A/N: FYI, scheduled double-dose is for Wednesday.... those are the two chapters that make sense to pair together, and, well, you'll see. A little something to look forward to! And nothing's hotter than a man who can do the dishes. I can't help myself with the videos....
After the Pens lost to the Blue Jackets, I went home feeling sad for the team, but I was excited because the end of the game meant Sidney would be flying home.
I forgot about my pain as I pulled into the driveway and unlocked the front door. Sidney and I hadn't discussed my sleeping arrangements that night. He knew that I would be at Tyler and Kelsey's to watch the game, but in the stress and commotion of the past few days, no one mentioned what I would do between Friday night and Saturday afternoon. But I wanted to surprise him by being here when I showed up.
The adrenaline was still coursing through my veins, and I figured I would wait up for Sid. I knew the team would be departing for Pittsburgh as soon as they were dressed and ready, so he would return home in a few hours. The sooner I disclosed the details of my encounter with the psycho bitch, as I now referred to her, the better.
I decided to decorate while I waited because none of the party preparations had gone underway. There was a lot of work to be done if Sidney wanted to throw a truly kick-ass Halloween shindig, and he had simply been too busy to do it himself. I started with the cob webs, and then plugged in the black lights we bought. This was going to be so much fun!
By two, I was getting pretty tired. I got the brilliant idea to wait for Sid in his bedroom, in his bed, wearing nothing but his Crosby jersey, but I felt drained as soon as I sat down and couldn't keep my eyes open.
Now, there are three ways to wake up. The first, and the worst, is being woken up by an alarm. It doesn't matter if the signaling of the alarm means you're waking up to go on two-week tropical vacation—that mechanical beeping is the not the way to be coaxed out of a dream world. The second and infinitely less agitating way to wake up is of your own accord—no alarm clock, no noise outside. Whenever your body feels like it's had enough, you slowly gain consciousness before getting out of bed and starting your day.
But the third way to wake up, and the most delicious and tantalizing of all, is waking up by the hands of your lover, his gentle caresses and soft trails of kisses. That's the way I woke up when Sidney returned home from the game against Columbus. I don't know what had exactly transpired before I finally roused out of sleep, but he was stripped down to his boxer briefs, his hands were under my hockey sweater, and he was nibbling on the tender flesh of my neck. I was immediately wet and ready for him.
"Well, hello there, Mr. Crosby."
"Mmm," he began. His voice was husky. "I was wondering if you'd ever wake up, or if I'd have to take full advantage of the unconscious girl in my bed."
I playfully squirmed beneath him, dying to finish what he started. "You wouldn't do that to me, would you?"
"Oh, I would," he laughed. His lips moved up from my neck, across my chin, and to my right cheek. My bruised, swollen cheek that was sensitive to touch. I gasped from the stinging pain, and he instantly pulled back, knowing that was not the kind of gasp he was trying to evoke from me. "What's wrong?"
Now? Really? It had been two weeks since Sidney and I had sex, and I was so turned on that even the pain didn't make me want to stop. I tried to dismiss it, so he would continue. "It's nothing."
"No, Nelly, it's not nothing." He rolled over to turn on the lamp. Once he saw my face, he grimaced and became angry. "What happened to you? To your face! It looks like a hand print!"
I slid off the bed and went to the bathroom. Sid was right; the marks of four fingers were distinctly present across my cheek. It almost looked like someone had dipped their hand in blue finger paint before pressing it against my face. The bruise hadn't completely formed when I last checked. I didn't realize that the evil psycho bitch had come at me with this much force. She really did a number on me.
Sidney followed me into the bathroom and blocked the doorway, and I could tell by the expressions on his face that he was alternating between being both mad and concerned. "Noelle, tell me." That was the first time he had called me by my real name while it was just the two of us since he came up with my nickname. I knew then how serious he was.
"Don't freak out, and let me fully explain." He looked at me expectantly, and I continued. "Lynne showed up to Kelsey's tonight—"
"She did that to you?"
"Yes, I told you that she hates me." He stormed out of the bathroom, and I tried to calm him down. "It's not that big of a deal, Sidn—"
"She attacked you! She hit you! No one should ever lay a hand on you!"
"You're right, but she was drunk, and I hit her back," I told him. He paused when he heard that. I spilled out everything that had happened, how she showed up, how I stuck up for Charlotte and Max, and our confrontation.
"You drew blood?"
I shrugged. "I didn't mean to, I just lost it and went after her. She had no right to say those things, and I was still so mad at her for what she did at Diesel. Hopefully, this whole thing will blow over—"
"Aren't you going to press charges?"
"No," I said rationally. It was at a time like this that being a legal assistant came in handy. "She may have come after me first, but I did more than just defend myself, because I attacked her with intent to injure or harm. She came out of this worse than I did, and I don't want to draw any attention to this, because then someone may think I was the instigator. I want to let the whole thing slide."
His eyes flashed. He was more upset than I thought he would be. Honestly, I was kind of turned on at how protective he was being, but I'd never let him know that. "But you were attacked. You are lucky that it happened the way it did. What if she came over here, and it was just the two of you?"
"She's conniving and devious. She only hit me because she was drunk, Sid—she would never do something like that otherwise. It won't happen again." I pushed against his chest, so he would sit on the bed, and then I captured his face in my hands as I towered over him. "I appreciate how worried you are, but this is my fight. I know when to pick my battles, and I've already let her affect my life more than I should have."
Sidney lightly brushed my swollen cheek, and I tried not to wince. "I can't believe she did this to you."
"Nelly, I had no idea...."
I kissed him to get his mind off it and also to let him know that I was still interested in picking up where we left off, but he was too upset to continue. He blamed himself for not seeing through Lynne sooner, for not being there to protect me, and for generally allowing something like this to happen to me.
"It's not your fault, Sid."
"It is. She doesn't like you because you're dating me. It doesn't have anything to do with who you are, it's because of your relationship to me. It's because of me."
"Don't let her do this to you," I advised. "She's a psycho bitch, so don't try to rationalize her behavior. Don't let her under your skin."
He promised not to, but it was too late—she got to him. He was treating me like a fragile China doll, ready to break at the slightest of touches; he didn't want to have sex anymore and instead we just held each other. When that happened, she accomplished exactly what she had set out to do from the beginning and came between us—but this was was not over, and she would not interfere with Sidney and me again.
For once, I woke up before Sidney. I was too excited about Halloween and the party to stay in bed and rest. Quickly and without disturbing the slumbering man beside me, I slipped out of bed, showered, dressed, and tried applying some make-up to my bruise, but it was still too sensitive. To keep my mind off it, I continued my decorating efforts, which involved setting up a strobe light and fog machine out on Sidney's porch. Then, I tacked up some yellow caution tape across the threshold, so anyone coming or going from Sid's house would have to duck under the tape to get through. Maybe I was getting a little too carried away, but Halloween only comes around once a year!
When Sid finally got up for the morning skate, he didn't look happy. I kissed him good morning and wished him a happy Halloween.
"You're up early," he groggily observed.
"I'm excited for tonight!" I practically squealed. "Aren't you?"
He shrugged. "I'm sorry, I'm still upset."
"Please Sid, I'm begging you, just forget it. The bruise will fade, and hopefully we'll never see Lynne again. Let's just enjoy the weekend together."
"Does anyone else know about this? Besides the girls that saw?"
"I asked them all to keep quiet, because I'd rather just pretend it never happened. Whether or not they told their boyfriends, I don't know."
"I'm going to have to tell Gogo," he said. "He's pretty pissed at her, but if they get back together, he needs to know that she's not allowed to come anywhere near you."
I rolled my eyes. "I don't think that Alex wants anything to do with her," I recalled, thinking back to our conversation in Diesel. "And you don't have to be so protective of me. I can handle myself. I think I proved that when I punched her," I joked.
He kissed my left cheek. "I'm your boyfriend, Nelly, worrying about you is in my job description."
"No," I corrected him. "You're not my mother, so don't worry about me. And you're not my bodyguard, so don't think you need to protect me. You're my boyfriend, so all you need to do is love me, and that's enough."
"I'll see you after the skate," he said somberly. Before he was totally out the door, he called back and tried to lighten the mood, "Please no iPod this time, okay? I don't want to be stabbed before the game."
I went back into decorating mode until I had to head into the kitchen to cook. As I worked, I reflected on Sid's attitude. I didn't expect him to be happy about what happened, but I didn't think he'd get as upset as he did. Really, I just wanted to forget about it. Lynne and I spoke our peace and exchanged blows; nothing was settled, but at least her true intention was aired and I felt slightly vindicated at that.
Sid was late returning home after the morning skate, and I was worried his food would get cold. When he finally showed up, I asked what took him so long.
"I was making sure security doesn't let Lynne into the Mellon tonight, or ever for that matter. I talked to Gogo, and although he knew about your fight, he was just as surprised as I was that this happened."
I groaned. "Did you have to tell him?"
"I told everyone," he confessed.
"No, Sid, why did you do that?" I hated that my business was spreading like wildfire.
"I want everyone on alert, so if she ever tries anything like that again, the guys will have your back. Oh, and you're sitting up in the box with Mario tonight, because I don't want everyone to see you like this. I shouldn't have to say this, but you're not to go anywhere by yourself tonight, just in case."
"Don't you think you're overreacting?" I asked him, annoyed with him. This was too much.
That elicited a tiny chuckle from him. "Well, doesn't this turn the tables? Usually I'm the naïve one. Honestly, no, I'm not overreacting. I didn't take you seriously when you said she hated you. I'm not taking any risks now."
"I told you, she's not physically vicious. She'll try something else, like spreading rumors. This isn't how she works."
Sid kissed my left cheek. "I told you, I'm not chancing it."
I bit my lip, wanting to argue but deciding against it. These precautions were unnecessary and extreme, but I had chastised Sidney when he didn't heed my warnings. I couldn't have it both ways.
While Sid napped, I finished decorating and then began coordinating everything for tonight. I'm not going to lie; it was going to be tricky to get everything to work perfectly. I had to take my costume to change into after the game, attend the team's party for a little while, cut out early to set up everything at Sid's, and then work in my surprise at the house party. It was going to be tough—but if I could pull it off, it would be great.
The mood was quiet in the box with the Lemieuxs during the game. Sid must not have told them what happened, because as soon as Nathalie saw me, her mouth dropped. "Noelle, my dear! What happened to you!"
Mario tried to dissuade her from pestering me, so Sid must have at least told him. "It's okay, it was just small altercation. No one explained to me the occupational hazard of dating Sidney Crosby," I joked.
I should have considered it an honor to sit with Mario Lemieux and watch the game, but it felt like punishment, like I was banished to the sin bin for all three periods.
The Pens clobbered the Wild, and The Girlfriends and I rushed into the bathroom to change into our costumes. Halloween always makes adults feel like kids again, and we couldn't wait to dress up and show off. I put on electric blue leggings, a long black tank top with holes cut into the sides, a studded black belt, lots of gaudy bracelets and necklaces, black eyeliner, and red lipstick. I teased out my hair, too, and I thought I looked pretty good.
"Oh my God," Kelsey gushed, "it's like you stepped right out of the video!"
"Thanks," I replied. "And you look great too, Ms. Monroe!"
Véro looked adorable in her overalls, and the three of us were quite a sight as we walked down the hallway to the lounge to wait for our boys. As cute as we were, we were nothing compared to them. When Sid told me they took their costumes seriously, I never imagined he meant this seriously. Sid, Evgeni, Jordan, and Marc-André were dressed as characters from the movie Role Models—as members of KISS complete with skin-tight black leather pants, open shirts, and face paint, as well as wearing capes and holding swords, from the nation Kiss My Anthia. When I saw them, I laughed so hard my eyeliner and mascara began to run.
Sidney and I stayed for only half an hour before running home to set up for the party. The place had been decorated, but we needed to turn everything on and set up the table for food as well as order pizzas.
On the drive over, he asked me what I was supposed to be. "I mean, I get you're from the 80s, but is that it? I expected more out of you." I laughed and told him he'd understand more later in the night. "I thought you were going to dress up sexy for me," he pouted.
"Hey, in the 80s, this was pretty sexy. You're just too young to remember," I teased.
We hurried to get everything prepared before people started showing up. He once again asked me to call for the pizzas, but this time I didn't second-guess him when he asked me to order twelve larges.
Once our guests arrived, I ran up to the second floor and grabbed a hair brush as a prop. I had enlisted Kelsey's help—after all, this was her brainchild—and asked her to turn up the lights in the living room and change the song from the contemporary music. With a deep breath, I started back down the stairs as the first few notes of that classic 80s tune played over the speakers.
I crossed my fingers that Sid would be a good sport about this.
I held the hair brush up to my mouth as if it were a microphone and began to sing along with the music. "I made it through the wilderness. Somehow I made it through. Didn't know how lost I was. Until I found you."
