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My Kinda Party [Thursday, January 26th, 2012 11 PM]

Claude sat in the back of a massive black Escalade with Scott Hartnell and Matt Read. It rolled down King Edward Avenue like a tank, coming from the NHL All-Star Draft in Gatineau into downtown Ottawa. Turning on to Clarence Street, he smiled up at the familiar buildings he had come to know after living in Ottawa for over a decade. To him, it had seemed like his whole life.

In Ottawa, Claude was king. In a hockey town where the sport ran through the veins of its inhabitants, he couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized. Free dinners. Free gifts. Free booze. It was all at his disposal. Now, named an NHL All-Star for the second year in a row, on his home turf, about to party the night away with some of his best friends and best hockey players in the world, he didn’t feel like the king of Ottawa – he felt like the king of the world.
“We’re here,” the driver said, pulling over to the side of the road.

“Here we go, boys. Breathe in,” Claude said, reaching for the door handle.

“Have a good evening, gentleman.”

“Thank you!” they all chimed. Stepping into the crisp below-freezing air of the January night, Claude looked up at the glowing sign of his favourite Thursday-night spot, The Chalet. He hadn’t been since the summer, and couldn’t wait to hear the sweet, upbeat country tunes he’d loved since he was a kid.

“I’m pretty sure Hartsy is half-sauced already,” Matt said, watching Hartnell stumble out of the GMC.

“Hey, if a casino offers you 40-year-old scotch on the house, you gladly accept,” he affirmed, placing a hand in his curls.

As the boys stepped up to the front door, the long lineup outside began to buzz with excitement. “Is that Claude Giroux?” a female voice whispered, but not quietly enough.
“Maybe if we offer to blow him he’ll get us out of this fucking cold and inside!” The two girls giggled. Claude kept walking with a smirk on his face, cautioning himself not to turn around and take a look.

The bouncer, who was even larger than the three of them, ushered them in. It was absolutely packed, from wall to wall. Claude remembered every inch of that bar, hitting it up every other Thursday in the early summer months. However, the one thing he remembered most about The Chalet was the one thing he wished he could forget.


Claude had known her since he was fifteen. Having gone to the same high school, he was infatuated with her from the moment he laid eyes on her. With mile-long legs, tousled caramel hair and a wild attitude, every guy was just as smitten with her as he was. After being friends and wanting more for almost five years, Claude couldn’t hold it in any longer. He kissed her on a warm summer night when he was 20, and from that moment on, their rocky relationship began. Until he left for Philadelphia, they were in an open relationship; she was allowed to do her own thing, and Claude was allowed to do his. He had been with plenty of other girls, but none of them were like Amelie. They always sought attachment, and couldn’t understand his way of life like Amelie did. She was the only one who wasn’t clinging to a rope with hungry eyes, waiting to tie him down. When he returned the summer after his first NHL season, he was relieved to know their relationship hadn’t changed. Each summer as it continued, and as she become more and more beautiful, his feelings for her only grew stronger.

Glancing out the window at the upscale French restaurant across the street, Claude recalled the dinner he had had there with Amelie the week before he headed off to training camp.

“Open it,” he said, pushing the little box on the table towards her.

She looked so beautiful, wearing a white bandage dress with her long hair tied back. “C’est quoi ça?” she asked in her native tongue, her big brown eyes glowing. They rarely went out on real ‘dates’, and now he was giving her jewelry?
What was going on?

When she opened the stiff blue box, her face fell. “Claude...what the fuck is this?” It was a white gold ring, with a giant two-carat square-cut diamond that sparkled in the sunset.

“Amelie, we’ve been together for three years, and known each other for almost ten. You’re the most special girl I know, and even though we’ve spent time apart, I always seem to run straight to you. You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re absolutely beautiful...I can’t picture myself spending the rest of my life or even another second with any girl who isn’t you, and I want you to come live in Philadelphia with me. Amelie...will you marry me?”

