I almost kissed her on the couch. If my mom hadn’t come in, I would have. If it hadn’t been so cold I’d have stayed out on the snowmobile all day, Abby wrapped around me and squeaking every time we hit a bump. I put on a nice shirt for dinner because I thought that’s how a guy with a girlfriend like Abby would dress.
The look on her face when I gave her the jersey to wear was like the one on the bus when I’d invited her home. It was my new goal for the trip – to make her look that happy as often as I could.
“Would you go out with one of the guys?” I asked. I thought it was too forward, but I couldn’t help myself. She was lying on my bed, right next to me in those yoga pants that proved she could not possibly be wearing underwear. I could smell her hair – she used our shampoo but on her it smelled like a drug. There was something about being in the room I grew up in that made me feel like Abby belonged here. I almost didn’t put a shirt on because I liked the way she pretended not to look at my body.
Abby turned onto her side and propped her head up on one hand. “I’m not forbidden to date someone on the team. But I’d have to be sure it was a good idea, because if it went bad… game over. And I really love my job.”
The guys knew it too – even Kris had asked Sid if he thought it was okay to ask her to the Christmas party. But an event with us all present was different than a real date. Different too than being on a bed in someone’s room a thousand miles from the team.
“What about you? I see the way girls follow you around. You shouldn’t have a problem finding someone you can tell your mom the truth about.”
I rolled to face her, putting an arm under my head. We lay inches apart. “I wouldn’t bring any of those girls home to meet my mom.”
She smiled shyly, almost stopping my heart. “She got pretty excited when she thought we were kissing.”
So did I, I almost said.
Abby stayed until her eyes were closing. I thought if I could just talk until she fell asleep I could be near her all night. She’d wake up in the morning and know for sure I wasn’t kidding around with some game. I wanted her here. Just to cuddle.
Yeah right. Probably a good thing she left.
I knocked softly on her door the next morning and when I got no answer I peeked inside really, really hoping to find her asleep. Uncovered in her underwear. But the room was empty. Something in her open suitcase caught my eye. I checked to make sure the hallway was deserted before slipping inside. The mesh pocket held something red and shiny; I thought maybe it was another Christmas gift. What unfolded in my hand was more than that – it was a tiny red silk slip with lace trim and a slit up the thigh. Holy shit. I shoved it back into the pocket and dashed back to my room.
Deep breath. Why would she pack that except to… woah. Get a grip. I washed my face an extra time to dull the blush in my cheeks.
“Morning!” she called as I followed the smell of breakfast into the kitchen. She was wearing a sweater the same dark green as her eyes with jeans and someone else’s socks. The outline of her body filled that sexy little slip in my mind’s eye – I couldn’t look away. Knowing that my mom and dad were watching, she threw her arms around my neck and gave me a full body hug. It took every ounce of my strength not to throw her up against the wall right there. Instead I dipped her to the floor, savoring the shape of her in my arms.
“Yuck!” Jared covered his face.
When Eric and Tanya came out, he was carrying a jersey. “Abby, I thought you might want something to wear when we go to the barn.” It was one of his junior sweaters.
She reached over her chair and pulled up the Petes jersey I’d given her the night before. “Sorry Staal, I’m spoken for.” Tanya laughed and put Eric’s sweater on right over her clothes.
We raced out to the barn like we were under-10s. Abby had my jersey on over her coat and resembled the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. She wore the hunting cap with the earflaps from the day before. I pushed her over and she fell into the snow.
“I can’t get up!” she shouted. “Help me, Ralphie!”
Marc hauled her to her feet. “You’re gonna shoot your eye out, Ralphie!”
In the barn, Abby and Tanya watched as we did endless shooting drills and accuracy competitions. We didn’t have a pond to play on, so we’d invented a hundred games of skill to beat each other at. Abby cheered madly for me and gave me big hugs whenever I won something. The first two times I lifted her up and wrapped her legs around my middle like a koala bear. Then I couldn’t handle full body contact anymore. I kept giving Eric looks to try to get him to leave, but he ignored me on purpose. We played until we were frozen solid before they offered to go inside.
“Abby, I’ll teach you to shoot if you want,” I said. Jared gave her a stick that was still way too long, and she lined up as I instructed her.
“Am I doing it right? Or this way?” She shifted her grip, holding it like a golf club. I gladly put my arms around her and leaned over her back, tugging her mittens from the handle to reposition them. I took my time arranging her hands and my entire body was pressed along hers like toothpaste on a toothbrush.
“Pfffffft,” she laughed. “I am so winning Max’s challenge!” She shrugged me off, gripped the stick correctly, which she obviously knew how to do, and shot it right into the net. It wasn’t a hard shot but it was on target.
“You are a ringer!” I yelled.
She scored on the next shot too and did an exaggerated goal scoring dance with fist pumping and leg kicking. “That was you, by the way. That’s how you celebrate.”
“What?! My celebrations are awesome.”
On her next goal she bent one knee low and pumped her elbow at her side.
“Tanger,” I said.
Next she ran to the wall and jumped against it, hitting it with her back, waving her arms over her head.
“Max,” I guessed correctly.
Then she ran around behind the net, circling to the other side, pretended to take out her mouth guard and yell something that should be censored.
“Definitely Crosby,” I laughed. She’d gotten everyone dead to rights.
“Okay, I’m out. My feet are frozen!”
I picked her up and slung her onto my back. She pressed her cold nose against my neck and whooped for me to go faster. I carried her right into the house. We knocked the snow off our stuff and ran upstairs.
“I’m taking a shower!” she beat me to the bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, I was outside the door. The shower was off and I could hear her singing to herself. Heat radiated right through the paneling. I knocked.
“Almost done,” she smiled, peering around the door with wet hair stuck to her face.
“Surprise.” I held out two big fluffy towels that I’d just put in the dryer. They were fantastically warm and the thought of her wrapping herself in them made my mouth dry. She made the happy face.
“I love you!” She opened the door just enough for me to see her reflection in the mirror. It was 99% fog and 1% Abby, naked. She caught me peeking.
“Wanna come in?” She looked me right in the eye like she was seriously offering. Then my forehead hit the door as she closed it.
When the bathroom was empty, I took a hot shower still thinking about her being in the same place, naked, only minutes before. I could have used a cold shower. When I was out and dry, there was a knock at the door. I put the smallest towel I could find around my waist, low on my hips and barely covering half my thighs and opened the door all the way. I pretended to be surprised.
“Surpri… jeez, Jordan,” her eyes went big and she laughed, covering her face with the clothing she held. It was my sweatpants and a long sleeved t-shirt, fresh from the dryer. “Are you trying to kill me?”
I reached for the clothes but she pulled them back. “No way, you look better in that.”
4 years ago