I should no longer be surprised when someone knocks on my hotel room door.
It’s just after ten at night and I’m ready for bed. Green terry cloth shorts are rolled over at my waist - not to make them shorter, just to keep the old things on. They are pretty short though, I think as I go toward the door. Not like anyone cares. Just in case I always wear a bra, until I’m turning off the light. Good thing too under this thin white t-shirt.
His elbow is up, resting near the hinge as he leans across the doorway. A mess of long dark hair hangs shaggy around his scruffy face and eyes so brown they’re almost black give me a once-over before locking onto my gaze. Sweatpants and a black t-shirt do nothing to hide the muscular build underneath. If Canada could weaponize his sex appeal, they wouldn’t need a defense program.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Kris asks.
I hear heavy running footsteps, just before Sidney skids to a stop in the hallway. The stripes on his workout pants curve like a Nascar track where his ass stretches the fabric. He self-consciously pulls the hem of his baby blue Pens shirt down before running a hand nervously through his short brown hair. His milky skin is flushed red at the cheeks.
“I’m sor... I just...,” he stutters, hands waving for effect. “He’s my... oh fuck it.”
Sidney steps over Kris’ feet, pushes me against the door and kisses me.
Let me start at the beginning.
I’m a trainer. I specialize in pain management. I’m a girl in a man’s world, in a man’s sport, doing a man’s job. There are reasons not many women are hired to fill this position, especially twenty six year olds, and I’m very well aware of them all. But I was in the right place at the right time to fill a need, and I’m good at my job. Once I was past the initial stages there was no reason to see me off.
When you’ve seen a guy naked, it changes things. As a medical professional, I try to be clinical. But sometimes I have to tell my ovaries they are grounded for throwing such a wild party.
When you’ve seen a guy cry, it changes everything else. Big, tough guys, guys who fight and battle and scrap every day are not supposed to be vulnerable. But a separated shoulder or a busted face is the great equalizer.
The guys here fall into both categories. I’ve seen most of them mostly naked and I’ve seen most of them cry. Blood and tears tend to take the shine off pecs and abs. For some people.
Because of that, we talk. A lot of them don’t have anyone else to talk to - you can’t take every problem, every question or worry to your bros. This team gossips more than a sorority and hazes harder than a fraternity. They are blood brothers but some things need a softer touch. As the nearest girl, I often win. I’d like to think I have a reputation for being a good listener and giving sound advice. They’re young, rich, famous, gorgeous - it’s not like we have much in common. But they’re people too, and stripped down to their lowest is when they usually need me most. Pain is pain and I’m here to help.
So back to the story at hand.
Sidney and I stayed in tonight. He stays in a lot when we’re on the road and Lord knows I can’t keep up with the guys either. Not if I want to keep my job. So we watch movies and eat room service and try to pretend he’s not the Second Coming. Off the ice he’s really just a nice guy who has a weird life and doesn’t want to mess anything up.
He picked up this month’s Cosmo from the dresser and settled onto the second bed in my room while I figured out the movie ordering system.
“Is this true?”
He pointed to a hot pink headline on the cover: Why Most Girls Don’t Orgasm (And So Many Fake It).
From the story he read some statistics. “Only about thirty percent of women can orgasm through traditional sex. Many require additional stimulation through friction or oral play. A small percentage of women lack the ability to climax at all, a condition that researchers are still studying.”
I put a hand to my face. “Can you never say ‘oral play’ to me again please? You shouldn’t be reading that.”
He sat up straight. “I’m serious, Bridget. Only thirty percent of girls actually come during sex? Everyone else is faking it?”
“Oh God, don’t start doing the math! It does not mean that two thirds of the girls you’ve slept with have faked it,” I said pleadingly.
“But some have.” He looked really hurt.
“Maybe not. I bet the idea of you being Sidney Crosby is enough to get them off without any sex at all. Plus, it’s not like you’re Max. It doesn’t mean six hundred girls have faked it for you.”
Sid laughed, holding up the magazine. “Max would never believe this.”
“He’d insist on launching his own study,” I added.
He looked thoughtfully at the magazine. It was an inappropriate topic, but exactly the kind of conversation that went on in the boys club all the time. I’d learned to roll with it.
“Have you ever?” he asked.
“Faked it? Ummmmm... yes.”
I held one hand up in a stop motion. “No one you know.”
“Wait, you faked it because they weren’t good enough to make you orgasm or because you can’t?”
“We are not talking about this.” I pulled a pillow over my head.
“Oh my God, you can’t! Bridge, that sucks! Wait, are you sure it wasn’t just the guys you were with?”
“Not talking about this!” My voice was muffled by the pillow. A second later, the mattress dipped as Sidney threw his weight down next to me. I grabbed at the pillow but he was too quick. It landed near the floor lamp.
“Seriously. Was it them?”
I gave in and looked up at him. “It’s not them.”
The concern on his face was so genuine I had to fight the urge to laugh. Only Sidney would be worried for me. Only he was that nice. He was so... Canadian.
“So you’ve never?”
“You idiot!” I smacked him with a backup pillow. “Of course I have. Just never from sex alone.”
His face stayed blank a moment, then his eyes went wide as he put it together. And he blushed, a hot red flash in his face.
Right. Because we’re talking about me touching myself during sex. Perfectly normal. Any friends would do it.
“No more magazines for you,” I told him.
He smiled and I thought he had nothing to worry about. Women would come from that alone.
“Are you kidding? There’s so much to learn!”
“What are you doing?!” I jump backward out of his arms and pull him into the room. Kris follows and quickly shuts the door so we’re all out of sight from prying eyes. I gape at Sidney, the taste of his toothpaste still in my mouth, and he stares back.
It wasn’t just a kiss hello. It was a full body contact, open mouth kiss with tongue and the solid outline of his dick pressed deep into my lower stomach. It was a kiss full of sex and promise and maybe even that other thing I’ve been missing.
“Sidney told me about the magazine,” Kris broke the ice like a hostage negotiator. “I am very concerned about this.”
I wasn’t able to move, but I felt my face turning purple. Sid’s brown eyes glowed an almost hazel color in the odd hotel room lighting as he just stood there.
I lost sight of him when Kris touched me, two fingers running down the bare length of my arm. It was like a knife, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. He was so close I could smell the dark, warm scent of his skin.
“I told him that I think you have been with the wrong guys,” he said in that soft accent. “I think there are things you don’t know yet.”
I couldn’t look at Kris. I was going to have an earth-shattering orgasm if he touched me again and if I looked at him, I’d be begging for it. My body trembled like a tuning fork at the pitch of his voice.
“Let me try,” he said was barely above a whisper. I swear I could feel his breath on my neck from two feet away. “Let me try and no one has to know.”
“No.” Sidney came to life. “Not him. Me. Let me try. I... I want to, Bridget.”
Dead silence. Like floating through outer space - no sound, no air, no way I’m getting out of this alive.
“Are you two crazy?!” I hiss. “What are you talking about? I’m not having sex with either of you and I’m not some kind of science experiment!” I round on Sidney. “I can’t believe you told him! Should I tell him some of the things you’ve told me?”
My voice drops to an accusing whisper. “And did you really just kiss me?!”
His brow furrows right down the center, a sure sign that he’s mad. I’ve embarrassed him but he’s done the same to me, and what the fuck is Kris thinking standing here, touching me, offering to correct my history like some kind of sexual good Samaritin? I think Sidney’s going to yell, but instead he just bursts into my space and kisses me again. His arms lock around my sides, pinning my arms, and there’s nothing I can do.
Except kiss him back. My mouth declares civil war on my brain and opens beneath his rough insistence. His tongue slides over mine, velvety despite the force, and I hear myself whimper. His full, pouty lips are so soft and he’s kissing me so hard. My head swims.
Like a predator, Kris doesn’t miss his chance to strike. His big hand is hot against my neck as he lifts my hair and presses his mouth to the delicate skin. I gasp a breath straight from Sid’s lungs and he’s just as surprised as I am.
“What are you doing?!” he barks, but doesn’t let go of me.
Kris barely takes his lips from the spot behind my ear. I can’t see him, but I picture his doe eyes slowly focusing, like a vampire so sure of his superiority that no one will steal his fresh kill.
“I think,” Kris purrs, the vibrations traveling across my skin like a telegraph wire, “that if you can’t, then I can.”
“No,” we both say. Sid says it to Kris. I say it to both of them.
“No,” Sidney repeats.
“Afraid of a game you can’t win?”
What has gotten into him, I think. Kris and Sid are best friends, joined at the hip by an inherent shyness and the fact they’re both good guys in a world of bad boys. Of all the things happening right now, their competition may be the weirdest.
“I know you have wanted this for a long time. Maybe it is time you got it,” Kris says, and Sidney’s face drains of color to be called out in front of me. Then Kris puts his mouth to my ear. “But for a problem like this, I suggest teamwork.”
Sidney’s eyes are full of fear. They’re also inches from mine, looking down as he still holds me tight to his chest. For him this was a really bold, brave move. If he’s wanted me for a long time then I never knew. And he would probably never do anything about it. Kris is the catalyst; he’s not about to walk away and leave his project unfinished. Maybe he’s really the best friend Sidney ever had.
But I can’t let Sid lose this one. Our friendship is turned upside down anyway - there’s no going back now. But forward... well, I’d have to be dead not to want him. And not just that ass and the mouth that just kissed me into a puddle, but the fear and the competitive streak and the way he laughs like a girl. Suddenly I want very, very much to be wrong about what I can’t do.
Heaven help me.
I kiss him. I barely move a muscle to put my lips right on his. In shock he grips me so tight I squeak. He instantly relaxes but doesn’t apologize. Instead he takes my proffered mouth and my breath away at the same time.
Kris chuckles darkly at the turn of events. He dumps my hair over my far shoulder and slides his hand down over my ass. Against a fresh, a virgin patch of skin he whispers:
“Cherie, I promise tonight you will.”