I spent Friday night at Véro and Marc's in their spare bedroom, and V drove me to the airport at ten in the morning. She wished me good luck, and I knew I really needed it today—for more reasons than one. I made it through security and waited at my gate for an hour before finally boarding the plane and heading west. I liked flying; it wasn't something I did often, but it was as enjoyable as it was terrifying. The only thing I didn't like was the stale air and the confinement. Well, usually I felt cramped—not so in first class. When I landed, I hadn't lost any time.
Pat Brisson had thought of everything. He planned my itinerary, and it was printed and stuffed into my carry on. A driver picked me up at the airport. A man was standing there at baggage claim, with my name written on a sign! That's something I never thought I'd see. I walked over to introduce myself, but he already knew who I was.
"Right this way, Ms. Lambert," he said, taking my small suitcase from me and leading me out to a black car with dark tinted windows.
This must be what it feels like to be a celebrity! I thought to myself, but I immediately lambasted myself for that. Here I was, feeling like I was having the time of my life, but it was all happening under the worst of circumstances. I felt torn between wanting to wallow in my own misery and trying to make the most of the situation.
As I was chauffeured to my hotel, I rolled down the window and felt the warm California air against my face. The shining sun brightened my day and my mood. Sid wasn't the only one who had been in a funk all week; I was just too preoccupied with everything that was going on to notice. Now, being in the nice weather, getting to attend the hockey game tonight, and seeing my boyfriend was showing me that I needed an attitude adjustment. I couldn't wait to check in and get to my room so I could freshen up, wash the grime off me, and really return to my old self.
The driver dropped me off in front of the Hilton. Of course. I should have known. Honestly, my life has become a bad sitcom! Of course I'd be staying at the same hotel as the team. Of course the media would be camping out in front, waiting for Sid and the team to leave for the game. And of course I would have decided to dress comfortably for the flight in Max's 2009 Stanley Cup run shirt and my Pens cap. There was no way I'd be able to walk by and not be recognized.
I pulled the hat over my face as much as possible and walked as quickly as I could, hoping not to be noticed. Luckily, the cameras were pointed at the door as they waited for the players to exit. Mark Eaton and Craig Adams were leaving as I was about to enter, and they were surprised to see me and tried to be polite by saying hello. That just attracted the attention of the reporters, and I scrambled inside to escape. Thank goodness for security.
Max was in the lounge. He noticed the commotion and then saw me. "Noelle, hey. Nice shirt."
I couldn't help but smile. "Thanks, Max. Good luck tonight. Is Sid around?"
"Nah, the Kid left two hours ago through the back door. The press is really hounding him. And you too, apparently. Honestly, we can just step outside and tell everyone the truth and they will lay off."
I snorted. It's almost funny how cynical I was becoming. "No. As much as I would like to be left alone, I'm playing this game by Pat's rules." Max nodded. He and Sid had the same agent, so he knew what I was talking about. "I wish this whole thing would just go away."
Max brought this hand up to grab my shoulder, but I shook my head. He ran his hand through this hair and pretended that he never meant to comfort me. People were peering through the glass windows of the hotel to catch a glimpse of me and any new bruises. "Sorry, I forgot that I probably shouldn't touch you. You're getting pretty good at this watching-yourself-in-public thing. Not as good as Sid, but you're getting there." He winked at me and headed for the door.
"Hey Max?" I called after him.
"Tell Sid to play well for me, please?"
He nodded and was gone. Some of the other players filed by, and I waved at them, wished them luck, and made my way over to the desk. I glanced at my itinerary and laughed. My reservation was booked under the name Nelly Roddick. That must have been Sid's idea for my alias. My nickname, and then our little inside joke as my last name. My insides liquefied as I thought that the last name of my nickname for him was the last name he chose for me. As in, if his name really were Andy Roddick, that would mean we were married. I don't quite know how I feel about that slick move by him, but I realize I don't mind it too much. But it was way too early to think about that, so I treated my head like an Etch a Sketch and shook it, erasing that thought.
I got my room key and rode the elevator to the fourth floor, enter my room, and do the first thing I do in every hotel room I've ever stayed in—jump and flop face-down on the giant-sized bed. I don't know why I get so excited about the beds in hotels, since I can never sleep well in them, but I do anyway. After a few blissful moments of relaxing, I pushed off and pulled my toiletry bag from my suitcase and headed into the bathroom for a long, hot shower.
Once the sweat and grime was rinsed off my skin, I wrapped my hair in a towel and pulled on my game clothes: khaki capris, my blue Crosby jersey, and a pair of white flip flops. Why couldn't the November weather in Pittsburgh be like this? I dried my hair and scrunched it, and then applied some make-up. My skin was still slightly yellowed on my right cheek, but it was much improved from the last time I was at a game and that infamous picture was snapped. Make-up covered it up just fine. In another day or so, there would be no more evidence of the Lynne incident, also known as the slap-heard-round-the-hockey-world.
My driver was back to pick me up before the game. So far, everything that was happening was a whirlwind of action, and I was just riding on the breeze, going wherever it took me. I was dropped off at the HP Pavilion and escorted by a security guard into the arena past the line of fans waiting to get in while I heard whispers. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but I had an idea. They were talking about me, and not just because I was line-jumping.
