Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chapter 4 Adventures in Solitude - The New Pornographers

Yes this is epically long.... but it's all one chapter. I couldn't help it. As always I would love to know what you think.

“So you’re telling me not only do you have the most awesome job in the world surrounded by all these sexy athletes you go out drinking and dancing with them.” Sarah opened her mouth to cut her best friend Mallory off but Mal held her hand up to stop her. “And one of them takes your drunk ass home and you manage not to sleep with him? What the HELL SARAH!” Mallory and Sarah had been best friends since Nursing school and by the grace of god were getting to spend a bit of time together for a change working on the same floor that night.

“Ok so lets unpack what you said there.” Sarah teased knowing her friend hated it when she brought psych terms and phrases to their friendship. “I do have a kick ass job. So kick ass that I feel like sleeping with my patients on my first day would be a bad idea. I mean at least give me a week.” she was joking. There was nothing in her contract that said she couldn’t date a player but she thought in the form of professionalism that she wasn’t really going to let that become an issue. Well… maybe it would if Kris kept being awesome and nice and wanting to spend time with her. “You have to be on your best behavior tonight Mal. Kris is coming down to have dinner with me on break.” she explained going serious face on her friend. “It’s not a big deal but you’re scary sometimes and he’s sweet and quiet.” Sarah explained.

“Just don’t leave him alone with me and we’ll be cool.” Mal teased. Sarah knew she could trust her friend. They had seen some pretty awful stuff together and helped one another though all kinds of personal disasters over their six years of friendship. “I’m going to check in on Jason. I told Kris to call when he got here but if he just turns up let me know.” she said heading around the nursing station out onto the floor.

“I kinda know what he looks like but how will I know for sure?” Mal asked as Sarah turned to answer walking backwards down the hallway.

“Just look for a man with some serious sex hair and a quiet demeanor.” Sarah called back all smiles before heading off down the hall completely.

Sarah checked in on her three other patients as well taking half an hour before making it down to Jason. “Hey Jay how’s it going?” she asked as she headed into his room knocking lightly on the door jam. Jason was a good kid. He had a nice family that worked hard to make ends meet to get him the care he needed. “How’s life my friend?” she asked taking a seat in his visitors chair putting her feet up on the edge of his bed like she always did. Due to his Parents schedules they weren’t around all that much so when he first came in she held the fort for his Parents happy to sit with the scared seven year old.

“Well I’m here the sun is shining and I would rather be outside at home with my friends.” He said a bit grumpily but any kid would be grumpy cooped up in the hospital all day. “I have someone special coming to visit you tonight thanks to my new awesome job.” she said pretending to dust off her shoulder indicating her awesomeness. “My friend Kris is going to stop by. You may know him as current Stanley Cup Champion Defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins Kris Letang.” she was all smiles imaging his face if he ever heard her introduce him like that.

“Don’t tease me like that Sarah.” he said obviously skeptical of this promise. He was a hockey fan well… Jason was a fan of every sport in the city even baseball. “Seriously don’t tease me.”
No joke Jay he’ll be here later to visit.” she reached out touching his arm. He felt a little clammy which she made note of. It wasn’t to big of a deal at the moment but she would have to page his doctor if his condition worsened. She looked over his paperwork seeing who was on call for him tonight. She cringed seeing the name ‘Dr. Eric James’.

“Yeah it’s Doctor James taking care of me.” he said looking at her with a little shrug. I know you guys aren’t together he told me when I asked if you’d be here.” Jason said it like it wasn’t a big deal that he knew the two had been dating. For her it was always a big deal that her patients knew about her personal life like that and worse yet he had been the one to disclose it not her.

“It’s no big deal. I’m glad he’s taking care of you he’s a good doctor.” Sarah said keeping her inner feelings from her face as best she could.

The thought of Eric stomping through for rounds any time now had her stomach doing painful flip-flops a lot of emotions she really wanted to be over churning up. Most notable in the pack of feelings she was experience were anger and pure pain. The relationship she started with Eric had been a torrid one. She was a first year nurse and was really it wasn’t all that shocking to find herself paired up with such a handsome young doctor. Sure he was older than her but she didn’t care. He was stunning, brilliant and seemed to enjoy her company. As it turned out the relationship was a painful one that she remained in taking more verbal abuse than a sane person should. After three years he asked her to marry him and she had to say no putting an end to their tumultuous connection.

She didn’t dwell long though as she received a page from the nursing station followed by a text from her friend Mal. ‘He’s here and dear lord is he walking sex. You need to hit that.’ Sarah laughed as she brought her feet down. “I’m going to let Eric know he should stop by tonight. No complaining you’re not going to sit around all clammy on my watch.” he opened his mouth to say something but shut it knowing protesting would only make things worse. “I’ll be back in a bit with Kris so be on your best behavior or I’ll send him home.” Jason nodded as he turned the volume up on his tv.

Sarah pulled out her nursing pager/messenger sending a message to Eric knowing he would get it and be around soon. She hoped he would take care of business and be gone not searching her out to chat. She smiled tucking the pager back into her pocket on her scrubs with her phone as she headed down the hall a bounce in her step as she saw him stand there with take out bags. “How much food did you get?”she asked stepping up next to him with a bright smile. She wasn’t sure of she should give him a little hug or not. She decided against it thanks to the way Mal was standing at the desk all but drooling. “She’s fine I swear this is how she always looks.” Sarah said waving a hand at her friend. Kris just smiled lowering his head a bit slightly embarrassed. “So we can totally go eat.” she said motioning for him to follow her. The nursing lounge was empty thankfully as she showed him out to the balcony that was mostly used by smoking staff. With it deserted though she thought it would be nice to eat out there as the sun started to go down.

“I got us steak salads. I remembered you said you were local so I thought you would like it.” she nodded as he carefully unpacked the bags even pulling out an assortment of salad dressing packets. “I did not know what kind you liked.” he said piling them up on the side of the table before pulling out her chair for her.

“Seriously?’ she asked chuckling a bit. “Thanks I don’t think anyone has ever pulled a chair out for me unless they were paid to.” she took the seat smiling as he helped her move closer to the table. “Thank you sir. I appreciate your manners.” she said trying to not sound like she was teasing him as she put her napkin in her lap. “What dressing do you use?” she asked starting to pick through the pile for something she would like.

“French.” he said with a stupid smile. “No. Usually I like Italian. The guys filled my gear bag with these packets of French dressing once.” he shook his had smiling at the memory. He tended to get prank a lot due to his mild manner the guys liked to try and get under his skin a bit.

“I’m waiting for the day that I come in and my office is filled with chickens or something.” she picked up a packet of the balsamic dressing adding it to her salad trying to mix it in with little success. “That isn’t an idea to pass along either it’s actually something I’d rather not happen. I don’t like birds and chickens are especially disease ridden. I’d rather no one handle chickens.” she explained as she took the first bite of her salad.

The dinner went well with the two of them chatting easily. He talked about the guys and misunderstands he had encountered in Pittsburgh due to his English which she thought was really good and general confusion thanks to constant construction and all the bridges.

“Yeah when I first moved to the city it was confusing and they made fun of my accent.” she said with a little smile. “I’m actually from West Virginia so I sound pretty hick at times.” she said with a little shrug. “It’s hard to be different in Pittsburgh. I can only imagine some of the stuff you encountered.” It was then that her pager went off calling her to Jason’s room. “Sorry I have to run. I’ll be back I promise.” she said literally sprinting away down the hall.

“Impressive.” he said with a kind of silly grin that Mal caught as she headed into the lounge for some coffee. Thankfully she left him be headed to what was going on in the room down the hall herself though with much lest urgency.

Sarah arrived to Jason’s room finding him laughing with Eric. “You paged me emergency.” she said taking a deep breath standing in the door.

“I thought you’d want the run.” he said giving her a smile she once thought was charming but now just reminded her of a real jackass. “Anyways I wanted to ask you to grab some more fluids for Jay here. You were right to let me know his status. Also can we do a draw I want to check his white count.” he said looking over the chart frowning but trying not to show it to Jason. The truth was the condition of their favorite kid was deteriorating.

“Sure thing.” she said going out to the supply room getting what she needed and returning hanging the fluids and then doing up the draw having one of the orderlies take it on a lab run.

“Great Sarah thanks.” Eric said as he headed out of the room motioning for her to follow.

‘He’s here and will be down soon.’ Sarah mouthed to Jason who gave her a big thumbs up as he pulled his Pens t-shirt out from under his pillow along with a sharpie ready to ask him to sign before quickly putting it away. Sarah smiled following Eric down to the nurses station because it happened to be where she was going.

“So Mal tells me you’re on a dinner date?” Sarah did her best not to looked at her blabber mouth friend. “She also gave me a death threat.” he said as he made a note in Jason’s chart.
“I’m have dinner with a friend who happens to be male yes.” she said putting the chart he left laying around out. “And I have no reason to want you dead.” it was a lie and there was no doubt that he knew it. She might not really want him dead but she wouldn’t cry if he happened to be injured or perhaps hit by a bus and lost all memory resetting his personality to something other than an evil bastard. “Speaking of I need to get back to him. Have a good night Eric I hope I won’t have to page you again.” with that said she turned on her heel not willing to give him any more of her time.

“You look good Sarah. Looks like you lost some weight.” It took all her will power not to reach but keep walking down the hall. She was an average sized girl running at about at 8. When they had dated he had her convinced she needed to be a 4 which she was for awhile. After the break-up she had gone back to her more natural weight where she felt the most comfortable and happy.

She headed back out to the nursing lounge terrace putting a smile on to see Kris again. Sure it was a little fake but it was the best she could muster at the moment. She took her seat across from him. “Sorry about that. It wasn’t even a huge emergency. Someone was messing with me a bit.” she explained as she crunched into a fork full of salad.

“That is one scary prank.” he said his salad about half gone. She could tell he had been trying to eat slow while she had been busy. “I think I would be more mad than you look.” he said looking from his salad to her face. “I see you are mad but are trying to hide it.” it was his turn to crunch some salad giving her a chance to answer.

She sighed nodding. “I’m not so great at managing my facial expressions. They always say your wear your heart on your sleeve but I always think you wear it on your face. At least I do.” she explained pausing to take a sip of her water. “I’m not so much mad about being paged but who it was that paged me. He knows that if it isn’t an emergency to just use a standard page. I would have come quickly there was no need to scare me like that.”

“I did it because I like to see you run.” Eric had been standing there for a moment before speaking up. She had been so lost in her food and conversation she hadn’t noticed him come out onto the terrace. “She’s right about her emotions. She does wear them on her face. You’ll always know when there’s something brewing with her. I’m Dr. Eric James. I’m the ex.” he said trying to sound slightly less cocky about being her ex though in Sarah’s book he failed miserably.

“Kris Letang.” he said getting up using his napkin on his hands before offering his hand in introduction to Eric. “I am Sarah’s….” he paused looking to her for an exact term.

“Friend.” Sarah said looking to Eric being firm and then to Kris softening as much as she could trying to convey a kind of openness with the term she would more than likely have to explain later. “I’m sure you have a lot to do Eric.” she said trying her best to dismiss him. “I’ll be sure to page you if we need you for anything.” she gave him a sickeningly sweet smile the one she reserved for telling people to fuck off without having to say the words.

“It’s nice to meet you Kris.” Eric said. “It seems the lady wants me to go so I’ll go.” he let go of Kris’ hand backing away. “Have a nice dinner."

With that he was good and Sarah let out a big sigh of relief. “Incase you couldn’t tell that didn’t end well.” he crunched a big bite of salad taking her time chewing so she wouldn’t have to talk. Unfortunately he sat there waiting for her to say something else. She delayed again taking a drink of water. “Basically he’s an asshole who hurt me really bad. He strides around here like a God because he is handsome, works with kids and is a Doctor. I was stupid and impressionable when we started dating and I’m a much more sane person now than when we were together.” she explained looking to him meeting his beautiful deep brown eyes.

“I did want to hit him because you looked distressed but I resisted.” she thought he was mostly joking though the reality was that he wasn’t. He was much more a lover than a fighter but seeing her in distress had struck a chord in him.

She chuckled. “I would have laughed in his face and then done first aid. I’m glad you didn’t I get nervous when people fight around me. And I also don’t think the coaching staff would be pleased if you hurt yourself in any way while out with me socially.” she really was worried about that now. As far as she knew there weren’t any rules regarding being social with the players. “Also I said we were friends because we are. Well I think we are. I didn’t want him to go spreading some kind of rumor. He’s like that he would hop on the internet and make things hard on you. I hope he doesn’t do it now. He knows the best way to hurt me is to get at the people I care about.” she was picking at her salad now not really interested in eating. She saw that his was gone and was pleased to see he was a good eater. Given his active life she knew he needed every single one of those calories.

“He does not sound like a good guy.” he said taking his container that his salad was in to the trash throwing it out.

“I’m going to save mine. It’s really good I just don’t feel like eating now.” she explained frowning a little. “I really appreciate you bringing it. I would have ended up with something gross from the cafeteria.” she said closing her lid back of grabbing her pen from the pocket on the front of her scrubs writing her name on it and the date. “So do you care if I hug you? I promise I haven’t gotten anything gross on me yet today.” she shrugged and opened her arms a little in anticipation. He doubled over in laughter at her. “Yes a hug is fine. Saying that makes me wonder some of the things you could potentially get on you though.” he said as he stepped closer wrapping his arms around her shoulders allowing her to grab him around the waist. She has heard him complain about being one of the smaller guys on the team but there to her he seemed to be the perfect height to where she could easily lean her head on his upper chest in the hug.

