What?! Two chapters in like a week?! I'm on fire!! Enjoy!
“Oh my god… I’m going to go C-R-A-Z-Y searching for a house!!”
Mel dropped the different brochures onto Sid’s bed and flopped down beside them. Sid made some muffled comment from the bathroom and she rolled her eyes even though he couldn’t see her. Why he had to talk from within there, when she obviously couldn’t understand him, was beyond her comprehension.
“I said,” Sid started as he opened the door, “that you could still just move in here. With me.”
“You’re stubborn. You know that right?”
“Hello kettle, hello pot. Wow, you’re black,” she quipped with a smirk. He chuckled because she’d used her hands like they were the two pieces of cookware talking to one another. Mel shrieked as his shirtless and slightly sweaty body fell on top of her, his lips finding her neck as he growled.
“You’re an animal! Get off me you goober!” But she laughed and held onto him, silently communicating that she didn’t mind that he was still gross from his workout. A few of the boys had come over to go on a run with him, then to work out some in the basement.
It was great that the season would be starting up soon. They were all getting antsy, and she missed her girls. Vero had sent her a few pictures of the honeymoon she and Marc had taken to Mexico. They’d stayed at the same resort she and Sid and the others had gone to at the beginning of summer. And Kelsey was huge and planning a baby shower as she and TK hurriedly got everything together for the nursery.
Amanda had taken her out to lunch earlier, and promised to help her with the chore of house-hunting the next day. The only person she hadn’t seen yet was Erin. She and Geno were due to fly in at the end of the week.
“Earth to Melany…”
“I asked you if Tanger had talked to you yet. He said he wanted to discuss something with you while we were all running.”
“Oh, no he didn’t say anything when I came in. But he was on the phone so that’s probably why. I’ll go see if he’s still downstairs,” Mel said as she tried to slide out from underneath Sid’s muscles.
“No leaving until I get a proper ‘hello’ kiss,” he said as he grabbed a hold of her body and twisted on the mattress, pulling her on top of him and holding her tightly in his arms.
“You’re such a goofball! But you’re my goofball… so I guess I can give in this one time.” He smiled and Mel leaned down, rubbing her nose against his in an ‘Eskimo kiss’ before gently pressing her lips to his. “Hi there,” she murmured as she pulled her mouth away.
“Hi back,” he said as he released her. She dropped one more quick kiss on his lips and then pushed off, sliding down his chest, a trail of kisses following her path. She nipped at the taut skin below his belly button, right above the button of his jeans and heard him suck in a breath.
“Be back in a jiffy,” she said as she quickly lifted her body from the mattress and ran to the door. Hearing him groan and call her a tease, Mel blew him a kiss, which he promptly caught in the air and shoved down his pants. “Horndog.”
“Awe, love you too babe,” she called as she shut the door on his resounding laughter. Jogging down the stairs she found Max and Kris in the kitchen, their heads bent together as they plotted something.
“Gentlemen? Can I interrupt your little plotting time? Sid said you wanted to talk to me Kris.”
“Oui. Have you found a house yet? Are you going to need roommates?”
“Well, Amanda and I are going to look at more places tomorrow. And a couple of them are very nice, and I would have to consider at least one roommate, if not two. Why, do you guys wanna live with me? I’ll cook you dinner,” she said with a smile and a wiggle of her eyebrows.
“Actually, my… my girlfriend is going to be coming to Pittsburgh to stay. But she doesn’t want to stay with me. I mean, she wants to stay… but it’s wrong. I’m not making sense,” Tanger said as he ran a hand through his hair. Inwardly, Mel itched to run her fingers through that hair too. It was sex hair, plain and simple, and she would have to be dead not to want to touch it.
“Ummm, when did you get a girlfriend Tanger?”
“I’ve known her forever. We tried to date once before, but thought maybe we were better off friends. Well, she thought that. I wanted her still.” He took a deep breath. “She is Luc’s sister.” Mel nodded, remembering the night Tanger had opened up about Luc to her. It was the first time they’d really talked outside of the lounge or a party one of the guys had thrown.
“So you rekindled the romance this summer?”
“Yes. And I want her to come here. She wants to come too. But she thinks it would be wrong for us to live together unless we were married. And I respect that, but I don’t want her all the way in Montreal. I want her close. So…”
“So you were thinking that if we got along, she might want to live with me?”
“Oui. What do you think?”
“Would I get along with her Kris? I mean, I haven’t had any issues yet with a WAG, but this girl won’t know any of us. And you’d be bringing her into a new city, where she knows you and… who?”