My seat was behind the glass, just like the first game I ever attended. Except this time, I was alone, even though I could feel everyone's eyes on me. Pat told me it would be like this. Smile. Enjoy the game, be a fan, and cheer my head off for my boyfriend. I knew the plan.
I was able to immediately pick out Crosby as he skated around the ice during warm-ups. It was something about the way he skated and moved; I didn't need to see the number scrawled across his back to know it was him. He paused by the net and tried to flip in some pucks, even though Fleury was concentrating on blocking some shots made by other players. Crosby looked up and caught my eyes, and he wasn't a player on the ice anymore—he was my boyfriend Sidney, who just happened to be in uniform. I smiled genuinely and waved, and then spontaneously blew him a kiss. Mushy, yes, but I thought Pat would appreciate it.
Surrounded by Shark fans, I cheered as loudly as I could without going overboard and getting popcorn thrown at me. During the first intermission, I got a text from Pat letting me know that I was doing well. I'm sure after this weekend, he would let me know what exactly the game commentators were saying about Crosby's girlfriend coming all the way from Pittsburgh to see him play.
Sid ended up with a Gordie Howe hat trick. He got the assist on Malkin's PP goal in the first period, scored the goal in the second period when the Pens were shooting on my end of the ice, and then got a five-minute penalty later in the second. The two of them pretty much just dish-ragged each other, so I wasn't too worried about him getting hurt—even though you never know what could happen in a fight.
A security specialist met me after the game to escort me back to the visitors' dressing room. I waited patiently as I watched Sid give his interviews. The reporters tactfully laid off the personal questions. I stuck my nose in my book while the players showered and dressed, until Sid walked over and offered me his hand.
I smiled at him and took his hand, he pulled me out of my seat. "Great game tonight."
"I especially enjoyed the fight," I teased him. "What is it, your fourth fight ever in the NHL?"
He chuckled and said in a low voice, after checking to make sure no one else was around, "I think I should take a couple tips from you, Slugger."
I laughed. Sid finagled his way into my awaiting car, instead of taking the bus back with the rest of the guys, and we went back to the hotel. Security was waiting at the back entrance to let us in, and then we immediately took the elevator to my fourth floor room. We didn't really talk about the things that were on our minds; we talked about the game, my favorite plays, and what Sid thought they had done well, just enjoying being around each other like the old times. Sid was generally in a good mood, since the Pens won their game, but there was still a dark cloud over his head. Inside, I was nervous, but I listened to Kelsey and tried my best to bury it. I had a job to do; I had to cheer him up.
We sat on my bed in silence for a while, unsure of what to do until Sid finally spoke. "So, are you hungry or anything? Do you wanna order room service?"
"Sure, I guess so. How about we make the most of our night together and get something romantic?"
"What do you have in mind?" he asked, handing me the phone.
"How about strawberries and champagne?" He raised an eyebrow at me, and I giggled. "I've never had them together, but I saw it in Pretty Woman."
"Whatever you want," he said. "You've got to order it, though. I'm not supposed to be in your room."
"Does your roommate know you're here? Are you going to get in trouble?"
"Flower won't care. He'll like having the room to himself, actually."
I ordered room service, and they told me they'd bring it up in about five minutes. It was go time; I set the plan in motion. I put the "do not disturb" sign on the doorknob, so whoever would bring up the room service would leave it outside our door without bothering us. Then I excused myself and ducked into the bathroom and began changing into my babydoll. Once in my sexy outfit, I wrapped myself in a terrycloth robe and retrieved the cart from the empty hallway. Sid was busy flipping through the channels, like he always does so well, and he didn't even notice when I pushed the cart next to the bed and shed my robe.
Despite feeling so foolish, I stood there and waited patiently for him to finally look in my direction. I hoped when he finally glanced at me that he wouldn't laugh. This was very out of character for me, and I hoped he would appreciate how I was putting myself out on a limb for him. I tried to send psychic commands to him to get him to look at me.
He continued to press the "channel up" button on the remote, oblivious to me. "What are you waiting for?" he asked, never diverting his eyes from the screen. "Nelly?" He looked over for a second, looked back at the T.V., and then did a double-take with his mouth agape. "Woah, Nelly."
I laughed at his reaction, but I fell into my role as seductress as I watched his eyes move up and down my body. I wasn't sexy, but Sidney made me feel that way, just by the way he looked at me. I licked my lips. "Do you like it?" He nodded. "Good."
"Where did you get that? And why haven't I seen it before?"
I couldn't help myself, and I laughed. Don't laugh! Be sexy! "Oh, this old thing? It's just something I had lying around." Ugh, did I really just say that?
Okay, don't chicken out now! I picked up the bottle of champagne out of the ice bucket and began to open it. Good thing I had a little bit of experience uncorking these types of bottles. Despite what people may think from watching the Stanley Cup celebrations, the corks aren't supposed to fly all over the room. I poured one flute of champagne and sat beside him on the bed.
"So, you're supposed to eat them together, because the flavors compliment each other." I bit into a strawberry and then sipped the champagne, all while under Sid's intense, watchful gaze with a mischievous smiled tugging on his lips. "It's pretty good. Do you wanna try?"
Again he silently nodded, playing along with my game. I held the strawberry out for him to taste, his eyes on me the entire time as he slowly took a bite. I felt so in power, so in control. Then I sipped from the flute and leaned toward him slowly. As we kissed, I passed a little of the champagne from my mouth to his.
Disgusting, I thought, but he seemed to like it. Really like it.
I set the flute down and began to loosen his tie. "You've got too many clothes on," I explained. His hands reached up and his suit jacket was off in seconds, but I stopped him from removing his shirt and shook my head. "No. My pace. Let me do it."
I finished with his tie and then made him stand up. I untucked his shirt and then began working on the buttons. It was awkward because my fingers shook and I couldn't make the buttons fit through the holes. His hands were clenching into fists at his sides; my less-than-swift progress was painful, and I knew he wanted to assist me. Eventually, his dress shirt was off. Slow was not our style.
Upping the ante, I teased him with a trail of kisses along his jawline. Sid tried to position his head so our lips would meet, but I pulled back and shook my head again.
Next, I grabbed the hem of his undershirt and yanked it over his head. My hands traced from the lines of definition in his abs, up across his chest, onto his shoulders, and back down his arms. I could feel the heat emanating from his body. Before me was my own personal Greek god, and he was shivering at my feathery-light touch.
Then I grabbed his belt buckle and unbuttoned his pants, letting them fall to the floor. Going slow wasn't going to cut it for me anymore. I was turned on just from the way he was looking at me and the way he was responding to me. Knowing that he wanted me was enough to rev my engine. Now, he was only in his red boxer briefs and his black dress socks.
"Lie down," I told him. He did as I said, never looking away and still wearing that same playful smile. I walked back to the room service cart and took another drink of champagne. If I had to take this slow, I needed to put some distance between us. I tried to calm myself, but I was too busy admiring the way his body was stretched across the bed and imagining all the things I wanted to do to said body.
"Aren't you joining me?" he asked, pleading me with his voice.
"In a little while," I teased, not knowing how much longer I could hold out.
"Oh my God, Nelly! You're killing me here. Get on this bed, now!"
I raised an eyebrow, still playing coy. "So impatient, Crosby. I thought you had the willpower of a saint."
"When it comes to cheesecake in the off-season. Not when it comes to you."
I smiled and laughed breathily. "This is going to be a long night for you, then." From the edge of the bed, I crawled across to him. "Okay, one kiss. No hands, though."
I'll give credit when credit's due: Sidney really tried to restrain himself and contain his desire, but it wasn't long before I felt his left hand tug on the strap of my babydoll and his right on the small of my back, pulling me closer toward him.
Trying to stay in control, I grabbed his wrists and held them at his sides. "I told you, no touching."
How quickly the tables turn; I found myself on my back with my own wrists pinned above my head faster than I could blink. Sid peered down at me with a devilish grin as one of his thick, strong thighs rested against the vee between my legs. "How would you like to be tortured slowly?"
"Mmm, sign me up," I teased, wiggling against him.
"We'll see." With one hand keeping the grip on my wrists, his other hand moved down and around my body while he was kissing my lips, then softly biting my neck, then licking the length of my clavicle. I closed my eyes as desire took over my body and any attempt I made at holding back flew out the window. When I started to writhe too much beneath him, his free hand pushed my hip into the bed to stop me from moving. His mouth moved to nibble my ear as he whispered, "Not so easy, huh?"
With his deft hands, he helped me out of my lingerie but asked me to keep on the stockings and the heels. I obliged, and then hooked my fingers under the waistband of his boxer briefs and pulled them down. Sidney wouldn't let me regain control—once he pulled back the comforter, I was on my back again, and he was lowering himself between my legs.
I hooked my legs around his body, careful to not hurt him with my heels, and I sunk my nails into the flesh of his back. Anything to get closer to him, to keep him against me. We moved in unison; moaning, grunting, grasping, contorting, both giving and taking all the while. My body tensed as I neared climax, and I clung to him desperately as he sent me over the edge, gasping his name and moaning blasphemies.
After we exhausted ourselves, Sid rolled onto his side and pulled me to him. I nestled into him and relaxed, waiting for my breathing and heart rate to return to normal. He tangled his fingers in my hair and pulled my face to his for one last, deep kiss.
I laughed to myself so as not to disturb Sidney. I had tried my hardest to be a sexy dominatrix, but I failed miserably. However, I don't think Sid minded at all. He liked being in control, and in these chaotic times of uncertainty, how could I not let him take charge of one thing he was fully capable of? I didn't mind one bit, even though it meant that bottle of champagne and bowl of strawberries had gone to waste.
Sidney was fast asleep in minutes. I felt his breath against my forehead and his heartbeat through his chest. There was something about this degree of closeness between us, when he was trusting me to be with him during his most vulnerable time, in his sleep. Out of all the things I got to do with Sid today, as pleasurable as they all were, this was my favorite way to be with him.
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago