Afternoon in Boston
"Yeah, I'll call you when I get to the hotel around 11 tonight, okay?," I say into the phone.
"Sounds good have fun, love you," Kyle responds and I can hear a smile in his voice.
"Love you too," I try to say cheerfully and I hang up. I place my phone in my back pocket and readjust the strap on my camera bag around my shoulder, ready to take some photos of Boston before the game tonight.
"Talking to your Kohl's model boyfriend?" I hear a familiar voice ask.
I turn around to see a grinning Claude, "Yes I was talking to Kyle," I say snippily pronouncing his name, "that little running on joke of yours is getting old Giroux."
"Well I'm still laughing," he remarks with a chuckle and I just let out a huff and roll my eyes. I turn around and start to make my way out of the hotel lobby; I hear a pair of feet catch up to me quickly.
"Hey- I'm sorry- I'll stop," he gives in, "where are you going?"
"What does it look like? I'm leaving this hotel- I'm going to take pictures of the city," I point down to my camera bag, " you're not very bright, but then again you're a hockey player," I say teasingly with a smile and start to walk out of the hotel.
"Well I'm coming with you- all of the guys are either sleeping or watching TV," he says matching my pace, "if that's okay with you?" he asks hesitating. "I wouldn't want you getting lost somewhere and missing the game," Claude adds, trying to sound less vulnerable to rejection.
I stop walking, shake my head, and laugh at his egotistical statement, "I'm sure I'd find my way back- but uhm- yeah sure why not," I smile, "you probably do know the city way better than I do." I subconsciously scold myself for feeling too excited that Claude is joining me around the city- honestly it's good he's coming along since I don't know Boston that well- that's a good enough excuse to be spending the day with him, right?
"Where to first Reilly?" Claude asks.
"You lead the way- I have no clue where anything is," I admit.
"I have the perfect place," he smiles and hails a taxi for us.
On the way over to wherever we were headed, Claude refused to give me any hints as to where the taxi was taking us- even though his stubbornness is ridiculously frustrating it doesn't sway my feelings for him at all. I take some interesting photos of the buildings outside through the taxi window- I loved traveling to new places.
The taxi comes to a halt and Claude pays the driver before I can even get my purse out of my bag. I give him a look as we get out of the cab but he just shrugs, gives me a playful smile, and says, "too slow, Kat."
"You're so aggravating Giroux," I remark.
"And yet you keep letting me terrorize you," he smiles and I nudge his arm as we walk down a street towards what looks like a park. Butterflies take flight in my stomach when he nudges me back, looks into my eyes and laughs. Looking at his crooked smile and bright hazel-green and golden eyes is always dangerous but I can never resist admiring them. It's so frustrating how much he effects me with something so simple. While we walk, I snap a couple photos of the beautiful trees around us that were now turning orange and red with the change of season.
"This place is amazing," I comment as we walk further into the park.
"I know right, I love coming here whenever we have a game here," he smiles awkwardly and shoves his hands deep into his pockets, "let's go this way." I nod and follow him down a path adorned with beautiful electrifying orange and yellow leaved trees.
I whip out my camera and remove the lens cap, "hold on!" I say with a big grin and look through the viewfinder. I point the camera at Claude and focus on his face.
"Aw, no pictures, please Katina," he laughs, his eyes soft but bright with cheer- perfect. I take a few candid photos of him looking so natural and not posed like usual. I bring the camera down from my face and look back through the pictures; the autumn yellow and orange leaves on the trees that are blurred out in the background of the photo enhance the gold in his smiling hazel eyes. I immediately fawn all over the pictures in my head- I couldn't admit out loud how much I loved them.
Soon, we reach a beautiful bridge crossing over a body of water and I can't help but to take some more photos. "Be careful, if you take too many pictures you won't have any memory left for the game tonight," he laughs.
I stick out my tongue playfully at him, "Don't worry I'll still have plenty of room on the memory card to take pictures of you," I tease.
We lean against the railing and watch the ducks swim around and under the bridge in a comfortable silence. In the distance, I see a boat with park benches and a fake wooden swan attached to the back, "what the hell is that?"
He looks up and chuckles, "I almost forgot- come on let's go," he says with a big smile and I run after him through the park following him, while we laugh like kids. When we get to the small dock, we're the only people there ready to get on the boat. While we float around the lake, we talk non-stop about random things and he tells me stories about other times he's been to Boston.
As we glided around the water, I couldn't help but to notice how much he was opening up about his interests and past- usually he only gives small details about his past here and there- but nothing like this, he was absolutely gushing.
"I'm sorry, am I talking to much?" he asks blushing a tad which makes my heart soar.
"No, no, it's fine- I'm just not used to you... talking."
"I talk," he defends, turns towards me more and rests his arm on the back of my seat on the bench.
"You know what I mean," I say and I look at him knowingly with a small smile, "you never talk about your past or about yourself this much."
"Well you never asked before," he grins, repeating a phrase I said to him once before.
"Touché," I nod and we both start to crack up laughing.
Claude pulls out his phone, "now it's your turn to pose," he chuckles and I pull my jacket collar up to cover my face.
"No please!" I beg with a giddy laugh.
"OH! So the photographer doesn't like when she's photographed?" he jokes.
"Yes as a matter of fact! I take the pictures so I never have to be in them," I say, still hiding my face behind my jacket.
"Well that's going to change," he smiles and holds up his phone with the camera open app. With the front facing camera he tries to take a photo of us, "c'mon please, it's your first time in Boston- you need a picture."
"Fiiiiine," I huff and put down my jacket collar. I relax my face into a smile and Claude moves closer into me, making my heart beat nervously. He tickles the back of my neck making me laugh, showing off a bright wide smile, and takes the photo.
"Parfait!" he chimes in French as he looks at the photo, "it's a really good one."
"Send that to me," I smile and blush as I see the cute picture of us; I was laughing and smiling big with his arm seemingly around me with his own bright smile on his face- it was easy to admit that we looked like a couple out on a date.
By the time we get off the boat and make it out of the park, we decide to just walk back to the hotel and continue to sight see on foot. We stop into a few shops and browse around if anything caught our eye as we passed the store windows.
"What time is it anyways?" Claude asks.
I pull out my phone, "5:45" I answer him and watch his eyes widen.
"Shit! We've gotta run and get back to the hotel! The game starts at 7 and we're supposed to leave at 6!" he says and my heart drops- shit- my first road trip with my team and I'm going to make Claude Giroux late- great job Katina.
"We better haul ass!" I yell and we start to jog down the streets, running around walkers. I make my way past Claude as he gets stuck behind an old woman walking with her grandson- go figure. As I reach the crosswalk, I glance both ways, not really paying to the traffic but that we just had to get back in time. Suddenly, I see a taxi coming my way only 3 feet from my body. Swiftly, my arm is pulled the other way, a hand presses against the small of my back, bringing me in away from the street, and I'm wrapped in Claude's sturdy arms. I hear beeping of a car horn as it speeds past us.
I am buried into his warm chest as I look up at his worried face, shaken up by what just happened. "Katina what were you thinking?! You could've gotten yourself killed," he practically yells, still holding onto me tightly. My heart does a back flip when I feel one of his hands move against the base of my neck on the outside of my jacket.
"I- I uhm- I'm sorry. Thank you," I manage to spit out. We stay in each other's arms for a few more seconds until a disgruntled business man knocks into me muttering a rude comment. I fall more into Claude, he leans down to catch me, and my cheek brushes up against his ginger stubbled cheek; I hear Claude's breathing hitch in my ear and my heart begins to pounds heavier. He clears his throat uneasily and retrieves his arms from my sides, "uhm- let's get going," he says without meeting my eyes. The air around us was now thick with an awkward and uncomfortable strain. I just nod and follow him back to the hotel.
When we get back- just in time too- Steve and Ray are sitting in the hotel lobby. "There you guys are! We've been looking all over for you!" Ray exclaims hopping out of the maroon upholstered chair as soon as we make our way through the revolving door.
"Where were you two?" Steve asks searching our awkward tensioned faces for an answer.
"We were out-" Claude starts to answer.
"I wanted to take photos of the city and Claude said he'd go with me- we went to the park," I cut him off.
"Sounds like fun but you guys gotta go get changed- we're leaving in 5 minutes," Steve comments. We both nod and run to catch the elevator; Claude hits the number 9 for his floor and looks to me waiting for me to tell him my floor in anticipation. "Uhm- floor 11," my voice squeaks. He taps the #11 button and nervously presses the "close doors" button about 14 times before the doors lets out a ding and shut.
As we swiftly ascend to the 9th floor with a whir, I fumble around in my mind, searching for what to say to break the awkward silence. Just before the elevator makes it's first stop I turn to him and blurt out, "good luck tonight!"
He smiles, "thanks Katina," he lightly squeezes my hand and walks through the elevator doors, making his way to his room. Shocks still pulse through my body left over from his touch. As I head down the hallway to my room, I replay the moment he saved me from the speeding car shamelessly through my head 30 times before I force myself stop. While I quickly throw on my staff outfit for the game, I can't help but to wonder if he is thinking about holding me in his arms. Of course he isn't- he was just keeping me from becoming a pancake on the pavement, I tell myself before meeting up with Claude downstairs to get on the bus heading to TD Garden.
Hope you liked the chapter! Let me know what you guys think! I'll be working on the next chapter tonight so hopefully I can get it finished before the weekend! Thanks so much for reading, commenting, subscribing and voting!(: