Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Seven Days - Zach Parise

I wrote this a few months ago, but I couldn't get it out the way I wanted it to....

Maybe the timing is a little bad considering what happened last night in game 6, but I've been promising Saf a Parise story forever now and hopefully this will cheer her up a bit. :) 

A Saturday downpour carved out rivers in the sand
She said it was her first time to see the sea
Helping her climb across those jetty rocks
Was the first time I touched her hand

The rain and the way that felt never let up all week
By Thursday I knew everything about her
And God, the last day I didn't wanna leave without her

The sidewalks, the streets were soaked
The sky was gray but you should've seen her face
Shining like that lighthouse through all the rain
And the way she called my name

I've lived those seven days a thousand times
Those seven days a thousand

Time was like the tide, it came and went
That old pier ran clear out into the mist
My mind plays back that Tuesday night
Again and again, and again

I taste that saltwater taffy on her lips
Wednesday morning snuck in through the window
We just laid there and listened to the waves come and go

The sidewalks, the streets were soaked
The sky was gray but you should've seen her face
Shining like that lighthouse through all the rain
And the way she called my name

I've lived those seven days a thousand times
Those seven days a thousand

Moments with her, now they're all a blur
Except for every second and every word
Every drop of rain, every single grain of sand

The sidewalks, the streets were soaked
The sky was gray but you should've seen her face
Shining like that lighthouse through all the rain
And the way she called my name

I've lived those seven days a thousand times
Those seven days a thousand times

Seven days a thousand times
A thousand times
Seven days a thousand times

“Zach!  Where are you going, man?  What about Vegas?!” Zajac yelled as I grabbed clothing from my closet and threw it into the suitcase that was sitting on the bed.
“Plans have changed,” I growled, barely loud enough for him to hear.  I glanced over at the envelope sitting on my dresser before another wave of urgency flowed through my veins.  If I hurried, I’d make it there by sunset.

Sunset on Saturday…
“The wet sand feels so weird between my toes,” she squealed while watching the sand squeeze up between her perfectly pedicured toes.  Walking in the sand after rain-storms had been a favorite of mine ever since I was a kid, but this time was different.  Maybe it was the smell of the salt water instead of the fresh-water fish smell from the Minnesota lakes I spent my summers growing up on.  Or maybe it was the beautiful stranger I was walking with on this warm evening.  I knew absolutely nothing about her except that she liked peppermint salt-water taffy and had thick golden hair.
I just arrived here at Scarborough Beach as the sun came up.  It had been one hell of a long season and full of let-downs.  First let down came in February in Vancouver after settling for a bitter tasting silver medal.  The second let down came just a few days ago after losing out in the first round of the playoffs to the Flyers.  Heightened expectations came with landing Kovy at the trade-deadline, but it just made it hurt more when we fell to the ground.  A couple of the boys had plans to head to Cabo to unwind, but I wasn’t in the mood for partying. Instead I opted for seclusion; some time for me to get it all straightened out in my head.  After doing some research on the computer, I rented a cottage and headed up to the quiet beaches of Maine.
A rain storm had just passed and after getting settled into my beach-side hut, I decided to go and check out my home for the week.  I spotted a small concession stand along-side the beach called The Shack and realized I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, so I made my way over for some ice cream.  While standing in line, she came skipping over and butted in front of me.  Clearing my throat in annoyance she spun around and went on some rant about how she was going to die if she didn’t get the last box of peppermint salt-water taffy that she remembered receiving as a gift from her grandmother when she was a child.  Her sincere speech couple with her foreign accent had me laughing by the end and I found myself buying the box of taffy for her after I made her promise to share a few pieces with me.
“You’ve never been to the beach?” I asked, taking a few larger steps to catch up to her.  I had been lagging behind, watching her react to the surroundings.  It was as if she was taking in the world for the first time.
“My family is not the beach going type,” she laughed with a sad, thoughtful smile.  “That is why I decided to come here…”
“I see,” I said quietly.  I’m not quite sure what made me follow her after we left the concession stand.  On a normal day, salt-water taffy wouldn’t have been a good enough excuse, but today it seemed like the right idea.
“Have you been here often?” she asked.
“This is my first time, actually.”
“Huh,” was all she said before stopping and looking at the jetty rocks that jutted out of the sand.  She turned towards me and the gleam in her eyes was a warning that whatever happened next was going to change my life forever.  “I think I found the perfect place to have some of this taffy,” she whispered excitedly.
“Oh?” I laughed.
“You with me?”
All I could do was nod.  She didn’t even tell me her plan, but I already knew and before she could move, I began climbing the rocks so that I could turn and help her.  She took my outstretched hand and didn’t leave go the rest of the night except to open up her pieces of salt-water taffy.  It was if our hands had been molded to one another.  We sat on a mossy patch on top of the jetty and watched the sunset behind the trees with the sound of the ocean in the background.
She told me her name was Maddie and that she was from Sweden.  I told her my name was Zach and that I was born in Minnesota, but that I was living in New Jersey at the moment.  In the beginning we didn’t really ask questions about who we were.  Instead it was more about silly things kids would ask each other.  Topics ranged from what time period we would choose to go to if we had a Back to the Future car and where we’d live if we could pick just one place. 
Maddie informed me that she wanted to move to Africa and live in the rain-forest.  Her innocence made me laugh.  In fact, I was sure I hadn’t laughed like this since before the beginning of the season.
“How about you?  Where would you like to live?” she asked, her blue eyes sparkling with anticipation.
I leaned back onto the moss, my fingers still intertwined in hers and thought for a moment.  “I would give up everything to live back in my hometown all year around,” I said honestly.  “I guess it’s not the most exciting place in the world, but at least I’d be with my family.”
When I looked over at her she was staring at me intently.  “You want to move back to your family and I would give up everything to get away from mine,” she said quietly.
“Are they that terrible?” I asked, not caring if the question was probably too personal for someone I had just met two hours ago.
Maddie leaned back, so that she was level with me and dropped her head backwards to look up at the fading sunlight.  “It’s complicated.  My family is rich and whatever they say…goes.  It’s been like that all my life.  In fact if they knew that I was here and not in Maryland visiting with my grandmother, they’d have my head.”
“What if they call your grandmother?”
“She’s covering for me.  She was never good at following the rules either,” Maddie grinned at me before suddenly leaning in and kissing me hard on the lips.  When she pulled back, she giggled and looked back up at the sky.  I was still staring at her in surprise when she warned, “I’m only here for seven days, Zach.”
“Same here,” I said quietly, not totally sure what she was getting at, but I had a clue.
That first night we fell asleep together on the over-sized hammock under the porch roof of my hut after laying there listening to the rain fall once again.

