Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chapter Six

I finally re-found the picture that inspired this whole story.  Jon and Co having lunch outside.  Can you imagine walking past this on the street?  I'd freaking pee my pants.  Obviously I altered things a little and it was last chapter, but you get the idea.

 (via ilovesharpie)
____

All Callie could do was laugh. Standing in the bathroom of her comfortable-but-bland corporate apartment, she felt like she was getting ready for the prom all over again. Legs shaved and eyebrows tidied, she dried her hair as she examined her pedicure fresh from the nearest nail salon. A little eyeliner and mascara on curled lashes – not too much, but enough. Hell, she hadn’t seen him in 5 years.

In front of the full-length mirror in the bedroom, Callie wondered if she’d made the right decision. She had no idea where they were going, so she chose something manageable – a blue jewel-toned silk blouse that draped from short sleeves into a flattering, svelte shape. Dark skinny jeans were cuffed above a pair of killer black heels with a peep toe that flashed her bright pink nails. The shoes were dressy, the roll of the jeans casual; she thought it worked. Her long hair stayed was brushed to a shine and left hanging loose.
____

Pat knocked on the door at 7 sharp – the doormen had stopped announcing his arrival ages ago. He had an open beer in one hand and the other held five bottles left in a pack. “So that’s her,” he said, taking a stool at the kitchen island.

“That’s her.” People assumed that guys never talk about their feelings but they were wrong. Jon and Pat had been roommates since rookie year and they knew each other like twins. They’d been through a lot, including the past summer with the Cup. Jon had argued with himself over calling Callie, inviting her to the celebration at home. Pat had urged him to do it but in the end Jon chickened out. He thought it looked like he was showing off.

Honestly, there were times he could have visited her since they broke up. He could have made time, and he certainly made enough money. But the more time passed the more awkward it felt. So to call her in for his own parade and lake-naming seemed horribly self-serving and conceited. Kaner had called him a coward.

“She’s something, Jon,” Pat acknowledged. He didn’t want to say too much, in case Jon wasn’t ready to hear the obvious. Everyone at the table could tell from first blush that Jon was still very, very much in love with Callie.

“She’s the one that got away,” Jon admitted.

Pat cracked a beer and replaced his empty. “She’s here now.”
___

At 8 PM she was really there. The doorman didn’t even check his list, just sent her upstairs. Her heels clicked loudly on the marble lobby floor. In the elevator, she closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. She had to do it again outside Jon’s door.

“Hi!” he said, too loudly. He stepped in, then instantly stepped back totally unsure of himself. Callie looked like a dream – she floated into his apartment with wide eyes.

“Woah, Jon. This place is amazing!” She moved right to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city and the lake. Her shirt matched the evening sky, silhouetting her perfectly against the glass. Flat-footed and dry-mouthed, Jon stood watching. A lot of girls at 22 wished to look like they had in high school. Callie looked better. Her long legs were lean and strong inside her jeans, the delicate fabric of her shirt begged to be touched and it was impossible not to think about sex when looking at her shoes. She was healthy and happy and more beautiful than ever.

“Hey Callie,” Kaner came in from the kitchen to save the day. He handed Callie an open beer and dropped onto the couch. She showed herself around, commenting on how nice everything was. Jon felt a pinch on his arm and heard a bottle cap hit the hardwood floor.

“Dude,” Pat whispered sharply as Callie turned into the kitchen. “Roll up your tongue!”

Jon shook himself out of it and followed her. She was at the fridge, examining a photo stuck behind a magnet. It was Jon with his brother and parents and the Cup. Her fingers touched the very edge of the paper.

“I’m still not over this,” she said quietly. “You really did it.”

As she turned, Jon had to physically grip a stool to keep from throwing himself at her. Her eyes glistened with tears – proud tears, happy tears. His heart beat like a bass drum, trying to escape his rib cage.

“Yeah,” he croaked. “It still doesn’t feel real to me either.” He was only mostly talking about the Cup.
____

Callie sensed that something was off with Jon as she showed herself around the apartment. It was big and luxurious but not ostentatious. The last door was closed, she knew it was the master bedroom. Old Callie would have gone right in. New Callie wasn’t sure what she’d find; half a closet full of some other girls’ clothes, photos of Jon and another smiling face on vacation, or with the Cup. It was inevitable, but Callie chose to believe her fairy tale a little longer. Her fingers slipped from the doorknob, leaving it unturned.

He was on the couch, wearing jeans and a black button-down rolled up over his massive forearms. It made his tan seem darker, made him impossibly more fit looking than normal. Callie couldn’t get over his size – wider, thicker and more solid than he’d looked even on TV. There was a time when she could put her hand around his wrist, now she’d be hard-pressed to do it with both hands. She sat next to him, not too close. Thirty seconds later half the Blackhawks rolled in.
____

They walked a few blocks to a steakhouse. Callie knew she would like these guys and she was right. Duncan Keith put an arm around her shoulders and strolled with her, digging for juicy Jon stories and not-subtly trying to get some details about her life as well.

“So you just up and left LA? Nothing to keep you there?”

She put an arm around his waist – he was very comfortable. “Nope. I was ready for a change after 4 years, and the job made it worth my while. There’s only so much perpetual sunshine and warmth you can take before Canada stops looking like home.”

“Well you’ll get it here,” he laughed, gesturing into the unseasonably warm October night. “Take advantage of this because when it’s over, winter lasts forever.”

Jon hung toward the back of the group, not wanting to cling but eavesdropping on their conversation. If Callie gave up anything about herself he had to know.

They’d reserved the back room at the restaurant and soon were eating more food than Callie had ever seen put away. Some of the guys brought girlfriends, so Callie sat between Dave Bolland’s girlfriend Brooke and Jon. The women promised to help her get settled quickly and some even suggested more reasonably-priced places to live. A few knew of buildings with apartments open.

Jon searched his mind for a way to invite Callie to stay with him. It was too forward and probably inconvenient – she must have a whole apartment worth of stuff stashed somewhere, waiting. Her work was even paying for her place now. But he couldn’t help himself, a little fantasy rolling out that she’d start in the guest room and then end up in his room, forever.
____

Seabs had chosen the next destination carefully – a swanky downtown lounge with low couches and lower lighting. Rat Pack-era tunes played to a well-heeled crowd and the bartenders wore fedoras with vests and ties. It could have been cheesy, but there was too much money invested. Callie examined the overhead chalkboard menu. Jon was thankful for the crowd and noise, excuses to stand close. “I’ll have… what are you having?”

“A bourbon and Coke.”

She made a face, wrinkling her nose and shaking her head. Jon laughed. “I’ll have a cucumber gimlet. Sounds fancy.”

Jon got their drinks and followed her through the crowd to where the guys had batted their missing teeth at the hostess and magically unreserved a reserved table. He saw how heads turned toward Callie but had become oblivious to the heads that turned toward him. Kaner slid into the booth, making room for Callie and half of Jon. She bumped against Pat, earning Jon another six inches.

“Can you fit?” she asked. His wide shoulders and huge were nearly pinning her to Patrick, but she didn’t care.

Jon pressed into the space as far as he could. “Yeah, but I have to…” and he put his arm around Callie’s shoulders. Now he was in. Kane patted his arm to say good job, but Duncan was not so coy.

“Smooth, Tazer,” he said out loud. Callie just sipped her delicate martini glass.

It felt perfectly normal to sit with Callie pulled into his side, all warm and soft. Jon was grateful for his friends – they took a lot of the work away from him. Callie talked like she’d known them forever. Drinks kept coming and Jon fought to concentrate on the conversation and not just the silk of her shirt sliding erotically along the sensitive skin inside his wrist.

When Callie laughed, she rolled her head into Jon’s shoulder. It was impossible not to enjoy being held by someone so big, so solid and comforting. He would have been that if he were a stranger, but for Callie he also held 20 years of shared life. The more they drank the closer they got, until Callie had to warn herself to slow down. She didn’t know Jon now, didn’t know if this life had changed him. Every woman in the place was undressing him with their eyes and a few obviously hoped to make it a reality by night’s end. His arm felt reassuring, but it could be something else. It could be that Jon’s fame had taught him he could have whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Callie took smaller sips and declined a round, knowing that her defenses were already thin. She didn’t want to ruin anything the first day she had him back.

“Callie, do you like to dance?” Brent asked.

“The chance to see the Kaner Shuffle in person?!” She turned toward Pat, huge excited expression on her face. “Fucking right!”

Seabs was batting a thousand for the night, having chosen a fun, low-key club that was full of people dancing away the warm night. Callie smiled over her shoulder at Jon as she followed Pat right to the floor.

Jon watched her as he waited for drinks. Kaner was putting on his little show, but Jon trusted his friend. In fact it was great not to bear the full weight of Callie’s presence – he needed tiny breaks to collect himself. She bobbed around, letting Pat have the floor. Unable to resist the spectacle, a few of the other guys joined them: Seabs, Duncan, Skille. The people around them backed up, except for any women in the area who moved right in. By the time Jon had two beers in hand he had to fight his way through a tangle of bodies to reach them. At least three different sets of hands groped him on the way through.

There was nowhere to dance except very close. Callie took the drink and pulled him right in. Jon wondered if one of the guys was in the DJ booth, bribing him. Lady Gaga’s “Love Game” came on and the whole crowd moved in tighter.

Callie knew the sharks were circling. Each of the guys had been peeled off by at least one girl until she’d been almost dancing by herself. Jon felt it too – he latched right onto her. His free hand rested on her hip and she slid one leg between his knees. He loomed over her, wide enough to block out the world, and her arm went around the back of his neck.

They were close enough to kiss. If there weren’t drunk enough on alcohol then the desire was plenty put them over the edge. Callie kept her eyes down to avoid his – if she looked into those depths right now she’d fall forever. Jon couldn’t keep any distance. His hips met hers, rolling and swaying with the beat until there was no space between them. His hand slid across silk at her lower back, holding her close.

“It’s nice to have you back,” he said, lips pressed to her ear in almost a kiss.

“I missed you,” she said out loud.

The song ended and many more played. Each time Jon and Callie separated they breathed deeply, regaining their balance. But the right songs kept bringing them together and every time they were imperceptibly closer. By 1 AM Callie was holding a handful of hair off her neck and fanning herself.

“Think you can stop humping her leg long enough to eat?” Duncan asked, appearing at Jon’s side. Jon shot him a sharp look though it was way too loud for Callie to overhear.

“Cal, food?” She nodded enthusiastically.
____

Drunk people in a diner are always fun. Two confused, horny people who really want to ravish each other are way more fun. Kaner orchestrated the entrance so Callie would be all the way to the inside of the booth, Jon next to her. Then he pushed Seabs in and climbed in himself, smooshing everyone together like sardines.

Callie almost laughed – Kane was not subtle. But she wasn’t feeling subtle either. She lifted her knees and put them over Jon’s thigh, her feet hanging between his legs. It made a little more room for them and was just as good as copping a feel of those massive legs she’d been grinding against all night.

Oh God, Jon thought, willing his body not to get hot and bothered and give away his brain.

The guys ate a huge second dinner. Jon nibbled at his sandwich and tried to ignore Callie tongue-kissing the straw of a chocolate milkshake six inches away. If anyone else at the table was thinking what he was thinking, he’d kill them.

Callie saw Jon looking at her from the corner of his eye. He thought he was so stealthy. She drowned a giggle in her straw and went on giving it the time of its life. Even without the confusing, messy feelings and raging hormones, Callie was having a great time with Jon’s teammates. They knew each other in a way that normal people rarely experienced with friends. Callie couldn’t believe she had been reluctant to call Jon – she’d have been alone in her apartment right now, sleeping away a perfectly good night.

When they finished, Callie never saw who paid. She hadn’t seen who paid for anything. Instead she was concerned about untangling herself from Jon and missing the thick, warm feel of his leg beneath hers. Groups broke up and started hailing cabs outside. The guys hugged Callie goodbye and she traded numbers and promises to get together soon with the girls. Kane gave Jon a giant slap on the shoulder and left the two of them standing on the curb.

“I think my place is that way,” she pointed left. “And yours is that way,” she pointed right.

It was out before Jon could think and he didn’t want to take it back. “Come over. I’ve got a guest room,” he added quickly.

“You have two,” she corrected.

He looked down into her eyes and did his best sad puppy face. She’d never been able to resist it before. “Not fair! That face! You’re like a baby panda.” But she waved for only one cab.
____

Callie had the hiccups and Jon was laughing at her. They were in his living room – on opposite sides of the L-shaped couch – having a night cap. She’d been in the middle of a story about running into a celebrity in the supermarket in LA when her giggle caught in her throat.

“Stop – hic! Jon!”

He fetched a glass of water and they both waited while she sipped and held her breath. Finally, they were gone. With her first real sentence she asked, “Can I see your room?”

All the blood in Jon’s body went to his lap. He was definitely drunk. And there’s no other reason a girl would want to see your room, right? She followed him down the hallway.

“Woooo,” she said softly. The dark hardwood floor continued throughout the master suite. One wall was all windows, floor-to-ceiling with the lights of the city sparkling outside. The king size bed had a brown comforter and a chaise lounge chair sat across from it.

“This is a bachelor pad!” she pronounced it approvingly. “My place in LA was 3-bed, 3-bath, but I had to share it with two other people.”

Jon visually calculated the distance between where she stood and the wide, low mattress. One throw, he knew. He could have her on her back in a single movement.

Callie tried not to look at the bed. She could take a long week doing what she wanted to him on every inch of that huge expanse. Better not to think about it. But she was loopy and tired. At the window she looked straight down into the river. “Sure beats a view of my backyard at home.”

Jon joined her, resisting the urge to press her against the glass. It was an amazing view, the number one reason he’d chosen this place. He had to do something before he lost it completely. “I can’t believe you’re here,” he said.

Callie didn’t turn her head. “Five years. I have missed you for 22 percent of my 22 years.”

“You’re 23 now, Cal.”

She laughed, having forgotten that her birthday was just two weeks ago. “Wow, that sounds like forever.”

“Cougar,” he gave her a little hip check.

She pushed back. “Jailbait.”

Jon took a seat on the edge of the bed, hoping Callie would follow suit. She did – sitting about two feet away from him and flopping back onto the mattress. “Tell me every single thing that I’ve missed about you, Jon.”

He rolled onto his side, looking at her splayed out across the bed. His bed. Callie was really, finally, actually here. The last time he’d seen her had been in the last place he called home. He told her about last season, about the playoffs and the Cup and the parade. When he got to the part about his celebration in Winnipeg, he couldn’t help but ask. “Why didn’t you come?”

Callie turned to face him now. Her hair pooled on the mattress beneath her elbow. “I didn’t think you’d remember me.”

He covered the space between them in one slide. Without touching her – that would be too much – he got close and whispered, “I could never forget you.”

“I know. But after so long, on your biggest day ever, I felt like I didn’t have a place there. Like that was for your life now and I wasn’t part of it,” she paused. “I’m sorry I missed it, Jon. I wish I’d been brave enough to just show up, even if I didn’t talk to you. I would have loved to have seen you give that place what’s for.”

He wanted to cry. Worried he was about to lose that last scrap of composure, he cracked a joke. “Katie McKenna was there.”

Callie made a choking noise and fell onto her back. “That stupid skank! Tell me she was all over you, talking about eighth grade and trying to get in your pants.”

“Yup. She was.”

“Did it work?” Callie’s voice was a little quieter than she intended.

“Oh my God.” Jon pulled down a pillow and smacked her with it. She shrieked and curled into a defensive ball while he wailed away, pummeling her. Her laughs were muted by the thumping.

“I surrender! Surrender!” she called. Jon threw the pillow onto the floor and when she unfurled, she was right up against him. Without pausing, Jon leaned down to kiss her.
____

9 comments:

  1. OMG OMG why did you stop there, Jon and Callie better have sex in the chapter please :) they needs to be together :D
    Can't wait for more, I love every single one of your stories they are all amazing and written very very well!!!! :)
    Update Soon :D

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  2. I love it. So much. But what about the girl Kaner mentioned - the one Jon's been dating?? SHIT. BUT AAAAAHHH!! I just want them to get together!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. more please! soon!

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  4. Oh, you cruel, cruel woman to stop there!! Loving it though.

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  5. Adorable, amazing, fantastic. I loved it. But like the second commenter, I'm a little worried about that girl... Tara, I think her name was? Jon needs to make a quick phone call and be rid of her! ;)

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  6. I may be in the minority here, but i for one can't wait to see the introduction of Tara into this little melée! It wouldn't be as much fun if everything went smoothly ;) i do really want to see these two hook up in the next chapter though.

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  7. "a lot of girls at 22 wished to look as they had in high school"

    Um, no offense intended, but really? Most girls at 22 still look like they could be in high school (unless there's been way too much partying in the interim :D ). I have yet to meet someone who looked better in high school then they do at 22. And in my personal opinion, it's more than just a little creepy when someone wants to look 17 when they're adults, or when a grown-ass man wants to date someone who looks like a teenager. I'm 21 and it makes me sick to think that women have this idea that they need to look like a child to attract men. Girls focus too much on being 'young', as if you're suddenly 'old' at 22. There's nothing unattractive about being a woman. Sorry about my little rant, and not to
    imply that you meant that, but just had to get it off my chest! Phew!

    Now that that is out of the way, I LOVE your story and can't wait to read more. You're a very gifted writer. I'm also considering moving up to Canada based on the amount of fine male specimens coming out of that country.

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  8. Ok sooooo please say she kisses back. This sytory is so cute and adorable. so innocent. Please more soon!!!!!

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  9. For Anonymous #6, I totally get what you're saying. But I know a lot of girls who had a tough time in college and the few years right after - for a lot of people it's a whole new awkward stage. Some put on weight in college, some stop being active because the structure in their lives is gone and they're living on their own for the first time. I know I got lazy - from 3 sports a year to frat parties and all-nighters. Not my best look or feeling. By 24 or so I realized that I actually had to work. It's wasn't necessarily to be "young" but more to look and feel good. In high school, that came naturally. In the years that followed it was more of a challenge (and it doesn't get easier as they years go on). I knew (and still know) people who browsed their high school yearbooks and wished they could fit into their college freshman jeans. So not to say that Callie needed to feel young - 22 is the top of the world! Everyone should be thrilled! But in my experience there are plenty of people who are surprised at what they have to do to maintain that feeling, or at least come to terms with the fact that time (and life, and being an adult) changes you in ways you may not expect. There's definitely nothing unattractive about being a woman, whatever you look like. But it is unattractive to be unhappy, and that's what I meant. I knew unhappy girls who had to learn how to get happy again at 22, regardless of what "happy" looked or felt like to them.

    Beautiful people are not necessarily happy, but happy people are always beautiful. And believe me, a few years from now, when women are supposed to feel "old" and be throwing money at trying to stay young, I think most of my friends are more beautiful than ever. I look at my 22 year old photos and laugh - if only I looked then like I look now. I hope that's true of everyone, at every age. ;)

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