I reallyreallyreally want to preface this post, but I want to say too much. So I'm just going to let you know it's long, my longest post ever. Be warned. :) If you read NWW, then you know I like to make the post with the player's number a little special. Yadda yadda, thanks so much, hope ya like it, let's go Pens, yadda yadda!
Soundtrack Song - Christina Aguilera, What A Girl Wants
I stretch as I lie on the couch in front of the television. I check my watch for the hundredth time. It's six in the evening, and I've done nothing all day. I take that back; I worked out in the morning. But I've done absolutely nothing since then. Why? Because I'm waiting for Charlotte to come over. I was stupid and told her to come over any time, so I've just been waiting here, doing nothing, expecting her at any moment. Pathetic, I know.
Yesterday was the Kid's Halloween party. I was both disappointed, in that Charlotte already had plans and couldn't come with me, and relieved, in that Charlotte already had plans so I wouldn't have to bring her. Of course I wanted to spend the time with her, but not at Sid's and not with the guys. They give me enough grief about her as it is.
I had been so worried that Charlotte wouldn't have wanted anything to do with me after that night back in mid-September. I was sure that she would have seen the hunger in my eyes and come to the conclusion that we just couldn't be friends. That I would always want more. But luckily for me, that didn't happen. I think about it every day, that I should just come clean and confess that being just friends is killing me, but I chicken out every time. So instead, we act like we had gotten flashed with those memory-eraser thingies from Men in Black.
That's not who I am. I live every moment to its fullest. I work for what I want, but most of all, I get it. I don't say that to sound conceited, because I'm not full of myself; I say that to show the discipline I have when it comes to this girl. Things are so different with Charlotte. I can't use my approach toward life as a way to approach her, too. With her, I have to be slow and steady. So that's what I do: I spend time with her one-on-one, getting to know her better and letting her get to know me. Not just Mad Max or Superstar or The Gamer or Talbo or one of those facets of my personality.
When it's just her and me, things are great. She's the fun girl I like and not the shy mouse that hides from me. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a position where we're too close and that spark within me wants to light again, but Charlotte's usually pretty good about recognizing those moments and leaving for a few moments so I can collect myself. She generally keeps her distance from me, as if wisely knowing that her close proximity is what ignites this fire in me.
So I figure, from the way that she acts, that she knows I still like her. And I also assume that she still doesn't feel the same. But as long as she doesn't, I'm here for her in any capacity she needs me. Except I still don't know what that is, so we just hang out and do whatever. I want her to have whatever she may want or need, and I want to be the one to provide that for her.
I never invited her out with the guys again, nor have I invited the guys when I planned to hang out with Charlotte. First off, I didn't need the locker room torture of how the guys wanted to talk about her: how I liked her, how I left with her that night, and how I told Tanger that she was off limits. Things were just too complicated; I wasn't sure what was going on myself to be able to talk to them about it. Not that they'd honestly listen anyway.
They don't understand. I can't blame them, because it's partially my fault. They see me as the fun-loving, hedonistic guy that skates by on the bare minimum. That's how most people see me, but I am more than that, believe it or not. I'm diligent and neither afraid of hard work nor expending the extra effort to achieve a goal. I play the roles that I need to in order to get the job done. I just also happen to be affable and blithe. I'm both of those things. They don't have to be exclusive.
Flower understands. We grew up so close to each other at home in Québec and he's easily my closest friend on the team. He's the only one who I talk about her to. V a little too, but mostly I just talk to Flower. He knows me well enough to know that I'm not just a player looking to score some ass, but that I just never really found anyone worth taking it to the next level with. Regardless, I think that Flower thinks that Charlotte is just a temporary fixation to occupy my time with until I can play with the team again. Like she and I are involved in a game all our own.
This whole let's-be-friends business is a lot harder than I expected it to be. It kind of is like a game, like Twister. We get tangled up together and try to keep our balance and not overstep our boundaries. I'm trying not to fall or slip, or else I'll lose.
