Here To Stay
On the dreary Tuesday morning, in late September, I got out of bed, grabbed some coffee, and got ready for work as the rain pounded against the windows of my Chicago apartment.
Like all other days, I looked up at the living room wall i like to call my "Wall of Failure'. Hanging from the wall are four picture frames. In the first picture frame, there sits a picture of me when I used to play soccer as a teenager. This photo was taken before I destroyed my knee. The second contains my teaching certificate, which is of no use to me now. The third holds a picture of my first day working as one of the sports announcers/reporters for the local tv station. And the fourth one is empty. Thats right, empty. In case you could not catch on, my life has been full of failures. I tried being an athlete, i ruined my chances of that through injury. My parents had a dream of me being a teacher, and I let them down by not pursuing it (children don't listen to me as an authoritative figure). Finally, my dream of covering international news, which was going to go in the fourth frame, was foiled by my new (and seemingly endless) position as a sports announcer, depicted in frame number three
I know what you're thinking: This bitch is so whiney! She has a great job, a place to live, and she has a fall back job while everyone else in this shitty economy is struggling to make ends meet! To which I would so kindly reply: Shut up! You chose to read this, so let me get on with the story!
Moving on.... I heaved a sigh at the wall, then went on my way out the door. Leaving my apartment building, i scurried out to the parking lot and hopped into my little Honda hybrid, and sped down the street towards the station. The rain had stopped for a moment and the sun came out for a bit. I thought, hey maybe it will be a good day! Right after that, I hit about three red lights, and on the third one, I was recognized by a middle aged man driving a red sports car next to me. "Hey." he called over. I ignored him and focused on the light, praying it would change. "Hey!" I stared forward as long as possible, until he screamed, "Aren't you Elizabeth Bennett, from Channel 8 News? Yeah, you're great with the sports."
Reluctantly, I flashed him a 'heart-warming' smile and nodded. "Thank you so much!" I cheered in a squeaky voice. One of the downsides of being on television: you always have to be happy, no matter what.
The grey haired man nodded and continued, "You know, I love the fact that you know so much about sports, even though you're a girl, and you're so beautiful- Hey, would you maybe want to-"
Fortunately the light turned green, so I cut him off. "Listen, it was great talking to you, but I really should get to work. Remember, Channel 8 has the best updates on all things sports!" I threw in cheekily. He gave me a friendly smile and a wave, and I sped off as fast as I could. Once I finally walked into the hectic station, late I might add, my makeup team gooped on all the junk they had and shoved me off to get ready. As I walked towards my office area and put my things away, I bumped into my boss, Mr. Doyle (A.K.A. Max Doyle).
"Ahh, Mrs. Bennett. You're late," he commented as he briskly walked in the opposite direction.
Shoving my purse and coffee at one of the workers, I followed closely behind, making sure not to fall in my heels. "Maxwell, sir, I would like to talk to you."
"Hmm, it doesn't sound like the sort of talk a new reporter should be having with her already very generous boss," he stated as he patted one of the cameramen on the back.
Shit! How did he know I was going there? "Sir, i was just thinking, maybe I could start working on the international news instead of just sports. I think I can flourish there and-" I began hopefully.
"Rodriguez, we're scrapping the school protests for now because a van is going there, so start with the 'house fire' piece," he insisted to one of the main newscasters. As we continued down towards the weatherman, he groaned, "Mrs. Bennett, I admire your enthusiasm, but you are a great sports announcer and a great sports reporter, and I think that is where you 'flourish' the most. Now please, go update Dave on how the Cubs are doing. That man is clueless when it comes to baseball." And with that, I stopped walking and allowed Mr. Doyle to move on with his grumpy demeanor. Defeated, I went to talk to Dave about the most recent Baseball games.
The rest of my day consisted of telling Dave all that was important about the Cubs, prepping the other daily sports reporter, Cynthia Wilson (my coworker with better looks than me, allowing her to get the early morning spot when most working men watch, but no brain when it comes to sports), for her interview with Alfonso Soriano about the game, and i finished doing the research I needed about the Blackhawks hockey team. Once I actually got in front of the camera at two o'clock, I was feeling alright. I figured that if I did a good job starting off the hockey season, Mr. Doyle might consider letting me move over to my preferred branch of news-casting.
