No Place I'd Rather Be

Chapter One

He had seen her last night.

He was sure that he wasn't dreaming. He was positive that it had been her hips he held as they danced to whatever band was playing at that hour. He knew that it was her eyes that twinkled up at him, letting him know that she was having fun. He was so sure that she was the one and now she's gone.

It was the day after he arrived at Coachella Valley. He had a couple of friends in California that he was able to contact when they arrived to town. It was his first time ever to travel far out in to the middle of nowhere when there was a game the following night. He wish he could say he cared but he just didn't.

It had been a tough season and now that they're half way through it, he just wanted it to be over. He knew everyone around him wasn't happy with the way he was performing on ice. He didn't want that to be the reason why he would stay in his hotel room in Anaheim, all alone, on a Friday night. Instead, what he did was called up his friends to see what they were up to and headed to desert within a matter of hours.

They promised him that they'd get him back the next day for his game. They even wanted to attend. But after what he experienced last night, he wasn't sure if he ever wanted to go back.


"Wake up," He heard while his eyes were still closed. He knew it was Tom, one of his buddies, shaking him from his slumber. He kept his eyes closed hoping that the nuisance would go away. When Tom kicked the bed again, he huffed and got up.

"Sorry, man. Just didn't want you getting mad at us for not getting you back to the OC on time." Tom explained. "There's not much traffic around this time so it'll be a quick ride home."

As he sat on the edge of the hotel bed, James almost forgot where he was. Trying to recollect his thoughts from the night before, he suddenly remembered the girl.

James had only been standing in the crowd where no one knew him, waiting for the next band he had only heard about in passing to come out. His friends went to go get drinks while he stayed behind to claim the spot they were standing on. With his arms crossed, hat on backwards, he looked all around him. He liked the vibe of being around people who were just happy to have fun, drinking, laughing, listening to music. His name was always attached to Instagram photos and on Twitter accounts whenever he was spotted at a bar in Pittsburgh. He was only trying to have some fun but that got ruined when the PR team told him to hold off on going out every other weekend night. It wasn't like he was doing anything wrong. Being in a completely different area where everyone was seeking the same thing, he wanted to be surrounded by that all the time.

He had to take a quick reality check because he knew life wasn't that easy. He had a job to do--a job that he was supposed to enjoy but only made him worry each time he stepped into an arena. He was thankful that there was a team that believed in him and that there were fans who were proudly wearing his name on their backs each night. He never imagined that this would be his life now.

Going out on an extremely social event made him forget all that worry and stress he carried around. He had never been to Coachella but he had always seen pictures online of his friends and tons of celebrities at the festival. When his friends offered to take him, he knew he had to take that opportunity.

A few minutes had passed since his friends left him to get drinks. As he continued to look at the people around him, a girl pushed her way through and stood right next to him. His spot was a pretty good spot. Dead center, up front. At first he didn't even look her way but then she started to talk to him.

"Can you believe these people? I swear, some of them are just high as a kite and don't even care about who they're spilling their drinks on," the girl ranted.

James finally looked at her.

The first thing he noticed was the big wet spot on her bright yellow tank top. He took that moment to take in the rest of her. Like most of the girls at the festival, she was wearing cut off shorts and sandals. Her dark, wavy hair was down, parted right down the middle, with a golden elastic headband band going across her forehead and around the sides of her head. She had been patting her wet tank top with a napkin but obviously it didn't do much.

"At least now you've get the best seat in the house." He declared out of nowhere.

She stopped the patting and smiled up at him.

God, she had a killer smile, he thought.

They continued the small talk until the band finally came on stage. She screamed, yelled "woo!" from the top of her lungs, danced to every song, and sang along if she knew the words. His friends never came back and oddly enough, he had forgotten all about them. She had taken the spot right in front of him and jumped up and down to the beat of whatever song was playing. He smiled right at her without her even knowing. After the fifth song, which had been a slow one after playing fast and upbeat songs, he slowly put his hands on her hips and drew her closer to him. She looked up to make sure it wasn't anyone else laying a hand on her. She returned the smile he had been giving her all night.

They swayed along to the slow tune, his arms going around her. It was a picture perfect moment. Just before the song ended, she turned around and kissed him. It was instinctive. She wasn't even thinking. James wasn't either. It just felt like the right thing to do after holding each other like a couple after a great song. He kissed her back and immediately knew that those lips were the lips he wanted to keep kissing.

And then it was over.

She kissed his lips one last time before disappearing into the crowd. He tried to follow her but more people just kept getting in the way as soon as the next song started. He didn't even get her name. Their few moments together felt like a dream but it wasn't and that was the worst part of it all.
♠ ♠ ♠
I'm back with a new story for you all! This one is going to be, what I hope, a ten chapter short story. For the first time, I actually planned this one out so hopefully that would really help me out with actually finishing a story for once.

I've had this idea for awhile now and got even more inspired to go on with it when I saw a picture of James on Twitter at Lollapalooza. I've personally have never been to a music festival but I've seen a handful of videos from those events. They sure do look like fun!

Just a couple of things I wanted to get out of the way before I end this note here:
-This starts off with James as a penguins and will include his trade (tears, I know).
-I'm sure the players can't just sneak out into the middle of nowhere during their travels but let's make an exception for this fic ;)

Hope you all enjoy this one!