Instead, I keep trying to think about the long term. It doesn't help ease my current frustration, but being friends with Charlotte just has to be enough for now. I have to think that the hard work is going to pay off soon; it has to. I haven't been with anyone since before I met Charlotte. Waiting for her to come around and warm up to me is hard.
I take out my girl problems and frustrations on getting ready for rejoining the team. I'm tenacious and determined, and I'm weeks ahead of where I should be in rehab. The doctors are impressed, and I'm relieved. I need to be out on the ice more than ever now. Charlotte was a distraction from being injured and being out of the line-up, but now I need the distraction from Charlotte. Last time I craved a diversion, I tried to get my mind off her by taking home another girl, but I'm not going to do that again. I've learned from that mistake.
Things with Letang have evened out. I'm still pissed at him, but I haven't acted on my anger. He laughed it off and dismissed it without really giving a reason for his behavior, and I let it slide. I didn't want to, but the Kid and Flower told me to let it smooth itself over. For the sake of the team. But what about my sake? That night could have panned out so differently if he would have just kept his damned mouth shut. But I let it go. As much as I can, at least.
And that is how I find myself here on this Sunday evening, quarter after six now, still waiting for Charlotte's eventual arrival. I sent her a text message a few hours ago but haven't heard a reply from her yet. Not that that's a big deal from her, because this happens all the time; sometimes she just forgets to charge her phone. When we make plans, though, she always follows through.
A few minutes later, I hear a knock on the door. "It's open!" I holler, and she walks into the living room shortly after with a shopping bag in each hand. "What did you bring? Presents?"
"You could say that," she mumbles, walking straight through the living room and continuing into the kitchen, then setting the bags down on the counter by the sink.
I follow behind her and open one bag to find two bottles of Boones Farm. "Oh, vintage," I tease as I pull a bottle of Strawberry Hill and a bottle of Blue Hawaiian out of the bag. Fake blue wine. Dégueulasse. "You've got impeccable taste."
She shrugs. "I didn't feel like spending a fortune to get drunk."
"I've got something better than this," I tell her. I've got all kinds of wine and no one to drink it with.
"Don't waste your expensive shit on me."
"If it's expensive, it's good. It's not shit."
"You know what I mean," she laughs, shaking her head. "I'm here to drink and get shit-faced. You need to sip and savor the good stuff. That's not what I'm doing tonight."
"Why do you want to get drunk? What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she lies, opening her own bag and pulling out a package of four-cheese Doritos, which I know are her favorite. Comfort food. Something's definitely up, but she's trying not to let me see.
I try to lighten the mood, thinking that if she's relaxed, she may open up to me. "So you need to get drunk to hang out with me?"
"No. But it helps," Charlotte replies, grinning at me. I shake my head and chuckle, and then pull glasses out of the cupboard. She stops me. "Glasses are unnecessary. We can drink straight from the bottle."
I raise my eyebrows at her. "And taste your Dorito-flavored backwash? I think not." I open the bottle of the strawberry stuff, refusing to touch any of the blue alcohol. I pour her a glass, holding it in one hand and the bottle with the other. I proffer the glass, but she takes the bottle instead and then takes a big swig from it.
"That bad of a day, huh?"
Again, she shrugs. I hate when she does that. "Not moreso than the day before," she dismisses. "What do you say we pop in a movie and kick back in the other room?"
We walk back into the living room. After picking out whatever comedy I know is guaranteed to make her laugh, I sit on the couch. She sits on the floor and leans her back against the seat of the couch to my left.
I don't touch the glass of shitty liquor in my hand; instead, I watch as Charlotte guzzles from the bottle and munches on chips. Half an hour into the movie, her phone vibrates. She pulls it out of her pocket, presses a button, and shoves it back into her pocket. Fifteen minutes later, she pulls her phone out again, presses the same button, and then turns around. She lifts the couch cushion, throws the phone underneath it, and then pushes the cushion back down.
"Okay, are you going to tell me what's going on now?" I ask. Obviously, something's on her mind. I find that people don't make such huge displays of anger or frustration if they don't want to talk about it.
That answer isn't good enough for me. I scoot off the couch and sit on the floor next to her. She glances over at me, and I hold her gaze in mine. She stares into my eyes for a moment, and I feel my stomach shrink. I don't know what's going on with her, but it hurts to see her upset about something. I care about her too much to want to see her like this. She's supposed to be happy. I lean in a little closer to her, trying to coax it from her. "C'est correct. Tu peux me faire confiance. S'il te plait, dis-moi ce qui se passe."
Charlotte just continues to stare at me for a moment, as if deciding if she can in fact trust me like I'm asking her to. But instead of telling me what's going through her head, she presses her lips against mine and just holds them there. And I freeze. I want to grab a hold of her and kiss her back, but my brain is pummeled by a thousand questions. I pull back just enough to separate our lips. "What are you doing?" It's not the most eloquent thing to say, but it's exactly what I'm thinking.
"I'm sorry," she says, a tear falling down her cheek. I reach out to wipe it away. "That was a mistake. I shouldn't have done that."
"Don't say that. Don't be sorry. I just don't know where this is coming from. I thought you wanted to be friends."
"I.... I don't know what I want. I'm very confused right now." She hides her face in her hands.
I grab her wrists and pull her hands away so I can see her. "Confused about what?" I ask. Is she confused about how she feels about me? Is this the big moment when she confesses that she's ready to be more than friends? I need to know. I don't care that she's upset; I need to know what she's thinking and what she's feeling right now. This could be the culmination of all my hard work.
Charlotte doesn't tell me anything. She kisses me again instead. This time, I can't hold myself back. Hell, I've wanted to do this for so long that I physically cannot stop myself from reacting. I let go of her wrists and cup her face in my hands. She gasps in surprise as I kiss back this time. Her mouth opens just a little, but yet just enough, for me to take advantage of it and push my tongue into her mouth, miming exactly all the other things I want to do to her, too.
When she reciprocates and moves closer to me, pressing her full body against mine, I force myself to stop. She's making it clear what she wants. This is exactly what I want, too, but I need to stop. Because I need to think, and I can't do that when her lips are attached to mine. "Je ne sais pas si on devrait faire ça. Oh mon Dieu, j'ai tellement envie que ça se produise, mais pas comme ça. C'est trop tôt. Est-ce trop tôt?"
"Yes or no?" Charlotte doesn't understand my sorry internal debate. She's asking me a very simple question, grammatically, but it's so much more involved than that. Yes, I want to kiss her and have her kiss me, too. Yes! But why—and how—has she suddenly changed her mind? It's not knowing the reason or reasons behind this change in her that makes me hesitate. Have I finally won her heart? Why else would she be doing this if that wasn't the case?
"Nope." I'm not going to tell him what's bothering me. I don't talk about stuff like this, like emotions or how I feel. Well, I do with Gina, but that has more to do with the type of person that she is than my tendency to talk. She knows when something's up with me, and she gets me to talk about it. It's just something about her. But that's it; I prefer to keep these types of things to myself and deal with it in my own way. Which typically does not involve talking.
And secondly, I'm not going to tell him because Max doesn't know about John, and that's the way I like it. Besides, if I'm supposed to forget about John, I shouldn't be talking about him anyway. Max doesn't need to know that John is practically harassing me, barraging me with calls and messages. I had twenty-seven new text messages, and I deleted them all without even checking to see if they were all from him. I just emptied my entire inbox. John is a determined individual. That used to be one of the things I liked about him.
Max pushes off the couch and sits on the floor next to me. I can't look away from him; I'm trapped in his blue eyes. And I find myself in the same place I was back on that particular September night. It's almost as if that Saturday night has transitioned into this Sunday evening, and all the weeks in between have never happened. I'm looking into his eyes again, trying to find the magic answers for everything that's going on in my life right now.
When we had last found ourselves in this very same position, I had wanted so badly to kiss him. And now? Well, I still do. I let him get away from me last time because I wasn't quick enough to do what I wanted to do. I've learned from that mistake. I need to take advantage of this opportunity while it's still laid out at my feet, or else I'll regret it now just like I regretted it then. I know I need to make my move and do it now, before I let the moment get away from me again. But I'm still scared. I've never been the one who makes the first move. I'm just not that type of girl. But if I don't—if I don't at least try—I'm going to rue it forever.
He says something in French. I have no clue what he says, but there's something in the way he says it. It's all the encouragement I need to do it. So I close the distance between us and erase the space between our mouths, savoring that simple sensation of just our lips pressed together.
Max doesn't react favorably. He doesn't mimic my actions and instead keeps perfectly still. It's like trying to make out with a brick wall, until he leans backward to free his lips from mine. "What are you doing?" he asks me.
Fuck. Shit. Fucking shit! I shouldn't have done this. What was I thinking? I'm such an idiot. A god-damned fucking idiot. "I'm sorry. That was a mistake. I shouldn't have done that." I feel myself start to cry. I've really done it now. I've ruined this. He's going to tell me that he just wants to be friends, but I'm going to be too mortified to continue this friendship with him. I've effectively just ended our relationship. Way to go Charlotte, you stupid dipshit!
He reaches up and brushes the errant tear from my cheek. "Don't say that. Don't be sorry. I just don't know where this is coming from. I thought you wanted to be friends."
This is it. This is where he throws that back into my face. Originally, I had only wanted to be friends because I was too messed up over John to forge a working relationship with another man. But then I met Max and somehow started to like him. Or maybe I don't like Max at all. Maybe I'm just funneling all this crazy angst about John into this friendship with Max. Transferring everything I felt for the ex-boyfriend to the new love interest. It's not healthy to jump from one dysfunctional relationship to the next. I cover my face with my hands. I don't know what's going on. I can't focus on a lucid thought. "I.... I don't know what I want. I'm very confused right now."
I feel Max's hands wrap around my wrists and move them, uncovering my face for me. I don't hate crying necessarily, but I certainly hate crying in front of other people. I know my face must be puffy, and my eyes red. I wish he wouldn't see me like this. His voice is so soft and so caring when he says, "Confused about what?"
His eyes search mine for the answer that I don't want to tell him. I'm confused about him and John and how these guys are fucking with my emotions. But then suddenly I don't feel confused. Hell, I'm confused about how I flip-flop about feeling confused!
Right now, at this very moment, I only know one thing for certain: how I feel about Max. I don't know how I ever questioned it. When it's just him and me, just like this, I know for sure just how much I like him. Especially with how caring and concerned he's acting toward me. But I'm not quite ready to tell him all this or to vocalize those strong feelings yet. Like I said, I'm not a talker. I don't know what else to do except kiss him again, so that's what I do: kiss him again.
A feeling of relief washes over me when he responds by placing his hands on my cheeks. I'm positively delighted as he kisses me back but also a little shocked, which makes me I gasp. I honestly expected to get rejected again.
With my mouth now open against his, he mirrors me and deepens the kiss. Dear lord! It's everything I possibly thought it could be or would be. I take that back; it's a million billion kajillion times more than that. My nerve endings all tingle with anticipation of his next move and next touch.
I can't help myself; I need to be closer to him. I slide over in his direction until we're touching. That makes Max back off some, and I curse myself for moving too fast for him. Imagine that—I'm moving too fast for him. We either need to do this or not, because this stopping and starting is killing me.
"Je ne sais pas si on devrait faire ça. Oh mon Dieu, j'ai tellement envie que ça se produise, mais pas comme ça. C'est trop tôt. Est-ce trop tôt?"
Why does he have to talk in French? I don't understand him. He knows I don't understand him. It frustrates me so much when he does that. If he wanted me to understand him, he would have said it in English. And if he didn't want me to understand, then he should have just kept it to himself! I want to scream at him! At first, I didn't think he wanted me because he didn't kiss me back. But the second time, he did kiss back. So which is it? Does he want this, or doesn't he? "Yes or no?"
An eternity passes before he says huskily, "Oui." Finally, a French word I understand!
I move from my spot on the floor next to him and straddle his lap. I don't know where this comes from; I'm not a sex kitten and I certainly don't normally act like this, but Max has just got my body all wound up. It's acting and reacting on its own. My hands are on his shoulders then his neck then his chest, my mouth hot on his. Our lips and teeth crash together repeatedly as we frantically kiss each other like the world will end if we don't.
I feel his hands on the back of my thighs, moving up and down until he runs them over my ass, stopping them there momentarily to give it a good, hard squeeze. Then his hands slide under my shirt to the small of my back, kneading my flesh. His hands are rough and calloused, heightening the sensations caused by the firm pressure of his fingers. I want those hands all over my body. I moan into his mouth, which only serves to encourage him in his endeavors.
Max is a veritable, honest-to-God expert; he adroitly strips me of my shirt and unclasps my bra, freeing my breasts. He replaces the fabric that had been covering me with his hands. He pinches both my nipples and provides me with the perfect mixture of pleasure and pain, which I respond to by throwing my head back and grinding my pelvis into his burgeoning erection below me. My body's working on autopilot. Max leans forward and temporarily plants his lips on my neck, kissing and sucking a trail down to my chest, where he pulls one nipple between his teeth. It makes me push my hips down against his with renewed vigor and increased force.
In one swift motion, he pushes me down into a supine position so I'm lying on my back on the hardwood floor. He whips off his own tee, leans down to kiss me again, and begins unbuttoning my jeans. I gladly surrender the dominant role to him. It's all happening so fast, but it's exactly what I want. What I need. Sweet Jesus, I need him so bad. I am not in control of myself. "Oh God," I moan, knowing how blasphemous I am but not being able to stop the words from leaving my mouth.
"No," he whispers, kissing his way from the valley between my breasts to my navel. "Maxime."
"Whaa...?" I ask him, barely able to form coherent thoughts, let alone full words.
Max tugs at my pants. I lift my hips off the floor to make it easier on him as he removes my panties, too, leaving me naked and completely exposed to him. I should be feeling extremely vulnerable as he pauses and looks at me, his eyes raking over my entire body. But I don't.
"When I'm making you cry out, I want you calling my name."
As if to prove his point, he leans back down, and I feel the scruff of his unshaven cheek against my inner thigh and his tongue against my clit. My entire body shudders while my eyes flutter shut and my back arches. I can't handle the physical intensity of what he's making me feel because I'm so turned on. It's too much to feel at once, and my body can't possibly handle it for much longer. His name passes between my lips but not in the way he had in mind. "Max...."
He freezes again, hearing the hesitation in my voice. There's worry in his eyes. Max thinks I've changed my mind. No, I haven't; the notion that he thinks I have in fact changed my mind makes me laugh throatily. There's no way I'd be able to turn back now, if I was ever capable of making him stop. I certainly don't have that kind of willpower. Even if I did, I still don't think I'd be able to push him away.
I put an end to his misery and let him know what I'm thinking. "I want you in me."
A devilish smile breaks across his face. He reaches down to unfasten his own jeans, and I lean forward to help him as he discards his pants. Without any fabric to obstruct our bodies from meeting, I curl my fingers around his erection and guide it inside of me. I have to bite my lip to prevent myself from screaming out from both the quick shot of pain and the tender, piercing gratification of becoming one with him. It hurts so good. We should have slowed down, but I couldn't wait any longer for this.
Max nestles his head in the crook of my neck, breathing heavily and keeping still. I know immediately that he's trying to cope with the tactile pleasure his own body is sensing before he slowly, so slowly, begins to pull out and push back in. Any remaining pain dissolves away into absolute euphoria.
"Oh, Maxime." When I say his name this time, it's exactly the way he wants to hear it; I moan it impulsively and repeatedly to high heaven.