"Hey! Get up!" I hear as I gain consciousness; a second later, a pillow whacks me in the head with a deep thud, "you're gonna be late," Jules chimes, walking out of my room.
I groan as I groggily get out of bed and trudge my way to the bathroom to throw my hair up in a pony tail. It was so nice sleeping in every morning and not having to worry about early EARLY morning practices. I put on some cover- up on my face and neck to cover up the scar seamlessly before heading out to the kitchen in my PJ's to grab some breakfast. I pause for a moment in the mirror, thinking about how much the scar has healed and faded; thank goodness. Walking out to the kitchen, I see Sean already holding out a cup filled with coffee for me; "stayed the night again Sean?" I grin.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, shut up," he blushes with a smirk.
I glance at the clock and notice how late it actually was, "crap- I'll be out in a couple minutes, I just have to get changed," I tell Sean before rushing to my room, stuffing a granola bar down my throat. I change into some comfortable clothes and throw on my Staff fleece in record time. Jules stops me in the doorway, "so are you over him yet?" she asks and I know who she's refferring to immediately.
"Maybe," I answer while looking for my camera bag.
"Well you've gotta do it sometime Kat! You got to get out of the Claude-funk!" she practically yells in frustration. Claude-funk has become a popular term in our apartment lately. "It's time to stop listening to Adele and date some other guys! You're single and desperately need to have some fun with someone other than Claude-friggin-Giroux!"
"Okay, I get it," I grumble, rolling my eyes, throwing my camera bag around my shoulder.
"I mean it!" she remarks as I walk past her.
I just wave goodbye to her without turning around, heading towards the door while Sean kisses her goodbye. Sean and I leave in a hurry and get to the rink for practice with some time to spare.
My stomach churns nervously as I prepare myself to see Claude; he had gone back to Ottawa to be with his family during the long break and I hadn't seen him since I left the locker room in a rush. I walk out to the rink while Sean heads towards the locker room; there were already some players on the ice.
"Kat!" I hear my name being called and I see it's Steve. He pulls his helmet up and lets it rest on the top of his head, giving me a bright smile.
"Hey Steve," I grin, "how was your break?"
"Oh it was good, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents' place in Oakville, how about yours? I heard one of the boys joined yours," he half laughs.
I chuckle, "Yeah, Sean came to my parents' house where both Jules and I's family get together for one huge Thanksgiving along with all of our family."
"Wow, sounds like a lot of food," his eyes widen.
"Yeah, you can say that again, but you can bet Sean helped clear a lot of food," I laugh.
"I can believe that," he smiles and he goes back to practicing after grabbing a drink of water from his Gatorade bottle.
I walk over the benches once practice starts and I take a couple photos for Instagram and videos for snapchat. I post one photo with the caption, "working off pounds of turkey you know they ate #itsnevertoearlytostartworkingonthesummerbody." The whistle blows for a quick break and the boys group around the bench.
"Long time no see Kat," Bray says with a big smile and hugs me tight, pads and all- I'm lucky he didn't break my neck.
"Don't kill me Bray," I let out just as he lets me go.
"Eat your weight in turkey Katina?" Claude asks with a playful smile as he skates up. The sight of his smirking face makes my heart flutter- I really wish he didn't affect me this much. I wish someone could rip out my heart just so I didn't have to feel this way all the time about him- I'm starting to think this is the only way I'll be able to get over him.
"I've been in a food coma for days if that answers your question," I reply with a grin.
Before I know it, Hakstol blows his whistle ending the split second break and the guys get back to doing drills. I talk to Derek, the equipment manager for the remainder of practice about my intern; I decided to give Tess some extra time off since she was probably still recovering from the Black Friday shopping she was planning on doing. As the final whistle blows some of the guys stay on the ice and shoot some pucks. Just as I'm about to zone out a deep voice brings me back to reality, "Hey Kat."
I turn to see the effortlessly handsome looking guy beside me, "oh! Hey Parker," I smile.
He rakes a hand through his hair as a stand to face him, "so uh- I was wondering would you ever want to go on a date?" he hesitates- I see some of the guys' heads shift towards me from the ice. My mouth goes dry- was he really asking me? Jules' words from this morning rings through my head "it's time to stop listening to Adele and date some other guys!" why did she have to be right all the time? I find my voice quickly and say, "yes I'd love to," before my heart speaks up and declines Parker's offer.
He returns my answer with a bright smile, "Okay! Great! How does tonight sound? We can go see a movie or something?"
"That sounds good," I manage to say, trying to keep my voice from nervously shaking. We work the details of tonight out quickly before we give each other our numbers just incase he can't find the apartment.
