Status: Updated approx. once a week!

Picture Perfect

Lost in My Mind

-----Kat's POV

"Put the backdrop right over there guys please," I say to a couple of helpful members of the staff as I point to the left side of the spacious room and rip through my camera bag for the necessary lens and corresponding camera. (outfit)

"Do you need anything else?" Jeff asks me with a smile while running a hand through his short wavy chocolate brown hair.

"If you could help me with the lights?" I plea hoping that I'm asking too much of him already. Jeff is becoming a great friend and I'm just thankful I've been making other friends and spending time with people at work instead of Claude. It's been a week since I've actually talked to him- it was much needed. I wish I was able to travel with them on their past few away games though despite Claude- but I couldn't since they haven't worked out that part in contract just yet.

Whenever he texted me I would ignore them or keep the conversations short, trying my best to ignore the happiness I felt when he's text back. During practices and games, I've done my best to avoid him all together by hiding behind my camera which has been successful so far. Seeing Kyle more often has helped our relationship even though I still think about how true Claude's comment about my relationship with Kyle being boring really is.

After Jeff helps me with the external lights, I set up a stool in front of the backdrop for the players to sit on.

"Ready for player photos, Kat?" Kelly asks as she walks in with a big smile- another member of the staff I've become friends with despite the fact that she is my boss.

"Yes! You can start sending them in," I say as I fix the leg of my tripod.

"Sounds good," she replies and leaves the doorway, the sound of her heels hitting the concrete echo through the room as she trails down the hall. Once I fix the placing of my camera once again, I plug my phone into my Bose speaker and fill the silent space with music, specifically some indie music mixed with pop hits.

"Hey Kat!" Wayne's voice booms through the room, causing me to jump a few inches which makes him chuckle.

"Hey Wayne!" I smile and take my place behind the camera.

"How've you been? I feel like we haven't heard much from you in a long while," he says trying to pry some answers from me.

"I've just been busy. Plus I couldn't go on those away games yet but I should be able to on the next road trip," I respond before I check how he looks in the viewfinder.

"Alright, sounds good- we'll have a ton of fun," he winks with a smile and I just shake my head and laugh. After I situate the camera in a better position, I tell Wayne to smile and instead he gives me a photo that looks like a mug shot.

"Are you sure you don't want to smile?" I ask with a soft laugh, after reviewing the photo on the computer next to me.

"Yeah, I got to look tough," he teases and I take a couple more photos before he leaves. After Wayne, I take photos of Raffl, Zac and Del Zotto. During these photos, I relax and get into a small routine; Claude was nowhere to be found in my thoughts and it was refreshing. As I double-check the last few photos of the guys, I hear a pair of flip flops shuffle into the room and I don't think anything of it.

"Katina," I hear a voice say with thick French Canadian accent and my heart does a back flip, "how've you been?"

I turn around to see Claude sitting on the stool with a small smirk on his face, with disheveled ginger hair spilling out from underneath his backwards flyers hat. "Hey Claude," I say trying to sound disconnected from him, trying to ignore what my heart was feeling, "could you take off your hat? Kelly doesn't want the players wearing hats for some reason."

"Sure," I murmurs as I fix the positioning of the camera. He lifts the hat off his head, tosses it on the ground next to him, and runs a hand loosely through his hair. I can't help but laugh at how messy his hair looks.

"You might wanna fix that hot mess you've got going on there, Claude," I giggle.

"Isn't that what all of the girls go for though? I mean you admitted I looked hot," he says with a shit eating grin which causes my heart to flutter madly.

"I said you looked like a hot mess- there's a big difference," I reply, raising my one eyebrow, "you shouldn't flatter yourself like that, I might have to get my wide angle lens if your head gets any bigger."

Claude lets out a laugh, "Well come over here and fix it if it's really that bad."

Despite what my head was telling me, I accepted his request and walked over to him hesitantly, my heart beating faster and faster the closer I get to him. He gives me a smile as I approach him and I steady my hands into his soft ginger hair. I run my fingers through it a couple of times to smooth out the wild strands of hair. While I try to part it slightly by running my hands through his hair in a certain direction, I can feel his eyes on me. "Don't look down, don't look down," I repeat over and over in my head but our eyes meet regardless of my thoughts. As I stare into his hazel eyes and he looks into mine, my hands rest on his hair and I feel my heart beat slow almost to a stop.

