Just a Crush
"Hey! Did you wanna grab some lunch around 12:30?" Julie asks as I walk through the door and toss my purse next to my shoes.
"Actually I can't," I say and take a breath and brace myself for her reaction, "the guys on the team actually invited me out to lunch with them."
"What? Seriously? That's so awesome!" she says excitedly, "are you nervous at all?"
"Hell yeah," I remark with a laugh, "I just hope they like me- I mean I have to work with them so it would be great if we all got along," I confess my worries.
"Don't worry about it too much," she smiles, "just don't let your nerves get to you."
"Do you want to come with me? It's at 11:30," I ask, hoping she'll say yes so I have someone I know with me.
"I'd love to but I actually can't. I got an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer to write for the Sports section," she says and her eyes light up.
I congratulate her with a hug and she tells me more about the job. Before too long, she changes for her interview, we wish each other luck and Julie is on her way. I change into some jeans and roll up the pant legs since the summer heat was still hanging in the Philadelphia air. I slip on a white v- neck with a few coral pink stripes on it, a colorful scarf, my black flip-flops and grab my brown leather fringed bag before making my way out of the apartment. As I walk to the cafe, I can feel a rock forming in my stomach with worrisome thoughts flooding my mind. What if they don't like me? It's going to make my job so much harder. I pull my headphones out of my bag and start to listen to some music in an attempt to calm my nerves.
As a song fades out and I turn a corner, I hear someone calling my name, "Katina!" I look side to side and ahead of me searching for a face I recognize.
"Kat!" I hear being called from behind me. I look over my shoulder to see him running across a cross walk towards me and my heart starts to flutter wildly. I stop completely and do a quick check of my scarf to make sure my scar isn't showing. He flashes an amazing smile once again as he gets closer. His blue jeans and purple v- neck make his ginger hair sticking out of his hat even more of a bright orange.
"Hey Claude," I say with a smile, thankfully my voice isn't shaking with nervousness.
"Kat, I'm happy I saw you," he smirks and butterflies swarm my stomach.
"Yeah me too," I say and immediately hope I didn't sound pathetic. I start playing with the ring on my finger in an attempt to hide how anxious I am. After a few seconds of silence, I search my mind for something to say -literally anything but I can't think of anything- I'm not sure if it's because he's Claude Giroux or because of my crush. Did I just say crush? Oh shit. I try to push the word out of my mind and thankfully Claude says something before my nerves fully get to me.
"So why did you move to Philly?" he asks.
My mind flashes back to the fire and this summer that started out so fun and ended sadly. "Oh- uh- well my best friend Julie and I needed a change of scenery and Philly had jobs we were looking for so it just kind of worked out," I smile, fix my scarf to make sure its covering my scar, and try to push the memories to the back of my head.
He smirks and nods, "sounds nice. Do you live with her- Julie?"
"Yeah Jules and I go way back," I grin recalling some of the memories I have with her, "we live right back there, on the street you saw me on before I turned the corner. Where do you live?" I ask before I realize the words are coming out of my mouth. "I'm so sorry you don't have to answer that- I probably sound like a stalker." I say and we both laugh.
"No, no it's fine," he smiles, "I live just couple blocks back that way," he says and jerks his head in the direction behind us.
We talk more about ourselves for a while before we arrive to Sabrina's Cafe. I am surprised to find Claude and I getting along greatly, which gives me more confidence about making friends with some of the other guys.
He opens the door for me and we quickly spot Steve, Sean, Jakub, Zac, Del Zotto, Michael Raffl, Brayden, and Wayne sitting in the back waving at us with big grins on their faces. There are only two open seats open at the table coincidentally so I sit next to Claude. Soon after we give the ecstatic waiter our drink orders, the guys start to ask me a ton of questions and thankfully I answer all of them confidently and with humor- thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't clamming up completely.
Once we get our food, fortunately the guys stop asking questions and we spend the time laughing and talking about all different kinds of things. Steve and Wayne tell me some stories that happened in the past seasons and I swear they had me laughing so hard I was crying and I had to steal Claude's clean extra napkin to dab the tears from my eyes. I haven't had this much fun with a group of people that didn't include Dex or Julie in the longest time.
