Status: Updated approx. once a week!

Picture Perfect

Rainy Afternoon

-----Kat's POV

My ringtone blares throughout the room and into my ears, waking me up. The figure next to me, Kyle, starts to shift in his place. I quickly grab my phone, jump out of bed subtly, tip toe out of my room and shut the door behind me. When I look at who is calling, my heart does a back flip.

"Claude?" I say confusedly, my voice scratchy from sleep.

"Kat! Hey!" he answers way too energetically for this time of day.

"What's up? It's 7:30- why are you calling me so early- or at all?" I ask blatantly- I'm not awake enough to keep my thoughts from tumbling out of my mouth.

He laughs at my deliberate accusation, "I'm hurt," he teases, "Can't I call you if I want?"

"Well that depends on if you're done ignoring me."

"Me? How about you? You're the one that's been disregarding my texts and ignoring me wherever," he says lightheartedly.

I open my mouth to say something back but I can't think of anything, "Well- I- I've been busy," I lie trying to get myself out of the hole I dug myself.

"Fine, fine whatever you Katina," he says with a soft laugh. After a few seconds of silence I break it with a hostile tone, "Well what did you want?" I ask. I then remember that last week he asked me in a text to send him some 'in-action' photos of him at practice and games. "I totally forgot to send you some of those photo's I just ha-"

"No, no I'm not calling about the photos," he says cutting me off, "I wanted to know if you wanted to grab lunch with me today after I'm done my workout."

"Oh," I let out, completely caught off guard. I hear some movement in my bedroom and remember Kyle is still in there. Suddenly, the door opens and Kyle's sleepy face appears.

"Hey, I was wondering where you went," he says with a sweet smile.

"Is that Kyle?" Claude asks with a laugh, "Tell him Claude Giroux said hi!"

I roll my eyes at Claude's statement and face Kyle more completely, "Yeah I got a phone call- I was worried it'd wake you up," I say- only half telling the truth.

"Who called you?" he asks innocently and runs a hand through his messy blonde hair.

"Oh- uhm just work, my boss wanted to know if I could email her some of the pictures from yesterday by 5pm," I lie completely through a fake smile, "we're going over some editing details."

"That's not the truth Kaaaat," Claude sings through the phone and I can just picture a shit-eating grin across his dumb, perfect face.

"Oh nice," he smirks, "I'm going to take a shower and leave you to your work," he chimes and head back into my room and I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding.

"Hey Claude, there still?"

"Yes- now back to what I was saying- come get lunch with me."

My heart twists in my chest screaming 'yes' while my head is yelling 'no it's not right.' "Well I don't think I-"

"Don't tell me you can't- I know you sure as hell don't have to take any photos for the team today. Plus you owe me," he counters, cutting me off in mid- sentence.

"Owe you for what?" I ask getting defensive and aggravated with his cocky attitude.

"For ignoring me for so long- c'mon Kat it's just lunch. Ditch the Kohl's boy and you'll actually have fun- let's go," he answers.

"Fine," I say irritably before my head can answer for me. Guilt floods my chest as soon as Claude says great, gives me more details about lunch and we hang up the phone. It's true; I'm bound to have more fun with Claude, which is ultimately the worst part about this situation.

Thankfully, Kyle has work around 8:30 and leaves just around 7:45 to make it to his apartment outside of the city and then go to work. He talks about maybe leaving clothes at my apartment before he leaves just in case he stays here again but I avoid the topic with just a smile. Why wasn't I so for this? I would've been all for it a month ago. Just as I'm sitting at the kitchen table after Kyle leaves, Julie is up for work and can sense that I'm feeling incredibly out of it.

"Hey, what is it?" she asks as she opens up the plastic wrapping around her granola bar.


"I'm not dumb and I wasn't born yesterday- so fess up," she refuses to let it go.

"I'm going to lunch with Claude Giroux later- he called not too long ago to ask me- and I said yes," I begin.

"And??" she asks, her mouth full of granola.

"Well when Kyle asked who I was talking to on the phone- I lied to him and said it was my boss. I feel so bad for lying."

"Well, why'd you lie in the first place? You know Kyle isn't the jealous type," Jules adds as she takes the last bite of her granola bar.

"I know well that's the thing- I don't know why I felt the need to lie to him," I confess.

"Well I think you do know why and that's what's killing you," she adds just as she heads into her room to get changed for her busy day of work.

I let out a groan and run my fingers through my hair nervously. "I'm such a terrible person," I murmur to myself and head to my desk to work on some of the photos from yesterday to hopefully distract me from my conflicting mind.

It's almost 10:00 by the time I actually look at the clock and realize I have to get a shower before lunch. I save my progress on the current picture and shut off my laptop. I take a slow hot shower in an attempt to calm my nerves, which to my surprise, works like a charm. It looked like it was going to rain so I make sure to grab my rain jacket to remember to grab it. It takes me a while to get dressed- unsure about almost every t-shirt, sweater, and top in my closet. Once I finally pick out what I'm going to wear, I cover up my red burn scar on the side of my face and neck, and blow dry my hair. (Kat's outfit)

I check my phone and realize I have to leave now to get to the restaurant in time. I lock the door behind me and make my way down the steps, and through the small lobby on the first floor. Just then I see a man with ginger curly hair sitting on the steps, facing the street, watching people and cars pass.

"Claude," I say airily as I push through the door.

He stands up and turns to face me, "Katina, ready to go?" he asks with a smile. Before I nod 'yes', I take in his shoulders and arms contained by a thin flannel and white v-neck -his jeans don't look half bad on him either. (Claude's outfit)

As we get to the restaurant, it's starting to get busy so luckily we get our food fast. We are seated at a front window of the cafe, at a small table for two. Claude leans into the middle f the table making me notice how hazel his eyes looked in the dim, cloudy light coming through the window, "so why did you lie to Kohl's boy about me?" Claude asks with a sly grin.

"You've been waiting to ask that all morning haven't you?" I challenge with a smile.

He sits back in his chair and half laughs, "just answer the question Reilly," he says, calling me by my last name.

Before I open my mouth, I try to think of something to say - I couldn't tell him the truth- not in a thousand years. It's because I like you a whole lot more than I should. "It's because I think he'd get too jealous and there's no reason for him to get jealous at all," I say trying to sound confident in my answer.

"Hm, why would he be jealous?" Claude asks, obviously already knowing the answer to his question.

"Shut up Giroux, don't be such a smart-ass," I retort with a teasing smile and roll my eyes. We laugh with each other and thankfully, we get off the topic of Kyle. I'm enjoying my time with Claude too much for my own good. As time passes, it gets darker and darker outside- rain clouds are approaching the city. Claude pays for our food quickly, before I can even reach the check.

"I hope it doesn't rain," I confess as I hold the door open for Claude behind me.

"Me too," he agrees.

As we walk together back to my apartment, I can't deny the underlying attraction for him. No matter how hard I was trying to deny his great personality, the jerk- party boy label many people and I gave him was just being proved wrong the more I talked to him. Suddenly, while we were walking across another crosswalk, it started to rain incredibly hard, leaving anyone without an umbrella soaked in seconds.

We both started laughing as two drops of rain became, four, then 10, and finally a complete downpour of water. Claude quickly looked like a wet dog, his curls lay flat against his head and his flannel almost all the way soaked through, which sent me into a laughing fit- he looked too funny.

I unzip my rain jacket, "Here!" I yell over the sound of the rain slamming against the pavement.

"No keep it!" he says back with a thankful smile.

"No way!" I laugh lightheartedly, "you're getting soaked," I say and hold the rain jacket over top of us. He smiles down at me, sending my heart fluttering around in my chest.

He holds up the right side of the jacket while I hold up the left, and keeps his right hand place on my back making sure I'm staying underneath the protection of the jacket. We make our way quickly to my apartment laughing and yelping from puddles and the rain the entire time. As we make our way up the steps of my building and into the lobby, we laugh at how soaked through each other's clothes are.

It was so quiet inside compared to the pounding rain that numbed our ears outside. Suddenly it was as if we were the only two people in the city; time seemed to cease and every second of silence made the space around us feel more and more intimate. His hair curled wildly in the rain still damp framing his face strongly, making his facial features more pronounced. I can't imagine what a mess I must look like. "You can come up to my apartment if you want," I say quietly, trying to summon up confidence, "it's still raining really hard."

"Sure," he says coolly, almost whispering.

As we make our way up the stairs, the air conditioning pumping through the stairwell is unbearably cold- my soaked through shirt wasn't helping any matters. When we enter the apartment door, Claude is thankful that there aren't any more stairs to climb.

"I can dry your flannel and shirt if you want- I think you'd be a lot warmer," I smile, trying to ignore the rush I was feeling having Claude in the apartment, "I have a shirt of my brothers you can wear- I think you're about the same size."

"That would be great, Kat, thank you," he responds.

As he takes off his soggy flannel, I can't help but to gasp at how his soaked white v-neck, now almost transparent, clings to his body, showing off his chiseled abs, pecs, and arm muscles. I look away as soon as he notices me staring and he stifles a laugh. He peels off his now see through white v-neck and I can't take my eyes off the muscles throughout his torso- I swear I didn't know you could have muscles on your ribs until Claude. The subtle 'v' line on Claude is enough to make my heart jump into my throat. I habitually bite my lip looking at him and try to break my stare from his torso. I quickly brake my gaze before he notices again and he hands me his clothes.

"Thanks again," he smiles.

"No problem! I'll be right back with a shirt," I say and head into the laundry room.

