We finished lunch in silence, and I used the time to deviate my plan. I was stubborn and not used to not getting my way. Usually, when I insisted on paying, guys didn't seem to mind—after all, it saved them money, and then I didn't look like a gold-digger. When we threw away the trash and headed out the door, Sid grabbed my hand and wove his fingers in between mine. I knew then that even though we argued—and we were probably going to do a lot of it—he didn't take it personally. I squeezed his hand to let him know that there were no hard feelings, and we made our way back to his Range Rover.
He dropped me off by my car and told me to pull it closer to the entrance of the arena. I did as instructed, even though my car moaned and groaned before finally turning over, and I parked beside him, my old Dodge Neon looking pathetic next to the few others in the lot. I saw a BMW with a license plate frame from A&L, so I knew that was Max's.
"So who's all going to be here today?" I asked.
"A bunch of the younger guys, and their girlfriends. This is the time when things start to pick up and get hectic, so it's kind of like one last day of relaxing and hanging out like normal people."
"Yup. Tomorrow we'll have practice here and then fly out to Montreal to start off the road trip. We play away Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and then we have our home game Friday before playing away on Sunday again."
"But you have a few days between then and when the regular season starts."
He put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me toward him, planting a kiss on my hat. "See, this is why I keep you around. I think you know my schedule better than I do."
We continued into the arena and headed for the dressing room, where some people were lacing up skates. I noticed that not only the guys were going out on the ice—The Girlfriends were, too.
"Um, I get to watch from the bench, right?" I asked.
"No, I figured you could skate with us. We've got extra skates in all sizes."
"That's all good and fine, but I've never ice-skated before, and I don't think I'd be too good at it."
"Have you ever roller bladed before?"
"Twice. I gave it up because I was spending more time falling to the ground than I was actually getting anywhere."
He laughed. "Don't worry. We've got helmets, too. You'll be fine."
I sat in his stall while he went to get skates for me, and I said hi to everyone and returned various articles of clothing to their rightful owners. While Sid was gone, I put my five in my pocket so I could easily slip it to him, somehow. V came over and asked how my night went.
"Fine, how was yours?"
"Don't act all shy now," she replied. "I'm guessing you ended up spending the night, since you're in his clothes."
"He could have just offered his hoodie to me," I reasoned. Sidney made sure to keep our business to himself, and I thought maybe I should do the same—even if I was dying to tell Véro about how sweet he was last night and how we had gone on our first "date" and fought the entire time.
"You know, I am just as much a part of your relationship with Sid as you are. If it weren't for me, you guys wouldn't even be together right now."
"We're not together," I corrected. That was the second time today someone made mention of our nonexistent exclusivity.
"Why not?" she pushed.
Thank goodness for Marc-André. "Véronique, stop taking all the credit and stay out of it," he warned.
When he spoke again, it was in French, and I assumed he was just repeating his command. This time, however, she obeyed. "I still want to know all the details," she whispered to me, before following a bunch of the guys out to the runway.
That's when I noticed Sid had returned. "So, the smallest we have are nines, so I brought a bunch of socks, too."
"They're clean, right?"
"I don't know. They don't smell." I looked up to see a small grin on his face, and I knew he was joking. Or, I hoped he was joking. "Just put the socks on, and we'll lace you up on the bench so you won't have to try to walk in them."
I did as he said, and put on five pairs of those thick socks, hoping it was enough to compensate for the fact that I had to wear skates that were three sizes too big. As Sid slipped on his skates, I was amazed at the fluid, repetitive movement he used to effectively lace and tie them, which only could be the result of years upon years of experience.
Jordan snapped me out of my stare by charging back into the dressing room from the rink. He threw around some of his things, looking around and grumbling.
"What's up, Jordy?"
"I must have left my iPod on, and the battery's dead. I can't find my charger. This blows! Now we're not gonna have any music."
"I have mine," I offered, turning and digging around my purse.
"Really?" His face lit up.
"Yeah, I bring it everywhere with me. I don't know if you'll like any of the stuff on it, but—"
"I don't care! Thanks!" He snatched it out of hands and went back on the ice, and I laughed. He was like a kid trapped in a giant's body.
"The acoustics on the ice are incredible," Sid explained. "When it's quiet, it's silent. And when the crowd gets excited, you can't hear anything but the roar."
"Oh," I answered.
"Come on, let's get you out there and laced up!" he said, and I followed him out on the runway. "Wait here. Forgot something, I'll be right back," he added, running back into the dressing room. While he was gone, I found myself in awe of the view of the arena from the ice, and all those seats. As I awkwardly walked in all those socks, I wondered what it was like on game day, to see so many fans out there.
Sidney plunked a helmet on my head. "Just in case," he laughed. He directed me to the bench and had me sit on the edge of the boards as he helped to lace my skates. I started to tug on the laces, pulling as tightly as I could, but even that wasn't good enough. Apparently, my skates weren't tight enough until they cut off circulation.
Jordan skated by and said as he winked, "Nice hat. That's a great look for you." I flipped him off, and he laughed at me.
"Okay, keep your ankles as straight as possible," he instructed as he helped me get my balance on the ice. He took my hands and started pulling me away from the boards and toward the center of the rink.
"No, I want to stay by the edge, so I have something to hold onto."
"That's what I'm here for. Hold onto me, and I won't let you fall."
"I don't know if I trust you," I teased. Sidney was in front of me and facing me, strongly gripping my forearms as I was clutching onto his, afraid to let go and slip. I knew that he meant it, and he was going to really try to not let me hurt myself.
"Just like you're roller blading, push off." As I took my first shaky strides, he moved backward, always keeping the same distance between us. "Good," he commented, and as if on cue in a bad movie plot, I wobbled, but he strengthened his hold on me and I regained my balance.
