Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chapter 21

Are we gonna do this or what?
I think you know I love you a lot
I think we've got a real good shot
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

(lyrics from Thompson Square Are you Gonna Kiss Me or Not?)

Mike skidded to a stop outside of his own bedroom door. He’d run through the airport. He’d run from the cab into the building and right to this spot and now he found that he couldn’t move. There was a woman in his bed and for once Mike was pretty god damned ecstatic about that. 

Now it was real. It had got pretty real when he’d offered to back up her friend Shannon while she told Jim Bob that he wasn’t getting married. Predictably the cowpoke hadn’t taken it well. Mike was now sporting an impressive shiner as the result of drawing Jimmy’s ire. Not that he regretted it. Especially not now, not with her shining scarlet curls spread out over his pillows. 

As he dragged his shirt over his head Mike toed off his shoes, stepping out of them as he made his way to the side of the bed. When he reached for his belt her eyes fluttered open and he was stopped in his tracks, learning all over again about the effects those leaf green eyes had on his soul. 

“Fucking Christ you’re beautiful,” he sighed, feeling rooted to the spot and very suddenly very unworthy of running his hands over her smooth, milky white skin. 

“Jimmy do that?” she asked, blinking sleepily up at him. 

“Oh this?” he pointed at his swollen eye. “I thought I’d bring you back a little something from home.” She shook her head and pursed her lips in obvious disapproval of Jimmy’s actions. “I can’t believe you’re actually here,” he added in a far more solemn tone. One corner of her full lips turned up and the seriousness left her gaze as she reached towards him and hooked one of her fingers in his belt loop. 

“Well if you want me to stay then you have a lot of grovelling to do Greener,” she purred, giving him a tug which he followed almost like she already had him on a leash, “I suggest you start now. I have a feeling that it might be a long, long day for you.” Mike smiled, the ache that had been in his chest since that day at Stampede finally easing as he kneeled on the bed and peeled his dark sheets back, revealing her inch by inch to his hungry gaze. He took in the view like a man stumbling out of the desert into an oasis, reminding himself as he did that he’d almost lost it, almost lost her forever. “Mike?” she asked quietly, her hand sliding down his thigh. Her touch felt like hot embers from a fire grazing his skin and he shuddered.

“I am so sorry,” he whispered, his breath caught in his throat as his gaze once again met hers. She smiled, sadness leaking into her eyes and making them darker, like a shady glade in the forest. 

“I know,” she whispered back, reaching for his hand and lacing her fingers with his. He looked down at their twined hands and choked back a sob. He’d come so close to never feeling her hand in his again. “ time you get the urge to touch one of those puck sluts,” she began, giving his hand a little shake that brought his gaze back to hers’, “just know that when I find out, and I will, I’ll cut it off with a pair of rusty kitchen shears and feed it to your downstairs’ neighbor’s Pomeranian, and I won’t even take you to the hospital.”

Mike winced as he thought about the dog’s tiny razor sharp teeth; for some reason that bothered him more than the scissors. He didn’t tell her that he’d probably volunteer to do it himself if he ever thought he was going to lose her again. Somewhere in the back of his head he could hear Ovie and Brooksy telling him that it was uncool to give a chick that much power over him. Maybe it was, but then again, maybe they’d never felt what he did now as she pulled him down over her, as he felt the soft press of her breasts and her smooth, warm skin under his hands as he wrapped himself around her. 

He wanted to promise that it would never happen but he knew the temptations would be there, as long as he played in the league they wouldn’t go away. So as he kissed her, as he felt her fingers digging into his hair and her hips rising to press eagerly against him, he silently vowed to remind himself of this moment any time one of those cheap girls with their cheap clothes and their cheap perfumes threatened to make him forget. 

“I love you,” he whispered against her mouth as he wriggled out of his jeans and eased himself between her thighs. 

“Don’t forget that,” she whispered in return, her back arching, her words turning into a gasp as he slowly slid his cock home in her warm, wet pussy. Mike groaned as she enveloped him, as her nails dug into his back and as he felt his balls snug up tight. 

“That I can promise,” he told her hoarsely as he held himself still, as he fought not to embarrass himself, just as he’d had to do the first time and as he thought he might always have to do with her. 

She didn’t say it back and though it hurt, Mike reminded himself that he would have to be patient, that he would have to earn the honor of hearing her say those words. So, gritting his teeth, he slid his hands down to cup her ass, lifting it up off of the bed and began to make long, slow strokes that made her eyes flutter shut and her sweet, succulent mouth fall open in a soundless cry and he hoped that he would be as successful doing that as he had been earning his spot on the Caps’ roster. 


“So you didn’t ask her yet?” Brooks looked relieved and that made Mike laugh. His friend had a real phobia about commitment which, he thought to himself, was exactly why Laich’s new living arrangements worked.
“There just hasn’t been the right moment,” Mike explained with a shrug as he hung his tie on the coat rack and started unbuttoning his dress shirt. 

“You gonna do it? You gonna ask her?” Ovie called from his corner. The only reason the big Russian cared was that it would be another excuse to have a party. So far they’d had a party for everyone being back in town, a party for the start of training camp, a party for the end of training camp and a party for the beginning of pre-season. Mike was beginning to fear the sight of a vodka bottle.

“Well...yeah, actually I had this idea...I dunno, it’s kinda dumb,” he began, feeling the tips of his ears beginning to heat up as he thought about it. The idea had come to him the night they’d helped Chelsea’s friend Shannon and Brooks move into Backsy’s place. They’d all ended watching Slapshot in the early hours of the morning while having a few wobbly pops. It had seemed like a funny idea at the time, but now, as he stood in the dressing room in his underwear surrounded by his teammates, he was definitely losing his nerve.

“If it comes from you Greener, of course it’s dumb,” Semin barked as he went by, snapping a wet towel at Mike, who easily dodged it. He was in better shape than he had been for years and he was pretty sure it was from all of the time he’s spent in bed with Chelsea and nothing at all to do with all the weights he’d lifted over the summer or the wind sprints Coach Boudreau was insisting on lately. 

“Yeah well I’m not asking you fuckers to do anything and you’ll all get a good fucking laugh I’m sure,” he muttered eyeing the bulge in the pocket of his suit jacket. 

“Good, she say yes, we have big party, my house,” Sasha grinned, slapping Mike on the back so hard he stumbled forward. “And if she no say yes, we drink anyway, da?” 

“Yeah, da,” Mike mumbled, his stomach churning uncomfortably at the idea of Chelsea turning him down.


“Slut,” Chelsea muttered under her breath as Shannon slid into the seat beside her.

“Whore,” Shannon giggled as she handed Chelsea an extra large Coke. “I see what you mean about these seats,” she added as she settled a tray of nachos on her lap, “waay better than sitting up in the box.” Chelsea sipped the dark bubbly liquid through the straw and nodded. It wasn’t that she didn’t like any of the other girlfriends and the couple of wives but she liked being closer to the action where she could hear the sound of the blades digging into the ice and the crash of bodies against the glass. Plus, she could see every expression on Mike’s face from here. 

“He looks nervous,” she said, mostly to herself. He was staring straight ahead, watching Beags take a pass and streak towards the net but she knew him well enough now that she knew when he pursed his lips like he was doing now that he was worrying about something. 

“First game,” Shannon replied as she thoughtfully munched on a chip. 

“He was jazzed about it last night,” she countered, watching as he stopped a ricocheting puck and lined up his own shot, which missed and wildly bounced off of the boards. “It’s something else,” she added, again mostly to herself. 

“Brooks totally was too, but Nicky not so much. He was more nervous,” Shan said as her gaze followed the young Swede as he circled the ice slowly, his long blonde locks floating behind him like a miniature cape. As they both watched Brooks took two strides, put his shoulder down and sent Nicky into the boards. It wasn’t a hard hit and Backstrom bounced off of the boards but even the other fans around them gasped. 

“So they’re still getting along just great I see,” Chelsea smirked, glad to shift her worries to her friend’s unique living arrangements. 

“Nicky gets along with everybody,” Shan sighed, slowly loosening her grip on her drink so that her knuckles were not quite so white. “Brooks just doesn’t share as well.” Chelsea bit her bottom lip to stifle a bark of laughter. 

“I still have trouble imagining you in a them sandwich,” she snickered as they both watched the two men stare each other down. Chelsea felt Shan reach for her hand and then she winced as her friend grabbed her hand in a death grip. If they fought, on the ice, the two players would not be the only heads that Boudreau would be hunting. Fortunately, while they and everyone around them held their collective breaths, Mike skated between the two of them and gave them both the same look; ‘do it and I’ll kick your ass’. Nicky, not surprisingly, was the first to back down. Chelsea heard Shan blow out a breath and felt her friend ease her grip on her hand. “I’m sorry babes, I don’t see that working out in the long run,” Chelsea added as her friend went back to munching on her cheese covered chips. 

“Well they’re going to have to figure it out, as long as both of them are claiming to be the father,” Shan replied calmly as if it were an everyday occurrence to not be certain of the biological father of your unborn child. 

“And in the mean time you’re going to let them rip each other’s heads off?” Chelsea asked, keeping her voice low.

“Well a little healthy competition never hurt anyone,” Shan shrugged and grinned while Chelsea shook her head and laughed.


‘Oh god, oh god, oh god I can’t believe I’m doing this’ Mike thought as he glanced up at the scoreboard and watched the time tick down. His hands felt clammy in his gloves and his stomach was doing some crazy calisthenics. 

“Did I hear right?” Mike dropped his gaze to find the eldest of the Staal brothers lining up for a face off near the bench. “You gonna strip after the game out here?” Mike swallowed and nodded. Eric laughed. “We’re gonna stay and laugh, you know that right?” Again Mike could only nod. It was gonna be on you-tube in no time, there would be twit-pics of him in his jock that would make Kesler proud if it came to that. He hoped it wouldn’t. 

“You wait I get my phone,” Ovie warned from where he was standing at the end of the bench, ready to make the sprint down the tunnel; no doubt so that he could be the first to tweet about his humiliation Mike thought as the ref blew the whistle and he glanced back up at the scoreboard to watch the seconds tick down. 

“If you’re doing this just so that you think she can’t say no in front of all these people,” Nicky whispered, his gaze still on the ice as the players fought for the puck, “I wouldn’t,” he added in a serious tone. Mike glanced over at him and then back towards the seats where their women sat with their heads huddled together. Nicky was right, as usual, that was partly the reason for doing this so publicly but it was also so that she would know that he wanted the whole world and every puck bunny in it to know that he wanted her and her alone. 

“I have to,” Mike replied simply and felt his stomach do a back flip. He had thought he would get calmer the closer it got to the time but that wasn’t the way it was working out. 

“Well I hope for your sake that she says yes,” Nicky said, laying his gloved hand gently on Mike’s shoulder. “Otherwise you’re never going to hear the end of it.” 

“Like that’s even a possibility,” Mike mumbled. 


“Ladies and gentleman, can we please have you remain in your seats at the end of the game for a special announcement.” 

Chelsea looked at Shan and raised an eyebrow.

“Damn, sounds ominous,” Shan hissed. The crowd around them rumbled, fans near them speculating everything from the President having been shot to some new bullshit award for Ovie. People that had begun to leave stood in the aisles as the Canes fought for one last shot. The Caps were up three to two. There was only three seconds left. 

“It’s probably just something about the next game,” Chelsea muttered, sitting back in her seat and dropping her purse back down between her feet. The whistle to signal the end of the game went and the players headed for the respective benches, but didn’t head down the corridors that would lead to the change rooms. Instead they milled around on the ice or stated on the benches. She was about to speculate that it was probably some charity thing when one of the half doors opened on the Caps bench and Mike stepped out onto the ice, minus his helmet. “What the...?” she began as she watched him fiddling with the switch on a wireless microphone. 

“Uh, hi, everyone and uh...thanks for staying. Ummm I hope you liked the game.” A roar went up. The fans loved a win. Mike waited for the roar to die down, a peculiar half smile on his face. “Uh, yeah, so not a lot of you know that I have a girlfriend.” An audible buzz filled the Verizon centre and Chelsea cringed. 

“Oh god, what is he doing?” she hissed, sliding down in her seat and wishing she had the power of invisibility.
“I don’t know,” Shan laughed, giving Chelsea a playful shove and pointing up at the big screen from which her own anxious face stared back at her, “but you won’t be able to say that none of the pucksluts know who you are after this.”

“But uh...anyways,” Mike got down on one knee, almost like he did when Coach Boudreau had them do in practice, “I wanted to ask her, in front of all of you who have made me so welcome here like I’m a member of your family,” he added and then, up on the big screen he smiled as he revealed a simple ring, holding it up as he faced her. “So whaddya say Chels, will you marry me?” 

He looked right at her and Chelsea felt the urge pull her jersey up over her head and try to disappear. She also had the urge to say no. How could he ask her in front of all of these people? He knew she hated crowds and hated all of the attention that he seemed to love. 

“Yeah, I kinda thought you’d be shy so’s the deal. I’m gonna strip until you give me your answer.”
Chelsea squealed and then she did pull her jersey up until just her eyes were showing as the first notes of Joe Cocker’s ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ began to play in the arena. 

“No, no, nooooo,” she squeaked as Backsy skated out onto the ice to take the microphone and Mike began to slowly skate away from centre ice. 


Baby take off your coat
Real slow
Take off your shoes
I'll take off your shoes
Baby take off your dress
Yes, yes, yes

Oh god, I can’t believe I’m doing this’ Mike thought as he swung his jersey around his head on one finger. He looked right at her as he threw it against the glass. She was doing her best to try and disappear into her seat but he could hear the fans chanting ‘say yes, say yes’ and he realized that he wasn’t nervous anymore. 

Go over there, turn on the light
Hey, all the lights
Come over here, stand on that chair
Yeah, that's right
Raise your arms up in the air
Now shake 'em

He tossed his shoulder pads onto the ice, followed by his elbow pads and then slid his thumb under one of the straps of his suspenders. He was half way around the ice now and as he made the corner he could see Shannon trying to drag Chelsea to her feet. 

Suspicious minds are talkin'
They're tryin' to tear us apart
They don't believe in this love of mine
They don't know what love is

He stepped out of his hockey pants and kicked them aside. He could hear the guys hooting and hollering from the benches. He’d thought it would bother him but it surprised him that it didn’t, not as long as he focused on her. 

They don't know what love is

He dragged his t-shirt up over his head and started to swing it around his head when he got near to their seats and he was almost sure that she was trying to yell something. He just couldn’t hear it over the crowd and the music. He stopped at the glass and held his hand up behind his ear. She made a face and flipped him the bird. Mike shrugged and hooked and his thumbs under the waist band of his compression shorts. 

“She says yes!” 

There were probably two rows of people shouting it but it rang out loud and clear as Mike skidded to a stop, sending a shower of snow against the boards. He gestured at tone of the ushers at the top of the aisle, who ran down the steps and shoved a microphone in front of her. Chelsea made an angry face and then snatched the microphone. 

“Yes, alright? Yes, I’ll marry you just please don’t make these people look at your pale butt.” 

1 comment:

  1. AWWWWW! that was kinda weird. the guys were right. i mean i guess it couldn't have been too bad an idea because it worked but idk. loved the last line though. can't wait for more.