Tuesday, August 30, 2011

chapter ten

Welcome back, electricity! If you got yourself a Blackhawks sweater, I might just write you a story.

I shouldn’t.  But I can’t help myself.

I woke up this morning with a huge smile on face.  Kristen was the first thing I thought of.  I was proud of myself for how well things were going, and surprised at how much fun I was having.  The thrill of the chase definitely had it’s appeal.  But Kristen was already more that.  I thought about her laugh.  It revealed that she her secret: she was having fun too, and almost letting herself give in.  Then I thought of a lot of other fun things involving Kristen that kept me in bed for a good half hour.  

By eleven in the morning I am post-workout, showered and staring at the iPhone in my hand.  I tell myself not to.  This little roller coaster needs a break, a day off to settle into some kind of recognizable relationship pattern.

That’s right, New Me uses words like ‘relationship.’

The truth is, I’ve just been doing the opposite of what I always do.  Well not the complete opposite - I did kiss her for about ten hours yesterday.  But I stopped myself, knowing it was more like a slow down than an actual halt.  Kristen and I have momentum like that giant boulder that nearly mows down Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom.  New Me will have to be pretty clever to avoid being run over.

Plus her work address is one Google search away.  If I wasn’t meant to have it, it wouldn’t be so easy, right?

My jeans are casual, like I may have been on my way somewhere else.  I wear a shirt that really fits, because the way Kristen’s hands squeezed my biceps hints that Old Me might not be so alone in his frustration after all.  Then I park my car and stroll into her office, uninvited.

It’s ballsy, I know.  I pray that someone in her office saw the baseball game, otherwise this could totally backfire.  Anyone who knows only my reputation will assume that Kristen gave it up like a candy machine, and I’m back to the trough for seconds.  Hey, it’s happened before.

But for me to overcome that, I have to do this.  I can’t undo my past, or how many people posted it on Facebook.  I can only move forward and hope she wants to come with me.  And a little bit of swagger might be boost she needs.

The receptionist does a double-take that could snap her neck.  A second later, a sharp whisper cuts from behind me.  Then another.  I keep my voice loud, the best I can do to announce my presence.  The front desk girl blushes as she points down the row.  

Right at an enlarged print out out of the shot of me and Kristen from the Jumbotron.


As I walk over, Kristen’s head peeks above the top of the wall like a submarine at periscope depth.  Her dark eyes go a little wide and the color drains from her face.  I stride right up, taking in the bright blue scoop neck sweater hugging her chest and the black trousers that end above ballet flats.  A tremor bolts through my body at the memory of pressing her to the car last night.

The entire place is silent.

“Wanna grab some lunch?” I say, trying to sound cool as my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.

A small crash happens behind me - I don’t turn.  Probably every guy in here is twice my size, loves the Canucks and wants Kristen for himself.  If one is charging now she’ll just have to warn me.

Kristen scoops her purse up quickly and says, “Okay.”  Then she does a hundred yard dash out the front door and I have to jog her down.

“Wait for me!” I laugh, hoping she’ll actually stop running before the river.

At the corner, she spins on one heel.  That pile of hair wheels out behind her like the fight sequence in an action movie.  Her chest heaves beneath that 1950’s sweater.  The overhead sun is bright, her skin looks like cream and I ache to run my tongue along the soft patch beneath her ear.

“You...,” she stutters.  

“Surprised you?” I suggest.

Kristen exhales a short, clipped sigh.  Then she throws herself into my arms.

Do I wanna grab lunch?

Do I want to be the talk of this office until the Rapture really comes?  Do I want to obliterate all discussion of the Kardashian wedding and take over as sole water cooler topic?  They’re probably having a staff meeting right now to discuss a PR plan for my relationship.

I smile at that.  At least my co-workers would never let TMZ take me down without a fight.

Patrick catches me outside the office at a red light.  We’re barely clear of the windows, which probably have a hundred face prints on them already.  It’s a brilliant late summer afternoon, still warm and the light is like melted honey.  It pours all over Patrick’s blond locks and tan arms, all over that boy-meets-world smile.

Oh he surprised me all right.

He wasn’t afraid to be seen on TV with me at the baseball game.  But to show up at my office takes guts - these are real people and they matter to me.  He might as well have jumped out of a birthday cake riding a unicorn.

Patrick bites his lip.  His blue eyes drop just barely and I know he’s checking out my boobs in this sweater.  What I don’t know is why - why on God’s green Earth?! - do I like the weight of his gaze as it imprints my body on his brain?

The next thing I know, I’m kissing him in broad daylight on a busy street.  Patrick fucking Kane.

“Woah,” he chuckles, lips still pressed to mine and his good hand cheating up a sliver of bare skin at my lower back.

As quickly as I jumped into him, I jump back.

“Oh my God, I...,” but I lose my train of thought.  Blood pounds in my ears like a dam has broken.  People are looking at us.  Just another girl throwing herself at Chicago’s most eligible STD.  Happens all the time.

“Hey, hey.”  He takes my hand, weaves between people and draws me out of the traffic flow into the shadown of the closest building.  “You okay?”

I must look freaked because his baby blue eyes get darker, like worry is black and they’re filling up.  It matches how I feel.  Why did I kiss him like that?  And why did it surprise me so much?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.” I stutter.

“To kiss me, or to panic?”


Patrick sets his jaw like he’s just going to have to accept the referee’s bad call on this play.  The stern look compliments his new bulkier physique and sculpted jaw -it’s very manly.  My knees wobble

He turns his shoulders a little, blocking us as best he can from the pedestrian horde.  That one good hand pushes hair behind my ear, then cups my cheek.  

“It’s okay to like me, Kristen.”

My heart stops.  Is it okay?  I want to scream.  It’s never okay.  Okay tells you one thing and does another.  Okay is a razor blade in a perfect apple.  Okay is a lie that lets you walk in on someone else screaming its name.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...

“It’s okay,” he repeats.  “I like you too.”

I try to look at my feet but he’s not having it; my chin firmly in his big, warm hand.  So I give up and let him stare me down.  And now I know what that look is he’s been giving me the last few days.


“I like you too.”

I wasn’t going to do that.  I promised myself I wouldn’t play that card until I could be sure it wasn’t a joker.  But in the space of a second, right on the side of the road, I lost her.

Kristen kissed me so hard she surprised herself.  A wave of lust and energy and release glued her to me.  Her tongue swiped across mine as if I were the spoon from a bowl of ice cream.  The she bolted like a spooked horse, landing five feet away and shaking.

The fear in her eyes makes my blood boil.  Someone did this to her.  Some guy took advantage of her, made her doubt herself and me and everything.  I am paying for this guy’s actions and I want to cash in by punching him in the face.

Of course there is a tiny knot at the bottom of my stomach, one that never really goes away.  I have done exactly the same thing to other girls before.

If only I had two good hands.  I hold her upper arm with one, but my casted wrist is just about useless.  Kristen proves right there she’d make a great addition to the Blackhawks.  She darts left, exposing my weakness, and runs.

It’s not really a run.  It’s more a an undignified tumble through a downtown street.  I don’t look back to see if Patrick follows, I just plow through bodies with no destination in mind.  At the corner, a seam opens and I follow it onto the side street.  It’s quieter here and I press my back to the building.  If Patrick is chasing me, he may run right past.

I stand there for a minute, breathless after fifty feet, and consider what has happened.  I’m pretty sure Patrick Kane has been a charming, forgiving and dead-fucking-sexy gentleman who has gone out of his way to see me four times in as many days.  He almost kissed me on the jumbotron.  He surprised me at work.  The guy got me penguins.

Then he said he likes me.  And I reacted like he wanted me to help him load a couch into his windowless van.

Over the Defcon One alarm blaring in my mind, I hear the scuff of a shoe on pavement very nearby.  I crack one eyelid open and Patrick is leaning against the end of the building.  He’s doing the hands-in-pockets slouch with a very convincing shoulder slump, and giving me a patient gaze.

“Sorry,” I say.

He smiles thinly.  “You didn’t go very far.”

Patrick slowly comes nearer, pausing in mid-step to make sure he won’t scare me off again.  After five paces, he leans back against the building.  “If you’re not ready, you can tell me.”  He is so patient I want to cry.  “But if we keep hanging out I’m probably going to keep liking you.”

If we keep hanging out, I’m going to have to let a lot of things go.  Starting with the urge to bail every time something seems good.  Patrick gives me a moment to consider.

“If you’re not having fun, you can still call that mercy rule and I’ll forget about the lunch.”

That makes me laugh.  “I told you, no mercy rules.”

“So we still have a date tomorrow night?”

I nod.  He takes the last step and stops so close that his chest almost touches my arm.  I want him to touch me, I want him closer.  I want to stop not wanting this.

“Good,” he leans in just close enough to be out of reach, “because I already got the dog a birthday present.”


  1. I am in love with this story. It's so funny and sweet. And the internal analysis is great. Really, really clever descriptions. And, quite simply, I love that he bought the dog a birthday gift - could he be any cuter?

  2. I'm all caught up now! Oh, this story is so sweet...I've got a tooth ache...and I love it! I'm not a Kaner fan off the ice, but you may have swayed me. I'm waving the white flag and surrendering.

    He took her to feed penguins, made out in the movie theater, surprised her at work...and got her dog a birthday present? What's not to swoon over? Now, all you have to do is have PK babysit her 2 year old niece...and it will be all over. Lights out.

  3. I love that she ran. Instead of giving in and kissing him (like most people probably would by now) she legs it across downtown Chicago! Brilliant :)

  4. Cant wait to read more! This is getting so good--eventually Old Me is going to win one of these battles lol

  5. Nooo! Where are the updates for this? Did you lose power again? This waiting several days in between updates is killing me. Please update soon!