Thursday, August 6, 2009

43: Wake Up Call

Post #43 soundtrack song - SafetySuit, Stay

I woke up around three a.m. to an empty bed. After having three drinks in the span of fifteen minutes last night, I should have been out until late morning. Something woke me up, but I wasn't sure what. At first, I was disoriented, unsure of where I was and what I was doing there. Soon, the memories of last night washed over me as realization sunk in. Fuck.

I wondered where Max was. We had fallen asleep together over the comforter on his bed and still fully clothed, but he wasn't with me now. He was such an incredible friend to me. I got out of his bed to find where he was. I don't know why I needed to know; I just would have felt better knowing he was around. As I stepped on the floor, I noticed my shoes had been taken off. Oh, Max. Right then and there, I decided to make it my life's mission to find that "one hell of a girl" that would be worthy of Maxime Talbot.

First, I peeked into the spare bedroom, thinking Max may have left me alone once I fell asleep. But he wasn't there. Then, I paused at the top the stairs, listening for sounds from the first floor that would let me know he was there. I thought I heard a voice, but I wasn't sure if it was the television or if it was Max.

Starting down the stairs, Max appeared at the bottom. He looked so tired, so drained. Why wasn't he sleeping? His accent was heavier when he he was fatigued. "What are you doing up?" he asked. "Did I wake you?"

"No," I responded, stopping halfway down the staircase. "I don't know what woke me up. And then I wasn't sure where you went. I didn't want to fall back asleep without knowing where you were."

"Are you ready to talk?" he asked.

I snorted. "Why are you even asking me that question? I don't have anything to talk about. But I still say one thing: I'm so glad that I didn't tell him I loved him when I had the chance."

Max's face changed. It was like I physically hit him with that tidbit of information, and he was taken aback by shock. And soon I did, too. The circumstances of the night became obvious to me, as Sidney moved next to Max at the foot of the stairs. So that's why Max wasn't sleeping—Sidney must have woken him up when he came over. That's why he asked if I was ready to talk, because Sidney was here, probably wanting to talk to me. But at three in the morning?

"You love me?" he asked softly.

I ignored him and asked Max, "What is he doing here?"

"I'm surprised we didn't wake you up sooner. He was pounding on the door and just barged in here, insisting that I wake you up so you guys could sort through this."

I snorted again and addressed my boyfriend. "Go home, Sid."

"But you love me," he said, this time as a statement. He was still in his suit pants, but he wasn't wearing the jacket or a tie, and his dress shirt was half buttoned, exposing the tee shirt underneath. His hair was disheveled, and he looked visibly distraught. Good, I thought.

"No, I only thought I did. I wouldn't let myself fall in love with someone who would hurt me like that. I'm not that stupid."

"I didn't do anything! She came onto me!"

"And I told you that she would! Don't you get it?"

Max stepped in. "Listen, Kid, just go home and sleep on it."

He shook his head, fire in his eyes. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm not doing this again, waiting around for it to finally sink in for you that you're being unreasonable. We're dealing with this tonight."

"What is there to figure out?" I said, my voice rising. I felt bad that Max had to listen to this and get involved. "I told you that she wanted in your pants, and you ignored me. She comes on to you, and you just stood there and let her! I saw the whole thing happen!"

"I didn't know what she was doing! She was talking to me, and I just was trying to be nice to my teammate's girlfriend. I didn't want to be rude. I was barely listening to her. And then she was right next to me, and it happened so fast I didn't know what was happening! I pulled away and told her I had a great girlfriend and that I wasn't interested."

Was he telling the truth? "Did it really happen that quickly? Because I remember it in slow motion," I mumbled. Sid didn't hear me, but Max nodded with slow, deliberate motions. Maybe he didn't have time to react, but that kiss was only half of the problem: he should have listened to me in the first place. "You made me feel crazy, like I was blowing everything out of proportion."

"I'm sorry if you felt that way. Lynne has never acted that way around me before."

"You're so naïve, Sidney."

"I told you I was sorry! What else do you want from me?"

I paused and fidgeted. "I don't know."

"Don't you see how foolish you're being?" he persisted.

"Well, if you don't like it, go find that stupid tramp! She'd love to have my sloppy seconds!"

"Did you just call me sloppy seconds?"

"Yes, I did! It's a good thing we didn't have sex yesterday, so now you won't seem like a man whore for moving on so fast!"

He looked at me with a pained expression. I hated myself for doing that to him. "I don't want her. When you act like this, I don't even know why I want you anymore."

I groaned. I really was starting to feel crazy and unreasonable, and I hated that I was pushing and pushing him. I was pushing him away from me, and that's not what I wanted to do. He looked so upset, and I wanted to pull him into my arms and comfort him. But I was still angry, and I felt I had every reason to be. "I don't know why either," I cried, torn between my contradicting feelings. I didn't think it was possible to feel so many things at once. I sat down on the step and leaned against the wall.

Sid softened. "I didn't mean it. I'm sorry that I didn't listen to you. Please, can we go back home and finish talking about this?"

I looked at Max, who had been standing there watching us the entire time. He looked exhausted and embarrassed for being involved in our intimate argument. I felt bad for keeping him awake, so I nodded and finished walking down the stairs.

Sid walked toward the front door, and I paused beside Max. "I'm sorry for dragging you into this. Thank you for taking care of me tonight."

"Are you sure you want to leave now? You can stay here if you need to, and I'll kick him out."

"That's nice of you to offer, but he's right. We need to figure this out now."

Sidney led the way to his SUV and held the passenger side door open for me. I slid in, he closed the door behind me, and then he drove toward his house. As we left, I noticed Max was still in the doorway, watching our departure. My forehead rested against the window, and I watched the landscapes pass by as we rode in silence in the dark. We pulled into the driveway, and I thought about how easy it would be to get into my own car, drive away, and leave all this pain in my past.

However, I followed Sid into the house. He turned on the lights and sat in his chair, in the same position he was in on Friday night when we discussed our compromise and how we were going to work past our problems. I was starting to hate this room.

"I'm tired," he said. "I've been up all night, trying to listen to Flower and Staalsy when they told me to give you space. And then trying to convince Talbo to wake you up so we could talk. But I don't want to go to bed mad. This past week sucked when I tried to let you work through your issues on your own. I can't do that again. I can't go through that again. And I'm tired, tired of fighting with you. Can we talk about this calmly?"

"No," I spat, still furious. I know I was being childish at this point, but nothing hurt worse than what I saw last night.

He ran his hand through his hair and searched for something to say. "I told you, the whole thing happened so fast. I got our drinks, and then she was standing there beside me, talking to me."

"What exactly did she say to you?"

"She said that it was nice that we got back together. But that if things didn't work out between us—and she assured me that they wouldn't—that she would be there to pick up the pieces. She said she would never fight with me, and that she was perfect for me."

"And you didn't think that that classified as a 'come on'? You think she was just being nice? You knew she was going to do that."

"I never expected her to kiss me. We were in the middle of a packed club with her boyfriend standing just a few feet away, for fuck's sake! She's hardly even said two words to me before this. And she just kind of pounced on me! I didn't have time to react. And in case you missed this part, as soon as she kissed me, I moved away from her."

Was it possible that I was remembering that night more slowly? Maybe time is relative when you take your emotions into consideration. Maybe it did really happen that fast, and I observed it in slow motion because my heart was breaking. If it truly happened so fast, I guess I could forgive him for that. "Even so, you shouldn't have waited to move away. You should have seen what she was doing!"

"I'm sorry I'm not psychic and couldn't read her mind. I told you, never in a million years did I think she'd do that. I'm not the bad guy, here."

"There has to be a bad guy, Sid."

"But it's neither of us, Nelly. We've got something good here, I know it."

"Even if I believe you up to this point, that still does not excuse your behavior. After the whole ordeal, you acted like it was nothing."

"That's because she's nothing. She means nothing to me, Nelly, and you're my everything."

I looked down at my feet. Now what was I supposed to say? I didn't have a comeback for that.

When I didn't say anything, Sid asked, "What's going on in that head of yours? It's more than you just being mad at Lynne and me."

I didn't want to let go of my anger. Once the anger subsides, all that would be left is hurt. I didn't want to feel hurt. When I spoke this time, it wasn't with the fervor of our earlier argument. I was getting tired, too. "I am just pissed at you. You should have listened. Don't try to dismiss my feelings now as easily as you tried to earlier."

"I know you're angry, but there's something you're not telling me. Let me in."

My eyes were shut tight. I could either be honest with him—and myself—and try to work through the pain, or I could keep up the front and protect myself. I wanted so badly to take the easy way out. But, like always, I could never make things easy on myself.

"I'm scared."

"Scared of what?"


"What? Why? Nelly, you know I would never do anything to you."

"Maybe you wouldn't mean to, but you're just going to end up hurting me."

His eyes were wide. "Is this because I grabbed your arm?"

"No! No, I don't mean physically hurt me. I know you would never do that."

"Then what do you think I will do to you?"

I looked at my feet. "Break my heart. Devastate me."

"I love you, I would never break your heart."

"That's what I said. Maybe you wouldn't mean to, but you can't predict the future."

"You're right, but you have to know that I would never want to hurt you."

Looking into his eyes, I saw that he was being genuine. "I know," I emphasized. "And when I saw her tonight...." I swallowed, my throat feeling like it was closing. "When I saw her kiss you, I just.... I mean, it felt like...." I couldn't get a full sentence out.

"Say it, Nelly. Please."

His brown eyes were full of emotions, pleading me to say it, to say the reason why I was so hurt. He knew why, but saying it would make it real. Finally, I eked out the words, "Because I love you."

The weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders; I didn't realize I had been playing Atlas until that moment. This wasn't the way I wanted to tell him.

Sid smiled; he didn't care how I told him as long as he got to hear it firsthand. He knew I loved him, but knowing was not the same as my telling him to his face, to hear that declaration straight from my mouth. He jumped up from his chair and pulled me into a big bear hug. I was being squeezed to death, like a snake would constrict its prey. He leaned in to kiss me, but I stopped him.

This time when I spoke, it was with the fiery intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. "Not until you rinse your mouth out with half a bottle of Listerine. And I swear to God, Sidney Patrick Crosby, if you ever, and I mean ever, let any trampy bimbo kiss you again, I will rip your lips off and throw them down the garbage disposal."

Sid laughed. "Oh, Nelly. I love you to pieces. It will never happen again, I promise you."

I nodded, and suddenly a light bulb went on over my head. "Wait a second. You didn't do that on purpose, did you?"

"What on earth do you mean?"

"You knew I'd overreact. Did you let her kiss you so I would get angry and tell you how I feel?"

"No. Why would I want to piss you off like that? And risk you never wanting to see me again?" Even though he vehemently denied it, there was a glint in his eyes.

"You rotten bastard," I laughed, squirming in his arms. "You knew I would say it if you found a way to force it out of me. You couldn't wait for me to say it on my own terms, could you?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," he continued, his tone quite serious but the gleam still there. Was I right? Did he let the night unfold as it did, so I would get jealous and finally tell him, or was he just amused that I thought he did?

I laughed at him, "You like to be in control. You couldn't wait. I was going to tell you, I was just having a little trouble saying it."

"Well, it looks like you found whatever motivation you needed to say it."

"I just wanted the moment to be right, you know? It's like, every thing we do gets messed up. Nothing has happened naturally, have you noticed?"

We thought about our first drunken kiss, then our first real kiss that half his team witnessed, the disaster that was the first night we made love, the way he practically he screamed that he loved me during our blow-out, and now the way I confessed my feelings after having a temporary lapse of sanity. None of our big milestone moments went smoothly.

Sidney laughed. "Oh well. I wouldn't have it any other way." He leaned in again to kiss me.

"I'm not kidding!" I roared, pushing him away with a laugh. "I'm not kissing you until you wash your mouth!"

He shook his head and laughed, but he obeyed and jogged to the bathroom.


  1. Max is the best friend ever.Ever. I'm so glad Noelle finally told him that she loves him! And have I mentioned it would be nice if Lynne dropped off the earth? As usual, another great update!

  2. Glad to see that they were able to work it out! Did Sid really let her kiss him so that Nelly would confess her love? That was pretty risky cause what if it didn't work out. Great update!!!

  3. awa this was beyond cute.
    i'm so glad she finally told him how she feels!! they are SO perfect for eachother.
    awesome udpate! (:

  4. YESSS! she said it! WOOO
    i have a feeling sidney kinda sorta did it on purpose, but his plan got a little out of hand.
    haha go rinse your mouth, sid. haha i love that part :]

  5. LOVE that song. So catchy. Great chapter and epically long which I appreciate. Fabulous writing as always and I'm so glad that they worked out their issues.

  6. Have I told you yet how much I just LOVE this story?! Well, I do!

    Another great update!

  7. Okay... First. The song... Perfection. It's probably my fav Safety Suit song. So bonus points on the song.

    Secondly poor Max... How awkward would that honestly be.

    Thirdly... That bastard totally tricked her into saying it! (I say bastard in the nicest way.)

    Fourthly I loved it!

  8. Thanks so much for the link to the stanley blog! My heart nearly exploded out of my chest reading about his charity work and seeing the picture of the stanley cup painted on the lawn. SO adorable. I have so many ideas about writing for his family but now it's even worse because there are so many of them and I am imagining all of the craziness that will ensue. Thanks again! :D