Sequel: Attractions

Counting the Ways to Reject You

Chapter Four

I opened my eyes and let my vison swim into focus before I rolled over to look at the clock. Seven in the morning. Time to get up. I groaned and rolled out of bed.

I wandered out into the makeshift kitchen in the hotel room and saw Patrick already there, flipping through a newspaper.

“What are you doing up this early?” I yawned, running a hand through my unkept hair.

He glanced up, looking me up and down once before going back to reading the paper. “Couldn’t sleep. What about you?”

I looked down at myself to see what he was staring at and inwardly sighed. I was in one of my oversized Hawks t shirts and a pair of knee socks that fell down by my ankles. Did I have underwear on? I casually felt my ass and felt fabric there. Good news. I didn’t sleep with him. Hopefully.

“Oh you know. Hangovers usually give me motivation to fulfill my nickname. Nothing special,” I said sitting on the counter.

“You remember last night?”

I had to think about it and it all came in flashes, like part of a movie. Ovie giving me drinks. Singing on the bar. Face planting. “That explains why my face hurts!” I exclaimed, gently feeling my bruised face.

He held an amused smirk. “Keep going.”

Patrick carrying me back to the hotel room. His face was soft– wait what?! I hope I didn’t say that out loud.

“My face is just naturally soft,” he confirmed my thoughts.

“Thanks,” I sighed. “I was dying to know.”

“Last night you were,” he reminded me, flipping to the sports section of the paper.

What else was there?

My eyes widened as it came to view in my head.

I had asked Patrick Sharp to come to bed with me.

He noticed I remembered.

“I didn’t do it,” he told me, his eyes still scanning the baseball portion. “You were drunk and it wouldn’t be respectful to you.”

Awkward silence surrounded the both of us as I thought where to go from there. “Well, thank you. I was obviously not in the best frame of mind.”


“What?” I looked up and at him.

He didn’t answer, but stood up, folding the paper. “Come on. Practice for the skills competition tonight. You can have the shower first.”

I collected my clothes for the day and as I showered, I was left to wonder what the hell I was thinking when I said his face was soft and asked him to come to bed with me.

Was it just the alcohol talking? Or was it something else.

Patrick got in right after me and I called up Crow, my best friend. “What?” he sounded grumpy. “You’re interrupting my two days of silence you know.”

“I um, have a question,” I said quietly, checking the bathroom door. It was shut all the way.

“Skille and Hossa already called being the Godfathers,” he said distracted and I heard video game sounds in the background. I was pretty sure it was Call Of Duty.

I just stared at the phone. “We did not sleep together!” I clarified.

“Then what? I know it has to do with poor old Sharpie.”

“I uh, kinda asked him to sleep next to me last night.”

The sounds stopped and I knew I caught his interest. “Did he? I mean, did you two have sex?”

“No!” I exclaimed, then calmed down. “He didn’t do it. I was drunk. His face is so soft Crow! I said that out loud to him!”

“Well you know that alcohol is like a truth serum,” he said and I knew he was enjoying every bit of my dilemma.

“You are a jerk and no help whatsoever!”

“Go find Tessa and have girl talk or something.”

“Really?” I rolled my eyes. “You’re choosing Call Of Duty over helping a dear old friend?”

“I’m surprised. You recognized the game by its sounds. You’ve been around hockey boys too much.”

“Story of my life.”

He laughed. “It is, isn’t it? Well darling, all I can offer up is that you get your feelings in order and tell him before he finally decides to back out. Talk to Tessa and Johnny and whoever else there who has given you relationship advice before.”

“Since when has Johnny and Tess ever given me dating advice?”

“They’ve been telling you to give Sharpie a chance, yeah?”

Damn that goalie and his ability to ALWAYS be right. “I’m hanging up on you.”

“Call me when you have a breakdown or an epiphany,” he said before I hit the end button.

Patrick walked out of the bathroom then, with only a towel wrapped around his lower half.

Holy flying buckets of cows.

It should be illegal for men like Patrick Sharp to walk around almost naked.

What was I thinking?! It was Patrick Sharp I was thinking about!

Yeah, Patrick Sharp. Sexiest man in Chicago.

“You okay there Nat?” Patrick asked me, looking in his bag for something. “You look a little funny.”

Well duh. You walked out in a towel that could fall off any second. No shit I look kinda funny.

“Nope. I’m uh fine. Thanks.”

“All right. If you say so.” He dug around a little more before picking out what he had been looking for. His boxer briefs.

“I’m going to go meet Tessa for breakfast. I’ll see you at practice,” I said hurriedly and almost ran out of our room.

I ran into Tessa in the elevator and was extremely grateful. “Tessa!” I shouted, dashing inside the elevator.

“Hi to you too Natalie,” Johnny said from beside her.

“I don’t want your help, no offense,” I told him.

“Therefore I’m not warranted a good morning or an enthusiastic greeting?”

“I’m so sorry. Good morning Jonathan Toews!”

He smiled. “Good morning NatalieWhitt!”

I turned back to Tessa. “Anyways, I have an issue.”

“Which is what?”

“Patrick is standing almost naked in our hotel room!!”

She looked very amused. “Most girls would kill to have seen what you saw.”

“Excuse me?” her boyfriend tried to intervene.

“I said most girls, honey.”

“You’re not most girls,” he stated the obvious.

“You know if this hockey gig ever gave out, you could always get a job stating the obvious. You’re very good at it,” she told him patiently.

He grumbled an incoherent response.

She turned back to me. “Go on. What’s the problem exactly?”

“I had an inner battle with myself about if I actually liked it!”

Johnny whipped his head back around, his brown eyes shining with the information he just obtained.

“Say anything and I will write up the most brutal and cruel regimen and your girlfriend will be all alone after only a day,” I threatened. “You tell no one. Don’t even say it to yourself. And not to your side boyfriend, Kaner. Capiche?”

“I hate girl talk,” he mumbled, getting out of the elevator and to grab some food before practice.

“So what exactly sparked these thoughts?” Tess asked once her boyfriend had for sure gone to hunt down food.

I told her about the night before and she listened faithfully. “And so. . . yeah,” I finished my story.

“Well just think it through,” she told me as we got in line for our bagels and muffins. “Don’t let him distract you from tonight. Actually let him. I want us to win,” she laughed.

“You might just get your wish,” I muttered as the man himself walked in. He was dressed in his practice clothes, but all I could see was that damned towel and that damned perfect body.

Damn you Patrick Sharp.
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