Pulling the most sincere smile as I heard 'Great weather just in time for the Hawks Game, huh Elizabeth?' from my ear piece, I laughed and replied, "Sure is Adam! Maybe it means good luck for the Blackhawks."
My fellow sports reporter Kenny, with his nearly white blonde hair, bright white teeth, and gorgeous face, agreed, "Well let's hope so! The first game of the season for the Hawks is this Thursday night at seven o'clock right here on channel eight for you hockey fans."
"That's right, and Hawks' Joel Quenneville seemed very optimistic about the season!" I added with a grin. Kenny nodded and smiled at the camera while we waited for the footage of my interview with the coach to begin. Once the cameraman gave us the signal, we relaxed and waited for the two minute clip to finish.
Kenny patted me on the shoulder lightly and complimented, "Good start, good start."
"You too," I sighed in response. Out of all of my coworkers, Kenny was my favorite. He actually knew about his job and came prepared, like me, and he was pretty smart. Oh, yeah, and there's that whole good looking thing he has going for him too. "So what do you really think about the Hawks? You think they'll do well this season?"
Kenny shrugged as he took a sip from his water, then put it back under his desk. "I don't know. I mean, they have a chance, especially since they got some promising new players, like Carcillo. I heard Toews was losing his touch as captain."
"Sure, I mean, it makes sense. He has had a lot on his plate since the cup win in '09, trying to pull back another win. I think he can do it though." I mumbled. Kenny turned and just smiled at me. I looked back at him and wondered, "What?"
He just nodded and chuckled, "You know what you're talking about, I mean, unlike Cynthia, you're beautiful and intelligent."
I couldn't help but giggle and blush a little. "Oh-oh, uh thank you." I beamed at him uncontrollably. Before we could further our conversation, we were being cued to get ready to go back on the air.
We both focused on the camera as Kenny started, "Well, we'll just have to see how the Hawks do this season."
"Of course, but the baseball season for the Cubs has unfortunately come to an end. They lost game four against the New York Yankees, with a final score of six zero. A painful way to go out, Matt Garza pitched three home runs before being substituted by Andrew Cashner." I began.
"Its a glum day in Cubs history, but there's always next year," he interjected hopefully, "Back to you Adam." And with that, my job was done for the next two hours. I slouched back in my chair once the cameraman cued us to the end of our segment. I sat back up to drink my cup of water, and as I did so, I stood up and properly thanked Kenny.
"Thank you." I smiled before I started to walk away.
I heard quick footsteps behind me followed by a hand on my shoulder and his voice asking, "Wait, where are you going?"
"Lunch... as usual," I laughed with a smirk. "Want to come?"
Kenny smirked and nodded. "Sure." As we began walking to the lunchroom, he asked, "So, what are you doing this friday night?"
My heart started pounding. Is this really happening? I felt like a teenager being asked out by the popular jock. Because I was new, Kenny and I did not know one another very well, and today was one of the few days I got to work with him. "Uh-uh I... I'm not doing anything except finishing the recap of the Hawks game from Thursday. Why?" I asked.
He held the door to the lunchroom open for me and continued, "Well, I was wondering if you would like to go out to dinner with me."
Without even thinking, I blurted out, "What about tall, blonde, and beautiful Cynthia?" I swear, I have absolutely no filter. I don't even know the definition of the word.
Kenny chuckled, "What about her? What if I like brunette, pretty, and smart Elizabeth?"
I gave a small smile. "Hmm... that sounds great Kenny." I agreed with a smile. He nodded excitedly as we hopped in line for some lunch.
Once we got our food and found a table, we enjoyed a half an hour of lunch together. We talked about everything. What college we went to, our favorite foods, our hobbies, and many more topics were discussed. We had a lot in common. In fact, we went to colleges right near one another, and we both liked tennis. I wasn't sure about how far our relationship would go, but Kenny seemed like a nice enough guy. Towards the end of our lunch break, I sighed, "Well, I have to go get my makeup redone, but uh... this was nice talking to you. I liked it." Smiling, I stood up to leave.
Kenny stood up as well and smirked. "Yeah.... and hey, text me, okay?" he insisted as he started walking towards the exit. I nodded and waved as he left towards his office. I cleaned up my lunch and followed suit, getting ready for the powdery and goopy war paint that awaited me in the room down the hall.
After my work at the station was done, I headed home. I walked in, dropped my bag, slipped out of my shoes, and sat on the couch. I rested my head back on the edge of the couch only to hear a high pitched screech. I leapt from the sofa and fell to the floor. "What the hell?!" I hollered. Scanning the floor, I found a remote and gripped it for defense, as if it could hurt anyone. I looked up to see my friend Logan pop up from behind the sofa. She was huffing and puffing anxiously. "What are you doing here?" I hissed.
Her curly, bed head hair fell in a messy heap around her face as she focused on me. I watched as her green eyes bulged. "What are you doing here? I wasn't expecting you for another half an hour!" she called back as she stood up, letting her black hair fall down her back and out of her face.
I shook my head, gripped the end of the coffee table, and got up. "Traffic wasn't too bad today. Besides, I live here! But why are you here? I thought you were in California!" I collapsed on the couch, exhausted, confused, and waiting patiently for my heart rate to return back to normal.
"I was! Until.... well, I was just wondering if I could stay here in your apartment with you for a couple of... weeks...." she huffed.
She sat down next to me quietly, keeping a three foot distance between us. Mulling it over, I furrowed my brows at her, wondering the reason behind my old friend's surprise visit. "What happened?" I groaned, relaxing back into the feathery cushion, letting my eyes close.
Smacking a hand to her heart, Logan gasped, "Why can't I just come and visit my best friend?! I am appalled, Ellie! I mean really, the nerve-" She was ranting on and on, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting at me. I had to admit, she was becoming a better liar each time I asked about it.
"Oh really? Why Don't I believe you?" I asked with an enthusiastic laugh. Adjusting myself on the couch so I faced her, I locked eyes with her, analyzing her expression. She quickly averted her eyes, and I knew there was more to this intrusion than a 'friendly visit'.
"Because you know me too well..." she admitted with a small smirk as she hugged her arms tightly. Logan stared down at her lap and didn't dare look back up at her almost-sister.
"Why are you really here?" I wondered, raising an eyebrow and shooting her a smart-ass smile.
Logan, finally looking up, sighed and shook her head, dropping her arms down to her sides. "Well.... I lost my job..."
"Again?!" I hollered. I should not have been surprised since that was basically the only reason Logan would ever come to see me. She sometimes 'visited' me when I was in Philly, every few months. Other times she would come to Chicago to see her brothers' hockey games and end up crashing with him. . Logan is Nicholas Wright's, forward on the Chicago Blackhawks***(not in real life obviously, i made up this guy)***, baby sister, so she would just stop by and hang out with him when she was bored... or unemployed. "What did you do this time?" I pressed, getting up to grab a beer from the refrigerator.
As I passed, Logan swiveled around on the couch and rested her arms on the back ledge of her seat. "It is not my fault! Working at the theater was unbearable! Being the star, I expect a certain amount of respect!" she insisted.
I chuckled as I placed two beers on the counter and closed the fridge shut. "You were an extra in Cats... a star, but not exactly THE star," I teased, returning to the living room with out beverages. I handed one to Logan and placed two coasters on the coffee table as I rejoined her on the couch.
"Thanks." she said, raising her bottle and taking a swig of the cold, strong liquid. She sighed and continued. "One of the assistants at the production was getting fresh with me because I tripped once. He would not shut his trap... so I...." Logan paused, letting her voice trail off. She gazed at me as she lifted her bottle to her mouth and gulped down another mouthful of beer, hoping I would catch her drift.
I nearly spit out my beer when I realized what she was implying. "Logan! You didn't?!" I gawked. She just shrugged and glanced out the window across the room. "You can't just hit everyone who has a problem with you!" Shaking my head, I slammed my beer down on the coaster. "You won't keep a job if you keep this up." I glared at her, even though she wouldn't look back at me.
"Short temper... runs in the family. What do you expect?" Logan set down her beer calmly and kept quiet, waiting for me to scold her further. "Bring it... I know it's coming..." she huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.
I let my head drop before giggling uncontrollably. "I've come to the sad conclusion that it is pointless to yell at you to try and get my point across. Plus, if I know you, and I do, you're probably still pissed about the incident with this loudmouthed assistant. Nicky will not like the sound of this though..." I teased with a smile.
"No! You can't tell him! He'll flip out on me... Nick will never let me live it down." she whined, pouting her lips and batting her long eyelashes at me, hoping for sympathy.
I chuckled, remembering the last time Logan told her big brother about the falling out at her last job. The most prominent memory was of Nick giving her the cold shoulder and then wrestling her to the ground like a kid until she promised to get a new job. "But I love Nick!" Nick was always nice to me. He treated me like the sister he always wanted, but he didn't make fun of me as much as he made fun of Logan. "I could never lie to him..." I continued.
Logan sat up on her knees and inched closer to me. "Please, Ellie, I'm begging you! Hey... how about... how about you let me tell him... I'll tell him! eventually..." she bargained nervously. Logan folded her hands together and held them in front of her, fake-crying like a puppy who wanted attention from her owner.
Cackling at my advantage over her, I agreed. "Alright, you tell him. Dig your own grave a little deeper. But on one condition: we go to the game this Thursday night, and you tell him afterwards." I negotiated with an evil grin. Logan fell backward on the couch and feigned death. "Dramatic. I can see why the assistant sassed you." i ribbed as I poked her playfully.
"Come on! That's suicide! He'll never talk to me again." she growled, sitting back up. I folded my arms and gave her a good long stare until she gave in. "Fine! Fine. You know, Ellie, I love you, but you are such a pain in the ass."
"But I'm your pain in the ass."
The next day, while I was at work, Logan cleaned up my apartment. When I returned home, it was a beautiful, clean surprise to be able to see the floor. As I tossed my bag to the ground by the door, ready to ramble on about work (and specifically, Kenny), Logan cut me off.
"We're going out with my brother for dinner tonight, so go get ready." Logan interjected before I could speak. I looked at her more closely and realized she was dressed like she was ready to go to a party. As I stared at her beautiful, deep green, strapless, shiny knee-length dress, I understood that someone of importance was coming to this gathering.
"Who?" I asked as I scrambled into my bedroom. I kicked off my work heels and flung open my closet as fast as I could.
Logan followed and leaned her back against the door frame, dangling a black purse from her hand. "Mr. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews." she almost whispered as she closed her eyes and pictured them.
I froze. "Kaner!" I hollered at the top of my lungs. I couldn't help myself from jumping around like a giddy teenager. "I miss him!" Being best friends with a professional hockey player has its perks, for example, hanging out with one or two of his friend's teammates. I laughed as i stripped out of my business-like outfit. Sifting through my dresses, nothing seemed right.
Logan concurred, "I know. Long time no see. Since the season started, you'll get to see him more though! Maybe you'll be sent on a few interviews." She trotted over to my closet and ran down the line of dresses that stuffed the area. "This." Logan's hands flew to a one strapped, deep purple, dress with a ruffly bottom, and a silky top. "And..." she paused, snatching a pair of black heels from the shoe rack at the bottom of the closet. "These too."
I beamed at my best friend and complimented, "You have the best fashion sense ever. This is one of the reasons why I need you." I took the dress and slipped if on, proceeding to carefully strap on the heels as i slid onto my bed. "Could you pick out some jewelry?" I pushed with a laugh. Moments later, as I fiddled with my shoes, I sat up on my bed to see Logan holding out a simple necklace with a twisting diamond design at the bottom. "You are awesome." I breathed as I held up my hair.
