Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chapter 11: Over Protected

I watch as a bright pink bubble forms in front of his lips while he skates around the ice. All the Pens players taking shots at the net as the Senators do the same on the opposite end of the ice.

“I didn’t realize how much I missed hockey,” Paddy murmurs beside me, “I haven’t been on skates in years.”

“You could’ve made it you know. To the NHL, I mean, or at least the AHL,” I reply quietly looking over at him as he watches the players skate on the ice.

“Nah, I didn’t have the drive, although I probably travel more than they do,” he chuckles, “But I wouldn’t talk if I were you, you could have made a pro soccer team.”

“Yeah, I could’ve, but that wasn’t ever my dream, it was Dad’s,” I laugh, “Plus, running away from grave robbers is a bigger adrenaline rush.”

“Speaking of fun, are we still going out with the team after the game?” Paddy asks.

“Max said we can if we want to, I figured you could use some good Pittsburgh fun before you leave,” I shrug, taking a bite of my nachos.

“Sure could!” he grins.

“You can’t bring anyone back with you, got it? You go home with someone, not bring someone home. The last thing I want is to be sexiled from my apartment,” I warn, pointing my finger at him after I lick the cheese off it.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah” he brushes off as the lights dim and the Penguins take the ice, reaching over into the plastic platter of nachos in my lap.

“I’m serious Padraig.”

“Shh… Maggs the game is starting,” he mumbles over a mouthful of nachos.

I roll my eyes and turn my attention to the ice.

Max’s POV

“Oooh that’s a nice one Max, you’re gonna get all the ladies tonight with that eye shadow,” Fleury grins at me after inspecting my black eye.

“Fucking Chris Neil,” I grumble, pulling off my padding. Unlike the rest of the team who was in a good mood from the 2-1 win over the Senators, there is something about a black eye that can make you a little grumpy.

“He sure knows how to land a punch, eh Talbo?” Engelland says from across the room.

“Yeah, and Max sure knows how to take one,” Sid laughs from beside him.

“Shut up Wonder Boy, at least I’ll be brave enough to travel to the dance floor tonight,” I grin back.

“You know I can’t do that,” he grumbles, frowning at me. Poor Kid, he couldn’t do anything without it being everywhere.

“Everyone decent?” a voice calls out.

A collection of “Yeah”s are the reply, provoking the door open. In barges the girl that has been on my mind lately. She wore the same oversized Penguins shirt I had given her before, it was ridiculously big on her, masking her curves. The front was tucked into her dark jeans, which were torn in both knees and once high up on her right thigh, the denim hugged her curves perfectly. The tips of her brown leather boots peaked out at the bottom. Her coffee colored hair was twisted into a loose braid that was swept over her shoulder. She had her hands on her hips as her green eyes scanned the room, before landing on me. A smile replaces the frown on her face and I find myself smiling back, my stomach dropping in excitement as she approaches. Padraig comes in behind her, trying to keep a straight face.

“Max Talbot, you need to learn how to fight!” She calls out loudly, making the whole room chuckle, “Good game guys! Congrats on the win!”

Every one throws back a “Thanks Maggs.” They were getting too used to having her barge in the door.

I glare at her declaration, “I can fight!”

“Pffft, like a girl,” she says rolling her eyes, her hand comes up to my jaw and she stands on her toes to get a close look at my eye. All I had to do was turn my head back around and I could easily connect my lips with her sarcastic smirk. Her green eyes refocus on my eyes and they widen slightly, as I look down to her pink lips. Obviously she didn’t realize how close she was. I begin to close the distance when Paddy clears his throat from behind Maggie.

“Damn! He really landed that punch!” Padraig says, looking over Maggie’s shoulder.

Maggie looks at me and backs away only slightly, and I watch as she quickly composes herself. I clear my throat slightly, that was a horrible idea.

“Jesus Christ, Talbot, that’s going to be a hell of a shiner,” Maggie says shaking her head, her finger tips brushing over the tender skin making me wince. “You’re going to have to start wearing Flower’s mask, if you keep fighting like that,” she says taking a step away and jerking her thumb over to the goalie next to me.

Marc-Andre grins up at her as he unlaces his skates.

