I don't know what the hell happened in today's terrible Game 3 win vs the Islanders, but maybe a little action for Sid in this story can get the Pens on the right track. – J
Sid strolled into the locker room, hands half-stuffed into his pockets, trying to look casual. It was well after practice and some the guys had been seeing the trainers or working on equipment. He’d passed by twice but too many people were around. Now there was just one guy left.
Matt Niskanen waved with the hockey glove he was trying to break in. “Hey Sid. You with a trainer today?”
“Nope, just on my way out. I, uh…,” Sid sat down on the bench. Nisky was a good guy, a low maintenance teammate and solid hockey player. They’d even fought once, when Matt played in Dallas, and now it was a joke between them. Matt was also very committed to his girlfriend and never, that Sid had seen, did anything to jeopardize that.
He’d had planned to approach this in a smooth way, but the words were already failing. Sid took a deep breath and let his shoulders drop. “Do you think Kelly has any friends she might introduce me to?”
“Friends? Um…” A look of understanding crossed Matt’s face. “Oh. You mean girls. Like, for a date?”
“Sure. She’s got friends who are probably free. When’s the event?”
“No event,” Sid said. As if he would take a girl to an event anyway. “Just, you know, social.”
Matt’s eyebrows lifted so high the disappeared into his hair but he didn’t laugh, or even smile. He just shrugged. “Yeah. She should.”
“Cool. I, uh, I can ask her myself, if you want. If she’s around, or….” Sid was really struggling now.
Matt put up a hand to stop him. “I got you. But, uh, what’s up, Sid? Kel’s gonna ask. It’s not like you really need help finding a date.”
Sidney knew he would have to tell someone and in truth he wanted to. He was proud of what happened with Leah, at least most of it, and it was the kind of thing friends talked about. Sid wanted to have more close friends. Plus Neal knew, which meant everyone would know soon. Better if they heard it from him first.
“I met a girl at home, and it went… okay, actually. It was really fun. I think maybe it’s time to try to find that here.”
Nisky nodded, impressed. This was pretty big news coming from his captain. “What happened to her?”
“It was just the last two weeks.” Sid almost winced at the words. It had felt longer, like two weeks in the playoffs instead of the regular season, when the whole world could change overnight. Matt didn’t look surprised though, just curious. “And we’re friends. It’s not like she’s going to wait for me to come back.”
Now Matt made a face. “Isn’t that what everyone in Cole Harbour does every day?”
Leah took a big sip of frozen strawberry margarita and closed her eyes. She’d been playing with brain freeze for a few minutes now, debating if it was worse than her fingers going numb around the huge glass. Across the table, Gina and Travis laughed at something. Behind them, TVs played over the bar in the faux-Mexican restaurant. She hated this bar. She hated every bar right now.
“Hey,” Travis was suddenly waving a hand.
“She’s not listening. Again,” Gina said with a smile. “Her mind is a Pennsylvania mile away.”
“It is not!” Leah put the beverage down just as the last throb in her head subsided. “I’m just thinking about school.”
Gina leaned forward. “Well you’d better think about what you’re going to say when Ricky Calvert asks you out.”
“He’s been behind you for twenty minutes trying to work up the nerve to come over here,” Travis agreed, looking around casually like he was checking their perimeter. “He can’t quite figure out how to do it, but he’s on his third beer so it’ll be any second now.”
Gina was already getting to her feet. “Honey, can you help me carry more drinks?”
“Don’t!” Leah slapped the table. She’d made a big joke out of Sid leaving by singing that Miranda Lambert song at Madigan’s the night before, but Leah really had no idea what to say if people asked.
“Oh yeah, they’re so heavy babe.” Travis was up now too.
“I will fucking kill you!” Leah whispered sharply.
“Cold too,” Gina smiled. “And those frozen ones take so long to make!” They were gone. Leah growled and slugged back another artic gulp of frozen berry.
“Hey Leah.” Ricky appeared as if he were reading from the same script. “How’s it going?”
It took serious effort to force a smile to her face, but Leah managed. She liked Ricky. Some of his friends were too persistent and cheesy, but he was a nice guy. Also, he’d never actually asked her out and there was no reason to expect he’d do it now. Gina didn’t really know everything about guys.
“I’m good., Ricky You?”
Awkward small talk ensued, and the longer it lasted the more sure Leah became that Gina had guessed correctly. Waiting for Ricky to get to the point was worse than brain freeze. At the bar, Travis was already halfway through the drink he’d ordered when Leah decided to force the issue.
“Sid told me say hi, if I saw you,” she lied, knowing Sid would approve.
“Oh, cool. Uh, tell him hey,” Ricky said. “You guys are pretty tight now, eh?”
It was Leah’s chance to define herself in relation to Sidney, which was her entire definition as far as Cole Harbour was concerned. Singing at Madigan’s just made them more curious. Whatever she told Ricky would make its way around town because inquiring minds wanted to know. Was she Sid’s girlfriend or a woman scorned? Was she staying in Canada or going to Pittsburgh or even still in touch with Sid, the prodigal son who’d returned to the limelight?
Or worse, was she another silly girl deluding herself that Sidney Crosby was her Prince Charming? Was she waiting around for a guy who wasn’t coming back?
“Friends.” The word dropped off Leah’s tongue like she’d given the order to pull the plug. “We’re just friends.”
“Then he’s an asshole.”
Leah sat bolt upright, squeaking her chair against the floor. “What?”
Ricky sighed like he was truly disappointed. His fingers picked at the edge of the beer label. “He’s an asshole. I mean, he said you were just friends but I thought he was digging, you know? It seemed like he was going to go for it.”
Leah’s mouth hung wide open, but only Gina and Travis were looking at her from the bar and wondering what the hell was going on. Ricky stopped peeling.
“I’m sorry, Lee. Maybe you don’t want him. I was just assuming that… you know. He’s Crosby and you’re you, and….”
She barked a laugh, short and sharp. “You say that like being Crosby and being me are the same thing.”
He shrugged. “Well you’re both too big for this town. Either way… don’t tell him I said anything, okay? It kinda makes the rest of us feel better. If you don’t go out with Crosby, explains why you don’t get out with any of the guys here.”
Leah had no idea at all what to say. Ricky took her silence as agreement.
“Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you’re okay,” he said.
“Uh, I’m fine,” Leah managed. Ricky got up, gave her a nod, and walked back to his friends. She mumbled goodbye, thinking for the first time ever that maybe she should be going out with Ricky Calvert.
It had only taken Niskanen and his girlfriend Kelly three days to set something up. Now Sid was on his way to meet them, wishing he’d never asked for help. Wishing he’d at least asked for a picture of the girl first. Sid could have used a hint of what he was walking into, unlike the way he’d walked into Leah that first night.
Part of him wanted this girl to have the same life-altering effect. The part that did not was bigger than Sid cared to admit. He had the urge to call Leah and confess what he was doing. She’d probably say it was great and wish him luck and then Sid would be forced to drive right home and hate his life all night.
The restaurant was a casual, café-type place and as he walked in, Sid knew his black sweater and jeans outfit was a good choice. The hostess caught his eye and gasped, fumbling her pen so it bounced off the podium and clattered to her feet. She blushed fiercely. Sid was barely through the door.
“Eeerrrrright this way,” she stammered. Matt and Kelly and the new girl, Rebecca, were already there. Sid pictured Matt telling the hostess who was joining them - she’d probably lost a lot of pens tonight. He followed her along a wall of booths.
“Hey,” Nisky waved sitting on the outside facing the door. Sid smiled in relief, glad to have asked for a double date. Seeing Matt made him feel instantly better – he wouldn’t have to carry the conversation all night, could hopefully avoid the inevitable and awkward admission that he didn’t really like or do anything outside of hockey. Girls always made Sid feel like he had nothing to talk about. Matt got to his feet, shaking Sid’s hand while nearly pushing him into the other bench at the same time. The fewer people who noticed Sid’s arrival the more smoothly this would go.
“Sid, this is Rebecca.”
They were already close together. The seat was not big and Sid was not small. Rebecca turned toward him, blond hair falling forward over the shoulders of her blue silk dress. Automatically Sid guessed her size to be around 5’ 5” and a hundred and twenty pounds. Her face was heart shaped, making her look younger than her makeup suggested. Heavy around the eyes, going for the smoky look, she batted considerably mascaraed lashes as she smiled a pageant queen smile framed by perfectly stained lips. Already half of his teammates would be trying to fuck her.
“Nice to meet you,” she cooed. Sid reached for her hand. Rebecca gave it not as a shake, but like he might want to kiss it.
“You too,” he said.
Nisky started talking right away. Sid made a mental note to get Matt more ice time or an extra off day. He needed a moment to process everything. Rebecca was very pretty and had obviously spent considerable time an energy getting ready for this dinner – her nails were freshly manicured, her hair so expertly waved it belonged on a mermaid.
So why was he already thinking about Leah?
Rebecca’s dress was the exact color of Leah’s eyes. That sapphire blue had been so surprised to see him at the rink, so furious after the New Year’s kiss. That color had admired him with every light on as he and Leah made love. The same blue had watched him walk away at the airport, and basically told him not to come back.
Matt kicked him under the table. “Sorry?” Sid realized everyone was waiting for him.
“How’s practice going?” Kelly asked.
Sid talked. He listened and even laughed as the conversation exhausted hockey and moved on to other things. They ordered wine. Kelly was funny and Rebecca relaxed noticeably by the time the first course arrived. She was a dental hygienist, from somewhere near the Ohio border. That sparked discussion of small hometowns.
“It must be weird when you go home, you’re such a big deal,” Rebecca repeated.
“Not to everyone,” Sid said. He glanced at Matt, who nodded encouragingly. More was needed to keep this evening moving and it was Sid who’d asked for a favor. “But I did go out dancing a few times, so they’re probably embarrassed by me now.”
When Matt or Kelly spoke, Sid could almost forget he was on a date. Rebecca was perfectly nice and friendly, but every time Sid looked at her he was evaluating something, recording and comparing it. No one could stand up to that kind of scrutiny. Sid even casually touched Rebecca’s arm – no spark. The whole evening was zipping by without Sid hardly noticing at all.
It was clear that she was into him, though. As the meal went on, Rebecca tried getting a little cozier. That made Sid stiffen up again. Kelly watched them carefully, trying to read the situation. At the end of the meal, Sid insisted on paying. He figured Kelly had told Rebecca it was his idea anyway.
When they stood up to leave the table, Kelly excused herself to the bathroom. She tugged Matt along so hard he was halfway across the room before he said he had to go too. It left Sid and Rebecca standing inside the front door.
Moment of truth. Sid didn’t really feel anything – no chemistry, and no real need to bring her home just to get off on a warm body. He also didn’t want to give up after just one try. Matt might not go to bat for him again or if word got around the Kelly’s friends that Sid was a cold fish, it wouldn’t matter anyway. If Sid asked for Rebecca’s number, he would have to use it.
“I’m surprised it was you,” Rebecca suddenly said.
“Uh, you were?
“Yeah,” she smiled, perhaps the most genuine thing she’d done all night. “Kel said she wanted me to meet one of Matt’s teammates – I thought it would be Brandon Sutter or something.”
“Yeah,” she smiled, perhaps the most genuine thing she’d done all night. “Kel said she wanted me to meet one of Matt’s teammates – I thought it would be Brandon Sutter or something.”
“Suttsy’s engaged,” Sid said needlessly. “Uh, I don’t really get a chance to… meet people.”
“I bet.” Rebecca shifted her weight from one high heel to the other. Sid was taking too long to make a move and she was preparing to go into self-preservation mode. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to have people watching you all the time.”
Last chance, he knew. Attention from other people was exactly what Sid needed to get over, not hide behind, but it served a dual purpose. Rebecca could almost say it had been her idea not to see him again. She could play it off like she didn’t want to get involved in his kind of life. Her brown eyes watched him expectantly.
“You guys ready?” Kelly appeared alongside, Matt hanging back a few steps in case they were interrupting.
Rebecca broke eye contact first, but her voice sounded content. “Yeah. We were just saying goodnight.”
Sid felt like a jerk walking to his car, waving to Matt, Kelly and Rebecca as they parted ways. That was all he felt though, so he’d done the right thing by not asking to see Rebeca again. Maybe asking for setups wasn’t a great idea. He hoped they weren’t mad at him.
It’s not my responsibility to ask out every girl who wants me to ask her out, he told himself. So why did Sid feel like he was disappointing them? He hated not living up to expectations. He hated the pressure to charm, marry and fuck the brains out of every woman he met just to live up to the decisions they’d already made about him. He hated people always wanting something from him.
Sid also hated driving to his lonely house to sleep in his empty bed and wake up alone tomorrow to do it again.
Maybe it’s not worth is, he thought cowardly. In truth he knew now, more than ever, that it was worth anything to find that spark. Sid knew how good it could feel – emotionally and physically - and how much he didn’t want to live without it. Not another minute. He hit the Bluetooth button on the console.
The sound of Leah’s voice was a considerable whomp between his legs – more than he’d expected. Images of her flashed through his mind, and not all of them explicit. Sid squeezed the wheel in his fists as his blood rioted. “Hi Leah.”
It had been three days since they’d spoken – not that Leah had been counting. She’d spent that time trying not to add the hours together and wonder if this was the future of her relationship with Sid: the occasional call, the gradual drop-off. That was to be expected. Still her hormones whirled at the sight of Sid’s name on her screen.
“You ready for Saturday?” she asked.
“So ready,” Sid said, and Leah could hear the note of desperation in his voice. The return of hockey was just a few days away. He told her about practice and training, she told him a story about school. They were still talking when he arrived home and clicked off the speaker function.
“That’s better,” he said, tucking the phone between his ear and shoulder.
Sid’s voice was suddenly so close that Leah’s heart fluttered. She felt it right down the side of her neck, like his kiss so many times that one night. The sound was as warm as his breath had been on her skin. Leah felt woozy, until Ricky’s word flashed in her mind: Asshole. Sid was nothing of the sort, but she was starting to wonder if maybe he’d given up too easily. If a simple call could melt her down, perhaps she needed to be a little harder for him to forget.
Sid wanted to tell Leah about the date. He wanted her to be proud of him for trying while at the same time know that he compared everyone to her. It was too sad to admit that. Leah wanted Sid to find someone in Pittsburgh and she was too important person for him to disappoint.
Again he’d spaced out, twice in one night. “Sorry. I’m here.”
He let himself inside, threw his keys and sat down heavily on the couch. Everything was not okay when just a few words from Leah had him this unraveled. “Yeah, just tired. Sorry.”
“It’s okay, as long as you’re awesome on Saturday. Jack is really excited to watch you play.”
“Just Jack?” Sid said it teasingly, but he was really hoping for a little validation after thinking about her all night.
Leah sat on the floor of her room, rubbing the hem of her t-shirt between two fingers. It couldn’t hurt to tease him a little – after all that was one of the reasons he’d liked her to begin with. Plus she was really, really horny. Going from Sidney Crosby to nothing was a cruel and unusual punishment. Flirting could burn off a little of her energy at the same time. “Okay, maybe me too. But you’ll be all sweaty and breathing hard….”
Sid’s eyes went wide.
Her voice dropped to a purr. “… and I might have a tough time following the game.”
There was a moment of silence while the idea, and the flashbacks that came with it, made their way through Sidney’s mind.
“When I see you like that, I can’t help but think of other things.” That was true.
“Leah,” he said weakly.
Her throaty giggle was another kick to the front of his pants. Sid lost his composure and groaned. Leah felt a surge of triumph to be able to twist him so effectively, even from so far away.
“It’s not my fault you look so good out there,” she said.
Sid’s heart raced. If there was even a chance that Leah might be into phone sex then his entire plan would change. He would never talk to another girl if he could have the best of both worlds – Pittsburgh and hockey here, Leah and her frisky mind on the other end of the line. All of a sudden he felt like they were back in Madigan’s, dancing closely but trying not to touch.
“Don’t torture me.”
“You should see what I’m wearing.”
“You should take off what you’re wearing,” he said sharply.
It surprised them both. Leah held her breath a moment, debating. Were they really going there? Were there any lines left between them, after all they’d crossed? Once again, her mouth got the better of her mind. She put the phone down, whipped off her jeans and t-shirt and walked through the house naked.
“Done,” she said. Sid’s cock pulsed angrily – it had been let out those two nights with Leah, now it wanted to run like a race horse. He pushed a hand down over the fly on his jeans as if he could stop it from stirring. There was no way this was happening.
“I don’t believe you.”
His voice was so husky that Leah almost came. If he wanted to play rough then she could too. He didn’t get to tell her what to do. Leah went right into the bathroom. She turned her back to the mirror, twisting so just the edge of her backside to the curved underside of her breast was visible. Careful not to get her face, she snapped a photo and sent it.
The beep was harsh in Sid’s ear. He’d spaced out again, stroking himself through two layers of clothes. When he opened the attachment, he gulped loudly. It was undoubtedly her – Sid would not forget that body. She was strong and lithe and he could almost mark the spots where his fingers had held on.
“Fuck, Leah,” he said almost under his breath.
“Your turn,” she repeated.
Oh fuck this. Sidney Crosby didn’t send racy photos. He didn’t have adult conversations. But he did pull off his sweater and undershirt and lay back down, holding the camera over his chest. Snap.
Leah stared at the phone, willing a message to pop up. When it did she nearly bit through her lip. That’s why she’d kept the lights on all the time, because seeing him was almost as good as feeling him. Sidney’s slab of a chest was fair and smooth, tapering slightly toward his waist. Even in repose the muscles beneath his skin were visible down to his waistband. Her vision swam. This was way beyond teasing but already she was halfway to an orgasm. She lay down on the same bed he’d slept in.
“Pants,” she said quietly.
“Lee, I….” Sid really couldn’t get caught sending someone a picture of his junk, especially not in the state it was right now. No matter how badly he wanted to keep this going.
“I remember what you look like, Sid. Just open them.” She heard the zipper, popping like a machine gun. He exhaled deeply – she imagined his fingers reaching his shaft just as her own slipped between her legs. “Feel good?”
His dick was hot in his hand but nowhere near as hot as Leah’s body had been. Sid pulled along the length, creating more friction. “Yes,” he whispered.
“Mmmm, me too.” Leah’s fingers drew a slick smear across her clit. Whatever she was going to say next was lost in the shower of sparks that zipped through her body.
Leah made a noise and Sid squeezed hard to keep from coming. He didn’t need her to talk, just lay there and want this and be as scared as he was. Flicking his wrist, Sidney drew himself out before sliding back down hard. It drew a grunt.
Leah whimpered as if Sid had bottomed out inside her. She wished he were there, heavy and warm, over top of her. Her arms begged to go around his broad shoulders, her fingers to rake through his curling hair. More than anything her body ached to be penetrated and pleasured the way he’d done so well. Working her fingers more quickly, Leah rolled her hips into her hand and felt her pussy flutter. Just like that, he already had her.
“I’m gonna come,” she murmured.
Thank God, Sid thought. It was a land speed record even if he took into account being hard since she picked up the phone. All the testosterone in his body swirled down into his lap like a whirlpool. “I wish I could feel you,” he said. “I remember too.”
“Sid,” she gasped and he almost did feel it, just from the catch in her voice. Leah sobbed out a breath that turned into a low, quiet moan; a sound meant only for someone this close to hear, even if that person was twelve hundred miles away. It rippled through her body, arching her back and curling her toes. Wetness spilled between her thighs.
With a last hard pump, Sidney blew his load into his hand. If only he could have drained himself into her body where he belonged. Still it beat out hard and hot and a little guilty. This was not what he’d wanted. Sid’s head dropped back, mouth gaping. His heart thumped like a helicopter that just landed. Leah breathed hard on the other end, trembling from the force of her orgasm.
When finally he’d caught enough breath, Sid whispered, “I miss you.”
Far away in Cole Harbour, Leah smiled weakly. “Just making sure.”