Monday, July 5, 2010

106.) Rubber Band

“Not at all what I was expecting,” I mused aloud, pushing open the heavy, wooden door and blinking furiously, as my eyes adjusted again to bright, fluorescent light. Rubbing my eyes with the backs of my hands, I took a few sidesteps to get out of the way of the people who had been following behind me. “But I still thought it was good. What did you think?”

“Not enough violence,” Dave chuckled. “I was expecting huge fight scenes, I guess. It was good, like you said... but not what I thought it was going to be.”

Once our eyes adjusted to the brightness, we started heading for the exit. We had finally seen Clash of the Titans, like we had tried to do two weeks prior. It had been a really spontaneous thing; we were sitting in the lounge and talking as had become our usual routine of late, and we had just decided to go after his afternoon class. It felt good to do something by the seat of my pants and let go for a while. The end of the semester was approaching quickly so I was stressed out about that, and then I was stressed out for Kris.

San José was currently down, two to one, in the best of seven series against Colorado; the Sharks had been playing catch up from the beginning. The Avalanche won the first game, and then Sharks won to tie the series in 6-5 overtime victory. The third game had been scoreless for the first sixty minutes and required another overtime to decide the winner. Colorado had won that game with a really fluky goal that somehow got behind Nabokov when Boyle had attempted to backhand the puck around the boards. It was weird and stupid, and the entire team was now feeling the pressure.

Every time I spoke to Kris, the tension radiated through the phone. And worst of all, there was nothing I could do to distract him or ease his mind since I was still stuck here in Pittsburgh. Kris was so anxious to get out on the ice and play to strive for that W, and there was nothing I could to help with the situation. It was all so frustrating, just like how he used to block me out at the beginning of our relationship when something was bothering him, like when he injured his shoulder.

I just really wanted a little break from that, which the movie had provided for me wonderfully. It had been a great escape to follow Perseus as he traversed around on a mission, and now I had plenty of time to go home, fix something to eat, and occupy myself with chores or homework until I had to go in for work. It really sucked that the Pens games were on the same days as the Sharks games, because I had to be at the arena.

“Those djinn dudes were creepy looking,” I giggled. “But I thought Perseus did marry Andromeda? Like, in the Greek mythology? And I don’t remember a thing about Io being in the myth, but maybe I forgot that?”

Dave just shrugged and shook his head, like he had no clue about what I was talking about. “I’m glad that you hadn’t seen this yet. Drew and Wayne saw it last weekend without me, and I had asked Sarah, but she didn’t care about going to see it.”

“Sarah? Who’s Sarah?” I teased him. “What happened to Carla? Didn’t you just take Carla out the other day?”

“Uh, yeah. I took Carla out for our third date, and she decided that she just wanted to be friends. So Sarah and I went out for a drink last night, and we’ll see if this one goes beyond the friend zone.” He sighed. “I guess it’s true when they say that nice guys finish last.”

“Not true,” I said, trying to be encouraging. I had a nice guy of my own, and I loved him with all my heart. I felt bad for Dave and kind of pitied him, because one thing that I had learned about him as we got to know each other was that he wanted to find someone to have a real, honest relationship with. Reaching out and trying to comfort him, I put my hand on his arm and squeezed gently. “Girls like nice guys. We’re just not used to them because most guys we meet are total assholes. You’ll find someone who appreciates you, but you have to give it time.”

He shrugged again. We headed out into the nice spring air; I assumed we’d be heading toward our respective cars, but he suggested something else. “Wanna grab something to eat? I’m starving, haven’t really eaten anything since breakfast, and it’s, like, six already.”

“Yeah, sure, I guess. I should eat, too, before I have to go to work,” I said absentmindedly, glancing at the time on my cell. Kris would be waking up from his pregame nap soon, which reminded me of my mission. I glanced across the road toward where all the shops were, hoping to find a place that promised to sell me the perfect gift. “While I’m here, I should really go shopping. Now I’m glad we came down to the Waterfront. Maybe I’ll find something here.”

“Oh? What’re you looking for?” he asked politely, redirecting us away from the parking lot and toward the strip of shops.

I cleared my throat. I didn’t usually talk to Dave about Kris because I was still resentful over the issue of whether or not he believed me. As long as we didn’t talk about Kris, then Dave and I got along just fine. But since he asked, I told him. “Well, Kris’s birthday is this Saturday, and I don’t know what to get him. I’m really running out of time to get him something, because I’ll have to ship it out to him.” Well, unless his team lost today’s game and Thursday’s, because then his season would be over—but I didn’t add that. I was trying to adopt Kris’s theory of thinking positively and indefinitely to avoid jinxing anything.

“Well, it shouldn’t be too hard to find him something,” he thought out loud, “if you know what he likes.”

“It’s more than that,” I sighed, my hand coming up to toy with the charm around my neck. I used an old chain of mine to replace the broken one so I didn’t have to go a day without wearing it. It was a simple necklace and locket which Kris had gotten me for my birthday, but it was very thoughtful and meaningful. That’s what I wanted to do for Kris: get him something that would be as equally considerate. And I had absolutely no clue. “I don’t wanna just get him something that he’ll like, but he’s the kinda guy who’s gonna love whatever it is I get him. I want to give him something that’s gonna mean a lot to him, that’s going to put the biggest smile on his face ever. I’m totally stuck on what, though.”

“Yeah, that’s tough,” he replied. “We could probably check out some of the shops, so maybe something will pop at you.”

“That’s what I’ve been doing. Nothing has been good enough, though. I’ve tried talking to his friends for ideas of something really special, but no one’s offered any good suggestions. I’m drawing a blank.” I sighed again, remembering how Max, Jordan, TK, and Alex all said that a good, properly cooked steak followed up by a few rounds of hot sex were the best way to spend a birthday. Unless someone invented a teleporter between now and Saturday, that wasn’t gonna happen—besides, if the series stretched out to Saturday, he wouldn’t have sex on a game day, birthday or no birthday, especially during the playoffs. With my prospects of finding something appropriate looking dim, I decided to put it off in favor of getting some grub. “Do you wanna eat first?”

“I think that’s the best idea. I’m not a great shopper as is, and if I’m hungry then I’ll really be cranky and absolutely no help. Where do you wanna go? Lady’s choice.”

I smiled at his sense of chivalry. With Tubby and Kris gone, I had missed having this dynamic in my life. “Well, since you insist,” I laughed, thinking about my options. There were all sorts of places down here to choose from: Chinese, Italian, or anything from one of the other basic, chain restaurants like Dave and Buster’s. As I was thinking, my phone vibrated in my pocket. I didn’t have to look at the screen to know it was Kris calling after he woke up from his nap. “Hold on a sec,” I said to Dave, digging out my cell and answering. Dave nodded, but it’s not like he had a say in the matter; of course I was taking Kris’s call. “Hey, babe. Good nap?”

“No,” he groaned. His frustration was audible and palpable. “Couldn’t sleep. I’m too anxious for tonight’s game.”

“Do you wanna talk about it?” I asked, kicking a pebble on the sidewalk. I knew what his answer would be, but it still couldn’t hurt to offer an ear even if he’d automatically turn it down.

“No.” He grunted. “I just want to play this game. Win this game. Tie it back up, make this a best of three, and head back to San José with the split.”

He was stressing and shutting me out, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it—which, in turn, was stressing me out. “And you will, just as long as you don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you psych yourself out.”

“Oh, the pressure is on,” he replied, his words full of snark. “It’s not a ‘must win’ game, but it might as well be. If we go down another game, there’s no way we’ll come back and win three straight.”

“Well, that’s a defeatist attitude if I’ve ever heard one,” I retorted, feeling angry with him that he would so easily give up on his team like that. “With the way you talk, it’s a wonder your team wins at all.”

“I’m just saying that it’s like I’m watching them choke as it happens. One more loss and they might as well give the Avalanche the fourth win.”


“You know what I mean.” He paused and wisely changed subjects before I laid into him some more. “What are you up to?”

“Just got out of the movie theater.”

“Yeah? What did you see?”

I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was doing his best to focus on me and put the game out of his mind, but it only made him sound distracted. I wasn’t going to bore him with talk of my day when there was so much at hand for him to focus on. “Clash of the Titans. Finally got to go see it.”

“Who with?” His question surprised me; I expected him to ask me how it was—not who was with me when I saw it.

“Dave,” I replied, casting a quick glance over at my friend beside me. We were stationary on the walkway, since we couldn’t head in any particular direction until we figured out which restaurant we were going to patronize. The line was completely silent. “Kris? You there, babe?”

“Yes,” he growled, which surprised me again. He was acting so differently than normal, and it was a bit of a shock. “You should have told me about this before you just up and did it, because I’m not okay with that.”

“Sorry, Mr. I Don’t Have a Spontaneous Bone in My Body, but it was a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t even know I was going to the movies when we spoke earlier.”

“Well, I don’t like it. I don’t want it to happen again, Jo.”

All this stress on Kris was making him cranky and setting him in his routine ways. He apparently didn’t like that I was out and about, doing things out of the ordinary. It wasn’t affecting my ability to talk to him to mess with his strict, superstitious schedule, so I didn’t know what the big deal was—but he was obviously in no mood to argue, so I let it slide. “All right, well, next time I’ll call you and inform you of my plans ahead of time. It’s not like I’m blowing you off. Anyway, the movie’s over, and we were just about to head somewhere for dinner.”


“Excuse me?” I asked, positive that I misheard him. Certainly he wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t eat supper.

“I’m serious here. I don’t want you hanging out with Dave like this.”

I still wasn’t sure that I was hearing him correctly, because I couldn’t believe the things he was saying; he had encouraged me to do this two weekends prior when the movie opened—and now he was telling me that it wasn’t okay anymore. And Kris liked Dave; when I had run into Dave at school for the first time and then told Kris, Kris thought it was great and even said he wanted to meet him and thank him in person. Something was up, and I was clueless. “Wait. Say what?”

“Listen, I’ve got enough going on right now that I don’t want to have to worry about this, too. I’m sorry to tell you like this, but I’m not comfortable with you being around him like this, going to the movies and out to dinner with him. Tell him that you have to go, or something came up.”

My mouth flew open in disbelief. My Kris was giving me orders to blow off my friend—after he had pushed me in the first place to make new friends?! “Now, just hold on a second here—”

“This isn’t up for debate, Jo.”

I closed my mouth and chewed on the inside of my cheek as I tried to calm down. Kris was never, ever this short with me or so pushy about anything. He was always patient and full of suggestions, not demands. Maybe it was the stress from the playoffs that had shortened his fuse, or maybe this was a really big deal to him; either way, I certainly wasn’t used to this. If I wasn’t so shocked and angry, I probably would have been turned on by the dominant, take-charge attitude he had assumed.

Lowering the phone from my ear and pressing the mouthpiece into my stomach so Kris couldn’t hear, I turned to Dave and said, “I’m sorry, but he’s a little worked up and I need to talk to him, so I have to pass on dinner. See you Thursday, in the lounge?” I had no idea what he heard or could gather from my end of the conversation, but I wasn’t doing this because Kris asked—or demanded, rather. Kris and I needed to have a serious talk, and I wasn’t going to do it in front of Dave. No doubt there was going to be some yelling, or a lot.

He smiled politely. “Oh, okay. Yeah. See you Thursday.” He headed off in another direction, presumably to wherever he parked before the movie.

I walked toward my own car, so I could do this in a somewhat private space, and placed my cell back up to my ear and hissed into the receiver. “What do you mean, ‘this isn’t up for debate,’ Kris? This is very, very much up for debate.”