Logan placed the necklace around my neck. "Thanks... you look almost as pretty as me!" I smacked Logan's arm playfully and she laughed. Standing up, she looked me over and ruffled my thick, straight hair. She shook her head and drew back some hair by the front of my hair. Within minutes, Logan was twisting my hair into a braided headband across my head. "Now.. we may go. You're lucky your job requires you to wear make up, or we'd be here for another fifteen minutes."
As we hopped into my Honda, I inquired, "So... what do you know about Jon?" I started the car and pulled away as Logan buckled herself in. "Kaner is basically the only guy on the team that I really know."
Logan nodded as she fixed her dark hair which she pinned up in an eccentric bun. "I don't know... Nick says he is really nice, but I have never met him. Now will be the first time." she explained with a shrug.
"Hmm... I don't know... when I see him play... I don't know, he just seems really intimidating... staying serious all the time. I guess that's the point though." I commented quietly as I made a couple turns. "What did you say this place was called again?" I questioned.
"Alinea. It's a couple blocks away.... And of course he is intimidating, he's a fuckin' hockey player! Besides, serious does not necessarily mean that he is a dick," Logan pointed out as she directed me down a few more streets.
I nodded as I spun the wheel around several times. "You're right... I don't know... it's just, I'm nervous. What if he doesn't like us..." I sighed as I found the restaurant. Pulling into the parking lot, I focused on the packed restaurant.
"It'll be fine. You worry too much. Besides... when in doubt, stick to Kane." she joked as I shut the car off. I stepped out of the car and slammed the door shut a little too hard. "Breathe!" Logan demanded as she joined me in front of the car. I heaved a breath before Logan led me into the restaurant.
The interior of the building was elegant, classy, and all around beautiful. It had a more modern, artsy mood to it, with curved chairs, sleek tables, and one or two paintings scattered around the main dining room. Behind the main lobby, there were stairs leading to an upstairs dining room. As the two of us approached the podium, Logan spoke in her silky voice, "We are here with the Wright party. Should be a party of five?"
"Name?" the snobbish man at the podium questioned as he looked down at a list of guests.
"Logan and Elizabeth." Logan responded, rolling her eyes.
The man stopped snubbing us, made eye contact, and apologized for his previous actions. "My apologies, ladies. It was Mr. Wright's orders to make sure to only allow guests with those names... you know, in order to prevent fans from intruding upon the dining experience."
"Not a problem." Logan insisted with a smile.
The man nodded and bowed slightly, extending his arm towards the black staircase. "Right this way." Logan smiled and gave a small curtsy as she passed toward the stairs. I followed suit as I climbed the stairs. At the top, we realized that the majority of the second floor was cleared out, except one or two tables; one of the few groups at the restaurant on the top floor included Nick, Patrick, and Jonathan, who sat at the opposite side of the room, but the wide-open windows.
"Nick!" Logan cried as she saw him. Not the classiest thing to do at such a high-class restaurant, but the lack of customers made it acceptable. She trotted over to him excitedly and leapt into her brothers arms as he stood up. "Nick! How are you?" she mumbled into her big brother's chest.
Nick chuckled and hugged her tightly, lifting her off the ground. "Loge! I miss you. How have you been? I was so surprised to see that you came to Chicago!"
I watched as two of my best friends-no siblings shared a sentimental moment. I inched closer to the table until i was next to Patrick and Jon, who were standing at the time. "Kaner," I mumbled with a small smirk. He instinctively stood up as he turned to me. Patrick twinkled at me with his pearly white teeth.
"Ellie, long time no see." he sighed as he pulled me into a tight hug. It lasted about a second, but it reminded me of how awesome his hugs are. "How are you? Hows the station?" As I started to bore him with information, I noticed Jon standing behind him, staring at me intently. Pausing, I coughed, giving Patrick a cue to introduce us.
He apologized, "Oh, I'm sorry! Jon, this is Elizabeth, my friend. I met her through Nick way back in the day, before the NHL. Elizabeth, this is my best buddy on and off the ice, Jon!" Patrick stepped aside and gestured to the two of us.
"Hello." Jon greeted quietly. He extended a hand, not taking his dark brown eyes off of mine.
Still a bit nervous, I grasped his hand and shook it, mainly because I was shaking already. I couldn't explain it, but Jon intimidated me to the point of fear. It's not like i believed he would hurt me, especially not in front of two of his best friends, but having a stranger tower over me did not put a comforting thought in my mind. "Hi! Mice to neet you." I blurted out.
Kane stifled a chortle as best as he could, but I knew he was dying of laughter on the inside. Jon slowly let go of my hand, still staring at me, now more like I was crazy. He coughed and looked down, obviously feeling embarrassed for me. My cheeks flared up and I felt the blood rush to my face. "I mean- what I meant was... nice to meet you." I stuttered awkwardly.
Patrick chuckled and guided me to my seat which was next to him (thank god). "Smooth, Ellie, smooth." I hit him in the chest as I took my seat. "Ouch! Two minutes after we see each other again and you are already abusing me."
Toews sat down across from me and mumbled something along the lines of "Weak hit." I whipped my head in his direction to see him glaring at me.
Kane laughed and insisted, "No, Tazer, you'd be surprised how hard she can hit." He slipped into the seat next to me and picked up his menu, staring at the different options.
"Doubt it..." he almost whispered under his breath as he picked up a menu. I could feel the anger rising in my face. Normally, I don't mind if people mess with me or crack a few jokes (because I usually spit smarter comments back) but Toews did not seem to be joking whatsoever; he seemed like he was intentionally annoying me. Kaner chuckled at his teammate's jest, but just as I was about to yell at the both of them, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"What? No hug for your adopted big brother?" Nick asked with a grin as he extended his hand to help me up. His bright green eyes, which matched Logan's, lit up as he saw me grip his hand to stand up. He shook his dark brown hair from his face as he brought me in for a tight hug. "How are you? Think you could convince your boss to send you down our way to interview us? It would be nice to see a familiar face once in a while."
I chuckled as I wrapped my arms snugly around his back, missing my almost brother. "I think he might go for it if one of you guys gave him a call on my behalf. Until then, I'm stuck at the station."
Toews grumbled, "And we're stuck with Cynthia" Nick took his spot on the other side of Logan, who squeezed my arm as I plopped back in the seat next to her. Hearing Toews utter disapproving words about Cynthia made me respect him a bit.
"No way, man. She is hot!" Kaner insisted as he made a low whistling sound. I rolled my eyes, and Kane caught this out of the corner of his eye. "Like you aren't the same way with hockey players!"
Nick chimed in, "Yeah, you and Loge can't go a day without giggling about a hot player you see on television." He glanced over the menu and then looked up at me, giving me a quick wink.
"Oh shut up!" Logan giggled. "We aren't that bad!"
Kane's mouth fell open at Logan's statement. Toews set down his menu and folded his arms on the table. "Who is it that they like so much? I bet they are all dicks outside of the rink." Jon sighed as he looked from Logan to me.
Kane turned to me and raised his eyebrows flirtatiously. I blushed and quickly averted my eyes to my menu. "Well... Ellie had a big crush on me!" he announced.
Toews hissed, "I rest my case," as I punched Kane in the shoulder, not caring that we were in one of the best restaurants in Chicago. Nick chuckled and even Logan couldn't help but giggle.
I looked away from Kane who was daring me to argue otherwise, and my eyes landed on Toews who had been staring at me the whole time. I quickly stared down again, hoping he would stop gawking at me. Thinking of a witty comeback, I hissed, "Yeah, but that was before I got to know the 'new' you. The one that is a pompous NHL-er who thinks he's better than he is."
Kane put a hand over his heart and pretended to be shot in the chest. "Ouch... first the physical blows... now emotional... Testy tonight, eh? Nervous Ellie?" he pressed, drawing a playful finger up my exposed arm.
