“It’s not like he’s your boyfriend or anything, so what’s the problem?” Cindy asked exasperated.
“I Know that. It’s not the point. We were friends. He shouldn’t have treated me like that. It was almost like a father talking to his daughter. I am not beneath him, he had no right.” I said still sulking.
“Exactly, how dare he come to your rescue, and then try to keep us all from making a scene that would have had us banned for life. What an asshole. Maybe next time he will save some drowning man from dying and then get yelled at for not keeping the guys clothes dry.” Cindy retorted back.
“I hate you,” I said but she knew I didn’t mean it. I could tell by the smirk on her face. “Still he could have explained it better to me. He didn’t need to talk to me like that.”
“Maybe, but you were pissed. It was better we left when we did. Like I said, what’s the big deal. You have a ton of great men who are willing to throw themselves in front of you to save you. So you lose one, you have so many more.” Cindy said.
“You remember I hate you right?” I asked her.
“I hate you too.” She said laughing.
“Thanks Mark for going to Joe’s aid. That was brave of you.” I said not forgetting the guy driving the car.
“He would have done the same for me.” Mark said without even thinking.
Why was I the only one that seemed to have to think about Joe and just not come up with answers? Why was I acting this way? Why was I so depressed right now?
“How bad did I screw up?” I asked the consensus of the car.
“Do you want to tell her or should I?” Cindy asked Mark.
“I’m staying out of this.” Mark said concentrating on the road.
Cindy let out a sigh and then turned back around to look at me. “Cass, if he was your boyfriend, then you would have screwed up on a minor scale. Just being friends he’ll get over it or he won’t. Pretty simple. Either way you’ll be alright.” Then she turned around and watched the road where Mark drove.
He wasn’t my boyfriend, he was a good friend though and I didn’t want to lose him. Cindy was my only real friend other than Joe, and I didn’t want to lose him. I would think of something to make it up to him.
“So what’s her name?”
“Cassie,” I said grunting.
“And this Cassie doesn’t realize you like her and treats you like a friend she can use whenever she wants to?”
“Pretty much, but in her defense, she told me we could never be more than friends.” I said lifting the weights again.
I was in the athletic training room for the team trying to blow off some anger and frustration when Todd, the trainer, walked in. We were friends, but, I had never talked about my personal life like this before, and I wasn’t sure why I was now.
“So you saved her ass, and then she yelled at you. Sounds like you don’t have to worry about it anymore. If she was your girlfriend she would come back and apologize, just friends, well, maybe in a few days when she wants something. So don’t sweat it. Let it play out. Besides at this pace you are going to be sore as hell tomorrow.” Todd finished.
It had been three hours since she left me. She had to be home and squared away by now. “Yeah, you’re right. I’ll grab a shower and take off. Thanks for spotting me Todd, and listening to me whine.”
He laughed. “That’s what friends are for.”
He still wasn’t home. It had been three hours and he still wasn’t back. Where did he go? Was he hurt? Ass better not be hurt, I’ll hurt him if he is. Fine, he is going to get an earful tomorrow. I laid the peace offering in front of his door and went back to my apartment.
Cindy was right, he wasn’t my boyfriend, he was just a friend. Even so I didn’t want to lose him. So better accept the gift and be nice about it.
I was grabbing my keys out of my pocket so I didn’t see the item at the bottom of my door till I got closer. It was a six pack of Pepsi bottles and a note. The note read “I’m sorry”.
I smiled. Well at least she had forgiven me. I just don’t know why she couldn’t have trusted me the first time. Either way, I am sure the apology was going to followed by a but chewing in the morning so I better get some sleep.
The knock came at eight thirty. Holy crap, she was never out of bed this early. I knew it was her because no one else in the building was a friend of mine and I didn’t buzz anyone else in. Why was she out of bed this early? I didn’t even start breakfast yet.
I opened the door and she stood there looking as good as always. She walked right on by me into the apartment and began pacing. “Good morning to you too.” I said closing the door.
“Yeah, good morning. Ok, I thought about this all night. You were right, but you could have done a better job of explaining things to me than using my full name. I hate it when someone close to me does that.” She said still fuming.
“You’re right.” I said and she stopped pacing and stared at me.
