Read Forever Pucked Online

Authors: Helena Hunting

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary, #Sports, #General Fiction

Forever Pucked (3 page)

BOOK: Forever Pucked
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We end up at a cute little place that isn’t just for people who don’t eat meat. They do, however, have a nice selection of food without faces for Sunny. I browse the menu. Even with the heat on full blast in Charlene’s car, and our cozy spot in the back of the restaurant, I’m still frozen.

“Maybe I should get the French onion soup and the mozzarella sticks.”

Charlene frowns. “Is that really a good idea, Vi? Onions and cheese? Those are, like, the worst combination in the world for you.”

I’m moping because I won’t get to see Alex tonight. Eating dairy is how I cope with stress and disappointment. However, it will also cause me to moop later. Dairy is hard enough on my system; add onions to the mix and I become lethal to anyone within a ten-foot radius. “Alex won’t be home to witness the aftermath.”

Lily and Sunny exchange a look.

“Yeah, but what if the aftermath runs into tomorrow like it usually does?” Charlene says.

I ponder that for a moment, before reluctantly agreeing. “Good point.”

I decide on a burger and fries, hold the onions, but I add a glass of wine. I don’t need beer bloats to go with the burger bloats.

Sunny keeps checking her phone all through dinner, which isn’t unusual. She and Buck spend a lot of time messaging each other when he’s away—and when he’s not. They’re so in love. It’s as sweet as it is surprising. Buck used to be a huge manwhore. Like, epically slutty.

Sunny has done a great job of taming him. He’s like a big, well-groomed, fun-loving yeti when it comes to her.

After we order, we settle in with our drinks. Only Lily and I have fun ones, since Charlene is driving and Sunny isn’t much for booze.

“How’s the new job, Lily?” I ask.

Alex helped get Lily a job teaching skating to kids who are looking to go pro for hockey when she decided to move to Chicago. She’s an incredible figure skater. She should have been an Olympic contender, but money got in the way of her dream when she was a teenager. She doesn’t seem to let that hold her back, though.

“Amazing! I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the change, but I love it. I really appreciate Alex recommending me.”

“Alex is just glad he could help.” My fiancé is amazingly generous, especially when it comes to family. While Lily isn’t technically related, she grew up with the Waters family, so she’s like a second sister to him. “I guess having unlimited access to Balls’ balls doesn’t hurt either, right?”

“Oh my God, she stays there almost every night they’re home,” Sunny supplies.

Lily blushes and looks down. “He’s great. I’m meeting his mom this weekend.”

“Really? Already? That’s crazy!” Charlene says.

Lily tucks her dark hair behind her ear and looks around the table, suddenly uncertain. “You think so?”

I kick Charlene, at least I think I do, but Sunny is the one who flinches, so I flick Charlene in the side of the boob. “It’s not crazy at all. Not everyone has to wait a year before family intros.”

“A year?” Lily’s eyes go wide.

Lily looks like a porcelain doll. Except not creepy. Which is a very important distinction. She’s gorgeous and model thin, with almond-shaped eyes the color of dark chocolate and an Uma Thurman haircut circa
Pulp Fiction
. She and Randy have been officially dating for less than two months. But they’ve been banging each other since last summer, so it’s not that unreasonable that she’s meeting his mom.

Charlene cups her breast and shoots me an annoyed look. “We haven’t been dating a year. And my mom lives in New York, and Darren’s parents live in South Carolina. It’s not like we can drop by for dinner.”

I’d point out that Darren’s parents have been in town on more than one occasion and she still hasn’t taken the opportunity to meet them, but it’s not my relationship, so I keep my mouth shut. For now.

“I think it’s great that you’re meeting Randy’s mom. She’ll love you!” Sunny says, redirecting the conversation. She embodies her name, radiating positivity and warmth all the time. She’s also blond and blue-eyed with endless legs and a stunning, innocent face.

Lily gulps her mojito. “I sure hope so.”

“I introduced Miller to my parents the day after we met, and they loved him right away. Well, mostly, until Alex told them why he was traded to Chicago.”

He was traded last year around this time after getting caught in a public bathroom stall with his coach’s niece. The door was open.

Sunny waves her hand in the air, then twirls a blond lock around her finger. “But they love him again now, so that’s all that matters.”

Our dinner arrives, and I demo my burger and fries. I order another drink to celebrate both my unfulfilled sexiversary with Alex and the presentation I’ll be making next week. I’m the only one drinking like it’s Friday night, but then Lily probably remembers her terrible hangover from the last time we tied one on. And we all have to work tomorrow.

I’m in no rush to go home, but everyone else’s phone keeps going off. I send Alex a text, but I don’t get a reply. It’s disappointing on such a special day. Or a day that Alex has built up to be interpreted as such. I assumed there was going to be some seriously epic loving based on the ostentatiousness of this afternoon’s gift alone. Unfortunately, his last message was sent several hours ago saying they were still stuck, his phone was dying, and he didn’t think he was going to make it home tonight.

Me and my beaver are sad.

Charlene suggests we go, and Sunny and Lily agree with more enthusiasm than necessary, which I find odd. It’s still snowing when we leave the restaurant, so I can see Charlene’s point about getting home. Even though Sunny and Lily live two blocks away, they pile into the back of her car so we can drive them, too. It probably takes as long as it would to walk, but at least they don’t have to deal with the freezing cold and blustery snow.

Both of them are huddled into their jackets, texting away on their phones and giving each other sly looks while I scan Alex’s Facebook profile for signs of life. He hasn’t posted anything since this morning, and that was a cheesy update about how much he loves me. It’s sweet, but it leaves me even more disappointed.

Charlene pulls up to the house, staying a safe distance from the curb so there’s enough room for the girls to open the door and not fall face first into the two-foot snow bank.

“Isn’t that Randy’s truck?” I ask.

“Oh, uh, um, he left it here for the week so I could drive it instead of my car. The tires are way better,” Lily replies.

“Wow. He lets you drive his truck already?” It took forever before Alex let me drive his sports car. And then I dinged it and he took away my privileges. Not even blow jobs seem to be able to bring them back.

Lily shrugs. “Is that weird?”

“Thanks for the ride, Charlene! See you girls soon!” Sunny gets out of the car and pulls Lily along with her.

“Bye, guys. Thanks, Char! See you soon.” Lily waves and hurries across the street, hand in hand with Sunny.

I figure Charlene and I will go back to her house and hang out some more since it’s close. On occasion, I’ve been known to stay at her place when Alex and Darren are away, because I don’t always like to be in his big, huge house by myself. I get all freaked out even though there’s an insane alarm system. But instead of taking a right, she goes left, toward Alex’s.

“We can go to your place. I’m sure I have a change of clothes,” I suggest.

“I’m kind of tired. I won’t be much fun.” Charlene yawns, as if to prove her point.

I don’t get why everyone is acting so weird tonight. Usually that’s my job.

Charlene’s phone buzzes, and then buzzes a few more times. She waits until we’re at a stoplight before she checks it. I do the same with mine, but Alex hasn’t messaged at all. It’s really not like him. He’s always in contact. Maybe he can’t find a charger for his phone.

I don’t say much on the drive. When Charlene pulls in Alex’s driveway, the porchlight illuminates the door and the holiday wreath I have yet to take down. The driveway’s been cleared of snow, as well as the steps. If it keeps snowing like this, the maintenance guys will have to circle back and do it again.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come in for a bit? We can watch TV or something? Have a drink?” I’m already slightly buzzed; one more will help put me to sleep, and possibly take my mind off my disappointment.

I may pretend not to like all the gifts and the excessive sexiversary celebrations, but I’ve gotten used to them, just like I’m getting used to money going into my account all the time.

“I shouldn’t drink with the roads the way they are.” Charlene gestures to the white fluff skimming the windshield.

“You could stay over.”

“I don’t have a change of clothes, and all your stuff is too small. Except in the chest.” She puts her car in park. “Want some help with your beaver?”

“What?” At first I think she means my actual beaver, but then I realize she’s not propositioning me. “Oh. Right. No, I can get it.”

“Okay.” She gives me a bright smile, followed by a big yawn. “See you in the morning!”

I get that no one else is celebrating their sexiversary, but I feel like I’m the only one who’s really bummed the boys aren’t going to be home tonight.

Getting the beaver out of the trunk is harder than I expect. He’s crammed in there pretty good, and Charlene’s trunk is small and tight—almost exactly how Alex would describe my real beaver.

I tug until he comes free, close Char’s trunk, and wave at her through the rear window. She honks and takes off as I shift the beaver around so I can see the stairs.

Coming home to an empty house is like spraining a wrist while watching porn: frustrating and unsatisfying. Stupid fucking snowstorm.

Getting up the stairs to the front door also isn’t as easy as it should be. I trip on the last step and fall, but thankfully the beaver acts as a cushion, preventing me from hurting myself. I slap the snow off his beaver face and drag him to the door. Punching in the code, I shoulder my way inside. The front entry is dark, which is unusual. The lights are timed at night, unless the system’s malfunctioned. Maybe it has. Alex will have to call the guy who fixes his ridiculous security system. I heave the beaver into the foyer and hit something. I have no idea what, as I can’t see much.

Smacking the wall beside me, I shut the door, blocking out the frigid wind. I finally find the light switch and flick it on. Which is the exact moment I scream like a man with his nuts caught in a vice.

The foyer is filled with cardboard cutouts of Alex. His life-size condom advertisement is front and center, followed by his sports drink promo, the one for hockey sticks, the body wash advertisement, and even the one for the gel that soothes muscle aches. All of my Alex cutouts are welcoming me home, which would be cool, except it means someone has been inside the house, rearranging my shit. That’s freaking terrifying.

“I have a gun!” I yell. This is a total lie. I’ve never even held a damn gun. Alex, who’s from Canada where they don’t even believe in guns, has held a gun, but I have not. I’m petrified that I’ll accidently shoot someone, or myself, so I can’t bring myself to go near one. Alex thinks it’s sweet.

Right now I wish I’d had the balls to hit the shooting range at least once when Sidney, my stepdad, offered to take me this fall because this feels like the beginning of a really bad horror movie. I move the giant beaver in front of me, as if it’s going to protect me from the goddamn serial killer with an Alex cutout fetish.

A figure steps out from behind one of the cutouts, and I scream again. This time it’s blood-curdling. I shove the beaver away from me, knocking over the first cardboard-cutout Alex. A domino effect follows, the two-dimensional versions of my man dropping to the floor with a whoosh and a series of low thuds. I turn around and start reefing on the door, trying to get out, but I’ve locked it, so it’s not opening. And I’m freaking.

“Violet, baby, it’s me.” Alex’s voice penetrates the haze of my terror. I stop trying to escape and turn to face him. There he is in 3D, standing in the middle of the fallen versions of himself.

“You scared the shit out of me!” I throw my purse at him.

He lunges to catch it before it can hit the floor. It was about three feet shy of hitting him.

“I’m sorry. I wanted to surprise you.” He’s smiling through his apology, which irks me.

I point at him. “It’s not funny. You almost gave me a heart attack! I thought some psycho had broken into the house.”

“I didn’t mean to do that.” His hands are raised, probably to reassure me that he’s not a hologram, but in fact my real fiancé, and that he really is sorry. I’m not sure I buy it; he’s still got a dimple popping. He takes tentative steps toward me, just in case I decide to kung fu him in the balls or something, I guess.

“Well, consider me surprised.” It’s a good thing I didn’t have the dairy or I would’ve shit my damn pants. “Why didn’t you call me to let me know you were going to be home?”

“It wouldn’t have been much of a surprise then, would it?”

I replay dinner in my head: all the texts the girls were getting, their excitement at going home to dick-free beds.

“How long have you been planning this?” I cross my arms over my chest.

Alex’s gaze darts down and stays there, despite the fact that I’m wearing a huge winter jacket and my boobs are hidden. “Only since we got stuck at the rest stop earlier today. I really wasn’t sure if we were going to make it home. Then we got back on the road, and I decided I’d surprise you. I got here about half an hour ago. I had just enough time to set this up.” He gestures to the fallen Alexes, and then to the beaver lying face down on the floor. “I see you got my present.”

I give him my bitch brow. I spent the last three hours thinking my beaver was sleeping alone tonight. I’m still getting over that, so I’m not as nice as I should be. “Thanks for sending it to my work.”

“You don’t like it? The pictures you sent me seem to indicate otherwise.”

I roll my eyes. “It’s ridiculous.”

“Which is why you love it.” He tucks my damp hair behind my ear, skimming my cheek with warm fingers.

BOOK: Forever Pucked
7.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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