“I’m not going to ask you to do this for me. I want you to do it, end of story. It’s no different than what you’ve asked of me, so you should have no trouble agreeing to this.”

“And what about what you told me about making friends? How you didn’t want me sitting at home doing nothing, all alone, while I was finishing up my semester? What about that? I’m only doing what you said.”

“I do want that,” he argued. “But I don’t like the idea of you going out to a movie and then going out to the dinner with some guy who I’ve never met before. It’s not right.”

“Wow, ‘not right,’ huh? Did we suddenly travel back in time to the fifties? Or worse, the eighteenth fucking century? Let’s see, so I’m not allowed to hang out with people who you haven’t met before, but I’m supposed to make friends somehow? It’s ‘not right’ that I’m hanging out with a guy who isn’t my boyfriend, because—let me guess—it’s improper, hmm? Even though he’s my friend. People will paint me as a hussy, I bet. Oh my God, it’s just like high school. Just because I hang out with my brother and his teammates means I’m sleeping with the whole team, right? People will talk and call me a slut. I’m probably making my way through the Penguins while Kris is away—”

“Okay, that’s enough,” he growled.

“That’s what you’re worried about, though, isn’t it? I can’t believe that you’d buy into that, too.”

“No. I know that that’s not what’s happening. You are a good girlfriend. You’re faithful and loving and caring, and I know that and I don’t doubt that for a second,” Kris assured me. “But what about this guy? I don’t know what his deal is. I want you to stop hanging out with him.” I scoffed, but he cut me off and kept going. “I’m not saying you can’t talk to him at school and stuff, because you can do that. As long as there are other people around and you’re not alone with him.”

“Oh, okay, so you want people to see us together. Makes perfect sense to me now.”

“I don’t care if it makes sense to you or not. It’s how I feel, Jo. I know that you wouldn’t cheat, I do. I trust you. But I don’t trust Dave.” He practically spit his name like venom.

“How can you say that you don’t trust him? You don’t even know him! You never met him!”

“Exactly!” I had never heard Kris raise his voice to such a volume before. “I haven’t met him! I don’t know him! That’s exactly my point! I don’t know who you’re spending your time with. How do I know what he’s up to?”

“Why does he have to be up to something? Can’t he just want to be my friend?”

“I don’t know. Can he be just your friend?”

“Yes! That’s what he is now! He’s a nice guy, he knows I have a boyfriend who I’m fucking crazy about even when he’s fucking driving me crazy, and he certainly hasn’t put the moves on me because he knows I’ll shoot him down again.”

“Again? Again?!

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I moaned, leaning forward and pressing my forehead against the steering wheel. I was so frustrated with him, not seeing what the big deal was. “He asked me out for a coffee, but that was before he knew I had a boyfriend! I told him I was taken, and he never tried again.”

“Okay, no, see, he likes you.” He was getting so pissed off and frustrated that he couldn’t coherently string a thought together.

“No, he doesn’t! He’s dated, like, three girls since then. Maybe he liked me before, but he doesn’t now.”

“I doubt he stopped.”

“You’re being paranoid, Kristopher.”

“No, I don’t think I am. I think you’re seeing what you wanna see. You’re the one always telling me that I can’t trust girls. You gave me an entire lecture before I left about how I was only allowed to hang out with my teammates and their girls, because every girl I met was going to want in my pants. Meanwhile, all these guys are hitting on you—”

“What do you mean, ‘all these guys’?”

“Dave, that fucking handsy guy at the club—”

“That? You’re going bring up that? Yeah, because I contemplated dumping you for the drunk guy that grabbed my ass in the club—for all of the four seconds before I punched him. Okay. Yeah, Kris, you’re right. Wow, thanks for opening my eyes up to all the losers I could be with instead of you.”

His voice deepened as he adamantly growled, “All I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s unreasonable if you follow your own advice and stop hanging out with people of the opposite sex if I don’t know who they are or if they’re guys that I can trust to be around you.”

I was close to my breaking point. Kris knew me; this shouldn’t have been an issue. I don’t know what got into him. “Is it really them you don’t trust? Or me? Because if you trust me, then it shouldn’t matter who I’m with! Because at the end of the day, you’re the one I want to talk to and be with and fucking go to sleep beside.” I had to take a deep breath; I wanted those things and that would never change, but it was difficult when I wanted to do that and I couldn’t yet. “You’d know I’d never let anything inappropriate happen. Besides, we’re going to be together again in a few weeks, and none of this will matter then! This is all just a stupid overreaction because we’ve been apart for each for way too long now.”

“No, it’s not stupid, and I’m not overreacting either. You’re trying to twist this around and make me look the bad guy here, but I’m only saying to you what you’ve said to me! You can’t expect me to be okay with something that you’re not okay with yourself. Don’t be a hypocrite.”

That got under my skin—even more than everything else he had said. Anyone who knew me how much hypocrisy bothered me; I hated when people acted that way toward me, so I prided myself on never doling out advice or orders that I would not take myself. “Don’t shove my own words back in my face, Kristopher. I’m not being a hypocrite. You’re acting jealous, and it’s getting on my last nerve!”

You’re the jealous one, not me. You’re the one who from day one attacked any girl that talks to me or even comes near me—”

“I never attacked anyone!”

“—okay, but you get defensive and bare your teeth, and your claws come out.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

He laughed bitterly. “No, see, that’s the thing. I’m not exaggerating. You’re so worried about me and other girls, but as soon as I even say something similar to you, you make this into a fucking big deal.”

“It is a big deal. This is totally coming out of nowhere, Kris. You wanted me to make friends. You told me to hang out with Dave before, and now all of a sudden, you’re singing a whole new story for no apparent reason. And I’m out here in left field, because you’re giving me all these rules that I don’t fucking understand.”

“What don’t you understand? I don’t want you to go out hanging around with this guy anymore.”

I asked, point blank, “Why?”

“I told you, I don’t know if I can trust him.”

“But why was this okay a couple of weeks ago, and now it isn’t? You’re all angry with me for doing something that you told me was okay. So what? Did you lie to me about it?”

“No. I’m not a liar. You know that about me. I’m always honest with you, and I have been from the very start.”

“Then what? Why is this a big thing now? What happened? Did I do something to make you think that Dave was somehow a threat to you...? Like seriously, I don’t understand why you’re flipping out about this.”

He paused. “I changed my mind. It’s as simple as that.”

“No, it’s not as simple as that. You can’t change your mind about shit like this, and then get all pissy with me about it. I’m not a mind reader. Especially when this doesn’t even make sense to me.”

“How does this not make sense to you? It should, I mean, because you’ve lectured me about other girls and how I can’t trust them, or that you don’t trust me to be around them.”

“This is totally different from that, and you know it!”

“How is this at all different? Because you’ve got double standards?”

“No! I have to worry about girls being around you because you’re too oblivious to even realize what’s going on!”

“No, I’m not!”

“Yes, you are. I’m way more discerning than you when it comes to other people and their motives. You think everyone is made of lollipops and sunshine. You don’t have a neon flashing sign over your head that informs girls that you’re taken—and even if you did, that wouldn’t make a difference. You’re hot, Kris, and you have girls hitting on you all the time, and you never notice.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do, and this is exactly the problem. To prove my point, I’ll give you some examples. Let’s see. Well, there was Luc’s sister, Eve—”

“That’s her being friendly, she’s always been like that—”

“—and while we’re at it, the clerk at the hotel up in Shippagan, too—”

“—well, she was just being nice—”

“—the stylist at the salon when I got my hair dyed—”

“—I don’t even remember her—”

“—every waitress at every restaurant we’ve even gone to, and even some of the waiters, too!”

“—now you’re just making stuff up.”

“See? See what I mean? You can’t even believe me when I cite specifics.”

“Some of this stuff you’re saying was months ago anyway! How can you possibly remember all this?”

“Well, I can, because it pisses me off when it happens, and it pisses me off enough that I remember. It happens even when I’m right there, so I can only imagine what it’s like when you’re out with the boys or by yourself. You think you’re just being nice to them, but they think you’re flirting back. And I am definitely not flirting with anyone.”

“Well, that’s the thing about guys,” he returned. “They don’t need you to flirt for them to think you’re interested in them. And Dave already likes you, so he needs no added encouragement from you.”

“I’m not doing any encouraging! We were literally just talking about the girl he’s been seeing before you called. You need to chill the fuck out, seriously, or else I won’t be allowed to have any friends at all.”

“I’m not telling you that you can’t have friends. I’m not even telling you that you can’t be friends with Dave. If you see him at school and you wanna talk to him to pass the time, that’s fine by me. But no going to the movies with him, or going out for dinner. Then it looks like you guys are going out on a date, and I don’t want him to get the wrong impression. I have the privilege of doing those things for you, Jo, and no other man.”

“Oh, well, I can’t wait to tell Tubby that when he finishes his semester before me and comes home. Will you allow me to hang out with my best friend, or will the fact that he has a penis bother you? Because let me tell you, Kristopher, I can’t wait to see Tubby’s reaction when he hears that you won’t ‘allow’ me to hang out with him.”

“Tubby’s different. He’s your best friend, and he’s got your very best intentions at heart. He and I may not always get along or see eye to eye, but he knows that I love you and that you love me, and he won’t try and get between us. Dave, I’m not so sure about that. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m sure he’d be a lot happier if I were further out of the picture than I already am.”

“Okay, so, let me get this straight in my head. Tubby’s okay, but no other guys. So I guess the next time I see Kelsey or Heather, I better make sure their boyfriends aren’t around? Better tell my boss, too, that I can’t be within twenty feet of the guys I work with, either.”

“You are purposely being ornery about this. You can’t avoid your coworkers, and you’ve been around them for years now. If they were going to try something, they would have already. And as for the guys on the Penguins, they’re cool by me. In fact, I’d rather you hang out with them. I know them. I know they’re good guys in the sense that they wouldn’t hit on you because you’re not interested, and they wouldn’t do that to me. Hang out with them and the girlfriends if you want to spend time with people.”

“No,” I whispered defiantly.

“No? Why not? You like them, I know them, and sure things are a little weird since I’m not there, too, but—”

“No! They won’t look at me the same now!” I yelled into the phone, feeling my anger whoosh out of me as I told him. “Once people find out you’ve lost someone so close to you, they don’t treat you the same. And they all found out about James. If I thought they were treating me weird before, it’s even worse now. They hardly look me in the eye. I need other friends, Kris. I need to be around people who don’t know about James and don’t make me miss you every goddamn second of every goddamn day, when I live in an apartment we used to share and I work in the same place where I met you!”

His voice changed, too. He was still frustrated, but not as angry. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that. But please, Jo, please... understand. No Dave, and no other guys. I see where you’re coming from, but I know that you get where I’m coming from because you feel the same way about my situation out here.”

My jaw clenched and unclenched over and over as I mulled over the thoughts in my head. “You don’t get to decide for me who I’m friends with or who I hang out with when you’re not here.” He tried to argue again, but I wouldn’t let him cut me off. “You got your chance to speak your mind, Kris, and now it’s my turn, so shut up and listen.

“I won’t hang out with Dave outside of school because this is obviously a really big deal to you and I don’t want you to stress yourself out over it with so much already on your plate—even though you fucking well know that you have nothing to worry about. But that does not mean that I’m going to stop talking to him after class when I’m in the lounge if he’s there, too. And you can fucking bet on me introducing you to him this summer, and you’ll see for yourself that he’s just a nice guy with no romantic interest in me whatsoever, and I’m totally going to rub your face in it.”

“Fine. And I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m making a big deal out of nothing,” he replied, sounding relieved that I had conceded to him to this extent. “But I can’t take the risk that you’re wrong or that I’m just being paranoid. I love you, I need you, and I’m not going to let anyone come between that.”

“No one ever will.” It was true; there was nothing that any other person could possibly do that would interfere with our relationship. Right now, Kris and I were our own worst enemies as we struggled with finding some balance that we both could live with. “I don’t know why you’d even think someone could.”

“I can’t help it. The playoffs, and you’re out there.... It would be easier if you were here. I want you here with me.”

My heart broke for him. Kris had always gone on and on about how proud he was of me for going back to school and doing well, and he encouraged me to finish my semester here in Pittsburgh even when I didn’t want to. Even though I knew he’d like to have the best of both worlds again, where he could play and I could go to school and we’d be in the same city, he never said so because he knew we couldn’t be together until one of us finished our course. “And I wish I were there with you. Of course I do.”

“I’m sorry, Jo. I am. But that doesn’t change how I feel.”

I leaned back against my seat, closed my eyes, and tilted my head back. “And you know I don’t want to do anything that’s going to upset you. I think it’s bullshit, but if it makes you happy....”

“Happier, at least,” he sighed. “I can’t be happy again until you’re with me again.”

My lip trembled for a second, but I bit it in between my teeth to stop it. “I love you, Kris.”

“I love you, too, Jo. I love you so much.” The line was silent for a second. “I have to head off for the Tank now.”

“Okay, babe. Love you. Talk to you soon.”

“Yeah. I’ll call you tonight. Talk to you then.”

After we got off the phone, I sat in the car for a while. I was too upset to drive. There was no doubt in my mind that if we were together, none of this would have happened. Right now, our relationship was like a rubber band. We were stretched out and stressed beyond our limits, waiting for the snap! to break us apart. We couldn’t let that happen. There would be a way to overcome this; we just had to find it.


  1. Kris has no right to dictate who Jo can hang out with and in what capacity. --and Jo can't do that either. Kris is being overly paranoid, and that's understandable. I think it's coming more from being frustrated about the playoffs and missing Jo, and the stupid conversation with his teammates didn't exactly help the situation.
    The back and forth between Jo and Kris was so repetitive it made my head hurt. Jo is ridiculously headstrong, it's annoying. It's almost as though in her head she can do no wrong.
    Hopefully it will all blow over soon enough and we'll get to the end of this story.

  2. Wow!
    The discussion/argument was pitch perfect. They were irritable, patient, mad, shocked, sarcastic, unreasonable, understanding, childish, pleading, stubborn and demanding all in the space of a few minutes. Your dialogue is always so natural and real, it's one of my favorite parts of your writing. This might be your best ever.

    I almost choked when Kris said**“Well, I don’t like it. I don’t want it to happen again, Jo.” &“This isn’t up for debate, Jo.”**and I knew it was coming. His teammates are a bad influence on Kris. Mix that with the stress of the playoffs and being away from Jo and Kris has kinda flipped out.
    Luckily Jo has grown enough to handle it.(I hope)
    I want her to get to San Jose soon! I keep hearing the "Jaws" soundtrack in my head. You know the part right before the shark shows up. I just have a bad feeling...

    I hope the rubber band doesn't snap.

    I can never say it enough, thank you for sharing your time and talent with us.

  3. Gahhhhhh. SO so so good. The fight was seriously the perfect example of Kris just exploding with too much to say and too much going on and uhhhhhh! It was so damn realistic. I like that Jo is strong headed. Kris is right she can't be a hypocrite, but then again Jo isn't a millionaire hockey player public figure, and he should probably know the difference. It was especially sad because Dave had been talking about girls he had seen (obviously offhandedly like they weren't that important to him - but still) and they even contemplated and were willing to shop TOGETHER for Kris' birthday! Agh, I never thought I would say this, but I kinda feel bad for Dave, if in fact he dropped the feelings for Jo at the get-go and he is just innocently trying to be her friend he is seriously getting the short end of the friendship stick. It's sad, and a little comforting, that at the end of the whole confrontation they both know what it is all about and are just trying to do what is best for the other and they try and make sure they get back to what is important, that they love each other, whether they have reached a resolution or not. Even though Jo may have cried afterwards it's important to know that they love each other in spite of problems like Kris' stupid team mates making him think stupid things and doubt her, and I think that it is the main factor that will decide whether the elastic band ever snaps. This is super cheesy but the more they go through like this and the more they can stretch their relationship through struggles is really a testament to how passionate and real their feelings are for each other.


  4. GOD. I want to flick both of them in the face really badly right now. Seriously, even though this chapter was brilliant, I was so thrown off about why they were fighting in the first place (no fault of yours of course). Like where did Kris get the balls to yell at her about Dave when he did say that he was okay with it. It was a little hypocritical of Jo but it was so out of left field that I kept ping-ponging between being on Jo's side to being on Kris' side because they both made valid points. However, the most valid point that Jo made was that Kris got really, really hot when he was being all demanding.

    Loved, loved, loved this chapter. It was so well written and is definitely a testament to how far you've come as a writer and how engaging your writing is to readers!

  5. Ohh Kris...if you were my bf and said all that to me, I'd half to lay the smack down.
    I know he's stressed out over the playoffs, and he's been thinking about the whole Dave situation since his teams mates said all that crap when he brought Dave up, but, I really HATE when guys say stuff like that "don't hang out with so and so" who do you think you are!

    I loved seeing them fight. No matter how strange that sounds.
    Sometimes I wonder if they're too good to be true. So it's great to see another side of them.
    And it was written amazingly of course.
    Great update!

  6. God, this udpate was so fantastic, Jay. You've got me completely torn on how to feel though. I'm coming out of this one with highly mixed emotions.

    On one side, I really don't think that Kris has any right to dictate who Jo hangs out with. He said himself that he wants her to make friends and whatnot, but here he is freaking out over the fact that she's hanging out alone with Dave. It's really up to Jo and Jo alone who she decides to associate herself with and while Kris may be able to put some input into that, he can't dictate her life. If he trusts her enough and knows that she won't cheat, then he shouldn't be so paranoid.

    On the other hand, Jo needs to realize that she is being sort of a hypocrite. She told Kris to stay away from women while he's out in San Jose so shouldn't she expect him to say the same thing to her? I'd be pissed just like she is, but she really needs to realize where he's coming from.

    This was written so amazingly well. I felt like I was actually there, witnessing them fight/argue. So, so fantastic.

  7. Here I am, completely jetlagged at some ungodly hour of the morning, and I get to comment on all your updates. Just telling you, so if I'm not completely coherent, you'll forgive me. So here goes:

    What I like in this update is Jo's unfairness, so typical of the fairer sex. First off the whole convo with Dave about nice guys. So true that a lot of nice guys go unappreciated by women. Not quite fair of Jo to think that she has a nice guy though, Kris's sizzling hotness kind of unbalances his niceness.

    And then this line, "If I wasn’t so shocked and angry, I probably would have been turned on by the dominant, take-charge attitude he had assumed." Another paradox of women, we don't like to be told what to do, yet we do find it hot. I was just thinking Kris's straightforward bossiness was kind of sexy when Jo said so.

    I've done way too long distance stuff and you're portraying it perfectly. Both the fighting and the making up are pale imitations of the real thing and pretty frustrating. I was worried that this whole convo was going to Defcon 1, but they have enough of a foundation that they can fight get over it without breaking up or saying things that are too hurtful. Which is great, but still long distance is only good for making you really appreciate the times together.

    Kind of sympathize with Kris here, not many guys go out with attractive girls on a platonic basis, and even though I know that Jo can more than handle things there could be problems.