Friday, March 25, 2011

Chapter 12

“You can’t quit the band to be a WAG.” Crushed isn’t even the right word for the way I feel about the announcement that my best friend has casually made over lunch, like she’s saying she wants to get her nails done, not break up something that’s been both of our whole lives for as long as I can remember.

“Oh c’mon Kens, you and I both know that I’m not really that good a drummer and besides,” she tilts her head to one side and continues to look across the table at me with this elfin grin that hasn’t left her face for a week, “it’s been in the cards for a while now. It’s not just about Max. This is about you.”

“This is our band Daze. That’s why it’s called Thunder Daze. It would be like sawing apart Siamese twins,” I grumble, stabbing at one of the fries on the plate with my fork. I’d really wanted them, and they’re the kind I like, steak cut all hot and salty, but suddenly I have no appetite.

“Maybe for a while it will be babe but I realized something when we did that last video. You’re Gwen Stefani and we’re No Doubt now. No one gives a shit about those guys. I mean, can you name one of them? No, and that’s what Duncs and me and JT are for you now. We’re just background. It’s Gwen Stefani and No Doubt if they even mention the name of the band and that’s exactly what’s gonna happen to us and, well, we all kind of know it. You’re the only one who doesn’t see it.”

If I hadn’t already gone off my Turkey Bacon club, having had a few home truths delivered up cold had turned me off completely. I pushed my food around on the plate and tried to ignore the rising panic that was making my stomach churn and threatening to send the few bites I’d managed so far up the way they’d gone down.

“You’re my partner,” I said quietly, still staring at my plate.

“I’m your security blanket and you’ve got Jordy for that now,” she corrected me. “Hey, I don’t mind, honest. I like being in a band but you know I’ve never really liked all the glam shit anyway. I’ll probably be happier playing in a garage band in Pittsburgh and I guarantee the record company will be happier not having to include the rest of us. Besides,” she added, reaching across the table for my hand, “you’re the writer, the composer, the face of the band. You don’t need the rest of us.” I couldn’t imagine not being on the road with her. I couldn’t imagine not seeing her all the time.

“I don’t know how you can just make a huge decision like this in like...two days,” I sigh, knowing that I’ve got his little girl hopeful expression on my face. Daze smiles and holds my hand in both of hers’.

“I just married the most randy hockey player of all time didn’t I?” she grins and at the same time leaves my argument punched full of holes.

“That you did my friend. That you fucking did.” 

“Way to let the fucking side down mon ami!” Laughing, Flower throws his arms around me and then it’s a massive bromance group hug with half the team piling on. “If you’re going to go to the dark side, what do I tell V?”

“What can I say? I had to do it,” I explain, holding up my hand so everyone can see the gold band on my finger. “I finally met a woman like that who calls me on my shit and keeps me up all night with the most amazing fucking sex ever. I couldn’t let her get away. Fuck, one of you might have got to her,” I add with a quick glance towards Tanger who just grins back like I was right for thinking of it.

“I guess you’ll be next huh Gronk?” Sid turns to Jordan who had followed me into the room.

“Hey, I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid,” he laughs and turns to hang his jacket up in his locker.

“Oh c’mon, you’ve been in love with that girl for years. Are you seriously going to stand there and tell us you’re not going to try and tie her down as soon as you can?” Jordan just raises an eyebrow at Sid and then turns to glare at me.
“What? We’re happy for you!” I laugh but he just rolls his eyes and turns his back.

“I’m not insecure like Talbo. I don’t need to put a ring on it for Kens to be mine,” he replies smugly.

“Yeah, how does Kensey feel about that?” I ask and watch as he edits the smart ass comment he begins to make and then starts to wonder what, exactly, I might mean by that.  “She wanted to marry your brother, remember that you big dork?” I watch as he blows out his big lips, making a sort of horse sounding noise and then scratches his head.

“Talbo has got a point Gronk,” Duper grins at him. “Come to the dark side Staalsy. I can’t wait until you have to get up to change diapers at three in the morning,” he adds with an evil sounding cackle. “Now we just have to work on Flower and Tanger.”

“Laissez moi sortir de cette!” Tanger cries and holds up his hands in front of his face.

“And don’t you go giving V any ideas!” Flower adds, pulling his mask on and holding his stick out like a barrier towards me, like maybe what I’ve done is catching. Funnily enough, the thoughtful look on Gronk’s face says that maybe it is. 


They all want to quit.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard her like this and it’s kind of pissing me off that she’s in Detroit and I’m in New York. This is when the whole long distance thing sucks. She sounds like she needs her boyfriend and I’m sitting in a restaurant waiting to see if my brother will show up.

“Just leave you on the road?” I ask, trying to picture either Duncan or Daze just leaving her high and dry and what kind of fight would have caused that, especially between her and Daisy.  I can’t actually remember the two of them ever fighting though, so it’s kind f hard.

No the end of the tour,” she sniffs and I can easily picture her nose turning red and her sea blue eyes filled with tears. “This is all Max’s fault,” she adds with a sob. My free hand curls into a fist. I know how long she’s wanted this but I also know something about Kens that most people don’t. She has stage fright, big time and I can’t imagine her going on stage with a bunch of strangers.

“And they all want to quit?” I ask as I remind myself to hide Max’s cup when I get back to the rink.

Do you ever just hate Sid for always being the poster boy?” she asks with a sigh and suddenly what she’s talking about becomes crystal clear.

“Well you are a fox babe,” I unclench my fist and reach for the ice water instead. “And yeah, sometimes we all get fed up being the backup singers to Prince Charming, but he gets pretty fed up with all the attention too.” I hear her heave another sigh but at least it sounds like she’s getting her tears under control. “I wish I was there with you,” I add, knowing that just a look, just a squeeze of her hand can go a long way to making me feel better when I’m feeling like a shit. Guess that should have clued me in that she was the one a long time ago.

So is he there yet?” she asks quietly.

“No, not yet.” I glance towards the door, looking for his ginger hair. No sign yet.

I’m glad he agreed to see you. I was worried that he would never speak to either of us again.” I can hear the smile in her voice. I wish I was relieved. I haven’t ordered any food because I’m still pretty sure that Marc might just be coming to kill me. “Have you told Eric or Jared yet?”

“Jared’s fine with it. Whatever, he called it a long time ago. Eric...he says he’ll reserve judgement until Marc forgives me.” She makes a noise; not yes or no, it’s just a noise but it’s covering for something else, probably something she’d like to say about my stick in the mud brother but won’t. My Kens has always been careful like that, always careful about coming in between me and my brothers. “You know I choose you right? Whatever Marc or Eric say, I choose you.”

I love you Jordan.” I grin and get that feeling in the pit of my gut again. I’m really not ever gonna get tired of hearing that. I open my mouth to tell her that I feel the same when a giant hand comes into hard contact with the back of my head.

“I uh...I gotta go babe. I’ll call you later.” Marc slides into the seat across from me and rolls his eyes.

“It’s babe already? Fuck.”

“He’s there, isn’t he?” she asks as I flip him the bird. “Well good luck. You’ve got i.d. on you right? In case he tosses you in the East River? I don’t want to have to come all that way to i.d. your body.”

“They’d probably call Eric, he’s closer anyway. Gotta go. Bye.” I end the call and then lay my iPhone on the table.

“That was Kens, I assume,” Marc begins. I nod, wondering if he’s going to pick up the glass of ice water in front of him and chuck it at me. The back of my head is throbbing just a bit. “How is she?” I start to say ‘fine’ but decide that she wouldn’t want me to do that.

“Actually she’s a little upset...sounds like the rest of the band ‘s a little sick of just being background,” I explain. Marc nods and looks thoughtful for a moment.

“She’ll hate losing Daze. Did she really marry your buddy Max?” he asks, raising his eyebrows.

“She did yeah. How fucked up is that?” We both grin and he shakes his head and then turns to call the waiter over before he turns back to me. “You gonna marry Kens?”

“I think so...yeah.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chapter 11

I know, I know, it's been a while but someone has had mid terms and has been hogging the damn computer but I hope this will help to make up for the wait. Oh and just a note on the French, I was going to send it to someone to check but I didn't forward the email to this pc, my bad, so sorry for any mistakes

“Say something else.” Twining a strand of her garnet coloured hair around my finger, I stare up at the ceiling and realize that I’m grinning like a kid getting a puppy on Christmas morning.

“Que voulez-vous me dire?” I chuckle, wincing a little as Daze stopped playing with my chest hair and grabbed a handful and tried to tug it out instead.

“Something sexy,” she insists, training those clover green eyes of hers’ on me and I can’t help but push my luck.

“Quelque chose de sexy.” I know the moment I say it I’m going to be punished and I don’t care. I don’t care what she does to me as long as I don’t go to sleep and miss out on any of the time we have left. With a feral cry of protest she straddles me and pins my arms to the bed, or I let her think she does anyway. Truth be told, I could easily throw her off and turn the tables, but why would I? She looks so amazing there, like some kind of Celtic warrior with her hair like a fiery halo around her head and the tribal tats on her muscular arms reminding me that she’d not like any of the weaker sex I’ve ever had the pleasure of having in my bed. This one can, and does, fight back.

“Okay, so tell me something sweet and don’t,” she adds, digging a finger painfully into the centre of my chest, “say quelque chose de sucré.”

“Tu parles français mon petite, c’est bien,” I tell her, reaching forward to run my fingers up the soft, smooth skin of her thighs. “Ton peau est si douce, si pale. Tue s comme la lune et comme le soleil en même temps.” The cat like glow of her eyes settles down into a dull flicker as she slides her hands up to my shoulders and then slowly settles herself on top of me, her soft round breasts pressing against my chest as she nearly comes nose to nose with me.

“That’s better,” she whisper, her lips so close and yet too far away to kiss. “Now say something else.”

“Tue s un peu coquine exigeants, mais très jolie,” I tell her, reaching up to brush her hair back from her face. I almost expect it to burn my fingers, the way she’s already burned her way into my soul. “Je pense que je suis en amour avec toi.” It’s out before I can edit it, before I can take it back and I know the minute her saucy little smile is exchanged for an expression of stunned silence that I can’t hope that she doesn’t know what I’ve said. “Maybe it’s crazy,” I continue, half in fear that she’ll grab all of her stuff and go charging out into the hall again, “but tell me you don’t feel something too.”

“Yeah’’re Mad Max, you don’t have feelings,” she says in this shocked voice that barely disguises the trembling in her voice that gives away her true feelings. She goes to push up and away from me but I wrap her in my arms and roll us over until my entire body is pinning hers’ to the bed.

“Am I such a monster ma petite that you have to run from me? What if I do have feelings, hmmm? What if I were to say vous avez volé mon âme?” She stares up at me with this adorably defiant pout and then turns her gaze from mine.

“I don’t know what you just said so if you’re just teasing me, you can stop now. You’re hurting my feelings.” I try not to but I end up laughing as I press my lips to her cheek, the shell of her ear and the quick pulse beating just under the skin of her neck.

“I do not tease, mon petit chaton. I think it’s you who is the tease here. I am bearing my soul to you and you will not even look at me.” I wait until she slowly, reluctantly turns her pretty face back and then I capture it in my hands. “C’est mieux. Now, you’ve stolen my heart, ma déesse celtique, so what are we going to do about it?” 

It’s a game changer. It’s like making it through a double minor five on three and then popping in a shortie. As we lie there in the dark, me staring up at the ceiling with my arm around her, her cheek on my chest, her fingers splayed on my skin, I know that my life is going to be different from now on. I think I should be scared. I’m not. I’m actually way too fucking calm and that’s what scares me. Not that there will never be another woman in my bed. I’ve had my share and I always knew that when I made this choice that this would be it, no more fucking around with faceless sluts, no more one night stands, no more bailing from strange rooms in the middle of the night. One woman, forever and that’s okay with me. After all, as I look down at her dark hair falling across my arm and she turns those crazy aquamarine blue eyes at me, I can’t help but think, how could anything be better than this?

“Hey,” I kiss the top of her head and she snuggles closer, making one of those happy little kitten sounds and that makes me smile. Yeah, Gronk might be off the market but that isn’t what has me awake right now.

I’m just wondering if my brother will ever speak to me again.


“Mon ami, Staaalsy are you awake in there?”  I groaned. Kens giggled and pulled the sheets up over her head.