I giggled in response and slapped his hand away. "Knock it off, Kaner." I mumbled as I traced the warm area where his fingers were.
"She had it bad for you," Logan jeered with a laugh as she had a sip of the water which was placed in front of her by a waiter. "Talked about you for weeks." I was about to spin around and glare at Logan, when a waiter came by to take out orders. Logan just asked for a round of beers and insisted that we would order our courses later on.
Kane just smirked at me and shook his head. I nudged Logan hard. "Shut up! It was not that bad! Now, can we stop focusing on me? This is not make-Ellie-blush night!" Just then, the beer arrivaved, in record time. I quickly picked up the beer and guzzled a few mouthfuls down, desperate for some relief from my embarrassment.
Nick inserted his own opinion into the mix. "Sorry, Ellie, but don't feel too bad. You know Logan is just as bad, if not worse, than you." Logan gasped at this. "Don't even try to deny it! You had a crush on Staal!" Logan silently took a sip of her beer, avoiding all eye contact.
"Which one?" Kane pressed, raising an eyebrow.
I mumbled with a smile, "All of them..." Consider that payback, Logan. That will teach you to throw me under the bus. I thought.
"Ooh..." Kane cooed. "Get it!" he cheered childishly. Logan shot him a dirty glare from across the table. She would not hesitate to hit him, after all, it wouldn't be the first time.
As Kane, and Nick took turns joking about Logan, I studied the menu, listening for something interesting in the conversation so I could jump back in. However, there was the growing feeling that someone was watching me. LIfting my head, I saw Jon's eyes never moving from me, still gazing at me. Plus, it wasn't a 'hey' type stare, but more like a 'who the fuck do you think you are?' stare. Not comforting. Maybe he hates me. If he does, I think my heart will break. It doesn't help that I used to have a crush on him, so I really want him to like me and-Calm down! Breathe. I thought to myself.
I turned my attention back to my menu for a few minutes, only to find him still looking at me when I finally glanced back up. I mouthed the word "what?" as he kept his eyes on my face. Jon just blinked and then looked at Kaner, who was teasing Logan for her crush on Crosby. "Crosby? Really?" Jon wondered, hopping back into the chat.
Logan buried her face in the menu and sighed, "It was only for a little bit. I'm over it now. Can we go back to making fun of Elizabeth? I have endured enough humiliation for the night."
Kane squeezed my arm and poked, "Yeah, who are you crushing on now?" Logan breathed a sigh of relief, only to have Kane laugh, "I'll be asking you the same question soon, Loge! So, fess up, Ellie." Kaner stared at me with his stupid ice cool eyes, melting my heart. Oh... so that's why I liked him...
I shook my head and shoved him off. "Nobody. I have to be professional, now that I will be working with a lots of Chicago's finest athletes." I diplomatically replied, looking down the list of foods. Kane gave a groan as he slouched back a little in his chair.
I heard Logan shift in her chair; that was all it took for me to know what she was about to do, especially since I witnessed her get halfway through her beer within a five minute time period. Instinctively, I whipped my head up to see her scowl at me. Shit. "I know who she is interested in..." she proclaimed with a giggle. It was obvious that the alcohol was already setting in, because of the sluggishness of her words.
"Logan, don't you dare!" I hissed, shooting her a threatening look. Kane's ears perked up at this. Of course he would be interested... "I will kill you!"
She cackled and hinted, "Well, he's in this room..." She bit her lip and leaned back in her chair, waiting for the boys to figure it out.
Kane and Nick automatically turned their attention to Jon. "It's not me, anymore at least." Patrick reminded.
Nick assumed, "It's not me, we're basically related."
Jon glanced at everyone around the table, and finally let his gaze rest on me. His chocolate brown eyes looked almost like coal as they burned into my heart. I can never show my face to him again. "Me?" he asked skeptically, almost scoffing. He looked to Logan who gave a quick nod before turning to me and seeing that I had turned into a tomato.
