I’ll give you a workout, I thought. But I was getting ahead of myself. This was the first time I’d ever been in a game that I wanted to lose. When Abby kissed me I called the game off in my mind – I’d wait for her to be ready, but this was only going to end one way. Until then I’d do my best to make her kiss me again.
We strapped on snowshoes and Marc and I led Abby across the property to the lake and around half the perimeter. The sun was shining and the air crystal clear, we worked up enough heat to keep the chill at bay. Abby sang Christmas songs at the top of her lungs to hear the echo come back off the water. We stepped over the chain that blocked off the dock and ditched our snow shoes to sit at the end and dangle our boots over the water.
“So Jordan…,” Marc said, “how come you haven’t told us about Abby before?”
“Yeah! How come?!” She was between us and socked me on the shoulder.
“I wasn’t sure that Abby liked me all that much. Thought she might secretly have the hots for Crosby.”
She laughed. “Then he grew that moustache and pfffft! That was over.”
I pushed her back into the snow and leaned on her stomach. She pulled her feet up and lie there, mittens under her head and staring at the sky. “This place is perfect. Canada was right here all this time and I was missing it!”
I really hoped when she said Canada she was talking about me.
We eventually tromped back to the house. Marc and I ran part of the way – not easy to do in snow shoes, but it was a good workout. We were still a ways from the house when we heard laughter and music carrying over the crisp air. It was nearly dark and far too cold to be outside.
“They must be in the hot tub,” Marc said.
Abby gave me a look that said oh really? and started running too.
Fifteen minutes later I was in my swim trunks knocking on Abby’s door and thanking God I’d remembered to tell her to bring a bathing suit. She opened it a sliver.
“Robe?” I gave her one that I’d gotten last Christmas as a gift – that really soft, luxurious fleece material. She took it with one arm but wouldn’t let me into the room. Two seconds later she was wrapped in it twice with room to spare.
“This thing is pimp! I bet Jay-Z has a robe like this,” she ran her hands over the downy fabric. “Were you naked in this robe, Jordan?”
“Uh, maybe.” I had been that morning. Was that gross?
“I thought it smelled good.” She was going to kill me dead.
Jared and Tanya were in the hot tub when we got to the back door. The trick was to ditch your clothes inside then hustle into the water. When you were done, you begged someone to bring you a warm towel from inside. Or you made a run for it. Any towels or clothing left outside were useless by the time you finished.
Abby and I looked at each other, then she peeled off the robe in what I thought was agonizing slow motion. First her shoulders were bare, then a colorful flowery pattern covered a nicely filled halter top bikini, then her flat stomach was bare and her high, perfect backside was mostly covered in the same printed fabric. I was full on staring like I’d never seen a girl before.
“Come on, loverboy,” she said. I tossed off my sweatshirt with little fanfare – Abby had seen me shirtless a hundred times – and headed for the door.
“Hey, I don’t get to watch?” she asked like I’d cheated her.
“Nothing new here.”
“I don’t get tired of it, Jordan.”
She squealed as I opened the storm door and we shuffled outside in the biting cold. The water felt in comparison like it would burn our skin. Abby hissed as she slid her feet in, then her calves, knees and somewhere around her mid-thigh I realized I was standing half-naked in the Canadian winter and I couldn’t feel a thing. So I stepped right in. Abby still moved slowly, arching her back into a perfect curve as the water sizzled against her stomach. Once her shoulders were in, she relaxed.
“This is what a lobster feels like – cold ocean, hot kettle,” she laughed.
Marc joined us, making Abby move closer to me. Then Eric, which topped out the water and put Abby right up against my side. She kept on telling a story as she ran the length of her leg along mine. No one could see through the bubbling froth. Tiny pieces of hair were beginning to curl around her face and neck from the steam. I wanted to put my arm around her but it was too cold to lift it out of the water, so I waited for her to finish talking.
“Abby,” I said, making her turn to me. And I kissed her.
This time it didn’t faze anyone, no one made fun of us. I just kissed my girlfriend naturally, in front of my family. No big deal, right? Beneath the water her hand closed on my thigh and my heart pounded. I barely broke away before I would have been unable to stop myself. She was a little stunned, but finally she smiled. Her hand didn’t leave my leg.
“My toes are pruned,” she said, waving a foot at me as I came into her room. She wore a bright blue hooded sweatshirt and those yoga pants that were fast becoming my favorite thing ever invented. I sat on the bed, took her foot in my hand and rubbed her toes.
“Abby, I think we should…”
Talk about how I’m going to lose my mind if you don’t let me kiss you for real soon, but there’s no way I’m stopping with a kiss because I can’t even think straight around you and I’m getting a hot tub the second we get back to the ‘Burgh if you’ll come over every day and…
“Jordan, Abby! Dinner!” My mom yelled from downstairs. Abby pushed her heel against me playfully and got up.
“Come on JTown, you can’t let me win that easily.”
I thought about holding her down and locking us in – she’d never escape if I didn’t want her too. Instead I followed her down where my mom had another huge pile of food spread out. When the wine came around, I kept filling Abby’s glass. She smacked me under the table and got herself a kiss on the cheek for it. But she finished the glass every time.
“Stop it,” she whispered when my mom and Eric went to get dessert. “That is an unfair advantage.”
I filled her glass again. “I’m a hockey player, baby. I fight dirty.”
She laughed loudly, everyone turning to look. “Jordan Staal you have the worst pickup lines I have ever heard!” My brothers joined in the razzing, even though they didn’t know what I’d said. I just put my arm around Abby’s back and tipped her chair against mine.
4 years ago