“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Sound of Silence...

I'm totally delayed with this one, but better late than never!
I just want to say thanks to all the readers... this is my first ever story, and I'm still getting into the swing of things.  Hopefully it all gets better in time!  Enjoy...



                                                                                          

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like it’s better than yours, damn right it’s better—

I groaned from underneath my pillow when I heard my phone blaring from my bedside table, waking me up.  Blindly I swung my arm up and felt around for it, I tapped all over the touch screen for the answer button before I brought it underneath my pillow and up to my ear.

“The rule is no phone calls after midnight or before noon,” I snarled into the phone, not bothering to look to see who it was—the ring tone was enough.

Sidney just laughed on the other end, “It’s 12:01 actually, and I’ve got goodies.  I’m parking now, be up in a minute.”

Incoherent words were all I could muster in response before we hung up.  I tossed the phone somewhere in my sheets and tried to get five more minutes of sleep.

Knock Knock Knock

It took all the energy I had to get out of bed and drag my feet to my apartment door.  I swung it open and found Sidney smiling happily, holding up bagels and coffee cups.  He just stood there with that damn grin on his face.

I glared at him for a few seconds and turned to head into the kitchen.  I plopped down onto a bar stool at the counter and reached out, my hands grasping for my food. 

Sidney shut the door behind him and set our food out on the counter.  “Well hello to you too Miss Sunshine,” he sassed.  He held out my sandwich, inches out of my reach, pulling it away when I went for it.

I whined and he gave me a stern look.  Huffing, I gave him what he wanted, “Good morning Patty.”

A smile was back on his bee stung lips and the egg and cheese bagel was mine.

Much to my surprise, after Vero’s mini scavenger hunt Sidney and I became quick friends.  He was nothing like I had expected—his charm and sense of humor was enticing, and his love and appreciation for life and hockey was infectious.

We talked regularly about everything and anything, and would text each other quotes from Friends while we both watched late night reruns.  It seemed like we grabbed food together every other day and endured the flack we got from the rest of the group when we opted out of heading downtown to the club.  We were both pretty low key, but still knew how to have fun.

I even had my own nickname for him, Patty.  In Pittsburgh Sidney was a god, and rightfully so.  The problem was that his face was so recognizable, as was his name.  To keep attention away, I called him by his middle name in public.  It quickly evolved to just Patty, and stuck like glue.

I was still eating my bagel when Sidney finished up his second sandwich.  He threw away his trash before leaning against the counter opposite me. 

“How’d it go last night?” Sidney asked.

Shrugging my shoulders, I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand.  “It was nice,”

I glanced up to find him staring intently at me, waiting for more.  With no response, Sid cleared his throat.  My bagel became very fascinating and I did my best to avoid eye contact. 

He motioned his hands for me to keep going, “And?”

I was never one to give out details of my personal life.  Plus I just assumed that when your closest friend is a guy, he didn't exactly want to hear about how you and your new boyfriend were making out like teenagers on his sofa and how you knew it was time to go when you were practically humping each other.

I cleaned up my brunch and walked right past Sidney.  “Thanks for suggesting the restaurant, it was great.”  I turned to head back into my room and get ready for the day.

“That’s it?!”

---

Sidney plopped down on Elaine’s couch and turned on ESPN.  He had gone over to her apartment after practice to finish move the last of the boxes out of her apartment.  She hadn’t been able to find a roommate to replace Kerry, so she had to give up her place.  Luckily Jackie, Kris’s current gal pal, had an empty room.

He had to admit that he was excited.  Elaine’s apartment was on the other side of town, and it was like pulling teeth to get her to come out sometimes.  Now that she’ll be closer he’ll see her more often, he's always at Jackie's with the crew.

The two of them had gotten close fast, and a lot of the guys ragged on him about it.

“You fuck her yet?” Matt Cook asked once, “It’s gotta be the reason you’re always with her,”

It took everything Sidney had to not beat the shit out of his own teammate.  It wasn’t like that.  He and Elaine were just friends, and he liked it that way.  It was hard for Sidney when it came to girls and their intentions.  Elaine had never even tried anything with him.

And now she was seeing someone, Brendon.

A friend of Elaine’s had tricked her and set her up on a blind date.  After a few weeks of dating, Brendon had been pushing to make it official but Elaine didn't seem too eager.


He’d heard the girls say a few things that Elaine had mentioned before, but they weren’t helpful.  He didn’t want to hear about how good looking he was or the cute things he said to Elaine.  He wanted to meet Brendon himself, make sure he was alright.

Elaine deserved the best, and Sidney was going to make sure she got it.

---

“I think that’s the last of it.”

“Oh, thank god!” I puffed before curling up on the couch.

Sidney lifted my feet up and sat down, placing them back down on his lap.  “You didn’t even do anything!  You and the girls just sat here and talked while us men did the work,”

“I thought that was the Muscle’s job?”

Sidney flexed his arm, “Oh, these muscles you mean?” he kissed his bicep, "Want a ticket to the gun show?"

I giggled and squeezed his rock hard arm, mocking him with exaggerated compliments.

We ended up ordering Chinese food and were all together at the kitchen table.  

Brendon had texted me about going out but I just wasn’t in the mood.  I told him to go ahead without me and have a good time.

“You texting Brendon?  I hear you two are a thing now,” Marc casually said from across the table. 

“What?” I shouted simultaneously as Sidney.

“Marc!  Vous n'√©tiez pas cens√© dire quelque chose!” Vero yelled.  “I, I’m sorry Elaine.  I told him to be quiet!”

I dropped my head in my hands.  No one had met him yet, not even Sidney who seemed to be really upset.

While Vero yelled at Marc and everyone watched with laughter, I leaned into Sidney who was all too quiet.  “You ok?”

His head whipped in my direction, his eyes black and his face stern.  “How could you not tell me?” he whispered harshly. 

I was shocked to see him so upset—I didn’t see what the big deal was.  But this was Sidney I was talking about.  We had become each other’s confidants.  He was always the first person I told everything to, even before Vero.  He was the one who knew almost everything about me, the one person I ever shared my true feelings and fears with. 

And I was that person for him.  I’d be devastated if he had a girlfriend that I didn’t know about.  I’d beat the shit out of him, quite frankly.

I tried to apologize, “Sid, I’m sorry.  I just, I—“

“Whatever,” he cut me off.


Sidney didn’t say a word to me for the rest of the night.

Silence can be so deafening sometimes... 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Photograph

Squeezed between Flower and Jordan on the sofa, I watched as Vero scurried around organizing packets on the coffee table at my feet.  There were bodies all over the floor and furniture in a tangled mess.

The night before, a mass text went out telling everyone to meet up at Flower’s at 11 a.m. on the dot for a little friendly competition.  Vero had set up a day’s worth of fun with a scavenger hunt. 

She hollered for everyone’s attention and got started.  “Listen up people!  So here’s the deal, today we’re doing Amazing Race, Pittsburgh edition!” she beamed.  We were going to be running around Pittsburgh solving riddles and performing tasks.  The first to arrive at the finish line would be declared the winners, and the losers had to buy them dinner.

“Elaine and I are on a team!” Jordan said as he wrapped his arm around my shoulders, smacking Flower on the back of the head.  He smiled down at me and pulled me in close.
“Not too fast,” Vero singed.  “I decide the pairs.”  She listed off the groups and people moved around the room to sit their teammates.

Flower was paired up with Cammie, Tyler Kennedy’s girlfriend, and Tyler with Malkin.  James Neal and Jackie, a mutual friend, were together, Kris glared at Vero as Jackie got up from her spot at his side on the floor and sat by Nealer.

“Kris, you’re with Jordan,” Vero called out.  Kris’s attention moved to Jordan, who was clinging to my side, his head resting on my shoulder.  “I don’t want to be with Kris.  He’s not hot,” he mumbled.  I patted his leg and he got up, leaving me alone on the sofa, partner-less.

I stuck out my bottom lip and frowned, “What about me?” I asked, “I want to play!”

Vero shook her head at me, “You, my dear, were the last to arrive.”

“Yea, thanks to Jordan’s terrible directions,” I grunted.  Across the room Jordan was giving me the puppy dog eyes and mouthing ‘I love you’.  “Am I a team of 1 then, as punishment?”

“No, he’s just late.  Your partnered with—” The slam of the door to the garage cut Vero off.
“Hey guys!  Sorry I’m late, what did I miss?” a man breathed heavily behind me.

“You’re partners with Elaine,” Vero pointed to me.

I sat up and turned to find that the man standing behind me, who was my partner in crime for the day, was none other than Sidney Crosby.

---

“I can’t believe this.  Are you sure it says both of us?”  Sidney kept scanning the hallway to make sure no one was around.

Elaine double checked the next task, “It says right here, ‘take a picture of both teammates in one bathroom stall—the handicap stall does not count’,” Sidney ran a hand over his face, before looking down at his partner. 

The day was spent running around Pittsburgh for Vero’s scavenger hunt.  They jousted in the middle of Wal-Mart, faked a picnic in the middle of Sears, Elaine took one for the team and stuffed as many marshmallows possible in her mouth at once—it wasn’t exactly in Sidney’s diet.  It was going to be hard to explain later the photos that were bound to surface of Sid sitting in the backseat of a cop car, Elaine beaming in the front seat as she played with the lights.  It’s amazing what an autograph could do.

They found themselves on the last clue, standing outside the women’s bathroom of a whole in the wall diner, and as unhappy as Sidney was, he couldn’t help but laugh at the sight before him.  Elaine stood there with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and a coconut bra on, studying the list of tasks and clues.

He was surprised at how much fun he’d had, with a complete stranger nonetheless.  Sid had heard about Elaine from the guys, how low key she was, and was afraid she’d be quiet and gawky.  Needless to say, he was wrong.

Elaine turned to head into the bathroom, Sidney hot on her heels. 

He swung the door open just as an older woman came out, “Oh, wrong one,” he laughed nervously, looking away to avoid being recognized.  She eyed him before heading down the hallway, taking one last glance at him as she turned the corner.  Sidney stood there awkwardly, scratching the back of his head before she was out of sight.

Bolting into the women’s bathroom, he found Elaine standing there waiting for him.  “Let’s get this over with,” he mumbled.

Elaine giggled as she followed him into the closest stall.  “Scoot, scoot!” 

The door clicked behind her and Sidney brought out his cell phone to take the picture, “Ready?”  Moving in close, he wrapped his arm around Elaine, “Say cheese!”

---

“That’s my favorite,” I pointed out, looking through the photos we sent in for the hunt with Cammie.  “I know it said to take a picture in a field with a map looking lost, but we were legit lost,” I couldn’t help laughing when I thought of Sidney and I yelling at each other in the middle of a wheat field 20 miles outside of town.

“We weren’t lost!  I knew where we were the whole time,” Sidney groaned from across the table.  I just rolled my eyes. 

Cammie and Flower won the scavenger hunt, with Sidney and me a close second.  Our picture in the girls bathroom was hilarious—I had my nose plugged, tucked in close to Sidney who was looking over his shoulder at the toilet, looking mortified.

“That’s hysterical,” Sidney chuckled, “You’ll have to print me a copy of that, V.”

Vero turned to me and whispered, “You two seemed to have fun,”

“Yea, we did.” I smiled.

“I knew it—I knew you two would be perfect,” she beamed.

I laughed and shook my head, “Vero, it was just a game.  We were just partners, nothing more.”

