On the Road Again
"Thanks for picking me up Kat!" Tess says cheerily as we get into the car; I hold back a grimace- it was way too early too be this bright and sunny. I flash a bright smile in reply regardless of how much I wasn't a morning person, "no problem at all, I have to go over some rules of road trips with you anyways."
She nods her head with an excited grin as she throws a small duffel bag in the trunk of my o' faithful 2003 Jeep Grande Cherokee. Even though she wasn't the best car to drive around the city, she got me from practice and back just fine. The original plan was to drive my car with Tess instead of taking the bus to New York for the big game against the Rangers since I had Tess coming with me but the guys heavily insisted that the Jeep wasn't the best choice for such a long drive. Before I could tell them no, Tess was already too excited for me to kill her hopes of getting to know the guys even better.
We get to the WFC relatively quickly from Tess's dorm which was relatively close to Philly, but it gives me ample time to explain to her some of the rules we have. "Make sure you get enough sleep too- sometimes getting up for the morning practices come sooner than anticipated after a night of going out with the guys."
Tess nods her head in understanding and waits for more information, "I'm staying in the same room as you right?"
"Yeah, I've never had a roommate on these trips yet so far so I'm excited to have you coming," I give her a reassuring smile as we get our bags out of the jeep.
"Good I'm glad, despite what my roommate says at college, I'm a pretty kick ass roomie," she jokes and we laugh.
"Oh one more thing too," I begin to say as we walk up to the group of guys waiting for the bus, "try not to get involved with one of the guys- it just can get pretty messy and confusing- trust me," I half laugh as I look up and find Claude in the group. Tess quickly notices who I'm looking at and a smile breaks from her lips. "It's just- I'm trying to protect you- I can't let anything happen to my young apprentice," I laugh, wrapping a friendly arm around her shoulder as we walk, "I know you're nervous but if you follow some of the guidelines I've told you about this road trip will be a piece of cake."
"Aye aye captain," she teases and salutes me with a free hand.
"I wasn't aware there was another captain," a deep voice says with a laugh interrupting our conversation. We look up to see a sleepy Claude standing in front of us giving us a panty-melting smile.
"And I think we all know who the better captain is," Tess says with a challenging grin causing us to laugh.
"Tess! Kat! Over here!" we hear a cheerful Brayden call, holding a tray with four Wawa coffees in his hand- bless Bray for bringing some caffeine. It was good to see him with a big smile on his face- just a few days ago Luke was traded to the LA Kings along with Vinny for Jordan Weal; he's been pretty broken up about it since- and I can't blame him. Tess runs over to him first leaving G and I by ourselves, walking slowly over to meet Bray and Tess- who were already chatting it up.
"Good morning captain," I say trying to stifle a laugh- Claude looked like hell; his eyes were still red from lack of sleep and his disheveled curls were hardly being tamed by the gray beanie pulled on top of his head, "you're a regular sleeping beauty."
"Not everyone can wake up looking as beautiful as you," he lets out with a laugh but his smile drops as soon as he realizes what he said. I look to the ground in an attempt to hide my blushing cheeks and the sure as hell goofy smile on my face.
"Coffee?" Brayden asks with a smirk, holding a coffee for me.
"Yes, please," I say with desperation, "thanks so much."
"No problem, I know how you get without your coffee," he chuckles.
"Oh no should I be worried?" Tess teases.
"Nah, just don't give her shit before she gets caffeine in her system- Claude's all too familiar with that," Bray admits with another big laugh. Tess looks to Claude and Brayden anticipating a story.
"Yeah- it'll result in your own coffee ending up all over your face and clothes," Claude laughs.
I shrug with a smile, "he deserved it," I look to Claude, "at least you can joke about it now." Flashes of my date the other night with Parker enter my mind which reminds me to give hell to the select guys that crashed my date. I hand my coffee to Tess, "Can you hold this for a quick sec?"
"Yeah sure Kat," she says cheerily not expecting anything.
"You and you," I say sternly as I turn to Brayden and Sean; they yelp as I grab their forearms and drag them to a group with Delly, Raffl, Wayne, Steve, Nuevy, Laughts and Jakub. "So I have a question for you guys, what makes you think you can crash my date?! I'm lucky he didn't run the moment he saw you guys!"
"We were looking out for you, Kat," Jakub answers first.
"He never gave you a reason to think he was going to pull something," I almost yell.
"Oh yes he did," Delly challenges with a nod, his hand on his hips.
"What?!" my jaw drops to the pavement- how ridiculous were they going to be?
"He's too much of a pretty boy," Delly replies.
"He's always got his hair perfectly done," Brayden says.
"And sharply dressed," Laughts adds.
"Wow sounds a lot like Delly," I point out matter of factly.
"That's exactly why we can't trust him!" Steve admits, throwing his hands up.
"Hey!" Del Zotto yells, elbowing Mase in the arm.
"Just admit it- you guys are just being wildly over protective," I groan.
"Look we're sorry Kat, but Parker is just a-" Sean begins to say but Wayne cuts him off, "not someone we trust out the gate- surely you can understand that."
I scan they're nervous faces, "is there something you're hiding from me? About Parker?"
"No, no," Laughts answers quickly, "we're just looking out for you."
"We're the 9 older brothers you've always wished for," Wayne teases.
"Yeah I don't know about that," I grimace, "thank you for looking out for me guys but you don't have to- and if you do it again, at least be more secretive," I roll my eyes and turn to walk away- it wasn't like I was going to talk any sense into them.
"Love you little sis," Mase yells and I can hear the smile in his voice and the guys echo him. Without turning back around to face them I stick up my right hand in the air and give them the middle finger, causing them to whistle and yell "love you" even louder. I try to fight back my smile but it's no use; the guys were really like my older brothers and as much as I don't want to admit it to them, they really were what I've always wished for.
"So what was that about?" Tess asks totally confused.
I shake my head and take my coffee from her hand, "I'll explain it to you later, let's just get on the bus."
She laughs at the group of guys that were just yelled at and follows me up the steps and grabs a seat next to me. I was relieved there wasn't a chance of Claude tormenting me on the bus ride there since Tess was happy to sit next to me. Everyone gets situated on the bus quickly and we leave soon after, Tess and I chatting up a storm about getting together with the girls we work with as soon as we get back from the quick road trip.
"Hey Tess!" we hear being called from close behind us and it's of course Scott. She gives me an excited look as her face flushes bright red, "what do you want Laughts?"
"Come here! The guys and I need to get to know you better," he grins sweetly and I roll my eyes at his dumb excuse to flirt with her.
"I don't think so I mean it's pretty unsafe to get up while the bus is in motion," she shrugs, making me snicker at how hard of a time she was giving Laughts.
"Aw come on we'll catch ya if you fall," he pleads.
"I don't think I wanna take the chance," she challenges, "especially with how fragile you seem to be on the ice."
"Good one, Tessy," he laughs, "come on Kat let your mini-me be free," he cocks an eyebrow at me as I look over my seat at him.
"If she wanted to walk ba-" I begin to say but before I finish Tess is already making her way over to Laughts, White, and Brayden in the last couple of seat on the bus. I slump down in my seat with a huff, "I'm not that boring am I?" I murmur.
"Nah, I wouldn't say that," I familiar deep voice says. I look up to identify the face and of course it's none other than Claude-friggin-Giroux wearing a shit-eating grin that he always seems to give me. "Is this seat taken?"
"Yes," I answer him shortly. I meet his green eyes with mine, warming up my cold shoulder towards him.
"I don't think she'll be needing it anytime soon," he laughs, nodding his head in her direction. I look over the seat to see her and Laughts totally talking it up- there was no way she'd be coming back to sit here anytime soon.
She looks from Tess to me, and can't help but to laugh at the situation, "sure you can sit down," she tells me, softening up, "there's no way she's coming back here to talk to me," she adds as I sit down in the vacant seat.
"Why do you say that," I ask with a chuckle.
"Me vs. cute hockey player? Guess who's gonna win," she says light heartedly as she reaches for her headphones out of her bag.
"Well between you and me, you're cuter than Laughts," I tease, hoping I'm not coming off too forward. Her cheeks flush bright red as she giggles at my comment. I can't help but to smile after hearing her laugh, it's like an involuntary reaction.
"So how've you been?" I ask shakily after a few seconds of silence, her gaze on my face made it hard to speak.
"Uhm, good, good, nothing much really I mean 90% of the time I'm either at a practice, at games or editing photos I took at the games," she half laughs, "I think you and the team and Jules are the only people I come in contact with."
"Is it wearing you down? I mean is the dream job still the dream?" I hesitate to ask- the guys and I have loved having her around- I can't imagine what it'd be like without her working with us. Scratch that, I can't and don't want to imagine our lives without her in it. Brayden has been in a good mood only cause she's been here to talk to him about Luke whether she knows it or not.
"Of course it is," she smiles brightly and I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding in, "I'm so lucky to work for the organization- and becoming friends with all of you... well I wouldn't trade it for anything."
"Good cause we love having a sister to look out for," I confess; I hold back a grimace at the word 'sister'- I can't believe I called her that- I have a hard enough time calling her a friend to her face.
However, she has a harder time holding back a frown and faking a smile, "yeah, glad I could be a sister to you guys."
I change the subject of conversation to something else quickly, totally absorbed in everything she was saying. It was amazing that one word spoken by her was enough to draw me back to her so fast. I've tried seeing other girls, but all of them don't have the effect on me life Kat. Being so close to her was enough to make my skin tingle with excitement. All their giggles and smiles had nothing on Kat's addictive laugh and grin. Hours fly by as the two of us laugh and talk and we arrive to New York quickly.
I start to head back to my original seat, "I'll see you at the game tonight Kat," I flash a smile.
"Yeah, see you there good luck!" she nods.
The Flyers played an amazing game against the Islanders beating them 4-2 in an amazing comeback and of course, to go with an amazing win comes going to a club for celebratory drinking and since we didn't have to get on the bus early tomorrow morning we were going to drink hard.
"What am I going to wear?!" Tess practically yells as soon as we get into our room, "and what make-up?!"
I can't help but to laugh, "Tess it's okay you brought nice clothes right?"
"Yeah but I don't think Scott- I mean- don't think it'll look good," she says warily hoping I didn't hear her slip-up.
"Shut up! You look good in everything- we gotta change quick cause we're going with Bray, Sean, and Delly. They'll be ready quick."
"Michael Del Zotto? Ready quick? With the way he is about his hair? No way," she jokes and we laugh together. As we get ready I try to coordinate a good outfit quickly, grabbing and throwing whatever I didn't want across the room. I grab a plain pair of dark wash jeans, a teenage mutant ninja turtles crop top, and a dark green and blue flannel to match. I change into the outfit hastily and run into the bathroom to touch up my make-up.
"So.. do you know if Claude's coming?" Tess asks and my heart stops, almost messing up my eye shadow.
"Uhm, I don't know," I answer honestly, "he usually comes." I wish I knew.
"Oh okay," she pauses, "so what are you guys?"
"We're just friends, really, I swear," I reply as I finish touching up my make-up. Just before she's about to ask another question, my phone buzzes and I go to check it, "It's Delly, he said they're ready waiting for us in the lobby."
"Crap! Seriously? I'll be done in a few seconds," she rushes past me into the bathroom and starts to apply her make-up. As I wait, I am relieved she's too pre-occupied to ask more questions about Claude.
"Okay! Done! Let's go- we're looking fine as hell!" she claps her hands together and she takes a picture of us in the mirror to post to her Instagram. We make a mad dash for the elevator, laughing, slamming the down button until the door dings open. My laughing dies quickly once I look up to see who's already occupying the elevator.
"Kat," he says breathlessly.
"Claude," I say in the same volume, trying to read his emotion.
"SO CLAUDE," Tess yells shaking me from my daze, "great game tonight and all, but are you going out tonight with all the guys?" she asks as she walks into the elevator, dragging me by my limp arm in behind her.
"Nah I don't think so, Reader and I are staying back tonight," he says as he rakes a hand through his hair, but you guys look like you'll have enough fun for the both of us."
"I know we look great don't we," Tess laughs as we reach the lobby and the doors open.
"Have fun guys," Claude waves to the both of us with a panty melting smile as he heads to what looks like a small food/candy store down the main hall. I watch as his broad, toned, shoulders stand confident as he walks, completely entrancing me. His gray shirt was tight enough to reveal where he was most muscular across his back.
"What is with you? Let's go!" Tess pulls me away towards Brayden, Sean, and Delly were waiting for us.
After 3 beers, 3 shots and 6 colorful little drinks into the night, both Tess and I were pretty drunk, owning the dance floor- or at least that's what it looked like. The stress of literally everything wasn't on my mind for once in a long time and it felt great. Tess had plenty of guys asking to dance with her but her eye was on Laughts who was talking with most of the guys, totally being oblivious. Simmonds, Steve, and Delly however were dancing with random girls but were having a ton of fun.
"Another drink?" Tess yells to me over the music.
"Yeah sure get me whatever's strongest," I laugh with a wink, and she disappears into the crowd.
I turn to see the team's biggest sweet heart Steve Mason, who was known for being rough around the edges once he had a few drinks, walking towards me, "you're look hot tonight Mase!" I yell with a huge smile.
"Why are you so bubbly and sweet when you drink?" he laughs.
"Because being drunk is great and you guys fucking won!" I cheer and scream a 'woo' over the music; my head swirls in unison with my body as Steve steadies me to keep me from tipping over. Suddenly a feminine hand behind me is holding out a shot of something dark, "drink up!" Tess yells as she gets next to me, we clink glasses and take the shot. I look back up to Steve who's grinning at the two of us, "you better go and tell Laughts to dance with her," I tell him and Tess nudges me to shut up.
"Will do," Steve grins devilishly and walks towards the table of hockey players.
"So who are you going to dance with?" Tess giggles, "you've gotta ask someone."
"Well if Claude was here," I let out without thinking. Suddenly a brilliant idea pops into my head, "I'm gonna call him- ask him what he's up to- ya know invite him to dance with me maybe he'll come then," I smile goofily as I pull out my phone and dial Claude's number.
Hey guys! I am honestly so friggin sorry for updating so late. School has started and it's honestly kicking my ass- every time I finish a paper or project another one is due the next couple of days. So today I finally got the time to breath and wrote a chapter! I hope you like it (and the cliff hanger there). I'm gonna try my best to write another chapter or at least start it asap and update this week or the next. Thank you SO much for reading! Don't forget to leave a comment and rate if you'd like! AND wow 48 subscribers! THANK YOU!!!