"Don't jinx me!" I hollered. My trepidation attracted the attention of the pro skaters, and Max and Jordan started skating circles around Sid and me. "You're making me dizzy, cut it out!"
"I don't believe it," Max said, circling. "You're into hockey, but you've never skated before?"
"I'm a spectator, not a player," I answered. I didn't want to tell him that I'd only recently been introduced to the sport, because then he may have thought I was a bandwagoner or a fair-weather fan. I truly did fall in love with the hockey. It was fast-paced and emotional, and once you know what's going on, I'd bet anyone would instantly love it, too.
Eventually, I got the hang of it and didn't need to hang onto Sidney for support. I think it was the five pairs of socks that prevented me from being able to move my ankles. Once I felt confident enough, Sid and I held hands and skated laps side-by-side around the rink with everyone else, and I took off the helmet.
After half an hour of that, I decided to take a break. I sat back down on the edge of the boards, and some of The Girlfriends followed me over. We watched as the guys horsed around on the ice. They skated by, one-by-one, trying to do figure-skating moves and turns, and we would hold up our fingers and give our scores. Max tried a sit-spin, and I gave him a seven for his effort.
"Ok, I am silently dying," Véro confessed. "Please, will you tell me what happened last night? I don't need gory details, just let me know what's going on."
I laughed. "I ended up staying over, because he wouldn't take me to get my car. He was so sweet, because he stayed with me when I couldn't fall asleep, and then he ended up carrying me upstairs."
"How adorable," she cooed.
Marc-André tried to do a spin, but he wasn't a very strong skater, and we gave him mediocre scores.
"We went on our 'first date' for lunch, but we argued the whole time because he wouldn't let me pay."
"Why didn't you just let him pay? He makes enough," one of the girls commented, and V and I both rolled our eyes when she wasn't looking.
It was Sid's turn, attempting an attitude as he skated by. "Watch this," I said, before loudly adding, "Yeah, until he called me heavy."
That got his attention—he fell out of position and stopped. "I said I didn't mean that!"
"Cardinal rule number one!" Max yelled. "Never say that to a girl!"
Jordan interjected, "Even if she weighs a ton, you never mention her weight!"
"But look at her," Sid argued. "She's not! I didn't mean anything by it!" The Girlfriends and I were in hysterics. "You are rotten," he said, skating over to me on the boards and sweeping me up in his arms. "See? Light as a feather!"
I laughed and called for him to put me down, and he pretended to drop me. "Very funny, now put me down gently, please." When he did, I skated behind him and hooked my fingers into the belt loops of his jeans. Sidney skated forward and pulled me along, and I seized my chance. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my five, and then I put my hands in front pockets. He jumped and I giggled, pretending that was the reaction I was looking for.
Coyly, I shrugged, and skated in the other direction. Just then, "Knock You Down" came over the speakers hooked up to my iPod. When Kanye rapped, "Whether you Louis Vuittonned up or Reebokin'," I gestured to the logo on the hoodie I was wearing to make Sid laugh. I realized that everyone else had stopped, and they were all watching the two of us interact on the ice.
I began singing along with the song as I skated around, but I got a little carried away and started goofing off. Trying to be cute, I skated a circle around Sidney and tried to turn to glide backwards, but my left ankle twisted and I fell to the ice.
"Noelle!" he cried, concerned if I had hurt myself. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I responded, as he helped me to my feet. Trying to put weight on that ankle, I winced a little, so Sidney overreacted and insisted I get off the ice. "No, really, I'm fine. But I think my ice dancing career is over."
Sid still demanded that I sit down so he could look at it. "I just want to make sure." He guided me to the bench, grabbed my waist, and sat me on the boards before unlacing my left skate and removing the boot.
"Why weren't you wearing your helmet?" Jordan jokingly asked me, as he skated over to see how I was.
"Just because the song's called 'Knock You Down' doesn't mean you literally have to fall down," V added. Everyone gathered around the scene in a crescent shape to see if I was injured.
"You guys are so freaking hilarious. I'm telling you, it's no big deal." Sid peeled off some of my socks, continued his examination, and concluded my ankle was fine, and I gave him my best I-told-you-so look. The rest of the group started scattering, and I said, "You don't have to stop on account of me."
They all gave their reasons, which boiled down to the same essence: so much to do before their first road trip. Spending time with people, packing, etcetera. However, when I said goodbye to Véro, Marc, Max, and the others, I knew this time that I'd be seeing them again sometime soon.
I peeled off the rest of all those socks and put my shoes back on. Sid and I walked out to the parking lot and came to a halt beside our cars.
"So, I guess you want to go home?" he asked.
"Yeah, I should get a nap, and you probably need to pack and stuff, too."
"Yeah, I should."
"Oh, here," I said, starting to take off his hoodie to give it to him.
"Nah, keep it," he said. "I have more than enough."
"Thanks." I hugged him, and he placed his hand under my chin to tilt my face up to his. We kissed, and I didn't want to leave yet. I don't think he wanted to either, because we ended up making out against the side of my car—with me pinned between him and the frame of my Neon. His hands were on my hips and my fingers were playing with the soft wisps of hair poking out from under his hat. His lips were two pink pillows, and that's where I wanted to take my nap.
Finally, he pulled away and rested his forehead against mine. I felt so contented. "As much as I would like to continue this, I'm going to let you get home." Sidney opened the car door for me, and when I slid into place, he closed it behind me. He waited and watched as I drove away.
I pulled onto 376 when I heard my phone beep with a message. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out my cell, and a five dollar bill fluttered out too, which confused me since I thought I gave it to Sid. I flipped open my phone and read the message: Haha, gotcha. Told u, lunch was on me. ;)
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago