“Jesus…Would you please…” I sputter at her while trying to focus on the road in front of me through the sleeve of her hockey jersey, “I would like to get to Diesel alive if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t really understand why you’re asking Jesus, but if you’re talking about me changing, you can shut it,” she growls back, as I see her pull something deep blue over head. I whip around just in time to see her pulling her t-shirt down over her belly button… damn.
“So going out in a t-shirt, eh? Trying the simple approach again, I see,” I chuckle, knowing that it would probably work, even though all the other girls would be wearing almost no top.
“Who said it was simple?” she purrs, making me look over into dark clover eyes. What was so interesting about a royal blue shirt?
I park the car and run around to the side of the car to let her… but she was already out of the car. She grins at me and sticks her tongue out, with a coat on so I can’t see the shirt.
“Can’t you just let me be a gentleman?” I sigh, my shoulders slumping for effect.
“Nope,” she grins before making her way to the entrance.
Per usual we are let into the VIP lounge, where most of my teammates already have a beer in their hands. We come to the table where she shrugs out of her coat in front of me.
“I’m still not seeing anything interesting about a blue t-shirt,” I whisper to her, which is much more like a normal voice with the noise of the place.
All I get is a sexy siren smile in return. Her hair was up in a bun today, instead of the raven curls having a mind of their own; however, one rebel did hang down by her cheek in defiance. As much as the bun showed of the beauty of her face, her high cheekbones, freckled nose, and bright emerald eyes, I ached to pull her dark curls out of confinement, feeling them swirl in my hands as I kissed her with all I had.
“I believe I owe you a beer, Superstar,” she calls to me over the bouncing bass of the music, “I’ll be right back.”
She turns from the table and as I watch her go, I quickly inhale at the sight as the blood to my brain goes straight to my crotch. Her t-shirt was almost completely open in the back, exposing her tan torso. Anyone could clearly see the black writing starting at the nape of her neck, scrolling the length of her spine, and ending somewhere that was covered up. Only a small gold chain held the two ends together in the middle, along with the intact inch of fabric at the very bottom, keeping the shirt from slipping over her toned shoulders. I could just make out two of the words, Morocco and Antarctica, before she is out of view.
“Christ, she’s trying to kill me,” I groan, my hands coming up through my hair.
“You’re going to have to keep a close watch on her tonight, Talbot. Otherwise she’s going to be flocked by other guys,” Sid says coming over and putting a hand on my shoulder in concern. Even he couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from the bronzed beauty.
Soon enough, she’s making her way back through the crowd, turning heads as she goes.
“Alright Talbot,” she smiles, setting down a beer in front of me and sitting on the stool beside my own so she can look out into the crowd, “Who’s looking good tonight?”
“You.” I reply simply and honestly.
She turns her head to me, and I swear I see her throw me a shy smile, but as soon as it appears, it’s gone and she gives me a sarcastic grin.
“I meant out there,” she chuckles, pointing her beer to the crowd of people dancing to the beat.
I look in the direction of her bottleneck, not seeing anything that compares to the beauty next to me.
“Depends on what you’re looking for,” I reply in contemplation, “There’s a hot blonde drinking a margarita by the bar.”
“Meh, I heard her ask for an extra shot of tequila in that. Either she just broke up with someone or she needs liquid courage,” she shakes her head before taking a draw of her beer, “Plus, I’m looking for the opposite sex.”
“I see nothing wrong with either of those options,” I reply cheekily, receiving an eye roll in return.
“See you need to think before you pounce,” Maggie sighs, “If she just broke up, she’ll turn into a sobbing mess in the next 20 minutes… if it’s the later, you’ll be making a stop on the side of the road for her to vomit said courage on your way home.”
“You know, the people reading thing gets annoying sometimes,” I huff, now finding the blonde not as attractive with the picture of her puking on the leather of my car seat.
“You’re welcome,” she smiles, “Now, she is a little better.”
I follow her eyes over a petite brunette, with blue eyes and long hair curled into perfect waves. She has on a purple halter-top and dressy shorts, with black pumps to top it all off. My brow scrunches as I try to place her. She seems familiar… oh shit.
“She is obviously trying to take someone home tonight with that outfit,” Maggie continues, clueless to the mild freak out I’m having over a past one night stand so close to the girl who I was trying to forget during said one night stand. “She’s drinking a vodka and cranberry juice, which means she’s trying to get a buzz, but not lose her shit. Classy, but you could probably still take her to a hockey game and she’d enjoy it.”
