Sorry this has been delayed, life just won't get out of the way lately.
“Darryl!” Tyler shouted from the bottom of the stairs.
Jordan knew that TK and company were fast approaching hangovers and needed the same amount of comfort food he and Cary had shared at the diner. He figured it didn’t help either that TK, James and Geno hadn’t gotten laid while everyone else had. Some of them very recently and very loudly. His whole body hummed happily in post-workout bliss.
Absently twisting a strand of Cary’s hair around his finger, Jordan silently applauded himself for the ninth or tenth time. The other girls were definitely cute, but even in a blurry state Jordan had hooked himself a prize. And he might not want to throw it back.
Footsteps arrived at the top of the stairs. Geno sauntered over and blocked the bottom of the flight.
“What take so long?” he said in his best insinuating voice.
“That noise was not us!” Liz put her hands up, but the blush on her cheeks said they may have been using it as a soundtrack.
Tyler laughed. “Yeah, we know.”
“Hey,” Sid stomped to a stop. “It could have been!”
Kris looked at Jordan who looked at James and they all started laughing. Howling actually. Sid made a pouty face, added to the hooded sweatshirt he’d borrowed, and looked like an angry five year old. Liz looked like she wanted to climb into the potted plant in the corner.
“Everyone out of my house!” James called.
Only Jordan had a car, because he’d driven over that morning. So they walked a few streets over, thankful they hadn’t also forgotten their coats. The Friday lunch crowd was thin and they were seated far from prying eyes. Jordan put Cary on the inside of a booth and sat as close to her as possible. It felt almost as good as holding her, knowing her shape against his side. She pretended not to smile as she ran her hand right up into his crotch. Jordan gulped.
“Coffee, lots of coffee,” Sarah said before the waitress could even ask. The girl was young and looked a bit alarmed to see such a ragged group of recognizable faces. She scurried off and was back a second later with two full pots. No one chose decaf. But they did order everything else on the menu.
When the girl had covered two pages with writing and everyone had a full mug, Kris finally asked, “What happened last night?”
“There was line dancing,” Liz offered quietly. She was at the end of the booth, with Sid pulled up next to her at the head of the table. Jordan noticed Crosby cheated the chair as close to Liz as he could get and still rest his elbows on the table. Very casual.
The one girl he nails and she’s scared to death of him.
Jordan draped an arm around Cary’s shoulders and gave Sid a big shit-eating grin.
“You,” Sid pointed at Cary, “bought me an Irish car bomb. Something about leprechauns, which I think actually offended Man Boy.”
James laughed. “You offended a midget who lives in a house on the bar. That is impressive.”
“The bartender said you did six car bombs,” Cary shot back.
Sid opened his mouth to protest, then closed it like in a cartoon. He thought for a moment. “Six?” Cary nodded. With a grimace on his face, Sid looked at Liz. “Uh, us both waking up naked may be unrelated.”
The whole table roared. Liz covered her face, which gave Sid an excuse to put his arm around her like he’d been kidding. But Jordan knew he probably wasn’t. Captain Kool-Aid was more likely to throw up on someone than fuck them after six drinks.
Nice try, Kid.
Jordan pulled out the bar tab and recounted their adventures as the waitress distributed plates. No one copped to the eleven shots of tequila, and Geno was offended that Cary hadn’t bought him a single vodka. Then he realized his wallet was empty of cash and he’d probably been buying his own.
“A hundred bucks buys a lot of vodka at Casey’s,” James pointed out.
Geno just shrugged and ate an entire taco in a single bite, holding up one finger so everyone would wait. He swallowed it whole. “Too much vodka bad, wake up alone in bathtub with someone else’s underwear. Next time, bring less money.”
“Or buy me drinks,” TK suggested.
Cary enjoyed her second lunch and the feeling of Jordan’s huge body wedged in against her. It was like building a fort out of couch cushions and burrowing inside. Between that and her grilled cheese, she felt like a giddy schoolgirl every thirty seconds when she remembered he was Jordan Staal and fought the urge to freak out.