“Hey Maggie!”

“Hey Marc, why didn’t you at least throw Talbot your blocker pad? He could of used it,” she grins moving her hand back to my face, which I bat away with an annoyed sigh.

“Maybe next time,” he laughs.

“I’m sure there will be a next time with the way he fights,” she chuckles, I glare at her but she just smiles at me innocently, “Oh Marc this is me brother Paddy, Paddy this is Marc.”

Paddy and Fleury shake hands and exchange greetings.

“Well Maggs, I hate to push you out, but the boys and I need to get ready,” I say, steering her toward the door.

“Fine, I’m going, I’m going,” she grumbles, “See ya soon boys!”

“Thank you!” I sigh, walking back to my stall.

“Damn Talbo, it got really hot in that corner,” Cookie grins at me.

“Yeah, Max, get it,” Rupper laughs, “Although I’m pretty sure her brother would of kicked your ass right then and there.”

I just chuckle and head to the shower. Yeah he would’ve.

Maggie’s POV

“What the hell was that?!” Paddy says as soon as the door to the locker room closes.

“What was what?” I ask innocently, heading to the exit and waving to Jimmy.

“Oh don’t play dumb. You and Max were ready to strip each other right there,” he grumbles.

“Nothing can happen between Max and I, Paddy. Don’t worry about it,” I sigh rolling my eyes.

“But you want something to happen. I’ve seen the way you look at him Maggs,” he says quietly.

“I’ve had a dry spell since I got back from Egypt, I just need a thirst quencher and then I’ll be fine. There’s nothing going on with Max, and there won’t be either,” I bite back.

My brother chuckles beside me, “Bull Shit!”

“Whatever. Here, you drive,” I say rolling my eyes and throwing him my keys.

“Why do I need to drive?” he grumbles.

“Because I’m going to get ready, and unless you want me to drive AND fix my hair…” I reply climbing in my jeep.

“Fine, I’ll drive while you make yourself all pretty for Max Talbot.”

“Shut the fuck up Padraig!” I growl, taking off the Penguins shirt I was wearing.

“WHOA! What the hell is that?”

“What?” I ask, looking down at my shirt, was it not clean?

“Where the hell did you get that a brothel in Bali!?! I thought you weren’t taking anyone home!” Paddy shouts.

“I never said that, I just said that you weren’t allowed to take anyone to MY HOME,” I point out, “And I’m pretty sure you mean Bangladesh, and no I’ve never even been there. Victoria’s Secret has more than thongs and bras you know.”

“Whatever,” he mumbles through gritted teeth, his fists tightening on the steering wheel. I roll my eyes. Ever since we walked into the locker room, he started the whole overprotective brother behavior.

Sure the shirt showed a little more cleavage than the t-shirts I normally wore, but going through the store, there were a whole lot more “shirts” that he wouldn’t approve of… at least not on me anyway. It was just a little olive green lace tank, that both dipped into a V in the front and the back. It’s not like you could even completely see through the lace. It was just that I had more cleavage exposed than I normally do. Compared to the puck bunnies that were bound to be near the VIP room, with their tiny shirts, almost nonexistent skirts, and sky scrapper heels, I looked like a soccer mom.

“Just suck it up. Pull up right there,” I snap, pulling my hair up into a messy bun, in order to show off some of the tattoos on my back, and pulling my green military style blazer back on.

I hop out of the car, buttoning up my jacket and grabbing my messenger bag as Paddy gets out of the car grumbling about missing the opportunity to kick more sense into me in the womb. I just roll my eyes and walk over to the guy leaning on the black BMW next to me.

He was bigger than Max, maybe only an inch taller, but he had arms that rivaled Popeye’s and shoulders that were meant for a girl to grip all night long. I had seen him bare-chested in the locker room once or twice and wanted to jump him. But now, unfortunately, he was covered by a light blue, button up shirt, which he still looked damned good in. He smiles shyly at me, running a hand through his long dark hair.

“Hey Maggie, Max is running a little late, he asked me to help you guys get in,” he says shyly, but I don’t miss how his dark eyes wonder up my frame.

“Thanks Kris,” I smile back at him, my hands in my pockets as Paddy comes to stand up behind me.

He looks warily at Paddy.

“Oh right. Paddy this is Kris Letang, he’s a Defensemen, Kris this is my brother Paddy,” I say quickly introducing the two, but it doesn’t seem to qualm Kris’s caution toward my brother. They shake hands like gentlemen and Kris leads the way to Diesel.

“Must you be so menacing? Kris isn’t going to do anything, he’s a good guy,” I whisper harshly at my brother.

“Maggie, if you came to visit me and I hung out with a women’s volleyball team frequently, what the hell would you do?” he whispers back.

“Tell you ‘Congrats man’ and make sure to stay out of your bedroom,” I growl back, following Kris into the VIP area.

I take my coat off, hanging it on a chair next to a certain tall center, and sitting down next to him.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Miss Maggie,” he grins at me.

“How’s it going Mr. Staal,” I ask playfully nudging him with my shoulder, “that was a pretty nice goal tonight.”

“Thanks Beautiful, I’m glad you liked it,” he says, throwing me a lazy smirk and letting his eyes wander over me.

I catch his gaze with mine, and let my eyes linger on his deep blue orbs. I can see movement out of the corner of my eye as someone sits down in front of me. I watch as Jordan breaks my gaze to glance over in the direction, he starts to meet my eyes again, but instead does a double take.

“Padraig! Get the stick out of your ass, and stop glaring down any potential dancing partner I’m conversing with!” I say raising my voice, looking over to the dark skinned giant across from me.

He turns his warning glare from Jordan to annoyed one when his eyes land on me.

“Jordan this is my brother Paddy, Paddy, Jordan Staal,” I sigh resting my hand in my chin, “You need to start introducing yourself, Padraig, cause I’m getting damned sick of it.”

They each nod at each other, evenly.

“Oh for Christ’s sake, you two probably have the most in common out of everyone. Both of you are centers, both of you grew up with multiple brothers, the list goes on...” I say rolling my eyes.

“You played center?” Jordan asks.

“Yeah, dude. And you may have grown up with brothers but Maggie was always the real challenge,” Paddy chuckles.

“From what I gather, she still is,” Jordan laughs back.

And with that, the ice is broken. Soon Paddy is moving a chair over so that he’s in front of Jordan instead of me.

“I was sitting on the handle bars with Marc peddling, and we had the genius idea to use the cinder hill as a jump…”Jordan laughs, making Paddy hoot with laughter.

“I see Paddy met Staalzy,” a deep voice says in my ear, making chills go down my spin. Making me smile without realizing I’m doing so.

“Yup!” I sigh, looking up at him, not moving my head from my hands.

“Sorry I was late Maggs,” he chuckles, setting down a Bud Light in front of me.

“What’s this?” I say wrinkling my nose.

“Oh, that’s mine,” he says quickly, “THIS is yours.”

He pulls the beer to the seat next to me and sets down a Heineken in its place.

“That’s a little better,” I shrug, “I don’t know how you can drink that shit. You may as well drink water.”

“Mmm… but water wouldn’t give me this lovely buzz,” he hums sitting down beside me.

“True,” I laugh, before bringing the beer up to my lips.

“What’s this?” he says his finger brushing over my now sensitive wrist.

“A tattoo.”

“You got a new one?” he asks, pulling my right arm closer to him to get a good look.

“Two actually.”

Two days ago Paddy and I had gone to the tattoo parlor. He finally got our mother’s maiden name connected with a Celtic cross tattooed on his forearm. Something he’s been saying he’s wanted to do for years now. I had a compass tattooed on the inside of my upper right forearm and the yellow box logo of National Geography with the scrolled word ‘Inspire’ running up its side on the corner of my right wrist. They were still a little tender and shined from the Vaseline I had applied in the car.

“I like them,” he says simply, letting his hand linger on my arm as he sends me a charming smile.

He was in a charcoal grey dress shirt with no tie; instead it was unbuttoned at the collar. His sleeves were already rolled up; showing off his well-defined forearms that I knew would hold me up and position me below him. His short hair seemed to beg for someone to run her fingers through its thickness. He had shaved recently, but already he had a slight scruff, that would undoubtedly send countless shivers down a girls spin as his lips explored inches of flesh.

He smirks at me, as his eyes shined a bright blue, which seemed to capture my own gaze. I found myself inadvertently leaning closer to him, my mind tried to tell me no, but my senses weren’t listening. His scent was musky and definitely male, and definitely upped his sex appeal. The anthropologist in me told me that I was viewing him as a suitable mate, but the female in me was telling me to take him home… now! Which meant it was time to get out of there and go find one I could take home.

“Well, I’m going to go scour the dance floor, I’ll see you boys later,” I say clearing my throat, breaking his gaze, and moving away from the male next to me.

I glance at Max, to see him look down at the table with a sigh, his jaw slightly clenching.

“STAY!” I say pointing a finger at my brother.

2 beers and 5 duds later, I was back in the VIP lounge but my brother was nowhere in sight. I head over to one of the couches that Sid and Kris were lounging on nursing their drinks.

“Hey boys,” I smile, sitting down next to Kris, “Either of you seen me brother?”

“Nope, not for at least half an hour. He was headed out to the dance floor last I saw him.. Are you drunk? You sound Irish,” Kris grins at me.

“Eh, maybe a bit, but not really,” I chuckle, leaning back against the couch and pulling my legs up to me, letting my eyes slightly close. I knew I wasn't drunk, but I was just a little tipsy.

“We wear you out already Maggs?” Sid asks.

“Yeah Crosby, watching you on the couch has worked me up into a frenzy,” I wink, causing him to blush, “Nah, I’m kidding. I put in an 8-hour workday and the alcohol is making me a bit sleepy now. “

“Why don’t you go home?” Kris deep voice asks, but his body language tells a different story as he drapes his arm behind me.

“’Cause Paddy has my keys,” I sigh, scooting a little closer to the warm body.

I send him a shy smile that says, ‘I’m only a tipsy weak female, take care of me.’ It was a look that I had learned to use when I had had enough loud fun for the night and wanted a warm male to snuggle up to. Living with guys most of my life, I had perfected it. Most guys saw right through it, but still let me be warm and safe in their arms.

Kris chuckles and opens his arms a little wider for me. I smile and snuggle into his warm body, draping my legs across his muscular thighs and pillowing my head on his strong shoulder. He was all solid muscle, and it was definitely a turn on. And he smelled really good, better than some of those sweaty guys on the dance floor anyway. If I weren’t so tired I would be dragging him home.

He and Sid continue talking like they were and I just listen, content in the defenseman’s arms. His slightly calloused fingers lightly brush against my shoulders every so often in a comforting motion, making me smile.

“Why is it that you two are always in here and not out there finding a lovely lady to take home like the rest of them?” I ask suddenly.

Sid smiles at me almost sadly, his hazel eyes looking at me like a wiser father would look at his naïve daughter.

“Looks like Tanger is doing fine on the couch,” I hear a voice say behind me, I feel Kris tense at the voice.

“Maxime, I already have an overprotective brother staying with me, I don’t need you to try and fill that role too,” I sigh, taking my head off Kris’s shoulder to look at him.

He looked surprisingly fresh for just coming off the dance floor. The only thing that hand changed since I last saw him, was that another button had popped open on his shirt. Had he even danced with anyone?

“Speaking of your brother where is he?” Max asks.

“I don’t know, but he has my keys and I’m tired,” I yawn.

Just then my phone vibrates in my pocket, signaling a text message.

Paddy - ‘I’m headed out, I’ll be back at your place tomorrow morning’

“Shit!” I murmur sitting up and quickly texting back.

But mid text I’m interrupted with another text.

Paddy – ‘My phone is almost dead so I’m turning it off’

“FUCK!” I shout, causing one of the puck bunnies that was hanging off Tyler Kennedy, to turn to me and glare.

“What’s the matter Maggs?” Max asks.

“Paddy left with someone and turned off his phone. AND he still has my keys!” I sigh, pressing to fingers to my forehead trying to relieve myself of the oncoming headache.

“Don’t you have a spare hidden?” Sid asks.

“Oh course I do!” I say rolling my eyes, “But it’s in my car, and Paddy has the keys for that!”

“You’re not supposed to hid a spare in your car!” Max laughs.

“Exactly where else am I going to hide it? I live in an apartment, I can’t exactly hide it under a fucking door mat!”

“Leave it with a friend?” Kris shrugs.

“Max can you take me back to my car?” I sigh, smoothing my hand over my hair, hoping to smooth back any rebellious frizz that had come out of my bun.

“Why? You don’t have the keys.” he says, giving me that ‘stupid girl’ look.

“I can break in,” I shrug, standing up from the couch.

“You’re going to break into your car?” Sid says, clearly a little shocked at my declaration.

“It’s a Wrangler, it’s not that hard.”

“But you know HOW to break into a car?!” he pushes.

“Sid, I grew up with 5 brothers and I’ve traveled all over the world. I can break into a car, hot-wire it, and drive it to the nearest water post,” I sigh, boys were so dumb sometimes, silly shelter hockey players.

“Maggs, there are police that patrol the lot at this time of night,” Max says shaking his head.

“It’s not like I’m trying to take Sid’s car, I’m breaking into my own car.”

“Or you could just stay at my place tonight,” Max says grabbing my coat and bag off the chair and handing them to me.

I quiet at the though and look over at him skeptically, searching his blue eyes to a hidden meaning. But they have clouded over into a stormy grey instead of the clear blue they were before, impossible to read.

“I will be a perfect gentleman,” he says rolling his eyes.

I let out a very lady like snort as Sid and Kris chuckle behind me.

“I will! Come on Maggs, it’s only one night and I’ll sleep on the couch, you can have the bed to yourself. Well…Stanley might join you… but I will stay on the couch,” he smiles, turning on the Talbot charm.


“He’s my labradoodle, you’ll love him,” he smiles, his eyes changing color again.

I sigh, biting my lip as I weigh my options, stay with Max or break into my car. I could think of a few others, but they ranked lower than breaking into my car. I should’ve just gone home with someone. That way I could’ve left before they got up and hopefully have been satisfied.

“Alright,” I sigh, giving in, “Let’s go.”

He looks at me with a triumphant grin.

“But you keep your hands to yourself, or I swear to God, you will be out for a few weeks with broken fingers,” I warn, pointing my own finger at him, making Kris and Sid laugh behind me.

“Yes ma’am! Bye boys,” he grins, taking my hand and leading me to the door.

“Very funny,” I snap, but I allow him to interlace his fingers with mine. It was easy to get separated in the sea of people.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chapter 10: Freudian Slip?


Sorry I disappeared for a few... ya know... months! But now it's summer! Which means I have MUCH more time to write and I should, if everything goes well, be able to update this much more often. Hopefully I'll post chapters a few times a month instead every few months. So here's to more updates and no writers block this summer. Enjoy and have a great summer!


“7:33 PM”

That’s what the hands on my watch were figuring the time to be. I huff impatiently, standing on my toes to lengthen myself as much as possible in order to see over the sea of people. But my 5’2’’ frame could only stretch so far. I look around, making sure none of the bitter security personnel were around, before climbing up on the chair beside me. Finally, I had a height advantage over the million or so people crowding around the airport like herds of confused cattle. Well… maybe not a million, but the number had to be close to that.

“Excuse me, Miss, you can’t stand on the chairs,” a deep voice says from behind me.

I let out an annoyed heavy sigh, readying myself to turn to the man and explain that I was handicapped because of my height. As I turn around to come face to face to the voice, I find myself looking at a well-built man of my exact age. He stood in front of me, almost nose to nose, and he wasn’t standing on a chair. His long legs were clad in jeans held up by a leather belt. His solid torso and broad shoulders were concealed beneath a forest green sweater and under a leather jacket. His rugged face had chiseled features that I knew could bring a girl to her knees. His high cheekbones, and tawny skin hinted at his Native ancestry, and his lips were quirked up in a smirk, his light green eyes almost mirrored mine as they smiled at me.

“PADDY!” I shout loud enough for the million others to hear, throwing my arms around my twin brother as he laughs and twirls me around in a bear hug.

“I missed you baby sister!” he grins putting me down. His 6’2’’ frame towering over me, and he was my shortest brother!

“I’m 3 minutes younger than you!” I say exasperated, but I can’t keep the smile off my face.

Out of all my brothers Paddy and I were the closest, probably due to the fact we shared the same womb for 8 months. And we weren’t like some twins that looked similar but were complete opposites personality wise. He was basically the male version of me. Stubborn, outspoken, outgoing, and a short temper, plus neither of us were very good at putting down roots.

I hadn’t seen him in almost a year, since the Sutherland Christmas last year in Montreal at my Dad’s. But he and I made sure to call each other at least once a week. Both of us were constantly traveling, me with National Geographic, hopping from dig to dig, and him with his “pub education.” I had been in Egypt for two months, Israel the two before that; Ireland, Siberia, and Russia for the remaining eight. Paddy had been traveling through multiple countries in Europe and North America. Traveling and learning about beer, wine, and liquor for his pub.

I wait for him in the driver’s seat of my jeep grinning as he dumps his North Face backpack in the back seat before plopping down next to me in the passenger’s seat.

“What?” he smirks looking over at me.

“Nothing,” I smile back.

“Tell me!” he says annoyed.

“It’s nothing,” I shrug.


“You just look like me, is all. All that traveling did you good,” I grin, looking over at him quickly before switching lanes

“Well, of course you would think so, Miss I-can’t-stay-in-one-place-for-more-than-6-months,” he chuckles.

“Hey, now I wouldn’t talk if I were you!” I shoot back.

“We’ll blame it on Dad,” he shrugs looking out the window.

“Yeah…” I respond solemnly.

Paddy only had but a slightly better relationship with the Admiral than I did. Which really wasn’t saying much. It was no secret that our dad had moved us here, there, and everywhere throughout our childhoods and tried to force us into his plan. I was the first to break free, and from there it was a like a chain reaction amongst my siblings.

“So this is it, huh? Home Sweet Home,” Paddy asks stepping into my apartment and letting his backpack fall beside my messenger bag.

“Eh, for now,” I smirk.

“It’s nice, Maggs dad wouldn’t approve of so many books,” he grins.

“Thanks Paddy!” I grin, “You cool with the couch?”

“You mean you’re not going to give up your bed?”

“I’ve basically been living in the sand for four months,” I say, my hand automatically coming to my hip in attitude.

“So that’s a no?”

“Didn’t you just come back from Gran’s?” I ask.

“Yeah,” he sighs, “she says hi by the way.”

“Padraig, you’ve been sleeping at Gran’s! That house even melted Dad’s heart a little! No way am I giving up my bed. You didn’t even bring me back something from Ireland!”

“You were in Ireland a few months ago!” he retorts, going over to pull a beer out of the refrigerator.

“Fine, I’ll give ya that. And if you’re going to drink my beer grab me one too,” I sigh flopping down on the couch and turning the Penguin game on. They were playing the St. Louis Blues and it was the last game of their road trip.

He comes over, handing me a beer before dropping his 6’2’’ frame on the lazy boy with a mighty sigh like groan.

“So you found Max Talbot, eh?” he asks, bring the bottle up to his lips and taking a gulp, looking at me from the corner of his eye.

“Technically he spotted me first. But yeah, never thought I would see him again,” I chuckle, watching as number 25 himself checks Andy McDonald into the boards.

“And there is nothing going on between you two?” he asks slowly, not so much out of curiosity but assurance.

“Come on, Paddy, you know me, I don’t do relationships and neither does Max,” I sigh rolling my eyes.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he replies gruffly.

Max’s POV

I pick at the napkin before a little piece falls off. I roll it in a tight ball and push it off to the side of the table with the 3 I had previously made. Sighing, I look down to my watch. They should be here any minute.

“Collecting spit balls?” Paul asks, setting down a beer in front of me.

I chuckle, “No, just waiting.”

“Waitin’ for who? Another lady-friend?” the bartender asks, wiggling his eyebrows at me suggestively.

“Not exactly, I’m meeting Maggie and her brother for dinner,” I smile, feeling nerves serge through my stomach again at the thought of coming face to face with Paddy.

“So, why are you nervous? Don’t you guys go way back?” Paul asks confused, leaning on the table as a few people chatted beside us in the bar.

“Because the last time I saw Padriag, he threatened turn me inside out,” I chuckle nervously, picking at the pealing beer bottle label.

“Ah, I see. Something to do with Maggie?”

“Yeah, I spent the night with her and he found us. Nothing had happened, but that’s not what he thought, and Maggie doesn’t remember because she was drunk.”

“Oh. That’s a tough one,” the bartender says pondering an answer.


“Well I hope you’re ready for him, cause Maggie just walked in the door,” he whispers before walking away.

My head shoots up and I spy the petite brunette walking through the door with a tall male. If you couldn’t tell that the two were siblings, you were a fucking idiot. Besides the height difference and the whole gender difference, they were identical. I watch as Paddy bends down to tell her something. Something she apparently didn’t like because she frowns and jumps up to smack the back of his head. He let’s out a hearty laugh before pulling her into a headlock as they approach the table.

“Lemme go, Paddy!” she grumbles, twisting around in his arms, but he just chuckles continuing walking.

I watch as she suddenly throws a punch into his side, making him cringe and let out a grunt, before letting her go. Maggie let’s out a triumphant “HA!” and grins before plopping down beside me.

“Jesus, how old are you two? Your father would never approve of such behavior,” I grin.

“Haha, Dad never approves of our behavior…or lives,” Maggie chuckles mischievously, reaching over to take a sip of my beer, to which I give her an annoyed look.

“Especially Maggie’s,” Paddy grins, ruffling his sisters hair, who lets out an annoyed huff before smoothing down the tousled waves.

“How have you been Paddy?” I ask, reaching my hand out cautiously to him, trying not to let on that I was afraid he may bite… or worse.

“Not bad, Talbot, not bad,” he says evenly shaking my hand, “ ‘course, I don’t have the superstar status like you do.”

I hear Maggie let out a sarcastic snort as she plucks a pretzel from the bowl on the table, popping it in her mouth.

“Max isn’t a Superstar, he’s just a hockey player with bad acting skills,” she says rolling her eyes.

“Pfft, like you can act. At least I was on TV,” I retort, facing her with a smirk.

“Oh no, you shouldn’t have said that,” Paddy groans as Maggie’s eyes light up.

“Actually, Talbot, I WAS on TV. I was in a documentary about Cahokia 2 years ago. I talked about the burial mounds they have left behind and how similar mounds were and still are in a few places in the United St…” She begins before Paddy covers her mouth with his hand.

“Don’t start. Tonight is a dead civilizations free night. Max doesn’t want to hear about Cahokia, the Aztecs, the Egyptians, or any other ancient civilization. You can talk to your other archeologist friends at work about dead cultures,” Paddy sighs, “OUCH! Don’t bite!” he says quickly pulling his hand away from his sister’s mouth, allowing her to stick her tongue out at him childishly.

“Very mature,” he grumbles, “Once she starts in on ancient cultures it’s impossible to stop her and next thing you know you’re hearing the details of female circumcision in the Middle East during dinner.”

“It’s interesting!” she defends.

“She had Liam running for the bathroom and everyone else squirming in their seat. I still can’t eat tortellini,” Paddy says rolling his eyes toward me.

“Yeah, dinner probably wasn’t the best time,” she admits.

All I can do is shake my head in amazement. The Sutherlands were mind boggling at times.


“And then Joey went to kiss her and she delivered the best jab I have ever seen to his nose,” I laugh, Paddy holding his sides in laughter, as Maggie grins next to me recalling the event.

“I told him to bugger off. He should’ve listened,” she shrugs with a smirk, draining the last of her Sam Adams from the bottle.

“I warned him not to mess with her, but when he came into practice the next day with the tell tale black and blue eyes… it was easy to piece it together,” Paddy laughs.

“Georges LaRaque didn’t even throw punches that well,” I smirk at her, watching as her green eyes smirk back at me mischievously.

“Well I learned from the best,” she shrugs with a smirk.

“Sean?” I ask, unable to break her emerald gaze.

“Ahh, that’s right,” Paddy nods, after taking a swig of Guinness, “Uncle Donal.”

“Yup, when I was 14 he took me aside after dinner at Gran’s, he told me a pretty young lady had to learn to protect herself. Never mind that I had 5 brothers,” she chuckles.

“Uncle Donal took out an entire pub once in Kilarney. The man would take on the entire British army if you let him,” her brother says shaking his head.

“And win,” Maggie throws in, toasting her brother with her bottle.

“You know, I have no doubt that all of that is completely true,” I chuckle, “Anyone else and I would call bull shit, but you two? No doubt.”

The laughter dies down and everyone smirks, tracing the edge of their glass or picking at the label on the bottle. All of us let our memories wonder, remembrance heavy in the air. Maybe Paddy forgot all about that night after all.

“Well… Some of us have to be at work tomorrow,” Maggie says glancing at her leather watch.

“You go on Maggs, I want to catch up with Talbot a bit more,” Padraig says, glancing over at me and throwing an innocent look at his sister as she stands up and shrugs on her fleece.

I take a gulp of my Molson, uh oh.

I watch as Maggie’s furrows her eyebrows, her green eyes scanning her brother’s face as her hands rested on her hips. Her eyes move over to me, scrutinizing the situation, obviously knowing something else was going on. I smile at her, trying to void my face of the nerves I was feeling.

“It’s cool Maggs, I’ll see you later,” I smile, hoping she won’t suspect anything.

“Alright,” she says slowly, “See you later, Max.”

She walks to the door, waving to Paul on her way out.

As soon as she’s out of sight, I feel Paddy’s gaze turn to me. I could almost feel the heat from the intensity burning into my skull. I take a deep breath and turn to face him. Just as I suspected, his light green eyes were intently trying to set me ablaze.

“Alright, Paddy, out with it?” I sigh, might as well get this done and over with.

His mouth turns up in a smirk, his eyes holding an almost deadly humor.

“What’s are your intentions with my sister?” he asks almost too calmly, but the heat behind his eyes tell me that one false move and I’m walking out of here with a messed up face.

“Maggie and I are just friends, Paddy, nothing more,” I sigh shaking my head.

“I know you’re friends. But that wasn’t what I asked. Why are you friends Max? Unless you’ve changed drastically, you were never one for being ‘just friends’ with any one of the opposite sex,” he says his voice rising slightly.

“I don’t do relationships, and from what I gather, neither does Maggie,” I quip back, getting a little pissed off because he knew me too well, and I didn’t want to tell him that I wanted to fuck his sister. I didn’t have to, he already knew! But he wanted to hear me say so that he had a justified reason to break my nose.

“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. I don’t know how long you are going to keep up this friendship façade, but don’t lay one hand on her Talbot, or I swear to God…” he growls.

“What Paddy? What the hell are you going to do? Maggie’s a grown woman, she doesn’t need your fucking protection, and I highly doubt she wants it,” I growl back, my temper rising, “If she wants to have fun there is nothing you can do about it. You’re not her father Paddy.”

“Damn right I’m not, I’m her brother. And you don’t get it do you Max? You are one of the few guys Maggie has ever wanted to have anything other than sex and friendship with,” he snarls.

My eyes widen at his words. He may as well have punched me; it sure as hell feels like he did.

“Look, Maggie has tons of guy friends, a product of having to grow up with all of us boys, but she doesn’t do relationships passed friendship. I know she’s not some defenseless virgin, hell I walked in on her and some bastard in Spain, which scared me for life,” he says shaking his head in disgust, “But you’re different Max, Maggie could really fall for you,” he says, his voice lowering, but not in a hostile way, it was as if he had just revealed one of his sister’s deepest secrets.

I look at him evenly, his light green eyes were a completely different green than his sisters, they were borderline hazel instead of the deep clover color of Maggie’s. His gaze seems to challenge me to spit out an out of line comment.

“What if I’ve already started to fall for her?” I ask before I can stop myself.

My eyes widen almost as much as his do. Not only had I just revealed the fact to him, but I had just been enlightened as well. Did I really just say I’m falling in love with Maggie Sutherland?