“She knows me,” Max chimed in.
“Would I get along with her Max?”
“Yes. She’s quiet like Tanger here, but she’s fun. And she’s nice. And don’t let this whole living in sin thing bother you. It’s just how she was raised. Sex before marriage went out the window, but living with the guy… it’s just ingrained in her mind to be a bad thing.”
“Is there a way I could talk to her? Could you call her for me Kris?”
Kris nodded and whipped his cell phone out of his pocket. Dialing a number very quickly, he held the phone to his ear and waited for the person on the other end to pick up. After a sweet ‘hello/hello’ he explained that there was a possible roommate situation, but that the other person wanted to talk to her. He smiled and handed Mel the phone.
“Hi. Melany, non?”
“Yes, and you are?”
“Seriously? He did not tell you my name even?? That man, he and I are going to have words once you and I are done. He’s such a pain sometimes! Oh goodness, this is not how I wanted to start this conversation! I’m so sorry!” Mel just laughed and wandered away from the guys so she could have a little more privacy.
“No worries. Kris was a little nervous I think. So, I hear you wanna move here and be with him.”
“I do! And I know it’s stupid… the whole no living together thing. But I didn’t want to jump into a marriage. I want to make sure I can hack it as a partner of a hockey player. After my brother… Well, you must know all the facts, being so close to them. After Luc died, I didn’t want to deal with hockey players ever again. But there’s something about Kris that makes me want to throw every caution to the wind. Does that make any sense?”
“I know exactly how you feel! Now, tell me… would you be okay with living with someone that you don’t know anything about?”
“Oh, I know plenty about you Melany. Oh god, that sounded so creepy, didn’t it?!”
“Just a little,” Mel said with a laugh. Two minutes on the phone and I already have the perfect nickname for her! “I should’ve figured that Kris would tell you about me since he knew that I was searching for a place. Do you have any specific questions for me?”
“Do you smoke?”
“Have any pets?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Would you mind having a roommate?”
“Goodness no! I was actually thinking that it would be helpful if I had another person living in a house. Or two! We can split the cost of the bills, the cost of food… which will probably be small since the guys are always buying food for me to cook!”
“I have heard that you are a good cook! Maybe you can teach me some things, for when Kris and I have our own place.”
“That would be fun! Can I ask a personal question?”
“But of course.”
“Okay… please don’t be offended… how would you be paying for things?”
“Kris won’t let me pay for anything. He goes all caveman and just grunts that I’m his and he will take care of me. It’s annoying and so helpful at the same time!”
“Well, I’m going to look at more places tomorrow. Do you have any other big questions for me?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve heard many good things about you Melany. And if you’re willing to take a chance on me, I promise, you and I will get along just fine! I don’t smoke, I don’t make giant messes, I don’t have any really weird habits. And I’m not a murderer, unless plants count. I’m not the best at growing those!” Mel couldn’t help but laugh at that comment. She had a hard time keeping plants alive as well.
“You sound normal to me! And if Kris and Max speak highly of you, I’m sure that we would get along as well. They’ve never led me astray before! I just have one question for you.”
“Well, when I make the ‘Welcome to Pittsburgh” cake, I want the right name on it,” she said, smiling into the phone. “So, what’s your name?”
“Alexis, but you can call me Lexie,” the voice said with a laugh. Mel smiled and promised to give Kris any news to pass along if house-hunting went well tomorrow. They hung up and she took the phone back into the kitchen where Sid now sat with the two Frenchmen. Kris looked up expectantly and she gave him a thumbs up.
“If I find a place, Lexie is more than welcome to stay with me. I can’t wait to meet her dude!” Tanger snatched her up in a hug that surprised her.
“You are the greatest girl ever,” he said as he twirled her around a couple times, before setting her back on her feet. She slid backwards into Sid’s arms and smiled.
“I know that! Tell me something I didn’t know,” she said with a laugh.
Max and Tanger left and, after grabbing a snack at the house, Sid and Mel drove over to visit with Amanda and Brooks for a while. They were all going to Duper’s house later for the first of many ‘Welcome Back’ parties, but Mel had said she was in desperate need of some ‘Triple Threat’ time, even though Erin wasn’t back. Sid just hoped that when they got to Brooks’, either Erin and Geno weren’t there already or that they had hidden the car.
Erin had called him that morning to make sure he kept Mel out of the loop. They wanted to surprise her. So Sid had played it off like it was his mom or someone when Mel had asked who was calling so early. As he pulled into the complex where Brooks lived, he was trying to look for Geno’s porche without making it obvious that he was looking for something.
He didn’t see it, but he noticed that both Amanda’s car and Brooks’ car were in the lot. That left the garage empty. He was about to text to see if he needed to blindfold Mel or something when a ding came through on his phone. Pulling into a spot, he put the car in park and grabbed his phone, opening the msg.
They’re hiding in the kitchen.
Sid smiled and deleted the message. Mel was looking at him strangely so he mumbled something about Pascal making fun of Tanger again and she shook her head as she hopped out of the car. They walked up the sidewalk and knocked on the door. Brooks opened it before they’d even finished knocking.
“Good grief Brooks, were you watching out the window for us or something,” Mel asked with a smile. Brooks laughed and ushered them inside. Sid laughed as she practically ran and tackled Amanda in a hug. The two were giggling about something when he saw Erin out of the corner of his eye. She put a finger to her lips and he nodded.
As Mel was animatedly explaining something to Amanda about the lake house, Erin was creeping up on her step by step. Mel was wrapping up the story now, and she was just about to turn when Erin yelled ‘Gotcha!’ and grabbed her shoulders.
Mel jumped ten feet in the air and let out a horror movie-worthy scream as she turned to see who had just scared her. The scream stopped instantly as her eyes lit up and she beamed a smile, tackling her other friend in a hug. The three of them were laughing and almost crying as the three guys stared at them.
“You knew about this, didn’t you Sidney?!”
“I plead the fifth,” he chuckled as she came over and pretended to fight him. Before she could attempt a good attack though, Geno came rushing out of the kitchen and wrapped her in his arms.
“Mel! We miss you! Well, Erin miss you more, but I miss cooking. You cook now, yes?”
“No I’m not cooking now you oaf! Let me go, I’m trying to fight Sid!”
“Fight Sid? No, not good idea. Come, we go cook!”
Sid started laughing as Geno practically hauled her away amidst everyone’s laughter. Mel was yelling for Erin to help her, and asking why all Sid’s friends kept hugging her, but her friend just shrugged her shoulders and told her she had to fend for herself. There were a few bangs and clangs from the kitchen, and what Sid was pretty sure was a curse in Russian, before Brooks rolled his eyes and jogged into the other room.
Erin and Amanda turned toward Sid as soon as his friend had hit the doorway.
“So, did you ask her? Did she say yes? Should we be looking at clearing our schedules?”
“Ladies, calm down. The only thing I asked her this summer was if she’d move in with me. And you know the answer to that.”
“Well, you can’t really blame her, can you? I mean, it’s not like you guys would have total privacy,” Amanda said.
“I know that. And I think it was more a heat of the moment question. I am glad she said no. I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable. And now that she got that second offer, from the school in Sewickley, she’s looking at houses that are closer to me than before.”
“Yeah, Erin is coming with us tomorrow as well when we look at houses. I hear she’s got at least one roommate booked.”
“Tanger’s girlfriend, yeah. They worked that out this morning and, I haven’t met her yet, but I’m told she’s a great girl. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kris. So,” Sid started to tell them about the ring he had hidden in Mario’s safe but he stopped as the trio from the kitchen came back into the room.
“So Erin, does this mean you’re coming shopping with me tomorrow?”
“Why you shopping,” Geno asked.
“I’m looking for a house now that I’ve got a great job that I start in a couple weeks. I got a teaching job in Sewickley, so I’m moving up here to be closer to you guys!”
“You no need house. You live with us. Plenty of room in my house!”
“Geno, if I wouldn’t move in with Sid, I wouldn’t move in with you either. Besides, you’d just want me for my cooking!”
“Shhhh, don’t tell everyone!”
“What the heck,” Erin said. “Is my cooking chopped liver or something?”
“No! Yours great too. But two women under same roof who cook, even greater!”
Before Geno could get himself in a deeper hole, Amanda moved everyone over to the dining room. She pulled out a deck of UNO and tossed it onto the table. Then she and the girls went to the kitchen to grab drinks for everyone as Brooks shuffled the cards and dealt the first hand.
Two hours later Sid was ready to call it quits. He had won maybe two rounds, and Mel seemed to be great at getting the turn-rotation reversed so that he always got her +2 cards or the +4 wilds. Thank god they decided not to keep track of points or he’d probably have thrown the cards by now.
“You’re like a damn sniper on the ice,” he whispered in her ear. “Whenever I think I’m safe you throw down a card to ruin my hand. I’ll remember this,” Sid added as he gently blew his breath against her ear. Mel tightened her hold on her cards and as he pulled away he noticed her eyes were closed and the pulse at her neck was beating wildly.
“Oye! Stop distracting her with your sex words Sid. I don’t want to have to wash these friggin’ chairs because you got her all hot and bothered!”
“Yes Amanda,” he smirked and Mel glared at him, promising retribution.
They were on probably the millionth round when Sid’s phone beeped. He read the text and announced that Duper said it was safe to come over now that all of the kids were dressed and ready. He called out ‘time to go’ and tossed his cards down. The others followed suit and the girls ran to the bathroom for a quick touch-up.
Then they all made the quick jaunt over to Duper’s house. The weather was perfect for the short five-minute walk tonight. They saw Eats, his wife and their two little girls walking from the other direction, and they looked for Kuni. He was the other one who lived in the same general area.
The music was already going at the house, and Sid waved at Flower, Max and Kris who were on the porch with drinks of some sort. Duper came out the door to greet them and held up Mel’s hand for inspection.
“I half expected to see some giant rock on your finger Mel. Did you turn him down?” Sid slid an arm around her waist as she smiled up at him.
“I could never tell him yes when my heart belongs to you!” Teammates 0 – Melany 1. They all laughed and even though he was ready to pop the question, he was glad that she wasn’t pushing him. He still hadn’t figured out why she seemed to be against getting engaged, aside from the whole ‘short-time’ issue.
“Well, inside everyone... straight through really. Food’s cooking out back,” Duper said as he held the door open for everyone. There were burgers and hotdogs, and every topping you would need. And, in true French-Canadian fashion, there were all the fixin’s for poutine. Personally, he thought they were delicious but Mel had some weird aversion to it.
On the other table were a variety of cookies and desserts. Probably the last really bad food he could have for the season, unless you counted the times he’d have his girlfriend for dessert. Drop that idea for now, just enjoy time with your friends. He turned when Max asked if anyone else was planning on coming and dropped his drink in the lawn.
“Sid? Mon ami? Ahhh, it suits her, no?”
Sid just nodded as he watched Mel twirl Duper’s little boy around in the grass. The tunes had turned softer and as she spun with the little one in her arms, Sid felt his stomach clench. This was what he’d dreamed about over the summer. She brought the child to her right hip and grasped his little right hand in her left one, like they were at a formal dance. Her hips swayed innocently, but Sid almost drooled at the seductive sway of her hips.
He continued to stare as he heard Mel’s laughter carry over to him, wrapping him in his own dream-like cocoon. He didn’t know how he managed to stay standing with the drunk feeling that came over him. Then she finished the dance by dipping Duper’s son and bringing him up quickly. As he squealed in joy she placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.
There were no words to express what he’d felt just now. Then Mel turned, the smiling boy clutching her arms and wanting to be dipped again, and caught his eye. She stopped moving too, her eyes widening at the expressions that were probably still written all over his face. Then she looked around before nodding toward the backdoor. She passed the boy back to his mom and quickly, but calmly, made her way up the porch stairs and slid between the screen door.
Glancing around, Sid looked to see if anyone had paid attention to their little interaction. Max was smirking at him. Damn. Then his friend looked away and whistled like he hadn’t seen anything. Sid chuckled as he stepped past him and Max mumbled that he better make it up to him sometime.
Stepping through the door, he wondered where he’d find her and almost screamed when a hand shot out and grabbed him. Mel was smiling and looking at him like she wanted to devour him. He smiled back and followed as she dragged him through the kitchen and dining room and shut them both in the half-bath under the stairs.
“Really, you don’t wanna take the time to find a bigger room?”
She just shook her head and pushed him backwards, motioning for him to sit on the toilet. Sid reached for her, pulling her astride his lap and holding her head, his tongue plunging between her lips as he tried to devour her mouth. She ran her hands down his tee and grabbed his belt, undoing it quickly. His pants were next, the button popped and the zipper down before he could blink. He could feel himself pressing against the fabric of his briefs, wanting the release he’d find within her.
“Quick and dirty then?”
“Yes,” she hissed in his ear before sucking the lobe in her mouth, her teeth biting gently on the fleshy lobe. He groaned against her neck and pushed her backwards, keeping a grip on her so she wouldn’t fall to the floor.
“Are you sure the door is locked? The last thing we need is someone, one of the kids, opening it up.”
Mel stepped off of him and turned, making sure the lock was turned. Then she turned back to him and stood against the door. He crooked a finger at her and she stepped over to him in three strides, leaving him looking up at her smiling face.
“Are you even wearing any underwear under this skirt,” he asked. She nodded yes and Sid reached a hand down, pulling the layers of cotton up until he was face-to-face with a pair of flimsy silk panties. The red fabric with three little rhinestone hearts winked back at him. Dragging the whisper of silk down her legs, he held her steady as she stepped out of the material. His fingers pulled her close and he brought his lips to her hip, pulling on her skin and leaving a puckered mark from the suction.
“Sid,” she whispered. He fished himself out of his pants and pulled her onto his lap again. As she sat her body down on top of him, he gritted his teeth and hissed a breath through them as he was enveloped in her slick heat.
“Fuck, you’re so wet baby.” Sid had his hands full, her ass between his fingers as he let her control the pace, loving how she twisted on top of him, her hips gyrating as she sunk down on him time after time. What I wouldn’t give for a giant bed and at least twenty-four hours.
“I want it harder Sid… please, mmm…”
“Do you want what we had in the pool house a few months ago Melany? Fast-paced, hard, against the wall?” He growled as he lifted his hips up to meet her downward thrust and was pleased when she brought her hand up to cover her mouth, barely keeping the scream from coming forth. “Stand up for me.”
Sid wanted to cry out when he lost the warmth of her body leave him. He flipped her skirt up and turned her over the sink. Bringing one hand down on her ass, he chuckled at the yelp that she couldn’t contain. He slid back inside her depths, grabbing onto both of her hips as he thrust deeply.
“Yes, yes like that, oh god… I love it!”
“Shhh, keep it down or everyone is going to know what we’re doing in here,” he chuckled.
As he pistoned in and out of her folds he could feel her try to keep him within, her muscles clenching around him. She was going to come, and he was going to follow. Slipping on hand down, he rubbed quickly over that little bundle of nerves and was rewarded with a gasp and curse as she found release, her body trying to keep him deep within her.
Thrusting a couple more times, Sid saw a blinding white light as her muscles milked his orgasm from his body until he was slumped against her, his lips pressed against the nape of her neck as they both tried to catch their breath. Turning her head, Mel kissed him, her breath still ragged as she sought his lips.
“I’ll go clean up in the main upstairs bathroom while you get… situated.”
He watched Mel nod her head in the mirror before he slipped out the door, holding his pants together and praying no one found him before he could get into the other bathroom. He was washing his hands when his phone went off, telling him he had a new message. After drying his hands he opened the text.
Coast is clear love, come back out and play.
Sid made sure his pants weren’t messy or anything and practically skipped down the stairs in his haste to get back to the group. As he stepped onto the porch everyone broke out into a round of applause, along with a couple whistles.
He saw Mel over to the side with Vero and Erin, her face bright red. He should’ve known it would be obvious what happened. Teammates 1 – Melany 1.Sid walked down the steps and grabbed a beer from the cooler, trying to ignore them all. Max came up and held his hands up in defense.
“I said nothing Sid, I swear! When Mel came out, Duper asked if she’d seen you and her blush gave it away! Speak of the devil… how are you mon chere?”
Mel slid into Sid’s side, her face still red. But she was smiling, so he figured she wasn’t too embarrassed. Besides, she could hardly expect anything different from the guys. That was just another reason why he loved her. She took the ribbing from the guys, and she could hold her own and give it back just as good if she needed to.
“I’m just peachy Max. My ass is sore on one side, but other than that… I can’t complain.” Zing! Teammates 1 – Melany 2.
For the next few hours Sid kept her out on the grass, their makeshift dance floor. She was swaying in his arms to some slow song in French when he looked down and noticed she seemed to be almost asleep while they danced.
“Ready to go back to Mario’s? You have a busy day tomorrow.”
“Mmmmm,” was all he heard in response. Laughing at her exhaustion over seeing everyone again, Sid swooped her up in his arms and bid everyone a good night. He whispered for her to say goodbye and chuckled as she grunted and threw a hand up in the air as a farewell.
She woke up enough to walk to the car on her own. And when they got to Mario’s she made it up to his room but before he could even attempt to get her to get ready for bed she had crashed out on top of the mattress and was snoring softly into the pillow. Sid pulled off her shoes and changed into shorts, climbing onto the bed beside her and pulling her against him.
“Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.”
Mel groaned and pushed at the face near her ear that was making that horrible racket. The voice stopped and she heard a chuckle before she felt lips press a kiss to the area where her wrist and palm met. Opening her eyes she growled at Sid and pushed him, her body covering his.
“Why are you waking me up jerk?”
“Time for breakfast and then house-hunting. You have a list of houses, and you need energy for this.”
“Why don’t you just find a house and we’ll live together?”
“Okay, okay… maybe toward the end of the season?”
“Definitely more of a possibility.”
“I love you and your insane superstitions.”
“I love you. Now c’mon sleepyhead! Go get a shower and I’ll cook breakfast!”
“You mean you’ll go downstairs and talk to Nathalie as she cooks breakfast?”
“Don’t make me start tickling you…”
Mel gasped and jumped off of him, bounding for the bathroom before he could make good on his promise.
She grabbed a quick shower and changed into a comfy yet classy outfit of dressy jeans and a light-knit, short-sleeved sweater. The weather had started to cool down and she could feel the itch for hockey to start just as much as the guys. Slapping on a quick coat of eye shadow and mascara, she tucked her feet into her shoes and headed downstairs.
Erin and Amanda were in the kitchen, each of them at a station, doing something to help breakfast move along smoothly. Sid was sitting at the table with Geno, using the salt and pepper shakers and some silverware to plot out a new play or something.
After waffles, eggs and bacon the girls walked outside to figure out who was driving. Mel looked around for Erin’s car because it was like they always drove her car on little trips, but she didn’t see it. She didn’t see Amanda’s either. The only thing she saw was a shiny silver Acadia. Exactly like Erin had talked about getting.
“Ahhhh! Where is the blue baby?! What… what is this?? Erin!”
“I thought you’d be excited, why are you freaking out?!”
“I didn’t get to say goodbye! You… you really got rid of the blue one?”
“I did. Well, it wasn’t really my choice. When we were coming home from the airport, it sort of died. And it was going to cost more to fix it than I felt it should. And Geno said I should just buy a new one.” Mel looked at her skeptically. “Okay, fine. He wanted to buy me a new one. Now, get in the front seat like you always do and shut up. You’re going to love it.”
And she did. It was a great vehicle and by the time they had arrived at the first listing, Mel was certain that she’d fallen in love with a vehicle. They stepped out of the vehicle and looked at the house in front of them. The listing said it was a great deal, worth the price you had to pay, and it was right in Sewickley, within walking distance to her new school.
But she didn’t feel a thing when she looked at it. And she’d always felt that when she found the house that she wanted, she’d know it just by looking at it.
The same thing happened with the next four houses they pulled up to. They were all nice, all within the price that she wanted. But none of them felt like home. She couldn’t picture herself and the others sitting around the dining room table for dinners, couldn’t imagine having a cookout with some of the guys on the weekends before winter hit, couldn’t imagine falling asleep with Sid in any of the bedrooms.
As they drove away from the final house on the list, Mel sighed in frustration. Amanda leaned forward and rested her chin on the seat.
“What’s wrong Mel? You’ve seen a bunch of houses today, and I know you liked them or you wouldn’t have wanted to look at them in the first place.”
“You’ll think it’s stupid…”
So Mel explained what she was feeling as the trio headed back toward Mario’s. They were halfway between Geno’s house and the Lemieux’s when Mel caught a glimpse of another Howard Hanna sign. She felt a little tingle and asked Erin to turn right at the road. Five houses down, on the left, stood the house that was for sale.
It had almost a cottage-like look to the outside, but it was two stories, with a three car garage and driveway. She was out of the car before Erin could actually shut the thing off and she was walking up the driveway when she heard another car pull in behind them.
Mel pulled her gaze away from the structure in front of her and looked back to see who was calling her name. The real estate agent, Ms. Hastings, who had tried to help her all morning was standing there, a small smile on her face.
“I was trying to call you, this place just went on the market today, and I hadn’t been notified that it was on my list. I was coming with the keys to give it a ‘once-over’ when I saw the vehicle here. I haven’t been in yet, and I don’t normally do this but… would you like to look inside?”
Mel felt her face break out into a huge smile and she nodded as the woman came up to her.
“Is it… is it in my price range?”
“It’s a little more than you were looking at. But from what I read, the previous owner could be willing to negotiate. Now, let’s all have a look before we worry about anything else.”
