Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chapter 7

Hey All!! Loving the feedback on the poll... I knew there were more of you out there reading!! You've been caught! haha. Anyway, I will be closing out my little poll when I get back on Tuesday and let you all know which story I will be posting.  If it's not your pick that gets posted, don't worry because I will be posting all of the stories somewhere along the way!!

Anyway, I wanted to post this, this AM, but I didn't have this finished until later on during the day... Sorry to keep you all waiting. I hope you enjoy the song too, it's one of my favorites and it fits just perfectly!!

Oh! And one more thing before the main event.  It's a holiday weekend (Happy Canada Day!! and of course Happy 4th of July!) which means I'm heading North and that equals no computer nor phone service (thank GOD)... but I'm going to see if I can't sweet talk one of my chicas into posting Chapter 8 on Sunday... it's not proofread or tweeked, otherwise I'd schedule it... so I will finish that up tomorrow and hopefully you can look for it on Sunday... if not, I'm sorry, but you'll be waiting until Tuesday!!

Something always brings me back to you.
It never takes too long.
No matter what I say or do I'll still feel you here 'til the moment I'm gone.

You hold me without touch.
You keep me without chains.
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain.

Set me free, leave me be. I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be.
But you're on to me and all over me.

Ch. 7

“Stay right here!  I will be right back to countdown the New Year with you!” Sidney smiled happily, letting his hands fall from my sides for the first time in over an hour of dancing together.  After asking a couple people who were close to him within the last year, my question on if he was gay or not was finally put to rest with an invite to spend the night with him after everyone left.  I informed him sweetly that I was unable to, but thanked him politely as my inner monologue was screaming out, “What?! Are you Crazy?!” Despite the fact of declaring numerous times over the past several years that I wanted to be in line to marry Canada’s Most Eligible Bachelor, I was in no way comfortable being a one night stand with the Captain of James’ team, nor had I ever been the type to cheat on my boyfriend.  The guy isn’t that dreamy and I’m not that kind of girl, even with all the alcohol bubbling through my veins at the moment. 

They started the countdown and I saw Sidney come down the stairs with a whole bottle of expensive champagne in his hands.  I was smiling at him until I noticed the dark clothed man following him down the steps.

His hair was shorter than the last time I ran my fingers through it, but it was obvious I would still be able to thread them through it.  It was purposely tousled, giving him the preppy look when it was coupled with the form-fitting black knit sweater he was wearing.  His dark, custom jeans accentuated his ass and strained perfectly across his thighs as he walked down the steps.  I froze when I felt his eyes train on me.  My body burned and I shivered when I finally worked up the nerve to look him in the eyes.

“Happy New Year’s!” everyone yelled out in unison, but I was unable to move or speak.

She looked nothing like my dreams, probably for the simple fact that in the 2 months we were together, I am 100% sure she never dressed like this.  The dress looked like it had been sewn onto her body.   Her hair was longer with layers that framed her lightly make-up painted face.  Her dark brown eyes were sparkling with anticipation and surprise.

After a minute of staring at each other, Sidney finally found her and he was obviously too drunk to realize that we were lost in another time and place.

“Nealer! Meet Hanna!” he said loudly, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her against him.

I clenched my jaw, taking everything I had not to punch my friend for touching Hanna before I could even touch her.  “Hanna,” I nodded politely, offering her my left hand to shake, hoping she’d notice I still wore the same matching bracelet she was wearing that I had made her almost a year ago.  She glanced down, looking slightly confused on why I was shaking her hand with my left one, but soon she reached out with her right hand to lightly finger the floss bracelet on my wrist, still holding tightly to my hand.  I then lifted her hand and pressed my lips softly to the top of it.  “You look beautiful.”

“You don’t look bad yourself, Neal,” she flashed a smile.  “Happy New Year,” she whispered, taking a step towards me and placing a chaste kiss on my cheek.  I could feel the heat radiating from her body and was intoxicated by the faint smell of vanilla on her skin.  As she began to pull back, I wrapped an arm around her waist and drew her to me like I had that night we first made love at her apartment in Dallas.  She left out a surprised breath and looked searchingly into my eyes.

“Hanna,” I mouthed right before pressing my lips to hers.  Her lips felt like home and I could have sworn I saw the two wonderful months we spent together flash through my mind.  I shivered as her fingers tips pressed to the back of my neck and into my hair.  My hands were firmly holding her against the whole length of my body and I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to be able to let go.

“Geesh, Nealer!  You sure do know how to step up the game!” Staal yelled close by, pulling me back into reality and ending the deep, endeavoring kiss.  I kept my arms around Hanna, keeping her against me while I turned to find a drunk Sid scowling and Jordan nodding proudly.

“I think we need to talk,” Hanna whispered lightly in my ear.

I nodded and allowed her to step back from me.  She moved over to Sid, kissed him on the cheek and whispered something into his ear.  His scowl melted away and he just smiled and nodded.  He gave her a quick hug, kissed her on the cheek and then winked at me.  As much as I wanted to know what she said, there was a lot more I wanted to talk to her about, so I took her hand and led her upstairs and to an empty guest room, locking the door behind me.

My mind was racing a million miles a minute and I felt light headed as he led me up the steps.  There were so many things I wanted to say and so many things I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure which one was more important.  However, it seemed James already had a plan.

I was standing in front of the bed, with my hands at my sides, nervously flexing and unflexing them as I looked at the floor.  I was staring at the top of his shoes when his hand gently lifted my face.

“Something interesting down there?” he smiled playfully at me.

“No, not really…” I smiled back.  “I-I didn’t know you would be here…Matt didn’t tell me whose house we were going to for the party…”

“Would you have still come if you knew I would be here?” he asked seriously.

I paused for a moment and answered truthfully.  “I don’t know.”

He nodded his head once and looked intently at me.  I could tell his mind was also racing.  I flinched in surprise when his large hand cupped my cheek.  “There are so many things I want to say to you, but then again there are so many things I want to do to you…” he laughed nervously.

“Well, how about I just tell you now that it is probably safer if we just talk because I am not a single woman,” I spoke, truly unaware how I was able to get the words out.  I was going to be truthful with him because lies were only going to make things worse for both of us.

A look of surprise flashed across his face as he nodded but his hand did not leave my cheek and I could have sworn it was going to burn a hold through my skin.  “So you are with Matt,” he said quietly.

“No, actually I’m not.  Matt is my best friend, we met over in Sweden.  I’m seeing one of the guys in Glen Falls.”

“How long?”

“For a few months.”

“Is it serious?”

“I like him a lot.”

“Do you love him?”

I had to look away when I answered him.  “We are taking it slow.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” he chuckled sadly, finally dropping his hand from my cheek.  He turned and began pacing back and forth like an unsettled leopard.  The tension in the room was unbearable and all I could do was sit down on the side of the bed and drop my head in my hands.  I gulped in a few breaths and left out a quiet sob, willing myself not to cry.  This was not at all how I pictured our reunion.  We should have been naked and intertwined in one another by now.  If I didn’t have the respect and feelings for Mike, I would have let that all happen, but I was not that kind of girl.  I did not cheat on people I was seeing and I would definitely not do that to Mike.  It would be unfair.  So yeah, my first love was locked in the same room with me, but it didn’t change the situation between us.  We were still in two different places.

I was about to blurt this out when my cell phone began blaring obnoxiously.  James stopped and looked at me as I answered it.


“Happy New Year, Baby Girl!!!!!!!” he yelled into the phone. 

I couldn’t help but smile sadly into the phone when I replied.  “Happy New Year, Mike.”

“What’s wrong?” he immediately said.  “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I answered, totally not wanting to get into a conversation about the current situation.  I looked up to find James looking sadly at me.  He then turned, unlocked the door and walked out, leaving me alone in the room with Mike persistent that I needed to talk to him because it definitely did not sound like I was okay.  Damn him for being so perceptive.

“Yo!  Neal!  You leaving?”  someone yelled as I grabbed my coat.  Soon the person was standing next to me and I realized it was Matt Murley.  “Where is Hanna?”

“She’s upstairs on the phone with Mike,” I informed him through clenched teeth.  I turned to walk out the door, but he grabbed onto my arm, stopping me.

“What did you expect?  She had to move on.”

“It’s none of your damn business.  You don’t know shit,” I snapped, surprising myself because I didn’t normally become nasty to people I didn’t know.

“See, that’s where you have it all wrong.  It is my business because I was the one that had to keep her smiling when all she wanted to do was cry after you broke it off.  I was the one who had to listen to how much she was in love with you and how she couldn’t live without you.  I was the one who had to listen to all that shit when I myself had fallen for her.  So don’t stand here and tell me I don’t know shit,” he hissed.

“Oh, so you want to rub it in my face that you slept with my girl?” I growled, taking a step into his personal space, suddenly feeling like I needed to punch something.  Before Matt could even begin to make excuses or push me away, Hanna was between us.

She pushed me backwards, grabbed my wrist and pulled me outside into the cold, snowy night, slamming the door behind her.  “What the fuck is your problem?!” she cried.  “Now you have not only made me look like some tramp, but you’ve also made a complete ass out of yourself!  I don’t need to say this, but I will because I don’t want you to think bad of Matt.  He’s my best friend.  We did not sleep together even though I probably had more than my fair amount of chances.  If you are pissed off because we aren’t upstairs in that bedroom making up for the past year, then get over yourself.  For you to think I am a slut who cheats on their boyfriend is real low, Neal.  I figured you thought more of me than that,” she hissed, the steam coming from her breath making her seem like she was a fire breathing dragon.

She was right.  I overstepped my boundaries and I should understand and be respectful of the fact that she was seeing someone else.  I ran my fingers through my hair, only to find that it was covered in snow because it was coming down harder and harder.  That was when I realized she was standing out in the cold without a coat.  I quickly slipped off my coat and attempted to wrap it around her but she dodged out of the way.  “Hanna, I’m sorry,” I pleaded.  “I’ve been an absolute wreck since you left for Europe…”

“You’re not the only one who suffered.”

I sighed, knowing she still very agitated.  “I know this, but it’s not like you put up a fight when I said about splitting…”

“What did you expect me to say?!” she yelled, the fire burning in her eyes.  “Oh, James, I know you don’t want to keep this going, but let’s just stay together anyway and pretend this is all going well…  It wasn’t the right time and now obviously isn’t the right time,” she finished, tears streaming down her face.

“But what if we made this the right time,” I spoke hoarsely.  “Can you stand here and tell me you don’t love me?”

She looked up at me and stared for a moment.  “No, I can’t,” she said firmly before turning and walking back into the house, leaving me outside to wonder if she meant that we couldn’t make this the right time or if she couldn’t not say she loved me.

I had to walk away.  I couldn’t give him the right answer.  I couldn’t tell him I loved him because it wasn’t the right time and I obviously had some things to fix.  I was glad he didn’t follow me back into the house and I was even more glad that Matt was there waiting to hold me while I cried in a dark corner of Sid’s house.  It wasn’t long after that we left and headed back to the hotel.  The next morning I flew to Philadelphia just as Mike and I had planned.  The beautiful snow covered land made me yearn for the simplicity it portrayed.  After staring out the window for a while, I leaned back, closed my eyes and focused on my next step.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Reader's Poll

Hey All!!

I was thinking the other day... I have several other stories that I have yet to publish on Blogger and I know some have asked about other players (because if you haven't figured it out, I write about all the one's that barely get attention.) I was going to put up a poll thing on the right, but it won't let me put more than 4 choices up, so you are just going to have to put your 2 cents in the comments of this post!! So get at it... I'll tally it up myself (I promise to formulate an absolute awesome math formula to make it all happen) in about a week and go from there!!

