I can't believe that I have just agreed to let Sid shower at my house, and also that I was letting Marc-André and Vero tag along, since they rode with him. I had friends, who I had known for years, that I had never invited over. And now, these people I hardly knew, were piling into their vehicle to follow me home. What was I getting myself into?
Now, it was too late to change my mind. Vero offered to ride with me, and I was glad for the distraction so I wouldn't have to think about that in five minutes, Sid would be naked and wet in my bathroom. I turned the key in my ignition, and the car hesitated. I tried again, and still nothing. "Come on, baby," I begged, and she listened, finally turning over and starting. I put the car in drive and started out of the parking lot.
"Your car sounds like it's about to die," she commented.
"I know. I love my car, but she's not long for this world." I patted the steering wheel. My poor car.
I looked out my rear view window to make sure Sidney was following me. When I saw the big black Range Rover, I looked forward to the road. Two short miles to my house.
"I find myself saying this over and over again," Vero began, "but you guys are so cute together."
"Well, V, I'm cute, and Sid's cute, so of course we're cute together."
"That's not what I meant, and you know it."
"I know what you meant, but I don't know why you bother saying it." I held up my hand, stopping her before she could explain herself. "And I don't want to hear it, either. I'm sure you fancy yourself a matchmaker, but I'm telling you right now to get those thoughts out of your head."
"Why not? Noelle, I don't know you very well, but I know Sid--"
"Please stop, V."
"--and I think you should just go with the flow and see what happens. That's all. Besides, having you around is great, because there's another girl for me to talk to, and then you're there to distract Sid so I can have Marc to myself."
"I appreciate it. You mean well, but I just don't...."
"Don't what?" she asked.
I stopped the car at the light, the only intersection before arriving at my house. "Oh, this is awkward." I leaned forward and placed my forehead on the steering wheel. "Can we just not have this discussion?"
"The light turned green. And we're having this discussion," she insisted.
I put my foot on the gas and groaned. "I never thought for a moment that I would meet Sidney Crosby. And I really never thought that I'd have more than a short conversation with him. So imagine my surprise when I actually get along with the guy. He's gonna score me excellent tickets to a game this season. I can't ask for anything more." I flipped on my turn signal and pulled into the driveway, with Sid following right behind. I turned to face Vero. "So I'm not asking for more, I'm not hoping for more, I'm not looking for anything else."
The guys had gotten out of the SUV, but Vero and I stayed in the car. "Don't think about him at Sidney Crosby, the hockey player. Think about him as Sid, the person. Don't you think you deserve it?"
"I don't know what I deserve." I opened the door and stepped out of the car, effectively ending the conversation.
"Just think about it, okay?" V continued.
"Think about what?" Marc asked.
"She needs a new car," she explained. I smiled at her, thanking her for covering.
I found my house key and started for the back porch. "Come on, guys, this way," I said. They followed me to the back door. "Welcome to my humble abode."
Sidney took off his shoes at the door and left them on the carpet. He has such good manners, I thought to myself. I led the group into the living room. "Make yourselves at home while I find some towels and stuff." I walked up the stairs with Sid following me. I pointed to the door directly across from the top of the steps. "That's the bathroom. Let me get what you need."
He stepped into the bathroom, and I wondered if I had anything embarrassing in there. I opened the linen closet in the hall for a towel and a washcloth. I walked into the bathroom, where Sid had already taken off his shirt again. Sand was falling onto the floor, and I groaned, realizing this was going to make a mess I would get stuck cleaning.
"Get in the shower to do that, will ya? You're getting sand all over the floor."
"Sorry," he apologized, quickly sidestepping into the tub. "Okay, here's a towel, and a washcloth. You can use whatever soap and shampoo you can find. The right knob is the hot water, the left is cold, and the middle turns the shower head on and off. Um, what do you want to do about your clothes?"
"What do you mean?"
I picked up his shirt from the floor. "They're all sandy. Do you want me to wash them, or just shake them out?"
He shrugged. I was starting to tire of seeing him move like that, because the fluid movement of his body just fueled my one-track mind. "Shake 'em out."
I closed my eyes and held out my hand. "Okay. Shorts."
He laughed, but I heard the rustle of fabric as he removed his shorts. When I felt them in my hand, I blindly made my way towards the door, hands out to prevent me from walking into anything. I closed the door behind me. I heard another chuckle, the rustle of more clothes as he took off his... boxers? briefs? boxer briefs? Then I heard the water flow through the pipes, and I bounded down the stairs.
"What time is it?" I asked the couple, who really had made themselves at home. They were sitting side-by-side on the couch, with Marc's arm around her shoulders, V's hand on his thigh, and the remote in his free hand.
"Uh, about four," he said, never taking his eyes from the television.
"Are you hungry? Want anything to drink?"
V looked at me. "Let's wait until Sid's here to make that decision. Are those his clothes?" she asked, pointing to my hands."
I blushed. "Yeah. I'm going to de-sand them so he has something to wear after his shower."
Marc finally looked away from the screen. "He got naked for you?" A smile played on the corner of his lips.
"My eyes were closed," I explained.
He shook his head. "Talk about a wasted scoring chance."
My mouth dropped open and my eyes bugged out a little bit. I couldn't help but laugh, though. I left the two of them alone again, heading back outside to get the sand out of his Sid's clothes. Shaking them, I heard the sand fall and hit the pavement below me, and I looked around to see that no one was around before pulling his shirt up to my nose. When I realized how creepy I was acting, I stopped. What was I doing?
I could hear singing emanating from the open window above me. He sings in the shower. I tucked his shirt under my arm and began shaking out his shorts before heading back in the house.
"Are you sure you guys don't want anything? Water?" I asked as I re-entered the living room.
"No, we're fine," V said.
"If you change your minds, feel free to help yourselves to whatever's in the kitchen." I left them as I went back upstairs. I could hear the water still running, so I stepped into my study. The house was big enough that I had my bedroom and an extra room at my disposal. I had turned it into my study. My computer was set up on the desk, there was a comfortable arm chair for reading and relaxing, and one wall was lined with bookshelves, filled with my collection of books and also framed photographs. The room was my sanctuary.
I checked my e-mail and facebook account until I heard the water shut off and the singing stop. I gave him a few moments before knocking on the door. As it opened, I shut my eyes again and just thrust the clothes in front of me. "Here you go."
He laughed. "It's okay," he said, and he took the clothes from me.
"I'll let you change, and then you can come downstairs."
"Do you have scissors? I need to cut this tag out of my shirt. It's driving me crazy."
I turned to head back into my study to find my scissors. "Do they still make shirts with tags in them? Aren't they all tagless anymore?" Of course this would be the time I couldn't easily find them.
"It's an old shirt." Sid followed me into my study. "Hey, this is a cool room," he said. "Wow, you have a lot of books. I mean, a lot." As I dug through my desk to find those damned scissors, he ran his fingers along the edge of one of the shelves, looking at the titles. "This is hardcore. Pride and Prejudice, Don Quixote. Where's War and Peace?"
"I haven't read that one yet. I was a literature major in college, so I've read a lot of books."
"Well, yeah," I said, confused. "I graduated a year ago."
"Oh. How old are you?" he asked, sounding accusatory.
"Twenty-four," I replied, weary of his reaction.
"I didn't know you were that old. I figured you were the same age as me."
"Twenty-four is not old," I countered. "I'm the same age as Marc."
"Well, when you're twenty-two, the mid-twenties seems old."
"Wait, you're not twenty-two yet."
"Next week. So what, I'm rounding up."
"Ah, the big 2-2. Are you doing anything in particular? Because after 21, the celebrations don't get any more exciting. Although, you're Canadian, so being 21 doesn't really apply to you."
"Well, I spend more time in Pittsburgh than Nova Scotia, so 21 was still kind of a big deal. This year, though, I'm not sure what I want to do. I will still be in Pittsburgh, so maybe the guys and I will have dinner or something, but nothing too big."
"Don't you want to spend it with your family?"
"Well, I'm going home right after, because then I'll have my day with the Cup, and I think everyone at home is more excited about that day than my birthday."
I laughed. "Well, come on. It is the Stanley Cup, after all."
"A girl after my own heart," he said, turning back to the shelves.
I found the scissors, finally, and cut the tag from his shirt. He thanked me, took the shirt, and put it over his head. "And thanks for letting me shower. I would have gone crazy if I had to drive back into Pittsburgh like that."
"Not a problem. Marc and Vero are downstairs in the living room."
"Yeah, we should probably hit the road," he said.
"Already?" I asked, trying to hide the disappointment in my voice. It couldn't be past four-thirty by now, if that.
"Well, I have some stuff to do with Mario this evening. And when V asked me if I wanted to play tennis with her and Marc, she didn't tell me we'd be coming all the way out here to see you until after I picked them up. Otherwise, we would have come out earlier."
"Wait a second. V didn't tell you that she and I had made plans to play today?"
I thought back to earlier in the afternoon, when she had said that the reason the boys came was because Marc wanted to tag along, and then they tried to find a fourth to round out the number of players. From what Sid told me, now it sounds like she purposely put together this group of people. Marc was right--V is trouble.
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago