Friday, November 5, 2010

Chapter 1

“I’m too old for trick or treating,” Edie muttered, wrinkling her nose at the Jessica Rabbit style arrest me red sequined dress that her friend was holding up. 

“It’s Hallowe’en, we’re in a strange city, will you please take the stick out of your ass,” Carolyn sighed and rolled her sky blue eyes. “I think it was really nice of the concierge to score us tickets to this private party.”

“Only because he was flirting with you,” Edie turned her attention back to the World Series on the television and tried to ignore the way the light in the room was turning the dress her friend was still holding up into a fiery disco ball. 

“And he was only flirting with me because you wouldn’t pay attention to him when he was flirting with you,” Carolyn sighed again as she draped the glittery dress over the back of the chair and went back to going through the pieces of the costume she’d picked out from the catalogue that she’d ordered the costumes from. The skin tight tiger costume suited her colouring perfectly. Her honey hued curls and her tanned skin were an excellent match for the deep gold and black stripes. Edie watched as Carolyn slide the headband with the furry ears attached into her hair and shook her head. 

“We’ve been in sales meetings all day. How can you possibly have enough energy to want to go dancing?” she asked, trying to turn her attention back to the pitcher on the mound and his Grizzly Adams beard but her gaze kept being pulled back to the way the tail attached to the curve skimming body suit her friend was wearing twitched as she swayed in front of the mirror. 

“Sales, schmales. We’ve been sitting in a board room all day. I don’t know about you but I feel the need to stretch. There is no way I can stay cooped up in this hotel room.” Carolyn giggled, making a pawing motion towards her own reflection in the mirror. Edie groaned and dropped her face into the pillow she’d been cuddling. 

“How can you be this awake, this time at night?” she demands groggily, forcing herself up onto her elbows and making a face when her friend intentionally wiggles her tail at her. 

“Coffee,” she replies, reaching for her Starbucks cup and draining it, “and the idea of picking up some horny married man and bringing him back to my lair and tearing his jugular out, rrrawrr,” she adds, gnashing her teeth and making a clawing motion with her blood red painted nails. “Oh, and tequila!” she adds, producing a bottle and two shot glasses.

“You scare me,” Edie groaned and rolled her eyes but slid to the side of the bed and sat up. “I suppose this means I’ll have to shave my legs.”

“What are you supposed to be?” Kaner asked, flexing his muscles beneath the Spidey suit that Tazer couldn’t help but think might actually help his shorter, fright wigged teammate pick up women, if only because he was going to have a hard time drinking through the mesh covered mouth. 

“Bond, James Bond,” Jonathan replied calmly, affecting an English accent and tugging on his bow tie as they walked through the lobby of the James Hotel. 

“Lame,” Kaner shook his head, or at least the stocking type material that covered his usually unruly curls moved, and Jonathan assumed that’s what he was doing. “That’s not even a costume.”

“You’re lucky I came at all,” Jon began before producing a black, felt mask that had reminded him a bit of Zorro or the Lone Ranger would wear. That had been the original idea for his costume but what with one thing or another…. “I do have this,” he added as Kane made a sort of snorting noise behind his mask. “What? I didn’t have time to really put anything else together.”  

“Like I said, lame,” Pat repeated and then skipped ahead into the restaurant, heading straight for the bar.
“That should be interesting,” Jon muttered to himself as he tied the ribbons of the mask behind his head before he proceeded slowly into the room.  The place was crowded with people in elaborate costumes, everything from the usual cat and clown costumes to a pair that looked like Anthony and Cleopatra and another  pair in full Louis the Sixteenth and Antoinette crushed velvet,  giant hoop skirts, ribbons and piles high white hair. 

Those weren’t the outfits that got his attention however. There were two women at the bar that Kaner was already coolly inching towards. One of the girls was in a skin tight tiger costume that almost nothing to the imagination. The other…well the other girl made his mouth go dry, caused him to develop tunnel vision and a serious case of ball tightening. 

