He almost told her, he wasn’t sure why he didn’t. It’s not that James didn’t think she’d be ok with it—ok that’s exactly what James thought. He knew her well enough to know that she wouldn’t react like a puck bunny, but what he didn’t know is whether or not she’d want to put up with it.
Late nights, wins, losses, traveling, the media. Puck bunnies even. It’s a lot for someone to take on, a lot for James to throw at a girl.
“I, uh, I play hockey. In a social league, type thing.” James stuttered
Real smooth, dumbass.
“Oh really?” she turned around, smiling. “My best friend Tori, remember her?”
“Her boyfriend—well fiancé, he plays in a social league too! Maybe you two play each other,”
“Maybe” James laughed nervously, downing the rest of his glass before pouring another.
It wasn’t long before dinner was ready. They sat at the dining room table catty cornered to each other, the conversation flowing.
To say the lies stopped there would be, well, a lie.
James’ nose must have grown two feet in one hour alone. He told Charlie that he was in the sports industry.
Not technically a lie.
When she asked if he was going to elaborate, he just laughed nervously. He worked in marketing and brand management.
Could I get by saying I marketed the Penguins… by playing for them?
James quickly but smoothly (he thought) turned the tables on Charlie and asked about her job. She was happy to oblige.
From the way she described her position as an assistant at a local, well-known event planning company, James knew that she loved her job. She didn’t stop smiling as she spoke, her hands animated.
He just watched and listened.
Charlie was mid sentence when she looked at James just watching her, “Oh. Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to ramble on and bore you,” she said shyly as she picked up her fork and took a bite of the chicken.
“Not at all,” James corrected her. “Ever thought about going solo? Creating your own company?”
She paused to think about his question, sipping her wine. “I love the idea. But I don’t think it’s something I’d actually do.” James motioned for her to continue. “I don’t think I have the skill to create something from nothing. My boss always talks about how hard it was for her to get going, I don’t know how she kept up with it,”
Charlie was silent for a moment staring off, lost in her own thoughts. “And honestly, I’m quite happy at where I am,” she looked at James with a truthful smile.
Charlie watched as James cleaned up the kitchen, the tables turning from their first dinner. The polo he wore put his arms on display—his huge, muscular arms. And that ass, a cup could sit on that rear end.
Is it the hockey that gave him that? God bless hockey!
As James finished up Charlie grabbed their wine and took a seat on the leather couch. A few minutes later James joined her, picking up his glass she had put on the coffee table and taking a seat on her left.
And by next to her, he was practically on top of her.
His arm lazily fell behind her head and across the back of the sofa. His thick thigh was pressed flush with hers. Charlie saw his lips moving as he talked enthusiastically but couldn’t hear a thing he said. Her mind was focused on keeping herself from attacking him.
She took a deep breath to relax her, but instead she inhaled the scent of his rugged, woodsy cologne. Delicious, she thought.
Charlie snapped out of her hypnosis, caught red handed.
“You alright?” James asked.
She bobbed her head up and down. Her eyes were unable to choose which to rest on, his lips or his eyes that peered down at her.
James smiled and his tongue slowly licked his bottom lip.
Charlie fought back a whimper.
Did she just whimper? Well I mean if she’s going to whimper I might as well give her something to whimper about, right?
James took the wine glass from Charlie’s hand, her grip releasing it easily. He placed them on the coffee table before leaning back.
He shifted his body towards her and brushed away the hair that had fallen from its place, a classic move. He leaned in and their eyes met, making sure he wasn’t misreading any signals.
Apparently, it wasn’t that he was misreading signals, but that he wasn’t acting on them fast enough.
Before James knew it Charlie had closed the gap between them and her mouth slammed into his.
James pulled back. His fingers against his lips, “Ow,”
Charlie looked mortified. Her blue eyes were wide as her hands clamped over her mouth. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” she mumbled beneath them.
“I didn’t mean to—I was just trying—I haven’t done this in a while,” she tried explaining, her words coming out incredibly fast.
James couldn’t help but laugh. He pressed his hand over her mouth to silence her, but she continued talking. His eyes bore into hers and she finally hushed.
“How about we try it again?” he whispered.
Charlie nodded slowly and James removed his hand, only for it to cup her cheek.
“I got this,” James laughed. She groaned in embarrassment, but did as he told.
James took his sweet time lowering his mouth to hers. He brushed his lips lightly across hers repeatedly before they came to a rest.
Gently, James kissed her full lips.
I could die right now. This might be Heaven.
Charlie sat still while James tortured her, his lips brushing hers here and there. When he finally kissed her full on, she about lost it.
James’ hands wandered down her side and stroked her thigh, while her own snaked their way around his collared neck. Afraid to disobey and make a move, Charlie parted her lips just so.
James didn’t hesitate to take advantage and faintly traced her bottom lip with his tongue. Charlie moaned in appreciation, and their tongues quickly entangled. They took their time memorizing the feel of one another’s lips, the feel of their kiss.
Charlie’s breath hitched in her throat when she felt his hand just under the hem of her skirt.
“I’m sorry,” James pulled away and apologized, his breathing heavy. He pressed his forehead against hers and whispered again, “Sorry,”
Charlie silenced him with a gently kiss. “It’s ok,”
He enveloped her in a hug and nuzzled into her neck. They sat like that for a few minutes, Charlie gently stroking his back.
“James?” she murmured. He answered with a grunt.
“I should get going,”
James squeezed her tighter, but he knew she was right. He pulled away and stole another kiss before helping her off the couch and into her jacket.
In the car James grabbed Charlie’s hand and held it between them, rubbing his thumb slowly against her soft skin. He wanted to take the long way, or a wrong turn—whatever got him more time with her. But his better judgment told him not to.
He parked outside her apartment and held her hand as he walked her up to her door.
“Thank you for dinner,”
Charlie smiled bashfully, “I had a great time tonight,”
James leaned down and kissed her once more. “I want to see you soon,” he whispered against her lips.
“You better,” she smiled, kissing his cheek and sneaking into her apartment before they could do anything else.