Monday, April 23, 2012

The One Where Kris Saves The Day...

“We’re going out, boys!” Staal hollered, slapping their goalie on the back as he walked out of the showers.  Guys whooped in reply as they were taking off their gear and slipping back into their suits.

James was sliding on his dress shoes, thinking about the 3-1 win.  He had two power play goals against his former team, the Dallas Stars.  He had to admit it felt good to score on them, almost like a “fuck you for trading me.”  But really, he loved Pittsburgh—the team, the town, Charlie.

He was lost in thought about the blonde, blue-eyed girl when Kris sat down next to him nudging him in the shoulder.  “So?  Will we be seeing Charlotte tonight?” he asked excitedly.

I will be, you guys won't,” he replied.

“You’re going to have to bring her around at some point, mon ami,” Kris followed him out to the players parking lot.  “She seems like a great girl, she could handle the guys,” he encouraged.

James stopped, so abruptly that Kris practically ran into him.  “She doesn’t know,” he mumbled when he turned around.


“Look,” James started, “Charlie’s not really a hockey fan.  She has no idea what I do, about you guys,”

The Frenchman looked at him quizzically, “But when I met her I mentioned tonight’s game,”

“I told her that I play in like a local league,” James hung his head, embarrassed.  “Look, I’m going to tell her—when the time is right,”

“You do realize that this isn’t going to end well?” Kris sighed and shook his head in pity, “When there are lies involved, it never ends well.”


They walked straight up to the local hot spot, and with just a nod from the bouncer they snaked their way into the club. 

The air was thick and warm from the masses of bodies.  It was dark except for the colored lights above that jumpy, always spotlighting one person for no more than a few seconds before moving on to the next.

James held Charlie by the hand firmly and led her to the staircase in the far corner.  The second floor overlooked the dance floor below, it had it's own bar and was less crowded. 

Charlie glanced down at her outfit and was glad she had looked up the dress code.  It wasn’t your typical club all-out attire, but had she listened to James, she would have been in jeans and a tee.  Luckily she had chosen a pair of red skinny jeans and a thin black spaghetti strap tank top, sassy but casual.

She propped herself up onto a bar stool and turned towards James, who stepped in between her legs.  “It’s crowded, trying to save space,” he winked, running a hand up and down her thigh.  “Drink?”

Within a matter of seconds James had a beer in his hand and was passing her a rum and coke.  It was the fastest service Charlie had ever seen.  But it the idea was immediately gone from her mind as James leaned in to whisper in her ear, “Have I told you how beautiful you look?”

“Only about five times,” Charlie giggled, “But I won’t ask you to stop,”

He pulled away, stealing a quick kiss before taking a sip of beer.  “Aren’t your friends supposed to be here?” she asked.

James looked around and scratched the back of his neck, “They’re probably here somewhere,” he shrugged.


One beer and two rum and cokes later, Charlie and James were having a great time.  The second floor quickly filled up with people looking for a good time.  James ended up taking the bar stool and Charlie stood snug in his lap.  They were lost in conversation when a tall, lanky blonde came up to James, clapping him on the shoulder.

“First fucking star of the game!” Jordan shouted, wrapping an arm around James’ shoulder.  “I bet the Stars are missing you and crying like pussies, fuck them!  Right Nealer?”

James froze.  The hair of the back of his neck stood up and his mind raced.  He had been avoiding the guys all night, ignoring their numerous texts and phone calls.  James had wanted to tell Charlie the truth—especially after a game like tonight.  He wanted to celebrate, and he wanted her to join.

But of course, he chickened out.  And now he wanted nothing more than to go back in time and tell the truth.  And to punch Jordan.

He finally looked down at Charlie, who tilted her head and was looking between the two men, puzzled.

“You know, my boy here has great stamina on and off the ice,” Jordan slurred, leaning too close to Charlie for James’ liking.  Before he could do anything about it, Jordan was pulled away by none other than the Frenchman.

“That piece of tail you’ve been chasing is waiting for you downstairs at the bar, Staalsy,” Kris turned him towards the stairs before he took off.  “Sorry about him, no manners.  And he doesn’t know how to hold his liquor,” he joked.

“Charlotte, it’s so nice to see you again!” Kris pulled Charlie in for a hug.  She gave him a genuine smile before turning back to James.  “Um, what was he talking about?” she asked quietly.

“Who?  Oh, Jordan?” James scoffed.  “Don’t pay attention to a thing he says, no one ever does,”

Charlie wasn’t buying it.  Her brows were furrowed and her lips were pressed tightly together.

“Ma belle,” Kris piped up, “We had a game tonight, and our friend James here scored us two goal to help us win!”  James glared at Kris and was about to yell at him before he noticed Kris subtly motioned with his hands saying that he had it under control.

“Oh I didn’t know you had a game tonight," Charlie hummed.  "Do you play with James, Kris?” she asked.

“Ah, yes I do.  Jordan too," he motioned after the blonde.  "It was a late game, and James never does well with guests in the stands," Kris fibbed, "Especially if there was a pretty little thing like you in the crowd rooting for him—he’d be useless,” 

Charlie stepped towards Kris and placed a hand on his arm, “I like him!” she exclaimed.

James rolled his eyes, removing her hand from his teammates muscular arm, “So you’ve said,”

She laughed before drinking the last of her drink and excusing herself to the ladies room.  The second she was out of earshot James turned to Kris and practically bowed down to him.  “Thank you Tanger, I don’t know—I panicked!” he cried.

“I’m not always going to be there James,” Kris said like a disappointed father.

James ran a hand through his messy hair, “I know, I know.  I’m going to tell her.  I am.”


Charlie came back refreshed to find Kris and James in an intense conversation.  She cleared her throat so she wouldn’t hear anything they didn’t want her to.  Kris whipped around and James plastered on a fake smile.  He rubbed the back of his neck—which Charlie was beginning to think was a nervous habit.

“Ma belle!” Kris grinned.  “I do believe you owe me a dance,”

She squealed, placing her hand in his and letting him lead to the dance floor below.  It was hot and sweaty bodies were bumping into them from all sides.  Charlie usually didn’t dance in public so willingly—but then again, liquor can make people do anything.

Kris twirled her around before stepping in, bringing her hands around his neck.  His hands rested her on her hips respectively, and they quickly found a rhythm to the music blaring through the speakers.  They hips swayed close together as they danced for the first song not saying a word.

Charlie was brought out of her daze when Kris leaned in to talk.  “So, you and James,” he shouted.  She eyed him, but couldn’t keep a grin from her lips.  “So, me and James,” she mocked.  Kris raised an eyebrow, wanting her to continue.

She sighed and laughed, “He’s a great guy.  I like him a lot.”  A slight blush rose to her cheeks.

“And I know he likes you.  Just…” Kris struggled to find the words.  “Like you said, he’s a great guy—one of the best that I know.  Just keep that in mind, ok?  He always means well,”

She hadn’t realized but they had stopped dancing.  Her stomach turned, but she couldn't tell if it was the alcohol or his words, “Kris, what are you saying?”

“Nothing!  Nothing,” he reassured her.  “But I will tell you that jealousy does not look good on your man,” Kris laughed quietly before he dropped his hands from Charlie’s waste.  “James,” Kris nodded before winking at Charlie and disappearing into the throng of people.

Charlie turned around to find James, jealousy dripping down his face.

“Oh hush,” Charlie swatted his chest.  “It’s not like he’s got sex hair that you just want to pull.”  

James pulled her against his chest tightly, muffling her laugh.  He snuck a thick thigh between hers and the two moved slowly against each other on the dance floor.  

Charlie wound her arms around his neck and her hands ran through James' full hair.  “Hmmm, I’d say it’s a winner,”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The One With A Movie...

“Hey, zip your face!”
“Zip my face?  Are you serious?”
“Yeah, he said ‘zip your face’.”
“That’s you’re best line?  That’s your best line tough guy?”
“You heard me.  Zip your face.”
“Why don’t you just zip your vagina, Raymond Burr!”
“I have no idea how to respond to that!”

Charlie giggled as she watched Date Night, her laugh vibrating against James’ chest.

It was a low-key Thursday night.  James didn’t like to do too much the night before a game, so he suggested an early movie at Charlie’s place.

James was too tall to fit on her couch and had to bend his knees.  Charlie snuggled in beside him using his left arm as a pillow.

I don’t see what the problem is with spooning, he thought.  What guy wouldn't want this?

He thought the movie was funny, but not as much as Charlie.  She was laughing the whole time, her head fell back against him with glee when she thought it was really funny.  James loved the sound of it.  When she thought something was funny she’d scrunch her nose up and smile, a child-like giggle escaping.  And when something was hysterical she would through her head back, her eyes closed, as her mouth would open slightly but no noise, she would just gasp for air.

Head falling back, eyes closed, mouth open… reminds me of something else…  Down boy!

But it was hard not to let his mind wander.  Whenever Charlie would shift her t-shirt would ride just a hair up her stomach.  James wanted so badly to move his hand from her hip to the exposed skin just above her jeans.

Watch this, he snickered to himself.

James reached across Charlie and grabbed the remote from the table, turning it up just a notch.  When he drew his arm back, he draped his hand above her waist.

Slowly he began to twist the hem of her top around his fingers.  After a few minutes, James slipped his hand under her shirt, resting it gently on her stomach.

Charlie wrapped her leg back around his, she sighed and cuddled in closer to him.

James dropped his head down and nuzzled into her neck.  He placed a trail of kisses from her shoulder blade to behind her ear.

“You’re missing the movie,” she giggled.

 “I’ve seen it before,” he whispered heavily in her ear before rolling onto her, securing her in his arms.  Charlie didn’t put up a fight, and instead she wrapped her arms loosely around his neck. 

James took in the sight before him, or under him really. 

His finger lightly traced the small curve of the bridge of her nose, then along the faint scar just above her upper lip.  She closed her eyes as James slowly counted each freckle under her right eye.  When his fingers followed the soft line of her jaw he kissed her.


Tina Fey and Steve Carell no longer had their attention, not when they were distracted with each other’s lips and hot-to-the-touch skin. 

All it took was for one kiss, one kiss and things got heated pretty quickly. 

James ducked down and kissed the flesh of her bare neckline, occasionally grazing his teeth across her collarbone.  Charlie threaded her fingers up into his hair, clutching onto fistfuls whenever James would nip at her skin.

While one hand played with the boundaries and stroked along the soft flesh just below her bra, the other moved down her back and grabbed onto her ass firmly.  He pulled her up to him as he grinded himself down.

Charlie bit her lip as a battle between good and evil broke out inside.

She’d be a liar—and an idiot—if she said she didn’t want this.  Quite honestly if things didn’t stop there, she would regret nothing in the morning she was sure of it.  James was winning her over, body and mind.  His charming personality and ridiculously gorgeous body was becoming a fixture in her life.

But then it would creep up in the back of her mind, the idea that things were moving too fast.  She hadn’t even known James for a month.  For some girls that doesn’t mean anything, but Charlie wasn’t one of them.  She didn’t want be just another girl to James, she wanted to be ‘the girl’.

Charlie was brought back to reality when James made his way back up to her lips.  The taste of his kiss was intoxicating—like a drug, it had her doing things she wasn’t aware of.

Her hand had slipped under his sweater.  She felt him grin against her lips when she gasped a little at the feel of his toned abs.  Charlie dragged her nails across his taught stomach.  James’ hand still gripped her ass, but she was in full control when she raked her hips against his.  It was his turn to gasp.

“Charlie, baby,” he moaned quietly.  “We need to stop,”

“Mhm,” her breathing a little heavy, “You’re right,”

James kissed her deeply.  Charlie bit his bottom lip and tugged on it as he pulled away, winking when it slipped out of her hold.

“Fuck,” James grunted.


This girl is going to be the death of me.

James grinned, stealing a glance from across the couch.  He made her sit on the opposite side, their legs intertwined between them.  He had to be stern with her though, grabbing her foot multiple times when she tried snaking it up his leg.

When the movie was finally over, Charlie made a comment about having to watch it again when James left to see all the parts she had missed.  For some odd reason that made him proud.

Charlie was in the kitchen putting away their drinks and her leftover popcorn.  James sat there on the couch, his arms relaxed and lying on his stomach.  He was looking around the room when a picture caught his eye.

He had seen it before.  It was a photo of her with her mom and brother.  They might not have known each other long, but he thought he’d ask about the man missing.

“Where's your dad?” James held the up the photo from her college graduation as he walked to her at the sink.

He must have caught her off guard because she dropped a dish she had been washing.  “Uh, what?” she stuttered.

“Your dad,” he repeated casually.  “Was he not there?”

Charlie stared at the picture for a minute, her expression blank.  “No, he wasn’t,” she answered indifferent.

“I suppose you don’t want talk about it?” he laughed lightly, hoping he didn't upset her.

She smiled at him, though he could tell it was forced.  “Not really,” she said quietly.  “It’s getting late,”

Maybe asking wasn’t such a good idea, James kicked himself.  Still, he took her cue and walked with her to the front hall to grab his coat.

“Are you still up for tomorrow night?” he asked, a little too eager.

“Sure.  How dressy do I need to be?”

“Don't need to be, it's pretty casual,”

Charlie eyed him, “I’ll Google the place.  I don’t trust you,” she laughed.

“You’ll look great in anything,” he kissed her.

“Ugh, so corny!” she teased.

James tapped her ass on his way out, “I’ll pick you up at 11.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

The One Where Kris Shows Up...

Charlie plopped down in her chair and the overstuffed folder landed on her desk with a thud.  She laid her head back and closed her tired eyes.

They had just gotten out of a two hour-long session about tending to their clients.  Newly hired Jessica asked a million questions, prolonging the best part of it—the end.  She was all for giving clients what they want, but she had been working with the company for almost two years now and she was damn good at it. 

Charlie had trained under president and boss, April, something that doesn’t happen anymore with the company growing and all.  Whenever they had a major client, she shadowed April.  And if she were too busy to take on a small-scale project, Charlie was the one who’d take over.

Her phone buzzed from inside her purse, stopping her from dozing off.  It was from James.

Images of last night came flooding back.  Though it wasn’t anything grand, just making out like teenagers, it was still big for Charlie.

No dating, no relationships, and no hook ups—she hadn’t been with anyone in almost a year.  It took a while for her to recover from the disaster left behind by the last guy she was with.

There was something about James though, something that made her want to try again.

Charlie opened her phone and read his text.

From: James
Have you grabbed lunch yet?

To: James
Nope.  What did you have in mind?

From: James
Meet you outside Girasole in 15?

To: James
On my way!

She threw her phone in her purse and turned around to grab her coat from the hook in the corner.  She was startled when she turned around to see April standing there.

“Where are you going?”

“To lunch?” she said slowly, like she wasn’t sure it was the right answer.

“Just give me a second, I’ll go grab my things,”

“Uh, but uh,” Charlie stuttered.  She sure as hell didn’t want April tagging along, but she didn’t want to tell her why or about James—not yet at least.

“I’m actually meeting somebody,” she blurted out.

April studied her, her eyes boring into Charlie.  Charlie couldn’t help but feel nervous, checking her watch and playing with her hair, tucking it behind her ears.

Her boss crossed her arms and stood on her hip for emphasis, “Who’s the guy?”

“Guy?  What guy?  There’s no guy,” she slid her coat on and shuffled past April.  “Gotta go, see you in an hour!”

Charlie practically ran through the hallways—either because she was running from her boss, or running to James, she wasn’t sure.


James stood outside the restaurant in the November cold all bundled up.  The wind ripped through Pittsburgh reminding everyone that winter was fast approaching.

He pulled his beanie down over his ears before shoving his hands back into the pockets of his pea coat.

“It’s not that cold,”

James grinned at Charlie as she walked up to him, standing on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek.

“I thought you were from Canada,” she teased.  He held the door open for her, shooing her into the warm restaurant. 

He stared subtly as Charlie shed her winter wear, revealing a tan long sleeved sweater dress.  A skinny belt accentuated her curvy waist and the dark brown flat-heeled boots kept it casual.

It took him a second to realize that she was talking to him, “James?”

“Hmm?  What?”  She pointed towards the hostess.

“Oh, sorry,” he mumbled.

She just smiled and asked him again, “Mr. Neal would you like a table in the back as usual?”

James nodded and gestured Charlie to go ahead and follow the hostess, any opportunity to stare at her figure again.

When they were seated and left alone in the back corner of the restaurant, James leaned across the table and kissed Charlie gently on the lips.

“I forgot to do that,” he smiled.

Her eyes fluttered and she licked her lips before hiding her blushing cheeks behind the lunch menu.  James didn’t need to look at the menu, he got the same thing every time he came, so instead he just ogled her.

Their waiter was quick to greet them and just as quick to fill their drink order.

Charlie cleared her throat and played with the straw in her water.  “So uh, do you take all your dates here?” she laughed nervously.  “I mean they seem to know you pretty well,”

James couldn’t help but smile at her worry.  “I come here with my teammates sometimes, good food,” he slid his leg between hers comfortingly.

The conversation flowed easily after that.  He asked about her day at work and let her vent about some long meeting she had to attend for no reason.  When their food arrived it was quieter as both enjoyed their dishes.

He was picking at her dish when he noticed someone walking up to the table.

“Well ‘allo there James,”

Oh dear God no.

“Hey Tanger,” he anxiously greeted his teammate.

Kris stood there bouncing on the balls of his feet, glancing between James and Charlie. 

“James, are you going to introduce me to this beautiful lady?” he eyed him.

No.  Now go away.

“Yes, right.  Kris this is Charlotte, Charlotte meet Kris,”

Kris surprised her by grabbing the hand she held out to shake his, taking it and kissing the back of her hand, “Bonjour Charlotte,”

James couldn’t help but noticed the blush on Charlie’s cheeks as she smiled shyly.

God damn him and that French accent!

“It’s so nice to finally meet you.  James here has told me so much about you,”

“Well I mean, I,” he stuttered.

Charlie winked at him, “Good things I hope,”

“What else would there be?” Kris pretended to be shocked, holding a hand to his heart.

She giggled, “I like him,”

James forced a small laugh.

“So are you joining us for a night out on Friday?”

Charlie looked across the table cocking an eyebrow.

“I wasn’t sure if you’d be up for it, I was going to—”

“James, it’s ok,” she reassured him with a smile.

“We have a game on Friday.  A bunch of the guys were thinking of heading out to the club afterwards,” he explained quickly.

Kris smiled merrily as James mad an ass out of himself.  “I’m sad to say that my teammate here is a fool,” he snickered.  “However I am happy to hear that you’re not taken!  I would love for you to be my date on Friday,” he laid it on thick and put a hand softly on her shoulder, letting it linger.

Hands off.

James’ fists clenched underneath the table, “Kris,” he growled.

Tanger through his hands up in defense, “Alright, alright.  But I will have to claim you for a dance, I’m a great dancer,” he grinned, kissing her hand once more.

“See you Nealer,” he winked at him, giving him a punch in the arm.

James sat there for a minute, his body rigid and mind elsewhere.  Charlie just rested her elbows on the table and waited.


Waiting, waiting.

Charlie sat there patiently—sort of—until James snapped out of whatever daze he was in.

“I’m, I’m sorry about him.  Kris is,” he paused to think of the word.

“Playful?” she winked.

James laughed.  “I really was going to ask,” he reassured her.

She reached for his hand to give it a squeeze, and pulled it back so they could finish their meal.

Charlie was quick to grab the bill when it came, James had been so gracious before and she thought it was her turn to pay.

James helped her into her jacket and followed her out of the restaurant.

“I’m this way,” she pointed over her shoulder towards her building.

He gestured in the opposite direction, “I’m this way,”

She pulled on the lapel of his jacket, running it through her fingers.

“Come with me on Friday?” James asked a bit pleadingly.

Charlie toyed with him, “Hmmm, that depends,”


“If you’re as good as a dancer as Kris claims to be,” she giggled.

James rolled his eyes.  He grabbed her wrist and pulled her into him. 

“Oh, I’m very good on the dance floor,” he said softly.

Charlie leaned in and kissed him, “I’ll be the judge of that.”  She gave him one more kiss before leaving the warm embrace of his arms to walk back to her office.