Soundtrack: I don't care who sees, I don't care who tells who. Wish the whole world knew. - Lee Ryan
They took turns crossing the hall to the bathroom. Like they were suddenly shy to see each other naked. When they were dressed and downstairs, Kris made to wait in the living room.
“Go first, so they don’t see us come out together.”
She was dressed and combed, but Kris still thought she looked like she’d just been rolled in the hay. Her hair was a little bed-head and her skin was slightly flushed. Kris wondered how should could possibly be hotter now than she’d been before. It was because he could taste her on his tongue.
“Don’t worry about it, I doubt anyone missed us.” She held out her hand and pulled him from the couch.
“And where have you two been?” Jordan said at the top of his lungs when they reached the porch.
“Digging through your underwear drawer, looking for porn,” she answered without bothering to look at him.
Jordan laughed. “Your loss! The good stuff is under the bed.”
She headed straight to the bar and cracked a beer. The party was still going strong. Beer pong had been abandoned in the darkness and a big game of Kings had taken its place. A few people were swimming, the pool lights making them glow like ghosts from underneath. A million stars kept the full moon company in the bright sky. Max and the hot brunette were sitting close together at the fire, and two of the other girls had given him up for Sidney. Crosby was clinging to TK like a life raft. TK looked ready to take a shark bite if it came to that.
Kris went to the still-warm grill and retrieved himself a hamburger. Jordan came up behind him with the package of buns.
“Dude, seriously? Just like that?”
Kris got a deer-in-the-headlights look. Sure Jordan had said he should go for it. But neither of them had thought he’d actually get it.
“I… we…,” Kris fumbled.
Jordan slapped him on the back. “Fucking well done, Tanger. Holy shit. You are a legend! Tell me, how was it? No details, she’s like my sister man. If I spent the last five years really wanting to bang my sister.” A weird look came to his face. “Good thing I don’t have any sisters. Anyway…”
Kris blushed – he wasn’t the fuck-and-phone type, like most of the guys were. And no one would believe what really happened anyway. “It was worth waiting five years for,” was all he said.
“Are you staying at hers later? You guys can stay here if you want. I mean, she can stay here. With you,” Jordan threw his hands up in surrender. “Fucking A, Tanger!” and he walked away shaking his head.
Ginger had watched the conversation she could not hear and was laughing to herself when Sidney came up behind her.
“Jordan defending your honor?” he asked.
“I see you’ve escaped the clutches of the Lake House girls,” she said. Over by the fire, the two girls had moved in closer. TK looked like he’d just won the lottery and planned to spend it all on one big night.
“Ha ha, you left me with no choice but to hang out with them.” Sidney looked at her evenly. She was glowing as she fought to keep a smile from her lips. Sidney thought she’d gone to the store or something – he didn’t believe when Jordan said she’d disappeared with Kris forty-five minutes ago. But the look on her face and the slight abrasion on her cheek gave up her secrets: she’d just been soundly shagged. Sidney looked over at Tanger, acting all coy and awkward with Jordan. Yup, they’d been doing it.
I’d still hit it, right now, even after that, Sidney thought. If anything, she looked more delicious. Like she’d been pumped and primed, warmed up and stretched out and was ready to play a really, really hard game. Harder than Kris, Sidney sneered mentally.
But then Kris came over and Sidney saw Ginger’s eyes get soft. Her smile turned up a notch. They didn’t touch – they hardly knew each other. But they were close now, having shared something. The look on her face said she was officially out of reach.
Kris wanted to stand near her, touch her, hold her hand. His mind still reeled, both from upstairs and the prospect of getting to do it all again later. He wanted to be sure she wasn’t a figment of his very overactive, pornographic imagination that would evaporate like a mirage when he got too close. But she was smiling at him, and he took that as enough.
Ginger barely suppressed the urge to wisecrack Sidney. He’d been none-too-subtle about giving her the eye before. Not that Sidney Crosby had to be subtle – most women in Canada would be out of their panties before he said hello. And he was certainly gorgeous, just like on TV: beefcake body, killer smile and something innocent about those puppy dog eyes. But Ginger didn’t feel the spark, she wasn’t overwhelmed with desire for him. And those were her requirements. Sidney may not have known, but he never stood a chance.
Ginger knew that Jordan and Marc had both been casually chasing her for years. When they were younger it was obvious, but it was also easier. Since they’d hit the big leagues, Ginger loved when they visited and missed them when they were gone, but she wasn’t about to roll over and give it up just because they didn’t live here anymore. She wasn’t opposed to the occasional temporary romp, as she had just proven very ably with Kris. But Jordan and Marc would always come back. She wanted to always be their friend.
No, she hadn’t come to this party looking to hook up. Jordan had actually warned her off Max, as if she couldn’t see him coming like a spaceship landing on a dollhouse. She liked that Jordan hadn’t tried to keep her from Kris, and even seemed to be fine with knowing that something had happened between them. It let her know that Kris was a good guy – even if only for one night.
And what a night it is shaping up to be, she thought. She’d been more forward than usual; hell she had never outright propositioned someone before. Something about Kris made her feel reckless. Just before he ran off she had seen a flash of unbridled lust in his eyes. She’d been fishing for it, licking his fingers and her own. Oops, she had said to herself. A little too hard on that push. She thought he might have just run away from her. It wasn’t until she was upstairs that she heard the small noises he didn’t even realize he’d been making. And knowing that he wanted her that badly, right then and there, was too much to pass up. She was wet again, thinking about it. I’m going to have to throw these underwear out.
So when Kris came over she resisted her desire to lean against his broad shoulders, to breathe in his skin. She knew she’d get another chance. Instead she just teased him, knowing her words would drive him crazy until they had another chance at each other.
“Don’t stand too close, I might come again,” she whispered then moved away. Kris gulped.
They joined the card game for a while and made another round of less suggestive s’mores. Jordan asked for a beer run and Kris volunteered – he’d spent his time doing other things besides drinking. When he left, Jordan dropped into the empty chair.
“So that’s it? Two hours and you’re getting down with Tanger? I’ve been waiting like 40 years for you, Ginger.” He was smiling as he said it.
She punched him in the arm. “Jordo, if I sleep with you I have to sleep with all of your brothers. Your mom always said I never learned how to share growing up.”
Jordan put his arm out and hugged her. She said a silent prayer of thanks that he hadn’t gone ballistic over Kris. It was harmless and fun, but it could have been more serious to Jordan. He’d hated her boyfriends in high school, always threatening them to treat her right or else. And Ginger had never even been tempted by one of Jordan’s friends before.
“Tanger is a great guy,” he said. “Just go easy on him. He falls in love a little fast.”
“Jordan, I am going to make that boy love me all the way into the Penthouse Forum. Don’t you worry.”
“ACK! Good God,” Jordan screamed. Then he whispered, “Don’t say things like that to me or I will kill him when he gets back and carry you off myself. I’m very strong and impossible to resist once naked.”
Ginger made a half-and-half motion. “But then, all your brothers….” Jordan ran off.
Max and Kris went a few miles to the liquor store. They loaded up on beer for the next couple of days, as well as a few bottles of the good stuff. Kris noticed a display of condoms behind the counter and wondered if he should buy some. They hadn’t used one the first time, but that was a bit wild for his personal taste. Max was whistling his way up the whiskey aisle. There was no way to buy them without him seeing. And knowing Max, he would be so exuberant over Kris getting laid he’d be impossible to shut up for the rest of the trip. As Kris was thinking about it, Max came to the counter.
“Just buy them. I can’t believe you don’t pack any when you travel. Amateur.”
Kris turned scarlet. “What? How did you….”
“I heard her. I was in the downstairs bathroom when you made her scream, mon ami. Bravo!”
Now the blood drained from Kris’ face. How embarrassing for the both – no wonder the whole yard seemed to know.
“Don’t worry, no one else heard you. But it’s me. If a woman moans in pleasure within a five mile radius, I will always hear her.” He smiled, picked up half the purchase and walked out. Kris bought his condoms in peace. And with optimism he bought the economy pack.
Ginger heard the car tires crunch the gravel driveway and went through the house to help. Max was already out, beer in hand, walking toward her.
“Don’t hurt him, kitten. He’s not very flexible.” And he kept on going.
Ginger blushed at Kris. Kris rolled his eyes.
“I am totally flexible,” he scoffed.
“We’ll see about that,” she teased.
The resupply of alcohol finally put the party into the black. There would be no recovering before morning. Ginger was tipsy, but stopped short of getting drunk. Kris stuck to beer when the shots started flowing.
Ginger felt Kris’ eyes on her throughout the night. She moved more slowly, leaning down and bending over more than was really necessary. She knew he was watching because she was watching him: the way he stretched his arms behind his head to reveal the full curve of his biceps and the strip of skin along his lower stomach, his big hands wrapped around a beer.
TK danced with one of the Lake House girls near the fire. The other one was getting antsy – she’d moved in on Crosby a couple times but nothing stuck. Sid sidestepped her, leaving Jordan to handle, and walked over where Ginger had her feet up on a chair.
“My opinion of you is rising, Crosby,” she said, tapping their beer cans together. “That girl is getting nowhere fast.”
He turned to look at the girl. She was cute in her tank top and Capri pants. But he just shrugged. “Eh. I’m a knock-your-socks-off kinda guy. And she doesn’t.” He turned back to her. “You do, though. Shame you went for Tanger.”
Ginger smiled. “Kris had me at not being able to speak for 15 minutes.”
“Girls love the shy ones,” Crosby said, laughing as he shook his head.
Kris watched Sidney sit down next to Ginger. When they both looked at the lonely girl by the card table, he knew they were talking about hooking up. Kris was not the jealous type but he did get intimidated sometimes by the other guys on the team. Guys who flaunted their player status, fame or fortune to their advantage. Sidney wasn’t like that – his notoriety actually worked against him. He was scared of getting taken advantage of, ruining the squeaky clean reputation his sponsors coveted. The only way Crosby ever intimidated Kris was that he wasn’t shy. He’d talk to anyone, anywhere about almost anything. So if he wanted to hit on Ginger, even now, he would be doing it without hesitation.
Ginger looked to be holding her own. They were both laughing when she stretched her arm across the back of Sid’s chair and without ever looking up gave Kris a little wave.
All mine, he thought.
An hour later people were starting to drop. Max, Kris, Sid and TK were staying with Jordan. No one had bothered to sort out rooming assignments, and by Kris’ math someone was going to end up on the couch. Some of Jordan’s friends left with their designated driver. The lonely lake house girl made a last ditch play for Sidney but left alone. It looked like her friends would be staying the night. One was currently being examined by Doctor Talbot for something lodged very far down her throat. The other was in the pool using TK as a flotation device.
Kris snuck upstairs and put all his stuff in the room across from the bathroom. He draped clothes over chairs, unpacked some things and generally made a big enough mess that even a drunk person could tell the room was taken. He passed Max and his date in the hallway. Then went one door down and closed it behind themselves with a giggle.
Sidney and Jordan stood on the porch, surveying the wreckage of the day. Someone was asleep with their head on the card table. A few of Jordan’s local friends were still huddled by the fire, talking loudly. Ginger was sitting at the pool, her feet in the water.
“Tanger got your girl, eh?” Sid asked.
Jordan shook his head. “That one is nobody’s girl.”
Ginger smiled at the people around her. Everyone would have a story to tell tomorrow, if they could remember what happened tonight. This is how summer should be – crazy times with your friends while everyone wears shorts and sunscreen. Sounds like a country song, she thought. Since going away to school, summer had become a haven for Ginger. Montreal was wonderful, but she missed home. And home wasn’t the same without Jordan and company. She was immensely happy for Jordan and his brothers, of course. Their dreams were coming true. But sometimes she thought life came at the bittersweet expense of leaving things behind.
“Looks like you’re on the couch, bro,” Jordan said.
“Lucky me,” Sidney drained his beer.
Kris came up alongside them. They all pretended to look out across the yard, but they were all looking at Ginger.
“Hiya boys,” she called brightly. Backlit by the pool, her hair was dark against bright skin. In silhouette her sundress revealed more than it covered. One leg was outstretched, chasing circles on the surface of the water.
“I hate you, Kris,” Sidney whispered, with laughter in his voice.
Kris helped Ginger and Jordan round up trash from the yard. They stowed the leftover beer and liquor, carried the food inside and sent the drunks home. The way TK and his date were stumbling it was unlikely he’d be getting any tonight. Sidney loaded the dishwasher.
“That’s kinda loud if you’re sleeping in the living room,” Jordan warned.
Sidney cast a look toward Kris and Ginger, who apparently needed to be pressed side to side in order to fill the recycling.
“Should drown out any noise from upstairs,” he said.