Friday, September 2, 2011

chapter eleven

Sorry for the delay - I was taking part in a Patrick Kane-approved activity: a Jimmy Buffett concert.

Anytime a kiss ends in one person running away, you should probably take a break.  Let it settle, shake it off.  But the second Kristen tells me we still have a date tomorrow night, I know this is going out the window.

She’s embarrassed.  I should be the embarrassed one, but she’s really just scared.  The way her lips part slightly even now, as I slowly close the space between us, gives her away.  

Girls who don’t want to be kissed should keep running.

I step in front, catching Kristen between myself and the wall.  Those thick, dark eyelashes brush her cheeks as she draws in a deep breath, trying to stay calm.  Then she looks back up at me.  That’s all the green light that I need; I sink into her space like it’s quicksand drawing me deeper.  Don’t fight it.  My thigh slides just an inch between hers and she gasps.  I Don’t stop moving until she’s pressed flat between my body and the building.  

Her fingers wrap around my biceps: she loves my arms.  A guy’s gotta have something, right?  So I set both hands to the wall at either side of her head, the best I can do for private space, and softly touch my lips to hers.  

She’s not having slow.  Kristen opens her mouth and drags her tongue across mine.  It’s a slow, deep kiss, a dizzying surrender of a kiss, meant to share a moment with something more intimate.  My hips rock hard, hitching her up against the wall and she whimpers as my thigh makes it all the way home.

Old Me screams like the Wicked Witch of the West under a fire hose: smoking and warping and melting.  He’s a puddle on the pavement beneath the spot where our feet tangle together.

But he has a point.  The whole world shrinks to just the taste of her mouth and the pounding of her heart beneath mine.  She clutches at the back of my neck, holding me in as if I’d ever stop on my own.  I’m one surrender away from ripping her clothes off in public when her stomach growls.

Kristen laughs.  I laugh.  We are nervously giggling, mid-kiss, every nerve ending on high alert.  I grit my teeth against the magnetic pull of her lips and move my mouth to her ear.

“You’re going to be late for work.”

She presses her face into my neck.  “Fuck work, I quit.”

I lean back enough to look down into her eyes.  “Then you have all day for lunch.”

Mother of God.  I’m going to have sex with Patrick Kane on the sidewalk outside this building.  Only the classiest girls get on TV, arrested and pregnant all at the same time.

If only he weren’t so warm.  He flattens me against the building and pours out body heat like a sun shower.  It smothers my panic - I’d climb right inside his clothes if I could.  And judging by the tension in Patrick’s thigh, on which I’m demonstrating how to properly ride a horse, he feels the same way.

My stomach growls like an earthquake passing through.  We both laugh: overwhelmed and panting.  His breath is hot against my neck.

“You’re going to be late for work.”

We detach ourselves inch by inch and Patrick holds out his hand.  I slide my fingers into it, thinking that if he’d done that as we left the office, I would not have run.  I would not have been able to let go.

But I would have missed that kiss.

The problem with downtown at lunchtime is that everywhere is packed.  I take us to the nearest grassy square, where ten food trucks are lined up at the curb.  There’s a good size crowd enjoying the gorgeous day, but if we find a good spot we can have a semi-private picnic lunch.  We definitely need to be around people.

“Want to wait here and I’ll get something?” I suggest.  The mass of bodies in front of the food worries me.  I think you could recognize Patrick from space.

He narrows his eyes playfully.  “Embarrassed to be seen with me?”

I just put my hands on my hips and give him my best annoyed-fifteen-year-old stance.  He laughs, surveys the square of grass I’ve chosen and plops down on his butt.  One point for me.  

“Pizza or mac & cheese?”

“Mac & cheese.  Get a couple things so we can share.”

“Right.  I’ve seen you eat.  One of everything for you, and something for me.”

He waves me off, rubbing his stomach like Winnie the Pooh hungry for honey.  I’ll give him some... just stop.  Down girl.

I pick my way around groups of sitters and people sprawled on the lawn.  Some have organized lunches with blankets and baskets, others are possibly homeless and just lucky with weather.  I’ve made it about thirty feet, when I hear a very loud, “Hey Kristen!”

Oh for fuck’s sake.  Half the park turns to look at the shouter, who is of course Patrick, now standing, waving in my direction.  A wave of recognition goes through the crowd.  He just smiles.

“Will you get me a cookie?”

Everyone turns toward me, like I’m receiving a serve in tennis.  A blush rises furiously in my cheeks.  I have the urge to cover my face, but quickly nod and wave back without speaking.

“Thanks babe!”  Extra loud.

I make it to the food line.  Half the people are oblivious, the other half are trying to look at me without looking at me.  They turn mostly away, then squint back over their shoulders.  My hair and clothes are probably rumpled.  That’s what happens when you hump someone against the side of a building.

I glance back and Patrick is now talking to a couple of guys who were having lunch nearby.  He’s smiling and talking with his hands - he could be the mayor of Chicago, I think.  You don’t entirely expect to trust him, but he sure seems like a good time.

People get their food and loiter around, maybe wondering what Patrick Kane eats for lunch.  Again with the pretending-not-to-watch.  I resolve to never do that again: it’s creepy.  The truck only makes about five things, so I order one of each and two waters.  The guy hands me change and a cookie.

“For Kaner,” he smiles.

Yup, running for mayor.

“Hey, Patrick Kane!”

People always say it like I should be as surprised as they are to be seeing me.  But they’re cool - a couple of business suited guys eating sandwiches.  I chat with them about the season, they ask about my wrist.  More than once they catch me looking over to where Kristen waits in line for lunch.

Maybe I shouldn’t have yelled her name.  But she was so cute trying to fly under the radar.

From across the park, she runs her fingers through her hair and I feel how soft it was in my hand.  She was so eager to kiss me, to let me be that close... my body aches from touching hers.  This self-induced dry spell is getting a little long.

“...coming over.”

“Sorry, what?”  I shake the press of Kristen’s shape from my memory and tune back in to the conversation at hand.

One of the business suit guys rolls his head to the side, like he’s being nonchalant, but it’s a warning.  “You’ve got another fan coming over.”

I don’t turn.  Judging from his reaction, it’s a girl.  Judging from how quickly he looked away, she is...

“Hey Patrick!” she squeaks and sits down right next to me.  “Hey, remember me?”

Oh boy.

Her mousy brown hair is stick-straight and parted way over to one side, like she’s going out on a Friday night.  She’s very tan - maybe natural, maybe not - and has clearly been working at it.  Her sundress is making the most of the tan and her cleavage.  She could be normal-pretty if she wasn’t wearing half an inch of eyeliner at lunch.  Despite trying so hard, her smile gives away that she’s nervous.  

“We met at The Green Door last summer.  You guys had the Cup with you.”

She might as well ask if I remember my eighth grade locker combination. At least then I wasn’t drunk.  And I only had one locker.  

“Hey, uh, wow.  I probably do but we were having a really good time...,” I emphasize the word really.  “Anyway, hi.  That was a fun week.”

Her face falls a little, she looks at the grass.  “Oh, yeah definitely.  I thought you might remember....”

She’s going to say ‘remember when you took me home.’  She’s going to say ‘remember when I blew you in the back of a party bus on Michigan Avenue’ or ‘woke up between you and Seabrook in a hotel suite on a Slip-N-Slide covered in Jell-O.’  Whatever it is, I really don’t want to remember.

Before I can apologize for having no recollection of whatever this girl let me do to her, the business suit behind me coughs.  I should hire this guy as my wingman.

“Hi,” Kristen says, appearing over me with an armload of food.  She doesn’t sit - this girl is in her spot.  Allison’s expression gets hard, she didn’t realize I was with someone.

“Babe, this is...,” my mouth just starts speaking without permission.  I don’t know what I’m going to say.  Kristen cuts me a glare like I shouldn’t be calling her ‘babe’ in front of an old one-night (or one-hour or ten-minute) stand.  Or at all.

“Allison, my name is Allison.”  The girl spits her name like it should sting me.  As she gets to her feet I see her blouse is unbuttoned one too low and her lip gloss is really fresh: she got ready before coming over here.

“Nice to meet you,” Kristen says, almost believably.  

Allison dusts herself off, gives Kristen an exaggerated once-over and straightens her shoulders.  I steel myself for whatever insult she’s gathering.  It only takes a second, then Allison draws a breath.  The business suit guys are watching, and the people on the other side, and probably everyone within earshot.  It has gotten a little too quiet in this part of the park.

Kristen holds four containers of food and a cardboard soda carrier dangles from one finger.  Her back straightens a little like she knows what’s coming.  Maybe she can’t wait to hear it.  This is the truth about me, after all, which she’s probably only read about online.  In flesh and blood and pancake foundation, it’s possibly even more revolting.

Allison sniffs.  “At least you’re making him buy you lunch first.”  Then she turns to me.  “I guess it’s tough to get laid when you barely make the playoffs.”

Someone nearby hisses.  I wonder if mac & cheese washes out, or if I’ll have to throw away this shirt when Kristen pours that food on my head.  She blinks once, slowly, as if gathering her thoughts.  Whatever she does will probably end up on YouTube this afternoon.

“Well you did come back for seconds,” she deadpans in a clipped voice.  They she holds out one of the lunch dishes.  “Best you can do is a doggie bag.”

She’s going to slap me.  This girl with her nighttime hairdo and spider mascara is going to scratch my face off and we’ll go down in a cloud of dust and macaroni.  The guys in suits behind Patrick are whispering betting odds.

This girl could be pretty.  Patrick wouldn’t have anything to be ashamed of, if only she hadn’t swum through Sephora to get here.  And if he remembered her name.  There are a lot of this girl in Chicago, and they have the right to be pissed.  But hey, sell yourself cheap and all anyone remembers is how much they didn’t have to pay.  

“I guess it’s tough to get laid when you barely make the playoffs,” she growls at him.  

Okay, that’s a dig at me and I will not be having it.  If she excused herself graciously, or even ran in tears, I would feel sorry for her and angry at him.  But hell no this slut is not going to paint me with her brush.

“Well you did come back for seconds.  Best you can do is a doggie bag.”

I’m standing there like the bitch sidekick in a TV show, eyebrows raised like a challenge.  One of the businessmen laughs.  A short, sharp bar of a laugh that rings through the air for a full second.  Then his friends join in.  

She caves.  Flustered and humiliated, Allison turns one sharp heel in the grass and hustles away in a huff.  A girl behind me claps as I sit down.

“That was amazing,” business suit number one says.

Patrick knows better.  His face is blank because he knows that wasn’t fun for me.  Maybe he even feels bad for that girl he fucked and ducked - she knew what she was getting, but I still know that stings.  And I do not revel in adding to her embarrassment.

“Sorry,” he says so no one else can hear.  

He looks genuinely hurt.  Those broad shoulders round and he slumps a little, sitting cross-legged on the grass.  His good hand fiddles with the cast on his other wrist.  If I ran away now, he would let me go.  

I bet this is how he looks when he screws up and has to apologize to his parents, or Toews.  Goddamn it.  He’s adorable.  I can’t stop myself from reaching out and touching his skin.

“Next time, we stay inside for lunch.”


  1. You are so excused for the delay :)

  2. I love this story so much!

  3. "...or Toews." Laughing so hard right now!!!! Great update. :-)