Monday, June 23, 2008

PART NINE

I sighed quietly as the final buzzer sounded. The scoreboard displayed the ugly truth: Penguins 4, New Jersey 5. I waited a few minutes before heading for the locker room. Ordinarily, I would go straight home after a loss, because a room full of sullen hockey players was not a fun place to be. But tonight, Sid and I were going to a club with Colby, Marc-André, Jordan, Erik, Max, Geno, and their girlfriends. I guess that means I’m a girlfriend, too, I thought with a smile as I pushed the locker room door open.

Sid had already showered and changed into a navy suit and was surrounded by journalists. He gave me a small nod and I stood off to the side, out of the way.

“Good luck getting Darryl to go out tonight,” Colby muttered. My mood fell immediately. I was praying the Pens would win tonight, because I knew losses really brought Sidney down—almost dangerously so. Like I had noticed at the first home game, he took every win and loss extremely personally.

“I didn’t wear this outfit to go back to my apartment,” I shot back. I was wearing dark skinny jeans and a black low-cut v-neck top. I had overdone my makeup a little, but I justified it by telling myself it was a special ‘club look.’

The press began to filter out of the room and I approached Sid. He hadn’t moved from the bench in front of his locker and he was staring at his shoes.

“Ready to go?” I asked.

Sid shook his head. “I think I’m just going home.”

I shot Colby a look and he came to stand beside me.

“Sidney Patrick Crosby,” I said in a no-nonsense voice, crossing my arms across my chest. “Get your butt—”

“Your big butt,” Colby interjected, comically mimicking my pissed-off girlfriend stance. A small smile twitched across Sid’s face.

“—off that bench,” I continued.

“I’m really not in the mood for clubbing, Karine,” Sid replied flatly.

“Fine. Do what you want. But I’m going to Tré tonight. Maybe I’ll find someone fun to go home with.” I knew I had struck a low blow, but I wasn’t just being a bitch. I wanted Sid to go out and unwind a little. It wasn’t good for him to sit at home and analyze every play after a loss, which is what I knew he would be doing if I couldn’t drag him to the club.

I spun around and Colby draped his arm across my shoulders in a friendly way. “Let’s go, Blondie. We’ll get you laid tonight.” I smiled at Colby and mouthed, “Thanks.” Colby had done a magnificent job of being both Sid’s best friend and my partner-in-crime. He winked in reply.

“Wait,” Sid called.

Colby and I stopped in midstride. Between the both of us, we really knew how to push Sidney’s buttons.

“I just don’t want to stay out late, okay?” Sid said, intertwining his fingers with mine.

“That’s fine. I have work tomorrow anyway.” We walked hand in hand to his Range Rover.

“You, uh, wouldn’t actually leave with anyone else if I wouldn’t be coming, right?” Sid asked cautiously, like he was afraid of the answer.

I grinned and kissed his cheek. “Of course not. But listen, Sid, you really need to stop taking every loss so personally. You’re not the entire team. No one expects you to be. You guys play as a team, win as a team, and lose as a team. Stop beating yourself up. You’re doing everything you can.”

“Thanks for the pep talk, Coach,” he teased. I smiled and felt the mood in the car lighten dramatically.

We were the last of our group to arrive at the club. Tré was a brand new club in the strip district that had been a warehouse in a former life. Sid led me to a back entrance, where we were guided to the VIP area by a large bouncer. The VIP area was technically its own room, but it felt like part of the regular club because the walls were clear glass. Contemporary gray and black couches were spaced along the back and right wall, a private bar was positioned against the far left wall, and the rest was a spacious dance floor. The club was fairly crowded for a Wednesday night, but we were the only people in the VIP room.

I got myself a drink and joined Sid on one of the couches. He was quieter than usual, but I thought it was a huge accomplishment that I had even been able to get him to come. Even if I did do it by basically harassing him.

I felt my phone vibrate in the pocket of my jeans and looked at the ID. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I picked up anyway.

“Hello?”

“Karine, it’s Brad!” I had forgotten I’d given Brad my cell number after he had gone on a lunch run a few days ago and returned with Eel Roll. I loved sushi, but eel was just something I could not stomach. Brad had apologized and told me the sushi place didn’t have any California Roll left and he picked a random box. To avoid having to eat eel ever again, I gave him my number and told him to call if he wasn’t sure what to get me.

“Hi, Brad!” I stood up and moved to a corner where I could hear better. “What’s up?”

“Well, I’m at Tré right now, and I think I’m looking right at you. Are you in the VIP room?”

I glanced out into the general club area and tried to see him. I spotted him at the bar, sitting on a high stool and staring back at me. “Yeah, I can see you!” I gave him a wave and he waved back.

“How did you get in there?”

“I know some people,” I replied vaguely.

I felt Sid’s hand brush my back gently. “Who are you talking to?” he asked.

“Someone from work. He’s in the club, too,” I replied, cupping my hand over the speaker.

“Karine?” Brad sounded slightly frantic. “Are you with…Sidney Crosby?”

“Yeah,” I replied sheepishly. Sid still had his hand on my back, and I noticed he was peering out into the club, trying to figure out who I was talking to.

“No freaking way. Are you friends?”

“I have to go,” I cut him off quickly. I could tell Sid was getting a little pissed by the fact that I was talking to a guy, and Brad was annoying me. I flipped my phone shut and smiled at Sid.

“Were you talking to that blonde guy?” Sid asked, squinting and still staring into the club.

“Yeah. That’s Brad. He just wanted to say hi.”

“Oh.” I could tell by Sid’s tone of voice he wasn’t very happy.

I heard the opening notes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song “Phenomena” and gasped. “I love this song! Come on, let’s dance.” I tried to pull Sid onto the dance floor, glad for an excuse to change the subject.

“I can’t dance.”

“Everyone can dance.” After some encouragement from Max, Sid reluctantly allowed me to lead him to the dance floor.

“I really can’t, Karine.”

“Sure you can. Here,” I took his hands and placed them firmly on my hips and began to sway with the music. He stood about an arm’s length away from me and just stared at my lower body without moving. “Sidney,” I laughed, “you need to get closer.” I placed my hand on the back of his slightly sweaty neck and pulled him towards me. “See, it’s easy.” I put my other hand on his side and gently added pressure, guiding his body. He tentatively began move with me.

Suddenly, I was very aware of his body pressed against mine. A tingly warmth rushed through me and I buried my face in his neck. I could hear my frantic heartbeat pulsing in my ears, drowning out the music. Sid gripped my hips tighter and I could feel his breath hot against my neck. I ran my hand through his hair and pulled his face to mine. Our lips collided in a frenzy of frantic, hungry kisses. I wasn’t dancing anymore—suddenly my knees felt like Jello. I could hardly stand and the tingly warm feeling had evolved into what felt like a hot electric shock.

I heard someone, probably Colby, let out a high-pitched whistle. Sid broke apart from me and glanced over at his teammates bashfully. Colby, Jordan, and Erik had huge, stupid smiles on their faces. Colby gave me a discreet thumbs-up and I felt color rise to my cheeks. On the other hand, Max, Marc-André, and Geno looked absolutely shocked.

“I think we should go,” Sid said quietly, his mouth pressed against my ear. I nodded in reply and we quickly told everyone goodbye and exited the club.

I couldn’t even get my seatbelt fastened before Sid was attacking me with his lips again. “You are so fucking beautiful,” he murmured into my neck.

2 comments:

Madi! said...

I love this story! Write more!!

kemilyyyyy said...

wirte more now!!!!!!!!!!
please lol!!!!!!