“You never know what the future holds!” she sang.  I tried to argue with her but she ignored me, pretending to be enthralled with Kris and Jordan's bizarre scavenger hunt adventures.  

Sidney and I had only met earlier that day, let's not jump the gun.  We were barely even friends and would be nothing more.

I was sure of it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

After Tonight...

Kerry and Nick left for California in the middle of June.  The send off was so sad it was almost pathetic.  Nick had to pull Kerry away or else they’d miss their flight.  We talked on the phone for another hour when they landed.  I’d miss that girl.

Time was flying by, it was now early August and I had just gotten back from a family vacation in North Carolina.  I walked into my local gym and headed for the dance room, where I spotted a thin, beautiful brunette stretching on the floor and I sauntered on over.

She looked up as I came to her side.  “Allo Elaine!” she grinned at me.

“Hi Vero,” I smiled back.

Looking me up and down, she seemed confused.  “I thought you said you went to the beach?”

“Yea, I did.” I replied.

“Where’s your tan?” Vero laughed, “You’re so pail you’re blinding me girl!”  I knocked her shoulder and rolled my eyes.  “Yea, yea, yea.  You’re so funny,” I fought back a smile.

A moment later the instructor came gleefully into the workout room.  I offered my hand and helped Vero up as our Zumba class was about to begin.

---

An hour later I was dragging my feet, tired from the workout and annoyed with listening to the instructor yelling “C’mon girls, lets’ work!  Faster!  Shake those hips!”

As Vero and I left the gym together she invited me to grab some food and drinks, as she does after every class.  Usually I fibbed and said I had plans, and most nights she just let me go even though she never believed me. 

Apparently, this wasn’t one of those nights.

“Elaine!” her stern, loud voice surprised me I practically flinched.  “If you don’t eat with me you’re going to become an old lady with cats who has no friends and just stays in her apartment that’s so old dirty you get spider webs!”

Sweet girl, right?

Needless to say, I give in.  Vero had jogged to the gym (overachiever) so we hopped into my car and she gave me directions to a small pizza joint across town.  As we pulled in her phone went off, “Hi babe!  Yea we just pulled in to Joe’s.  Elaine’s with me,” she smiled over at me and began talking in French to whom I assume was her boyfriend.

Soon as she hung up, we headed in.  Vero had asked for a table of five so once we sat down I asked who’d be meeting us.  “Marc and a couple of his friends,” replied nonchalantly while she read the menu.  “I’m telling you, the boy doesn’t know how to fend for himself.”

When Kerry and I first met Vero, she was pretty mum about her personal life.  I never thought much about it because I’m the same way.  However, I can’t say it’s because I’m dating a professional hockey player.

When Vero told us that she was dating Marc Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, she leaned back in her chair, waiting for Kerry or me to freak out.  Kerry merely shrugged—she wasn’t much of a hockey fan, much to my dismay. 

Vero looked at me next.  “Well that’s unfortunate,” I said casually.  “I’m a Capitals fan.  So I hope you don’t mind if after a Pens loss I call you and leave you taunting voice messages about how much ya’ll suck before I break out into a Caps chant.”  She threw fries at me, so I’m thinking she was relieved.

Because I almost always turned down invites to go out, I had never met Marc, his friends or teammates before, but Kerry said that they’re a riot and I just took her word for it.  I guess I’d be finding out for myself soon enough.

Vero and I were chatting away when I saw her face lit up.  I looked over my shoulder at the door, and immediately I recognized Marc.  Not too far behind him was Jordan Staal who had Kris Letang in a head lock.  You’d never see him though because his hair was long enough to cover his face.

Marc slid into the booth next to Vero, giving her a kiss and I almost felt like I was intruding on them for looking.

“Dibbs!” Jordan yells as he jumps into the booth next to me, sliding right up to my side.  “Hi!  I’m Jordan,” he grins, holding his large hand out.

As a hockey fan, I hated the Staal brothers.  But damn it, the boy was good-freaking-looking!

I gave him an honest smile and shook his hand.  Vero then introduced me to Marc, or Flower.  “Vero talks 
about you so much I feel like I already know you,” he beamed.  “We’re practically best friends already!” he cringed as Vero grabbed his side, shaking her head.

“Oh dear god,” I laughed.  “I can only imagine what she’s said!”

Last was Kris.  As I looked over to him, he ran his hand through his hair.

“And you must be Kris,” I smiled.  Kris delicately grabbed my hand and kissed the knuckle, “Bonjour, ma belle.”

I couldn’t help but blush as he winked, which only made Flower and Jordan roll their eyes and moan.  Kris smiled at that with a smirk, I’m sure could get him out of anything.  Hell, it could me out of anything.

We ordered our food and drinks, and we dived into the typical getting-to-know-you conversations.  Kris was surprisingly witty, and was hilariously sarcastic.  Marc and Jordan were just big goof balls, cracking jokes and picking on each other.  Kerry was right, they were a lot of fun.

The guys had practice in the morning so we headed on out to say goodbye before going home.  I couldn’t help but laugh as Jordan engulfed me in a bear hug.  Marc told me that we had to get together again sometime soon.

“Yea right,” She gave me a hug and winked at me before climbing in Marc’s car.  She laughed as I stuck my tongue out at her while I glared and turned to head home.

Monday, November 7, 2011

California Dreaming...


“Elaine, can you please say something?  Anything.”

My best friend Kerry said as she sat across the table from me, her shoulders leaning forward with worry as her fingers fidgeted with the napkin in her hand.

“California.  Wow.”  It was all I could think of.

Kerry had been my best friend since early high school.  What started off as acquaintances with the same group of friends, turned into one of the closest friendships I’ve ever had.  There were few people I was ever close to.  Not that for the lack of trying, though.  I can be terribly private, but Kerry helped me get out of my box that I loved to stay in.  

After graduation I convinced Kerry to move to Pittsburgh with me.  We had nothing tying us down back home in Washington D.C, and Pittsburgh was close enough to home that we could leave for the weekend and see family whenever we wanted.   

Now, not even a year later, Kerry was moving.  To California.

“Chick, I know… I know it’s far, and I know that I moved here with you and we have a lease and all but… Nick…” as Kerry struggled to find the words to explain, I saw the tears glisten in her eyes.

“No, no, no!  Don’t cry Kerr.  I’m sorry if I don’t sound happy, I’m just… shocked that’s all,” quickly I got up and moved to the other booth and hugged my best friend.  “Honestly, I’m happy for you.  You know I love Nick—“

“I do too! I do too!” Kerry practically yelled, and I couldn’t help but laugh.  “Before, Nick was just in D.C.—only three hours away.  But this job offer Elaine, it’s what he’s been waiting for.  I don’t think I could be on the opposite side of the country than him,” she paused.  “Don’t be mad at me.”  Kerry looked up at me like a sad puppy, and I could hear my own heart break.

I wasn’t mad, at all.  I wiped away her fallen tears and moved back to my side of the table before taking a deep breath and thought about what to say next.

Kerry and Nick had been dating since college.  The guy was phenomenal, truly a lot of fun to be around and all around a nice guy.  He treated Kerry better than anyone ever could.  We all got a long so well that I could consider Nick one of my closest of friends—not just because he’s dating my best friend.  And recently, the topic of marriage had been brought up almost as casually as the weather.  I’d rather her be apart from me than apart from the love of her life.  It sucked—but whatever made her happy.

And I told Kerry that, which only brought on more tears, which only made me cry.  We probably looked like blubbering fools to everyone else at the cafe.  

After drying our eyes, we changed the subject.  We ate our favorite cookie and ice cream dish and headed out, belting Katy Perry’s ‘California Girls’ in the warm summer evening.