I'm exhausted. Dealing with those sexist jerks on the ice is beginning to take a toll on me. Guy arrived to save me in the knick of time, just like a hero out of some old movie. Strangely enough, that doesn't bother me. Maybe the fact that I've saved his but on the ice at least six times in the past six months makes me able to accept this as simply something teamates do for each other. What I want, at the moment, is for his mood of tenderness and concern to continue. Well, what I really want is for him to sweep me off my feet and kiss me senseless - which, considering the way my thoughts are running at the moment, wouldn't exactly be a long trip.
"You okay, Connie?" he asks, lifting one hand to run his fingertips gently down my face.
"Mmm," I reply, turning my face to nuzzle his palm.
"Connie?" he asks, tipping my chin up to gaze into my eyes.
"It's raining really hard," I say.
"Yeah, right," he says, focusing on the rain-slicked highway through the bus window. "But answer me. Are you okay?"
"I will be," I reply. "I'm just not quite there yet. I want. . ."
"What, Connie?" he asks, his voice soft, his hand reaching out to grasp mine.
"It sounds silly," I mutter.
"Connie," he says gently, "sometimes when a person has just had a bad experience they need something that reminds them of happier times. A lot of times it's a ritual or experience from their childhood. . . something that can sound pretty silly to an outsider. But I'd hope, after all these years. . .after all we've been through together. . .that I wouldn't be an outsider. I'd like to think you can trust me enough to let me help you through this. So, if you need to snuggle up in bed and eat cinnamon toast while you watch Captain Kangaroo or something, that's okay. I'm not going to give you a hard time about it. I'll tune the TV for you. Hell, I'll make the damned toast!"
I smile gently. "That's what I want. I mean, not specifically cinnamon toast and Captain Kangaroo. But just for you to. . .baby me."
Guy gives me a strange look. "You'll really let me?"
I nod. "Scout's honor, Guy. I'm too wiped out to take care of myself. You'll have to do it."
When we reach the school parking lot, Guy helps me out of my seat.I figure he's just being polite, so I'm caught off guard when he swoops me up in his arms. "Guy, what are you doing?"
"You *SAID* I could baby you," he points out with a smirk.
"Yes, but I didn't-"
"Didn't really mean it, Connie?" he asks. There's a hint of sadness in his eyes as he loosens his grip.
Suddenly, I realize he needs this as much as I do. He needs to take care of me as much as I need to be taken care of. As he said in the bus, it's a matter of trust. For both of us.
I tighten my arms around his neck. "I just didn't expect this level of pampering, that's all, Guy."
He grins and carries me into the dorms we use when we get home late from away games. Which is, really, all of about three steps away, but apparently he feels he's won some sort of symbolic victory. He sneaks past the coach, finds me a room, sets me down on the bed and slips off my shoes and socks, then slides my jacket off my shoulders. "I'll go turn back the bedspread," Guy says. "If you want to, um. . ." He gestures at the rest of my clothes. I quickly slide off my slacks, then execute a trick Julie taught me years ago, tugging off my bra without removing my shirt. Wearing only my T-shirt and panties, I crawl under the covers.
Guy tucks me in, bunching the pillows behind my head and pulling the blankets up to my chin. "You're not going to leave are you?" I ask. I sound utterly pathetic, but right now I'm too tired to worry about it.
"Of course not, Connie. I'm going to stay right here by you. Do you want a backrub?"
"Please," I say, rolling over. I fight the urge to moan as his big hands dance across the tense muscles of my back and shoulders. Guy puts just the right amount of pressure into it, not too hard but not too soft. Same way he kisses. Uh-oh, Connie, I tell myself. Do *NOT* go there. When you're half-naked and your boyfriend's giving you a backrub in a room he's not suposed to be in it isn't the time to be remembering the way he kisses.
"Enough?" he murmurs, leaning close to my ear.
"Mmm," I reply. "Now I just want you to hold me."
Guy stands up for a moment to kick off his shoes, then lies down beside me and pulls me into his arms. I snuggle close for a few minutes as his hands continue to roam gently up and down my arms and back. Suddenly I get an idea. My bad girl side blurts it out before it can be censored by my logical, rational brain. "Guy, your buttons are poking into my face. Can you take your shirt off?"
"Sure, Connie. Sit up for a minute."
Guy hops out of bed and I watch through half-closed eyes as he strips off his shirt with a quick economy of movement. Mmm!! "Your belt buckle was kind of poking me, too," I add. Sheesh!! Where is all this coming from? Why don't I just come right out and say "I want you naked, Guy"?
Guy removes his belt and rejoins me in bed. I nuzzle my nose into the center of his muscular chest. I love Guy's chest.
"Anything else?" he inquires, his voice gentle and amused.
"Kiss me goodnight?"
Guy slides his fingers under my chin and tips my mouth up to meet his. The kiss is gentle, warm and sweet. It lasts a long time, but finally he breaks it off and smiles into my eyes. "Go to sleep, Connie," he whispers, brushing his palm over my eyelids.
"Goodnight, Guy," I say, closing my eyes. I don't really want to sleep. I just want to lay in his arms savoring this warmth and closeness. But I find myself drifting off anyway.
When I wake up again, Guy is murmuring my name in his sleep. He's got one arm still wrapped around my shoulders, but the opposite hand - which had been gently stroking my hair when I fell asleep - is now grasping my bottom. And something's poking into my belly, but it's not the sort or thing I can ask him to remove. Nor would I want to.
"What time is it?" I asked sleepily. Guy squeezes my ass and drags me closer to him.
"Why do you always do that?" he inquires with a drowsy chuckle.
"Ask what time it is when you first wake up."
"I don't know. Habit, I guess."
"Well, if you want to know, you're going to have to move a bit. You're lying on my watch arm."
Okay, the intelligent thing to do here would be to roll away from him. But I apparently stopped doing "intelligent" at some point tonight. So I roll on top of him. Guy lifts his arm and peers at the luminscent dial. "It's 3:12 a.m. Connie. Are you happy now?"
"Very much so," I reply and am rewarded with another sleepy laugh.
After a few moments of silence, he asks, "Connie, would you mind if I took my slacks off? It's kind of uncomfortable sleeping in them."
"No problem, Guy," I reply and roll off of him so he can slide out of bed for a moment. I shiver from being deprived, even briefly, of his warmth. He slips back under the covers wearing nothing but his boxer-briefs and pulls me close again.
"Whatcha thinking about?" he asks.
"Just debating strategies to explain our behavior to the coach if he catches us"
"There's always the truth," he suggests. I'm quiet for a moment, then I say, "I don't know. Telling the truth sounds so. . .girly."
"Um, Connie, it's not that I don't respect you as a hockey player and everything. But I'm well aware of the fact that you're not a guy."
"If I tell you the truth will you promise not to say anything . . .at least, not tonight?"
"I mean it, Guy. Once I say it, not another word from you. We just go back to sleep."
"Okay, Connie, okay. But if I'm going to be sworn to silence once you share this great, mystical truth with me, can I say something beforehand?"
"Will you kiss me goodnight again? I mean, if I'm expected to go back to sleep. . ."
I lean up and hook my hand around the back of his neck. He's letting me take the lead and I nibble lightly on his lower lip before melding out mouths together. I open my mouth slighly and let just the tip of my tongue dance against his before slowly pulling away.
I settle down against his chest again and wrap one hand around his biceps. "Okay, Guy the truth is. . . I just had a really crappy day and I was scared and wiped out and I wanted to be held tightly in the big, strong arms of the man I love. Now go to sleep."
Guy closed his eyes, smiling.