"Okay, I'll see you later then," he flashes a straight, perfect smile making my heart skip a beat.
"Okay, see ya Parker!" I give him a small wave and a smile as he leaves towards the locker room. Almost instantly I am met by 5 curious hockey players.
"Going on a date with pretty boy?" Raff laughs.
"Where ya going?" Sean asks excitedly.
"Not that it's any of your businesses but we're going to the movies," I inform them, crossing my arms, "the one close to my apartment. Probably going to see that horror Christmas movie that's out."
"Be careful, he might try to pull something in the dark," Brayden warns me and they all nod their head in agreement, except for Claude. I try to read his facial expression but he's looking the other way, his jaw clenched tight.
I can't help but chuckle at how protective the guys were acting, "you know, I think I can handle going to a movie with Parker," I scoff as I hang the camera from shoulder.
"Fine, fine," Simmonds says, putting his hands up in defense, "but if he does anything, he's got a whole hockey team to go through."
"I'll make sure to tell him," I say sarcastically and roll my eyes.
"Just lookin' out for ya little buddy," Raffl says with a sweet smile and pats my head roughly, messing up my hair, with the huge hockey glove still on his hand. I follow the boys to the locker room from the ice, trailing behind Claude, who was still staying quiet. Suddenly he stops in his place and waits for me to catch up to him, "So you're going out with Parker..." he breaks the silence.
"Uh, yeah it's just to a movie it's nothing serious."
"Y-yeah of course," he stutters, "anyways- uh- have fun," he says stiffly as we get to the locker room doors and he files in. I stand there surprised- I was expecting him to call him a prick or a thousand other things before telling me to have fun. I almost start to make my way towards the exit before I remember that Sean drove the two of us here. I say goodbye to several of the guys heading out of the rink before Sean finally comes out. "Ready to go?" he asks as he steps out the doors, freshly showered.
"Yes, let's get out of here," I answer immediately and practically canter to the exit- I just want to be gone by the time Claude comes out of the locker room.
"Eager to get ready for your date?" Sean asks with a laugh, stretching his legs as he walks to catch up with me.
"I wouldn't say that," I half laugh as we walk through the cold air to the car.
"I haven't gone on a date with a guy in like ages Jules," I confess with nervousness, "I don't even know Parker that well."
"Well that's why you're going on a date! It'll give you a ton of stuff to talk about so calm down it's not like anything's changed drastically in the dating world," she comforts me. She walks over to where I'm sitting on my bed and rests her hands on my shoulders, "just breath Kat, you're going to be fine."
"Thanks," I grumble and fall back on my bed to stare at the blank ceiling.
"I would suggest to stop staring at the ceiling- it doesn't have any answers written on it, get your ass to the closet and get dressed since you have like 20 minutes left," she comments dryly before leaving my room.
I stare at the ceiling for a couple more minutes before psyching myself up for this date and picking out a pretty cute outfit for tonight. As I step into a pair of clean jeans and find the rest of my outfit in my closet, I constantly tell myself that this is what I need to get over Claude. I can't just wait around for someone who I can't have let alone doesn't want me. Besides Parker was nice, amazingly good looking, and best of all totally available. I turn on The Mowgli's to get a good mood going while I re-touch some make-up; I was starting to get more excited than nervous as the minutes pass.
"So, how's this for a first date?" I ask as I come out of my room, I strike a pose for Jules. (Kat's Outfit)
"Ooooooo lookin' good chica!" she yells excitedly, "you're going to knock him dead."
"Thanks, I'm so ready for a night without hockey, cameras, the boys, and Claude Giroux," I admit truthfully. I hadn't been out of the world of hockey in quite awhile- if I wasn't taking pictures of the guys at practice or a game, I was most likely hanging out with them or going through game photos to send to Kelly. Even though the job was my dream and I love the guys, I need at least one night without it every once in a while to keep me from going insane.
"Yes! Does this mean the Claude-funk is finally over? Please tell me yes," she chimes.
"Can we please ban that word from our vocabulary," I laugh as my phone vibrates from a text message. I quickly read it, "Parker's here, I'll be back after the movie!"
"Or maybe in the morning?" Jules teases, wiggling her eyebrows.
"Ha-ha very funny, bye Jules," I roll my eyes with a giggle.
"Good luck!" she yells with a huge smile just before I close the door behind me.
I make it into the lobby of the apartment quickly and I'm greeted by a handsome familiar face. He flashes a bright, perfect smile that reminded me of Brayden's, "you look beautiful Kat."
"Oh-thank you, you do too, well you know, handsome- unless you like being called beautiful," I joke, trying to calm my nerves.
He responds with a thanks and a chuckle, and pulls out a single pink rose from behind his back making me blush the same color as the flower, "this is for you," he smiles perfectly again.
"Wow, thanks so much you really didn't have too," I take the rose from his hand, and we start to walk to the main doors. Claude would never do anything like this, I say to myself in my mind in an effort to remember why I shouldn't want to be with him. I start to think something else about Claude but I stop myself before I finish my thought- stop thinking about Claude when you have a perfectly amazing guy right in front of you.
"No problem at all," he says sweetly. I couldn't decide if Parker was really already going above and beyond my expectations or if it was Claude's hot and cold behavior towards me that was making him seem that much sweeter. We arrive quickly to the movie theater with it only being a few blocks away from my apartment. Thankfully, there weren't any awkward silences or topics about work brought up- maybe he's just as happy to get away from the encompassing world of the Flyers.
Parker and I decide on the movie "Krampus" since we were both into thriller movies- I didn't want him to feel like he had to sit through a chick flick or something. He pays for both of our tickets before I can get money out of my wallet. "Don't be silly, Kat, I'm paying," Parker offers a small sweet smirk. We pick out some candy, drinks and a medium popcorn to last us through the movie. Once we get into the theatre we pick seats up front and we patiently wait for the movie to start as we get to know each other better. We cover almost every topic like where we grew up, how many siblings we have, movie/tv favorites, by the time the movie theater darkens signaling the beginning of the movie.
One last, loud, group of people arrive, taking seats about 5 rows behind us while the opening credits and titles play on the screen. For a few minutes, all that's coming from the large group are whispers and chuckles- so they show up late and now won't shut up, I groan internally. I turn around slightly just to get a look of the annoying group behind us and see about 8 dark figures. The screen dimly lights the theater revealing that they're all guys and have baseball hats on but it's too dark to see any of their faces. One of the figures shuffles in their seat just as the screen flashes bright white, illuminating the theater, revealing the face under the hat was none other than Steve Mason. I quickly identify the other faces next to him as Brayden, Wayne, Nuevy, Raffl, Sean, Laughts, and Jakub. I turn around in my seat hastily, "Are you kidding me?" I murmur to myself and Parker looks to me, "something wrong?"
"Uh, no I-I just can't believe I ate half of my Skittles already," I lie and flash a fake smile, "don't worry." He buys my lie and goes back to watching the movie. I can't believe those guys! I guess I can't have one night without them- what makes them think they can just crash my date? I never thought at 25 I'd have a chaperone on a date- nonetheless 8 of them!
"Hey Parker," I whisper approximately a half hour into the movie, "I'll be right back- drank too much soda," I laugh softly and he replies with a nod and a smile and goes back to watching the movie. I shuffle out of my seat and the aisle with steps and make my way to where the guys are sitting quietly. They are sitting in 2 groups of 4, one sitting in the row before the other.
Steve's the first one to notice me when I plop down in the seat next to him in the first row of guys. I give him a glare until he says something. "Oh hey Kat, I didn't know you were going to be he-" he begins to say nervously- obviously lying.
"Cut the crap Mase," I cut him off in an angry whisper, and hit him lightly on the arm. He responds with a sheepish smile and a small shrug, "sorry, don't blame me- I'm innocent."
I furrow my brows even more, waiting for him to give me a truthful answer, "okay, okay, maybe I had a hand in the planning," he murmurs defeatedly. He looks beside him and nudges Brayden, "we've been discovered."
"Hey Kat I didn't know you were-" Bray begins to say, playing dumb.
"Going to be here?" I finish his sentence for him, "yeah, I got the same answer from Steve."I look up to Laughts, Jakub, Simmonds, and Nuevy who are sitting in the row behind us, "I can't believe you guys crashed my date- we'll talk about this later," I whisper in a rush- I felt like I was scolding really large children.
"Sorry little buddy- you're like a sister and we gotta make sure this clown doesn't do anything," Raffl says quietly from the seat above me.
"It's a-" I start to say loudly but catch myself and go back to a whisper, "movie! Whatever- I have to get back to my date, I don't have time to argue with you guys on this." I get up silently in a huff and make my way back to my seat with Parker before starts to wonder what's taking me so long- it's a miracle he didn't turn around and see me talking to the guys.
"Hey," I smile when I get in my seat next to Parker, "sorry long line- you wouldn't believe- did I miss anything?"
"No nothing major yet," he gives me a panty melting smirk. Once I get settled back into my seat, Parker puts his arm around the back of my chair and my heart flutters slightly in return however it is rudely interrupted by some loud, abrupt coughing from one of the guys- I swear I am going to kill them. Don't let them ruin the date Kat, I think to myself and lean more into Parker to return his romantic gesture. As soon he moves his arm from the back of the chair to my shoulder another loud cough fills the theater- okay now I really am going to kill them.
The rest of the movie goes by pretty quickly with suspenseful scenes and a few jump scares. Thankfully for them, the boys left as soon as the movie's final credits appeared on the screen so by the time I looked back to see them they had already disappeared. The last thing I wanted was the guys to scare him off, and they probably would have if he saw them all sitting behind us.
"So how'd you like it?" Parker asks as we walk out of the Movie Theater and into the brisk cold December air.
"It was good, but it could've used more jump scares," I admit with a laugh. We arrive quickly to my apartment, talking about the movie and some other random topics. We stop on the steps at my building, "I had a really great time," I say honestly, giving him a small smile, breaking the silence between us that was growing awkward.
"Me too Kat, but I think he probably could've used less hockey players," he half laughs. I'm confused for a half-second before I realize what he meant.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry I didn't know they were going to be there, honestly," I panic, "I hope they didn't scare you."
"No, no, it's okay," he chuckles, "they're just trying to look after you- I can understand why," he adds making me blush.
"I guess I should've told you I have more than just one brother," I laugh lightheartedly, relieved he hadn't run away when he saw the guys. A silence grows between us, not sure what to say next, I avoid making eye contact with him.
"Well uh- I guess goodnight, I had a really great time," Parker says and flashes a perfect smile making my heart melt.
"Thanks, me too," I reply, fumbling with the rose stem in my hands.
"Good night Kat," he says softly before leaning in and giving me a light kiss on the cheek before turning and walking away.
I reach up and feel the excited part of my skin buzzing on my cheek, "good night Parker." I'm glad he doesn't look back to see the huge goofy smile plastered on my face. As soon as I get into the building and in the apartment, Jules is waiting eagerly for me to return.
"So how was it?" she jumps up and down.
"It was really good- except for the part when certain Flyers came to chaperone us," I confess, rolling my eyes.
"Wait, are you serious? They were there?!" Jules asks in disbelief.
"Yep, Raff said they were just looking out for me- which I didn't need them to do but I'm just thankful Parker didn't run for the hills when he saw them," I half laugh.
"Oh my gosh," Julie giggles shaking her head and putting her face in her palms, "well at least Dex doesn't have to worry about not having anyone to look after you here. Anyways how was Parker?"
"He was very sweet, a perfect gentleman, and handsome as always," I admit, "now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed- I have a practice and a group of guys to interrogate early tomorrow morning." Jules and I say good night to each other as I shuffle into my room itching to get into my pj's and crawl into my bed. Replaying the night in my head as I burry my face into my pillows, I fall asleep easily.
I find myself looking at the brightly lit city from above, standing on a familiar balcony of an expensive apartment. The railings are laced with tiny white Christmas lights that glow like stars that litter the night sky. The fresh crisp air cools my warm face and bare shoulders; I know that I should be colder but for some reason I'm perfectly content.
He appears next to me with his signature crooked smile- an expression that can make my heart beat out of my chest. "It kills me to see you with him- I know you know that you would have more fun with me," he teases, wrapping a large hand around mine.
"How would you know Claude?" I laugh softly and look to the ground, I try to sound cold but I can't when all he makes me feel is warm.
"Because I can read your mind," he steps closer to me, resting one hot hand at the base of my neck, lighting my skin on fire. The feeling of his rough thumb stroking my cheek sends me into a daze. My whole body goes numb as he brushes his lips against the skin on my neck; he leans his forehead against mine, "fight it all you want but we both know we want this," his silky, dark voice whispers sending chills down my spine.
He hesitates before pressing his lips to mine and running his other hand up my back. All of the stress built up over the past couple months melt as I kiss him more passionately than I have kissed anyone before. "Why do you affect me so much, Giroux," I whimper in between kisses. I rake my hand through his twisted and curled ginger locks slowly, letting him take control.
I wake up suddenly, my heart pounding in my chest. I look over to my clock that reads 2:34AM; I let out a frustrated groan, "I can't even get away from you in my dreams Claude Giroux." I burry my face into my pillow once again, with my eyes closed tight, trying with all of my might to forget the blissful dream I was just in.
Hey guys! I'm so sorry at about updating SO terribly! (But really I'm so sorry). So I hope you like the chapter- I had a lot of fun writing it so I hope it translates! Thank you so so much for reading, subscribing and commenting! Leave some feedback if you like! I should be updating this week or the next at some point! Hope your weekend was great! (: