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Room Service

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The planets aligned that night. They won, which always put Geno in a good mood; she had scored two goals, which put her in a better mood; and they weren’t traveling until the next day. Sometimes Geno wanted to go out on nights like this, but sometimes—

“Room service?” Geno asked, sidling behind Sid in the locker room, making her escape to the showers before Jen let the media in. She winked at Sid and was out the door before Sid had a chance to reply.

Well, Geno knew what the answer was. When had Sid ever told her no? Even after what had happened the other night, she wouldn’t turn Geno down.

Anticipation fluttered in Sid’s belly as she dealt with the press scrum: not arousal yet, not while she was answering questions about the PK, but soon enough. Geno came back into the room as Sid was wrapping up, wearing her suit pants and shirt, her jacket draped over one arm, and Sid gawked at the long line of Geno’s legs, the curve of her ass. All of her trousers were hemmed for three-inch heels. She was already taller than some of the guys on the team, and in heels she just fucking towered. Sid always felt a little creepy for looking at her in the change room or the showers, even after they started hooking up, but how could she resist? Geno was laughing with Nealer about something, her shoulder-length hair blow-dried into shining brown waves, and Sid forcibly dragged her attention back to the reporter who was already halfway through a question about—something. Sid said some bullshit. Everyone smiled.

She rushed through her own shower, but still the change room had largely cleared out by the time she went in to get dressed. Only Olli and Nisky were in there, fully dressed except for their shoes, and talking about the game. They didn’t pay her any attention as she dropped her towel and changed into her suit, although Olli was pretty red when she looked up. He had only been with the team for a few months and still hadn’t adjusted to seeing naked women in the locker room.

In Sid’s defense, she was naked way less frequently than Geno was.

Also in Sid’s defense, Olli needed to just fucking get over it.

“See you guys tomorrow,” she said, and they waved at her as she went out.

She walked back to the hotel, a few blocks away, in her sensible navy suit and sensible flats. There were a few fans waiting for her in the lobby, and she signed autographs and smiled and thought impatiently about Geno upstairs, probably changing into something more comfortable, like bare skin.

Her phone buzzed in the pocket of her jacket, once and then again.

Finally she extricated herself. In the elevator, she checked her phone. steak?? Geno had sent, and then, hurry up!!!

Sid detoured to her own room long enough to change out of her suit and into sweatpants and a big cardigan thing she’d gotten from Reebok, to hide that she wasn’t wearing a bra under her T-shirt. Geno’s room was way down at the other end of the hallway. Sid passed some of the guys on her way, heading out to dinner or going down to the bar for a drink or two. None of them asked her what she was doing. Why would they? She and Geno hung out all the time. They were the only women on the team; of course they were friends. It was normal for women to be friends with each other.

Geno answered the door wearing a stretched-out white undershirt she’d stolen from an ex-boyfriend, translucent with age and showing off her bra—red lace, because Geno didn’t do anything by halves. Sid was already getting that flustered tight-faced feeling. She couldn’t deal with Geno at all.

“You slow,” Geno said, tugging Sid into the room and letting the door slam shut behind her. The TV was on, some sitcom Geno liked. “Take too long, I’m already order.”

“That’s fine,” Sid said. Geno had put on those stupid little lace-trimmed boxer shorts and Sid was 99% certain she wasn’t wearing anything underneath. “Steak is fine.”

“No, I don’t get you steak, only salad, sad potato,” Geno said. She flopped down on her back on the bed and retrieved her phone from the crumpled sheets, stirred up like she’d been wrestling an angel.

Sid watched Geno hold her phone above her face and type busily with her thumbs, her tongue between her teeth. Maybe Sid had totally misread the situation, and they weren’t going to have sex. She didn’t really believe that, though. Geno knew she liked those shorts.

She kicked off her slides and sat on the bed, up against the headboard, her knees bent. She tucked her toes under Geno’s hip. Geno glanced at her and then immediately returned her attention to her phone. She was doing it on purpose, to put Sid off-kilter, and it was working.

“G,” Sid said, agitated and trying to hide it. “Will you, uh.” This was always the weird part, the liminal space between hanging out and fucking, these two vastly different parts of their relationship sliding past each other like tectonic plates. Geno never made it easy, just watched Sid and waited for her to make the first move, and it kind of pissed Sid off, because why was it her responsibility to take the initiative? She wasn’t slick or seductive, she was just—herself, blunt, a little awkward, and she always felt like Geno was disappointed.

“Food is come soon,” Geno said, still typing away.

“I know that,” Sid said. “But you could still come here.”

Geno didn’t react. Sid watched her, throat tight with frustration. What the fuck was the point? Even if they had sex tonight, they would go right back to square one afterward, not talking about it, doing this same stupid dance every time. And Geno wasn’t even into it, not the way Sid was, she was still—flirting with guys—

Maybe Sid should just throw in the towel. They weren’t on the same page about any of it.

“Forget it,” she said, and shifted to get off the bed.