She had long, really dark brown hair that looked like a fountain of chocolate fondue complete with loose waves that begged him to run his hands over and through them. She was wearing what he assumed was meant to be a Jessica Rabbit dress; bright red, covered in sequins and cut up to…well all the way up to a point that made it pretty damn clear there was no way in hell there was going to be any panties underneath it.
Grabbing a glass of champagne from the tray of a passing waiter, Jon gulped it down, for Dutch courage and then began to make his way through the crowd. 

He was impressed that the simple mask he was wearing was keeping him from being stopped every few feet. Not that he begrudged fans an autograph or a photo, but it was nice, for once, to en joy a level of anonymity, especially if that meant he beat Pat to the punch. 

“Can I buy you another one of those?” The girl with the long dark hair that he hoped to hell wasn’t a wig looked up at him speculatively, a single eyebrow arched over a sparkle encrusted mask that turned up into points at the corners, surrounding a pair of breathtaking emerald green eyes that almost out sparkled her outfit. ‘Damn’ he thought to himself ‘this gets better by the minute’.  

“For Your Eyes Only?” she asked and Jon groaned inwardly. Next she was gonna say that they should go to his room, order cheesecake and watch Family Guy.

“Something like that,” he smiled and she smiled back, her full ruby red lips spreading across a row of perfectly straight bright white teeth. “So what are you drinking?” 

“A fangbang,” she grinned, holding up the tri-coloured beverage in the shot glass and then, with a wink, she downed it, and then, to make an uncomfortable situation worse, she licked her lips slowly and deliberately as she held his gaze. 

“You’re so in over your head here Tazer,” Kane whispered into Jon’s ear as he sidled up to the women, putting one arm around each of their waists. “Is this man boring the shit out of you ladies?” 

“Your wingman?” the woman asked, peeling Pat’s hand from her hip like she was afraid she might catch something from it. Jon grinned and shook his head. 

“Not if I can help it.” Jon narrowed his eyes at his teammate but whether it was his own mask or Kane’s Pat didn’t take a blind bit of notice to the implied warning. 

“So, what are we doing here ladies? Shots? Hey, barkeep, line ‘em up!” Jon looked apologetically towards the sizzling, curvaceous brunette but she was laughing and shaking her head. 

“Is mini me even old enough to be in here?” she asked in a sultry whisper, her breath warm on his cheek as she leaned towards him.

“Barely,” Jon replied honestly as he nervously watched the bartender upend a bottle of tequila into a line of slim, tall shot glasses. It wasn’t that he didn’t drink, it was just that he didn’t drink during the season, or at least not more than maybe a beer or glass of wine and Tequila…that was definitely something that was more in Kaner’s realm. Jon stared down at the liquid gold in the small glass as Kane handed it to him and a little voice in the back of his head whispered ‘this is not a very good idea’. 

“Bottoms up.” It didn’t seem to matter how many dirty looks Jon sent his smaller, louder teammate, Pat didn’t seem to be getting the hint. “Oh c’mon Captain Serious, drink the fuck up.” 

“Captain Serious?” The tiger girl grabbed Jon’s and Pat’s arm and laughed. "Really? Is that your nickname?” She looked right at him and Jon reminded himself to give Pat a gigantic and hopefully painful wedgie sometime in the near future.

“Yeah, I guess,” he admitted, wishing that his mask covered more of his face as he felt his cheeks start to burn. Normally he didn’t mind that particular moniker, after all, he did take his job seriously, especially in comparison to Pat who didn’t take anything seriously, but in front of beautiful women, knowing that Pat would feel the need to explain what a….

“We all call her Miss Intense, like, all the time,” tiger girl gushed, slapping her hand playfully towards Jessica Rabbit’s arm.

“You do?” He felt himself grinning like an idiot even as the beautiful brunette glowered at her friend.
Shit, what else did they have in common?

Edie glared at Carolyn, but her friend seemed oblivious as she put her head together with Spidey as they started to swap stories about how uptight their friends were. 

“They do,” Edie sighed, downing another shot and closing her eyes to enjoy the burn as the Tequila hit the back of her throat. “It’s just because I understand that there’s a time to work and there’s a time to….” 

“Another time to play, I totally get that,” the hottie in the expensive tux finished her sentence with an eager, Leave it Beaver sort of grin on his face. He had a nice smile, but she found herself drawn to a mole must below his mouth, and his strong, thick neck, and the way the fine material of his suit pulled taut over his obviously muscular frame every time he moved. 

“You going to drink that?” she asked, glancing down at the still full shot glass in his hand. She watched him raise it to his lips and then make a face as he forced himself to swallow the fire water. Her gaze roamed over his smooth skin and she found that she was reaching out to brush the tips of his fingers along his cheek while she wondered if his short cropped dark hair was as soft as his skin.

“You wanna…dance?” he asked, glancing towards the small but packed dance floor that had been set up towards the back of the restaurant. Edie followed his gaze and tried to calculate how her personal space was going to be affected by following him into that crush. “I’ll warn you,” he added, drawing her attention back to his strong jaw and his soft, deep voice, “I kind of suck…white boy, no rhythm.” 

Edie was about to say no, not because she wasn’t a fan of Lady GaGa but because she couldn’t figure out how to dance to that kind of music in the curve skimming dress without her tits spilling out everywhere, but just then, as if it was some kind of a sign, the music changed, slowed. 

“I love this song,” she closed her eyes, smiled and hummed along to the Rolling Stones ‘Wild Horses’. Edie opened her eyes to find her James Bond staring back at her, slack jawed. 

“You have to be kidding,” he said, almost like he was unable to edit the thought and the words had spilled forth, unbidden. 

“What’s that?” she asked, still half listening to Mick Jagger’s crooning voice. 

“They’re like…they’re my favorite band. We have to dance now,” he said in that earnest sort of voice that she was finding beyond endearing.

“How can I say no?” ‘Fuck, now I’m channeling Carolyn’ Edie thought as she allowed him to take her hand. He turned and she felt a the fine hairs on the back of her neck rise as she was faced with the width of his shoulders that the well tailored suit barely hid. Her brain began to undress him, imagining the smooth, sculpted body beneath the cloth and stitching and her breath caught in her throat. ‘I don’t even know his name and if he asked me right now, I’d follow him anywhere.’

He lead her right into the heart of the floor, having had to squeeze their bodies through tiny gaps, ducking and twisting to avoid flying elbows and once he winced when his foot was trodden on. When he seemed satisfied that he had enough shoulder and elbow room to turn around, he held his hands out like a pro on Dancing with the Stars. 

Edie placed her hand in his and walked into the circle of his arms. He put his other hand gently on the small of her back and she fought the urge to close her eyes and concentrate on how hot his hand felt on her skin, or how big his hand was as his fingers spread open over her tailbone. ‘This is what it means to be putty in a man’s hands’ she thought as his body swayed against hers. 

“Are you from around here?” Jon asked hopefully as her soft body pressed against his, forcing him to think about Kaner’s lucky sweat socks that hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in over a year, Sharpie’s lucky tie that was so covered in sauce stains he couldn’t remember what colour it originally had been and Keith’s favorite weight gloves that looked like they’d been munched on by a swarm of moths. 

“No, we’re just here for a couple of days, on business,” she replied, her full, red lips almost touching his jaw as she spoke. They were so close it was hard to think about anything but pressing his own lips against them, but he knew if he let his brain go there, it would quickly go down a road that would lead somewhere that would make it obvious what just thinking casually about her bangin’ body was doing to him. He felt disappointed to hear that she wasn’t the kind of pick up he’d be able to get a number from so he could slow this down, maybe actually take the time to get to know her better.

Not that he was against picking up girls in bars, he just didn’t make as much of a habit of it as Kaner did. He’d been called a prude by more than one of the guys for not having a parade of puck fucks going in and out of his new house but it just wasn’t his style. The only time he felt like throwing the kind of selfish hump into some girl that required no exchange of identities was when he was good and pissed about something. He’d figured out a while ago that a nameless one night stand was better than breaking a bar stool over someone’s head.  

“So where are you from?” he asked, pulling back enough to give himself a minute to regain some semblance of composure and so that he could look down into those jewel green eyes that reminded him of a cat’s. If she’d traded costumes with her friend…but that didn’t bear thinking of. It was bad enough seeing her in this red dress that looked like it was clinging to her every curve for dear life. If she’d been in that skin tight tiger suit, she’d probably have been arrested. 

“Vancouver, BC not Washington,” she added with a slight smile and an emphasis that made him laugh and groan at the same time. “Hey, what’s that?” she poked him in the side and he flinched. He was beyond ticklish. “You don’t like my city?” 

“It’s not that,” he explained quickly, before she got the wrong idea, “it’s just…well first you obviously think I’m some…dumb Yank,” he whispered into her hair, pitching his voice low and hoping that no one in the crush of bodies around them overheard him. “And secondly, I actually like the city, quite a lot actually but uh…well there’s the rivalry thing.” There it was, he was giving himself away. If she knew anything about hockey she’d guess, he thought, but instead she looked up at him with a blank expression. 

“Tell me about it,” she laughed. It was a sound that made his insides feel like they’d been tossed into a hot air popcorn machine. “I don’t even watch Hawks highlights, they make me so mad.” Jon managed a half a smile, and only just. So this was it. Maybe she hadn’t recognized him right off, but once he took off the mask…. 

“They won the Cup,” he pointed out quietly, feeling defensive and hating the feeling of a lead anvil sitting in his stomach at the thought that she hated him. 

“I guess they do have a few good players,” she added with another roll of her cat like eyes. 

“Yeah? Like who?” It felt pathetic to feel hopeful that he’d be one of them but Jon felt his heart stop beating as he waited for her to answer. 

“Well I don’t think anyone can deny that Hossa is just crazy talented. I mean, three years in a row in the final, you have to give him props,” she replied thoughtfully and Jon squeezed his eyes shut. Of all the players on his team, she picked the red headed Czech? “Oh, I like this song too.” Jon tilted his head to one side. He’d been so busy listening to the sound of his own rapidly beating heart and her sultry voice that he hadn’t even realized the song had changed. Shaking his head, he couldn’t help but laugh. “What? What did I do now?” she asked, looking up at him with the cutest look of confusion on her face. 

“This is only…it’s probably my favorite song,” he told her as the chorus of Our Lady Peace’s ‘Somewhere Out There’ filled the room. He drew his hand from hers and slid her mask up, slowly, until it was more a headband and drank in the entirety of her beautiful face and then he captured her lips with his in a soft, searing kiss. 

It felt like he’s kissed a flame. It felt like he’d put his heart on a spit over an open fire. It felt like he’d grabbed hold of a live car battery and jolt after jolt of electricity was being sent through his entire body. As he reluctantly withdrew his lips from hers’, his hand shook where it cupped her cheek and he realized he was sweating and that his stomach was churning, threatening to send the tequila he’d drunk back up. He felt worse than he had before game one of the Cup final. 

“What was that for?” she asked quietly, her emerald green gaze searching his. She didn’t look pissed off. In face she was wearing this adorably bemused smile and leaning into his hand. They were standing still in the middle of a writhing mass of bodies. The music had sped up, that new My Chemical Romance Song was playing and the crowd on the dance floor was bouncing up and down and singing along with the chorus. 

“I just…I had to do that just once before I did this.” Taking a deep breath he reached back and pulled on the ribbon, undoing the knot holding his mask in place.