Must be she was ready for a fight. Then when I gave in, it ruined her fun. I wasn’t done yet, so the fight would be here shortly.
“I’m glad you know that.” She said smiling.
She was breath taking, even when she was mad.
“Yeah, I went and saw a friend last night and they explained to me since I am not your boyfriend, I have no right to treat you that way.” I said walking past her into my kitchen to grab a Pepsi. I brought her a juice and handed it to her.
“Well yeah, but I wouldn’t want a boyfriend to do that to me either.” She said.
“I can see that, but a boyfriend has to be able to tell you when to calm down and help you. I’m not, so I will never overstep my boundaries again.” I said taking a long drink.
“You’re better than a boyfriend. You’re my best guy friend. Boyfriends can come and go, but you and I will be friends forever.” She said.
I loved the words forever when they came out of her mouth, but not the intention of just being friends. “Thanks for the Pepsi, by the way. It was nice of you. So what are you doing today?”
“I don’t know. I was hoping to hang out with one of my friends.” She said.
“Oh, well I won’t keep you. Have fun.” I said heading to the door to let her out.
“Asshole, I meant you. You and Cindy are my only real friends and she is probably still in bed with Mark.” She said.
“Oh, can I ask you a question?” I asked.
“I guess,” she looked scared.
“Has Cindy ever seen your apartment?”
“Yeah, she has come over a few times and sometimes I go over there. Why?” She aksed looking skeptical.
“I was just wondering if were such good friends why I have never been invited inside your apartment.”
She looked tormented. You could tell she was thinking of excuses. So I quickly beat her to the punch. “I guess Cindy is a better friend. Of course you have known her longer. No big deal.”
“it’s Ok if another girl sees my mess, but I couldn’t let you see it?” She paled as she said it.
“Why, did you think I would judge you?” I asked.
“Worse, pity me, and then try to help. No sir, my apartment is off limits to you. No man sets foot in my apartment ever.” She announced to the world.
I laughed and I guess the nightmare of last night was behind us. “As much as I would like to. I have a date today.”
“With who?” She asked quickly and urgently.
“A beautiful young lady, who appreciates me for me.” I said. Grabbing my sweat suit coat. I was wearing my Adidas jogging outfit and was pleased to see her squirm a little bit.
“Maybe I should come with you. You know to chaperone or something.” She asked.
I laughed. “You chaperoning me? Now that is priceless. You can come if you want, but you will want a jacket. Don’t put on anything to nice, I don’t want it to seem like it’s a completion between the two of you.”
“Give me ten minutes. Are we supposed to pick her up or are you meeting her somewhere?” She asked heading for the door.
“I am picking her up.”
“I see. I’ll hurry.” Cassie said and was out the door before I could even get the laughter out. Must be she was really bored if she wanted to tag along with me today.
He had a date. I didn’t even know he knew someone. We had been friends for a while now and he never said anything. How could he keep something like this from me? Well, will see if she is good enough for him.
I ran around my apartment looking for the right clothes. I saw something that would work perfectly. Giggling I ran to the closet and threw on the blue sweater that hugged me tight. And comfy jeans, yes that would work. I would take a jacket but I wasn’t wearing it till after the other woman stood next to me.
It wasn’t a competition. I just wanted her to know that Joe was my best friend. Yup that’s what I was after.
He knocked and I went to the door and opened it. He looked at me and then he looked down at my clothes. I could tell he liked it. He always gets this look when he thinks I look good in something, so I smiled even more.
“Come on we’ll be late.” He said walking toward the stairs.
I think I heard him growl under his breath. I locked the door and hurried after him. I couldn’t wait to meet this girl.
“So where did you meet?” I asked innocently.
“I’m a friend of her brothers.”
“I see. Where does she live.”
“She lives with her parents in the Glendale community.”
“Wow, nice neighborhood. I have some house accounts that live there. If she still lives with her parents must be she is younger than you?” I asked innocently again.
“You could say that.”
I hated these short answers he was giving me. I wanted the juicy stuff and he wasn’t giving me anything. I could slug him right now.
We pulled up in front of this gorgeous house that was like a dark wood siding that was two stories with a big deck in the back. I could tell there was pool as well and knew the girl came from money. I was sitting in the front seat next to Joe. He hadn’t asked me to move so I wasn’t going to. We would see how she liked riding in the backseat.
My breath caught in my throat as the door opened and I saw this caramel colored girl leaving the house. She was breathtakingly beautiful, and fifteen years old. I looked at Joe and he started laughing.
“You, asshole. You made me think it was another woman.”
“It is, just a younger woman.” He said laughing.
“I hate you.” I said smiling. He got me. And to think I wasted the blue sweater to try impress him.
Rhapsody got to the car and saw Cassie and climbed in the backseat. “Hey Joe, hey Cassie. I didn’t think Hockey was your thing.”
She was talking to me, but she was also looking at what I was wearing. Maybe the blue sweater was the right thing to wear? I didn’t know why, but it did seem like I was comparing myself to the young girl in the back.
“It usually isn’t but I want to try and broaden my horizons.” I said sweetly.
“Personally I like to see what’s right next to me before I branch out, but to each their own.” Rhapsody said sweetly but there was something to it.
I didn’t know where she was going with this but I wasn’t going to be schooled by a teenager. “So I know why Joe goes to these games, but why do you go?”
Now it was her turn to squirm a little bit. “Joe asked me to, for one. Second, you could say I’m shopping.”
“Oh, do they sell stuff at these games?” I asked.
Rhapsody and Joe both started laughing. I could take a good joke, why didn’t they share with me?
“I still don’t see why we have to sit up here if Rhapsody is down there.” Cassie asked.
It seemed evident to me. She looked too good in that purple form fitting sweater and this was about Rhapsody shopping, not Cassie.
“Rhapsody is working on who to invite to her party in a few months and I think it’s best to let the young men concentrate on her and not you.”
“Oh please, all those young boys wouldn’t look at an old woman like me.” She said.
I laughed. “I think I know boys better than you do. They would all look at you especially in that sweater that you’re not dressing up to wear.”
She did blush a little at that, but it was ok because I knew she was up to something when she thought it was a woman our age.
Now that they know you are here with me, and that you are keeping me sufficiently away from Rhapsody, the flirting will commence. Then, as if it was on cue, when a whistle was blown a couple of the guys skated by Rhapsody yelling hi to her.
The rest of the afternoon was like that. Every time there was a stoppage in play, a different guy would try and talk to her. I was happy to see that the guys concentrated in playing this time though. The coach’s talk must have worked.
“Will you do me a favor and put your coat on now please?” I asked Cassie before we joined Rhapsody.
She did smile at me as donned her coat which did help conceal the figure underneath a little bit better. We joined Rhapsody and then made our way to the staging area. I needed to talk to the coach’s and Rhapsody needed a few moments with the boys.
“Gentlemen, nice job. The boys played well and were not distracted this time. I applaud your speeches, whatever they were.” I said.
They both looked sheepish and neither would look at the other. I knew something was up. Not willing to wait any longer I asked.
“Alright, what did you two do?”
Tom was the first to speak. “We explained what you had said about not concentrating on the game.”
“If that’s all it took, then they are more mature than I thought.” I said.
“Then we showed them a picture of Tiny, and told them if didn’t concentrate on the game we would tell you which ones to tell her brother on.” Butch said laughing.
“You didn’t.” Cassie said laughing.
Both men were enamored with Cassie when I introduced them, but like the boys they coached, they concentrated on this game. “Yes maim. Today they did really well, and I think we are over the hurdle, at least with Rhapsody, but who knows for the next girl.”
“I’ll think about that. In the meantime, I need to collect my princess and get her back home, before her dad beats me like the frog.” I said laughing.
Everyone laughed with me except the boys when I took Rhapsody away from them. We got all the way to the car before she started giggling.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“I have sixteen phone numbers, but momma said I could only invite six. I told the boys and they said they would talk to you about it the next time you came.” Rhapsody said laughing.
“That was mean.” I said starting the car.
“I want to see you pull this negotiation off with momma. If you can pull this one off, you are the greatest negotiator in the history of the sport.” She said laughing.
Cassie looked at me.
“Long story, but it goes back to her brother signing with Montreal. I acted as his agent and he has a few special clauses in his contract out of the ordinary. They think I am the great negotiator, but if I can pull this one off, I will take the title and bow to the fans.” I said laughing
“This I have to see.” Cassie said laughing as well.