As soon as I got on the other side of Boston, I set the cruise control on the Land Rover, knowing it was probably safer.  The more I thought about her blonde hair all around me and her blue eyes sparkling like a sun-kissed ocean, the harder I pressed on the gas pedal.
I was lovesick for Maddie whom, up until now, seemed to have forgotten about what happened that summer.  As I looked out the windshield at the graying sky, all I could picture was how the light-houses on the coast reminded me of her smile during those rainy days we spent together.

The lighthouse…
“Look how beautiful it is!” Maddie exclaimed happily pulling me over to look out the light-house glass.  Despite it being the 3rd one we had visited on Sunday, she still acted like it was the first one we had checked out.  I couldn’t help but laugh at her.
“It’s almost the same view as the one we saw a few miles away and it’s dreary as hell out…”
“See, that is what is wrong with men,” she announced.  “You do not pay attention to the details.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look over there,” she pointed to an old wooden boat that had probably wrecked on the rocks many years ago.  “Did we see that at the other light-houses?”
“Nope, guess not.”
She picked up her camera and put it to her face, taking a few pictures of the broken boat.  When she pulled it away from her, she coaxed me to look at the camera screen.  “It’s almost romantic,” she sighed.  I was certain I would have never looked at a ship-wreck being romantic, but the way she captured it on her camera had me thinking otherwise.  “What do you think?”
I looked into her eyes and said, “Beautiful.”  Taking the camera from her hand, I set it on a small ledge so that I could wrap both my arms my other arm around her waist and pulled her towards me.  She was holding her breath when I pressed my lips to hers.  There were other visitors in the lighthouse, but neither of us seemed too concerned about that fact.  She opened her mouth to me and I couldn’t help but deepen the kiss, tasting the peppermint taffy on her tongue.  I never heard the beep of her camera from one of the bystanders taking a picture of us and I wouldn’t know until her letter came in the mail two years later.  When we broke the kiss, we were suddenly alone and breathing heavy enough to steam up one of the nearby light-house windows.
“I want to see one more lighthouse,” Maddie said breathlessly.
All I could do was nod my head in acknowledgment; it felt as if all the blood had rushed downwards, leaving me light-headed and in a daze.

“That’s the problem with men.  They never pay attention to the details,” her voice echoed in my head.  I immediately thought of it when I Taylor Swift’s Mine started playing on the radio.  Smiling, all I wished Maddie was in the passenger seat of the car because I wanted to tell her how every time the song played, a picture of her and I dancing to in the pouring rain on the sidewalk that Monday night after dinner, replayed in my mind each and every time.

