Status: In Progress

The Icy Lens

Gray Scale

Abby awoke with a smile on her face for the first time in ages. She was hangover free, but was still emotionally tipsy. She had enjoyed her evening of flirting with James, and the sweet kiss goodnight was enough to send her into space. But she knew that she had to keep herself grounded. She reminded herself that it was only one night, a night with alcohol involved. Plus had to be sure that she was not just rebounding on the first guy that was nice to her.

She wanted to clear her head and get a good run in before prepping for the skills competition later. So she quickly changed into shorts and a sports bra before heading down to the hotel gym. It didn’t take Abby more than a few minutes to program a course, plug in her Pod, and began her warm up lap to stretch her muscles.

Just as she was getting into the groove of running, the trio arrived to get in their morning workout as well. Abby smiled and waved at them, but continued to work out on her own. She tried to stay in the zone, but she couldn’t help but let her eyes wander as Kris, James, and Geno were working with the weight machines and dumbbells.

She picked up her pace and was able to focus for a good three miles, but then her eye wandered again when she saw that James was shirtless, and walking over to the treadmill next to her. Abby quickly fumbled for her iPod and changed the track, trying not to look at him. She knew that if she did, her face would turn redder than a tomato. She quietly focused on the music and was finally able to zone out and finish her 8 mile run.

Abby slowly got off the treadmill feeling slightly winded, and reached for her towel. “Hey you should really put some clothes on,” Kris said with a smirk, “You’re distracting Neal.” She looked up at Kris shooting him a glare, “What about you boys? You should put your 8 packs away.” He laughed and threw his towel at her head and said, “But that’s how we get all the ladies.” Abby wrinkled her nose as she tossed the towel back and said, “Yeah, until they realize how bad you smell.” She took a few sips of water from the fountain and mentioned that she was going to head back to her room to clean up.

As she walked towards the door she looked in the mirror and caught him staring at her leaving. Kris was right, he was totally checking her out. “Dammit,” she thought to herself, “why did I have to see that?” She tried to casually increase exit in order to make it to the door just as she was starting to blush. Now she was the one who needed a cold shower.


After the skills competition they all planned to meet up at the hotel bar to have a few drinks. She made sure to wear something girly again, donning a red pencil skirt an a black top. If she was lucky maybe they could continue their flirting from the night before. She sat down on the tall bar chair and carefully crossed her legs before ordering a captain and coke in the hopes that it would calm her nerves.

She smiled as the guys finally met her at the bar and they started to talk about the competition. They all laughed over Patrick Kane’s superman shootout goals, and harassed Letang for not ranking higher in the speed skating. “Hey, my hip was killing me, besides I still was faster than that guy,” he said before taking a swig of his beer. Just as she was about to comment on James’s precision shooting she heard giggles erupt from behind.

Her chance to be around James was instantly shot down by two blonde and three brunette puck bunnies that moved in to hit on the guys. Before she knew it she was pushed down the bar, and the women had them surrounded. Geno and Kris seemed to be playing nice, but James was eating up the attention from the two girls. She couldn’t blame him because they were drop dead gorgeous, but she also couldn’t help but feel slightly jealous. Abby let out a frustrated groan and finished her drink before she motioned for the bartender. “I’ll take another please.”

As she drank her second drink she kept glancing over, watching James flash his smile at the girls. She was visibly annoyed as a blonde in particular moved in close on him, throwing her arms around his shoulders that claimed she was a professional model. She overheard their flirty exchanges back and forth, and began to feel alienated.

Abby put down her empty glass and the bartender instantly poured another sensing her disdain for what was happening. She started to tap her fingers on the bar to the beat of the music that was playing in the background, trying not to look at what was going on further down the bar. Her mind raced as she thought about the night before. Not even 24 hours earlier she felt his hands on her, he carried her to her room, and even gave her a kiss on her forehead. Any hopes for something more were blown away that night, and she felt as if she had been played. Abby chugged the last of her drink and paid her tab, determined to return to her room.

She grabbed her purse and headed toward the elevator, hitting the button multiple times as if it would come faster. She felt a tap on her shoulder and heard, “Hey, You leaving?” She turned to Kris and said with some attitude, “Sorry, I don’t particularly like puck bunnies.” He laughed and said, “Oh we were just being nice. We didn’t mean to abandon you.” Yes he and Geno were being nice, after all they had girlfriends to go home too -- but James was still single.

“Whatever,” she said with a shrug, “I’m going to head off to bed.” He shot her a sympathetic glare and then it looked like a light bulb went off. “I get it,” he said, “You don’t like seeing him with them. You’re crushing on him aren’t you?” She turned around and said, “Nope, I just don’t like being invited out then sitting at the bar by myself.” He frowned and said, “Come back, I’m sure we can get them to leave.” The elevator door opened and she got on and said, “It’s ok Kris, Tell the others goodnight for me. I’ll see you in the morning.”

She took the elevator to the top floor and went into her room, removing her heels and locking the door. She went and put on her Metallica t-shirt and crawled into bed. Just as her head hit the pillow Abby heard her phone ring, and she reached over to grab it. The number was Matt’s, making her feel a sigh of relief. “Hey how’s Ottawa?” He asked.

She told him about the guys arguing about who would walk her into the party, and even told him about her exchanges with Giroux and other players. “I totally miss you,” she said on the phone, “Last night was fun, but I really want to just come home.” He asked her if something was wrong and she said no, that she was just exhausted and feeling lonely. She didn’t want to say anything about James, so she changed the subject and asked him what he was up to. He told her that he literally was doing nothing but playing Madden, drinking beer, and eating Chinese food.

They joked around on the phone for a while, and she started to feel better. “Hey I can’t wait for you to come back tomorrow, It’s too quiet without ya,” he said to her. She smiled and responded, “Don’t worry, you’ll be sick of me once I get back.” He told her goodnight and then she ended the call.

Abby felt like she was hiding something by not telling Matt about James, but at the same time she didn’t want to make things awkward. They were all friends; she should have never though anything more than that. She told herself that she just needed to try and forget the crazy thoughts and move on. After all, she probably wasn’t his type anyway. She turned off the light and shifted under the blanket, hoping that she would be able to get some much needed sleep.