“If you’ve run out of condoms, you’ll have to walk to the store. I’m out,” I called back, which made Kensey snort as she dug her fingers into my ribs causing me to squirm.

“Don’t be a dick!” He called back and I grudgingly reminded myself that I had caught him and Daze in the act.

“Hold on,” I grumbled and reached for the last two remaining condoms left from the strip he’d given me earlier. I’d had plans for these, like in the morning and then maybe in the shower. I guess I’ll be the one making the trip to the nearest 7-11 before I go to sleep. “Now you’re just showin’ off,” I snap as I pull the door open to find not only Max but Daze in the hallway with him. “ offence man, and I know we’ve done it before but...I’m not into sharing Kens,” I mutter, keeping my voice low as I glance over my shoulder. I really don’t want to know if Kens is into it.
“No offence man, but been there, done that,” Max leans forward and whispers with that ‘I’m totally fucking with you’ look on his face.  “Where’s Kens? We have an announcement.” I stand there like a mannequin while he brushes by me, tugging Daze behind him. I stare after him, wondering if anyone would actually arrest me for killing him.

“Max...Daze, I’m so glad you’re here.” The sarcasm that drips from Kensey’s lips makes me smile.

“We’re getting married.” I’ve often said that nothing, and I do mean nothing, Max could say or do would surprise me anymore and yet I find myself staring at him with my mouth hanging open. I turn to Kensey, hoping she’ll say or do something that will make sense but she just sits there in the bed with the sheets pulled up loosely around her, watching him expectantly like what he’s just said isn’t completely outrageous. She doesn’t look like she’s concerned about her modesty, but then, I remind myself, Daze has probably seen her naked a hundred times and then there’s Max.... “Look, I’m not stupid. I’ve been with some women in my life...,” he waits for us to make a comment but I’m still too stunned to speak and Kens merely raises her eyebrow at him. “Okay, a lot of women, but I know when I’ve met my match,” he adds, turning and laying a gentle kiss on Daze’s forehead. She beams up at him like he’s the most amazing thing in the entire world. I think I’m gonna be sick.

“So what are you gonna do? Fly down to Vegas tonight?” Kens asks, like she’s actually interested in the answer.

“No,” Daze grins up at Max as she wraps her arms around his chest. “There’s a place, a wedding Chapel in Germantown that can take care of it all. We looked on line. They’ll even do the paperwork to waive the three day waiting period.”

“I think a waiting period might be a good idea,” I mutter and then everyone turns towards me like I’ve just pissed in the punch. “What? Oh c’mon, you guys just met.”

“That’s not strictly true,” Daze purrs and closes her eyes as she lays her cheek against Max’s chest.

“She’s had a thing for him ever since you became a Pen J-boy,” Kens smiles up at me and holds her hand out, inviting me back to bed. “They’re adults. It’s their decision. Ours is not to question why but...I’m guessing to stand up for you as your witnesses?” She looks from Daze to Max as I walk around them, careful not to get too near. I may have decided that I’m off the market but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to sign over half of everything I own tonight.

“You will, mon ami? Pour moi, s’il vous plaît?” 

“This is so against everything I stand for,” Jordan grumbles as I pin a corsage onto his sweatshirt. They had suits to rent but none of them fit the wide shoulders and thick, muscular legs of a hockey player, so a corsage is the best I can do to dress him up.

“I had no idea you were anti- marriage,” I muse, smoothing the thick cotton material across his chest. “That might change things.”

“That’s not what I meant. I meant for him, for Max...not me,” he mumbles, sounding deadly serious which makes me smile, but I don’t look up at him, don’t let him see that I think it’s funny that he’s suddenly as nervous as a virgin on grad night.
“Mmm is that so?” Pressing my hands flat against the solid wall of his stomach, I turn my gaze up to meet his and my knees buckle, just a little. He’s got that expression on his face again, thunder and lightning making his blue eyes gray.

“This isn’t a joke,” he snarls and my heart races. I’ve rarely seen my Jordy so serious and I can only remember him looking this... agitated once; when he watched me walk away from him to his brother. I’d been too hurt and angry to think of it as sexy then but now....