Dancing in the rain…
“I’m certain you are a professional eater or something!” Maddie announced as we sauntered out of the Italian Resturaunt on Monday night.  I just laughed.  If only she could meet some of my teammates, the amount of food consumption that goes on at a normal hockey-team dinner was astounding.
“Whatever, Miss Eat Her Whole Plate of Spaghetti,” I poked gently at her stomach.
“Mmm, it was delicious,” she smiled proudly.  She grabbed my hand and laced her fingers through mine.  In the last few days together, it was rare if we were physically separated and I was okay with that.  I didn’t want to be more than a foot away from her.  In fact, tonight at dinner, I made her sit on the same side of the booth with me; being across the table from her seemed to be too far away.
“Good, I’m glad…I just wish it would stop raining,” I sighed as attempted to put up the umbrella we bought yesterday.
She stole it from me and began skipping down the sidewalk, away from me, despite the steady rain.  Her white shirt and pale yellow cotton skirt were quickly becoming wet, but she didn’t seem to care.  Her laughter echoed down the empty street.
“Hey!” I called after her, breaking into a run to catch up to her.  “What are you doing, crazy girl?!” I laughed.  Instead of saying anything, she immediately stopped in front of a cafĂ©/bar type place and began humming the tune that was coming out from the open door.  When I got to her she rested the umbrella against the building and pulled me towards her.
“Dance with me Zach…”
Before I knew it, we were dancing in the rain on the sidewalk like it was a normal thing to do and not just something you saw in the movies.
“You made a rebel out of a careless man’s careful daughter.  You are the best thing that’s ever been mine...” she sang while looking straight into my soul.  Something told me as she sang the words; she meant every one of them.  I especially enjoyed the ever been mine part.  I had never been one for the sappy romance stories, but it was obvious Maddie and me were writing our own.  I leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips, but the rest of our dance together was filled with laughter and more singing.

I grabbed a coffee at the rest-stop.  Despite the adrenaline from the anticipation, I needed some caffeine and a stop to stretch my legs.  As I climbed back into the Land Rover, I picked up the envelope I had laid in the empty cup-holder.  I stared at the handwriting on the envelope; it was the first time I had ever seen it.  It was delicately written, like someone who spent hours perfecting it.  Slowly I pulled out the photograph.  It was the only thing inside.  It was in black and white, almost as if it was taken from a piece of history a long time ago.  The main focus was on the two people in the picture who were lost in each other as they kissed.  The back-ground was all blurred, but I could still see the ship-wrecked boat.  Someone must have snapped the picture as we were in the trance.  As amazing as it was to see a picture of that, I suddenly realized the pictures in my mind had been just as perfectly detailed over the last two years.

Memories made for a lifetime…
“Zach…” she whined softly as I ran the tip of my fingers down the line of her naked body.  It was Tuesday night.  We were standing in the middle of the small living space of the cottage, our rain-soaked clothing discarded by the door where we had stripped each other down.  My name on her lips made me hard and my goal was to make her say it over and over for as long as I could.
Her skin was soft like an expensive piece of silk.  Long wet tresses of her thick hair draped down over her shoulders, sensually covering her breasts.  Starting at the tip of her nose, I began a painstakingly slow pace of kissing her body.  In my mind, there was no other option but to learn every inch of her body.
I felt her fingers threaded through my hair when my lips traced her one breast.  She arched her back when I ran my tongue around her nipple, making it grow erect for me to put my lips around it and take it gently between my teeth.  After doing the same to the other, I worked my way down her stomach and to the sensitive spot just below her hip.  She squirmed a bit and left out a giggle.
“Did I find a ticklish spot?” I mused, looking up at her as I landed on my knees.  She bit her lip and nodded frantically.  I chuckled before running my tongue along the same spot once more for good measure.  The farther south I went, the more my mouth watered.
“Please, Zach,” she coaxed, obviously wanting me to get to the good part.  Despite my initial idea of kissing every inch of her, her legs would have to wait.  I wasn’t going to be strong enough to keep moving.  Her scent was too intoxicating.
Her sharp intake of breath echoed in the small room when the tip of my tongue traced the line between her legs.  She took a shoulder’s width step apart, revealing her already swollen lips.  Holding onto her hips, I pushed my tongue between her folds.  She whimpered and I went deeper.  The taste of her exploded in my mouth like a sweet summer-ripened strawberry which only made me want more and more.  Taking her hard clit between my teeth, I sucked hard.  No surprise that she came quickly that first time.
“You know, you never did tell me what you do for a living,” she panted.
“If you were to guess, what would it be?” I played.
“A male hooker?” she asked in a dazed voice, pulling me up to a standing position again.  “I mean, they all should have hot bodies like you and they’d actually want to make a woman cum like that, right?”
I laughed out loud.  “I don’t think I’ve ever been pinned as the male hooker part!  But I gotta say I’m a little worried about that last part…”
“Why?” she asked, skimming her fingers across the lines of my abdomen.  I bit my cheek to keep back the groan.
“It just sounded to me that maybe you have never been with a man that made it his priority to make you feel good.”
Her blue eyes looked into mine when she said, “You’re correct.  In fact, I’m certain it’s just all in the stories.”
“Well then I guess we’re going to have to change that persona,” I breathed into her ear, pulling her fully against me so that she could feel my naked want.  “I want to make love to you, Maddie.  I want to show you that it’s not just in the stories, just like this whole week has shown both of us thus far…”
She nodded and placed a small kiss on my shoulder.  I scooped her up and carried her back to the bedroom to begin the task of making her a believer.  The tension in the room was so thick.  It seemed as if so much was going to weigh on the next moments.  We still barely knew each other, yet I felt like she had become the most important thing in my life.  The little things took my breath away.  Her smile, the way her hair curled after it dried, how her hand felt on my skin every time she touched me…I was drowning in the ocean and hell was going to come when I had to surface for air.
Just like everything else so far this evening, I slowly pushed my length inside of her.  A long sigh was shared between the two of us, and suddenly the tension around us evaporated.  I could only focus on the way she felt and how I’d be 100% okay feeling only her for the rest of my life.
Like the ocean waves lapping at the coastline just outside the bedroom window; Maddie and I set our own methodic pace.
“Such an intense look,” Maddie teased at one point, running a finger over the creases in my forehead.  “Something tells me that it isn’t the first time you’ve had that look on your face.”
I laughed and shook my head.  “No, definitely not.”
Burying my face into her neck, I knew it wasn’t going to be much longer.  I could feel her muscles begin to tighten around my length and the change in her breathing told me we were going to be hitting high tide together.  Allowing the scent of her skin to imprint my senses, I reached down between us and began drawing circles around her clit.  Two more strokes and she was screaming out my name as I filled her with my seed.  In that moment, primal instincts kicked in and I felt like I had made her mine forever.

10 miles to Scarborough Beach State Park
My palms were getting sweaty and I couldn’t sit still in the driver’s seat.  Thinking about it, I wasn’t even this nervous for the biggest games I’ve played in.  Suddenly second guesses for my decision to come here were swirling around like lightning bugs captured in a jar.  Part of me thought that maybe she wasn’t even here, but then the other part told me there was no doubt she would be here.  Where else would she be? 
Then there was the mental war that was raging when it came to what I was going to say to her or what she might say to me.  Was she going to curse at me for not doing more to get in contact with her, despite her resistance in exchanging any information the day we went our separate ways?  How and when did she finally figure out who I was?  It seemed we knew everything about one another except for last names and our true places in life.  Every time I had tried to broach the subject, she would switch it up with something silly.  I had done the occasional Google search to find her, but only knowing that she was born in Sweden and that her first name was Maddie, no leads could be made.
I began to wonder how and when she figured me out.  It’s not like it would be overly hard to find me, especially with the attention I had just received playing for the Stanley Cup as the captain of the Devils.  But, I didn’t even know if she watched hockey or if she was here or in Sweden.
All those questions would hopefully be answered.  But there was only one thing that needed to be said as soon as I saw her…

I love you…
It was Wednesday morning.  The sheets were wrapped around Maddie and me, acting like a tie to bind us together, despite being bound together in other ways during the night.  She was still, but I could tell she was awake with her eyelashes fluttering against the skin of my chest.  I lightly played with the individual strands of her hair, splaying them strategically across her back so that it looked like a piece of artwork.  The silence was accompanied by the sound of the ocean waves and rain drops on the roof.  It was the perfect symphony.
“So, Miss Maddie,” I started hoarsely.  “Did I make you a believer last night?”
I could feel her smile and she ever so slightly squeezed me with her arms that were draped across my shoulder and at my side.  “Mmm,” she moaned.  “My body hurts in places I never knew existed, but it’s definitely a good hurt,” she said, placing a kiss on my chest as if to solidify her thought.
“I know it was the biggest work-out I’ve had since I left Jersey,” I laughed, thinking about how nice it was to not to even worry about picking up weights or watch what I ate.  After such a long season and just falling short of winning the Stanley Cup, I was in need of this down-time.  Maddie made the perfect distraction.
I figured my statement would make her ask more questions about my life in Jersey, but instead she just began tickling me, which turned into yet another hot session.
Mattie collapsed back down onto my chest after the last part of her orgasm rolled through her and she looked up at me.
“I love you,” I breathed without hesitation.  There were no second thoughts and there were no regrets.
A bright smile broke out on her face and she crawled up to press a kiss to my lips.  Immediately after breaking the kiss she whispered back, “I love you too, Zach.”
At that moment I was certain I could have died a happy man.