As they all walked up the driveway and then the small concrete path to the front door, Mel looked around at the outside. There were two small sections on each side of the stoop where it looked as if there were about a million different plants trying to grow at once. But with a little trimming and weeding, it would look just like a picture in a gardening magazine. And there was a doorbell, along with an old-fashioned knocker on the front of the giant wooden door.
Ms. Hastings unlocked the door and pushed it open, stepping inside and holding it as Mel and her friends crossed the threshold. Ms. Hastings flipped the light switch and the house brightened up. Heading straight for the kitchen, Mel let out a breath as she stared at the plethora of counter space, modern and matching cupboards, and all stainless steel appliances.
“Is everything in here included? The fridge and dishwasher? The dual ovens??”
She heard papers shuffling as the agent searched through the information she’d been given. But even as she heard the sheets of paper, Mel was imagining the big dinners she could cook for, the fun times while whipping up something small for her and Lexie, the sex she could have on the center island… Face it, you know that’s what you really want to do first instead of cook.
“Hmmm? I’m sorry, what?”
“Okay, everything in here is included. And the range is being replaced next week. It’s going to be one of those new ones that just looks like it’s sitting on top of the counter. The counters are being refinished and the backsplash is getting redone. This is what it’s going to look like in the end.”
The woman handed Mel a photo and she smiled as she looked it over. It was just like a kitchen she’d seen the last time she had dragged Sid to IKEA. She held it up in the doorway and laughed.
“It’s perfect,” she said so quietly that she didn’t think anyone else heard her. Ms. Hastings slid up alongside her and smiled. “Can I see the rest now?”
“Certainly. Come on, we’ll explore the place together.”
They started down in the basement. It was finished, carpeting and a bar area. There was a room that was empty that had laundry hook-ups, and a small bathroom containing a shower stall, toilet and sink. And the main room had enough space to make it a downstairs den, or perhaps a game room. She’d take pictures after she saw the entire place and talk to Lexie. Kris had said she was coming in tomorrow.
Next, they toured the rest of the first floor. There was a dining room, living room and a media room. It came furnished with a screen and projector, but the furniture was going to be leaving with the person who put the house up for sale. There was a half-bath to the side of the kitchen, and a pantry that looked as big as Erin’s new car!
“All of the bedrooms are bare right now. So you’d have to furnish them all.”
“That’s fine. How many are there?”
“There are four bedrooms on the second floor. The master has a multi-room bathroom attached to it with a Jacuzzi and shower. Two of the other bedrooms have bathrooms attached to them and the final one is smaller, probably for like a nursery or office. And there’s a separate bathroom beside it.”
“Good grief. That’s a lot of bathrooms,” Amanda exclaimed.
“It is, but if you have other people living here, especially girls, it’s going to be nice to all have your own bathrooms. Now, before we look at all of them, there’s also an attic that is furnished.”
“A furnished attic?” Mel quirked an eyebrow at her friends. They both shrugged and so she turned to the agent. “A furnished attic?”
“Yes. Oh! That must sound odd… ummm, it’s more like finished than furnished. It could be used as yet another bedroom, or maybe an upper little rest area. Come on, I’ll show you.”
They bypassed the bedrooms for now and headed through a door in the middle of the hall. A set of wide stairs led them up to what Mel instantly thought of as the library. There were built-in shelves all along the front wall, some built onto the two side walls, and the back wall that faced the backyard was almost floor-to-ceiling windows.
A row of benches lined the window sill and she could see big, fluffy pillows to lean back against. There were electrical sockets for lamps and laptops. A desk could be put on one or both of the side walls. And the staircase was wide enough that you could bring a few large, over-stuffed chairs up, or a long couch.
“It’s a library.”
“You could definitely use it as that. Want to finish up with the bedrooms and garage. And if you look out the window you can see the backyard.”
The bedrooms were amazing as well. The master one, the one she would have, had a closet that look like it was big enough to hold a small army. And each of the other two bedrooms with attached baths had big closets built for women.
The garage was finished, and three door openers lay on a shelf by a door that leads to the kitchen. Each one only opened a certain door, so it would be like having your own personal parking space. There was a patio off of the dining room, and plenty of space for a grill and/or fire pit. Space to play in the yard meant they could get a dog, or would have room if the guys brought over their kids.
“It’s perfect Ms. Hastings.”
“Rachel. Please, call me Rachel.”
“It’s perfect Rachel.”
“Well, let’s get into some details then. No one else knows about the house yet, and if we can get the owner to come to an agreement, then no one else will.”
“I have one roommate right now. Everyone else that I know is comfortable where they are. What’s the price they’re asking for the house?”
Rachel bit her lip and slid the top paper over to Mel. Glancing down, she felt her heart sink. It was definitely more than she had planned. Kris had already said that he’d pay Lexie’s part in full when they came to a decision. And if he did that, then she could pay off almost half of it. But if the owner wanted it all at once…
Amanda came up beside her. Turning to her friend she held tears in check.
“I don’t think I can do it. Not if they want it all at once. Not with just two of us.”
“No. I won’t do that.”
“But he’d give you the money in a heartbeat if he saw your face. You love this house. It was like you were pulled here or something. You can’t walk away.”
“He already wants to buy me a friggin’ house. I’m not a piece of furniture he can play house with though. I don’t want to owe him this money.” Erin came over and threw in her two cents.
“Sid wants you to be happy. He knows how much you’ve wanted to be closer to him. And this house has everything you want and more. Call him. Tell him to come meet you here. Maybe he’ll love it as much and want to move out of Mario’s.”
“No, he won’t move until at least the end of this coming season. It’s some crazy superstition of his. You know how hockey players are. You’re both with one too!”
“Excuse me, Melany… I just got a call. I need to run over to another listing for an emergency. I can be back in twenty or thirty minutes. Would you like to stay and look at things, think it over for a while longer?”
“Could we? That would be wonderful.” Rachel smiled and left and Amanda pushed Mel’s cell at her across the table.
Mel sighed and hit his speed dial. He answered on the second ring and she could hear a couple of the guys in the background.
“Hey babe. Did you find a house you liked?”
“No, I found the perfect house.”
“No, it’s not. It’s not one of the ones I picked out. We just sort of found it. And it’s got… Sid, it has everything. And then some. But it’s…”
“More than you wanted to pay.”
“Let me help you.”
“Listen, let me and Geno come over. We’re at his place right now. Where are you? Are you still in the middle of town?”
“Actually, we’re a lot closer to you guys.” She rattled off the address and hung up the phone. They pulled in the drive a few minutes later. Erin went to the door to let them in and Mel felt him come up behind her.
“Okay babe, show me the house.”
“Are you sure that yo--”
“Give me the grand tour.”
Mel stood and grabbed his hand. As she guided him through the floors, her excitement grew with each step. She told him of her ideas for the basement, explained how the kitchen was being redone and pointed out the possibilities for the backyard. They breezed through the bedrooms, and Sid commented on the fact that everything but the bathrooms and basement had the hardwood floors that she loved.
“I know! Now, we have one more room. The attic.”
Dragging him by the arm, Mel took Sid up the stairs and asked him what he thought of when he looked around.
“A library. You could have a library for all of your books at your moms.”
“Melany… please, let me.” She knew what he was offering, knew she wouldn’t have to ask him. But this was big.
“But what if…”
“What? What is your main worry?”
She sat down onto one of the benches and stared out the window. She didn’t really know. It wasn’t that she was afraid that they wouldn’t make it and he’d take the house. He wouldn’t. even if they did break up, he’d never do something like that.
“I don’t know. I just… it’s a lot of money for you to spend.”
“Have you seen the size of my bank account?”
“No! That’s not my business. And I know it’s probably not a lot to you…”
“Are you worried that something could happen between us and I’d take it?”
“Oh god no! I plan on stickin’ with you forever. You know that. Just like I know that you love me.”
“Then let me buy the damn house.”
“Are you sure?”
“I wouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t. Now, give me a kiss and nod your head yes when I ask you. Okay?”
“Good. Now… will you let me buy this house that you’ve already fell in love with?”
Once more, she nodded.
“And can we move your stuff in before Lexie gets here and christen each room?”
This time she shook her head no.
“All but the spare bedrooms with bathrooms. One of those will belong to her. And that’s just mean.” They both started laughing and then headed back to the table where Rachel sat with Amanda, Geno and Erin. Geno looked up with a smile on his face.
“Mel, why you no tell me this your agent? She help me buy my house!”
“I didn’t even think of it Geno,” she said with a smile. Rachel was laughing too.
“If I would’ve listened more to you three talking today, I would’ve picked up on the million hockey references you kept making. I can’t believe I didn’t put two and two together! Well, have you decided on anything? Would you like to make a bid?”
Mel looked up at Sid as she wrapped an arm around his side. He smiled down at her before he turned to Rachel.
“Ms. Hastings. Call the owner, forget all this bidding, I want to buy it outright, this very minute."