So basically your choices are the following:

Carey Price
Steven Stamkos
Marc Savard
Joffrey Lupul
Mike Richards
Bobby Ryan

Vote in the comments!!

Chapter 6

Keeping up with posting every other day!! YAY me!

Another DMB song on tap today for the soundtrack... I'm still in that mood and it's so hard not to get lost in this tune.  This is version is just Dave and Tim again from Radio City.  Enjoy reading and listening. Oh! And don't be too mad at me for ending this Chapter where I'm ending it... how else am I supposed to get you to come back and check it out?! LOL

All at once the ghosts come back reeling in you now
oh, Tell me What if they came down crashing
It used to be that you and me played for
All of the loneliness that nobody noticed until now
I'm begging slow I'm coming here
I’m only waiting

I wanted to stay
I wanted to play
I wanted to love you

I'm only this far
And only tomorrow leads the way
I'm coming waltzing back and moving into your head

Ch. 6

“Well at least the Phantoms have one good looking thing going for it!” a very familiar voice rang out down the hallway of the Mohegan-Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  I was walking down the hall with Rowe, going over an idea that two of us had come up with for a prank video when I heard him.

“Matty!” I squealed, spinning around and jumping into his arms.  “Oh my gosh, what are you doing here?!!” I continued in a high pitch voice, not even noticing some team members of the Baby Pens looking at me like we were crazy.

“I came here in hopes to see this awesome Media/Communications Director that I’ve been hearing so much about.  She has supposedly single handedly turned around a struggling franchise in Glen Falls and everyone raves about her game night playlists and funny internet jaunts,” he smiled, laying it on think.

I slapped at him and shook my head.  “Shut the fuck up, you are such a god-damn suck-up!”

“Hi, I’m Matt Murley,” he grinned at Andrew, jutting out his hand in an attempt to stop me from giving him shit.  Of course it worked.

Once introductions were done, Andrew excused himself to the locker room, leaving me alonde in the hall with Matt.  “So what are you really doing here?” I turned and asked Matt.

“I’ve been spending some time in the Burgh with some friends and I thought it would be nice to come check out the baby team.  Oh, and I noticed who they were playing, so I thought it was an even better excuse to see my favorite girl,” he smiled and pulled me into a tight hug.  “So things are going well?”

“Yeah,” I drew out.  “The job is going amazing…”

“But life isn’t?” he raised an eyebrow.

I shrugged my shoulders, not really wanting to get into the whole discussion about Mike and me.  After my slip of my tongue in my sleep the other week, tensions were up a bit.  We were still “together,” but I finally had to come clean about James to him and he was more than a little disappointed in the fact that I didn’t feel the need to talk to him about it sooner.  He looked at it as a trust issue.  I on the other hand saw it as something in the past, but in all reality it was still a present issue.  I glanced down at my black and olive green bracelet and looked back up at Matt and smiled sadly.  “I’m kind of seeing one of the guys on the team…” I said quietly, feeling lightly strange talking about it in front of the two super-star strangers.

About an hour later, I was sitting in one of the suites with Matt, watching our teams duke it out.

“So who is the guy?” Matt whispered towards the end of the 1st period.

“Mike Testwuide,” I answered quietly.

“Who’s J. Testwuide?” he asked, nodding to JP who was just getting back to the bench from his shift.

“That’s Mike’s older brother and one of my roommates.  I live with Mike, Andrew, JP and Ben Holstrom.  However, both Ben and Mike are in Philly right now.

“Well then you have some company to keep you occupied,” Matt chuckled.

“Yeah, I feel like a den mother sometimes.”

“I’m sure.”

“So what’s the deal with you and Mike?”

“Well, I kind of didn’t tell him about James and then I kind of said something about him when I was sleeping with Mike…”

“Oh, that sounds really baaaaad.”

“Yeah, tell me about it,” I laughed pathetically.  “We’re just taking things slow.”

“Why isn’t he playing tonight?”

“He’s playing in Philly right now.  I have a sneaky suspicion he just might stay up with the big club for the rest of the season…he’s doing really well,” I said proudly, unable to keep myself from smiling.  I really was proud and happy for him, despite the fact that I missed my best friend and still felt bad that things weren’t progressing like they should be due to my stupidity.

“I see,” Matt smiled politely.  We went back to talking about how his high school coaching was going and out of the blue he took my hands and looked intently at me.  “What are you doing for New Year’s Eve tomorrow?”

I gave him a curious look.  “Um, nothing.  I was just planning on hanging out with the guys…I’m heading to Philly on the 1st to spend some time with Mike and then catch the Winter Classic the next day…”

“Good, then you are coming with me to a party!” he exclaimed.

“What?  Where?!”

“It’s at a friend’s house.  You need a change of scenery for the evening and we need to celebrate another year in hope’s it plays out even better than this one!”

I bit my lip.  “I don’t know…” I started slowly.

“Doesn’t matter.  I’m kidnapping you.  You have no choice.”

“I know what happened in Europe when I had no choice in things,” I shook my head and groaned.

“Yup, and you had the time of your life so it’s going to be awesome!”

New Year’s 2012.  Where has the time gone?!  Even though I had some amazing memories from the past year, I was looking forward to another year in hopes it wouldn’t be the tilt-a-whirl this had been.

I finally found my scoring touch and found a niche of comfort with my new team.  Sidney was back to original form and we complimented each other perfectly.  The Penguins were sitting comfortable in the Eastern Conference Standings, looking like the strong contender we were expecting to be.

Tonight I was toasting to new beginnings and to forget the one’s that haunted my dreams.

I thought about this while I got dressed and looked at my new hair cut in the mirror.  It had been a while since my hair had been this short.  I couldn’t really bring myself to cut it after Hanna said she liked it long, but it was a new year and I needed a new me.

Sidney was having a huge blow-out party at his house.  Supposedly there was going to be ample amount of women to go around.  Max and Staal were telling stories around the locker room about how they had been recruiting women for the last week and a half after Sid gave them permission to invite a few ladies to mingle.  However, I’m fairly sure Sidney didn’t expect them to invite every girl from every one of the bars in Pittsburgh.  I wouldn’t mind having someone to ring in the New Year with, but one had to be slightly wary of anything Max and Jordan found to be “worthy.”  There was no way to know what the criteria was to be invited, including what kind of favors were given in return.

You could hear the music pouring out of the house as I walked up the sidewalk with snowflakes falling and framing the large home.  I stepped into the foyer and was immediately greeted by the two “women recruiter’s” automatically, giving me the lay of the land and which women they thought I should check out immediately.

“There was this brunette beauty that came in with Matt Murley and he insisted she was not his girlfriend, which gives the okay for you to hit on.  She’s smoking hot and it wearing this tight, short, satin, navy blue dress that is pleated to hug all the right curves she’s packing.  It’s a one shoulder type dress; believe me buddy you won’t be able to miss her!” Jordan practically drooled.

I laughed.  “And why aren’t you going after her?”

“Because I’m already lined up with at least three beauties tonight and there just isn’t enough of me to go around,” he scoffed, popping the collar of his shirt.

I looked over at Max and raised an eyebrow.  “And your excuse?”

“Oh, don’t worry, she’s already on my list of midnight kisses, but I’m thinking I might end up fighting Crosby for her,” he nodded his head over towards the direction Sid was.  I turned and noticed him laughing, but I all I could see was a sliver of the blue dress Jordan gushed about.  It was evident Crosby was enjoying her company, along with the guy I assumed was Matt Murley, because I could hear Sid’s distinct laugh even over all the guests and music.

“Well, if the Captain already has a bead on her, what other options do I have?” I asked with a smile.  The way these guys were obsessed with women always made me laugh.

“There’s a red-head right over there that looks like she is in need of a drink,” Jordan motioned while not so gently pushing me towards her direction.  I talked with the very nice red-head, but I quickly lost my interest when she talked about how she was in nursing school at Pitt.  So, for the next hour I mingled with various teammates and guests before heading downstairs to the make-shift dance floor.  It was packed.  There had to have been almost 100 people in the house, making it challenging to move around.

“Oops! Sorry!” Sid yelled loudly after he bumped into me, almost causing me to spill my beer.

“No problem bud, it’s your house, not mine,” I yelled back with a smile.  “Having fun?!”

“Fuck yeah.  My buddy, Matt Murley brought this amazing brunette…”

“Yeah, Jordy said she’s a looker,” I chuckled, following upstairs with him to grab another drink.  Midnight was coming soon and I wanted to make sure I had some champagne to toast with.

“She’s fucking hot and seems really down to earth.  She works for one of the AHL teams in NY, but I can’t remember which one at the moment,” he laughed.

“Where is she?” I asked, looking around.

“Downstairs with Murley, she didn’t want to come off the dance floor, so I figured I’d just grab a bottle of champagne and take it along downstairs with me instead of worrying about glasses,” he said as if he was being overly daring.  In all actuality he was being daring for him.  Every now and then the creature could get loose, and tonight was one of those nights.  He grabbed a bottle and motioned for me to come back downstairs.  “There are a few girls down here who are going to need some loving at midnight…” he giggled like a school girl.

I just shook my head and followed him downstairs.  We were pushing through the throngs of people when the countdown began.


“Over here Nealer!”


“Shit! I don’t know where she got off to!” Sid yelled, looking in the exact opposite direction than where she was standing.  It was as if time was suddenly standing still and only the two of us were able to move towards one another.  She was my Death Star and her gravity pulled me in.

2…1… Happy New Year!

Everyone was yelling out the happy cheers and wishes of good times, but Hanna and I were oblivious to it all as we stood staring at each other, just inches apart, unable to move any closer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chapter 5

Are you still in love with me
Like the way you used to be or is it changing?
Does it deepen over time like the river
That is winding through the Canyon?

Are you still in love with her?
Do you remember how you were before the sorrow?
Are you closer for the tears
Or has the weight of all the years left you hollow?

Are we strangers now?
Like the Ziegfeld Gal and the Vaudeville show?
Are we strangers now
Like rock and roll and the radio?

Ch. 5

My work life was coming together like I had always hoped.  The plans I had put into motion were coming off without a hitch and everyone was loving it.  Despite the fact the team’s status here in Glen Falls was up in the air, the arena attendance was growing by leaps and bounds. (The team could possibly move to Allentown, PA, which is closer to Philly in a season or two)  The management could only attribute it to the popularity the website was drawing and the great reviews we were getting in the press.  It also helped that the team was doing really well this season and every time one of our players went up to play in the big club, they were making a noticeable impact.

The guys were even enjoying the new things we implemented, especially the player play-list.  It became a competition between the guys on whose play-list got the most thumbs up or thumbs down on the website after the game.  I ended up becoming the go-to person for help with the playlists which of course caused even more flack to be thrown my way if someone ended up with more thumbs up votes than another guy.  I found out quickly that there was never a dull moment in my job, and I loved it that way.

“Sooooo…” Mike drew out while we sat together in a booth at Friendly’s one night.  It was a date night, so it was just the two of us instead of the whole crew.  Our date actually started out on the slopes after practice, which suited me just fine.  I obviously wasn’t high maintenance and Mike was easy going like me, just happy to spend alone time with me since that wasn’t really an option back at the house.  Things were progressing slow between us, which suited me just fine.  He had actually just returned back from Philly yesterday after being with the big club for a week and a half while Andreas Nodl was out nursing an injury.  So, with his absence it took some of the pressure off of both of us.  He too didn’t want to push anything quickly, so I was lucky to have him.  I didn’t want to use him as a rebound; I cared too much about him to make him that.

“Hmm?” I mused with a mouthful of ice cream.

“Will you be my date to Riley’s Christmas Party he is hosting this Saturday?” he asked, sounding slightly nervous.

Riley Cote used to be an enforcer for the Flyers, but he retired last year and became an assistant coach for the Phantoms.  He was a fun guy and the whole team was stoked to be invited to his house for a party.  It was kind of a big deal that Mike was asking me to go with him because we had kept our relationship kind of quiet up until this point.  By going with him, the whole team was going to know, thus making everything official between us.  I looked up at him to find his blue eyes smiling at me, despite the look of anxiousness.  “I guess that means I have to go dress shopping,” I sighed like it was going to be a big inconvenience, even though I was holding back a huge grin.

“You wear dresses?” Mike played like he was shocked.

“I try not to, unless it’s a suit…” I answered honestly.

“And you look hot in them, so I’m looking forward this,” he winked at me.

Even though we had been “dating for a month” there hadn’t been much more than kissing between us.  I guess I was just slightly apprehensive about moving forward, and Mike never pushed it.  A couple times we had fallen asleep together in each other’s bed, but nothing more had happened.  I had a feeling Saturday night we going to be an evening filled of firsts for us and I was okay with that.

“James, I’d like you to meet my Mom and Dad, Rachel and Dean Trainer.  Mom, Dad, this is James Neal,” Shelly beamed while she introduced me to her parents.  They were in town to pick her up for Winter break.  I got the whole crew tickets for the game the night before she was leaving, feeling slightly obligated to when she told me Dean was a huge Flyers fan and it just so happened they were in town playing us that night.

“Great to meet you James, sorry to hear you play for the shitty team, but I won’t hold that against you,” Dean laughed loudly, drawing the attention from some of the other people standing in the hallway.  It was obvious he was drunk and I felt bad for Shelly as she cowered against me, embarrassed.

I just smiled and nodded politely, dreading what he was going to say next.  His wife, Rachel just stood politely by his side and shook my hand weakly with a meek smile.  “Well Shelly, time to make the trek back to the better side of PA,” Dean informed Shelly.  “Thanks again for the tickets James, guess it’s the least you can do for boning my daughter.”

Whoa.  What a winner.

Later that night Shelly called me.

“James, I’m sooo sorry.  I should have warned you that my father is an alcoholic.”

Of course I told her not to worry about it and that it wasn’t a huge deal.  Besides, it wasn’t like I was dating him, right?  However, the puzzle pieces were slowly falling together.  When Shelly drank, it was obvious she had a problem with alcohol too.  When we went out, she would always get trashed.  There was no middle line for her; she either didn’t drink anything at all or went all out and when she did, she became a completely different person.  She’d end up all over me or some other guy pulling the stripper moves she did on me the first night we met.  It was as if she became two different people and it was certainly taking its toll on me and our relationship.

All these thoughts rolled around in my head while Shelly talked on about when she was coming back into town and what she was planning on wearing to the New Years Eve party at Sidney’s house.  “Um, Shelly?”  I spoke up while she was in the middle of her sentence, surprising her and me.


“Don’t even worry about coming back early for the party…”

“Oh? Why not?”

“Shelly, you’ve been great, but I just don’t see this working out and it’s not fair to string you along in thinking this is actually going somewhere, because honestly it’s not.”

Dead silence on the other end.

“I’m sorry.  I wish you all the luck…”


“You are one lucky mother fucker,” Andrew jabbed at Mike when we walked into Riley’s house for the party.  All I could do was blush as everyone in the joint turned and looked at me and Mike.  It was too easy to notice some of the jaw drops around the place and double takes.  I felt really exposed, despite my dress covered everything.  Okay, so it might have covered everything, but it was tight and it didn’t leave much to the imagination.  It was the little black dress every girl should probably own, but standing here was giving me second guesses about that.

“Do you want something to drink, beautiful?” Mike whispered warmly into my ear when everyone went back to acting “normal.”

“A beer please,” I said through my teeth.  He chuckled lightly, kissed me lightly on the cheek and walked away, leaving me with JP and his girlfriend Tammy to talk with.

“You two look amazing together,” Tammy remarked with a smile and a wink.

“Thank you,” I smiled back, starting to feel a little more comfortable, despite the fact that I felt 5 feet taller in the 4 inch heals I was sporting for the night.  “We figured it was time to come clean with the whole team.”

“I can understand you being nervous about going public, but I think everyone will be cool with it,” JP hugged me.  “I know I am.”

“Thanks JP,” I hugged him back, leaving a kiss on his cheek.

It wasn’t that I was afraid of going public, I think it was more of the fact that I was admitting to myself I was moving on.

We got a lot of positive feedback from the whole team, including the higher-ups on the bench and front office throughout the night.  By the end of the night Mike was grinning from ear to ear and seemed hell bent on taking advantage of his new found liberties with me.  I had just walked out the bathroom when he moved out from the shadows as I walked down the unfamiliar hallway of Cote’s house and wrapped an arm around my waist, pulling me into a guest bedroom.  Before I could start scolding him, I was pressed up against the wall and his lips were against mine.  He pressed the whole length of his body against me and I instantly felt the heat of his hardness against my stomach.

I kissed him back, wanting his heat to fill my body.  I wanted this.  He was working his way down my neck when I finally had enough sense to speak.  “Mike?” I croaked.

“Yeah?” he mumbled against my skin.

“I’m thinking this is not the smartest place to be making out like this…”

He quietly laughed, his warm breath making me shiver.  “Probably not.”

“Take me home.”