“I honestly don’t think that either of them thinks that this is a joke. I think they’re just both really...I guess emotional people and they know what they want and they’re just going for it,” I explain but just as I go to take my hands back he grabs both of my arms by the wrists and clamps down, hard.

“Are you saying you don’t think I know what I want?” he asks in a voice that’s both hoarse and at the same time thick with emotion as his storm filled eyes search mine. I think about pushing the easy button and lightening the mood with some flippant comment that will ease the tension of the moment but then I decide that even when it’s hurt like hell I’ve always been honest with him, so why start with the half truths and white lies now?

“I’m saying I don’t know how you feel Jordan,” I whisper, as I wonder why it is that I like the feel of his fingers digging into the thin skin of my wrists.

“I said that I love you,” he hisses back at me as I stare down at his long, thick fingers.

“No,” I correct him, looking back up into those blue eyes of his. “I said it for you and you’re the one who thinks this is a joke.” I watch his nostrils flare as he takes a deep breath and then he uses his grip on me to pull me against him right before he presses his mouth down over mine in a bruising kiss that bends my back to the point where I’m relying on his vice like grip on my wrists to stop me from falling.

“I do love you,” he growls, his lips barely lifted from mine, “and I don’t plan on taking the rest of our lives together lightly.” My heart soars, beating so hard in my chest I assume he can not only hear it but must be able to see it too as he now gently pulls me upright and wraps his big, strong arms around me. “I told you, I’m not letting you go, not now, not ever. Get it through that thick skull of yours woman.”

“Hey, hey, I’m the one getting married here.” We both turn to look at Max who has managed to squeeze himself into a shiny sort of grey suit that looks like it was lifted from the set of The Sopranos, complete with a glossy purple tie. I have no doubt in my mind that Daze will love it.  

“Speaking of which, I should get to your lady love. Make sure she hasn’t come to her senses and run off,” I grin at Max before quickly turning to offer my lips up to Jordan, one more time. This time the kiss he offers is soft and quick, more of a peck really, but the look in his eyes says that there will be more, later.

As if there was any doubt. 

“Don’t look at me like that.” Which is really Jordan not looking at me at all. “So you and Kens eh mon ami? All good? À nouveau ensemble?”

“Yeah...yeah I guess,” he answers, staring after Kens, although she’s gone, out of sight. I understand what he’s feeling. I just want Daze to be back with me. I want to hold her hand and kiss her...yeah...I really, really want to kiss her.

“You think I’m nuts, don’t you?” Jordan glances over at me and then back at the doors through which Kensey walked through.

“Maybe a little, yeah,” he replies with a shrug and then finally turn and faces me. “ don’t really know her. I mean, Daze is...she’s...she’s cool It’s like...the opposite of you,” he mumbles and then shakes his head before shrugging his massive shoulders again. “I mean...whatever man, I’m not gonna tell you what to do or whatever but...I’ll just have to kill if you hurt her, y’know?” I nod and for a minute it feels like the tension is finally easing but then he gets that serious look on his face and I know that I’m not going to get off that easy. “You’re not just doing this because of Kris are you?” I shake my head. It would be easy to say that, that because it seems like me and TK are the last single guys left on the team, but it’s not.

“You know how they say you’ll know, tu sais?” He nods but doesn’t look enthused about where I’m going with this. “Je sais. I thought it was total bullshit too, mais...then I felt it and I don’t want to stop feeling it. You understand...I mean you feel the same, oui?” After heaving a huge sigh and another glance towards the still closed double doors, he nods.

“Yeah, I’m totally fucked,” he replies and then he looks over at me and even though I can see fear in his blue eyes, he’s smiling. “Fucking women,” he adds, shaking his head.

I’m about to open my mouth to say something along the lines of ‘can’t live with them, can’t live without them when the door opens and Kensey is standing there in this little black strapless number. Before, even a few days ago, that would have held my full attention but not tonight...or is it this morning? Now all I can see is Daze in simple white lace sleeveless dress with a black velvet ribbon at her waist and all of her carrot coloured  glory piled up behind a simple black velvet headband and my mouth goes dry and my palms get sweaty and all of a sudden I’m grinning like someone’s about to hand me the Stanley fucking Cup.