I Knew You Were Trouble [Friday, January 27th, 2012 12 AM]
“How long have you been sick?”
“A few months. I had my surgery at the end of November, and I started my first cycle of chemo three weeks ago. It...it’s been hard, and tiring, but I have hope,” Zoe replied. Logan’s mouth was dry as a bone. He felt absolutely ill, knowing that the cheerful young girl in front of him had a 50/50 chance of living or dying. He couldn’t even imagine the struggle she was enduring. She had a smile on her face, but it was empty. It was a smile of artificial hope; it looked like a smile her friends and family had convinced her to put on. It was a ‘keep your chin up’ smile, as if her chin weighed a ton. As a professional athlete, he knew the smile all too well. “Don’t call me that, though.”
“Call you what?”
“Sick. I’m not sick. It’s just a day-to-day injury. Like Brent Burns.”
Logan couldn’t help but chuckle. “Alright, not on the IR just yet, is that right?”
“Nope. I’m sidelined for now but I’ll be back out there in no time.” Suddenly, her face changed. “Hey, do you know what’s cool?”
He piped up. “What?”
“My injury’s acronym is NHL, and it’s a cancer in my blood. So that means I have NHL in my blood.”
A slow smile spread across Logan’s face and he let out a chuckle. Her smile was now full and genuine. He couldn’t believe his eyes; the girl who stood in front of him without a hair on her head had more life in her than he ever had. She somehow made light of her disease, all while confirming her passion for hockey. A girl like that couldn’t be taken from this world so soon. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t. Not on his watch. “Hey, if you could grab a bite to eat anywhere right now, where would it be?”
- - -
As Claude and Amelie walked down the steep staircase from the roof back down to the bar, Claude noticed the reflection of the dim lighting on Amelie’s shiny caramel hair. It made him think back to the night, after five year of being in love with her, that he had finally decided to make her his.
“Happy 20th birthday to the most fun, brave, intelligent, and prettiest girl I’ve ever had the pleasure of having as my sister...Amelie!”
The basement full of young adults cheered as Amelie stood up from the couch and bear-hugged her older sister, Sophie. “Never mind the fact that I’m your only sister.”
“Hey, take any compliment you can find, girl.”
Claude and his two friends, Jason and Martin, stood beside him with beers in hand close to the wall, watching Amelie blow out the candles in front of 30 of her closest friends. Claude held back a grimace as he watched Philippe, an absolute tool and complete douchebag, give her the first hug after blowing out the candles. His hand rested centimeters above her ass, and she pulled away just as he began to slide his hand down towards the promise land.
As conversations around the room started to buzz, and as Amelie made her rounds hugging everyone in the room, Jason turned to Claude. “Shit, just hugging her will probably give me a hard-on. She keeps getting sexier and sexier every year. By the time she’s 23 I’ll probably bust a nut every time I see her.”
Claude’s fiery gaze jerked from Philippe to Jason. “Shut the fuck up, Jay. I will seriously lay you the fuck out if you talk about her like that again.”
“Whoa, someone’s protective of his wannabe girlfriend,” Martin chuckled, taking another swig of his beer.
“I’m sick of this shit. I don’t want her to be my girlfriend. She’s going to be my girlfriend.”
Claude’s confident statement evoked a laugh from both Jay and Martin. “Bro, what makes you think that she’s going to want to be your girlfriend?”
“We’ve been friends for five years now, we see each other every day and she flirts with me every day.”
“She flirts with everyone every day, man.”
Claude watched Amelie continue to walk around the room and hug everyone, getting closer and closer to him. “I don’t know...sometimes I just catch her eye, like when we’re driving in the car, or watching a movie, or playing NHL ‘08, I can just see it. I know she feels the same way about me.”
For a moment, Jason and Martin were silent. “...Dude, that sounded really gay,” Martin replied, while Jason spat out a laugh.
Claude shook his head. “Shut up, Martin. One day when you feel the same way about a girl, which you will, I’ll be there to call you the most flaming homosexual on the planet.”
At that moment, Amelie approached Jason. “Hey Jay Bay!”
“Happy birthday, gorgeous,” he replied, pulling her in for a hug. As they came together for a hug, over her shoulder, Jason made orgasm faces and gently thrust his hips far enough away from her so that she didn’t notice. Martin stifled a giggle, but Claude just rolled his eyes.
Amelie pulled away, and raised a brow at Jason. “I saw that, Jay. I really hope those aren’t your best moves, for the sake of the girls you pump and dump.”
“Yeah, that’s where the ‘dump’ comes in,” Martin chimed with a chuckle.
“Shut the fuck up, St Pierre, at least I get girls at all.”
As Martin and Jason chirped back and forth, Amelie and Claude locked eyes. She gave him a gentle smile, clasping her hands together, while Claude simply gazed at her. “Happy birthday, Amelie,” Claude practically whispered, a smile playing on his lips. “C’mere.”
She smiled as he pulled her in for a hug, his arms wrapping around her slender waist. He inhaled the scent of her heavenly vanilla shampoo, and held her securely in her arms. If she had tried to pull back, he wouldn’t have let her. He didn’t just want her in his arms, he needed her in his arms. When Jason and Martin finally stopped bickering, they both motioned to Claude to make a move. To tell her how he felt. To kiss her. Anything.
Instead, he felt her slip out of her grip and drift on angelically to the next person. The cool air that hit his chest as he released her tightened him up. It was something he had never experienced before. He had had his way with many girls, but not a single one made him feel empty and cold just by not being near her. It was a feeling that sickened him, and a feeling that filled him with anger. He didn’t want to feel this way. He didn’t ask to feel this way. Why did it have to be over a girl who’d never reciprocate that feeling? It wasn’t fair.
But Claude wasn’t a victim, and he wasn’t going to let that stupid, weak feeling—or some girl—make him into one.
Now halfway across the room, Claude practically galloped like a stallion in heat towards Amelie. Her back towards him, she quickly spun around, which stopped Claude dead in his tracks. There was a warm smile on Amelie’s face that looked so genuine and so happy. She was on top of the world, and seeing that look on her face, he knew he couldn’t say anything tonight. He couldn’t do anything to jeopardize the perfect moment he could tell she was having by the depth of her brown eyes and by her glowing smile that lit the dim basement.
When Amelie locked eyes with Claude, her lips closed over her smile. “I’m just going to go give my parents a squeeze. But I’ll be right back, I promise,” she said with a wink.
You’d better, Claude thought to himself as she sauntered towards the stairs. Before she ascended, she paused, looking back at him. Her slender hand grasped the railing of the stairs, her eyes soft. Claude’s breath snagged in his chest as he was in complete awe of her. Looking back at his sleepy brown eyes, his loose curls, and the way his body was starting to strain against his black polo, Amelie felt her own breath catch.
When she climbed the stairs, Claude instructed his mind to memorize everything about the moment. He wanted the memory to last forever. He memorized her mile-high legs and the curvature of her ass in her tight khaki-coloured skinny jeans, the devious smile she was shooting down at him, and the way her caramel hair managed to shine in the dim lighting of the basement staircase.
When the metal door of the bar harshly squealed as Amelie opened it, Claude was brought back to the present. However, staring at the jaw-dropping beauty in front of him, his sentiments of the past were still with him. What was keeping him from taking her in his arms and kissing her all over again like it was their first? Claude had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Everything, he thought to himself as he gazed with admiration at her body now four years older and more mature.
Not even two feet behind her, Claude reached out to grab her arm and pull her towards him. However, all he felt was a cool breeze in his empty hand as she had quickened her pace to greet someone he had never seen before. She greeted him happily and excitedly, wrapping her arms around the man’s shoulders, hugging him tenderly in a way that was all-too familiar to Claude. Unable to see his face, Claude tried to dodge the crowd and catch a glimpse. Everything about the guy screamed ‘Disney prince’. His peacoat was nicer than Claude’s, his wavy locks were more luxurious that Claude’s loose curls, and he stood at least two inches taller than Claude. As he approached the two, Claude stopped dead in his tracks when he saw their faces inches from each other.
You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
- - -
The beer that Tyler had supplied for Violet was long gone, and he was nowhere to be found. After the spectacle he had put on for the entire bar, girls had flocked to him like flies to a steaming pile of turd – and to Violet, that’s what he was. He was beyond cocky, beyond arrogant, and beyond rude, but his dance on top of the bar was...amazing. He commanded attention, he knew how to get it, and he was fighting for hers. Hard.
It seemed like anyone he merely batted an eyelash at melted at his feet, and Violet had never met anyone like that in her entire life. He was certainly intriguing, but Violet wasn’t quick to forget the way he talked to her friends. Not only that, but he had put her on the spot in front of what she guessed was at least 100 people, all to abandon her at the very end for the next best squeeze, just because she wasn’t throwing herself at him. It made her mad. It made her furious. It made her...jealous?
Violet finally spotted Tyler, who was nestled against the bar-top alongside a skinny blonde with disproportionately large breasts and raccoon makeup. Ew. Even Violet knew Tyler could do better. Much better.
“So what are you gonna do about Tyler?” Courtney asked vivaciously.
Violet’s lip twitched in disgust at the sound of his name. “What do you mean? Absolutely nothing.”
Courtney and Christine shared a mystified glance. “You mean...you aren’t gonna...?”
“What?! Of course not! I’m not going to be just another one of his puck sluts.”
“So you’re not even attracted to him one little bit?” Christine asked.
“One teensy little bit?” chimed Courtney, who squeezed her thumb and index finger together millimeters from her eye.
Christine joined in. “One tiny fraction of a molecule that’s attracted to him?”
Violet huffed and tossed a shadowy black lock behind her shoulder.
“What if you hooked up with him, like...ironically?” Courtney asked, her eyes glazing over in thought. “You’d knowingly do it just to be slutty, and because you acknowledge that and he thinks you’re just another puck slut you’d be the one in control after all!”
“Doesn’t matter whether or not I’m actually in control. As long as he thinks he’s in control, I’m losing.”
“So...now there’s a winner and loser? Wouldn’t both of you getting sex be winning?”
“Especially with a body like that...dayum.”
It took everything in Violet not to slam her forehead against the bar-top. “Courtney, this whole entire thing is a game for him.” Not wanting to cast her gaze in Tyler’s direction, Violet threw her thumb over her shoulder. “See how he’s chatting up that blonde bimbo over there? She’s just going to be another notch on his bed post that he can smile to himself about while lying in bed after a big win, because he thinks he’s the king of the fucking...”
Christine and Courtney had gone pale and sickly, their gaze averting to something just behind and slightly above Violet.
“I wouldn’t say she’s a bimbo. She was great, actually. But not my type. She was too...eager. I like ‘em difficult.”
Violet spun around, and found herself face-to-broad-chest with Tyler Seguin. He flashed her a knowing smile, which only elicited a dramatic eye roll from her. “Can’t stop talking about me, huh?” He growled, hands pawing for her waist.
“Get lost, Seguin,” she sniped quickly, turning her hip to avoid his hand. “Why bother me when you’ve got a guaranteed bag in the sack with Tits McGee over there?”
Tyler threw his head back in laughter. Violet’s eyes flashed with anger and sudden apprehension. “Three reasons. One, it’s much more fun to bug you. Two, you love baseball, you’re a dancer, and you just made an Anchorman reference. I can’t even begin to explain how hot all three of those things are. And three, now that I know that I made you jealous...” Tyler stepped closer, his body grazing hers from his chest all the way down to his thighs. “There’s not a chance in hell that I’m giving up on you,” he purred, his mouth so close he was down to a near-whisper.
Violet felt her skin ignite instantly at his touch and at the low vibration of his voice. She was reeling over the fact that her body was screaming to grab hold of the rock-climbing wall with bedroom eyes that stood in front of her. However, Violet let her brain assume control of her body. She coolly regained her calm and took a step back. “You wish I was jealous. She’s not even that pretty.”
Tyler’s brow raised in intrigue. “So, what you’re saying is, if I found a girl in this bar whose hotness is equal to or greater than your own, that you would be jealous?” Tyler asked, cocking his head teasingly. “I’ll tell you what, my darling. Seeing as you are truly and utterly stunning,” he began dramatically, tapping his finger lightly to her nose, “this will be no easy task. But, I accept your challenge.” He gave her a quick wink and let his gaze drift across the crowd.
Violet blinked hard. “Wait, what?
“Be right back.”
“Cut it out!”
“This will only take a second.”
“I’ll be back, I promise.”
“I said, STOP!” Violet blurted impulsively, clasping his forearm before he could take his first step. Violet’s yelp caused her two friends to flinch in shock. Tyler froze, and slowly turned his gaze towards Violet, a victorious smile creeping just as slowly across his face.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart? Can’t take a little competition?” Tyler drawled, licking his lips and gazing down at hers.
Fuck, Violet thought to herself. Shit. FUCK! Why did I open my big mouth? As quickly as Violet conjured every curse word in the English language to scream at herself in her mind, her mind shifted to Tyler. Everything about him was so invigorating – his celebrity status, his energy, his quick wit, his permanent bedroom eyes, his strong jaw – he knew he had it all. And it was all setting its sights on her. By the look on his triumphant smirk, he knew she knew it too.
“Ladies, will you excuse me and Violet for a quick sec?”
“What? No!” Violet’s weak cries were nothing against how powerless Tyler’s hand rendered her, firmly placed on the small of her back. He guided her through the crowd, bringing her to the very back wall of the bar with almost no lighting and no people – but the look on Tyler’s face was clear as day. His eyes were locked on hers, even sleepier and a deeper shade of brown than she could have imagined. Before she could stop it, Violet gulped in suspense. If he kissed her right then and there, nobody would see them. The way his hand touched her back, and the way his eyes were trying to analyze her every move, she didn’t know if she’d stop him. He reached out and touched her forearm, tracing his fingers down her bare skin until they reached her hand, gently hanging on.
“Okay, you’re away from your friends now, so you can stop pretending you don’t want me just to impress them.”
Violet blinked hard and scoffed. She replaced all the previous thoughts in her mind that said ‘kiss’ with ‘slap’. “I’m not trying to impress them, Tyler. Don’t you think if I wanted you, we’d be back at your hotel room right now with my skull banging repeatedly against your headboard?”
Violet waited for him to quip back at her cleverly and flirtatiously, but instead, his tone was serious. “No, I don’t think we would. You know why?” Tyler paused. Violet’s mouth opened to respond, but Tyler continued. “Because you’re just like me. Getting my advances rejected gets me going, while rejecting my advances gets you going. You’re also stubborn, like me. So if one of us doesn’t put an end to this soon, then we’re not going to get what we clearly both want.”
Violet was a statue, completely dumbfounded. Is he right? Are we both going to lose?
Tyler sighed, staring at the ceiling, as if he couldn’t believe what was about to come out of his mouth. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you all night, alright?”
He said it so quietly that she almost couldn’t hear it. Violet wished she could rewind Tyler like TiVo and play his last sentence over and over. “What?”
“I can’t stop thinking about how insanely sexy you are, like me,” he added smugly. Violet nearly gagged. “...And about how clever you are, how cool you are, how I’ve never wanted some girl that I’d just met so badly.” He said the last words with a big grin and gritted teeth, fists curling loosely at his ears. Violet’s jaw was clenched tight. “So you can put an end to this right now. You can tell me you want me too, and we can get the fuck out of here and have a night together we’ll both remember for the rest of our lives.” Violet feigned a stifled laugh in an attempt to maintain her outer composure. In comparison to her insides, she was complete jelly. “...Or you can say no. I won’t bother you for the rest of the night, while you stay here with your friends and think about the night of crazy hot sex with Tyler Seguin that could have been.”
There were so many emotions boiling up inside of Violet that she was ready to bubble over. The way he talked about himself with such vanity and arrogance was absolutely infuriating, and she was dying to strike him across the face and disappear into the crowd – but what infuriated her even more was how a guy like Tyler knew just what to say to tempt her into raising a little white flag in surrender. He’d shown to her he had thoughts in his head other than “ME PLAY HOCKEY. ME WANT SEX.” In turn, it placed the latter thought in her own mind. Quickly, her mind snapped back into full gear.
He can’t be genuine.
It’s just a ploy.
He probably says this to girls at the bar once a night.
Her fists were clenching, but the way his tricep rested against the wall, pushing his monstrous bicep against his shoulder muscles, made her fists loosen. Her chest heaving, nerves and adrenaline mimicked the back and forth in her mind about what to do. Tyler was completely, one hundred percent right. She knew a night in bed with him would be heavenly, but knowing that she was simply ‘mission accomplished’ for him made her feel like a rental suit – great for a night, then off to the cleaners.
But he’s so, dammit....sexy, Violet thought to herself.
She wanted to believe the rational side of her brain, but the way he talked about wanting her so badly made her feel like something about her was different to him. If only I could win the battle and the war, she thought to herself.
It was at that moment that a lightbulb lit in her mind that could have filled the dim area at the back of the bar with a blinding white light. When Tyler saw her face light up, he tried to stop his brow from wrinkling in confusion. “So? What do you say, Vi?”
“...Let’s get out of here.”
Before waiting for his response, Violet weaved through the crowd, making a beeline for Christine and Courtney, who poorly attempted to act as if they hadn’t been watching from afar the whole time. As she made her way through the crowd, sure Tyler was chasing right behind her, Violet slid her iPhone out of her pocket and began furiously typing away. Once she finished her text, she had reached her friends, and slid her phone right back in her pocket. “Ladies, I’m out of here.”
Courtney and Christine looked as if they’d been hit by a tidal wave. “W-what? Where are you going?”
“Check your phones!”
As Violet swept past the two girls with Tyler trailing closely behind her, the girls quickly fumbled with their phones to read her text message. As it came up on their screens and their eyes scanned its contents, both girls went wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
“...Are you reading what I’m reading?”
When their eyes darted towards the door, they found Violet in her peacoat eyeing Courtney and Christine slyly. With a quick nod and a two-fingered salute, Violet disappeared through the doorway with Tyler.
- - -
“Okay, now hold the fountain and the vodka a couple inches above the cup, and press the Coke button...”
“Exactly! You’re good! It’s like you were born to pour drinks instead of shoot pucks!”
“Good to know I’ll have a plan B if my hockey career ever falls through.”
Harper giggled at James continuing to pour drinks, but saw Brady out of the corner of her eye watching them. Even with his cowboy hat covering them, she could tell he was raising his brows at her. She rolled her eyes and flicked her wrist at him. It was practically her job to flirt with men for a living, and Brady knew that. So why was he getting so defensive? In reality, Harper knew exactly why. But James had seen her with Brady, so he wouldn’t try anything. He wouldn’t...would he?
Harper looked up at James towering over her. She held his gaze, still pouring a drink. She nearly gaped at his eyes, which were all but celestial bodies, burning bright blue with their own gravitational pull. She looked up at his disheveled dark brown hair, and he smirked at her. He knew she was checking him out. His smile wasn’t helping, either – full of adorable smile lines and straight teeth. James dangling in front of her was a cruel test of fate. He was like the carrot at the end of the stick, swaying tantalizingly in front of her – but she’d never get a taste.
All of a sudden, James jerked back in shock as the drink he was pouring in front of him flowed freely over the edge of the glass and all over the counter. “Shit, sorry,” James cursed under his breath, looking around for napkins. Harper couldn’t help but smile to herself as she reached under the counter and grabbed a rag, wiping up the mess.
“Dude, you’ve already taken like five minutes to pour that for me. Quit eye-fucking that broad and pour me my damn drink!” a drunken guy with a mullet and an ugly orange plaid flannel slurred at James.
Harper slammed her palms on the edge of a bar, leaning in towards the mulleted man. She could smell the beer on his breath from three feet away. “We were not eye-fucking, Shane. Do you even realize who you’re talking to? He’s an NHL All-Star. He’d fuck you up in a heartbeat.”
James went wide-eyed at Harper’s words. Fuck him up? James maybe had one fight a season, and that was on the ice. Looking at the drunk mulletface in front of him, who was half his size in weight and stature, he knew the guy wouldn’t stand a chance – but James wasn’t ready to throw a punch anytime soon.
All of a sudden, Harper leaned over the bar and held the guy in a headlock, mussing up his beloved mullet. “Lemme go Harper, it was just a joke!”
“What are you doing?!” James shrieked.
Harper released the guy with a smile on her face. When James looked in horror at the Mullet, he was smiling, too. James wrinkled his nose. Huh?
“Relax, All-Star, he’s just messing with you. He’s a good buddy of Brady’s, never knows when a chirp goes too far. Or when he’s dealing with a wet blanket with no sense of humour.” Her crooked smile was widening as she gazed up at him, and she playfully hit his stomach. Her hand practically rebounded off the hard surface.
“Hey, I can take a joke. And I can have fun.”
“Oh, really? Well why don’t you start by finally taking off this jacket of yours?” she replied, slowly stepping closer to him.
He swallowed hard when she lifted her small, slender fingers to the top button of his black peacoat. She slowly pushed the button through the hole in the fabric, reaching down and unbuttoning another. And another. The way she gently and sensually handled something as unsexy as a peacoat made him forget that anyone else was around. It made him wish that they were in his hotel room and it was his oxford shirt that she was slowly unbuttoning. Harper was sexier than any girl he had ever met before, but not because of her looks. He had met his share of extremely beautiful women in his lifetime. It was everything about her attitude that made his mouth water. She just didn’t give a fuck. He knew it as she held his gaze and bit her lip, letting it glide out from underneath her teeth. She knew what she had, she knew how to work it, and she knew how to make him want it. And boy, did he want it. But when James looked up and saw Brady, who from the looks of it, was ready to shoot laser beams out of his eyes, he knew Harper was too hot to handle.
James backed away just as she reached the last button that sat right on top of his package. “I can do the last one, thanks.”
“Suit yourself. Here, come with me. I’ll show you where to put your jacket,” she replied, motioning for him to come with the fingers that were grazing his upper body only seconds ago.
“Can’t I just put it under the bar?”
“And risk getting it dirty? Hell no, I will not have an All-Star’s jacket get dirty under my watch.”
James rolled his eyes, yet beamed. “You don’t have to keep calling me an All-Star, you know.”
“Sure I don’t. But doesn’t it make you feel...sexy?” she asked, the last word a mere whisper.
Everything about Harper made James’ body numb. But he knew it was wrong. She was openly teasing him in front of her boyfriend. Who knew what she could possibly have up her sleeve? Nevertheless, when she took his hand and started guiding him out from behind the bar, his body was mindlessly following her like a fly drawn to light – but he was worried if he got too close, he’d zap.
As James neared closer and closer to Brady, he drew in a breath. Brady took Harper’s arm, whispered something in her ear, then stood up straight, eyeing James with the most suspicious of looks. James couldn’t quite make out over the crowd what Harper had said in response, but he thought he heard her reply, “I’m handling it.”
She once again motioned for James to follow, and they were now out from behind the bar and into the crowd. Through the mass of bodies he squeezed and pushed his way through, she looked back at him and gave him a mischievous smile. Despite its potentially devious intent, there was something gentle about it. There was something in it that made his insides float. The way she looked at him, it was like she knew him – not as an All-Star as she had referred to him ten times over, but like she really knew him; the real James. At that moment, he knew for a fact that he didn’t care about Harper’s motives behind toying with him. He didn’t care about Brady, or about punching every single dude in the bar for her if he had to.
He didn’t care if her beautiful light zapped him. He would do anything to have her.
- - -
Tessa watched in confusion as Harper led James Neal through the crowd and ogled him like a horny schoolgirl. She thought that because of Brady, and after everything she’d gone through that past year, that Harper wouldn’t want to touch a hockey player with a thirty-foot pole. But there she was, looking like she was ready to take a ride on his hockey stick. Even though Harper was a bit of a free spirit, Tessa trusted her to do the right thing.
Sitting in the booth with Gabe, who not only had his arm around her, but was descending into a deeper and deeper state of drunkenness, she faced the same moral dilemma. Even in his state, he was still gentlemanly, still respectful, but that only left her wanting more. Putting his arm around her was the boldest thing he’d done all night.
“Whoa, Landeskog, getting pretty steamy over there, you’d better keep your wits about you or you might end up going to first base!” one of Tyler Seguin’s friends chirped from the inside of the semi-circular booth.
“Fuck you guys,” Gabe spat, clearly trying to avoid slurring his words. He leaned in to Tessa, so close that his hot breath tickled her face. “I’m sorry about them, they’re pretty rude and I don’t even know them very well, so if you want to leave and go have a fun night on your own, I understand. It’s cool.”
Based on the look in Gabriel’s puppy dog eyes, if she left, it would have been anything but cool with him. He was evidently a wallflower amongst the group of mouthy Tyler Seguin clones at the table. Abandoning him would have already made her night worse, but their chirps were picking up again.
“Come on, Landy, give her a smooch.”
“She has a boyfriend, asshole.”
“Then where is he? Only rooks like you Landy let some other guy tell you who you can and can’t bone.”
“Yeah man,” another guy at the booth chimed. “Just kiss her!”
Before Gabe and Tessa knew it, the entire table was chanting, “KISS HER! KISS HER! KISS HER!” while pounding their fists on the table. Beer was sloshing to the beat over the rims of glasses and onto the hard wood. Gabe gave Tessa an apologetic look just as her phone vibrated. She saw Dayna’s name on her call display along with a giant picture of her making a funny face. Tessa couldn’t put off her decision any longer, and it was the moment of truth – take the call, or kiss the guy? With time running out, and with pounding fists of the band of idiots getting louder and louder, it wasn’t even a question for her anymore. Tessa flew out of the booth like Gabe had pushed her out himself. “Hello?! Dayna, hello?!?”
The other side of the line was silent. “Hold on, I can’t hear you, Dayna. Let me just step outside for a second.”
“...Tessa.” It was a mere whimper.
“Yeah, Dayna?” A bouncer let Tessa step out into the smoking area, where her bare bones shivered in the January night upon a cool blast of below-freezing air. “What’s up? Where are you? You will never guess who’s – ”
“Tessa. Listen to me.”
Tessa went silent. Her stomach began to toss in anticipation. “W...what?”
“Can we talk? Can I meet you?”
“I’m at the bar right now, I don’t think – ”
“Tessa...I...I made a huge mistake.”
Every inch of Tessa’s body went still. The air in her lungs stalled, her heart ceased beating, and the rush of blood in her veins swished to a stop. Suddenly, the cold air was no match for the boil her blood was coming to. “You have got to be kidding me. You have got to be FUCKING kidding me! I knew it, I knew it, Dayna!”
“Tessa, please, listen to me, I can explain – ”
“Yeah? Well go ahead. Explain what led you to have sex with my boyfriend. I would love to hear your explanation.” Tessa placed a hand on her hip, and tried to ignore the group of smokers glancing over at her curiously.
The other end was silent. Tessa was huffing with rage, and on the verge of crushing the phone in her hand into smithereens. “We...we just had a little too much to drink – ”
Tessa wanted to scream like she’d never screamed before. “Ohhh, you had too much to drink! I’m so sorry for losing my temper, Dayna, how inconsiderate of me. If only you had said from the beginning that you had too much to drink! It was the alcohol that gained magical powers and forcibly guided my boyfriend’s cock into your vagina! Now everything is crystal clear and all is completely forgiven!”
Dayna was in hysterics. “Tessa, please, we’re begging for you to forgive us!”
Just the sound of the word we made Tessa want to throw up and throw them both into the Ottawa River. Isaac and Dayna as a ‘we’. It took everything in her to keep her cool and not cause a scene in front of the smokers, whose attention she had now completely captured. She quickly cleared her throat, blew out a short breath, and lowered her voice. “I have been waiting here for you two for almost an hour and a half, and in the process I rejected Gabriel fucking Landeskog. Yeah. Gabriel Landeskog, your dream man that you didn’t think you’d even meet in a million years. And you know why I rejected him? Because I thought you might get mad, or even jealous, not to mention that I didn’t want to cheat on my boyfriend of over a year and a half that I love. That’s probably a hard concept for you two to fathom, isn’t it? That I wouldn’t betray my best friend? That I wouldn’t cheat? That I’d wait to tell you in person instead of break the news over a fucking phonecall?! Well I’m glad to know that we’re on the same page now, because now that I think about it, Gabe is way better looking in person, and I’d bet his skills in the bedroom are as good as his skills on the ice. I guess we’re about to find out. By the way, I think you’re a whore and a bitch and an absolute cunt. Don’t ever speak to me again.”
With that, Tessa hung up the phone. On the drama scale, from 1 to 10, her response was at about 1000. However, Tessa’s feelings of abandonment, betrayal, loneliness, and inebriation were beginning to stack up higher than the Peace Tower. She stormed right past the bouncer, and now that she had set her crosshairs on Gabe, there wasn’t any physical or moral force that could stop her from firing. It was only when she saw him sitting at the booth where she had left him, eyeing her across the room and waving at her eagerly, that she choked on a sob.