Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The One Where He Makes A Move...

It was late.  Music played loudly and beers were passed around. 

Usually after a game, especially a win at home, the younger guys go out to a bar or club.  However tonight everyone decided to keep it low key and headed to James’ apartment.

The Penguins’ tall and lanky blond sat on the sofa with an empty beer box in his lap.  His lips were pouty and his eyes confused, like any second beer would magically reappear for him to drink.

James rolled his eyes before grabbing the box and throwing it in the recycling.  He went to the fridge, only to come up empty handed.

The store it is!

He let his teammates know he’d be back in 20, and jogged to the store.


He grabbed two cases and went to the checkout line.  More than once he caught himself looking around for Charlie.

I highly doubt she spends her nights in the grocery store.  She’s probably out with her friends, or even worse—her boyfriend.

James was snapped out of his thoughts when he ran into something.

“Ow,” he heard a whimper.

There she was.  Lying on the ground in front of him was Charlie.  His smile grew when she recognized him.

“Well?” she said.   “Are you going to stand there or are you going to help me up?”

He quickly put down the cases and reached down to pick her up.  Her hands were soft and small, they practically disappeared in his.

“My apologies,” her hand was still in his.

James jumped at the sound of his phone going off in his back pocket.  “One second,” he motioned to Charlie.

“Nealerrrr!  Where are you?  We have no beer!” Jordan shouted.  James heard some shuffling around before a think Russian accent came on the line.  “Why no beer?  No beer, no fun.  You left to get beer.  You not back.  You lazy.”

He looked down at Charlie who was standing there awkwardly, twirling her thumbs.  Quickly he hung up on his teammates.

“Sorry about that,”

“It’s ok.  No beer, no fun,” she winked.

James blushed.  He had to get going, but he wanted to stay.  Just as he was about to ask if Charlie wanted to join she said something about how she had to go grab some things before heading out.  She left him standing there with his two cases at his feet.

Oh well, the guys would have scared her shitless anyway, for the better.  Right, you just keep thinking that James.


“Where are you?” she groaned.

“I’m like five minutes away, ten tops.   Geez, don’t get your panties in a wad,” her best friend sighed through the phone before hanging up.

Charlie was nestled in a booth at the back of a neighborhood coffee shop.  Her best friend Victoria was supposed to have met her twenty minutes ago.  You’d think when you’re planning a wedding you’d want to be on time.

Let’s just say it’s been a long 4 months.  I cannot wait till this wedding happens already.

She wondered why she got annoyed though—the last time Victoria was on time was when Tanner Smith had asked her to a house party back in high school.

She was twirling her hot chocolate when someone cleared his throat.

Well I’ll be damned.

“Look, if you want to ask me out, just ask me out.  You don’t have to stalk me first.”

James stood there in dark jeans, a Pittsburgh Penguins hoodie and a baseball cap on backwards.  In one hand he held a cup of coffee and the other was on his hip.

Charlie shrugged her shoulders, “Now where’s the fun in that?” she asked before taking a sip of her drink.  His smile widened, his lips pulled back to display his beautiful white teeth.  Charlie licked her lips.

Without asking—and like she’d tell him no—James slid into the booth across from her and leaned forward on his elbows.

 “So tell me Charlie, how long have you been following me?”  He sounded so cocky, but they both knew it was all fun in games.

I think.  He was joking right?

Leaning forward to imitate him, she replied, “Who said I’m the one doing the stalking?  I do believe I was here first, no?”

James nodded his head from side to side, “Eh, it’s debatable,”

Charlie giggled, her hair falling her face.  She ran a hand through it and pushed it behind her ears.  She hadn’t been this close to James before, his green eyes were mesmerizing.

They had stared at each other for just a bit, nothing coming from their lips but flirtatious smiles.  James took a deep breath like he was going to say something as Tori came barging through the coffee shop and up to their booth.

“I’m here, I’m here.  Let’s get this shit show on the road!” she announced eloquently.

“Oh,” surprised to see James sitting with her.  “Oh, well hello there.”  Her best friend eyed him up and down.

She introduced them, “Tori, this is James.  James, this is my best friend Tori.”  As they shook hands Tori grinned over at her, winking.  Charlie just rolled her eyes.

“Nice to meet you Tori,” James said politely.

“Oh please, call me Victoria.”  She pulled her hand back and stood there glancing at both sides of the booth.

“Well I should get go—“

“How about you join—“

Tori just laughed at their misshape.  James slid out of the booth to let Tori take his place.

“Would you two be interested in a little house party tonight?  It’s just a small get together with some of my friends,” he asked the girls, but his eyes never left Charlie’s.

“Oh, how fun!  Doesn’t that sound like fun Charlotte?” Tori beamed, kicking her leg under the table.

“Um, ow.” Charlie mumbled, glaring across the booth.  Her eyes softened as she looked back up at James, laughing at her friend’s eagerness.  “Thanks, but I can’t,”

Tori’s hand dropped on the table, “What?!”

“Oh, it’s alright,” James assured.  “Maybe another time,” it sounded like more of a question.

They said their goodbyes and both Charlie and Tori stretched their necks to watch James walk away.  When he was out of sight Tori turned back around.

“Damn you Charlotte!  You’re no fun!”

Without a word, Charlie reached for the left hand of her best friend and held up her ring finger.  “Doesn’t mean I can’t look,” she pouted.  “And what could you possibly be doing tonight?”

Charlie took the last sip of her drink and put on her coat.  “It’s Sunday, I do the same thing every Sunday,” she reminded her.

Sighing, Tori stood up with her hands on her hips.  “Alright.  Let’s go Wedding Planner!”


James had spent the better half of practice trying to figure out what to do.

He had asked Charlie and her friend to come to a house party last night, but she turned him down.  He didn’t have her number, which made Marc Andre publicly question his manhood. 

The Penguins had a home game the next night, and wouldn’t be back in town for week before a solid five days at home.  He didn’t want to wait that long, he couldn’t.

He could wait around for her to show up again at the grocery store, or even the coffee shop.

And that’s when it really is considered stalking, he thought as he sat at his stall and ripped of his hockey pads.

“Or, you could just grow a pair and bring her dinner,” his stall mate Pascal Dupuis suggested.

Oh shit, did I say that out loud?  Wait, that wasn’t such a bad idea.  I do know where she lives… creeper… Bring some dinner, a little wine.  Get to know her—get her number!

James clapped his teammate on the back, “Genius, Duper.  Genius,”

He grabbed a towel and headed into the showers, the ideas running through his head.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The One Where He Stalks...

They walked throughout the grocery store, picking up the last of the items they needed.  Ok, so that wasn't exactly true.  James followed her up the isles like a puppy, randomly picking up items to make it look like he wasn’t stalking. 

Which he totally was.

She wasn’t his type, brunettes were more his thing.  Hot wouldn’t be a word used to describe her.  She definitely wasn’t the kind of the girl any of the guys would go after—make up caked on, boobs pressed up to her chin, wearing next to nothing.  

But this girl, there was something about her that James couldn’t stop staring at, he was oddly attracted to her.  Her hair was pinned back and kept away from her delicate face.  Her eyes were by far her best feature, highlighted by minimal makeup.  The fluorescent lighting above magnified her pale skin.  James had to keep his eyes from traveling down the long necklace that draped down the front of her vintage music t-shirt.

She was embarrassed, as if her red face or how she turned her back on him wasn’t enough of a sign.  He could leave her alone and finish his shopping before heading home.

But isn’t chicken on my list? He snickered to himself, and walked up next to her just in two strides.  After a moment of staring at the selection before them, he spoke up.

“Push It was always my favorite of theirs,” James said casually.  “Oh, baby, baby.  Baby, baby,” he sang with the best girly yet gangster voice he could muster up.  For emphasis, he stuck his hips out and moved them in a wide circle.

She threw her head back and laughed.

I lied.  Her smile is her best feature.  And that laugh…


When finished, she headed towards the two lone registers that were light up and manned.

James stepped into the lane behind her and started unpacking his basket of groceries.

“And how are you doing this evening Miss Charlotte?” he overheard her get greeted.

Her name, check.

He was so caught up in trying to eavesdrop Charlotte’s conversation that he didn’t realize the teenage girl behind his own register.

“Sir?  Excuse me sir?  You’re total is $45.98,” she smacked her gum.

Snapping out of his gaze, he swiped his card.  “Sorry about that.”

He took his time grabbing the bags at the end of the belt.

“You’re not walking home alone young lady, it’s eleven o'clock at night!”

“Janet, I’ll be fine—“ Charlotte tried.

“Now what would I tell your mother if something happened to you?” the older woman scorned.

Charlotte looked around as ‘Janet’ went on with her lecture about safety.  Her eyes landed on James, and a small smile graced those pink, full lips.  He paused at the end of her lane.

“Janet,” she interjected, and nodded towards him, “I’m not walking home alone,”


Janet was like the overprotective aunt she never had, and wasn’t going to let her leave.  She saw him out of the corner of her eye and went for it. 

Cutting Janet off, she piped up.  “I’m not walking home alone,” she nodded towards the man at the end of the register.

The stranger played along.  “Ready Charlotte?” he asked, grabbing a few of her groceries.  She hid her surprise when he knew her name, and walked along side him as they headed for the exit.  Waving behind her as Janet called after her to say hello to her mom.

“Thanks a lot for saving me,” she smiled and reached for her bags but he pulled them away.  “Which way?” he asked instead, and started walking through the parking lot.

She led him in the direction of her place, and their steps became in sync.

“Charlie,” she said after a moment. 

The man looked at her, confused.

“I go by Charlie,”

Oh hot damn, she thought, that smile is a beauty.

He grinned over at her and introduced himself, “James.  I go by James,” he mocked her.  James held out his hand before remembering it was full, so instead Charlie gave him an awkward fist pump, giggling.


“This is me,”

Charlie stopped in front of the double doors of an old building, only three blocks past James’ apartment.  They stood there awkwardly in silence for a few seconds before she rolled back onto the heels of her boots.

“Ok.  Well, thanks for walking me home.  I appreciate it, and I know Janet did to,” she teased and went for the door.

James was quick to stop her, “Charlie?”

She turned around and looked him in the eyes.  He stood there with his eyebrow cocked and arms out, “your groceries.”

He handed them over, making sure she could carry them up to her second floor apartment.  He made sure they had all their groceries straightened out before he took a step back.  “Goodnight,” he smiled.

“Night,” she replied before quickly disappearing up the stairs, and James made the short trek to his own apartment.

He walked into his apartment and unloaded the groceries on his island counter and started to put them away.

Fish sticks.  Cream cheese.  Sour cream.  Popsicles.  Why did I get all this?  James had to laugh when he remembered he was randomly grabbing items to keep near Charlie.

I’m pathetic.


It was a cold and cloudy day in Pittsburgh.  With the day off from practice, James took jog around the neighborhood.

As he was running down the familiar nearby street, his mind flashed back to the late night shopping almost a week ago.  

He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about her.

Without hesitation James looked both ways and jogged up to the door of her building.  He slipped past the front doors and took the steps two at a time before stopping at her door, a light shown through the frosted glass.

I hoped that means she’s home, he thought as he knocked on the door.

Wait.  What do I say when she asks why I’m here?  Shit.  I am pathetic.

But James didn’t have to worry, no one came to the door, no noise could be heard inside.  He lingered there for a second more before heading back down the steps to finish his jog.


One foot was under the warm water of the shower before she heard a knock at the door.

Your timing is impeccable, Charlie rolled her eyes.

She turned the water off and wrapped a towel around her naked body.  She turned the latch latch opened up the door, only to find no one there.

Hmmm... maybe I'm just hearing things.

Charlie locked the door again and tiptoed across her quiant family room to the window.  She pushed the curtain aside and looked outside.  All she saw was a woman walking her dog and a man jogging down the street just before he turned the corner.

Oh well.  Shower time.

The One Where They Meet...

He stood there with the refrigerator door open, staring at what little options were in front of him.  Besides a bottle of mayonnaise, all there was was Gatorade and leftover Chinese food from the other night.

Typical bachelor, he thought.

Sighing, James reached for the Chinese food.  The top popped open and the worst foul smell filled the kitchen, and he quickly threw it in the trashcan at the end of the island.

Glancing at the clock, he grabbed his wallet and turned towards the front door.  James hadn’t taken two steps when he turned back on his heel and grabbed the trash bag, dropping it down the trash chute by the elevator before he headed out onto the Pittsburgh streets.


The doors opened automatically as James walked into the grocery store just a couple blocks from his apartment building.

It was late and near closing time, the isles abandoned and left disordered by the swarm of customers during the day.  The music played through the speakers clearly, a relaxing break from the usual sounds of hectic shoppers, rolling carts and beeping registers.

James grabbed a basket and walked to the far right of the store where he started wandering up and down each isle.

He went through his mental checklist, making sure he didn’t forget anything.
Cereal, check.  Pasta, check.  Milk, check.  Chicken and beer.  Lots of beer.

James rounded the corner of the isle to grab the last of the things he needed, coming to a halt at the sight before him

“I swear, I stared, my niece my witness.  The brother had it goin’ on with somethin’ kinda… uh.  Wicked, wicked oooh had to kick it.  I’m not shy so I asked for the digits…”

Like it was karaoke night, the girl in front of him was rapping to the music coming from the speakers above, swaying from side to side like she were Salt N’ Pepa.  She hadn’t noticed him, James looked around to see if anyone else was as witness to this but he was alone.

Breaking into the chorus, he took the moment to give her a once over.

She was small, he had to have had almost a foot on her.  Her wavy, dirty blonde hair fell midway down the back of her short leather jacket.  His eyes went further down, admiring the way her dark gray skinny jeans hugged her curvy legs before disappearing into a pair of black boots.  Her hips swayed from side to side and her shoulders shook as she danced.  

Standing in front of the chicken selection, she would pick up a package and get distracted by the song once more before putting it back and doing it again like a dance.

“You’re packed and you’re stacked especially in the back.  Brother, wanna thank your mother for a butt like that,”

“Well I’ll be sure to thank her for you,” James finally spoke up, trying not to chuckle.

The petite blonde whipped around at the sound of his voice, dropping the chicken in her hand.  Her eyes went wide in embarrassment when she saw that she had an audience.

Her cheeks turned ten shades of red, and James didn’t bother holding back the smile that came to his lips.


She wanted to disappear, right there.  Let the floor open below and swallow me!  She begged.

It was bad enough that she was caught rapping to Salt N’ Pepa in a grocery store, but did he have to be so good looking?!

Leaning against the stack of soda boxes at the end of a nearby isle, stood one handsome man.  The navy blue V-neck sweater was rolled up to his elbows and was taut across his wide shoulders.  He wore a watch on the wrist of the hand he casually had stuffed in his front pocket.

There’s just something ridiculously sexy about a guy who wears a watch.

A pair of light blue jeans hugged his thick legs like wrapping paper, and the only thing more distracting than those jeans was his smile.  She was pretty confident that with that smile, he could get away with murder.

Gladly, she thought.

He took a step towards her, “That was a pretty good performance,” he winked.

Oh shit.

She mentally shook herself back into reality as quick as she could.  “Heh, I’ll be here all week,” she laughed nervously.  She picked up the chicken off the floor and turned her back on the man staring at her, the selection of chicken had become quite interesting.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw him walk up next to her, just as intrigued in the chicken as she.

“'Push It' was always my favorite song of theirs,” he said nonchalantly.  “Oh, baby, baby.  Baby, baby,” he sang, not without thrusting his hips slightly.

She looked up at him, and was met with just a second of seriousness before a smile cracked at the corner of his lips.

The two broke out in fits laughter, the sound filling the deserted grocery store.