"What?!" Patrick and Nick burst. The two of them laughed hysterically as the waiter returned to our table. Unable to continue messing with me, everyone ordered their food. I hid my eyes behind a menu as I told the waiter my order. Unfortunately, once he took my menu, I was defenseless, cornered, and forced to undergo Jon's scrutiny, which had intensified since the recent events.
Patrick nudged me and whispered, "You know, he sleeps naked, in case you were wondering." Out of habit, I elbowed him in the stomach as hard as I could, knocking the wind out of him. In all honestly, I love the guy, but he really knows how to get under my skin, similar to Logan. It was part of the reason I liked the two of them, I think.
"Stuff it, Pat." Jon grumbled as he passed his menu to the waiter. I faced Jon and locked eyes with him. No smile, just a solemn demeanor. Was this guy trained in the art of serene? I could not read him, and it really pissed me off.
I broke our staring contest and brought up something else, changing the topic completely. I looked over at Logan and called, "Nick, I have something to tell you." Her eyes flew open, and she twisted her body around to face me. She shook her head, pleading for sympathy. Fat chance. I furrowed my brows and pulled out one of the evilest grins I could. "She's not here just to visit you... she lost her job."
"Bitch..." Logan growled under her breath. Nick stiffened and turned to his baby sister. She looked at him with the saddest expression I have ever seen.
"What did you do?" he questioned, staring hard at her. Nick's green eyes never looked angry, until now. I could tell that Logan was in for it now, but I was nowhere near sorry.
Kane murmured,"Ruthless." I shrugged and looked over at him. He was still smiling. That little twerp never frowned, I swear.
Trying to start a new conversation while Nick extorted information from Logan about her current predicament. "So, you know if you are going to do the mullet again this year?" I wondered as I ruffled Kane's scruffy blonde hair.
He swatted my hand away and shrugged as he shook his hair back to its original messy state. "I don't know... you don't think its overkill?"
"I think it's ridiculous," Jon interjected with a quick smile, which was replaced by a poker face before I could take it in. "But the hairstyle fits, I guess. Stupid hair, stupid guy."
"Hey, up yours, Tazer. Better than your baby boy hair." Patrick fought back with a toying glare. Jon waved him off and looked to me for my comment. "What do you think?" Pat asked, messing with the hair just above his neck.
I shrugged. "You look good, either way. Well... as good as an ape in a hockey uniform could look at least," I shot with a smirk. Out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw Jon smile, but when I turned to check, he seemed indifferent. He did chuckle though, which was satisfying in itself. Kane just let his mouth drop as he shook his head, chortling to himself. "You know I'm joking." I hugged him tightly and he patted my arm.
"Yeah, yeah. You better be nice to me, or I'll embarrass you when you interview me." he joked, poking me in the ribs. I squealed and bounced back from him.
The rest of the night went somewhat smoothly. I told the group about my job and the summer. The guys talked about getting back into shape with intense practice and all their summer plans. Logan explained exactly what happened with her previous job, but nobody sympathized with her. The food was delicious. They had ribs, steak, salads, lasagna, bread, and other amazing dishes.
When it came time to leave, we all went downstairs. I hugged Nick and then Kane, but it was awkward between Jon and I. Although I had an indirect conversation with him and Kane, I still did not feel comfortable around him, especially knowing that he knows my secret about him. Furthermore, he still intimidated me, and I feared that he might crush me.
I stepped in front of him and silently stood, locking eyes with him. He coughed and stuffed a hand into his pockets. I scratched my chin and sighed, not knowing how to day goodbye. Before I could think of something, I felt a shove on my back forcing me into Toews. "Whoops!" I heard Kane holler as he pushed me into Toews' chest. I cursed him under my breath and Jon and I gave one another an awkward, half-hearted hug. He was so warm. It didn't help that his chest was harder than a brick wall.
"Nice meeting you," I insisted, backing out of the hug with a fake smile. Jon simply nodded in agreement, staring at me with his blank expression, like always. I turned around and walked toward Logan, shooting the giddy Kane a glower as I passed.