Sorry this is quite short, but better than nothing, right? I had a little family emergency that required my immediate attention, so thanks for your patience ;)
"Hey, it's me...again." I couldn't help but smile at the nervous chuckle that followed. "I was just, um, wondering if maybe you didn't get my message...I thought maybe..." There was a short silence before he continued, his voice taking on a slightly more serious tone. "Listen, Jen, I really would like to see you again, and was hoping you might want to get together again soon. Your pick. Anything you want to do. Within reason", he laughed again. I could barely hear his slight exhale of breath come through the line as I listened to his message for what was probably the 5th time that day. "Uh, yeah, so...I'm out of town right now, but give me a call when you get this, okay? I'd really like to hear from you. I know, I said that already. Kay, bye." I snapped my phone shut and tossed it back in my purse, feeling like I could probably put in a successful bid for the world's biggest piece of fully-functioning human trash.
"You're not seriously going to blow him off with no explanation, are you?", Amy asked cautiously, her eyes glued to the menu in front of her so as to avoid my own.
I had been avoiding Sid's calls for the last two weeks. The haze of euphoria that had clouded my mind during my time with him had slowly cleared in the days following, and I found myself falling back into my routine: work, eat, sleep. I told myself that I couldn't be with him. I simply didn't have the time nor the energy to commit to seeing anyone on a regular basis, and whether or not that was part of his agenda, I already liked him far too much for the little time I had actually spent with him. And besides, combining that with who he was, what he did, and everything that came along with it, it was a recipe for disaster.
I won't lie. I had pulled the creeper card and spent the morning following our date googling him. Amy and Chloe hadn't been exaggerating. The man was famous; like truly, genuinely famous. And with that fame came a devoted, somewhat possessive fan base. When I'd happened on a page entitled 'Sidney Crosby's Girlfriend', I tossed my better judgment to wolves, and right-clicked. To no surprise, I'd spent the rest of the day with a growing knot in my stomach, feeling somewhat deflated. While I knew that things said under the cloak of anonymity should be, by and large, taken with a grain of salt, I still couldn't silence the voice of doubt whispering in the back of my head. How did I know that he didn't sleep around? Didn't frequently take advantage of the no-strings-attached sex that was clearly available to him in abundance? That he wasn't a pig when the cameras were off, liquor poured freely, and testosterone ran amuck? The young man I'd met didn't seem the type, and most certainly didn't seem capable of saying or doing some of the things that had been claimed of him on that site. With me he'd been genuine and sweet, but I had only been on a single, solitary date with the guy. For all I knew, he was simply presenting a persona that had proven tried and true when trying to bag women. And he had bagged me. He had me hook, line and sinker. The fact that I had yielded so willingly, so quickly to his advances probably had him thinking that he was going to seal the deal the next time he saw me. I couldn't help it; rationally or irrationally, my assumption had me harbouring an anger towards him for possibly viewing me as nothing more than an easy lay.
My mind was everywhere, and it was frustrating to no end. I had no coherent thought processes to speak of when it came to the little shit. And to make matters worse, I knew that the only way I was ever going to come to know his true character and intention was to do just that: I had to get know him. This involved putting myself and my heart in the line of fire. The risk was too big, I reasoned. So I did what came naturally: I resolved to bury myself in my work and carry on as if I'd never met him, the protective wall I had been building around myself for the past year remaining in tact.
But then he'd called. He'd sounded young and happy, telling me that he'd really enjoyed himself and was looking forward to seeing me again. He'd like to get together that evening, he'd said, and that he was going to dinner with friends and wanted to know if I'd come as his date. That was the first of the three calls that I'd summarily ignored.
"I thought you liked him? From what you told me he sounds really sweet", Amy continued, pulling me out of my reverie. "And don't even contemplate lying to me. I can see that dopey-ass grin you get when you listen to his messages", she said with a roll of her eyes. "He's a persistent son-of-a-bitch. You've got to give him that, at the very least! And honestly, Jen, if he was just trying to sleep with you, I think he'd probably have given up by now. No offense, but I don't think his options are lacking in that department."
"I don't think I can do this again, Ames", I confided, choosing to ignore her last comment. "I just can't. I don't know the guy, and might never really know him even if I did decide to see him. God, from what I've seen the guy can probably afford to employ a team dedicated specifically to cleaning up his 'messes', so to speak. There are way too many what-if's, and I don't think that I can go through that again--"
"Oh, for Christ's sake, are you listening to yourself?" Amy interrupted, clearly having lost patience with my week-long wallowing marathon. "Welcome to the club, Jen! That's what dating is! It's a fucking minefield." I really had pissed her off. Talking like a methed-up truck-driver was more Chlo's style. Regardless, I just shut up and listened. "None of us have the luxury of knowing how a date or relationship or, God, even a one night stand is going to turn out. I get it. You got your heart broken. Alex was a colossal douchebag. But they're not all that way. Knock on wood", she said with a little laugh before lightly rapping her knuckles on the table. I knew Amy understood my mindset following the shitstorm my previous relationship had devolved into. I'd confided in her, and she had sympathized and been my rock and primary sounding board since I'd arrived in Pittsburgh. "But, it's been almost a year and eventually you're going to have to give someone a little leeway. It's not like the guy is asking you to marry him. He's just asking for a date. An innocent little date." Innocent my ass, I thought to myself, remembering our heated little exchange at the rink. It was a detail I had wisely decided to keep to myself for the time being. "And who better to start with than a hot, successful, ripped professional athlete. I'm placing special emphasis on hot and ripped. Ugh, god. You're killing me here, Jen. If only all of our dating dilemmas were as equally dire", she deadpanned, giving me a pointed look before biting into a stuffed mushroom.