Today was the big day, the regular season opener against the Rangers. I came into work early and then didn't take my lunch break so I could leave early in an attempt to beat the traffic. Initially, I didn't worry about getting there early, but Thursday's text from Sid told me to be at the Igloo early, and to not wear my Talbot jersey.
The whole thing made me nervous. Had I embarrassed him by wearing that jersey last time? I tried calling him after I received that message, but I went to voice mail, and he never returned the call. I dressed in khakis, a black cami, a black, gray and white variegated sweater jacket, and black boots. I knew that I would blend in with The Girlfriends this time, but I felt naked with out my number twenty-five jersey. I did bring my lucky Pens hat, that Sidney had so nicely returned after his hat trick, which I figured was a compromise.
I got to the Mellon at six, and I found out one perk of being associated with the Pens: I got into the arena before the doors opened for ticket holders. By now, I was able to find my own way to the lounge, which was crowded.
Max saw me, and he looked disappointed. "You aren't wearing my jersey. You've broken my heart!"
"Oh, stop with the hyperbole. Sid asked me not to wear it."
He raised an eyebrow. "Is this because of that article?"
I hadn't thought of that. "I don't know, he didn't say why."
"Let's get to the bottom of this, then, shall we?" He hooked his arm around my neck and we found Sidney talking to his parents and sister. "Hey, Kid, I'm outraged here. What are you doing to my fan?" Max asked.
Sid smirked and handed me a bag. "Converting her." I looked inside and saw something blue, and when I pulled it out, I saw it was the blue alternate jersey, number eighty-seven.
I laughed. "You know I hate the blue jerseys, right?" His face fell, but before he could answer, I added, "I guess I'll make an exception for you, though."
Sidney smiled and looked as if he wanted to hug me, but he held back given our present company. "I thought you'd look good in blue." I pulled the hockey sweater over my clothes and modeled it for him. He looked smug. "It definitely looks good on you."
The players began filtering into the dressing room to finish getting ready, and a lot of the guests began heading toward their seats. The Crosbys wished Sid good luck and told me they'd see me in the family section, giving us a few moments to ourselves. Even though there were still other people around, we kissed since his parents weren't there to see it.
"If you really don't like the blue jersey, I'll get you a black or white one. I just want you wearing my number."
"Blue's fine. But is this because of that story and those pictures, that you won't want me wearing my Max jersey?"
"No way. That never even crossed my mind, to tell you the truth. I remembered what you said about getting Talbo's jersey, because you wanted to show him 'a little love.' Well, I wanted you to show me a little love tonight."
I kissed him again. "Don't I show you love all the time?"
He shrugged. "You're my girl, and call me selfish, but I want the whole world to know."
"I thought we agreed to keep this simple," I mumbled.
"It is simple. I like you, you like me. I'm not about to go out and find another girl, and I hope you don't have anyone else on the side."
"No! That's horrible for you to even think that!"
Sid let out a chuckle, and then wrapped one of his fingers in a curl of my hair. "So, if we like each other, and we're not seeing anyone else, why not simplify it and just say we're together? It's a lot harder for me to say, 'Hey, meet this girl I really like and want to be with, but we're not together, even though she likes me, too,' than to say, 'Hey, meet my girlfriend.'"
"It sounds so easy when you put it that way."
"It is easy. We're the ones making it more complicated than it needs to be."
I let out a long sigh. "Okay."
Sidney beamed and let out a whoop, and then he kissed me so hard I thought my lips would bruise. "Slow down there, cowboy, and save some of that energy for the game," I said, pulling away for air.
More of the players started to head into the dressing room, and as they walked by, I wished each of them good luck. When Sidney decided to leave, I gave him a peck on the cheek and said my usual, "Play well."
"How come you wish the other guys good luck, but not me?"
"Isn't it obvious?" I asked. He shook his head, and I explained, "You make your own luck out there, because you're just that good. As long as you play as well as I know you can, you don't need luck."
He looked a little embarrassed, but he seemed more than pleased with the answer. Véro, Kelsey, and I made our way to our seats, and I saw the Crosbys in the row above me.
"So," Lynne said to me, leaning forward to see past V and Kels. "I see you changed your wardrobe. Does this mean you're official or what? It's about time you two stopped sneaking around and just tell everyone."
Ew, I wanted to punch that bitch in the face. She knew exactly what she was doing, gossiping right in front of his parents. What was her problem? "It's just a jersey, Lynne. Don't read too much into it."
That made Lynne back off, but V raised an eyebrow at me questioningly. I nodded, and she knew instantly that we were indeed official. "Oh, by the way, I was instructed to let you know that if you wanted to join the after party, you can stay with Marc-André and me tonight," Véro said, with an intonation so I knew that Sid had asked on my behalf, since I made it clear to him that I would not spend the night with his parents in the house, too.
"Thanks, V, I'll see what the night has in store."
And the night was nothing short of what I expected it to be. The banners were raised, and the Pens came out of the gate playing hard, fast hockey. They were determined to win this game, keeping with the spirit that won them those brand-new banners. The Penguins won 4-1, with Crosby picking up a goal, a primary assist, and a secondary assist. His goal would eventually be the game-winner, and when he scored that beauty on a breakaway, I leapt out of my seat before the siren went off. I turned to Trina and Troy and said, "Have I ever thanked you two for your contribution to the hockey world? Because thank you." They both suppressed a laugh, and Taylor looked repulsed at the reminder that her parents had sex—even if it meant otherwise, neither she nor her brother would have been conceived.
Afterward, we all went back to the lounge to wait for the players. When Sid appeared in the charcoal suit he wore on his birthday, he clapped his father on the back. "What did I tell you, Pops? She's my lucky charm. So far this season, every time she's been in attendance, I've had a multi-point game."
Troy laughed, but it didn't quite seem to reach his eyes. "Well, I guess I should hope you come to a lot of home games."
"That's the best part," Sid answered. "She will be. Noelle's finally agreed to be my girlfriend!"
Everyone congratulated us, and my normal response was to blush. Taylor was hilarious, though, because she cried out, "Yes! I knew it!"
"Can't hide anything from you, can we?" I said playfully, thinking of how many people could say the same thing.
"I could tell as soon as I saw the way Sidney looked at you at the barbecue. And you looked at him the same exact way."
I wrinkled my nose. "Really?" Taylor nodded, and so did Trina, that sparkle in her eyes. I was so transparent.
Trina congratulated Sid on the game, and they said they were going to head back to the house. "We fly home tomorrow, so we want to be rested," she finished.
Troy added, "Don't stay out celebrate out too late, Sidney, you play again tomorrow."
I said goodbye to Trina, Troy, and Taylor, and I wished them a safe flight home to Nova Scotia. Taylor gave me a hug, which I didn't expect, but I thought it was sweet. Although there was quite an age difference between us, she was mature for her age (just as, I'm sure, Sidney was), and I couldn't wait for the opportunity to get to know her better.
Trina likewise pulled me into a hug. She wasn't my mother, but she emitted a maternal aura that made feel as if I were a part of the family. I thought she held on a little long as she said quietly in my ear, "Congratulations, my dear. You're good for him, I can tell. I look forward to seeing you at Christmas." I was stunned speechless as Troy shook my hand, and all three were gone before I could get out another word.
"What did my mother say to you? I've never seen you absolutely speechless before." Still unable to piece together a coherent thought, I just shook my head. Christmas? It's the beginning of October. Isn't that a little premature? "So, did V tell you you can stay with them tonight?"
I nodded. "Yeah, but I don't think I will."
"Why? Aren't you going to come out with us tonight?"
"Maybe for a bit. But I have a reason to spend the night at your place, not so much with them. I might as well go home, because staying at V and Marc's is just going to make more tired come morning." He pursed his lips, but didn't argue. Sid was too pumped after the win to want to press the issue and ruin the fun we could have. "Are Gogo and Lynne going?"
"I don't know, probably."
"Ugh, I don't like her," I said, making sure no one was around to hear. "She's always on my case. You know, she was the one that showed me those pictures on Monday. And tonight, she makes a huge point of asking if you and I were official right in front of your parents. I just can't stand her."
He laughed a little. "Well, you don't have to talk to her if you don't want to."
"Gee, thanks Dr. Phil. I'll remember that the next time she approaches me to run her mouth," I teased.
"How's that working for you?" He did his best Dr. Phil impression, which was pretty awful, but I laughed anyway.
"So, how does this work?" I asked, as we left the lounge and headed for the door.
"How does what work?"
"Leaving here with you?"
"Well, I figure you don't want to ride with me and leave my car here. So, we'll meet at Diesel. Is that okay?"
"Yeah, perfect," I mumbled, thinking that wasn't what I was asking. Do we hold hands? There were bound to be fans waiting for him outside. But, I didn't have to worry about that now, since I had to exit differently to get to my car. I took my new jersey off and put it in the truck, so no one would see it and break into my car and steal it. We all met up again on the Southside and began our celebration.
Sidney and I sat on a couch. He reached over for my hand and pulled it into his, placing our entangled fingers on his lap. I squeezed his hand and thought to myself, So this is what it feels like. My blissful moment ended when I saw Lynne, from across the room, staring at us. What a bitch.
"Do you want anything to drink?" Sid asked me, pulling me out of my thoughts.
"No, I'm okay," I told him. He got up and headed for the bar, and I sought out Véro. She stood by the railing, looking over at the group of people dancing below. "Hey, V, do you know what Lynne's deal is?"
"What do you mean?"
"What's her story? Is there anything I did or said that would make her hate me?"
"That's just the way she is, a royal pain in the ass. No one gets along with her. I wouldn't take it personally."
"I don't know, I really think there's something behind the way she's acting toward me."
"She's always had that attitude to her. She was a waitress at this restaurant we used to go for lunch, and she flirted shamelessly with all the guys. Honestly, I think she had her eye on Sid. This was when Sergei and Ryan Whitney were on the long term injured reserve list, when Alex was called up from the farm team to play in the NHL. He was the only one paying her any attention, so she just kind of settled for him."
"That sucks for Alex, that he's stuck with someone who feels like she settled for him. But that must be it," I rationalized. "That must be why she doesn't like me. She's jealous."
Sidney came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, and I knew if Lynne could see, she would be looking at me and shooting daggers with her eyes. "Hey, Nelly, wanna dance?"
"Sure," I agreed, and we started to dance, which quickly escalated to grinding. My temperature was rising, so I took off my sweater jacket. The look Sid gave me upon seeing me in my cami subsequently lead to me wishing that his parents weren't back at his house. We forgot ourselves and forgot where we were, making out on the dance floor like no one was around and no one had an inkling of who we were.
I wasn't the only one ruing our decision. "You know," he whispered in my ear. "You are my girlfriend now. So it probably wouldn't be too big of a deal if you decided to stay over my place tonight. You can sleep in my bed, and I'll take the couch."
I leaned my forehead against his chest. I wanted just as badly to spend some intimate time with him. "It's like you can read my mind. But I'm not that kind of girl, and I will not have you sleep on the couch the night before a game. I'll get to see you soon enough, I guess."
He groaned. "We leave to play the Islanders tomorrow. I'll be back on Sunday. That's two days away."
"Hey, it could be worse. It could be a week-long, Western Canada road trip." Neither of us were consoled by that, but when we called it a night, we agreed to meet on Sunday for some much-needed one-on-one time.
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago