May 10, 2010

Chapter 11

“Goodnight guys,” Sid waved to Geno and Erin as they got off the elevator. Having dragged Max out of Deanne’s bed, they left the girls’ room with toothbrushes in hand. Now, Sid and Maddie were alone.

“Bad news. I’m in the other tower.”

Maddie looked down at herself and laughed. “So I have to walk across the whole casino, heels in one hand and toothbrush in the other, at 4 AM with Sidney Crosby?”

“Should we go past the theater where the awards are? They’re probably setting up cameras,” he smiled devilishly.

Maddie held out her hand. “The least you could do is put my toothbrush in your pocket.”

Maddie stood at the picture window. Sid’s room was on the 42nd floor, looking out over Vegas in the dark. He came up behind and put his arms around her. She could feel on her skin that he’d changed into a t-shirt. He smelled like toothpaste and clean laundry. He kissed the spot where her neck met her shoulder, then a little higher, then higher still till he was just behind her ear.

“You never answered my question,” he murmured. “Will you come with me tomorrow?”

“I don’t have to go past the cameras or anything, right?”

Sid pressed in tighter to her back, running his hands over her bare shoulders. “You can skip that part if you want to. Or if you want to, you can walk with me.” He spun her around to face him. “I would be thrilled if the entire sporting world saw me with you.”

Maddie got a little deer in the headlights look in her eyes. “But we… we hardly know each other.”

“I know, Maddie.” He took a step away and leaned on the dresser. “I know it’s a lot of pressure for you. But for me….” He stood up again. “I am a little tired of everyone seeing me as Sid the Kid. I know I’m young. But I am the captain of my team, we’ve won the Cup… damn it. Everything I do is so monitored, so closed. Half the time I feel like I’m reading a script. The same ten questions every day.” He rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m tired.” He took both her hands in his.

“I would like for everyone to see me as grown up. Or at least growing up. And I think that seeing me with a beautiful, intelligent, fascinating woman might help them realize that.” He looked right into her eyes. “Do you know that I’ve never been on a date in public?”

Maddie smiled sadly. “Sid. I’m sorry. I never thought of it that way. I know they call you ‘The Kid,’ but your play speaks for itself. You’re the rare superstar who actually delivers superstar performance. No one can believe you’re real, forget being 22 years old.”

He leaned up and kissed her forehead. She folded into his body.

“And you know about hockey… I swear, babe. The cameras would love you.”

“Oh God,” Maddie said. “It’s broadcast live, right? I’d be getting hate mail before the show was over.”

“Let’s be honest. If you’re sitting next to me, you’ll be on camera. Whether you walk the carpet or not. So you won’t be anonymous.” Sid backtracked. “But Geno and Flower will be there, right with us. And Vero, she liked you. She’ll be there. Hell, if Geno remembers that he has a seat for a date, he could bring Erin!” He was getting really excited, trying to convince her. “If you get nervous, you could…” he was reaching now. “You could tell them you won it. Win a date with Sidney Crosby!” A hopeful look crossed his face, till Maddie frowned.

“Like for charity?” She said. “Like you’re only there with me because I’m some hopeless case who entered a contest at Tim Horton’s? Free donuts for life?”

He laughed. “Right. One look at your legs and no one would believe that.”

Maddie waved a hand between them. “I would have entered that contest, of course." She relented. “I will think about it. But I will sit with you, either way.”

He smiled, a big, genuine smile. He grabbed one of her hands and spun her around, into his arms. She looked up and he kissed her.

In a blink the atmosphere in the room changed. Maddie suddenly felt like it was a hundred degrees. On the inside of her eyelids, she could see points of light, like shooting stars. Sid’s hands were on her waist, her shoulders, her face. He kissed her neck. She ran her fingers through his short hair, gripped the back of his neck and pulled him up to her face. His pouty pink lips were soft against hers. He wrapped her in a bear hug and flattened her entire body against his. She moaned into his mouth.

He slid his hands down her body. He leaned a little to get his hands flat on her thighs, then as he stood he brought them up just under the hem on her dress. Having his hands down there made Maddie shudder.

He breathed out audibly. “God. I have been thinking about touching your legs since the second I saw you.” He inhaled from her neck. “When you took off your dress at the pool, I almost had to run back up here for ten minutes.”

She giggled and stood him up. She moved her hands across his broad, powerful chest, over his hard abs and down his sides. She flicked her fingers under his shirt and lifted. He raised his arms high over his head, and she pulled it off. He shook his head as the shirt went over, and Maddie knew. Right then. With that tiny gesture - she was a goner.

“Is this okay?” Sidney whispered. His hands were on her zipper – he’d already pulled it down an inch. Maddie heard his words like she was underwater. She mumbled her assent. He glided it down the rest of the way, then pulled away and let it drop to the floor. His eyes roamed over her body. She was wearing a black strapless bra and a black thong. He made a growling sound in the back of his throat, then reached for her.

They tumbled onto the bed. She was under him, next to him, laying across his body. His hands were everywhere, slow and fast, reading every inch of her skin. He trailed his fingers up her sides, and her flesh tingled.

Maddie rolled on top of him, straddling his stomach. Her long hair hung down into her face. Sid reached up and tucked it behind one of her ears and held her cheek in his hand. His other hand was at her hip – it burned her skin where his fingers were twisting in the fabric of her panties.

“Madeline,” he pulled her face closer to his. “We don’t have to do this,” he whispered. The look in his eyes was cautious, no, nervous – almost fear. “You don’t have to,” he said. “You don’t have to do this to be with me.”

Maddie lowered her body until she was next to him, tucked in along his side with his bicep under her head. One leg was still strewn over his lap, his hand splayed on her skin just below her hip. He turned his head toward her.

“I don’t want you to think…” he trailed off. “I want you. I want you like crazy. Especially after what you did with those girls downstairs.” He rolled onto his shoulder, facing her. “I don’t want you to think that if it weren’t you, it would be one of them. That I am like this with just any girl.”

Maddie had to smile at that. “I was worried you’d think I was like those girls,” she whispered. “After all, we did just meet. And it’s not like I don’t know who you are.” She propped herself up on an elbow. “But I didn’t want to spend our whole afternoon together convincing you that I’m not them. I’m just me. I think it’s awesome that you’re Sidney Crosby. But I also just think you’re awesome, even if your name was Bill and you worked at Timmy Ho’s.”

He laughed, and dropped back to the mattress. He moved his hand up to her waist, then slid it behind and drew her into a tight embrace.

“If I worked at Timmy Ho’s, I’d definitely give you free donuts for life.” He rolled back to face her.

“Stay with me tonight,” he asked, looking right into her eyes. “Stay with me like this. Just us, like no one else in the world cares who we are, or what we do.”

Maddie saw the years of pressure and expectation in his dark eyes. She saw the endless biting his tongue, saying what he knew was right and what people wanted to hear. She saw the part of him that wanted to scream and throw punches on the ice. The part of him that wanted to throw it all away. The part of him that desperately needed to be what everyone wanted him to be, the part of him that wanted to be that person too. Maddie saw Sidney’s fear and hurt and hunger and ambition, his talent and the way he was more to everyone than he thought he could be to himself. She saw the hero and the coward, patience and frustration. It made her sad that he had so much to carry. It awed her that he could pull it off.

“Sidney,” she traced his hairline along the side of his forehead, down across his jawline and press the finger to his lips. “If I only get one chance at this, I would rather know you than have you.”

Relief flashed across her face. He’d really been terrified he was asking the wrong thing, even if he thought Maddie was the right person. Like he’d gone so far, and now wanted to take it all back. But she knew.

Maddie rolled over, pressed her back against his stomach. He wrapped both arms around her, nuzzled his face into her neck. He bent his knees against hers, touching the length of her legs. Even the top of his feet rested against the bottom of hers. A perfect fit.

“Sweet dreams,” she whispered.

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