“Well…isn’t this convenient?” That stony faced defenseman stares down the hall like he’s facing down a power forward. I’m half afraid he’s going to use Jordan as a tackling dummy…or worse.
“It’s not like that,” Jordan pauses, meeting his brother’s glare warily. I’ve seen them face off this way before over something as simple as who was wearing what t-shirt. “She didn’t know I was here,” he adds, as if I’m not there at all.
“You actually want me to believe that.” It’s like being caught in the crossfire of duel. I want to duck. I want to walk out and take both bullets. Mostly I want them to stop. I don’t want to hear the sarcasm dripping from Marc’s sweet mouth. I don’t want to see the defensiveness in Jordy’s blue eyes. I want to hold them both and the worst thing in the world is, I know I can’t. I know I have to let this, whatever this is, happen.
“Whatever you want to think of me, don’t think she’d ever do that. She’s not like that and you know it.” It’s like a god damn train wreck. I don’t want to look but I can’t look away, probably because I love them both.
“She must have left me for some reason and you’ve always been sniffing around, so why not? Why not have you coming in the back door when I go out the front?” I tell myself that he’s saying it from somewhere inside that’s hurt but that doesn’t stop it from being painful.
“It’s not the way it looks,” Jordan digs his toe into the carpet and hangs his head. He’s lying...or not exactly lying but he isn’t telling the truth either and if I know it....
“Isn’t it? C’mon bro, you and I both know it’s just like that and alright, maybe...maybe she didn’t know but that doesn’t make it less true, does it?” I can’t take my eyes off of Jordan and I realize that I’m actually leaning towards him, waiting for him to say something...wanting him to say something. I’m biting my lip and digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands. Part of my head is saying that I should be trying to intervene, to placate Marc and defend Jordan but I just keep staring at him, willing him to say something....pleading silently to hear the words....
“This isn’t her fault,” Jordan mumbles and then he glances up at me through his hair, all that blonde out of control too long lazy boy hair and the ache in his eyes matches the ache in my chest and I don’t know how I stay where I am, how I don’t run to him and bury my face in his chest and scream ‘yes, yes, yes!’.
I didn’t know how much I wanted him to want this until it’s clear in that one look that he’s guilty of exactly what Marc’s accusing him of. But he only lets me see it for a minute and then he goes back to studying the hotel carpet like it’s so fucking fascinating he can’t look away.
“No, no it’s not all her fault.” Now I have to look back at Marc. The sadness and the underlying anger in his voice tears a huge gaping hole in my chest and then the accusatory look he sends my way makes my knees buckle. “If she wanted to choose you in the first place, then she should have had the balls to just do it instead of taking the safe option.” He says it as if he’s talking to Jordan but it’s me he’s looking at and it’s me he’s aiming that disappointed expression that I thought only his mother could muster.
“That isn’t fair,” I reply, coming to my own defence, finally.
“Well that is what you call me isn’t it?” Marc shrugs, like it doesn’t matter except that the anger in his eyes says it does. “I’m the safe one, the responsible one, the Staal with none of the downside; isn’t that what you tell your friends?” I open my mouth to argue but there’s no point. I’ve said all of those things and in front of him too, on more than one occasion. So I’m left standing there, silently pleading with him with my hands out, wanting forgiveness but he just shakes his head and smiles bitterly. “Did you ever even love me?” he asks quietly and I can see him struggle not to look at his brother, whose presence we can both feel. This isn’t a conversation we should be having in front of Jordan. It’s not fair to Marc to have to ask that question out loud. He shouldn’t have to.
“You know I love you,” I reply sincerely, telling myself I should go to him but I don’t. My feet don’t obey my brain’s command.
“I thought I did,” Marc sighs, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets and glancing down the hall at Jordan. I don’t look back. I’m fairly sure if I do I won’t be able to look back. “I’m pretty sure I don’t now,” he adds, trying to sound sarcastic but it just comes out half mumbled, thick with emotion he’s trying not to show.
It’s fucking unbearable. Standing here, waiting to hear her answer. Waiting for her to tell my brother the words I want so fucking bad to hear that my stomach hurts and I’m wondering if I’m going to hurl. It’s just like being on the ice for those last few seconds of game seven against Detroit. My heart is hammering in my chest like one of those big drums Taiko drummers wail away at. My head is throbbing like I’ve just woken up after a weekend of Tequila and Jello shots at Talbo’s place. Most of all I can’t fucking breathe. I mean I try to. I open my mouth and try to suck wind but it’s like the air around us has gotten sucked away somewhere. It’s worse than coming off the ice after a bag skate.
“God damn it Kens, just fucking say it!” Marc suddenly roars and Kensey’s entire body shudders like he’s hit her. I don’t need to see her face to know that she’s crying and it’s crazy fucking hard to stand back like this, to not go to her, to not at least stand beside her, to let her know I’m there with her that she isn’t alone in this. My hands are balled into fists in my jacket. I want to punch something but strangely enough, not Marc. This was never his fault and it’s not now. I feel bad. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go. “Do you Kens? Do you love him?”
Now I’m just plain old holding my fucking breath. I promised Marc a long time ago that as long as they were together, as long as she made it evident that she was with him that I wouldn’t interfere. He knew...he knows I’ve always had a thing for her, that it’s always been her or at least that no one else has ever really measured up to her for me, but what he wasn’t sure of, what both of us are waiting to hear is how she feels. I’ve always thought she had really fallen in love with him but....
“Ma chère,” I can barely breathe and Daze doesn’t even look like she’s breaking a sweat. “You’re going to kill me or break my dick,” I add, sliding my hands up her thighs to her waist. She just grins down at me as she runs her fingers through her hair and continues to grind over top of me. I’m not really complaining but I can’t remember the last time a girl outlasted me. I mean, I am a professional athlete, a fine tuned machine, I can go for hours.
“Are you complaining?” she purrs, leaning forward and running her hands up my ribs until she’s rolling my nipples beneath the pads of her thumbs like she’s working a couple of game controllers. Her breasts press softly against my stomach and she’s wearing this absolutely sexy grin.
“No, damn, qu’il serait impossible!” I groan, sliding my hands around to cup her ass. She giggle when I give one of her curvaceous cheeks a light smack. “I am just getting the feeling I won’t be sleeping tonight and no, before you ask, I won’t complain about that either.”
“Well, Kensey did say that you were...now how did she put it?” she looks thoughtful for a moment and then grins impishly. “Oh yeah, she said that you were a voracious lover. Why do you think I’ve been trying to get you into the sack this whole time?” I’m supposed to be flattered. No I am flattered, but now I’m thinking about Kensey and not Daisy and as much as it’s been fun, no, good with Daze it was...mind blowing, life altering, existence changing with Kensey. I mean, c’mon, we wrecked a hotel room and I had to pay for it. “Oh my god,” Daze uses my chest to push herself up and then she stares down at me, at first with wide eyes and then with Mrs. Potato Head angry eyes. “You’re thinking about her....I’m fucking you and you’re thinking about her.”
“Non, chère, you have it wrong,” I grab at her arm, her leg but she’s too quick and she’s off me and off of the bed and searching the room for her clothing before I can even blink. “Daze...it’s not what you think,” I moan, lying there on the bed staring up at the ceiling. “Ma petite, don’t get upset....”
“Oh don’t worry, I’m not upset,” she begins but her voice is dripping with acid. “You think I’m not used to this? That I haven’t lived my whole life being used to this? The great Kensey Connor, the fucking hot Kensey Thunder. No, I get it. Don’t worry. I’m fucking used to it,” she snaps, dragging her panties on and searching through the rest of our clothes, tossing mine at me without looking up.
“It’s not...it just made me think of her for a moment, merde!” I groan, grabbing my shirt and pants but not putting them on. “Daze, you’re...a firecracker,” I begin only to have her turn and glare at me like she’d just been possessed by some kid of vengeful demon, her eyes narrowed, her lips pressed together in a thin line.
“Oh, you’re so romantic Max! A firecracker? Like I haven’t heard enough cracks about my hair growing up around the Pyatt’s and the Staals? Don’t say I’m pretty or even cute, but a firecracker...shit,” she growls and then shakes her head as she goes back to sliding her bra strap over her shoulder.
“That isn’t what I meant and you know it,” I grumble, dropping my head into my hands. “Kensey was looking fucking hot in that catsuit and I still came here with you and....” At the sound of a maniacal cackle that sounds like it could be coming from a Halloween special effects soundboard, I glance up to find Daze, now fully clothed, staring back at me in disbelief, hands on hips.
“Do you even listen to yourself?” she laughs and shakes her head. “Jesus I want to believe it’s some kind of ESL thing Max but I think it’s just that you think I should be fucking grateful for your attention or something. Well for your information, Super stud, I bet I can go down to the lobby right now and find someone else who will appreciate having sex with me!” And with that she turns and heads for the door and leaves me hopping from one foot to the other trying to get into my pants as I try to follow her out the door.
“You know that’s not what I meant, damn it woman!” I call after her, tugging my pants up and barely getting them zipped up before I fall flat on my face in the hallway while she storms down the hallway, walking faster than I thought her short, but sexy legs could carry her.
“I don’t know yet,” I feel Jordan’s breath on the back of my neck and it makes me shiver. I’m still looking at Marc and he’s staring at me like I’ve just stuck a meat cleaver straight into his heart. It makes my chest hurt and I can’t stop crying or shaking. I can feel Jordan looming behind me, and there’s a part of me that wants to reach back for his hand, to have the comfort of the feel of his skin on mine. There’s also another part of me that still wants to go to Marc. I feel like I’m being torn apart and not just into two pieces but more like a hundred and two. ? “Am I Kens? Do I have something to be happy about?” He doesn’t sound impatient, or angry, but the gentle brush of his fingertips at the back of my neck tells me wants an answer, and he wants it now.
“I...I...,” I don’t know the answer, or I do but am afraid to say it out loud. I feel like I’m about to let go of the only thing holding me together, tethering me to the ground and I’m afraid that when I let go...I’m afraid of what will happen.
“Okay you and me, have to talk, now!” It’s like I’ve been in some alternate universe and Daze’s hand locking around my wrist suddenly drags me back into reality. I don’t even get a chance to adjust as I find myself staggering behind her into the hotel room I’d just been in with Marc and then I’m sitting on the bed and she’s talking but I’m not hearing her. All I can think is that Marc hates me and Jordan loves me. That’s the only two thoughts in my head. “Hello? Earth to Kens? Did you hear anything I just said?”
“Ummm I guess not...no,” I admit, blinking as I look up at her. She’s still not in focus and her voice still sounds like it’s far away. “I’m sorry Daze...what happened? Where’s Max?”
“I thought you said he was some kind of fucking monster in the sack and he was just letting me be in control which is fine but...wait, what’s going on with you? Was that Jordan and Marc out there?” We both turn and look at the door and Jordan’s standing there, still half in the hallway, propping open the door. He’s not looking at Daze. He’s looking at me wearing a cautious half smile.
“Hey,” I whisper, feeling my mouth pulling itself into a grin.
“Hey,” he smiles back, and then closes the door, which for some reason makes me smile even wider, wide enough it almost makes my cheeks hurt.
“What did I miss?” Daze asks, looking from me to Jordy and back. “Fuck, did you finally grow a sac?” she asks, looking at him. “Did you tell her?” she asks, looking at me.
“No, not yet,” he replies, his gaze never leaving mine.
“Oh...oh fuck...and I’m just bitching about Max. I’ll leave you two alone,” she mumbles, moving to grab my old Peterborough Pete’s jersey to pull on over her bra.
“That’s okay Daze,” he says quietly, taking a couple of steps into the room, his gaze still holding mine. “It can wait.”
“Yeah, D, what’s up, what happened?” I ask, tearing my gaze away from Jordan’s to look at Daze who’s standing in front of me, staring at the two of us with this strange look on her face.
“Oh fuck, why does everything you do have to be more important than what I’m doing?” she snaps but she doesn’t sound or even look angry, just tired. Maybe a little fed up.
“Daze, seriously you have to believe me when I say....,” Max bursts through the door and then stops and looks at all of us in turn. “So have you told her?” he asks, looking straight at Jordan who just shakes his head, still wearing a quirky grin. “Tabernack mon ami, spit it out!” he laughs and then walks right past Jordan to grab a hold of Daze’s wrist in the same way she’d grabbed a hold of me. “And you, come with me. I’m not finished with you,” he growls and then starts to drag her behind him, with Daze protesting the entire way and looking back at me, like I should help, as if I’d be any kind of help to anyone right at this moment.
We both watch them go and then Jordan walks over to the door, turns the deadbolt and slides the chain across and then he turns back and leans against the door. For a moment he closes his eyes and blows out a long breath, leaning against his hands. Then, slowly, he raises his head and opens his sky blue eyes and looks over at me and smiles.
“So...you love me huh?”