I hear the clacking of Kelly's heels in the hallway and I am shaken out of my daze, "uhm, uh- that looks good enough," I say trying to laugh off my nervousness from what just happened and walk back over to my camera. I look through the viewfinder to see a weird glare on his forehead and I decide that I'll have to change the height of the spotlight on the right on the set up.

"Just hold on real quick," I say nervously, still shaken up from the look in his eyes. I stand up on the tip of my toes in hopes of reaching the clasp on the tall spotlight to shorten it- unfortunately being tall doesn't run in my family, I'm lucky I'm even 5'1''. Once I do reach it, I struggle to undo the mechanism, I start to fall backwards with the light and I let out a small yelp. Suddenly I feel stable hands grasp my back and waist and jolts of electricity go through my body leaving my heart feeling numb.

"Are you okay?" Claude asks with a soft laugh, making me blush bright red.

"Uh- yeah, thank you," I smile trying to hide my embarrassment. My heart starts to flutter wildly as Claude stays close behind me, and holding my hands on the light; helping me slide the pole down to the needed height-, this was feeling way too exciting. The feeling of his firm torso against my back makes certain erotic fantasies flash to the forefront of my mind. I blink a couple of times to get rid of the vivid imagery and fortunately it goes away- well most of it.

"Is that good?" Claude says almost whispering, the sound of his velvety voice so close to my ear, sends shivers down my spine.

"Uhm- yeah that's perfect," I say and clear my throat in an attempt to strengthen my wavering voice, "thanks for helping." I let go of the thin post regretfully and he does the same, leaving my hands exposed to the cold air-conditioned room.

"No problem Kat," he places his hand on my back before he walks back to the chair.

Still shaken up by his touch with his cologne swirling around in my head, I take a few pictures and he thankfully smiles for me with ease- unlike the last guys with their pictures. "Wow you're actually smiling," I laugh as I snap another photo, "you and a couple other guys might be the only ones without mugshots."

He chuckles and nods knowingly, "that sounds about right."

"I guess picture day was important enough to put in your tooth?" I remark with a smile as I double-check his photos to make they're usable.

"To be honest I forgot," he says with a grin.

"Well, nonetheless they're good and you can head out now," I smile and he nods.

"Sounds good," he adds and just before he heads out of the door he turns around to look at me, "see you soon Kat."

"Yep, see you soon," I say with a soft smile and my heart twinges with guilt. I close my eyes and fantasies flash through my mind. In one of them, Claude turns me around and kisses me, wrapping me tightly in his arms. I reach up to my lips and place my fingers softly on them, I wonder what kissing him would feel like.

"Kat?" I hear someone say ripping me from my thoughts.

"Steve! Hey, you ready?"

"Are you okay?" he asks, taking in my appearance, "your face is so red- you can't be that hot- it's so freakin' cold in this building."

I let out a soft, nervous laugh, "I know right- it's 50 degrees in here. I'm okay though- really." Well, as okay as I'll ever be with Claude around.

***

As I pace around my room with my music blasting, hoping the neighbors won't complain, I try to exterminate Claude from my thoughts. I grab my phone, find the familiar name in the contact list, and call their number.

"Hey wanna come over? Maybe spend the night?" I ask as soon as he answers his phone.

"Yeah sure- I guess- I'll head over now," Kyle responds ad I can hear the excitement in his voice. We hang up the phone and I organize the apartment and my room more before he arrives. Poor Kyle- the guy has no clue what's going on- hell I don't even know what's going on with me. "Claude's never gonna look at me in that way," I scold myself quietly as I pick up a few stray dirty clothes on my floor. I change into a comfy pair of sweatpants, baggy v-neck, and throw my hair up into a pony-tail. I pick up my clothes from today off the floor and I catch a wiff of Claude's scent emanating from my t-shirt, causing my heart to sink. I resist the urge to smell full- on and throw it in the hamper. "What the hell is wrong with me," I groan and plop onto my bed sending my pillows and blankets to hop up into the air slightly.

As I list the reasons why I like- I mean love - Kyle in my head, there's a knock at my door. I shuffle to my feet and head over to the door and sure enough there he was- Kyle. Blonde haired, Kohl's-formal-sweater-wearing, polo-shirt-lover, nice guy Kyle. When I open the door, I notice he's wearing his favorite maroon polo shirt, cargo shorts, and flip-flops; Claude's remark pops into my head, "Well, no offense but it looks like you plucked him off of a Kohl's poster in the Men's formal section" and I try to hold back a laugh.

"Hey sweetheart," he says with a big smile and kisses my forehead lightly which only makes more guilt wash over me as I picture Claude placing his lips on my forehead.

"Hey," my voice shakes a little with uneasiness and I flash my best fake smile at him.

Once he comes in, we order some dinner and fill each other in on extra details of our week. He specifically asks about my day today and how the photo session went and my heart drops to the pit of my stomach. "Claude, Claude, Claude!" my subconscious remarks, mocking my feelings.

"Nothing really- just took pictures. I had fun- of course it's my dream job but it was very uneventful," I lie.

"Well you seem like you're enjoying it!" he comments enthusiastically, "I should be worried though," he says and I can feel my heart plummet in anticipation of what he is going to say, "you're surrounded by good-looking hockey players all the time," he chuckles lightheartedly. I let out a nervous laugh- I wish I could be as lighthearted as he is on the topic. I try to brush off my true feelings and focus on Kyle. Just after we're finished eating dinner, we put on netflix and begin to watch a movie. Jules comes back to the apartment, with a slam of the door and an exasperated sigh- still not aware we were inhabiting the living room.

"Oh! Sorry guys," she apologizes as soon as she sees us on the couch, "hey Kyle!"

"It's fine- what's wrong?" I ask curiously- the movie still playing; I wasn't paying any attention to it at all- hopefully Kyle hasn't noticed.

"Just another first date gone awry," she says taking off her heels disgruntledly.

"Aw, sorry bout that Jules, you'll find someone," Kyle says trying to add some hope.

Julie scoffs, "The chances of that happening are very slim Ky. At least one of has an amazing relationship," she says referring to Kyle and I; once again I feel my heart sink. "I can move in with you too when you get married right? I'll be your abstinent nanny/maid- it'll work out."

I force a lighthearted laugh and try not to look at Jules- she always knows when I'm hiding something. "It'll be no problem Julie," Kyle laughs and Jules leaves the room after a couple more smart ass remarks.

As the night drew on, it seemed like Kyle was making an effort to be boring. He didn't make any moves on me- his arm stayed around my shoulder and his other was at his side all night. I tried my best to pay attention to the movie but my mind made sure I didn't. My thoughts are saturated with Claude, his voice, his touch, and just about everything that has to do with him. Halfway through the second movie, I decide to make my move- Jules wasn't going to come out and if she did she'd yell to us before leaving her room to make sure she wasn't going to walk in on anything.

I hop onto Kyle's lap, press my lips against his, and move my hips slowly in hopes to feel something with him. He disconnects my heated kisses and leans back away from me, "what was that for?" he asks.

"I'm just trying to kiss you- start something maybe," I say hopefully and lean in to start kissing him again.

"Woah, wait! Julie could come out of her room," he remarks, trying to dissuade me from continuing any further.

"She's not going to, don't worry."

"Well, I'm not going to risk it," he says sternly and motions for me to get off his lap.

"Fine," I huff as I slide off him and reclaim my spot on the couch.

When the second movie is over, we head into my bedroom and I try to start something again. In the dark, we kiss slowly and heatedly. I run my hands through his blonde locks and all of the sudden I'm imagining my fingers being tangled in a certain ginger's curls and waves. I push the thought from my mind but my effort is feeble. I kiss Kyle harder, desperately trying to erase Claude's face from my memory- but it doesn't work. I'm only kissing Claude harder. I say Kyle's name out loud, but Claude is still there- holding me tight.

I try to push it further with Kyle- trying to see only him and not Claude anymore but when I do Kyle immediately stops me, "Not tonight Kat, but I promise tomorrow night. I'm so tired," he says and places a kiss on my forehead. He rolls me over onto my other side so we can spoon and go to bed. My heart sinks and I am overwhelmed with anger, sadness and guilt simultaneously as he wraps his arms around my waist delicately. What are you doing Kat- what the hell is wrong with me?

As I lay in bed, my mind runs rampant with thoughts about Kyle and Claude, comparing them once again to each other- something I'm getting into the habit of doing. One deniable truth I had to keep reminding myself: Claude Giroux is a NHL hockey player, who is way out of my league- nowhere on his radar- not now, not ever.
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Hey guys! Hope your weekend was great! Let me know what you think of the story- I love getting feedback- so don't forget to comment! I'm having a ton of fun writing this story so I hope you guys are enjoying it. I should be writing again tomorrow- but I'm going to try to get in another update within the next 4 or 5 days.
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