The next time I lifted my head the sun was pouring through the windows to my right. I blinked my eyes a few times and glanced at the clock, 11:01 AM. I sat up in bed and stretched my arms above my head. I headed in to the bathroom and got ready for the long day ahead of me. What was I going to do with Frank and Will? I could show them around town, but I’m sure Max had already done that with them in the past. I headed out in to the living room to see Frank watching TV and Will still passed out, snoring on the couch. “Hey, you drink coffee?” I asked Frank as I walked around the kitchen pulling out a bag. “Yeah, are you making some? I would love a cup.” I smiled to him and nodded my head as I made a pot. Just as I pulled two mugs down Will’s head poked up from the other side of the couch. “Do I smell coffee? Count me in please.” I stifled a laugh and pulled down a third mug. Just as I turned around to see if they wanted cream and sugar they stood on either side of me, ready to prepare their own coffee. I shot each a smile and took mine in to the living room where I plopped down on the recliner. “So what do you boys want to do today?” I asked them once they joined me in the living room. Will shoved his glasses up further on his nose with his index finger and looked over at Frank. “Anything really, we want to get to know you. You must have magical powers to calm Max down. We actually don’t think you’re real.” I started to laugh, setting my mug down on the table next to the chair. “Oh no, I’m very real. So anywhere you want to go? I don’t work tonight, so we have the whole day. And another thing, I don’t have a car, so if it’s anywhere not in the South Side, you’ll have to drive.” They each gave me an odd look. “You don’t drive?” Frank finally asked. “I can drive, sometimes. On Max’s birthday when he got that concussion, I had to drive home and I was praying the whole way that I wouldn’t crash. I don’t know, I have no reason to drive.” They looked at each other, than back at me. “Alright we know what we want to do today.” Frank reached in to his pocket and then tossed his keys to me. “You’re kidding right?” “Nope, now come on, this might take all day.”
It was hard enough driving an automatic but when I looked down at my feet and saw three pedals I immediately panicked. “I’m going to break your car.” “No you’ll be fine, we taught Max how to drive,” Frank smiled as he began pointing out things to me. I started up the car and slowly pulled out in to traffic, only to stall the car at a red light. “I have an idea, Chinese fire drill, come on, get out,” Frank ordered as he opened his door and ran over to mine. I crawled over in to the passenger seat and he started the car back up. Once we were out on the highway, I looked over at Frank. “So where are we going?” I asked once we were about a half hour out of the city. “Somewhere with not a whole lot of people and big, wide open, empty roads.” I laughed and shook my head as I looked back out the window, watching civilization creep away with every passing mile. “This looks good,” Frank smiled a few minutes later and pulled off the highway and I caught sight of the sign for Mt Pleasant. He found a big, empty road and stopped the car. Frank got out of the car and I turned to look at Will, “I’m sorry if I put your life in danger.” I got out of the car and walked over to the driver’s side, climbing in. Once I got the car actually moving down the street at a steady speed of fifteen miles per hour my phone began to ring. “It’s probably Max, you can answer it,” I motioned to Frank to get my phone out of my purse between his legs. “Allo!” I moved along the street noticing a car come up behind me, I stuck my arm out my window and motioned them to pass me, which they thankfully did. “We’re teaching her how to drive a stick. She’s made it about a half mile at fifteen miles per hour without stalling yet,” Frank laughed. Frank motioned for me to pull over on the side of the road and so I did as he handed me the phone. “Hey baby,” I laughed in to the phone. “Where are you guys at?” “Down in Mt Pleasant. There’s no one around and only a few light poles, but don’t worry I know how to turn the steering wheel.” I smiled when I heard Max laugh. “Well that’s good to know. I was just calling to see what you guys were up to. I better get going. I love you.” “Love you too Max.” I closed my phone and set it down in the cup holder next to me. “Alright, so let’s see how fast we can get this baby up to.” I looked over at Frank with fear in my eyes but he just gave me that smirk, that smirk that Max had that could get me to do almost anything. Must run in the family.
“You want to drive back in to the city?” Frank asked as the sun was now starting to set and I declared myself the best driver this side of the Mississippi. “Sure! Thanks for teaching me how to drive a stick, it was fun once I got use to it.” “Yeah, I’ve never seen anyone get so frustrated at a clutch before,” Will laughed from the back. Once I was on the highway, going the speed limit, sometimes even over, I smiled to myself. I felt like I had been doing this for years. “So how did you meet Max? He’s never told us the story,” Will said from the back seat. “He never told you how he stalked me?” I laughed earning a confused look from the both of them. I went on to tell them how we met and I don’t think they stopped laughing until I finished our story. “So he use to just come to your work and watch you?” Will asked. “Well he would come with his teammates, and they would all be dancing with girls and whatnot, but he would be sitting on the same bench, just watching me. So yeah, it was about a month after I started noticing him that he finally came and talked to me.” “That my darling is amazing. You’re the sister we’ve never had.” I felt a tingle in my stomach as the words left his mouth. I looked over at Frank and gave him a smile.
I hung up the phone and looked over at the boys. “My brothers are teaching her how to drive a stick.” Flower’s head popped up from the crowd. “You’re kidding me right? Do they realize what harm they are putting themselves in to?” I shook my head and laughed as the rest of the guys gave me skeptical looks, “she doesn’t exactly know how to drive. I mean she was a little brake happy when she drove me home from the Mellon the night I got the concussion.” Realization crossed over their faces as they joined in our laughing. I heard my phone ring and I pulled it out of my suit pocket. “Allo maman,” I smiled. “Maxime, where are you brothers? I can’t get a hold of Francis, and his wife is, oh I don’t know where she is, she’s always not around.” She’s kidding right? “They’re in Pittsburgh.” “WHAT?!” “So obviously they didn’t tell anyone they were coming because they just knocked on my door last night, I had no idea. They drove all day.” I heard her mumbled to herself a few choice words in French and I had to stifle my laughter. “Well then, are you with them?” “No I’m in Tampa Bay.” Flower came and stood next to me motioning his fingers for me to wrap up the phone call so we could head in to the arena for our morning skate. “Oh well, I will try him again then.” I wrapped up the phone call and followed Flower in to the arena.
I stuffed my iPod earphones in my ears and pushed play as I laid down on the hotel bed, resting my battered body after a win over Tampa. I turned the volume up higher as Evgeni had turned the TV on to some infomercial. As much as I love the Russian, I prefer rooming with Flower, but that only happens a few times a year. I picked my iPod up and looked at the screen, scrolling to my playlists. I landed on the one titled Lillianah and hit random. I had asked her to make me a playlist for when I was away to make it feel like I wasn’t away from her at all. The words filled my ears and I smiled to myself, she sneaked some music I’ve never heard before in here.
I’ll be the waterways that save you if you start drowning
in an open tab when your judgment’s on the brink
I’ll be the phonograph that plays your favorite
albums back as your lying there drifting off to sleep
I’ll be the platform shoes and undo what heredity’s done to you
you won’t have to strain to look into my eyes
I’ll be your winter coat buttoned zipped straight to the throat
with the collar up so you won’t catch a cold
I want to take you far from the cynics in this town
and kiss you on the mouth
We’ll cut our bodies free from the tethers of this scene
start a brand new colony
Where everything will change
we’ll give ourselves new names identities erased
The sun will heat the ground
under our bare feet in this brand new colony
everything will change
As the songs went on, I noticed they were love songs, but they were her love songs to me. A lot made me smile, some made me laugh, others made me miss her terribly. I already knew she was the girl I was going to marry, but these songs that she picked out specifically for me only confirmed my feelings. She felt exactly the same towards me as I did her. I’ve doubted her feelings a few times, but that was early on. Now, we were stuck together, we weren’t going anywhere. As I was thinking one song filled through my ears and I hit the back button to listen to it closer.
Where are you going with your long face pulling down?
Don’t hide away like an ocean, but you can’t see
But you can smell and the sound waves crash down
I am no superman, I have no reasons for you
I am no hero, oh that’s for sure
But I do know one thing for sure
Is where you are is where I belong
I went back in to the menu of my iPod and set the sleep timer, allowing myself to fall asleep to the music.
I filled up our wine glasses once again, having to open a second bottle to fill Frank’s to the rim. We were laughing, sharing stories and just in general getting to know each other better. I had a question on the tip of my tongue, and as badly as I wanted to ask it, I knew it wouldn’t be good. I knew that they knew about the engagement ring, I just wanted to know how much they knew about it. I bit my tongue every time the ring popped in to my mind, screaming at me to ask them what they knew. “So do you work tomorrow?” Will asked. “I do, eight to two. If you guys wanted to come down you’re more than welcomed,” I smiled to them as I attacked my wine. “Max told us we weren’t allowed, so we would love to tag along. Check out this nightclub he talks about all the time,” Frank smiled and held his glass up for me to clink with my own. Once my glass was empty and I refilled it for the third time I looked over at the guys. “How long has he had it?” I asked to both of them. “Had what?” Frank asked cautiously. “The engagement ring.” Will choked on his wine and Frank slowly looked away from me toward Will. “So you know about it?” “I found it one day.” Will nodded his head. “He bought it the day our parents came and visited.” I thought back and remember how he disappeared that morning and when I had asked him where he was he obviously lied to me. Now I know he was actually out buying a ring. So he’s had it for a little over two weeks. “Does he plan on using it any time soon?” I asked swallowing hard wondering if they knew or not. “With Maxime, you never know. He gets what he wants, he’s always been that way.” I slowly nodded my head and smiled to them as I started on my third glass. “Hey Lil,” I looked over at Will and smiled, “can you make us your s’mores. That’s one of the first things Max told us about you.” I began to laugh, “yeah, you know what, I’ll teach you how I make them too. Just don’t tell Max.”
The next night I couldn’t help but blare Britney Spears through the apartment as I picked out my outfit for the night. I peaked out in to the living room a few times to see the guys bouncing their heads back and forth every once and awhile, obviously enjoying the music as well. I’m sure they would deny it if I asked them though. I threw some things on the bed and closed the door. I stripped down and pulled on the thigh high red socks, then black boys shorts and a black bra. I looked in the mirror and wondered what I could wear over top with the socks. I looked back in the closet and my eyes crawled over Max’s clothes. I grabbed one of his white dress shirts and put it on. I grabbed one of my black belts and wrapped it around my waist, keeping the front of the shirt open. I rolled the sleeves up and I felt like I walked straight off the set of Flashdance. So much so I started dancing around the room as I finished getting ready. I finished up my make up and pulled on some black high heels and headed out to the living room where I grabbed my pea coat. I looked up at Frank and Will and they quickly looked away. “Are you guys coming down later?” “Yeah, we will come down around 10, we gotta get sexed up too ya know. We’ll lock up on our way out.” I smiled to them and walked out. They were funny, I liked them, a lot. They were both smart asses like Max, which I loved.
I danced around the booth, on an obvious 80’s kick, and I kept thinking about Max, and how I wished he was here. I turned around in my booth and looked down at the stairs where I saw Frank and Will talking to the security guard all while pointing toward me. I totally spaced on putting them on the VIP list. I quickly put on a playlist and headed down toward them. “Hey Robby, these two guys are with me.” I grabbed on to Will’s shirt and dragged them up the stairs with me before Robby could say anything else. “Do either of you drink tequila?” I asked once we were standing by my booth. “Um, yeah sure,” Frank smiled and I reached in and grabbed my bottle. I unscrewed the lid and took a swig before handing him the bottle. He looked from the bottle to me then shrugged his shoulders and took a swig and handed it to Will. “So I think we should take a picture and send it to Max,” I smiled as I pulled my cell phone out and stopped a guy that was walking by. I stood between the two with my arms over their shoulders as the stranger took our photo. I looked down at it and smiled before sending it off to Max. “He’s not gonna be happy with us,” Frank laughed at Will.
“Flower! FLOWER! Please tell me this isn’t what I think it is,” I cringed as I handed him my phone across the table. He looked down at the photo on my phone and began to laugh. “Okay first off, how did Frank and Will get in to Diesel? Second off, she’s not wearing a whole lot. Is that your shirt?” I snatched my phone back and looked closely at what she was wearing. It was one of my dress shirts and not much more. “Well I guess it’s nice to see they’re getting along. I think. That’s good right? They’re getting along?” Flower began to laugh as he took the phone from me looking at the picture again. “If I know Frank and Will the way I think I know them, they’re getting along just great. I’m sure they got drunk last night and had one big heart to heart with each other. That’s what they did with me the first time I met them.” I shook my head, knowing that’s probably exactly what they did. I felt a twinge in my stomach just thinking about what they could have talked about. My brothers weren’t stupid enough to bring up the ring were they? Actually, yes, yes they are.