"Yeah and then when Steve got traded here we decided- well G decided- we should prank him." Brayden says holding back a laugh and Steve shakes his head with a smile thinking about the memory.
"So it was after a practice and we all went back to the hotel- Steve stayed later for some goalie practice- and we took his mattress, dresser, night tables, and desk out of his room so when he came back there'd be nothing. However, Jakub decided to stay in his room and hide in his closet waiting to scare Steve." Wayne says shaking his head and I'm already laughing at the scene I'm imaging in my head.
"Steve gets back and we all stick our heads out of the room to see his reaction and all we hear is "what the fuck?"" Claude chimes in. "I walk over to talk to him and all I see is Steve walk past the closet and Jakub pops out yelling making Steve scream so loud and he ends up shoving Jakub back into the closet with a punch. Needless to say, no one has pranked Steve since then."
"We're all afraid of getting a black eye after seeing Jakubs," Brayden says with a grin and we all start laughing together.
After a little longer of talking, we pay the check and make our way out of the cafe. I check my phone to see text messages and missed calls from Kyle but I dismiss them and shove my phone back into my purse.
"It was nice getting to know you better," Steve smiles.
"Yes! I'm so happy we did this," I admit truthfully.
"We'll see you soon Kat," Jakub smiles and waves along with the rest of the guys as I say bye and make the trek back to my apartment.
"She's great, dude," Del Zotto says to me nudging me in my side with his elbow.
"You better catch up to her," Raff remarks.
"And get her number," Brayden adds, "before one of us does."
"Listen, she's not into me- plus she works with us," I say.
"Fine be a dumbass," Mase shouts as I head away from them and back to my apartment.
I see Kat in the distance and catch up with her quickly as she stops and looks into the window of an art store. As we walk towards her apartment, I ask her more questions about herself and she answers them with ease.
"Next time I definitely need to find out more about you," she laughs, "I feel like you know so much about me and all I know about you is your name and you play hockey- which practically everyone knows."
"That's true, well I promise next time you can find out whatever," I say with a small smirk.
"Well- uhm- thanks for walking with me all the way here even though it's out of your way," she says breaking the quick silence.
"No problem, Kat."
She turns and walks towards the entrance of the building, just as she reaches the handle I stop her. "Kat!" I yell.
She turns around, "yea?"
"We should- uh- exchange numbers since we'll be seeing a lot of each other now- you know at work." I manage to spit out.
"Yeah sure," she smiles and we hand each other our phones.
"So how was lunch?" Jules asks as soon as I walk through the door, still in her impressively put together outfit she wore for the interview.
"It was amazing, I think it went super well," I sigh feeling relived to be back home.
"And who was the ginger who walked you home?" she asks with a devilish smirk on her face and my jaw drops. "I saw you as I was walking back from the interview- I stopped to look in a store window and saw the two of you laughing together out of the corner of my eye."
"Nothing happened between us," I say and she gives me a look knowing that I'm not telling the full story.
"And we exchanged phone numbers," I confess trying to sound nonchalant as I grab a water from the fridge.
"You should text him!" she practically shouts with excitement.
"Jules, no! I can't just text him- he's not just some guy. Do you forget we're talking about Claude Giroux here. He seems so closed off- he barely talked about himself. I mean we got along really great- I would say friends even but I'm probably fooling myself. They were telling me some stories today and it sounds like he parties a ton. Besides, I'm not technically allowed to date any of the players." I say after taking a drink of my water.
"Who said anything about dating?" she asks with a big grin leaving me stunned in the kitchen, my face flushing a bright red.
"I didn't mean- I don't want to- I thought you were hinting that we would date that's why I-"
"Yeah sure Kat," Jules says cutting me off. "Listen your boyfriend called me wanting to know where you were since you weren't answering his calls or texts."
"Shit yeah, I forgot," I admit honestly.
"Yeah you seem to be doing that a lot lately," she says insinuating more than just me being forgetful as she heads into her room.
Shit- I can't believe I haven't texted Kyle back or have spent any time with him in the past week and a half. You know Kat, the nice and safe relationship you have with your nice boyfriend for 2 years? Kyle really hasn't been on my mind at all since I started my first day. What is up with me?
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Kat's Lunch Outfit