Fuck, what was her name again… I should stop looking I could attract her attention, I think just as her eyes meet mine and flash in recognition. Too late. Soon enough she begins to walk over.
“And apparently she is all about scruffy French men,” Maggie mumbles, is that annoyance I hear in her voice?
“Hi, Max, I thought you might be here today,” the other girls purrs, putting her hand on my chest as she leans into me.
I gulp, looking over quickly at Maggie, who has her eyebrow raised in suspicion.
“Hey…” I begin, dammit what was her name?!
“Hi, I’m Maggie!” Maggie pipes up sticking out her hand, saving my ass.
“Maddie,” the other replies, shaking her hand although her smile isn’t quite as bright.
Oh that’s right!
“Maddie and I met a week ago here,” I explain to Maggie, making Maddie beam.
“Ah huh,” Maggie frowns at me.
“Are you here with one of Max’s friends?” Maddie says turning to Maggie.
“No, I’m a friend of Max’s, we go way back to high school,” Maggie replies. Is that bitterness in her voice?
“Oh that’s nice,” Maddie says politely, “Are those tattoos real?”
“No, temporary,” Maggie says in sarcastic sweetness, “Just thought I they would be fun.”
“Do you always put on temporary tattoos when you go out?” the girl replies, cocking her head to one side in confusion. Maggie looks over at me in exaggerated shock, as if to say, ‘You’re kidding right?’
“Maggie was kidding,” I reply, giving Maggie a look, “She’s a little sarcastic.”
“Oh, haha,” Maddie giggles, “That one completely flew over my head.”
“You’re kidding!” Maggie throws in using a fake nice voice, before rolling her eyes and taking a swig of her Black and Tan. I look at her pointedly, trying to convey the “be nice” words I can’t verbalize.
“So what do you say we get you warmed up, Maxime,” Maddie says pulling my hand to join her on the dance floor.
I follow her looking back at Maggie, who is fake vomiting. Brat.
He has to be kidding. Why would he have slept with her? She was as ditsy as Jessica Simpson. Talk about stimulating conversation. I mean, obviously he’s slept with her, even if he couldn’t remember the airhead’s name. I watch in annoyance as she presses against him, giggling at something he whispers in her ear. UGH!
I jump off my stool, heading to the bar to trade in my empty bottle for a full one.
“Another Yuengling?” the bartender shouts over the noise.
“Nah, get me Guinness,” I shout back, he nods and heads off to get my beer. I needed something a little stronger than the good ‘ole black and tan.
I sigh, looking out at the dance floor. Evgeni Malkin was dancing with a blonde I was pretty sure was his girlfriend, Tyler Kennedy was with a cute red head, and James Neal was pressed against the bimbo that was trying to set me on fire in the lounge.
“I heard she is trying to sleep around with the whole team,” I hear to my left, “But Max Talbot won’t even touch her, she just hangs around him hoping he’ll take her home.”
“What a slut. And all of those tattoos, they’re probably not even real, just to attract attention,” another voice says in disgust.
“Excuse me, they are real. Believe it or not I was there when the needle was going into my skin,” I growl, my eyes falling on two girls, faces caked in makeup both with martinis in their hands.
They both look at me in shock, surprised that I heard them.
“I’m not deaf you know,” I mumble.
“Well you’re obviously blind to think that Max would go out with you. You’re much too plain, any guy can see that,” the girl with the bright red lips spits.
I stare at her smug expression; compared to her I guess I was plain. I lacked the eyeliner and red lipstick she wore, and I didn’t cover my freckles with concealer and blush. I had sun damage from my many trips, digging in the open with no shade. I wore worn out jeans that were not designer because I didn’t have much money to spend; my money was spent on other things I found more important. I certainly didn’t become an archeologist to become wealthy. For that reason, I own one pair of heels that I never like to wear, instead opting for leather boots. Compared to her designer wears, I am plain, compared to what she looked like in this club I’m simple. It never bothered me before, but with Max pressed against a similar made up doll, I suddenly felt that I was too different.
“You no good…” I begin getting out of my chair, my fist balled at my sides ready to strike. Crazy bitch picked on the wrong plain Jane.
“Hey Maggs, I’m glad you could come,” I hear an accented voice say as a hand slid across my lower back and onto my hip. Kris Letang comes closer brushing his lips against my cheek. To anyone else it might look like a romantic or flirtatious gesture, but I could feel in his hold that he was trying to keep me from going after the other girl. I don’t break my glare from the other girl “Come on let’s go to the lounge.”
I relent, snatching the Guinness the bartender had left and letting Kris lead me away.
“Told you she was going through the team,” I hear the bitch with the red lips call after me.
“That’s it…”I begin turning around to go back at her. I hated girls.
“Ah ah ah,” Kris says quickly, reaching out and turning me back around, “The last thing we need is for the medics to get involved.”
“Oh come on, with all that make up on, I’m sure you wouldn’t even be able to see if I gave her a black eye,” I grumble, following him to the safety of the VIP lounge, where Sidney Crosby is giving me a very disapproving look.
I slouch down in one of the chairs, “She started it,” I mumble.
“Are you really that drunk that you almost got into a bar fight?” he asks.
“Who said I was drunk, I only had one beer, I’m not drunk! Just pissed as fuck,” I snap, “And believe me it wouldn’t have been much of a fight, Barbie wouldn’t have been able to handle a punch and I don’t slap.”
He just sighs shaking his head as I down my Guinness.
“I didn’t realize you let that shit bother you,” Kris replies, not looking at me but slyly drinking his Molson.
“I don’t!” I defend.
“Oh yeah, I can tell,” he chuckles, “Where’s Max, shouldn’t he be keeping an eye on you?”
“I’m not 12,” I pout at him.
“I meant, he brought you here, I figured…” he shrugs, as I look out to the dance floor to see Max pressed against Maddie making her giggle at something he said, making my blood boil.
“Nope, he found a girl for the night, I’m just old news,” I bite out; still watching the two of them… look how low his hands were on her hips, what a tool.
“I thought you guys weren’t together,” Kris says, his brows coming together in confusion.
“We’re not,” I say, quickly whipping around as Max’s eyes land on mine from across the room.
“Oh, my mistake. Well it looks like he’s done with his new toy,” Kris chuckles getting up from his chair as Max sits down beside me.
“What, I only get one beer for being 3rd Star of the game,” he grins, which soon turns to a frown when he sees my face, “What?”
“Where’d your bunny go?” I ask sweetly, I can see him flinch at my words, picking up on the hidden icy tone.
“I told her I had plans tonight and she left,” he shrugs, leaning against the bar behind us.
“Probably to see the wizard about a brain,” I murmur, swirling my beer in my hand watching the dark color spin.
“Oh, come on, she’s not stupid, just lacks common sense… you said she was better than that other chick,” he says his voice holding frustration as his eyes turn a stormy grey.
“I said she was a little better than a sloppy mess, doesn’t mean I like her,” I bite back.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“I just didn’t like her.”
“I just didn’t like her.”
“You’re such a girl sometimes,” he replies rolling his eyes.
“Well I do have all the recommended parts,” I state sarcastically, “It just seemed that the only thing she has between her ears is air.”
“Oh come on Maggs, just because she didn’t catch onto your sarcasm…” he huffs, his hands crossing over his chest in irritation.
“She thought my tattoos were FAKE! What is with women in this club?! Apparently their tight as fuck clothing cuts off the air supply to their brains!” I say loudly.
“Maggs…” he sighs, his right hand coming to rub his forehead like he was getting a headache.
“Or maybe it’s their damn skyscraper heels, the altitude has made them lose brain cells,” I continue, my voice sounding more like a shout.
“Maggie.” he tries again.
“God, what happened to western culture that women are completely abandoning all respect they have for themselves just so they can get fucked?!”
“Marguerite!” he shouts back at me.
The use of my full name snaps me back. No one, ever calls me that. No one, except the Admiral, which is probably why I hate the name so damn much. He had to pick a French name for me. All the boys got respectable Irish names, but no, he had to pick mine. Margret would’ve been better than that name.
“Don’t fucking call me that,” I growl lowly at Max, he should know better than to use that name.
“Then shut the hell up. If you’re going to be so critical about what goes on here, thinking you’re better than everyone else, leave,” he says back evenly, his eyes darkening as he growls at me.
“I don’t think I’m better than everyone else!” I shout back, “I’m just so sick of all these fake bastards judging me for looking like a normal human being and not something straight out of a fucking Playboy magazine!”
“Why the hell do you care? You have never cared what people thought before, and if you don’t already know, it doesn’t matter what they say because you are turning every male head in this joint. Everyone wants to take you home, even Sid can’t keep his eyes off of you,” he shouts back, gesturing to poor Crosby who is looking thoroughly pissed off and embarrassed for being called out.
“I don’t care,” I say matter of factly.
“Sure as hell seems like you do,” he says, mockingly using the same tone I just had.
“Nope. If you want to pick girls based on your dick’s opinion instead of your brain’s, that’s fine by me,” I snarl.
He looks at me a little taken back at my harsh comment, making me realize it probably was a little too harsh. Dammit, my mind was always to slow to catch up to my mouth.
“Max…” I sigh, beginning to apologize for the comment.
“I don’t want to hear it Maggs,” he replies gruffly, getting up and heading back out to the dance floor beer in hand, “Tanger will take you home.”
“Oh, come on Max, I’m sorry…” I begin, trying to fix it.
“What Maggs?” he snaps, turning around to face me. His jaw was set in a hard line, his lips pressed together in anger, and his eyes were a dark grey. “Not all of us have booty calls from all over the world. We can’t just run away to Australia to get laid. Some of us don’t have impossibly high standards that can only be met through international connections.”
“I don’t…” I begin, my temper heating up again.
“You do, you could take home just about any guy in here, but none of them are good enough for you, are they? Just because I can find someone to take home tonight and you can’t doesn’t mean you have to walk around here like you own the place. Stop being a tease and go to a pub if you don’t like it here. I’m sure there are plenty of bar sluts there that you’ll find less repulsive to join.”
“Hey!” I snap back my hands balling into fists at my side… that was going to far. But Max just smirks at me, knowing he’s hit a nerve, I could see the there was some alcohol clouding his eyes, but he wasn’t drunk, and that was uncalled for. I see movement out of the corner of my eye as a girl comes up to Max, Miss Red Lips that was at the bar talking smack on me before, to be exact.
“You heard him, go find some sluts to pal around with elsewhere, he wants nothing to do with you,” she smirks, her arms coming around Max’s waist.
He looks at her in shock, obviously not knowing who she is. I see him about to say something to her, but it’s too late I already have my fist raised. I see her lined eyes go wide, as she begins to cringe in anticipation, and Max just stands there in shock. It was like the world was in slow motion.
But before my fist connect with its target, I feel myself being pulled back by the waist, keeping the girl out of harm’s way. I look over my shoulder to see Kris Letang glaring at me with his arm around my waist, lifting me a few inches off the ground. I take a deep breath and let out a sigh, it’s a good thing he was here tonight.
“Come on, Maggs, I’m taking you home, now!” he growls, but I’m not sure if the growl is directed at me or Maxime Talbot and the girl wrapped around his waist.
I nod my head as he puts me down, obediently following him to the table to get my jacket.
“That’s right, bitch, go home. Before I do something you’ll regret,” I hear the girl say.
I tense, my adrenaline still on high. I take in a deep breath and let it through my nose, before I keep walking to get my coat.
“Good girl,” I hear Kris whisper beside me, knowing that now my self control was working hard to not put that girl in the hospital with a broken nose.
I grab my coat off the chair, where Crosby nods at me and Jordan Staal sends me an “I know you could fuck her up” grin. I turn, squaring my shoulders and letting Letang take my hand and lead me out of the club.
“Maggie…” I hear Max call after me.
“Save it, Talbot.” I snarl, keeping my eyes toward the door, knowing if I turned around someone in the vicinity was going to leave with a black eye, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be me.
The cool air hits me like a wall, but it drops my blood pressure to where it should be. I pull my coat on as I follow Kris to his black BMW.
“Are you ok?” I hear Kris ask quietly.
“Yeah…” I sigh, “This wasn’t my first rodeo, Tiger.”
He chuckles beside me.
“Was the first that I didn’t land a punch though,” I smirk beside him.
“You know, jealousy doesn’t look good on anyone…but you sure as hell put up a good fight to make it look good,” he smirks at me.
I just give him a smile and sink into the leather seats of his car.
As he drives me back to the arena to get my jeep, I look out the window thankful for the silence. It was the first time Max Talbot had ever thrown a hard punch at me and it stung, more than what Red Lips had said. I could take the girly bitching with a grain of salt. If only he knew that he was right, I was too picky here. But that was because I couldn’t find anything that could measure up to him, here or anywhere. And that scares the shit out of me.