-----Claude's POV

As she walks away, I can't help but to admire her figure; I need to stop this- she works with the Flyer's organization- this can't happen, there's no way. I walk around her living room aimlessly looking at photographs and admire how well her and Jules have decorated the apartment. It was large- but not too big for two people. Suddenly, I hear the front door open and I turn around to find a shocked roommate with her umbrella landing on the floor with a thunk.

"Oh mi dios santo mierda (oh my god holy shit), " she says with wide eyes and a giggle as she looks at me; she turns around and covers her mouth to muffle her laugh, "sorry- I wasn't expecting a shirtless guy in my living room- nonetheless Claude Giroux," she laughs and turns back around to face me. Her Spanish accent wasn't prominent but it influenced the sound of certain words.

She walks towards me and sticks out her hand, "it's nice to meet you, I'm Julie" she says warmly and we shake hands.

"Yes, I know- well- Katina talks quite a bit about you," I admit and she flashes a confident grin.

"Ugh I can't wait to get this thing off," she confesses as she shrugs off an uncomfortable looking navy blue blazer, "It's so constricting, but I had to interview Cole Hammels today and I wanted to look like I belonged as journalist- you know, good first impression," she admits with a half laugh.

"Well, you look like a journalist," I say truthfully- it was refreshing to see someone taking such concern in the way they looked for an interview. Sometimes, most reporters wear old jeans and a t-shirt from the 70's.

"Thanks," she says sincerely, "so where's Kat?"

"She's throwing our wet clothes in the drier- my stuff was soaked through," I answer.

"Oh, how nice of her," she says with a sly smile.

-----Kat's POV

When I walk out of my bedroom with dry clothes and make my way through the hallways with a t-shirt for Claude, I find him and Jules chatting casually with each other. Ob boy what has she said to him?

"Oh hey Jules, when did you get back?" I ask.

"Just a few minutes ago, Claude is so nice- he just invited us to a pool party at his apartment this weekend," she says with a devilish smile that Claude doesn't notice.

"Yeah- it's going to be the last warm day till the summer and the guys and I thought it would be a good to throw a pool party- it'll be fun."

"Well I- Uhm-" I start to say.

"We'll be there for sure- you can count us both in," she says and shares a smile with Claude.

"Awesome," he responds.

I throw him Dex's old shirt and Julie walks towards her room and past me, "I'll drag you there if I have to chica; and oh my gosh how do you keep your cool around him?" she whispers with a quiet laugh and heads towards the connected study room/den.

I feel a twinge of saddness when I turn and see Claude has his torso covered up with one of Dex's Red Hot Chili Pepper band t-shirts.

"Does it fit you alright?" I say in an attempt to break the awkward silence.

"Yeah- thanks again," he smiles, making my heart flutter, "so am I going to get the tour?"

"Sure if you really want," I say and start to lead him through the apartment, first starting with the obvious like pointing out the kitchen, living room and main bathroom. Once we get to the door of my room, my stomach turn thinking about how Kyle was here just a little while ago.

"You should really pick up your shoes- you're gonna trip and break your neck," he teases as he walk to the other side of the room, tiptoeing over a couple pairs of shoes and clothes.

"Well sorry I didn't have time to clean for you- granted I didn't know you'd end up coming over," I say sarcastically and make my way over to him. Suddenly, my foot is caught on a stubborn Converse shoe and I lose my balance, making a quick trip towards the floor. I close my eyes bracing myself for the fall but I'm caught by a pair of brawny arms. A calming warmth surrounds me and I let myself be held by Claude for a second longer.

I pull away from his torso regretfully and his bright hazel eyes meet mine, "Told you so," he teases with a crooked smile that heats my chest. I shake myself out of my daze and take my hands off of Claude's shoulders and lead us back to the living room, after thanking him for catching me.

"It's a shame I didn't break my neck," I mutter to myself as I think about how close I was to kissing him a moment ago.

As the rain pounded heavier against the windows, Claude and I played multiple board games all day while we watched movies in the background. It seemed to go on for hours until we took a break and got pizza delivered to the apartment. Even when the rain ceased to stop after dinner, Claude stayed and we played more video games and board games; I can't remember when I laughed so much in one day.

"Holy shit it's 12am," Claude says after checking his phone.

"Really?" I say in disbelief as I wipe left over tears from my eyes from a previous joke.

"I better get going, I've got practice tomorrow morning- then a game," he admits and we get up from the area rug, leaving the PlayStation controllers on the coffee table.

"Well get home safe," I blurt out to fill the silence as we get to my door. I place my hands in my pockets and fiddle nervously with the seams inside.

"Thanks, I'll probably get a taxi or something," he says awkwardly, "well-uh bye," he smiles and goes through the door. I shut it behind him and slide down the door with a big goofy grin on my face replaying the incredible night in my head.
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Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed this chapter- I really love writing this story! Thanks so much for reading, subscribing and commenting! Leave some feedback on the story if you'd like!- I love hearing what you have to think!

Kat's Outfit: