Just a Little Longer
“What about you and Haley then?” Jonathan looked up from tying his skates. “How was your date?”
“It was good. But she didn’t really like me showing up at her work today unannounced.” Patrick looked at his friend before he concentrated on tying his own skates again. “I thought it would be a good idea. You know, make it known to the people around her that we’re together now.”
“You know, Haley would kill me for telling you this, but it is in her best interest. She might act really tough and she is most of the time, but deep down she’s still really vulnerable. So, don’t tease her too much. You might regret it.” Jonathan got up and stretched.
Patrick stared up at him and scrunched up his face: “But it’s fun to tease her. Her reactions are actually pretty cute. But you’re right. I’ll try my best to behave.”
“I guess I can’t expect more from you.”
“What about April then? Is she at the game?”
“Yes. She met with Haley half an hour ago, so they could watch the game together.”
Haley, dressed in her Chicago Blackhawks jersey with Jonathan’s last name printed in the back, sat smiling next to April. Jonathan had given her this jersey about three years ago and she’d worn it to every game she’d been to when he’d played. Granted, it hadn’t been that many, but still.
Next to her, April wore one of Jonathan’s Blackhawks shirts. They’d hit it off immediately. Of course Jonathan had told Haley about April and the other way around. They had a lot to talk about and had already made arrangements to go out for lunch two days later. April would visit her at the office and they’d go out together.
“Do you think you can go through with this whole girlfriend thing?” April looked at her for a moment, before she cast her eyes on the ice, because the game was about to start.
“I hope so.” And she did. She wanted this to work out and it had advantages for her as well. She wasn’t interested in getting to know a guy right now and start something. That way she could always say that she had a boyfriend. “But Patrick doesn’t really make it easy for me.”
April laughed out loud at that. “Yeah, I get what you mean. But he’s actually a really nice guy, he just can’t show it most of the time.”
“He’s teasing me a lot. Like, the first time we met, when I was ready to go, he helped me into my coat, hugged me from behind and whispered in my ear.” She threw her hands up in the air and stared at April, her eyes widened in bewilderment. “I mean, this is normal behavior for a couple and I shouldn’t be so stiff should he do this in public and whatnot, but he could have just told me that instead of doing it like this. I was so shocked at that moment and just wanted to get away. This was a bit too close for me considering I’d only met him that day.”
“Oh dear. I think he really likes teasing you. Maybe you should just use the same tactics. Surprise and confuse him. That should be fun.”
April probably had a point. Haley had to think of something. This was definitely better than doing nothing and just sitting around, waiting for his next move. She had to be prepared for something that could happen. Well, all kinds of things could happen, but she’d just have to react to this and throw him off balance with it.
She’d have enough time to think about this after the game. They’d go out for drinks after the game with Jonathan and Patrick, maybe even a couple more of the guys. That depended a bit on the outcome of the game. It was clear that these four would go, especially to get to know each other better.
It was a great feeling to watch live hockey again. NHL hockey. But most importantly watch an old friend do what he loved and succeed at it. The Hawks won 3-1 in the end and April and Haley headed down where they would meet the guys. They had to wait a little bit but used this time to talk about music. Haley had been really impressed with April’s songs. Especially with the lyrics. She did write a lot, but coming up with lyrics and rhymes was something completely different. She wouldn’t be able to do this and admired this ability.
When Jonathan and Patrick finally approached them, both women were smiling. April immediately threw her arms around Jonny’s neck and gave him a kiss.
“Well done,” Haley said with a grin that showed of the dimples in her cheeks, but Patrick smile vanished when he saw the C on the front of her jersey. He walked around her to confirm what he was thinking.
“This is totally inappropriate. Come with me.” He took her hand and tugged her along to the dressing room. All the others were already gone. Some of them to the bar where they’d meet, the rest had gone home. Haley stared at him confused, until he looked at her again and ordered her to take off the jersey.
“What? Are you kidding me?”
“You can’t walk around with a Toews jersey. Not happening. So, take it off.” When she didn’t budge, he sighed and added: “Please.” He took one of his jerseys and offered it to her.
For a moment she simply stood there looking into his eyes, but then she gave up. She was glad that she was wearing a tight, black shirt underneath the jersey and wouldn’t be standing in front of him in her underwear. Of course she felt his gaze travel over her body, but didn’t say anything. It made her uncomfortable when someone looked at her like that, so she grabbed the jersey from him as fast as she could and pulled it over her head.
“Happy now?” She took her purse again and looked at him. The grin had re-appeared on his face and they were ready to go to the other two. But they weren’t there anymore. They’d already left for the bar, which left Haley and Patrick alone. They got in his car and drove in silence the few minutes, because they didn’t know what they should talk about. They’d probably talk enough, when they arrived at the bar. Patrick would have to introduce Haley to a couple of guys after all.
Before they entered the bar, though, he grabbed her hand and took a deep breath. It wasn’t like him to introduce a woman to his teammates. This wasn’t his real girlfriend, but the others had to believe it. The good thing was, that she was also a friend of Jonathan’s which would make it easier.
The first guy they approached, was Patrick Sharp and it was easy to introduce the two. Patrick had been very welcoming towards April and it would be the same with Haley. Of course there were strange looks, but that was because this was something new. Patrick introducing a girl to them. Someone who would apparently be in his life for a longer period.
“I’ll get us something to drink. What do you want?” Haley looked up at him with a smile. She had a gorgeous smile, there was no question about it. He especially liked the dimples that always appeared. And her glasses.
“A water would be nice. After all, I’ll have to drive later on. But I can do that. What do you want?”
“I that case I’ll have water as well.” She wanted to support him. He told her that it was fine for her to have a beer or whatever else she desired, but she didn’t want to. Water would be fine and she didn’t really feel like drinking a beer anyway.
When he returned with the glasses, he put hers in front of her and immediately put his free arms around her to pull her up to his side, show everyone in the room that she belonged to him. She hadn’t expected this, but knew just the way to respond to this. She rose to the balls of her feet and put a kiss very close to the corner of his mouth. “Thank you,” she said in a sweet tone and grinned at the slightly shocked looked that briefly crossed his face. Yes, she’d thrown him off balance.