Wednesday, August 4, 2010

116.) Jacuzzi

When the Sharks won game two of the conference finals, you’d think that Kris had just won the lottery or something. It felt so bipolar; the highs were super high, and the lows were way down low. It was a very intense time for him and me. Us as individuals as well as us as a couple.

I’d like to think that Kris and I were good communicators, especially since we had been apart for substantial lengths of time. When he left for Chicago for games three and four, we talked on the phone at least every night and messaged throughout the day, as had become our routine. They won the third game but lost the fourth, so when Kris got back from his road trip, he wasn’t too happy but he didn’t try to cover it up. He crawled into bed beside me, the dipping of the bed the catalyst to waking me up. I couldn’t help but smile when that had made me realize that he must have never turned the light on, sneaking in and getting ready for bed without trying to wake me.

“I’m sorry. Go back to sleep,” he whispered, stretching out beside me under the bed sheet.

“No, it’s okay,” I responded groggily with a thick voice. I kissed his neck, his thick, full beard scratching my face. “I’m glad you’re back. I missed you.”

It was hard to feel close to him when he was wearing a shirt and long pants, and I was in his boxers and a tank. We had to be covered up though, to make sleeping together easier. I kept some space between us so he wouldn’t think I was trying to put the moves on him, figuring it would be easier to completely avoid anything that might lead to something he wanted to not do.

“Missed you, too,” he sighed, his lips grazing my temple. He groaned as he adjusted his position and tried to relax.

“You okay?” I asked, opening my eyes and trying to make out his figure in the dark.

“Yeah. Just sore.”

I hadn’t really thought about the beating his body was taking. This was the first full series we were together, so it was like bearing witness to the physical side effects of playing a season of hockey and progressing into the postseason. And the further into the playoffs the Sharks went, the more physically demanding the games became. They were playing harder and pushing their bodies to the limits, and the opposing players were upping the ante by hitting harder. I was already worried when he took hits as it was, especially when big guys were coming in on the forecheck as he went back for the puck, but my concern increased proportionally as the intensity of the game went up. Sometimes it made me sick to my stomach, but I had to watch even if it was just to make sure he was okay.

Even though I knew he wouldn’t like the question, I had to ask it. “Anything serious?”

“No,” he responded gruffly. Just as I had suspected, it wasn’t the type of conversation he wanted to have—but he talked to me about it anyway. I guess we were learning how best to interact with each other during times of stress. We were both trying. “Just bruised and sore.”

“You’d let me know if you were injured, right?” I pressed.

He grunted, and I was pretty sure that he meant it in the affirmative, but I didn’t do anything until he finally said, “Yeah.”

I let out a deep breath of relief. “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Kris threaded his fingers through my hair until his hand was at the back of my neck. Then he kissed my forehead and let his head fall back against the pillow. “Let’s get some sleep.”

In the morning, I got to see all the bruises with my own eyes. Of course I’d seen the usual amount of wear and tear on his body throughout the season when we were living together—or even when we were just sleeping together—but there were more than usual. I could have cussed out Byfuglien, because I’m sure he was responsible for more than a few of these.

Kris didn’t go to practice that day. He said he got a maintenance day since he was taking so much abuse out on the ice. I suggested that he hit up the Jacuzzi, especially since it was pretty early in the day and the pool would be empty right about now. We both changed out of our sleep clothes, me into my bikini and him into his board shorts.

I giggled and teased him, “You know, Kris, with a body like yours, you should be rockin’ a Speedo.”

“Uh, no,” he laughed, shaking his head. He slipped his feet into flip-flops and draped his towel over his shoulders. He wasn’t wearing a hat, for once, and his long hair was falling in face.

“Why not?” I wrapped my towel around my body so I wouldn’t have to parade around in my bikini in the hallway. A lot of businessmen walked around at this time of day, and I had learned early to cover myself. “I wanna be able to see your legs and your ass,” I chuckled, giving his behind a good, solid smack with my hand. It was so firm and round. He wasn’t expecting it, and he jumped when I made contact.

“I’m not showing off my package. I’m not wearing a tiny, tight pair of shorts that make me have to make sure that my stuff isn’t hanging out.”

“Oh, come on. It can’t be that bad.”

“Well, I don’t even want to find out,” he returned. I couldn’t help but laugh at him and at his reaction to my suggestion.

We held hands in the elevator as we made our way to the whirlpool. Kris and I had always been close because we were so open and we had so much in common with each other, but not having sex was bringing us closer. It hadn’t even been that long since we had given it up—only about a week—but it meant that we had to talk and use our words to show our love, devotion, and consideration rather than physical means.

We had to walk by the pool, and I waved at the lifeguards as I walked by them with Kris. “Friends of yours?” he asked.

“Not really. I just see them, like, every day. If I come up here around lunch, there’s usually no one here. People only come up here in the afternoon. They just recognize me.”

“Look at you. It’s like you’re making friends everywhere you go now.”

I laughed. “Not quite. Like I said, I see them all the time. I was just being friendly.”

“Yeah. Being friendly. With your friends,” he teased, gently nudging me with his elbow.

“You’re so ridiculous,” I chuckled, pushing against him with my shoulder.

Kris and I got into the Jacuzzi and relaxed. He closed his eyes and groaned, stretching out his legs and arching his back as the jets massaged his back. His eyes closed. “This feels good.”

“Yeah?” I pulled my hair into a sloppy bun on top of my head, and then I reclined in the seat beside him in the corner. The water poured out around my neck, kneading my flesh. “Hmm, it does feel good. This was a good idea I had, right?” I rubbed his ankle with my foot in a rhythmic, steady fashion. He moaned, and I took it as a yes. Since he was feeling so relaxed, I tried a more complex question. “How’re you feeling ’bout tomorrow?”

“What do you mean?” he asked, opening one of his eyes and looking at me.

My voice was quiet, and I didn’t look him in the eye. I wanted to ask this question, but I knew he wouldn’t like it. I was concerned about him, though, so I had to do it. “The game tomorrow. Are you feeling up for it?”

“Uh, of course,” he replied, closing his eye and adjusting his body position again. He had been fidgeting ever since he got back to the hotel because he was stiff and sore. Now I could tell he was agitated, but he was making a sincere attempt to talk to me about it. I couldn’t figure out why he was so closed off about this stuff in the first place. “It’s my job to be up for it, and I can’t wait to get back on the ice. We need to win at home tomorrow.”

“I know you want to play, but I mean, you’re gonna be okay to play? By relaxing today, you’ll be in good shape to play tomorrow?”

“Yeah.”

“What if you aren’t?”

“I will be.”

“But, Kris...” I pressed. “What if you aren’t?”

“No one sits out for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you’re sore, or even injured. If you can skate, hit, and shoot, then you play.”

I pursed my lips. That didn’t sound like a good idea to me; if he was sore, he needed more than a day to recuperate and mend. Of course, I knew that he was competitive, and it was the nature of the game to want to go out there no matter what, even if that meant exacerbating an injury or even causing one. Nothing I could say would get him to change his mind. His dedication was admirable, I guess, as long as it didn’t hurt him in the long run. I wanted to make sure that he took it easy today, as much as possible, so he would be rested for tomorrow.

No wonder it was so important for him to not have sex. If I tried to get on him now, he’d be totally drained. Maybe the other rounds were so physically demanding. Or maybe we had been so excited to see each other that he had temporarily forgotten about how exhausted he was, inspired with energy by love and anticipation—what a romantic notion.

“So, then, what’re your plans for today?” I asked him, slightly changing the subject.

“Absolutely nothing. Sitting here, eating, sleeping, watching television, eating again, watching more television, and sleeping again.”

“Sounds nice.” I kept rubbing his leg with my foot.

“Why?” He opened his eye again and looked at me, raising an eyebrow, too. “Did you have anything you wanted to do?”

“Just hang out with you,” I sighed. “Usually, I’d come up to the pool while you went to practice, swim and lay out for a bit.”

His voice was sweet. “Yeah, I noticed you got a little more tan.”

“You should see my tan lines,” I teased him.

We sat in the hot tub for probably an hour before we decided that we were too pruney and it was time to get out. Plus, people were starting to come out to the pool since it was getting hot outside, before they ate lunch. We walked back by the pool again, since that was the only way to get back into our tower of the hotel, and Kris was drawing quite a bit of attention. Hot, wet, shirtless guy? Yeah, he was garnering a lot of attention. He never seemed to notice though.

There were young, probably teenage girls poised on the chaise lounge chairs, whispering behind their hands. The only words I heard were “tattoo,” “buff,” and “hair.” I couldn’t help myself; I twined my fingers in with his and squeezed his hand.

The rest of our day was spent just as simply. We really didn’t do much of anything, and it was nice. Lunch was spent in our room, since we decided to order up some room service, and we napped together to stay in the routine of a game day. I convinced him to let me give him a massage in the afternoon, and rubbed his arms and shoulders and back. I knew that Kris would get turned on if I worked on his lower back, so I stayed away from that area.

We went down to McCormick & Schmick’s, which was a seafood restaurant right in the south tower of the hotel, so it was very convenient. And, of course, it was perfect for Kris’s diet of protein and carbs, meat and rice. He had tilapia and some kind of pilaf with mixed vegetables. I had tuna tacos.

The day of rest worked for Kris. He was less tired when he woke up for game five, and he took it easy during the morning skate, too. Or at least he told me that he did, since practices were still closed to the public. I hadn’t been to one since my spring break. I met my boyfriend and his teammates for lunch that day, needing to get out of the hotel and into the real world.

That night, I sat next to Jamie at the game. She was a nervous chatterbox, talking animatedly as the game went on. Scoreless first period. One goal each in the second. Jamie’s mindless gabbing was only cut off when the crowd erupted during that Sharks goal, five minutes into the second. We were silenced when Kane scored two minutes and thirty-seven seconds later.

In the third, the Sharks went on the PP. As the Jaws theme echoed from the speakers, every San José fan in the stands began to make jaws with their arms, chomping the mouth open and closed as they brought their hands together. I was so caught up in the moment that I did it, too, even though I felt kind of ridiculous. Open and closed, open and closed, fingers crossed all the while as Kris went out on the ice with Boyle, Thornton, Marleau, and Heatley.

Poor Jamie was so nervous, and her hands were shaking so bad. She spilled her beer on her jeans, and I turned around to ask Brandy, who was behind me, if she had any napkins or anything—and I completely missed the goal that was scored by Patrick to put the Sharks up, two to one. Kris was credited with a secondary assist, but I didn’t know that until I heard the announcer.

That goal turned out to be the game winner. The rest of the period was so close, but the score held.

Kris had to head out for Chicago right after the game, and we knew that that was the plan since the series was going to go to at least six games. I hugged him goodbye in the locker room, kissing his cheek and talking into his ear. I told him how proud I was, congratulating him on that assist and wishing him good luck for next game, just two days away. I hoped that when he came back to San José, he would return as a western conference champ and a Stanley Cup contender for the 2010 season. I had a feeling in my belly that it would happen, but I was afraid to say something out loud. I knew it was silly superstition, but I didn’t want to jinx it. I didn’t want anything that I said or did to have a negative effect, so I kept my mouth shut.

But I was right. The next time I saw Kristopher Letang, he was heading to the Finals.

7 comments:

  1. whaaaat that doesn't happen in real life!
    haha, oh well, makes for a better story (:

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  2. Now I want some fish tacos....


    Great post as usual. Poor Jo...I'd be stir crazy in that hotel all the time.

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  3. Loved this chapter, but the final two sentences really got my attention :)

    Woohoo!

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  4. First of all I would like to personally apologize for not serenading you with praise lately, my blogger account has been acting up and my internet and google and blogger all started a war. So, while I have missed this story desperately, prepare for the biggest mash of excitement ever because I have just caught up and ohmigod woman, did you deliver.

    The last few updates, the sex, the her going to visit him before finals, his excitment about their grades, the establishment of her new routine in the pool and waving to the lifeguards and everything just screams perfection to me because, Kris and Jo aren't perfect, they are in love.

    I don't personally know if I could handle taking my 'buff' 'hair' 'tattoo' boyfriend into a jacuzzi and not doing wicked nasty things to him, but their simplicity together is seriously just so, so ughh. I can't describe it. This chapter seems so simple, but the dimension and understanding necessary to develop in writing such dynamic characters and plot lines that I read about their relaxing day like it is the most pertinent chapter in the story really just speaks to the depth you've created for the readers to just buy all in.

    I am so excited that they made it to the finals. I was thinking that they might because ever since the trade thing we've been made aware you are writing your own reality, which kind of adds a nice twist to the story. Not knowing the outcome of the hockey side of things really keeps it interesting, and I'm interested to see how/if Jo jas the ability to take the WAGs advice moving into such a crucial series. I'm especially eager to see Kris' bipolar outbursts break into what I'm sure will be a whole other level.

    You are amazing. I have desperately missed this story and I love when my regulars comment, so I hated just disappearing for awhile. But, Bloggers IT/Troubleshooting people have informed me I should be all good to go, so expect to hear from me on the next one! SO EXCITED :D

    ps. If I may add... GO SHARKS! (Wow, that felt wrong even typing that.)

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  5. Finally, I'm all caught up! Oh and what wonder I have been missing! I love the new dynamic of their relationship, how the "no sex" rule is ultimately bringing them closer because they can spend so much time just simply being together. I really loved this chapter so much, Jay. This story honestly keeps reaching new levels, it gets better and better with every chapter.

    Oh and three cheers for the Sharks making it to the Finals! Wooooot! I'm so excited to see where this all leads :D

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  6. Cool, but sad for real life Sharks fans, since they find out that Kris LeTang was all that was missing between them and the final. And who is in the final anyway...Flyers? Habs?

    So was that whole Speedo mention just put in there so anyone with an imagination could drool right onto her keyboard? Like I'm ever going to get that out, and it's someone else's MacBook I'm working on right now. Jay, you may need to sell insurance against unanticipated bouts of lust.

    Love the way that they are being so sweet together, not having sex is making their relationship more innocent and adorable.

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  7. I feel like it took me a million years to get to this point (I found this and I'm taking my time reading it, savoring it). Even though I'm a diehard Hawks fan, I like the direction you've taken this. Although I'll be a bit sad if you took our championship away just to have the Sharks lose later on ;)

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