Can't Let This Go
"It's so good to see you guys again!" Jules practically screams with a huge smile on her face as Sean and I walk through the door of the apartment. She wraps her arms tight around me and I do the same; we jump up and down a couple times, so happy to finally see each other again after a brutally long road trip.
"Hey what about me?" Sean asks playfully. I let out a laugh and release Jules from my arms. They exchange a cute, long hug- they won't be labeled as friends for much longer- they're just too cute together. Sean presses his lips against Julie's making me gasp in excitement, "I'll leave you two alone," I chime as I take my bags and head towards my room.
"Well I hope you don't mind but I think Sean is going to be here for Thanksgiving," Jules tells me as throw on my staff shirt.
"Yeah that sounds great- I don't mind," I mumble as I search for my camera bag frantically in my room- I was getting so close to being late for tonight's game.
"Hey! Kat what is going on with you? Ever since you got back you've been acting weird."
"What do you mean? I'm fine- I'm gonna be late- that's all," I lie through my teeth.
"I'm not buying it," Jules chimes as she stands in my doorway calling me on my fib, "you're too quiet lately- it's like you've been sulking around for a week."
I just shake my head at her and roll my eyes to try and throw her off the scent of my lie- it's not like there was any time to explain to her what's been going on, especially now. Since getting back, I thought everything would be okay; I would be able to forget how good it felt to hug him, and be held close to him. Our silent interaction was worth a thousand words- at least to me. But at the past few practices and home games, he's brought a new girl there to watch him- of course these girls loving the attention from him, happily not knowing they'd be replaced by someone new in a couple days. My stomach turns violently just thinking about it; it kills me to see their dumb faces light up when he calls them 'ma belle' or some other French bullshit. But who am I to call them dumb? I'm the one who still has feelings for the guy- willingly holding on to the idea of "us" for some reason and all it's doing is screwing me up and killing me on the inside.
I hear a snapping of fingers, waking me from my daze, "hello? Earth to Katina your phone's ringing!" Jules says with a huff.
"Oh, yeah- thanks," I say mindlessly as I finally find my camera bag and whips my phone off the counter before hopping in my car and heading to Wells Fargo. I swipe over on the touch screen without checking who was calling as soon as I step out the door, "Hello?"
"Hey Kat!" I hear Sean greet.
"Hey- what do ya need?"
"I just -uh- wanted to let you know that G's got a girl around- I just wanted to warn you- ya know, before you came down here," he says, treading lightly.
My stomach drops and twists, "uh- thanks for letting me know," I manage to say, trying not to let the disappointment drench my voice.
"No problem- see ya when you get here," he replies sweetly.
"Yep," I mumble and hang up the phone just as I get to my car. I turn the key in the ignition and begin to head towards WFC with music blasting through the speakers of my car. Thank god for Sean, I almost sigh out loud. This past week or so he's been the first to warn me of the new girls coming in with Claude, knowing how much it irritates me to just see them with him. I feel so bad for involving him in this whole thing but he always tells me he doesn't mind helping me at all. Thankfully, I haven't had to talk to Claude with them hanging all over him.
Once I get to the WFC I park in the employee lot and head towards the locker rooms. I was just making it in time to get some pictures of them in the locker room before warm-ups to post on Instagram. I check my phone and I have a couple unread texts from Claude. "Hey buddy where are ya?", "looks like Rielly is finally late to work for once in her life," "okay, now you're really late where are you?" the texts say. I can't help but let out a laugh while reading them. I loved being friends with Claude, don't get me wrong, it was just killing me on the inside seeing him moved on while I was still feeling so much for him.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Miss Katina showing up late?" I hear a familiar, silky, voice say as I push through the doors where all the offices and locker rooms are.
Looking up I see, Claude in his basketball shorts and flyers t-shirt he usually wears before games. I laugh, shaking my head, "I'm not that late Roo," I say as I give a small shove to Claude's shoulder.
"I don't know about that," he chimes tapping his watch, "usually you're 15 minutes early and tonight you're 5 minutes late- so that technically makes you 20 minutes late."
"I don't think that's what that means," I scoff as we walk towards my shared office with Jeff, and Lily.
"Sure it does," he smiles devilishly, "see you before the game?" he asks as we stop outside my office.
"Yeah sure, I gotta just drop off a couple things before warm-ups."
Suddenly, the door opens before Claude can respond, "Ah! Katina! There you are, I was just about to come look for you!" Kelly smiles, "and you're with G."
"Hey Kel," Claude smirks, "long time no see," he says as though they're old friends, making my head spin.
"I just have to talk to you real quick- do you have time?" she asks.
"Uh- yeah sure, of course," I manage to get out as my heart starts to beat faster and faster- what could this possibly be about now?
"See you later," Claude smiles nervously as he walks away from us.
I walk into my office to see Jeff, and Lily at their desks and a fresh new very pretty face, eagerly smiling in the center of the room. Crap! I totally forgot! My new intern's here tonight! I had totally forgot about the email reminding us all when the interns were going to be here.
"Tessy this is Ms. Rielly," she introduces me abruptly, "I already gave Tessy the tour of the offices like planned, would you want to show her the ropes tonight?" Kelly asks excitedly- she too was eager for the intern to show up- something about this was apparently absolutely great for PR.
"Yes, of course- I'd love too," I say and flash a bright smile.
"Sounds good! I'll talk to you girls later- have fun Tessy!" Kelly chimes as she leaves the room.
"Ms. Rielly thanks so much for letting me internship with you!" Tessy smiles, pushing her thick gorgeous curly hair behind her ears; she didn't look all that much younger than me- only 4 or 5 years younger.
"Oh, please you can call me Kat, really," I inform her with a grin- no need to make me feel like an 'old wise man willing to teach a young grasshopper.' "Ready for me to talk you through the basic routine we'll do before each game?"
"Yes!" she practically yells and quickly snatches her camera from a bag next to my desk. I wave goodbye to Lily and Jeff sitting at their desks before I leave the room with Tessy; they whisper good luck and snicker just before I close the door causing me to giggle.
"So are you a big hockey fan?" I ask as we make our way towards the locker rooms- only she didn't quite know that yet.
"Yes! HUGE! How bout you?" she replies with an eager smile.
"Yeah, it's hard not to be- at first the job seemed so surreal," I admit, "who's your favorites?"
"It's too hard to choose just a few- but I guess I'd say Laughton is my absolute favorite," she blushes, "Mason Raff, and of course Simmonds and Voracek- OH! Can't forget Couturier, Brayden, AND Bellemare; okay really all of them."
I can't help but to laugh at her 'realness'- it really was impossible to pick out just a few, "I feel the same way," I chuckle, "well are you ready to meet them?" I ask as we approach the doors.
"Oh my god what? Are you serious?" she asks, her face going pale.
"Yeah! Don't worry they're a sweet group of guys- very very charming too so be careful," I confess with a grin, putting my fingers on the door handle. I knock quickly before I open it and wait to hear the word 'clear' get yelled. Once we do, I open up the door and whisper to Tessy to relax once more before we walk in.
"Hey Kat! Who's your friend?" Brayden asks as he and Sean walk up to us.
"This is Tessy- she's going to be interning with me for a few weeks," I answer pleasantly- I was honestly so excited to have another photographer around to talk to about with cameras and hockey; teaching her was just an added bonus.
"So ya got a mini me now?" Claude teases as he joins the conversation, "pleasure to meet you Tess," he smiles.
Sean and Coots quickly get Tess talking to them, asking her a ton of questions, which gives Claude the chance to swoop in next to me and ask me who her favorite player is.
"Well, I'm pretty sure it's Laughts," I answer, "but I'm not trying to play Love Connection Roo!" I yell as he runs away to tell Laughton. I let out a grumble and shake my head- the last thing I needed was Tess to get involved with one of the guys- well then she'd really be a mini me.
Before I can object, Claude is pushing Laughts in front of Sean and Brayden to meet Tess. Her face lights up as soon as she sees him smile at her, introducing himself. They begin talking quickly, along with Sean and Brayden.
"What's wrong with a little love connection Katina?" I hear Claude say from behind me, "Laughton needs a girlfriend," he smiles devilishly.
"She might already have a boyfriend already Giroux," I inform him stubbornly.
"Well that can always change- that doesn't stop everyone- you should know that better than anyone," he says knowingly with a smirk and I want to punch him in the face right there and then.
"I swear if we weren't friends I'd find some hot coffee somewhere and throw it in your face," I grumble, rolling my eyes.
"Hey you know I'm just kidding," he chuckles and I can't help but to laugh as well, "you and I both know Kohl's poster boy for sweaters wasn't your type," he flashes a panty-melting smile.
"Oh yeah- then who would you say is my type? Maybe Parker?" I ask, teasing him.
He holds back a grimace and before he can answer, Hakstol comes into the locker room, gathering all of the guys to the west end of the room to talk. Tessy and I leave the room before I take a photo of all the guys huddled around Hakstol; I fill her in on the Instagram and Snapchat accounts quickly before we leave the locker room.
"So I didn't know you were dating Claude," she says hesitantly, breaking the silence between us.
I almost flat on my face when I hear her, "what?! We're not dating- where did you hear that?"
"W-well I mean you've showed up on his Instagram a lot and p-people just assumed," she informs me nervously.
"Well we're just friends that's all- and what do you mean a lot?" I ask, stopping in my tracks, confused. Claude and I hang out pretty often but I didn't know he was posting photos of me nonetheless taking photos of me.
"You're friends with him you must follow him on Instagram, right? I'm sorry I assumed it's just it looked like you guys were dating," she offers a nervous, apologetic smile.
"It's okay- you don't have to say sorry- you just really caught me off guard," I laugh light-heartedly- I hope I didn't scare the crap out of my new intern already. My stomach churns thinking about what people apparently thought about the two of us- has Kelly seen these photos?
Warm-ups start soon and I walk Tessy through the routine I usually go through, taking photos of the guys for different social medias and for the official website on my Canon camera. Many of the guys wave to us, trying to make Tessy feel like apart of the team since she was, after all, going to be with us for a while. Soon enough they file back into the locker room and game time is only a few minutes away- I can see Tess fidgeting out of nervousness as we stand in the tunnel where the boys file out onto the ice.
"You okay?" I half laugh and she starts to fidget more.
"Yeah I just never thought I would be this close to everyone and right in the middle of the action," she confesses with a huge grin, "hopefully I'll be able to keep my hand steady enough to take clear pictures," she jokes.
"You'll be okay it'll wear off- I promise," I reassure her and she thanks me.
The game against the Panthers is filled with energy, and the periods fly by in a flash. By the end of the second period Tess is feeling confident about the pictures she's taking and her shaking hands have calmed down to a stop. Unfortunately Tess and I were the only one's on our game, the Flyers are down 1-3- their energy completely depleted. They file out onto the ice at the start of the third looking better, but still lacking their liveliness.
"You can leave now Tess, I can talk to you about post-game stuff another day since there's already been so much information thrown at you," I admit to Tessy as we walk towards me office. The guys had lost the game 1-5 and I know they won't be in the mood to put on a smile for her; I'd rather not have her learn how jerky they can be on her first day. "I'll see you on Wednesday for morning practice? I'll text you the address and time later tonight," I add.
"Sounds good, thanks so much Kat!" Tess chimes happily once she grabs her bag from my desk, (which surprises me since the Flyers were just absolutely killed). She waves goodbye just before leaving the room.
"Ready to tackle some mean spirited post game interviews?" Jeff asks with a laugh, getting up from his desk chair.
"Oh yeah, I just can't wait," I say with a sarcastic tone and roll my eyes.
I walk out with Jeff towards the locker room and we go in with the reporters. As soon as I walk in I can immediately tell most everyone was in a terrible mood, especially Claude- he always takes the losses hard- I make it a point to avoid him. While the guys are being interviewed I take some quick photos and email them from my camera to Jeff so he can post them on the Flyers Twitter page along with quotes from the players. Almost all of the media leaves before some wives and girlfriends come into the locker room as I talk to Sean about what the plan for Thanksgiving is since he's joining Jules and I for the holiday this year.
"Oh Claude- there you are," I hear a females voice say above everyone else's. Involuntarily, my eyes search for her and I find her quickly among the pack of women; she struts- more like glides- over to Claude in a pair of expensive looking leather boots- shit, I forgot Sean warned me earlier. Her brunette, tousled curls flow perfectly behind her- it was like looking at a real life Barbie doll. Her dark blue jeans cling tightly to her legs and her tiny Claude Grioux 'shirsey,' I'm convinced she bought it from the kids section, shows off her midriff- wouldn't she be freezing inside a hockey rink wearing that? She plops herself on Claude's lap with a big smile, obviously ignoring the fact that Claude looks beyond irritated right now.
"Hi," I hear him mutter to her. She brings his lips her to hers quickly, causing my stomach to flip and my heart to sink; feelings similar to the ones that arose from the night in the hotel I saw him with the blonde girl from the bar build in my chest. They begin to full on make-out causing me to grimace. Knowing he was with other girls was completely different than actually seeing him with the gorgeous girl you know he's going home with.
As they continue to kiss, I realize I need to get out of the room before I throw up. I want to say- no scream- everything on my mind- didn't he have the decency to not bring the girls he's fucking to the rink so I see them? How could he just hold me and look at me like he did not too long ago and just forget what happened so quick? Maybe I'm the only one still caring- hell what am I thinking- I am the only one that still has feelings. I rip my jacket off the seat next to Sean and jog out of the locker room quickly with my camera slung on my shoulder.
How can I still be doing this to myself- hoping somehow Claude still had feelings for me- it's not like we can be together- why am I such an idiot? "He doesn't like you Kat get over it already," I growl at myself, "stop being so pathetic- stop pining after Claude fucking Giroux." I hasten down the hallway when I hear a door open behind me, "Sean I'll talk to you later about it- I need to leave," I manage to say as I feel a tear well up in my eye.
It's not Sean," I hear a familiar voice answer which stops my heart. My pace staggers but I pick it back up again away from the voice calling to me.
"I don't have time to talk Claude," I say blankly, hiding the shakiness in my voice. I wipe a tear falling down my cheek and dry my eyes with the sleeve of my staff jacket.
"Make time then," he remarks and I hear his footsteps get closer.
As I turn to face him I silently pray he doesn't notice that I had been tearing up, "what is it Claude?" I ask trying to hide my deflated spirit.
"I'm sorry," he almost whispers.
"For what?"I act completely dumb, even though he can probably see right through my act.
"You know- the whole kissing thing," he answers awkwardly.
"Oh it's fine-she's gorgeous, no need to apologize to a friend for kissing a girl right?" I force out a fake chuckle- it's so painful hearing the words leave my mouth I have to fight back a grimace. "Well, I have to go- bye!" I let out before he can say anything else. I run towards my office once I turn the corner.
"It's time to get over Claude," Jules grumbles with the bed spread over her face. She was not delighted when I woke her up at 2am to talk about it- I couldn't sleep for the life of me until I talked about it to someone.
"I'm trying though- you don't think I'm trying?"
"Not hard enough!" she huffs, pulling the blanket off her face. "Look, you should start going on dates with other people- he is so why shouldn't you?"
I flop on her bed and let out an annoyed grumble- hearing the truth sucks. He was dating so why shouldn't I? Maybe a blue eyed sex-god is what I needed to get my mind off of the green eyed one I wanted so badly.