“Really thank you for coming and for dinner.” she said into his chest till he let go of her.

“The patient you wanted me to see?” she said using inflection to make the statement a question. “His name is Jason right?” Sarah nodded motioning for him to follow her.

“I owe you big time for this. He hasn’t ever been in for Christmas thankfully but he always complains that he is here enough he should at least get to meet some of you guys.” she said talking as she walked with Kris. Thankfully the hall was pretty empty and Eric was nowhere in sight.

“Actually if you want to hang in here…” she showed him to the playroom. “I’ll bring him down I need to check on a few things with him first.” she explained. She was pleased to see he was content in the room immediately taking a seat in one of the tiny chairs.

“I will be here.” he said with a firm nod reaching out for the K’nex bucket digging though for the pieces he needed to start building something.

Sarah headed down to Jason’s room being mindful to check his condition before she had him go down there. “Ok so I’m glad to see you’re doing a bit better. If you think you can manage the walk down to the play room Kris is waiting.” she said getting his fluid pole loose from everything so they could take the fluids he was put on an hour earlier with them. “You’ll be pleased to know you have a love on K’Nex in common. When I left him he was starting to build something.” she explained putting her hand out to help Jason up. “I’ll carry this and ask I know it can be weird.” she said holding his t-shirt and sharpie for him as the slowly headed down the hall. Jason was much weaker than the last time she saw him. It made her sad to think her favorite little guy might be slipping.

“What do I talk about?” Jason asked a sudden bought of shyness hitting him just one door from the play room.

“Talk about whatever you want. Talk about the k’nex, talk about hockey, talk about what you had for dinner.” she said with a shrug. “Just talk to him like you talk to me.” she said putting a hand on his shoulder giving him a little nudge so they could walk again.

Once they turned the corner Sarah couldn’t help but smile seeing a kind of make shift go-kart on the table that Kris was obviously proud of building. “Kris this is Jason. Jason Kris Letang Penguins Defenseman and supremely awesome dude who has good taste in food and is a real gentleman.” She looked to Kris while she introduced him while Jason watched her a knowing smile on his face. Like Eric said when he interrupted their dinner she wore he emotions on her face so much so that even Jason could see how much she liked Kris.

“Hi man.” Kris said getting up from the tiny chair coming over to introduce himself offering his hand. “Sarah tell me you are an awesome guy.” he said heading back to the table once they shook hands.

“Yeah Sarah’s cool like that I wish all the nurses were as awesome as she is.” Jason gave her a big goofy wink as he took a seat near the bucket of K’nex starting to build something himself.

“This is here for later. Do you mind signing Kris?” she asked know Jason would be to shy to ask.

“Not at all.” Kris said focusing on finding the right tiny piece to put little mirrors on his car.

For Sarah this was why she did the job. Jason may have been hooked up to fluid and looking a bit pale and weak but for the first time in awhile he looked happy. Sure she wouldn’t have been able to make him forget about what was going on with his health without some serious help from Kris but it felt good none the less. She was admiring the scene till her pager went off calling a code.

“I’ll be back guys.” she had her game face on and Jason could see it giving her a quick nod trying not to let on to much.

“She is a fast runner isn’t she?” Kris said not really picking up on the serious problem that was happening just down the hall from them.

“Yeah she ran the marathon last year. She doesn’t think she did well but she finished it and I think that’s awesome.” Jason explained and he managed to find all the pieces he needed to start the inner workings of some complicated wheel thing. “She doesn’t give herself enough credit. She’s my favorite nurse, ran a marathon, bakes the best peanut butter cookies ever and is really pretty.”

Kris did his best not to smile to hard. “I have not known her for long yet but I think she is pretty great too.” The conversation flowed easily between the guys for about an hour when Sarah came back in pink scrubs her hair a bit out of place. “I don’t mean to bust up the party but Jay you know the drill it’s getting to be that time.” With that said he went and picked up his skirt and camera asking Kris to sign it for him. Kris took his time personalizing it to Jason. “Ok picture time.” she said with a smile. Jay if you stand by Kris’ chair I can crop our pole out.” he followed directions and Kris put his arm around Jason.

“Let me take one of all three of you.” Mal said coming to the door also in pink scrubs though she was always in pink.

“With my phone too please.” Sarah said passing over her phone from her pocket.

The trio posed and took a really cute picture. Kris’ arm around Jason and Jason’s around Sarah’s. It was long ago when Sarah cleared taking a picture now and then with Jason by his Parents.

“Come on time get this thing off for a little while.” Mal said. She just held her hand up with Sarah attempted to say something. “Take a bit of time. I’m sure Jay will be up for awhile and you’ll have time to say good night. Right Jay?” he just nodded wrapping his arms around Sarah’s waist when she stood tall after kneeling down for the picture.

“Yeah I’ll be in before you got o sleep.” Sarah said firmly. She watched as Jason and Mal left the play room before she sank back down to her knees on the floor almost curling into a ball before sitting back up pushing her stray hair from her face. “Sorry I had to abandon you for so long. It was a big bleed and as you can see by my change of clothes it didn’t go to well.” she sighed pushing her hair back again. “Sorry I’m just …” she paused searching for how to explain what was going on in her head. “This is why I got out of here. I hate loosing kids. It’s devastating to me and I couldn’t take it anymore.”

“I understand.” he said reaching out and scooting his little chair so he was close enough to get his arms around her. “Well I don’t understand I share your pain.” he corrected getting his other arm around her in a hug her head buried in his chest.

She melted a bit letting her upper body weight fall against his allowing him to support her as silent tears fell from her eyes. She took a deep breath and righted herself back to her knees her back tall as she brushed her tears away till her eyes were looking much less wet. “Thanks for everything Kris. The dinner, the wanting to hit Eric, playing with Jason and the hug. I really needed all of it. You have no idea how much I needed all of it.” she said taking her ponytail down putting it right back up so the majority of her hair was in the right place. “Visiting hours are over so I really have to kick you out now.” she said wrinkling her nose at him a bit.”

“I will go willingly.” he said getting up offering his hand to help her up which she gladly accepted though she didn’t put any of her weight on. He didn’t let her go though pulling her into a hug. “I will go but you promise to call me on your way home?” he asked not letting go of her.
Sarah nodded content to have her head buried in his chest. She nodded before lifting her head.

“Yes I’ll call you. I doubt I’ll make sense by then I’m pretty exhausted. But I will call.” she slowly loosened her grip from around his mid section. She wasn’t sure when she put her arms there but it just seemed natural. “I seriously can’t thank you enough.”

“It was nothing.” he said waving his good deeds off as they headed toward the elevators.

“Trust me it wasn’t nothing. You made a little boys life a bit more interesting, you saved me from horrid food and where there for me when I really needed someone.”

“It was nothing.” he said again with a little shrug.

“I’ll call you around 11:15.” she said softly tucking a piece of stray hair behind her ear. “I promise.” she added as the elevator dinged announcing its arrival.

Sarah took her time getting back to the nurses station. She had a lot happen tonight… well a lot happen the last two nights. She was just two hours from heading home and sleep.
“Please tell me you’re going to sex up that brilliant hunk of man who is obviously in to you?” Mel asked in no way being subtle about it.

“I’m going to tuck Jason in.” Sarah said not even stopping to give her friends question a real answer. She did smile though and as well as Mel knew Sarah she could see that little extra saw in Sarah’s hips as she walked giving away she was obviously giving the question some thought.

The last two hours of Sarah’s shift went fast she mostly worked on charting and chatting with Mal. She had put Jason to bed like he was her own child reading to him from the chapter book he had brought with him sitting next to his bed till the rise and fall of his chest was deep and even. He was one of her firsts. One of her first that was still alive at least. Coming back to this ward was always hard on her but she figured it would be harder to forget Jason than to be there for him. So she was there being a solid person in the life of a child.

When the clock rolled to 11 and her paperwork was done Sarah headed home being sure to call Kris when she pulled out of the parking garage. “Hey it’s Me.” she said softly. “Me as in Sarah.” she added unsure of if he knew she was the ‘me’.

“Yes I was expecting your call.” he said. She could hear the tv on in the background. She figured he was at his home relaxing. “Are you ok?” he asked his accent seeming stronger. She figured he had just talked to someone from Montreal or that he was tired.

“Yeah I’m fine. Well I’ll be fine. I need some sleep and I’ll be ok.” she said putting her phone on speaker sitting it in her lap so she could have both hands to drive. “I’m sorry I cried. I’m not usually that emotional. It was just a lot of stuff building up today.” she explained as she drove navigating the construction around the city.

“I can tell you are strong person.” he said as she heard the crinkle of fresh sheets. “You do something I never could.” he added.

“Thanks.” she said softly crossing the bridge to the south side. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been there. I switched to psych because of it. I couldn’t take seeing so many kids just…” she didn’t finish her sentence choosing to move on. “Psych was so different. It was more dangerous physically. I got a few black eyes there.” she said with a chuckle. “Nothing to rival some of the fights I’ve seen you guys get into.”

It was his turn to chuckle. “I do not fight much.” he admitted. “The others are better at it. They fight for a reason. When I do it is for frustration or friends.” she had remembered seeing him step a few times the previous season to help out a teammate.

“Oh I wasn’t hitting back. The one time it happened because I wasn’t physically strong enough to restrain the guy. It’s hard to hold a guy who weighs twice as much as you do. He elbowed me in the head and then punched me right in the eye. It looked pretty awful I’ll have to show you the picture.” she laughed at that. “That’s cute right seeing a girl with a seriously blacked eye?”

He laughed along with her. “I would like to see. I think it make you look tough.” she couldn’t see it but he was smiling happy to be talking to her.

“Oh yeah a total bad ass at 5’2’’.” she joked as she pulled into her parking space turning off her car. She grabbed all her stuff taking him off speaker phone as she squished the phone between her ear and her shoulder unlocking her front door turning on the lights as she headed in. She put him back on speaker phone as she immediately went to change into pajamas. She brushed her teeth holding the phone away from the sink and tucked herself into bed as they chatted about her work. She wasn't trying to brag or anything just making conversation on what she knew the most about. She had some funny stories. "It all ended up being gloved to my elbow and my hand getting stuck in the toilet trying to get the dam dice out. They had to call a plumber I was so stuck. I think that's what pissed me off. Not fishing the dice out of the toilet but needing a guy to come get me out."

“You made it through a night with the boys. That is more than most girls can do. So as far as your new job is concerned you are tough.” she heard the crinkle of sheets again figuring he was relaxing in bed.

“fais de beaux reves” he said knowing she needed to say something or her phone would be on all night. He had listened to her sleep for two minuets before saying it. He hoped she wouldn’t check the time stamp on the call and notice. She mumbled her good night half asleep and he smiled content as he hung up putting his own phone on the charger. It had been awhile since he stayed on the phone till who he was talking to fell asleep. It was a good feeling. One he had missed more than he realized. It was strange at times being one of the few single guys on the team. He didn’t want to give the thought to much credit but it seem that maybe just maybe he wouldn’t be so alone anymore.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chapter 3 Orange Shirt - Discovery

NOTES: So thanks for reading. I kinda had no idea how this would all work but it's been fun so far. Comments would be nice too. :)

In other news the sidebar thing is getting better. I will be adding the soundtrack songs as I go. If you don't know them already that is. Some are more for the vibe of the song others for the actual lyrics. If your interested in the songs feel free to ask about them! To hear the track click 'get tracks' and it will redirect you to the mixpod site. :)


Orange Shirt- Discovery

All she felt was pain as she opened her eyes finding the room bright. Not that she really knew what room she was in. She looked down at her clothes and around for whatever stranger took her in. She remembered being out with the team doing far to many shots and dancing but that was about it. After a stop in the bathroom to brush her teeth and take care of business she padded out into the hall looking around. She really did have no idea where she was. The smell of coffee drew her though as she followed it to the kitchen. She barely had her eyes open and hadn’t done any investigating of her reflection in the bathroom to afraid of what she might see. There in the kitchen she found Kris standing in sweats and a t-shirt leaning against the counter next to the working coffee pot.

“I hate you and all of your kind.” she said taking a seat on one of the high chairs putting her head down on the counter.

“Do you mean French Canadians or men who come to the aid of drunk women?” he asked a grin she would call charmingly stupid.
“Hockey players.” she grumbled before lifting her head to look at him. His hair was mess.
“Did you have a tornado go over your head in your sleep she asked reaching out to attempt to smooth a bumpy patch down.

“You should see yours.” he said reaching to where she was untangling and smoothing it down himself before reaching out to her hair running his hand over a stubborn cow lick. It was hard not to move into his touch but she resisted.

“It’s always like that in the morning. No matter how long or short it is.” she insisted putting her part in place as the weight of other hairs pushed the forever funky spot down.

With their matching horrid morning hair Sarah and Kris enjoyed a cup of coffee and thankfully a big glass of water taking two aspirin to help her out just a bit. Next they were off to shower in separate bathrooms.
“Oh your clothes…” she said not sure what to do with them.

“Just wear them home.” he said with a little shrug. She had to admit she was thankful she didn’t have to put on the dress clothes of yesterday that smelled like sweat and dribbled shots.

Just as she turned the water off climbing out of the guest bathroom shower she heard a knock on the door. “Nearly done!” she said wrapping the towel around herself poking her head out of the door. “I’ll be ready in two shakes of a lambs tail.” she said referring to a phrase her grandmother used. He looked perplexed and she smiled. “I’ll be out in a moment.” she added. Once the door closed she took a deep breath fanning herself leaning against the counter. It wasn’t because of all the steam from her shower but he looked gorgeous standing there freshly showered. His hair was to much… all she wanted to do was get her hands in it and he smelled so brilliant once again with just enough of a fragrance to draw someone in closer.

Once she was back in the clean clothes he had given her smelling like soap rather than a grimy bar she exited the bedroom hair still wet her clothes neatly folded in her arms. She looked around for her heels but didn’t see them. “You wouldn’t happen to know where my shoes are would you?” she asked the pounding in her head starting to lighten up a bit. He thought for a moment but she interrupted. “Or do you just have a secret passion? I think my feet are way smaller than yours.” she said hands on hips but all smiles.
“They are in the car.” he finally said a grin on his face as he awkwardly gathered all he needed before heading to the door. “Come here.” he said beckoning for her to come closer. Before she could protest he scooped her up and over his shoulder her upper body draped over his back. “If you end up hurting your shoulder I will personally haunt you making sure you don’t move the slightest bit.” she grumbled even though she was quite content to enjoy the up close and personal view of his ass in his team warm-up pants.

The drive back to her home on the South Side was a long traffic packed one. “You should see it trying to get downtown. Half the time I take the train or bus if it‘s the rush hours” she said sitting in the front seat with her eyes closed. She still felt a little drunk. She needed carbs big time to soak up what was left of the alcohol in her system.

“I’m making breakfast. Eggs and toast. As your nurse I demand that you eat with me.” she said as she pointed out her place. “You can park in my spot since my car isn’t here.” she explained pointing to the empty spot in the tiny awkward lot by her building.

Her apartment was small and pretty jam packed with stuff. She had gotten it when she first moved to the city for nursing school and just hadn’t had the time or energy to move since. The rent was a steal and the neighborhood was getting better and better each year. She had good neighbors in a little old couple who saved dinner for her on occasion and a single Mom with her teenage boys on the other side not to mention a landlord who actually addressed the needs of the tenants when things weren’t working right.

They headed to the door like any normal people would with her unlocking it to where she could just see inside. “Um can you hold on for like 30 seconds? I need to put some stuff away before you come in.” she said making a bit of a face. “Wow that sounds worse than it is. It’s nothing to weird or gross I just have underwear drying all over my sofa. You’re cool and all but I do think we’re close enough to where you can see my under clothes scattered around the room.” he chuckled and playfully rolled his eyes before turning his back to the door allowing her to run in. She did a quick sweep of the room getting them all and tossing them into a laundry basket . “Oy no looking!” she shouted seeing him peaking around the door ever so slightly. “Just for that I’m going to tell the guys you were perving on me.” she teased picking the basket up holding it on her hip. “You can come in now.” she finally said pretending to be a bit huffy. “I’m going to change and do my make-up and stuff. I’ll make breakfast in a sec but you can help yourself to what’s in the fridge. I have juice and stuff in there.” she said starting up the steps.
“Sarah.” she heard him call you forgot one.” he said fishing a pair of purple underpants with a white lace trim from the arm of the sofa nearly wedged between the cushions. He had a big goofy grin on his face just holding them out for her by the waist band letting them hang on his finger.

She stomped over to him snatching them way. “I’m going to tell them you weren’t just a perv but you handled my delicates.” she said a smile wide on her own face. “I have cable and stuff and as you can see books.” she said motioning to the large set of bookshelves that was nearly full. “I’ll seriously be like 5 minuets.” That was a lie it took her ten minuets to change and put on a bit of makeup. She came back pulling her shoulder length hair into a messy ponytail out of her face. “Scrambled, or sunny side up?” she asked breezing past him into the kitchen to make breakfast. She had dress clothes on again but had drooped her heels by the door content to walk around in her bare feet.

“Sunny.” he said clicking the tv off and moving to the stools at the counter that separated the living area from the kitchen.

“Me too.” she said as she put a little butter in the pan letting it get hot.

“Toast or just bread? I have English muffins too and it’s your lucky day they aren’t even old or have moldy spots. She really only got things like muffins when she was expecting visitors. Which she had earlier in the week in the form of her G-Dad staying the night with her.

“Muffin.” he said content to watch her cook.

“On a scale of 1 to 10 how big of an idiot was I last night?” she asked as she cracked two eggs into the now hot pan popping his muffin down. She didn’t think she did to badly but there were fuzzy bits which was pretty much finishing up all the dancing and then getting back to his place.

“You were not to bad. I had to carry you and you slapped my ass but that is not unusual. Many people would do that.” He said picking up the entertainment weekly she had on the counter thumbing though the pages a little smirk on his face.

She wanted to call him a cocky bastard but refrained knowing he was joking. “Well in my defense if you picked me up like you did this morning it was right there. You now know I can’t resist temptation sober let alone drunk.” she could only imagine what she had said the night before. She liked butts and his really did happen to be a nice one. “I know we danced. Sorry about that. I’m a horrible dancer.”

He was quick to shake his head no. “You are a great dancer. You made me look like a good dancer.” She had also turned him on a bit but if she didn’t remember that he wasn’t about to remind her.
Sarah quickly grabbed two plates putting his eggs on one as well as his muffin before starting on the second grabbing herself a slice of plain bread to go with hers.

“Thanks so much for making sure I was ok.” she said looking up from the frying pan. “I’ll bring your clothes back all clean tomorrow.” she added looking up from her eggs seeing him waiting to eat till she was done. “Really go ahead and eat. Cold eggs are awful. Seriously eat them or I will hit you with this spatula.”

He smiled and picked up his fork taking a bite with sarcastic joy on his face. “I would have to tell coach if you hit me with a spatula.” he said mimicking the tone she had with him earlier when she called him a perv.

With breakfast done and out of the way they were off for real to start the day. Traffic was hell but they made it to the area. Once they parked it seemed like the whole team was waiting on them giving them whistles and cat calls. “Go Tanger takin’ home the new lady.” and “Yeah Sarah, bagged yourself a D-Man on your first day.” She rolled her eyes getting her scrubs out of her car heading inside. Her day was pretty simple checking the upload of the day before and setting up to exact her revenge on the guys just after lunch. Everyone broke for lunch and she was all smiles as it was announced they all needed to see her for flu vaccines before taking the ice again.

“Oh revenge is sweet.” she said as they all lined up. It shocked her how big of babies some of them were over the stupid needles. They weren’t all that big even if it was two shoots. “Basically just be aware you might feel a bit sluggish tomorrow. It shouldn’t be anything bad. If it is then call me. But seriously only call if you’re sick.”

Kris was last to get his shot though she didn’t know if he was lingering because the guys pushed him to the back of the pack or if he wanted to talk to her. “Sorry good guy last night or not I still have to give you these.” she said giving both the standard flu and the H1N1 vaccines.
“Do you have plans for dinner?” she asked as she put a band aid over the injection sites.
“Um actually I’m working a shift at the hospital as soon as I’m done here today. One of my guys is in the hospital so I have to go check on him.” he frowned but with quick thinking she put an end to that. “I get a dinner break. I’m sure the nurses lounge at childrens hospital cancer ward is not what you had in mind but if you want to have dinner that’s where I’ll be from 3-11pm tonight.”

“I’ll be there at seven and I will bring dinner.” he said with a firm nod.

“Ok then.” was all she could respond with. She was pleased and shocked he wanted to have dinner with her and so soon. She had just done some of her best drunk girl work the night before. “You can meet Jason then if you don’t mind. He’s my guy. I was his nurse though the diagnosis process. He’s 11 now. Big time Pens fans. It would mean the world to him if you said hello.” she explained biting her lip knowing it was horrible to ask for charity like this.

Kris nodded. “Sure I will visit him. Just introduce me is all.” he said getting up to head back to the ice where the rest of the team was. “See you tonight.” he said before leaving her office.

For Sarah the rest of her afternoon was a breeze. All she really did was watch them practice making notes about how they skated healthy so that she could take notice of possible injury or illness they were attempting to hide when she watched them later in the season. All in all it was a good day when she ran out the door bound for the hospital to visit her favorite patient.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Chapter 2 Prince Charming - Adam & The Ants

Prince Charming - Adam & The Ants

“I need to know what the plan is here.” she said digging though her large unorganized purse the one thing he actually let her bring finding little bits and bobs to spice up her stupidly professional looking blouse and pencil skirt. “I look like a banker in a bad way… ah ha!” she exclaimed finding a zip lock baggy of jewelry from her purse putting in dangly ear rings and adding a statement necklace before undoing several buttons on her blouse. Sure she might have been pushing it a little teetering on the line of sexy and slutty but if they were going to make her drink she was damn well going to look good while doing it.

Kris parked near Max’s house but they didn’t go inside instead walking past it bound for the club called Diesel. “I’ve been here before. When one of the girl at work had her bachlorette.” Sarah explained as they walked along her heels clicking on the sidewalk. She was on board now. Sure she had things to do at home like laundry and work out and call her family but it didn’t matter so much at the moment. If a couple of shots would make them respect her then she’d have to do it.

He was silent as she walked. Most people would have found this awkward but to Sarah it was nice. Kris was a comfortable quiet. She always had envy for people who could enjoy silence. She hadn’t been able to do it till she started to work psych. While at her last job she spent the majority of her time listening to people. In listening she had to grow comfortable with herself and learning that it was ok not to say anything. There wasn’t anything out there that said she had to respond to everything. This also swung the other way. In doing so much listening at work she sometimes needed to vent so for the chosen few she shared her deepest thoughts with it seemed like she did more talking now than ever.

The club wasn’t exactly packed but it was far from empty that Thursday evening. Once Kris led her to the VIP section a great cheer erupted. She smiled giving everyone a wave. “Hi everyone. So I’m here what do you want me to do?” She didn’t have a chance to ask anymore question as a huge tray of half tequila and half vodka shots was brought out and sat in front of her. “No medical emergencies from here on out guys. Drunk nursing is a bad idea.” she said bending down taking a tequila shot in each hand forcing them down like a champ. The guys cheered and clapped for her as she took a silly bow before taking a seat with the group. Kris has disappeared for the moment but that was ok. She couldn’t expect him to stick by her side every second of the night. Though it wouldn’t be a bad thing if that had been the case.

It was funny to dance with people you barely knew. Everyone had a style. Some people were touch feely like J.Staal and Max who had no problem grinding against her putting their hands on her between shots. Others kept their distance like Sid who was reluctantly pushed onto the dance floor for a go with her. She cam back after dancing with nearly the whole group who had come out with them. She took a seat fanning herself. She had only been sitting for a few seconds before a bottle of water appeared in front of her face as Kris took a seat at her side.

“You’re brilliant. Seriously amazing.” she said her smile wide and her eyes a little glassy thanks to the several shots she had ingested really having lost count due to the alcohol. He just nodded with a little shrug before sitting down next to her.

“Oh no you don’t!” Max yelled pointing at Kris. “You will dance.” he said pulling a resistant Letang to his feet followed by pulling Sarah up giving them a light shove toward the dance floor. “So I take it we’re dancing.” she said tucking her hair back his actions a mirror for hers. “Yes.” he said kind of dragging his feet as they moved to the dance floor. He was an ok dancer though it was obvious he was avoiding touching her. “It’s ok.” she said taking his hand and turning into him holding his one hand to her hip. Her other hand found his as she lightly guided the dancing doing her best to make it look like he was leading. The guys watching cheered and whistled for them a moment before turning back to their drinks. From this close she could smell him and it was quite the intoxicating scent of soap from his shower and just enough of some cologne to make her want to come closer to investigate. The song changed though and she turned back to face him wrapping her arms around him in a hug.

“Sorry if I embarrassed you.” she said letting go of him as they headed back to the table so she could actually have a drink of the water he had given her.

“It’s ok. They always do that to me.” She nodded remembering hearing something about that before.

Back at the table people kept encouraging her to drink which she did her best to cut with water but it wasn’t going to well. “Ok, ok guys I gotta stop. I already can’t walk out of here on my own but I’d rather not get sick on top of it.” she said her words a bit slurred as she felt the room wobble around her. It felt like even the slightest movement was the spin of the tilt-o-whirl traveling carnival ride. Thankfully they let her go for a bit before everyone started to get going. She enjoyed sitting and watching them in her drunken state. She knew she was laughing to loud and would have no idea some of the things she was saying by morning but she could tell they cared about one another. They had the common goal of winning together when the season started but it was easy to see everyone was friends as well as team mates. Even Kris was laughing with the group which she was happy to see. She had started to think that he was having a bad time.

“We’re all going to head home.” Max said as most of the other guys had excused themselves. “Kris is still going to be your escort but we wanted you to know you are in. Not only did you drink like a champ but you didn’t do anything stupid.” she figured stupid was code for hit on them like a total slut bag whore but that could have just been the alcohol clouding her mind. “Tanger is the best. That’s why he gets to take you.” Kris just shrugged again offering his hand to help her up. She took it stumbling on her heels a second steadying herself. He didn’t give her a second chance to walk though as he bent down picking her up on his should being mindful of her skirt.

“When you get home let me know if this shoulder is ok. It’s my job you know.” she said shouting over the music while laughing at the absurdity of it all. He carried her back to the car not letting her attempt to walk. When she had trouble with her seatbelt helped her with that too. “You’re to nice.” she said turning in her seat to face him once they were on their way. She watched as they drove. He wasn’t heading in the direction of her home not that she had idea if he knew where she lived. “Where are we going? Is this another part of it?” she asked suddenly skeptical of him a bit of her wits coming back to her.

“No. We’re going home. You are drunk and no one wants you to die.” well it was sweet but in her drunken state she went pouty on him. “I can take care of myself just fine.” she knew she sounded like a child but thanks to the alcohol she didn’t care.

The ride to his apartment was long enough for her to just start falling asleep as the car was parked. “I’m still mad at you for not taking me home.” she grumbled as he picked her up from the car seat being a bit more gentle with her this time now that there wasn’t anyone to watch. He carefully sat her down on her feet by his door so he could fish his keys from his pocket. She leaned against the wall watching him open the door. He took her hand at the wrist leading her in. She looked around noting the standard furniture that most guys seemed to have. A sofa a big tv and a smallish table and chairs set that seemed to be more for playing cards than for eating food at. His place was nice and even in her drunken state she could see that it seemed to be pretty clean.

“You can stay in the guest room.” he said leading the way taking her wrist again.

“I can walk on my own. I’m drunk yes but I’m good not in the heels.” she said showing him she could do a decent straight line. A cop would arrest her seeing that attempt at a line but it showed she was stable enough to walk on her own. He nodded showing her the way.

“There are supplies in the restroom.” he said pointing to the small bathroom just across the hall. “I have my own.” he said pointing down to his room. He held up his hand though signaling for her to wait a moment. He swiftly moved down the hall returning with a small pile of close for her. Sweats and a t-shirt that she was extremely thankful for. “The schedule tomorrow, late start all even you.” he ran a hand though his hair shrugging. “Take you home in the morning for clothes then back to work.” she nodded chewing on the inside of her lip. “Merci pour tout.” she said breaking out her extremely rusty French from high school and college. She knew French was his first language and thought she’d be nice. It made sense in her drunken brain at least. He smiled lowering his head as if he was trying to shyly hide. “Seriously thanks.” she said again kind of stumbling till her back his the door frame of the guest room. It didn’t hurt but she felt like an idiot. “I’ll just go to bed now.” she said pointing into the bedroom shaking her head at herself. “Good night Kris.” she said giving him a stupid little wave.

“Bonne nuit.” he said telling her good night. He watched her a second as she headed into the bathroom to brush her teeth and change. Once he had done the same he returned to check on her finding her curled up on the bed rather than under the blankets. Getting into the closet he took out a spare covering her up brushing her hair from her face.

“Thanks.” she mumbled sounding more like a grateful child than the woman she was. He gave a little smile before clicking off the main light leaving a lamp on for in the hall for her and the door open before he went to bed himself.

Friday, June 4, 2010

All Or Nothing Chapter 1: Girl From Mars

Girl From Mars - Ash ( Chapter names are Songs. )

Starting a new job was always stressful. For Sarah the change she sat in traffic awaiting to meet on the other side of the tunnel into downtown Pittsburgh was more than enough to freak anyone out. She kept reminding herself that it was just a job. She was going to take care of her patients and manage their care just as she would anyone else. It was a mantra she kept repeating to herself as she crept along with traffic. Thankfully she made it into town and to her new parking space with time to spare. She got out of the car her sensible heels clicking on the concrete floor as she followed the little map she had drawn on her legal pad. She had been there the day before to get things mostly set up but it didn’t matter all the space they needed to get everyone processed for the new season was ridiculous. Weigh in day was a big day and she knew it. She sat though the opening meeting with the trainers and coaching staff before being asked to come to the front of the room and introduce herself and explain what she needed from everyone that day.

“Hello everyone it’s nice to finally meet you.” she said tucking a piece of dark brown hair behind her ear. “This year the only difference in weigh in day from previous years will be the fact that we are switching to digital records.” she moved to the table where she had the two digital tablets. James and Aaron have been though training to use the tablets and I will be supervising on site. Really what I need from everyone else here is help keeping things running smoothly. Things won’t be as fast as they have been in the past. I know this will bring on frustration but the intention of switching to digital records will better help all of us throughout the season.” she explained. “So really if you see people getting frustrated just do your best to keep things calm. If people really start to have an issue send them to me. I can handle it.” she rested her hands on her hips. “If anyone has any questions let me know.” she went to move back to her seat but saw a hand shoot up. It was the strength coach but she couldn’t remember his name without her cheat sheet. “Yes?” she asked her eyebrows going up.

“Really you think you can take complaints from these guys?”

She had to laugh at his tone though she managed to keep it on the inside merely smiling. “Trust me I’ll be fine.” She knew they had her resume. It was a large part of why she got the job. She may have only been 5’2” on her flat feet but she had the experience of working ER, Psych, Orthopedics and Pediatrics. She had a more varied body of work than most nurses on the open market. She had talked about her experiences being threatened and managing people in crisis in her interview. She could tell they were especially impressed when she showed a picture on her iphone to the interview panel of her black eye that a patient had given her when she worked as the nursing manager on a psych ward. She knew the men in the room looked at her like an outsider this woman who brought with her not just a vagina and breasts but technology and the power to wield it.

Once the meeting had finished Sarah was quick to change into her scrubs happy to be spending most of her days in them still. Sure when she traveled with the team she had to look professional and when she was in meetings she had to look the part of the Pro that she was. To her nothing was less practical that dealing with a medical issue in heels. She slipped her feet into her sneakers lacing them up good and tight before pulling her hair back from her face. The only thing worse than trying to work in heels was working with her hair in her face. With a final check on the equipment she smiled as the players began to arrive slowly making their way though the stations set up in the suits level of the arena. The first to get to her was the one and only Bill Guerin.
“Hi I’m Sarah the new nurse manager.” she said introducing herself though as a gift her family had gotten her several sets scrubs embroidered with her name. “We’ve gone digital.” she said motioning to the two stations set up manned by James and Aaron whom she had mentioned in the meeting.
“I see.” he said looking a bit skeptical.
“Don’t worry everything is still as confidential as it was before actually more than likely more confidential. No records laying around for people to snoop in and no chance for things to get lost in the shuffle. This will actually help everyone out a lot including yourself.” she pulled up his file on her computer for him to see. “This is your progress for all the time you’ve been with the Pens.” It was a page of charts that were simple to read and showed every weigh in, every little blip or back spasm he ever had. She had spent the last few weeks entering the records being meticulous with them from home. Bill seemed like the perfect test for the system. He was curious enough without being obnoxiously curious. He seemed pleasantly surprised when the whole process went much faster than usual.
“Ok Bill you’re pretty much done. I just need to go over a few questions with you and then you’ll be ready to move on. I think equipment is next.” she knew that would make all the guys happy after being measured and questioned about their health. The questions were basic in regards to any illness or problems he may have had over the summer. She had everyone sign off on releases for her to contact their off season medical caregivers so she could get official records. She handed him her card being sure to point out all her contact info. “I mean you’ll see me around but lets be honest life happens and when life effects your health I’m just a phone call away.” That seemed to freak him out a little. “Wow that makes me sound crazy doesn’t it?” she said with a smile. “Sorry I’m just excited and dedicated.” He seemed to soften when she explained. “Have fun the rest of the day. I’m sure I’ll see you around at lunch.”
The next hour was pretty slow as the slightly older crowd of the team came in one by one. It wasn’t till the hour before lunch that things began to pile up. It seemed all the young guys had decided to all come in at once. They were happy to be there which was a relief to her. It seemed any issues they had with going digital had been soothed by the other guys on the team. However they were a bit loud and she didn’t appreciate that. She didn’t need silence to get this done but a room one could efficiently communicate in was necessary. She attempted to get their attention from the ground but was obviously blocked out by their height. She too a step onto her chair finding herself at eye level with most of them. That wasn’t good enough . She took the next step up onto the table her head brushing the ceiling. They all eyed her slowly going quiet confused by her antics.
“That’s right listen to the tiny lady on the table.” she shouted at them though with a smile. “I’m Sarah and I’m your new nurse care manager.” She went on to explain everything all at once. There were a few questions but everyone seemed to be ok with the switch. She went to climb down but froze for a split second. This always happened. She never had a fear of heights on the way up but always coming back down.. Her knees wobbled a bit as Jordan Staal passed the table followed by Max Talbot going to the two stations to be checked in. It was then a hand found hers. She thankfully took it and stepped back down to the chair and then to the safety of the floor. Her heart pounded in her chest but she was ok. “Thanks.” she said finally able to see who had come to her aid. “Kris.” he said with a little shrug letting her hand go though he couldn’t help but notice she was shaking ever so slight.

Sarah blushed just a little embarrassed that she had needed the help and because she had met his eyes in what felt to her like an extremely unprofessional way showing her soul just a little instead of keeping it under the lock and key of the steel gaze of her grey eyes. She smiled before motioning for him to step up next now that Jordan was finished. He shook his head no and stepped back so Sid and then MAF could go next. “I have to get some histories from these guys.” she said excusing herself from him letting out a long deep breath as she did her best to regain her composure.. She looked back noticing his smile and nod before engaging the other guys in the questions she had been asking all morning.
“You guys have to be starving.” she said looking to James and Aaron who had been working with her all day knowing they had slipped behind schedule. “Go ahead to lunch with everyone else I can finish this.” she said as she went to start loading all the data they collected into a master file. They gave her a big thank you excited to catch up with the whole team. She had started working focusing on what she was doing missing the sound of someone clearing their throat behind her till she was tapped on the shower. “Holy shit you scared me.” she said jumping at the touch. Her last job on the psych ward she had made it extremely clear no was to touch her without asking …ever. She turned around to see who it was. Sarah held her hand to her cheat her heart once again racing that day. “Oh Kris I’m sorry.” she offered a soft smile. “You helped me off the table and then I go and swear at you. I‘m obviously real polite.” she hadn’t meant to say it but sometimes her mouth got away from her. “We’re pretty much done here if you want to go to lunch….” he shook his head still not having said a word.
“I have not weighed in yet.” he said. It was the first time she had heard him speak all day. She was sure he had spoken to the other guys but she had been to focused on what she was doing to intrude on their conversations.
“You better step up then.” putting down what she was doing getting everything ready for him. The info she needed was basic. Weight and body measurements first followed by a quick test of the reflexes. The measuring was what took the most time. “Shirt off please.” she said as he pulled it off showing his well muscled back to her. He knew what was coming as she brought the caliper to his skin pinching lightly. “Sorry I know it’s awkward.” she apologized before stepping to the pad putting in all his information. “Now just the questions.” she said going back to her table asking him the usual things. “No injuries over the break correct?” He nodded though she didn‘t know to what.. “Yes, you were injured or yes no injuries?” she asked her brows knitting.
“No injuries.” he said offering a little smile.
She nodded this time. “and you haven’t been ill?” she asked lifting her eyes to meet his fighting not to loose her cool like she had earlier looking at him like she would any other patient. “I had a cold a few week ago but it pass.” he said his accent and speech pattern making her smile as she entered the information.
“Ok I’m going to contact your off season doctor for more info on that. If you feel at all ill even if it’s the slightest thing please let me know?” her eyes softened as she saw him brush a piece of his longer hair out of his eyes nearly in unison with her as she did the same. “You’re free to go to lunch with everyone now.” she siad once he signed the release form.
“I will wait for you. It is a big place. I do not want either of us to get lost.” he patiently took a seat to signal he was willing to weight.
“Oh…” she said a little shocked by his kindness. “Thanks so much Kris.” he stretched his leg out in front of him.
“You can call me Tanger if you like.” he said making conversation as she connected all the cords she needed to load the data.
“Ok. Call me Sarah. I for real would die if any of you called me Nurse Pearson. Nurse Pearson is the mean school nurse who makes everyone drink milk of magnesia.” Sarah made a face that she saw made him smile genuinely. “You should spread around that I’m really tough and so willing to go there with the magnesia.” she put in her password locking up the system as it slowly transferred all the info. “Ok we’re good to go.” she said picking up her purse to take with her. “It’s really polite of you to walk with me.” she said headed for the door with him in toe.
“It is no problem.” he said with a little shrug.

The lunch went well she had been sat with the training staff. Kris had walked her all the way down there. The chat was far from earth shattering. He was quiet and the truth was when she wasn’t in her ‘get the job done’ head space she was a quiet person too. Listening was ranked high in her special skill set. The lunch was a good atmosphere with everyone laughing and having fun reuniting after the off season. It was the perfect time to jump on board with the team.
Post lunch was easy for Sarah. She really just spent her time cleaning the area she had used for the weigh in and then spent time in her office adding information before watching the team take the ice in their first practice. She watched for a little while being sure to put a sweater on. She smiled as they all goofed around looking more like teenagers meeting up on the first day back to school than the men they were.
For Sarah her day ended by changing back into her business clothes for the walk to the car. On her way out to her car she heard someone jogging along to catch her. She looked over her shoulder to see him. “Hi Tanger do you need something?” she asked using the nickname he had told her to call him by.
“No.” he said leaving her with a perplexed look. “Yes. We all go out now. To have dinner and pool.” he said running a hand through his hair that was still damp from his post practice shower.
“Oh ok.” she said nodding. “Yeah. Um where at?” she asked pulling her GPS from her bag ready to search for it.
“I will drive you.” he said lightly placing a hand on her shoulder ushering her toward his car.
“No that’s ok you’d have to bring me back here for my car…” he seemed insistent as he directed her to his vehicle. She carefully climbed in this no doubt being the most expensive car she had ever ridden in. “This isn’t so kind of hazing thing is it? Did they send you because you’re nice and didn’t think I would suspect something?” she questioned narrowing her eyes as him as he began to move out of the spot before she could buckle her seat belt.
“Yes and no.” he said glancing at her. “They saw we talked so they make me.” he said in his usual soft tone. “I think there will be some kind of….” he paused trying to think of a better work than hazing. “prank or challenge.” he settled on. The drove across town headed for Max’s house.