All the colour emptied from her face, and her slips slowly parted. “I...I...thought we had an agreement.”

Claude felt his stomach begin to sink towards the ground. “What do you mean?”

She swallowed hard. “I thought the two of us...weren’t like that.”

He shook his head in disbelief. “Amelie, je t’aime! Avec tout mon coeur! After three years, I don’t believe for a second that you don’t love me too.”

“But, but...marriage?”

“Forget the ring, forget Philadelphia. Just tell me you love me. Dites-moi que tu m’aimes, Amelie.”


Claude breathed heavily, gazing intently at her, waiting for her response. Just say it, he begged in his thoughts.

“I’m sorry. I can’t do this.”

Claude hadn’t seen Amelie since the moment she got up from that table and dashed away. And now, being in The Chalet, he remembered his crazy nights with her; daring him to get up on the bar and shake his ass to Shania Twain; admiring the way she looked in a plaid shirt and Daisy Dukes; pulling her into a dark corner and kissing her like no one was around. Now, it was all in the past.

But tonight, it didn’t matter. Waltzing in to the main bar room, the place erupting in cheers, his thoughts immediately averted to the here and now. Able to help himself from whatever he wanted behind the bar, being eyed by dozens of girls, and realizing the night had only just begun, Claude eagerly poured three shots of tequila for himself and his boys. “Cheers, to the weekend of the fucking year!” he roared, holding up his shot glass. Matt and Scott, along with the rest of the bar, followed suit.

After Claude quickly downed his shot and feasted his eyes on the rest of the alcohol behind the bar with him, he picked up a bottle of Grey Goose. “Hello, mon ami,” he said to it, kissing the bottle tenderly.

“You going to pour me some of that, or what?” he heard a familiar female French accent ask on the other side of the bar-top. Claude whirled around and was in complete terror when he caught a glimpse of the gorgeous girl who was smirking back at him.


- - -

“Oh my God, it’s you! It’s really you! Y-you’re...you’re Logan Couture!”

Logan looked down at the girl below him who was gaping up at him in wonder. He was at least a foot taller than her, her hair was cut into a short blonde bob with sharp, straight ends, and her skin was whiter than the snow that was beginning to tumble just outside the bar. In actuality, it felt nice to be recognized. In the midst of a bar filled with the biggest personalities in the NHL like Claude Giroux and Tyler Seguin, he was just another dude.

“Uh, yeah, nice to meet you. What’s your name?”

“Zoe. Zoe Baxter,” she replied giddily, flashing a set of teeth engulfed by navy blue braces. Oh god, Logan thought, there isn’t a chance in hell this girl is nineteen.

“Nice to meet you, Zoe. Well...see you around.” Logan realized he should have probably bolted, before one of the boys accused him of being a cradle robber.

“Wait!” Zoe cried, placing a hand on the sleeve of his black peacoat. “I...I’m a huge fan. I mean, I grew up with the 67’s.” You’re still growing up with the 67’s, Logan thought. “This probably sounds incredibly lame, but...do you think you could sign my jersey?”

In a blink of an eye, Zoe had whipped out a black Sharpie and teal San Jose Sharks jersey with his name and number on the back from her oversized purse. What the...? She jerked them towards him, and he awkwardly shuffled everything in his hands and ended up handing her his beer bottle. By the tense look on her face as she held the bottle, he could have sworn she’d never held one in her life.

He signed the jersey and quickly exchanged the jersey for the alcohol he so desperately craved.

“Thank you sooo much!”

“No problem,” he replied with a forced smile.

“So how’s San Jose?? I bet it’s warm. Do you go to the beach? Are you near a beach? What’s California like? Have you met any celebrities??”

As Zoe continued to fire questions at him without even waiting for an answer, he took a long swig of his Keith’s. This is going to be a long night.

- - -

Let’s get this thing started, it’s my kinda party!” Tyler shouted along with Jason Aldean as the song pumped through the bar. “Come on, Landy, sing along!”

“Ask me in a couple of drinks from now,” Gabe shouted over the music into Tyler’s ear.

Tyler’s arms were propped up on the booth, one arm behind Gabe and one behind one of his friends who had made the trip up from Brampton to celebrate All-Stardom with him.

“You know what? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you hammered before.”

“Sure you have.”

Tyler craned his neck. “Like when?”

“Like...” Gabe paused, trying to formulate an answer. All night, all weekend, and all year, he was getting chirped for being a rookie. No matter what came out of his mouth, it always turned into having to do with his rookie status. If he seemed like a rookie, especially off the ice, to anyone, he never heard the end of it. It was even worse with Tyler; having also been the second overall pick the year before, he had taken Gabe under his wing, and felt the need to introduce him to the perks of the NHL. By the way Tyler’s eyes were scanning the crowd, Gabe knew Tyler was looking to enjoy some perks of his own that night.

“Hey, how about a round of shots? Everything’s gratis tonight.”

Gabe bit his lip, remembering the last time he’d had too many shots. It was the summertime in Sweden, and he’d retched all over his best friend’s deck. He really was a rookie. “I don’t know, man.”

Tyler rolled his eyes. “Come on, bro, don’t be such a pussy. It’s practically in our job description to party tonight. Don’t you want to prove you’re not just a rookie? That you actually have a sack, and you know what to do with it?!”

A slender waitress with a dark plaid shirt tied at the waist placed a tray of Jägerbombs on the table in front of them. Her gaze lingered on Gabe as she turned and walked back towards the bar, and Gabe felt hot under the collar of his pale blue oxford. He hated to admit it, since it was such a rare occurrence, but Tyler was right. He was tired of being called a rookie, tired of being the baby. Tonight, it was time to nut up and show Tyler, and the rest of the guys, for that matter, that he wasn’t the rookie they thought he was.

The six guys sitting around the table each took a shot from the tray. Before anyone at the rest of the table could even lift their shot glass, Gabe downed his quickly. His chest and throat burned and he had the urge to cough, but he held it in. Just as the rest of the table went to clink glasses, Gabe swiped Tyler’s from in front of him and tossed it down his gullet.

“Hey, what the fuck!” Tyler whined as the boys at the table around him knocked back their shots.

“Not so pussy, am I, Seguin?” he shot back with a sly wink.

Tyler gave him a Cheshire Cat grin, curling his bicep around Gabe’s neck and rustling his hair with the other hand. “That’s my boy! And hey, you did me a favour,” Tyler growled, sliding out of the booth. “That waitress looked all kinds of naughty. Boys, keep an eye on Gabe for me.” With a click of his tongue and a sharp wink of his own, Tyler was off to the bar.

Since Tyler had arrived twenty minutes earlier, the bar had filled up significantly. He would have had to squeeze through the mass of bodies that stood between him and the bar, but when the crowd got sight of him and recognized him, they parted like the Red Sea as if he was Moses himself. When Tyler spotted Claude behind the bar, he was about to wave him down; however, when he saw him apprehensively conversing intimately with an absolute stunner, he lowered his hand. Attaboy, he thought. He knew the drill, and wasn’t about to get in the way of it.

He reached the bar and casually leaned on the bar-top. The bartender practically galloped towards him. “Two Jägerbombs,” he shouted across the bar, as Jason Aldean transitioned to Luke Bryan. In a matter of seconds, the Jägerbombs were set down in front of him. As he was about to search for prey to hand his second shot, Tyler felt a gentle tap on his bicep.


He whirled around, and faced two little brunettes staring up at him keenly.

“Can we get a picture?”

He quickly eyed the girls. They were cute, but he could do better; the bar was absolutely crawling with rockets and bunnies waiting for their hockey player in shining equipment, and he wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity with the fairest maiden of them all. “Sorry ladies, I can’t.”

Their faces fell. “What do you mean, you can’t?”

“Not allowed. After the cup pictures last year my rep came down on me big time, said no more pictures.”

“But...but you’re legal here! You’re not doing anything wrong!”

“I said no, so just fuck off!”

The two girls were stunned. One looked like she was on the verge of tears, and the other was plain mad. “It’s nothing incriminating, I don’t see the big deal. We’ll just keep it between us. I mean, it’s Violet’s camera. You won’t do anything with the picture, will you, Vi?”

The two girls turned to a third one behind them, who piped up upon hearing her name. When Tyler got a good look at her, he felt his chest tighten. “Holy shit,” he accidentally said out loud. She was certainly a fair maiden. In her high-heeled cowboy boots, she was only a few inches shorter than him. Her straight raven hair descended just past her breasts that Tyler’s eyes lingered on.

“Hey, buddy? Are you staring at my chest?”

When his eyes drifted upwards, he was about as captivated with her angelic face as he was with her body. Her doe eyes blinked expectantly at him, eyelashes thick and strawberry lips plump. Ding ding ding, we have a winner. Tyler couldn’t have snatched the Jägerbomb off the bar any faster.

He breezed right in between the two girls and slithered next to the raven-haired beauty. “I’d definitely take a picture with you any day. Maybe in a few naughty positions,” he drawled into her ear, placing his hand on her hip.

She choked back a laugh. “You’re kidding, right?”

For a moment, Tyler hesitated in confusion. This was the part where she was supposed to fall into his arms, not mock him. “Uh...no. But this is for you.” He handed her the Jägerbomb. “Have a drink with me, Beautiful.”

Violet held her hand out in protest. “It’s Violet, and no thanks.” Just as she began to turn on her heels, she froze, twirling right back around to face a ready and waiting Tyler. “Just for the record, I would not take a photo with you. First of all, I don’t even know who the hell you are. Second, I don’t care if you are Jesus Christ himself; if you’re an asshole to my friends and tell them to ‘fuck off’, then proceed to hit on me afterwards, you’re out of your fucking mind for thinking you have a chance with me.”

Tyler let out his famous chuckle and licked his lips in excitement. He liked the feisty ones. “Fine. More for me, then.” He threw back both shots in a matter of seconds, slamming them down on the bar-top. He eyed Violet’s beer and flagged down the bartender, who eagerly strutted over. “Another bottle of Heineken for the lovely lady. And her drinks are on me for the rest of the night.”

The bartender nodded in acknowledgement, popping open another brew for Violet, who choked on a laugh. “Is that supposed to impress me? Cause no one on the damn planet has ever bought me a beer before. Truly, I’m floored,” Violet sneered derisively over the music, trying to flee from Tyler and get to her friends.

Instead, Tyler turned to her friends, forming a barrier with his wide shoulders. “Is she always this difficult, ladies?” He blinked at them expectantly, but they were completely dumbstruck by the scene that was unfolding in front of them.

“They have names, you know.”

Tyler rolled his eyes, uninterested. “Fine, what are they?”

“Courtney and Christine.” Her arms were crossed, lips pursed.

Tyler sighed. “Alright, Courtney and Christine, great to meet you, yadda yadda.” He immediately erased them from his mind and stepped closer to Violet. “So you really don’t know me?” He snaked an arm around her waist, his index finger tracing a sliver of bare skin on her hip.

She recoiled the instant his hand came into contact with her. “Should I?” she asked, cocking a dark brow.

“You don’t watch hockey, do you?”

She shook her head. “Not my sport.”

“Then what is?”

“Baseball. And dance.”

Tyler blew out a whistle. “You sure look like a dancer. Betcha you can put your legs behind your head.”

Violet ripped her beer bottle away from her lips. “Why am I still talking to you?” Once again, she made like a hockey player and tried to deke Tyler out, but he was just too large. She bumped his side attempting to slip by, trying to rid her mind of the thought of how hard his body was.

“Come on, you can’t tell me you’re a dancer and then not show me any of your moves.”

“Dream on,” she spat, finishing the last of her beer and grabbing her new Tyler-sponsored one. Suddenly, her friends grabbed her, whispering into Violet’s ear. At first, her face contorted into disgust, but then it slowly settled into a sly grin.

“You look sexy when you smile like that,” he drawled. “So how about that dance?”

Violet twisted her lips in thought for a moment, “Okay, fine. But one dance, just to shut you up. One.”

“One is all it’ll take, sweetheart.” Tyler answered, lacing his fingers through hers and guiding her to the dancefloor.

Oh shit, Violet thought to herself, with Tyler’s strong, large hand tangling in hers. What have I gotten myself into?

- - -

“So, what will it be?”

James swallowed anxiously at the sight of the bartender, who blinked at him in anticipation with impossibly long lashes. Her long, flowing auburn hair, that somehow managed to gleam in the dim light of the bar, cascaded down her upper body. She had Zooey Deschanel’s eyes and Adriana Lima’s lips, which made James completely blank. [i]Drink? What’s a drink?[/i]
“Uh, well...what do you recommend?”

“You should try Beau’s, local beer. It hits the spot every time.” Her voice had a stitch of rasp that indicated a smoker, but her teeth were way too white and beautiful.

“Great, I’ll have that.”

“Coming right up, James,” she replied, her eyes hovering on him as she reached for the tap.
He gulped. She knew exactly who he was. Having showed up at the bar alone, without any teammates or buddies, James had been standing at the side of the bar, uncertain of the night to come. He hadn’t heard from Stammer, Geno or Tanger all night, and all the other All-Stars were scattered across the bar. But now, as the gorgeous bartender gripped the tap handle firmly, with her dangerously short cutoffs highlighting her slender legs and the round of her ass perfectly, it was hard for him to imagine anywhere else he’d rather be.

She set the cold brew down on the bar in front of him, the runoff dripping mouthwateringly down the glass. “Thanks,” James said, pulling out his wallet.

“On the house,” she affirmed with a closed smile, her blue eyes warm.

“No, I insist, let me pay for this.” He pulled out a crisp Canadian twenty-dollar bill, happy to be in possession of the Monopoly money he loved so much once again.

“Well shouldn’t you try it first before you decide to pay for it?” she asked, placing a hand on her hip and cocking her head. All eyes at the side of the bar were on them.

Caught off guard, he blinked at her for a moment. Then, when his brain once again began to function, his hand managed to pick up the beer and bring the cold glass to his thin pink lips. A beer had never tasted so good. “Now I have to pay for this! Good recommendation.”

She shook her head slowly. “I can’t charge an All-Star, this is your weekend!”

James was still in disbelief. She knew who he was, and someone as gorgeous as her was blowing off an entire wall of thirsty, paying customers just to talk to him. “Well let me at least tip you.”

“No!” she mouthed to him, her attention shifting to a girl beside James flagging her down.

“Well how about you tell me your name?”

Her gaze shifted back to him, hesitating for a moment. Her almond-shaped eyes slowly scanned his face, from his blue eyes down to the stubble forming on his jaw. Her parted lips curled into a gentle smile. “It’s Harper.” With that, she leaned towards the girl beside him, took her order, then took off towards the other side of the bar.

Even at the other side of the bar, James couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She looked as if she could have possibly had a Victoria’s Secret alter-ego, absolutely stunning from head to toe – and she was giving him the time of day. James was used to extra attention from girls, but none like this one. Girls like her didn’t know hockey players, or care about them. He took another swig of his beer, trying to calm himself down. He scanned the bar, spotting some familiar All-Star faces, but his eyes ultimately landed on Harper again. Only this time, one of the male bartenders caught her by the waist, curled his bicep around her, and pulled her in towards him. He whispered something in her ear, which caused her to strike him across the bicep and shoot him a naughty smile. Then, they both gravitated towards each other and their lips locked. Now James believed it. Of course. She has a boyfriend. Suddenly, his beer didn’t taste as refreshing, and all he wanted to do was find his teammates and get the hell out. But when Harper broke away from the kiss quickly and looked over at James, there was something in the way her eyes met his he couldn’t quite place. Whatever it was, it made James think it wasn’t over.

He didn’t care about the boyfriend. He didn’t care that he had met her thirty seconds ago. There was no way he couldn’t have her.

- - -

“Shit! Shit shit shit SHIT!”

Tessa shivered in the cold January air as she held the frozen plastic of her phone to her ear. She’d been there almost half an hour, and her best friend and boyfriend still weren’t there. They’d planned on enjoying the spoils of All-Star weekend together, as all three of them had been hockey fans since the womb. Finally, after several rings, a female voice answered.

“Hello?” There was soft laughter in the background. A male.

“...Dayna? I thought I called Isaac’s number.”

“Yeah, you...you did, sorry. We’re coming soon.”

Tessa jiggled in place, trying to provide warm up her body. “Well when do you think you’ll be here? I’m freezing my nuts off out here.”

Now it was Dayna’s turn to giggle, followed by Tessa’s boyfriend’s voice close to the phone. “Isaac, stop!” she prodded, followed by more laughter.

“Dayna? Hello?” Before some muffled noises and a few murmurs, the line went silent. “You’ve gotta be fucking KIDDING me!” Tessa cursed loudly to herself, which caused a throng of girls in front of her to turn around and eye Tessa oddly. She was getting closer and closer to the front of the line, and she’d be going in alone -- without her best friend, without her boyfriend, without anyone. The only person she’d know personally in the entire building was one of the bartenders, who had discretely informed her of the All-Stars’ presence at the bar that night. Despite the prospect of an exciting evening in the company of hockey greatness, Tessa felt like turning on her heels and bolting, especially after that phone call. However, she was already in line, so close she could already taste a Moosehead, with some of the greatest hockey players on the planet only steps away. She was in pre-med at the University of Ottawa, and midterms were only a stone’s throw away --- it was her last weekend of freedom before a month of hell. Going home and collapsing in a heap in her bed certainly wouldn’t fix anything; it was time to forget about school, forget about Isaac and Dayna, make the most of the night, and most importantly, have a fucking blast.

She reached the front of the line, handing her ID to the bouncer. After a stamp on the hand and a quick cover fee, Tessa was inside the throbbing bar, the sounds of the crowd and Redneck Woman pulsing in her ears. Tessa smiled to herself, already spotting three All Stars within ten seconds of walking in the door. She took a deep breath and headed towards the bar; it was time to party like an All-Star.


Almost three fucking years later I am FINALLY publishing this badboy!

My undergrad, my job and my friends/family were taking over my life, but now that I am almost done my undergrad I'll finally have (some) time to finish this! Yes, I know...I started writing this two years ago and I'm STILL not done. I wanted to wait until it was finished to post it so it would be perfect, but alas, nothing is perfect, so I thought publishing and staggering the chapters I have written will give me the kick in the pants I need to finish it.

I was inspired to write this story when I stumbled upon these gents (excluding Landeskog) on the town during All-Star weekend 2012 in Ottawa. I cannot emphasize enough that this story is complete and total fiction. I hope everyone is able to keep in mind that this was set in 2012, and that it doesn't distract from the story. Let me know what you think in the comments and enjoy! XO

P.S. I know Juliet wrote a story about James/Harper (and was really creeped out when I saw she chose the same obscure name as me) but I started writing this two years before hers was published. I'm too attached to the name and couldn't bring myself to change it, so forgive me!



Dawn-Marie Dawn-Marie