Pucked Page 55

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow, sexy girl.” His voice is soft, like feathers drifting over my skin.

“Night, Alex.”

“Night, baby.”


The next evening, Charlene hangs out at my place. I have a plan to get Sidney to take us to the game in Toronto, and Charlene is part of the persuasion package.

I prepare for martini happy hour and wait for my mother’s arrival. The drinks are necessary. She’s a cyclone you don’t want to get caught up in, especially with Charlene around to feed her hyperactivity. I didn’t get my energy level from my mom.

Martini in hand, Charlene follows me into my bedroom while I search my drawers for something comfortable to wear. I need to do laundry. All my favorite Marvel Comic boxer briefs are dirty. I settle on leggings and a T-shirt.

“What’s this?” Charlene asks.

I turn, prepared to issue a snide comment, until I see she’s holding the Waters beaver. My fingers twitch with the urge to rip it from her hands.

“It’s a stuffed animal.” I pick up my phone from my dresser and scroll through my messages to avoid eye contact.

“I see that. Where’d you get it?” Charlene flips it over, inspecting the back of its mini jersey.

“Alex sent it to me.” My skin gets hot. I bet I’m blotchy.

“Oh, Violet.” Charlene nuzzles the beaver, rubbing her nose on top of its head. “Do you sleep with his beaver?”

She’s mocking me, and I don’t appreciate it. Plus she’s touching my Waters beaver. I’m a tad territorial about my presents from Alex. I don’t let anyone else near the books he’s sent me. I also hid the box of Godiva from my mom to avoid sharing.

“You can’t tell me that if you had a full-body pillow in the likeness of Darren Westinghouse, you wouldn’t hump it before bed every night.”

Charlene drops the beaver on my bed and wipes her hands on her pants. “You’re disgusting.”

“I don’t hump his beaver. I was making a point, you pervert.”

“Oh. Right. Do you think I can get a full-body pillow of Darren?”

“I’m sure you could have one made.”

I pick up the beaver and cuddle him furtively—or not so furtively—before I set him back on the bed, pet his little head, and stroke his cute buck teeth.

“So what’s going on? You’re like a crack addict on a sugar high right now.”

I’m fidgety and bouncy, which are telltale signs something’s going down. “I have a plan for—” I’m interrupted by a knock at the door.

My flower delivery guy is holding a huge bouquet of flowers with a Canadian flag perched between white and red carnations, white lilies, and a bunch of other flowers conforming to the same color scheme. The theme is strictly Canadian. Charlene is right on my heels, looking over my shoulder.

“Hi, Fred.”

“How’s it going, Violet?” He seems nervous. I can’t blame him. The last time he was here, I was pissed off and took it out on the flowers. I also made mention of hockey whores and hookers.

“I’m good. Sorry about last week.” I take the flowers. Charlene is practically piggybacking me to get a look at them. “This is my friend Charlene.”

“Hi.” Charlene waves.

“Hey.” Fred waves back and gestures to the flowers. “I guess you made up?”

“We did.”

Fred nods and looks down at his feet. This is weird.

“Well, thanks for bringing the flowers. Have a good night.” I send him on his morose way.

“I bet Alex would be pissed if he found out the guy who delivers his flowers has a crush on you.”

I put the new bouquet in a vase. “Fred doesn’t have a crush on me.”

Charlene snorts but doesn’t comment further. “Hey, there’s something else here.”

A small box sits in the middle of the bouquet. I open the card first.

I can’t wait to show you around my hometown.

~xo Alex

Charlene grabs the card out of my hand. “What’s this? His hometown? “xo”? Oh my God! What’s going on?”

“Alex wants me to come to his game in Toronto.”


“And spend the weekend with him in Guelph.”

“Bless you.” Charlene hands me a tissue. “So where are you spending the weekend? You’ve already said yes, right?”

“Guelph and no.”

Charlene plucks another tissue from the box.

“I’m not sneezing. Guelph is the name of his hometown, you asshole. I needed to make sure I could get the time off work first before I said yes.” I cleared it with the boss this morning. I told him it would be good for networking. It’s not a total lie.

“This is huge. I can’t believe he invited you to his hometown. Does that mean you’ll meet his family? You have to go to this game.”

“If we can convince my mom we need to go to Toronto, she’ll pester Sidney until he agrees, and he’ll get the tickets. The Hawks are doing really well. He’ll want to support Buck.”

“Smart thinking.”

I hand a martini glass to Charlene. “Right?”

Having Alex buy the ticket for me is far too extravagant for a second date. If my parents go, it solves all the issues. I’ll still feel a little guilty about it, but I’ll survive.

The other part of my plan is to convince Charlene to come, too. I’ll need her moral support at the game. It’s a lot to ask since I’m not sure I can get Sidney to spring for her plane ticket as well. “Will you come?”

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