It didn’t help to look at Sarah, sitting across the booth. She was mostly in Kris’ lap and definitely all the way down his throat. They hadn’t stopped kissing for a second and Sarah seemed to have forgotten the coffee she ordered. The scruffy Frenchman’s hands traced a sliver of exposed skin on her lower back and Sarah was palming his bicep like a basketball. Cary shivered, every hair on her body standing up.
“Hey!” James said as he threw a wadded up napkin at the back of Kris’ head. “Give it a rest!”
Kris looked surprised to find everyone there with them. Then he just gave Neal a knowing look. “Okay. We’ll be back at your house soon.”
With that, Jordan shifted his weight closer. He didn’t look down, he just moved Cary physically without even trying. He could do that so easily.
That and a whole lot more.
“What happened to Flower? He with with us,” Sid went for his phone. He tapped the screen a few times, paused, then turned bright red.
“What!?” TK yelled.
Sid showed the phone to Liz, who gasped loudly enough to choke. Then he quickly shut it off and slipped it back in his pocket.
“Well that’s how our underwear got in the shower.”
“Oh my God show it to me!!” Cary nearly dove across the table. Liz just sat still and wide-eyed in shock. Sid squeaked away but Cary wasn’t giving up. She climbed across Jordan’s lap and into James’ without giving them a chance to get up. Sid was on his feet and backing up. Cary finally freed herself.
“Let me see it.”
“Liz says it’s okay,” Cary insisted.
Liz looked at Cary from the corner of her eye, not turning her head. She appeared to hold her breath for a moment, then all at once she exhaled, closed her eyes and nodded. Sid kept the phone in his hand - there was no way Cary could pry it away - and brought up whatever he’d been looking at. Before she could stop herself, Cary screamed. Then she pulled his hand in for a closer look.
The iPhone had a pretty great camera. Clear, sharp images even in less-than-ideal circumstances. So there was no mistaking the picture. Sid had taken tit in the bathroom mirror, a big clear swath wiped into the fogged glass. He and Liz were leaning in together, their hair full of shampoo and styled into weird shapes - Sid had horns, Liz had a convincing mohawk and pigtails. They leaned against each other laughing like a couple of kids - and they were both stark naked.
That counter is way too high.
Cary could only see Sid from the waist up, but it was enough to take years off her biological clock. He had one massive arm around Liz’s shoulders, covering her bare chest. Even shitfaced she was a little shy. But the expressions on their faces said they had plenty of fun anyway.
“Well?” Jordan asked, all lonely in the booth now with just James.
Cary closed the screen. “Strip Slip-n-Slide.”
Strip. Slip. Slide.
All of those words sounded good to Jordan. Cary had climbed over them to be funny, but Jordan was completely serious about anything that involved having her on all fours. He wanted a look at that photo so he could be sure Cary had a better time than anyone else.
Times she will remember.
Everyone went to their phones for evidence. Jordan and Cary had used theirs’ - nothing to be found. But Tyler busted up laughing and gave his phone to Cary.
“YES!” she shouted. Not only was it a photo of Jordan and Man Boy, but they were arm-wrestling.
“That’s before he arm-wrestled Geno, I remember that,” Tyler said.
“I remember too,” Geno cut in. “I lose.”
The next photo was Geno and Jordan in mid-contest, both red-faced from drinking and laughing. It did look like they were really trying. Even in the phone photo, Cary could see Jordan’s forearm flexing in detail. She may have drooled.
Jordan scrolled to the next picture. “Woot!”
Yes I want that picture as my computer background.
He quickly passed it away from Cary and she knew instantly what it was. “Geno, you didn’t spend that hundred bucks! You lost it on the arm-wrestling contest to TK. He used it to....”
“TK buy you this?” Geno held up the phone and Cary got a glimpse of what she expected - a photo of her giving Jordan a lap dance. She cringed, Jordan squeezed her against his side.
“Yeah, he paid Cary to give the winner a lap dance.”
Geno looked back at the picture, then at Tyler. “Maybe you should buy for yourself next time, Jordan no need help.”
“You don’t remember that?” Jordan asked, his head next to Cary’s as they studied the photo. Everyone had gone back to clearing their plates and draining their coffees. It was pretty convincing - she was between his thighs, her hips pressed against his crotch and her upper body poured all over him. With every second that passed, Cary felt the temperature rising.
I can’t go again right now. Well I could. But I won’t be able to walk later.
“Maybe if you did it again, it would come back to you.”
Do it again. Do this morning again, and the second time from James’ house and... and maybe the ice cream sundae.
When there was no more food in the restaurant, they headed back to James’ house. There was only Jordan’s car so he offered to take the girls back to their hotel and the guys back to their cars. Sarah sat on Kris’ lap in the middle row and TK was in the way back like a suitcase. Cary let Sid have the front and squeezed in next to Liz in the farthest seat.
“Are you okay?” she asked quietly.
Liz looked at her best friend with wide eyes. While this was insane and surreal to all of them, Liz had clearly taken the brunt of the surprise. And she was the quietest one to being with. Plus....
“Sidney Crosby,” she giggled softly. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Do you remember anything?” Cary flicked her eyes up and caught Jordan watching her in the rear view mirror. He was probably giving Sid a play-by-play lip reading. She smiled encouragingly.
“Not last night, no. I can’t believe I... and then this morning, I thought I was going to throw up I was so nervous. When you guys left... I had to get you out of there, I'm sorry! When you left he came right over and sat so close I was sure he must remember. And he was wearing that sheet! He asked if I was okay and if I remembered anything... I don't. He doesn't either, or at least he's too nice to say. So then it doesn't matter, right? We decided it doesn't."
She paused, watching the rear view mirror. "Then he asked if he could try again. Start over."
Cary's heart was pounding.
"And I was about to say yes, I mean I was freaking out, but of course I was going to say yes, when he kissed me. Just leaned right in, all wrapped in that sheet and kissed me."
She finally turned her eyes to Cary. "And that's it. I swear I would have... But he didn't do anything. And I almost died."
Cary had her head down, hiding her face from the front seats. Her mouth hung open in surprise and excitement. If ever there was a way to win Liz over, that was it. Another girl would have taken it further.
And by another, I mean me.
Crosby had guessed it on the first try. Well, maybe the second.
"Then you saw the picture," Cary remembered.
Liz closed her eyes like she could block out the image. "I can't believe I did that. I would never...."
"No," Cary cut in. "You would never normally. But before last night you'd have said that you would with him. And you probably did. So stop freaking out!"
"But I don't remember! If I'm going to do something crazy I at least want to be sure I did it! And that I remember it."
Cary put an arm around Liz's shoulders. "Only one solution. You'll have to do it again."
Jordan drove to the hotel first. Kris climbed out with Sarah, fingers twisted into hers, and said he would walk to the rink. Sid shifted his weight awkwardly while Liz stood just a little too far away, almost behind James.
"Soooo," James said, stepping out of the way and throwing Liz to the wolves, "you girls have any more friends around?"
"Sorry Nealer, we're just visiting," Sarah said with the conviction of someone who knew exactly where her next meal would be coming from. "And it's game night. Don't you guys have a curfew?"
"We just have to be home, we don't have to be alone," Tyler said, kicking a pebble.
"Okay, I go with you," Geno agreed like he'd been invited.
"I meant with a girl."
Geno rolled his eyes - he was Russian, not stupid. "If you want, we watch Titanic."
Jordan hugged Cary from behind, nearly lifting her off the ground. He was asking, but he really wasn’t. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Uh, shower and change?"
A shower sounds really good…
"We'll have to get your friends another room." He spun her around, pressing her against his
chest. "Or... you could get your stuff and come to my place."
Cary's warm brown eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled. "It's only one o'clock."
"So curfew's in ten hours. Think you can wear me out by then?"