It took everyone a few moments to catch onto what was happening and what I was doing. I watched Sid's face as he finally understood what my costume was: I was Madonna, and I was going to serenade him with "Like a Virgin."
Sidney turned bright red and looked mortified. His teammates were enjoying this a lot more than he was. I was having trouble keeping a straight face as I stood before him and ran my free hand from his cheek, over his shoulder, and down his arm. And Max was laughing so hard that I thought he would pee his pants, keel over, or both.
When the song was over, the girls applauded and the guys all hooted and hollered. Sid hid his face in his hands. I hugged him even though he tried to resist. "I love you, Siddy-pie."
"Do you know how long these guys' memories are? I'm never going to live this down. I bet they play this song in the dressing room for me."
I couldn't help but chuckle. "And you can think of me every time you hear it."
He groaned. "You know, right now, that doesn't seem like much of a consolation. Why couldn't you just have worn that she-devil costume I picked out for you?"
"If you want someone to blame," I laughed, "blame Kelsey. This was her idea."
Sidney playfully chased a squealing Kels around the room. Once I was alone, Alex approached me. "Nice costume," he said to break the ice. I could see how tentative he was being.
"Thanks, you make a great Tri-Lamb," I told him. He really looked like Robert Carradine's character from Revenge of the Nerds.
"Thanks. Listen, Noelle—"
"You're so sorry," I cut him off. "It's okay, Alex, really." He looked relieved. "I think we were all shocked by her actions over the past few weeks. I'm trying to forget about it, so let's not bring it up again, okay?"
"You broke her nose," he whispered.
"What?" My face whitened.
"Yeah. She called me to take her to the hospital."
"Did you take her?" I asked. Our tones were hushed, and I could tell that he hadn't told anyone about this.
"Yeah, I did. And I waited until she sobered up so she would remember what I was going to tell her: that it was over, so she should stop calling me. And that her actions were deplorable, and that if she ever tried to pull a stunt like that again, the repercussions would be much worse. She looked remorseful, Noelle, so I don't think you'll ever have to see her again."
I hugged Alex. "Thank you. You didn't have to do any of that, but I appreciate it. Can we just forget that she ever existed?"
He nodded with a slight laugh. "Please, let's."
Lynne became the little secret between Alex and me. Everyone else was scared to mention her around us, for fear of how we would react, so as long as we didn't see her, we really could forget all about her.
Max was the only other person who remotely addressed what had happened. All he did was look at me knowingly and ask, "Are you okay?"
"Yes, Max," I answered him, that that was the end of that discussion. "Where's Charlotte? Did you bring her?"
"No, she had other plans tonight."
"She seems like a nice girl, but you're really going to have to up your charm if you're going to win her. I think you terrify her."
He laughed and shrugged. "Do I know how to pick 'em or what?"
The party went late into the night. The team had an off day on Sunday, so they used it to their advantage and stayed up late to have fun. A few of the guys even spent the night crashing with us. Marc and Véro took one of the spare bedrooms, Evgeni took the other, and Max crashed in the living room while Jordan and Heather slept in the den.
When Sid and I finally turned in for the night, we were exhausted. I stood in the bathroom and washed the make-up off my face and then removed my tacky jewelry. Sidney stepped behind me and wrapped his arms around me. "Do you think the party was a hit?" I asked. "Was it what you wanted it to be?"
He laughed. "It was. Except for my own personal concert. I could have done without that."
I turned serious. "It was supposed to be done in good fun, Sidney, I hope you aren't too upset with me. I knew it would embarrass you, but—"
"No, it's okay. Just please, next Halloween, don't give the guys any ammo to use against me? They love you for that."
I giggled and thought about the meaning of the song. "You know, you should take it as a compliment, Crosby."
"Yup. Let me show you," I said, untying the cape around his throat and reaching for the hem of his shirt to pull it over his head.
"Are you sure you want to do this? With all these people still in the house?"
Usually, I would never allow this kind of behavior to go on with other people around, but it had been so long since we'd had sex that nothing was going to stop me now. I smirked at him and began to sing again. "Gonna give you all my love, boy. My fear is fading fast. Been saving it all for you. Cause only love can last!"
He laughed at me and helped me take off my belt and tank top. "You know, you're about a good of a singer as I am. I'm taking this as a challenge."
I tackled him to the bed. "I know how competitive you are. I'm sure you'll prove me right."
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago