The next morning, the first thing I did was walk out the French doors that led to my balcony. It was in the front of the house, so I could see the driveway. I smiled when I saw my car parked right where it usually was. In a very good mood, I made my way downstairs.
“Morning,” my dad said. “G’morning,” I replied. I sauntered over to the fridge, grabbing an apple from the bowl of fruit in the middle of the island. I took out a bottled water and plopped down next to my mom at the kitchen table. “Slept in a little today?” she asked. I glanced at the clock, it was 8:30. “Whoa, yeah,” I said, shocked. I hadn’t been asleep past 7 since 6th grade. At about 9:45, I got a text from Jordan.
Jordan: doing anything today?
Jordan: meet me at the arena in an hour.
Peyton: ok. why?
Jordan: don’t ask questions.
Getting ready was not something I could do quickly. But since we were just going to be in the arena, I decided to keep it casual, throwing on a pair of jeans, one of my basketball sweatshirts from high school, and blue puma sneakers. I put my hair up in a high ponytail, and put on a little mascara.
I was ready to go, so I told my parents I was leaving and headed out to the car. I was probably imagining this, but it smelled just like him. With traffic, it took about a half an hour to get to the arena. Looking around, I saw four other cars. Sure enough, one was his.
I walked in, and told the man there that I was supposed to meet Jordan Staal. Apparently it had been prearranged, so I was allowed in. Not sure where I was supposed to go, I just went into the rink and took a seat in the first row.
“Peyton,” a raspy, creepy voice sounded over the loudspeaker, making me jump out of my seat. Turning around, I saw that it was Jordan, sitting in the announcers box. Smiling, I made my way up to join him. “I’m not supposed to play with this stuff,” he said, and I laughed.
“Well,” he said, dragging out the word. He took my hand and led me down onto the bench, and handed me skates. It took me a while to figure out how to put them on, but once I did, I tried to stand up and fell into him. I panicked. I had never skated before.
“Um, Jordan, I can’t skate. At all,” I pleaded. He looked at me. “Well lucky for you, I can,” he said, pulling me gently out onto the ice. I rolled my eyes. “Oh, you’re a baller?” He asked, looking down at my sweatshirt. “Hardcore,” I laughed.
As soon as he let my hands go, I fell straight on my butt. He laughed and skated to the other side. “Jordan!” I yelled. “Help,” I sounded pathetic. He made a few laps while I tried to get up. I couldn’t. So eventually, I crawled over to the wall and grabbed onto it, pulling myself up.
Jordan was laughing; hysterically. “You’re amazing!” He said between breaths. I raised my eyebrows. “I know. And I’m even better on the basketball court,” I said. “I doubt that. I’ve never even picked up a basketball, and from what athletic ability I see you have, I’d look like…uh, Michael Jordan compared to you,” he challenged. “Michael Jordan? You’re so old school.”
* * * * *
The team was off that day, which was a rare occasion. Apparently Jordan, Max and Marc-Andre had made plans to go out to lunch. I was invited to go with them, which I was a little wary about. I had just met Jordan, and I didn’t want to impose on any guy time.
Jordan insisted though, and hell, who was I to turn down an almost too-attractive, famous, hockey player? I wasn’t, exactly. So in the end, I went with him. Max and Flower were already there when we arrived, and so was (thank God) another girl.
“Hello, Peyton,” she said, standing up and hugging me. Which was weird, but a nice gesture anyway. I noticed she sounded very French. “Hello,” I said. “Oh, I’m sorry. My name is Veronique, but you can call me Vero or V if you like that better. I’m Marc’s girlfriend,” she smiled. “Oh, it’s nice to meet you!” I said, also saying hello to Max and Marc.
When I sat down, Max leaned over to me. “You like sleeping?” he asked. “Uh, yeah,” I said, confused. “Me too! We should do it together sometime,” he said. “As tempting as that sounds…” I said, laughing. “No, seriously…it’s ok. I’m sterile,” he whispered, as if that would change my mind.
“Oh, in that case,” I shrugged. “HA! I’m just kidding. But don’t tell that to all the girls who I may or may not have gotten pregnant. Wouldn’t be good for my rep, you know what I’m saying?” “OKAY, Max thank you for scarring her for life,” Jordan said, standing up and motioning for me to do the same.
“Switch me seats and sit next to Flower. He’s much less dangerous,” he said. I laughed, but wasn’t about to disagree. “No, dude, seriously. She wants me. I can smell it,” Max explained. I smiled and shook my head. “Sorry about Max. He can’t control himself around girls,” Marc leaned over, smiling his drop-dead gorgeous smile.
He had about the cutest damn accent I had ever heard. “No, it’s ok. He’s a funny guy,” I said, unable to resist smiling back at him. “Ha, it’s funny until you realize that he’s not kidding,” Marc said, winking at me.