I didn’t need to ask twice.  Soon we were practically running around the house, saying our goodbyes and the next thing I knew we were shivering more from anticipation than the ice cold temps of the New York winter.  We were quiet, the sexual tension in the car was completely out of control and all I could do was laugh.

“What are you laughing about?!” Mike cried out, now laughing along with me.

“This is totally ridiculous.  We are running home to jump in bed like two horny teenagers!”

Mike began laughing harder as he shrugged his shoulders and nodded in agreement.  He then abruptly stopped laughing and looked over at me while we were waiting at a red light.  “Are you okay with this?  Cause, I mean if your not, we don’t have to do…well, you know.”

“Do you think I bought a dress like this for nothing?” I giggled, peaking down at my stocking clad thighs, unable to see the hem of my dress because it was hidden beneath my winter coat.  Yup, it’s that short.

Mike smiled broadly again and grabbed my hand, squeezing it tightly.  “I was hoping you’d say that,” he laughed before stomping on the gas pedal when the light turned green.

He had me out of my dress in a minute flat and I was going to owe him a new white dress shirt.  Our mouths were all over each other, tracing the lines our hands made.  Somewhere in the middle of Mike’s gentle caresses the thought of James came into my head.  I instantly felt ashamed and immediately pushed the thought away, focusing on the man whose name I was crying out.

“Hanna?” Mike whispered softly into my hair.  I had fallen asleep wrapped around him at some point in the early morning hours.  He was warm and hard and made an amicable pillow.

“Hmm?”  I was fairly sure it was still dark outside, but I wasn’t even bothering to open my eyes.

“Who is James?”

Now he had my attention.  “What do you mean?”

“You just mumbled his name in your sleep…”

“I did?!” I asked, now lifting my head and willing my eyes to adjust so that I could see Mike’s face.

“Yeah, you said, “I love you James.”

Fuck me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chapter 4

Lucky for you (and my sanity) this story is flowing out at a decent post, allowing me to post every other day... hope that works for ya'll. There is a lot going on in the hockey world, depsite the fact the season is soo far away. Many of you know that I'm a die-hard Flyers fan, so as you can imagine the trade events of yesterday have completely devistated me.  Mike Richards is my first hockey love and my Captain.  By trading him and Carter, Holmgren has completely changed the face of a franchise I am passionate about.  I'm excited about getting Simmer and Schenn and probably even more excited to have a true #1 goalie between the pipes, but it's still a shock. With that being said I found writing these next few chapters to be a nice way to throw all my energy into... so hopefully that comes out a bit.
I'm going away for the weekend for a wedding, but I am scheduling Ch.5 to post on Sunday morning, so keep an eye out for it!!

This is a song I heard on Pandora while writing the Chapter and I thought it fit so perfectly...

This is the last song that I write while still in love with you
This is the last song that I write while you're even on my mind
'Cos it's time to leave those feelings behind

Oh, 'cos blue skies are coming
But I know that it's hard

Ch. 4

“Way to go Nealer!  Score for you and the college chick!” Max clapped me hard on the back.  “She looks familiar though…” he said thoughtfully, probably wondering if she was one of the many he had hooked up with throughout the ‘burgh.

I shrugged my shoulders and walked with them towards the center.  We were having a morning skate in lieu of our first game of the season.  “She’s the girl from Diesel the other week…” I informed them unwillingly, but I knew that if I didn’t give them some of the 411, they would be harassing me even worse.

“You should invite her to the game tonight!” TK spoke up excitedly.

“No.  Truthfully, I don’t think she even knows that I’m a hockey player.”

“Oh, well that could be fun then,” Max winked and elbowed me.  “Sometimes it’s better when they have no clue about hockey, that way they don’t feel the need to console you or get all emotional when you lose a game or play bad.”

Actually it was one of the things I missed most about Hanna.  She knew when to console me or when to give me my space.  She was also knowledgeable enough that we could have intelligent conversations about the game and I didn’t have to worry about her being all nervous around the guys because she didn’t look at them any differently.  The girls I had dated that had no clue or interest about hockey really got weird around the guys and the one ended up becoming way too into the sport because she ended up banging one of the guys from the away team one night.  For right now I didn’t really care.  I just didn’t think it would hurt to go out on a date and have someone new to talk to, despite the simple fact that there was probably only one woman I wanted to talk with but I ended that and I had moved on.

Later on that day I was back at my apartment getting ready to lay down and take a nap when a text message came across the screen from my brother.  It was a picture of Hanna.  It was accompanied with the message: “I’m fairly sure this is the chick you were telling me about.  Seems she is a something here for the Glen Falls Phatoms.”
I texted him back.  “Yeah, that’s Hanna, I didn’t know who she got a job with…”
Michael texted back: “Do you want me to give her a message from you or anything?”
I sat there and thought a moment.  “No, not necessary…”
Again he replied: “She’s hot.”
I left out a laugh and set my phone to silent for my nap.  But before I rolled over to close my eyes I looked at the picture and saw she looked happy.  She was talking in the hallway with a few of the Phantoms player, wearing a pair of jeans that hugged her ass perfectly with a tucked in black polo shirt. 

I met James’ brother, Michael about a month ago when the Texas Stars came up to Glen Falls to play a game.  He surprisingly just walked up and introduced himself to me, despite the fact that Andrew and JP were standing there glaring at him.  I quickly walked Michael down the hall to get out of ear shot and eye sight from my protective boys.

We made short small-talk, I asked how his parents were and he asked me how the job was going.  He made a comment about wishing he had gotten to know me in Dallas because he had heard so much about me from his mom and from James.  I thanked him, wished him luck on the game and we said our goodbyes.  My heart clenched a bit seeing some of the familiar facial features I had imprinted into my brain, but I wasn’t left much time to dwell on it because my name was being yelled over the radio to get up to the media room to fix a computer that one of my interns seemed to have messed up.  Life was moving on and so was I.

“I’m still not totally sure about this…” I whined, biting my lip as I watched Mike put my suitcase in the back of his truck.

“You said that the front office was okay with it,” he reminded me with a reassuring smile.  “Plus, we are giving you the room in the basement, which is the largest out of all the rooms!”

The front office did okay the move.  It was amazing how lax this management was compared to Dallas.  When they said I was allowed to basically fraternize with the team, they meant it.  However, I was still hesitant.  This was my job, not some play time.  These were the same words I told Mike when he came to me with his offer a couple days ago.  He, JP, Andrew Rowe and Benny Holstrom had a huge house they rented and shared on the upper-side of the town and they all insisted that I move with them so that I didn’t have to live in the hotel or an apartment “all by my lonesome.”  The first month and a half of the season had trucked full steam ahead and already a couple of the guys were bouncing back and forth between the big club.  Mike and Benny being two of them. 

“I’m fairly sure this is all a ploy to have a woman do all your cooking and cleaning for you,” I laughed.

“Shit, you figured it out before we moved you in!” Mike poked at me before grabbing my hand to pull me towards the passenger side of the truck.  He opened the door and helped me in.  It had a decent lift-kit with no step bar, so he always felt the need to help me.  “You better have something planned for dinner because I’m starving!” he exclaimed cheerfully with his blue eyes sparkling playfully.

I was learning that Mike was an amazing mix of James and Matt.  He was a fun guy who loved to make me smile and laugh like Matt, yet there was this seriousness and goal oriented side of him that caught my attention and of course that side reminded me of James.  Mike and I were quickly becoming very close.  “If your starving, then you better stop at McDonalds before we go home because my cooking skills are seriously lacking,” I frowned.

“Guess we’ll have to fix that.  I grill up some mean fish dinners,” he grinned while buckling his seatbelt and starting the truck.  “I’ll teach you some tricks so you can be the next Betty Crocker.”

This comment just made me snort and shake my head.  “Yeah, okay Julia Child.”

It was obvious Mike was pulling my leg when we stepped in the front door of my new home because the smell of steak on the grill filtered in through the open windows at the back of the house and the place was decorated with streamers that were hung terribly.  Normally the crey-paper streamers were supposed to be twisted into pretty spirals, but that was not the case as they hung droopily from the wooden rafters in the renovated barn/house.  There was also a poster with “Welcome Home Hanna!” written in decent block letters.  Tears began welling up in my eyes as I stood there looking at the picture before me.  I had definitely made the right decision.

“Hanna Banana!” Rowe called out from the back porch.  Get your ass out here and drink a beer with us!  You need to be put through the proper hazing!”

A couple hours later I was feeling good, lying out on the couch, laughing my ass off at the boys as they showed me their Rock Band skills they honed last summer while living together after they were signed by the Flyers.  “This is quite the party entertainment!”

“Don’t expect private concerts every night,” Benny smiled, poking me with his drum stick.

“Yeah, make sure you always have at least 3-4 drinks in you before they start playing because they usually sound terrible,” JP chirped as he lay on the other couch across from me.  He was the only one in the house that wasn’t apart of the band.  He claimed it was because his skills were too exceptional and he didn’t want the other guys to look bad.  Mike said it was because his older brother was just plain old terrible.

“I think Hanna should sing!” Mike suddenly announced.  “In fact I have the perfect song for you!” he exclaimed, pulling me up off the couch as I protested loudly.

“I don’t sing!” I protested adamantly.

“Liar!  You were signing this song the day JP and I stopped in your office…” Mike argued.  Before I know it the microphone is in my hand and I’m belting out Undo It.  A Grammy award would definitely be the next goal on my bucket list.

“Oh wow,” Shelly breathed, blushing a little as it became obvious she was thrown off course a bit when I announced I was a hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  We were eating dinner at a quiet Italian place near the Duquesne Incline.  “I guess I should have known, but I don’t watch sports…”

“It’s okay,” I smiled over at her, still debating if this even had some sort of chance of being more than random dates.  She was a pretty girl and very nice, but she wasn’t Hanna.  However, no woman was going to be Hanna except for Hanna and this was a fact I was just going to have to accept.  I think the worst apart about this deal was I was acting like Hanna was dead when in reality she was living, breathing and possibly kissing another man at the moment.  Of course I liked to entertain the idea that she too was constantly thinking about me and constantly dialing my number and hitting end before it could connect. 

I called Shelly a week after we had met up in the coffee shop.  I was feeling overly lonely and was tempted to call Hanna, so instead I thought it wise to call Shelly instead.  Luckily she didn’t seem to put off by the fact that it took me a week to contact her and she also didn’t seem to have a problem with my aloofness.  We had been on a few dates before this one, but I found out quickly her school schedule was a little crazy, coupled with my own.  So it was slightly troublesome finding a night or two free at the same time. “Have you ever been to a game?” I asked, getting back to the task at hand.  She shook her head no.  “Well then I guess I’ll have to get you to one,” I smiled.

“I would like that a lot,” she smiled broadly back.

A few hours later I found myself standing outside of her apartment building, ending another nice evening together and already planning our next date.  I probably shouldn’t have planned another one because I was still on the ledge of uncertainty, but instead I made myself dive head first.  We were at the awkward moment of the goodbye where you don’t know if you should just walk away.  Shelly was just about ready to turn away when I grabbed her hand to get her attention.

“I really had a nice time tonight,” I said softly, leaning closer with each word.  She met me halfway and kissed me hard.  Her lips were soft and she tasted like the after dinner mint we had been given, yet something was totally off kilter with it all but I allowed her to wrap her arms around me and pull me in.  I needed something to help me forget and there was something in the kiss that told me she was feeling the same way.  So why couldn’t this work out?  We were both what seemed to be similar situations and we both needed to move on.

The next morning I woke up confused in a small bed before realizing that Shelly was lying in the crook of my arm, still sound asleep.  It was an awkward night of hushed cries and cold touches, but in the end we both fell asleep probably dreaming of what we couldn’t have.

“I’m impressed with your snowboarding skills, Richards!” Mike called, stopping next to me at the bottom of the mountain, spraying me with the fresh powder.  I was excited to find that one of the perks of living here was the close proximity of the ski slopes.  It wasn’t Colorado, but it quenched my thirst for feeling the cold air in my lungs while flying down a mountain of snow.  Plus, the Catskills had their own distinct picturesque beauty.

“Do you forget that I lived in Colorado for the better half of 4 years?” I raised an eyebrow.

“I try to forget because I’m just a little bummed that you were in my home state that whole time and I never met you until now,” he answered honestly.  I was a little taken back by the comment, trying to figure out if I was supposed to take that as him hitting on me or not.

I just laughed the comment off and shook my head.  It wasn’t the first time he had made a similar remark and it wasn’t the first time that I found the butterflies in my stomach when he spoke like that.  I was attracted to Mike but for once I found myself afraid to take the step in letting the attraction be known.  With James, I was open and more than forward, but seeing where being that open got me, I wasn’t planning on being so cavalier this time around.  It probably didn’t help that I still thought of James more than I probably should have. 

Too often I was watching or listening to Penguins games, just to catch a glimpse or hear information about him.  That had cooled off though since I moved into the house.  The boys kept me busy and I was learning how to rot my brain away with movies and video games.

“I still don’t understand how you haven’t seen any of the Harry Potter movies!” I exclaimed as Mike literally came waltzing into my room later that night with a huge bowl of popcorn and a bag Hershey’s Drops, on which my attention immediately diverted to. “Oh my gosh!  Those are my favorite!” I squeaked, quickly clambering to the edge of the bed to snatch them from his hands.

He spun around and stuck his ass in my face, standing just far enough away that I couldn’t reach him or the sacred bag of chocolate.  “Uh, uh, uh! You will be sharing them.  I found them and I remembered seeing you get all happy about them on the last road trip when Backlund had them on the back of the bus.  So I figured you might want some, but I want some too.”

“I will share…”

“I want more than just a few,” he frowned playfully, knowing me all too well.


He handed me the bowl of popcorn and I slid myself back against the headboard and propped against the pillows.  Some of the guys were out for the night; JP’s girlfriend was with him upstairs, so Mike and I decided to have a movie night when we got back from the slopes. 

“Sunshine, daisies, butter, mellow; turn this stupid fat rat yellow!” I recited in perfect Weasley English.

“I swear if you are going to recite all the movies, there will be issues,” Mike proclaimed with a mouthful of popcorn.

“Whatever, it cannot be as bad as you and Rowe reciting every line of the Simpson’s movie in unison at the top of your lungs!”

“But we do all the voices…” he pouted.


“You’re just jealous.”

I snorted, “Okay, I don’t know of what though.  I mean, I live with you guys.  So I have to smell your stinky asses constantly, clean up after you all, hear noises that a girl never wants to even think about hearing from hot guys, and then dealing with all the sexual harassment that would probably get people fired and put in jail.  So seriously, there is definitely nothing to be jealous or envious of except for maybe a girl’s night out.”

“So are you sorry you moved in with us?  Does all that stuff bother you?” he asked worriedly.

I tried to act like it bothered me, but I couldn’t help but letting a smile escape.  “Nah, it’s like living with my brothers that I miss a ton,” I said quietly.

“Do you really think I’m hot?” Mike’s eyebrows shot up with the most adorkable puppy face.

I pushed him back, “I said hot guys; I didn’t say who!” I rolled my eyes, trying not to let the secret out through my eyes.  Mike had gotten very good at reading my thoughts.

“Oh come on Hanna…Do you think I’m seeeeexy?” he drew out like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality while moving closer to me.  “Do you want to kiiisss me?” he joked while attempting to move over top of me as I tried to squirm away from him, but it was impossible because I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically.

“Get off of meeeeee!” I squealed.

“Do you want to looooove me?” he asked, finally capturing me and pinning me to the bed by straddling my hips.  “Because I think you’re beautiful and I’ve wanted to kiss you since you stood nervously in front of us at our team meeting,” he finished seriously, his blue eyes staring deep into mine.

“How could you tell I was nervous?” I asked quietly, trying not to smile and trying to ignore the rush of emotion I was feeling bubbling through my whole body.

“Because your brow furrows slightly, like it’s doing right now,” he answered softly, brushing his fingertip across the crease to prove his point.  “It’s cute.”

I was going to say something else, but I didn’t know what and I didn’t have time as he leaned down and softly kissed my lips.  It wasn’t an invading kiss, it was just a sweet (and salty from the popcorn) kiss that probably was probably inevitable.  I, however, denied it until the moisture of his lips left the proof on mine.

Mike pulled back and carefully evened his weight on my thighs while he looked intently at me.  We sat staring at each other for a bit before he broke the silence.  “Will you share your Hershey’s Drops with me, Hanna Richards?”

“I guess since you’ve asked so nice, you can have more than one,” I grinned.  He leaned in and kissed me again, this time he nibbled at my lip, coaxing me to open my mouth to him, which I obliged after the 3rd nip.  Again he wasn’t demanding, but I enjoyed the slow, languid strokes he took with his tongue as he familiarized himself with my mouth.   He pulled back to end it again with a please smile on this face.  I smiled back, telling myself I had to be careful and take this slow.  I couldn’t even begin to compare the kisses we shared to the kisses I shared with James.  It wouldn’t be fair.  Mike and James were two different guys and my feelings for them came from opposite sides of the spectrum.  I had a lust for James that drew me to him.  Mike became my friend first.  His kisses made me feel comfortable and made me realize that life sometimes held more options than it sometimes advertised.