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.