The rest of that Wednesday and Thursday faded into a vision of blissful tangled up bodies and passionate cries of pleasure.  I smiled as I thought about how we only ventured out for food before quickly going back to the shelter of the cottage.
Friday morning came too soon and it was obvious we both weren’t ready to face the harsh reality.
Foolishly, I had asked her to marry me.  I was grasping for something, anything by the time the end came.  She had made me a crazy man.  Somehow I kept my cool after our last kiss when she whispered, “You will know how to get to me when it’s the right time.”
The months came and went.  But with no contact, I was only left with the memories and the manic moments in my head.  It didn’t help that the following season ended up being my worst.  The injury kept me away from the one place in my life would always seem to make sense.  Without hockey and without a way to contact Maddie, I hit lows I never thought were possible.  Instead of finding peace with it all, I found myself looking about every time I heard laughter that sounded like her or chasing after shadows that were identical to hers. 
I stopped at The Shack and picked up a box of peppermint salt water taffy.  As I handed the money over to the cashier, I noticed a small, bold headline on the front page of the newspaper.  Princess Madeleine of Sweden Leaves FiancĂ© at the Alter.  Beneath was a picture of Maddie in a royal wedding gown, walking hastily down the cathedral aisle with tears streaming down her face.  The tiny article stated that the princess had fled for the states without so much of a statement and that she was likely heading to her exiled Grandmother’s house for refuge.
“My family isn’t the beach going type…”
“My grandmother will cover for me.  She was never good at following the rules either…”
Those statements echoed through my head.  It was now making sense.  I suddenly broke into a run towards my vehicle.

A thousand times…
I eased the Land Rover into the familiar parking spot of the cottage.  Unsurprisingly, it hadn’t changed one bit.  Before getting out, I took a deep breath and glanced down at the picture one more time.
The rain began to fall as soon as I stepped onto the sand.  Placing my sun-glasses on my head I finally noticed pictures tacked to the cottage.  There, starting at the railing, were the pictures of those seven days, in what seemed to be chronological order.  A picture of the pepper-mint salt-water taffy, another of the jetty rocks, and on the door was an identical picture of the one I had received in the mail this morning.  I still had a smile on my face when the door opened to the cottage.
“Zach,” she whispered. 
Taking a step into the room, my senses were flooded by every single memory that I had lived a thousand times.  Hesitantly, I reached out to touch Maddie’s face, just to make sure she was real and not a ghost.  My finger tips were met by moisture from her tears, but these tears had a smile accompanying them, unlike the tears in the picture I had just seen.
“Maddie,” I echoed, knowing that I’d be willing to relive those seven days a thousand times over again and again if I was rewarded with this moment each time.
“You came.”
“I had no choice.”
She touched my face.  I hadn’t shaved since we lost in Game 6.  “You were on TV…I wasn’t sure if it was you because of this,” she paused.  “But then you smiled.” she finished softly, her eyes telling me that I was the reason she walked back down the church aisle, alone.
Pressing my lips to hers, I promised that we both had made the right decision to come back here.


  1. Loved it! Love Zach and his smile! Thanks Kimmy!

  2. YOu are so perfect with your romantic tales! I'm sure that this will make Saf smile...it sure has me! Bravo! and oh how I have missed your writing... does this mean that you will be back on the horse soon cranking out good stuff?!?!?

  3. Don't make me think of Parise this way... Dammit.
    That was lovely!
    And now I have to go listen to that song... Ugh!!

  4. Thanks Ladies!!

    I sooo miss writing... only a couple more months til I'm done school. Thank Heavens. But I will admit, I have been messing around with a story, but I'm on my third start of it, so who knows if it will become anything. You'll all be the first to know, of course. :)

    @Mel... its one of my favorite Kenny songs. :)

    ...and Saf... glad you smiled.

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  6. Loved it. But I love all your stories! Glad to see you are writing again. I've missed your stories so much. Thanks for sharing this story. Zach in a cottage in Maine? Perfect summer short story.

  7. I am so curious, are you going to get back to writing? I miss your awesome work so much! I really hope you do!!