big boy pants’ and once again had to keep from laughing when Sid’s face got that intense look, like the one he gets just before a faceoff. He cleared his throat and looked up at her.
“I-I need you to know that,” the one guitar player plucked a string for what must’ve been his note. Sid took a deep breath and tilted his head up to her, a smile playing over his face.
“You’re just too good to me true,
Can't take my eyes off you.
You'd be like Heaven to touch.
I wanna hold you so much.”
He continued singing acapela and Mel bit her lip. He really shouldn’t try to sing. But it was by far the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for her. She turned real quick to see Amanda and Brooks smiling at her, and one the other side Erin had come up to their balcony and Geno was smiling that goofy smile and booing him as he kept on singing.
Then the band came in and her attention was focused on Sid again. He wouldn’t really… oh god, he’d going to!
Okay Sid, here comes the big part. You can do this, you can do this.
He heard Geno booing him again and glanced up long enough to flip him off before listening for his entrance. He took a deep breath and pointed his free hand up at Melany. She was standing on the balcony with wide eyes and shaking her head. If I’m going to embarrass myself, I’m goin’ all out! Fuck my life, just hit the right note!
“I love you, baby,
And if it's quite alright,
I need you, baby,
To warm a lonely night.
I love you, baby.
Trust in me wh – Dammit Geno stop throwing shit at me!! – pretty baby,
Don't bring me down, I pray.
Oh, pretty baby, now that I found you, stay
And let me love you, baby.
Let me love you.”
The band continued to play but he was done. He clicked the mic off and set it on the ground. Then he grabbed one of the rolled up towels that Geno had thrown at him and threw it back, nailing the big lug in the forehead as he stood there laughing at the spectacle Sid had just made.
There was a decent-sized crowd all around, people were clapping and Sid knew it was time for the piece-de-resistance. Mel was yelling at him to come upstairs and he jogged over to the area beneath the balcony.
“Please, come up and we’ll talk!”
“I’ll be right up babe!”
Then he grabbed a ladder that he’d laid down earlier and propped it up against the building. It was tall enough that he’d be able to get all the way up and over the balcony with it.
“Sidney, what the hell are you doing?!”
“I’m doing this the right way Melany, or I’m not doing it at all!”
“You’re going to kill yourself and then your dad is going to kill me slowly and painfully!”
“Shhhh, I’m trying to be romantic,” he yelled as he started climbing the rungs of the ladder. He looked up at her as he made step by step. She was grinning like a fool and he knew his expression had to be similar. He stopped when he got to the ledge of the balcony.
“You’re insane Sidney Crosby!”
“I love you, and I don’t ever want you to doubt that, understood?”
Mel nodded her head as tears filled her eyes. He climbed the final few rungs and pulled himself over so that he was standing in front of her.
“I love you, you crazy ass hockey player! And promise me one thing…”
“Don’t ever sing in public again,” she laughed.
“Deal, now come here and give me a kiss,” he laughed as he pulled her against him and lowered his mouth to hers. He knew the crowd cheering, their friends were clapping and hollering, and the band had started to play a slower love song. But all he could hear was Melany telling him that she loved him. That was all that mattered.
“We should take this inside, don’t you agree,” Mel asked as she rubbed against him. He liked the way she thought and as they ran inside their room and shut the double doors he was already whipping his shirt over his head. He’d tell her about the plans for the rest of the trip later.