Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chapter 17

“The Bieksa’s are back,” Mel announced as she rounded the corner to the back of the gallery where Tabby was currently emailing another order to Harlequin for more prints. She got a piece of each, more a taste really, but Harlequin was happily getting the larger chunk of change for each sale.

“The who?” Tabby didn’t even look up from her task. It didn’t matter if she was only getting five dollars from the sale of every print. Every five dollars kept her from having to move in with her mother and the way her mother had been since she’d gotten back from the Island…

“You know, that über cute couple who bought the Bambi painting,” Mel began and that did make Tabby look up and shoot her a dark look.

“It’s not the Bambi painting. It’s called Mother and Child,” Tabby corrected her before shaking her head and going back to her task.

“Yeah, whatever. Did you know he’s a hockey player?” Tabby’s nose wrinkled as she hit send on the email and then turned back to her friend.

“Was I supposed to?” she asked, tilting her head to one side. She hadn’t considered her friend to be any more knowledgeable in the area of sports than she herself was.

“So I was thinking about that commission you’ve been struggling with,” Mel continued, stretching her words out as if she was talking to someone with diminished mental capacity while raising her eyebrows and staring at Tabby, waiting for her to catch on.

“Oh…oh!”Tabby practically jumped out of her chair. “Do you think he would? I mean…do you think he wouldn’t mind?” she asked, practically shoving her friend out of her way in her eagerness to get out to the front of the gallery where the cute young couple was waiting.

“And here she is,” Kevin smiled warmly and Tabby could hear Mel growling behind her. That girl definitely had a thing for married men.

“I just wanted to thank you again,” Tabby began, holding her hand out to Katie first and then to Kevin who held it maybe a count too long, his sea blue gaze capturing hers’. “Mel found some great reclaimed wood from a house being taken down. It’s a real natural dark wood,” she added as Mel pulled the large canvas out from behind another set of cheaply framed prints. “I hope you like it,” she added standing back while the young couple ooh’d and aah’d over the frame and Mel stood by beaming over her handiwork. Not that she could blame her, Tabby thought, as she too looked over the whole picture. The painting looked even more complete now. It almost made her feel badly for leaving the unframed print for Patrick’s mother…almost.

She waited until Kevin was signing the credit card slip for the framing to ask.

“Mel was telling me that your husband plays hockey?” She directed the question to the wife to avoid any unseemly connotations to the request. Katie grinned and almost laughed.

“You could say that,” she covered her mouth for a moment and then just let go in a fit of giggles that left Tabby standing there looking back and forth between Mel, who was shaking her head at her, and Kevin who was smiling in that way that said he knew something but wasn’t about to share it. “I’m sorry,” Katie hiccupped at last, reaching out to put her hands on Tabby’s forearms. “I don’t mean to be rude but…it’s actually kind of nice not to have him recognized, but it is a bit unusual.”

“Oh,” Tabby stared back at the couple awkwardly as Kevin put his arm around his wife’s shoulders and planted an affectionate kiss on the top of her head. “I’m sorry, I just don’t watch sports,” she tried to explain.

“Clearly,” Kevin grinned with a not very veiled glance towards the prints. Tabby followed his eyes, waiting for him to say more, but when he didn’t she looked back at him and continued her question.

“I just wondered…I mean, I hoped…I have this commission to do a cover of a novel with a hockey player and like I said, I really wouldn’t know one end of a hockey stick from another and I would just appreciate if I could just do some sketches to work from…and I mean if you’re busy I’d understand but….”

“He’d be happy to, wouldn’t you babe?” Katie volunteered her husband before he had a chance to answer for himself. “In fact he has a practice tomorrow morning. Why don’t I meet you down at the rink tomorrow, we’ll get you inside and you can’t sketch hot sweaty men to your heart’s content.”


“You’re lucky it’s just a case of pubic lice, crabs I think you boys call them.” Dr. Burke looked over his glasses at Sidney who was doing his best not to scratch while the doctor poked around in his family jewels. “From what you’ve been telling me, you’re lucky you haven’t caught something far worse,” he added in that disappointed paternal tone, which, if he hadn’t already felt like squirming, would have had that effect on him. “I know you boys get plenty of opportunities to sew your wild oats,” the doctor continued as he fished around with a pair of long, sharp looking tweezers that made Sid wince just to look at them, “but I wish you would be a little more careful.”

“I’ve been using protection,” Sidney grumbled as the doctor peered at something between the tips of the tweezers before dunking it into a test tube filled with alcohol.

“Well, as you can see,” Dr. Burke held up another one of those nasty little bugs that had had Sidney scratching himself in public, “that clearly isn’t a hundred per cent effective in keeping all forms of sexually transmitted infections at bay. And, in case you didn’t know, condoms are also not entirely effective in stopping pregnancies either,” he added, freezing Sidney with another one of those patented looks over his glasses. “And I know that it wouldn’t just be your father who would be very unhappy with you if you were leaving little Sidney Crosby’s everywhere.” Sidney shut his eyes and gripped the edge of the examination table to stop from scratching.

“Other guys…guys on the team have had this right?” he asked through his teeth.

“Mmmhmmm,” the doctor replied noncommittally, and as Sidney looked down the length of his body he felt his stomach roll at the sight of the doctor staring intently at his junk. “I think we’ve got all the eggs and the cream should take care of the lice,” he sighed, snapping his rubber gloves off and reaching for the cream, handing it to Sidney who immediately opened it and began to squeeze it all over his nether regions until the soothing cream made him let out a little sigh of relief. “I hope I don’t have to tell you that you can’t have any sexual relations, of any kind, with anyone, for at least two weeks,” Dr. Burke added, leaning back against the sink wearing that disappointed look on his face again. “And I’d throw out anything you’ve worn in the last two weeks as well, and don’t make me tell the equipment manager,” he added which made Sidney shudder. He hated throwing out anything from his equipment. He’d had the same jock strap since he was twelve and the equipment manager had been begging to replace it for years. He’d definitely have his wish come true now. “And who is your roommate on the road?” the doctor asked, as Sidney reached for his boxer briefs, only to have the doctor pick them up with same tweezers he’d just been using on him and, as Sidney watched, the doctor carefully deposited them in the medical waste box.

“Dupers, Pascal Dupuis,” he added as the doctor’s brow wrinkled.

“Yes, well, you should let Mr. Dupuis know as I’m sure your towel has touched his and so on,” Dr. Burke sighed, before turning to open the door to yell down the hall for someone to retrieve ‘Mr. Crosby’s shorts from the equipment room’ before holding his hands out for his jeans.

“Really?” Sidney sighed, but handed them over and watched as the doctor got out a yellow medical waste disposal bag and tossed them inside, closing the bag tight and knotting the ties.

“All this…bed jumping…while understandable at your age, can lead to more serious consequences than this Mr. Crosby,” Dr. Burke admonished him and Sid sat there feeling about a foot high and properly embarrassed. “I would suggest being a little more…prudent, with your choice of bed partners from now on.” The shorts were passed through the door and Sidney slid into them and, with his head hung low, headed out into the hallway.

Tabby’s stomach lurched towards her throat as Katie lead her through the equipment room where a pile of sweat soaked jerseys were being sorted through and then she covered her mouth and nose with her free hand as they went through the dressing room. The mixed aromas of body odor, sweat, mildew and the rankest of them all, foot fungus, filled her head and made her eyes well up as her body tried to defend itself from the general funk of hockey players. Katie didn't even seem to notice. Must be an acquired taste Tabby told herself as she followed behind.

Some of the guys were already in the room, in various states of undress and the flexing biceps and rippling six packs reminded her of the last text message she’d received from Mel; ‘I hate you’. It was simple and to the point and now that she was getting an eyeful of the prime man meat in the room, she had the urge to pull out her phone and take a photo to send back to Mel.

Or maybe even Patrick, she thought. Look at what I’m looking at or maybe his ass is nicer than yours, although, if she was honest with herself, though there were certainly some nice ones on display, none of them had that solid, meaty weight to them that his had had.

I wonder what he does do to look as good as he does? Tabby thought to herself as she followed Katie down a corridor that lead out to the ice where there was still a number of players passing a puck around. See, she said to herself, you remembered some of what you read. She’d been online the night before, or at least on the Canucks website, and now she was fairly sure she could tell one end of a hockey stick from another.

“Hey, you’re here,” Kevin called out, sending a spray of ice towards them as he came to a stop in front of the bench. Katie leaned out for a kiss while Tabby got her sketch book and pencils out of her purse. “So, how do you need me?” he asked, striking a strong man pose with his arms bent in, which, Tabby could imagine, having seen him in street clothes, would have been fairly impressive if it hadn’t been for the pads and the oversize jersey.

“I was thinking of something more relaxed?” she offered, tipping her head to one side and trying to decide what would look both cocky and sexy at the same time. “How about with the stick across your shoulders and your hands kind of dangling…that’s it!” she grinned as he assumed the position she had just described, his head tilted a bit to one side with that smoldering ‘I’m going to fuck you up’ grin that she thought was probably his go to face against an opponent.

“Will I get a copy of this?” Katie asked, leaning on the boards and admiring her husband openly.

“You have it to look at all the time babes,” Kevin grinned back at her and Tabby cemented her gaze to the white sheet now balanced on her knee. The two of them were so obviously in love it felt a little too private, a little too intimate to be around them.

“Yeah what about some real beefcake?” One of Kevin’s teammates sent a shower of ice over the boards, which melted immediately onto the paper and erased the few lines that Tabby had put down. She growled and looked up, intending to let the guy have it, but found herself looking up into another pair of sky blue eyes and a freckled face with a big, goofy grin attached.

“You? Beefcake? Don’t take your shirt of OB,” Kevin laughed without losing his pose, “or she might see where you keep all those beers around your middle.”

“Hey girls like a little something to hold on to, am I right?” the tall, young looking player looked to Tabby for affirmation but she just shook her head.

“I guess that sort of depends on the girl,” she mused, turning the page over to start again.

“Yeah, you don’t stand a chance with this one,” Kevin snorted, “she’s had a taste of filet mignon, she’s no going back to flank steak Shane.” Tabby opened her mouth to ask what he meant by that but by the time she opened her mouth, Kevin had dropped his gloves and the two men were play fighting and other players were skating over to jump in.

“They’re just boys,” Katie explained, grinning and laughing as she watched her man giving as good as he got and laughing all the while. “You gotta love them though, right?” Tabby nodded and thought about Patrick’s friends Jordy and Max and Kris and couldn’t help but smile and agree.

A few weeks later….

“You know there’s been snow since the beginning of time. You’d think they would have figured out a faster way to de-ice a plane in the last fifty,” Sidney grumbled as he and a group of his teammates stared out the window at the crew working under and on top of the plane, heating ice from the wings. Until they were done, they were stuck in the airport in Toronto with nothing to do.

“Somebody needs to get laid,” Jordy noted aloud, making the rest of the team snort, or at least those who didn’t try and hide their amusement behind their hands, knowing full well the sort of mood their captain had been in of late. The nasty infection he’d got from that woman in Philly had put enough of a scare into him that he hadn’t been near a woman since, and they all knew it. Sidney didn’t give in to the urge to turn around and stick his fist into the fall forward’s face. There was no point.

He did need to get laid but bedding just any woman hadn’t healed the wound inside of him, hadn’t made him forget her. He still dreamed of her when he shut his eyes and when he took his own need in hand, it was still her name he called out.

“Let’s go get a Playboy or something,” TK muttered, pushing off from the glass and turning to head into the strip of shops nearby.

“You could have at least said Sport Illustrated or the Hockey News,” Max muttered as he too turned to follow the speedy young winger.

“Why? Do you think I’m gonna wack off in the bathroom to a picture of him?” TK pointed at Sid who scowled back at him. The entire group broke up laughing but nearly everyone got to their feet and followed him across the waiting area.

Sid headed for the magazine rack. He did intend to buy a copy of SI, or something similar to read. Not that he was much for reading but it would help to pass the time; especially if they were going to be stuck in the airport much longer. He knew his temper had grown short and that he needed a distraction from the thoughts that kept playing through his head. Even now, as he stood in front of the magazine rack beside Dupes and Flower, perusing the sport section, his hand kept going to his phone. He’d palm it, think about calling her and then chicken out and take his hand out of his pocket.

At first, it had only been pride holding him back from calling her. Now it sheer cowardice. After all this time, she probably had some other lover, some man taking her out for candlelit dinners, making her laugh, kissing her ripe lips….

“Holy shit!” Everyone’s head swiveled to where TK and Jordy were standing further down the aisle, holding up a paperback in each hand and laughing. Sidney shook his head, deciding that whatever it was considering the culprits, whatever they were up to, was bound to be juvenile and would do nothing to cure his irritated state. “Seriously Cap, I had no idea you were moonlighting as a male model,” TK shouted down the aisle. With a sigh, Sidney replaced the copy of ESPN magazine to its place amongst the others on the rack and turned to join his teammates who were hooting and hollering like they were at the rippers, not in a small bookstore.

“Jesus Christ will you look at this?” Jordy was holding up a small paperback and laughing. Sidney eyed the cover and felt the tips of his ears eat up. He knew that picture. He hadn’t seen it completed but he remembered posing for it, standing on the stairs in a hard hat, tool belt and jeans. That’s when things had gone to shit. “Stephanie has a boring nine to five job. The only time she gets to stretch her imagination is when she dreams about what the old house she’s just bought is going t look like if she ever gets it finished and then Robert James comes into her life when she hires a handy-man and suddenly her imagination is out of control and so is her libido,” Jordan reads aloud to a chorus of wolf whistles and cat calls. Sidney reaches to snatch the paperback out of his friend’s hand but Jordan dances out of range and shakes his head. “No way, I’m taking this on the plane,” he laughs.

“What about this one?” Sidney turns to find Max holding up another paperback, this one with the first cover, him in the full knight in shining armor get up with the fainting girl in his arms, her black hair pooling on the ground, her breasts heaving free of her dress. Bodice rippers she’d called these books and it certainly looked like he’d been working on her dress…. “Rougishly handsome Duke Olivier de Lacey has always lived life lustily, women, wine and song. Lady DeCouverley, stuck in a loveless, arranged marriage to an elderly, mostly bed ridden Lord finds excitement when she joins a dissident group of Protestants who work against the Queen and thwart her order of executions at every turn. When the debauched Duke is due to hang, only the lovely Lady DeCouverley can save him but can she save herself from his brooding charm? Oooh brooding charm,” Max laughed and began to open the book to read aloud Sid thought as he grabbed for the book only to have it passed over his head to Flower who then tossed it to Tanger.

Sid shook his head and turned to head back to the magazines. He’d known how she made a living and by saying nothing and certainly by posing for her, he’d given his tacit agreement to her using his likeness. He knew Pat, his agent, would be furious if he found out…hell, Bettman would stroke out, but he wasn’t about to make a deal about it now and she hadn’t chosen the stories her…what did she call them? Illustrations went on.

Still…Sidney turned and went to the shelf to look for one of the books. Maybe Harlequin would be able to provide her address. They had a game in Vancouver at the end of next month and maybe, just maybe, he could get a hold of her, take her to dinner, if she would just let him explain things….

“Bien, je suppose que nous n’avons pas d’imaginer qui elle est maintenant à coucher….” Sid didn’t even let Kris finish before he had ripped the slim volume from his teammates grasp. He stared at the cover and there was no doubt whatsoever in his mind that it was her work. The style, the colours, it was all the same. So was the girl with the pencil skirt, glasses and clipboard who was staring, cow eyed at the casual looking, roguishly handsome defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks. She’d hardly even made any attempt at changing the jersey or logo. That was definitely Tabby and there was no mistaking the cocky sneer on Kevin Bieksa’s face.

A red haze fell over Sidney’s gaze and his hands clenched around the paperback and before he knew what he’d done, he’d ripped the book in two and only the cover and a couple of pages remained in his hand, the rest was on the floor and the entire store was silent. Sid looked around and saw every pair of eyes on him.

“Pay for this will you?” he growled at Max, pulling his credit card from his wallet and pressing it into his friend’s hand, and then, with the cover still in his hand, he stormed out of the store.


  1. Ohhhhh my gosh. A jealous Sidney, yesss! That trip to Vancouver should be fun and interesting.
    The fact that Sidney got crabs, bahahahahahah. That should put an end to his manwhoring forever. I really really hope that pregnancy comment by the doctor isn't hinting at anything else...

  2. I don't where to start... first of all, you left us hanging on your every word (again), thanks for pointing out the disgusting consequences of irresponsible sexual behavior, and Angry Sid is what we need here! Action, Sid.. Tabby just keeps plugging away and I love the Vancouver player references (for some reason last chapter I thought of Bieksa and now O'Brien!!) O.K.. hanging on for chapter 18. Fabulous.

  3. Lol about Sid getting crabs~! Serves him right for treating women like that! Can't wait for more to see what happens when he does find her!!

  4. Very Funny chapter with Sid .
    LOL All that sleeping around got him a case of the Crabs.
    LOL On the guys seeing him from modeling for the Romance covers.

    Kevin just hinted knowing it was Sid.Tabby should have asked what do you mean?
    Tabby seems to be doing much better than Sid after they separated.

  5. This was a great read! From Tabby to Kevin to crabs to the bookshop. Awesome!!!

  6. OMG, this was sooooo goooood. you have to update sooon!!!!!