“No,” Geno said at once. She sat up and knee-walked her way up the bed and leaned across Sid to put her phone on the nightstand. Her tits were right there in Sid’s face. Sid could feel the heat of her body and smell her deodorant and shampoo, that familiar Geno-smell, and she was ashamed, almost, of how much she wanted Geno all the time. Six months ago she hadn’t even known Geno was interested in women at all.

“It’s fine,” Sid said, but she didn’t move, because she was weak, and in another moment it was too late; Geno swung a leg over and straddled Sid’s thigh, and sat down slowly, pushing Sid’s leg flat on the bed as she went.

“Sid,” Geno murmured. She ducked her head, her hair swinging down around both of their faces, and kissed Sid’s cheek, high on her cheekbone just below her eye. “You upset.”

“I’m not upset,” Sid said. Her hands settled at the curve of Geno’s hips, softly rounded over the firm muscle beneath. God. She could see straight down the v-neck of Geno’s shirt like this. Geno’s cleavage made her sweat. She knew what Geno’s tits felt like in her hands, huge and heavy, and the noises Geno made when Sid sucked on her nipples. She was back to being overheated again, whiplashed between desire and despair. It was exhausting. She wanted to only feel one way about Geno, any simple, uncomplicated way, but instead her emotions were vast and bristling, like the needles on a pine tree.

“You upset,” Geno repeated. She kissed Sid’s cheek again, and then shifted toward Sid’s mouth, breathing against her lips, damp and close. Sid’s hands tightened. She wanted Geno to kiss her, and Geno usually wouldn’t, she liked to hover there and tease, waiting for Sid, but this time she closed that final distance and pressed their mouths together.

Geno’s lips were soft and tasted like the lip balm she used, minty and sweet. Sid closed her eyes and tilted her head back and slouched down against the pillows, dragging Geno with her, sinking into it. The TV’s laugh track faded. Geno liked to start slow and sweet, gentle brushes of their lips until she decided she was ready for more and opened her mouth, wordlessly asking Sid to give her what she wanted. Sid always did. They were pressed so close together, all of Geno’s soft curves contained in the circle of Sid’s arms, her breasts and stomach and hips and thighs and ass, a warm lapful of everything Sid wanted.

Geno shifted in closer. Her hands went to Sid’s hair, untying the loose bun Sid had twisted her hair into, her one remaining paltry nod to femininity. Geno combed her fingers through the damp waves and sucked on Sid’s lower lip. She rocked her hips against Sid’s thigh, and Sid slid her hands beneath the waistband of Geno’s shorts, down over her bare ass, dipping into the cleft to confirm that Geno wasn’t wearing any underwear, not even the skimpiest thong.

Geno smiled against her mouth. “I’m ready for you.”

Sid sucked in a breath and tilted up her chin to take Geno’s mouth in a deep, messy kiss. She was starting to feel warm and tender between her thighs, getting into it, with Geno so close and making little soft noises into Sid’s mouth and shifting restlessly on Sid’s thigh. Sid gripped the thick flesh of Geno’s ass with one hand and worked the other further into Geno’s shorts, dragging over her asshole to make her squirm.

Geno reared back, her chest heaving. She braced her hands on Sid’s shoulders and rolled her hips, grinding down against Sid’s thigh. Her eyes were half-lidded, dark and fixed on Sid’s face, overwhelming. Sid’s sweatpants were too thick for her to feel the heat of Geno’s pussy, but she could imagine it, had felt it before, knew how Geno tasted and smelled, and she used her grip on Geno’s ass to drag her in, splayed over Sid’s thigh.

“Sid,” Geno said. “Room service—”

“They’ll knock,” Sid said, “I don’t care,” and leaned forward to get her mouth on Geno’s neck, the quick skitter of her pulse, her breath hitching as Sid kissed her warm skin and teased her fingertips over Geno’s small tight hole.

Geno’s hands fisted in Sid’s jacket. She rolled her hips again, an easy slide in the silky material of her shorts. She was going to get herself off on Sid’s thigh, and Sid wasn’t opposed, but she wanted—she at least wanted Geno to get naked first, so she could watch Geno’s tits move as she rubbed her wet cunt on Sid’s leg until she came.

“Sid,” Geno groaned, tugging at Sid’s collar, grinding down, and then there was a knock at the door, and they both froze.

“The food,” Sid said, and exhaled against Geno’s throat. She didn’t want to stop.

“Wait,” Geno said. She climbed off Sid’s lap and went to answer the door, and Sid watched her ass shifting inside her shorts until she disappeared down the short hallway where the closet and the washroom were.

“Fuck,” Sid muttered. She floundered out of her jacket and tossed it onto the armchair beside the bed. She was sweating a little now.

She heard Geno talking to the room service guy, laughing, cracking stupid jokes, because Geno could flirt with a lawn ornament. The guy pushed the cart into the room and smiled at Sid but otherwise ignored her as he set out the food on the desk. Sid folded her arms over her chest, self-conscious. She shouldn’t have been there, flushed and rumpled in Geno’s bed, her hair wrecked from Geno’s hands.

When the guy was gone, Geno turned to give Sid a thoughtful look, and then deliberately replaced the covers on their plates of food.

Sid’s heart beat wildly. She shifted to sit on the edge of the bed. “C’mere,” she said, and when Geno approached, she tugged down Geno’s shorts to mid-thigh. Geno trimmed up top and shaved everything else, and Sid could see how wet and swollen she was, just from a little bit of making out. Sid trailed her fingers up the backs of Geno’s thighs. “You got yourself all worked up.”

“It’s your fault,” Geno said. She tilted her hips forward. “Sid—”

Sid unstuck her tongue from the roof of her mouth. “We should eat first. The, uh. The food’s gonna get cold.”

“So what,” Geno said, but she pulled her shorts back into place.

They ate in silence, side by side on the bed: Geno intent on her food and the TV, and probably, to some extent, deliberately ignoring Sid; and Sid edgy and second-guessing herself. She should have just gone along with it. But she was hungry, and—maybe she wanted to punish Geno a little, for making her feel so confused and miserable, which wasn’t really Geno’s fault. Sid had dug her own grave. She should have said something a long time ago.

She only managed to finish part of her steak.

Geno watched her as Sid returned her half-empty plate to the desk. “You not hungry?”

“Guess not,” Sid said. She didn’t know why she was so out of sorts tonight. Geno hadn’t really done anything different from how she normally did it. Sid was the problem here, grouchy for no reason, or—well, she had a reason, but that was her own fault, too.

She couldn’t stop thinking about Geno smiling at that guy at Meat and Potatoes, leaning against the bar, touching his arm, right there where Sid could see her doing it. She was trying so hard not to think about it.

“You still upset,” Geno said. She shoved the last bite of her salmon in her mouth and rose from the bed to stack her own plate on top of Sid’s. Sid lingered uncertainly at the foot of the bed, still not sure what she wanted to happen or what was going to happen. Geno ate a bite of Sid’s steak, and one of her sad potatoes, and then said, “Get in bed. You make me wait, okay, we eat, now let’s fuck.”

Right. Okay. Sid hesitated for a moment and then shoved down her sweatpants and left them puddled on the floor, and climbed on the bed in her shirt and underwear. She was hoping Geno would make a mess out of her.

“Good,” Geno said, and stepped out of her shorts, and then she was bare from the waist down, unbelievably tempting, half-naked and about to let Sid do—well, who knew what. Something they should probably stop doing.

“G,” Sid said weakly, and sat there and let Geno climb on her lap again, and sink down to straddle Sid’s thigh.

Geno shifted her hips, settling in, getting herself situated just right. She was wet against Sid’s bare thigh, even after the break for dinner. She rubbed her pussy back and forth a couple of times, getting Sid all slicked up. This was one of Geno’s favorite ways to get off, they had done it a bunch of times, and Sid was always amazed by how wet Geno got, and stupidly, helplessly turned on.

Geno made a pleased noise and wrapped her arms around Sid’s neck. “You take care of me, baby?”

“I’ll try,” Sid said, a little mad at herself for how much she liked it when Geno called her ‘baby.’ She slid her hands beneath the hem of Geno’s shirt. “Take this off for me, I want, uh.”

“You always want,” Geno said, not accusingly but fondly, like she was charmed by how much Sid wanted to look at her tits. She reached back to unhook her bra and took it off without removing her shirt, drawing the straps down her arms and then reaching underneath to tug it out and toss it on the floor.

Sid inhaled shakily. The well-worn fabric draped softly over Geno’s breasts. Sid loved everything about Geno’s body, but she was definitely a breast woman, and Geno had great tits, a little asymmetrical, and bigger than Sid could hold in her hands. Half-clothed, she was obscene and forbidden, something glimpsed furtively and illicitly—except Sid had permission; she could look as much as she wanted.

Geno sat up tall and arched her back, shoving her chest toward Sid’s face. “Sid—”

“Yeah,” Sid breathed. She ran her hands along Geno’s thighs and leaned forward and got her mouth on Geno’s tits, sucking on her nipples through her T-shirt. The fabric was dry and rough against her tongue at first, and then soaked with her spit and clinging to Geno’s skin. Geno’s hands were back in Sid’s hair, stroking gently, making Sid shiver. She closed her eyes and worked at Geno with her lips and tongue, and reached down to rub herself through her underpants. She was throbbing and starting to get wet.

Geno lost patience before long and started grinding again, dislodging Sid’s mouth. Sid didn’t mind too much, not when she got to squeeze Geno’s hips and stroke her soft belly and watch her turn pink, her eyes closed and her brows drawn together like she was concentrating hard. Sid wondered what she thought about while she got off. Probably not Sid.

Geno always took a long time to come, but Sid didn’t mind that, either. Geno was totally unselfconscious during sex, focused either on her own orgasm or on Sid’s, and would let Sid stare to her heart’s content instead of scowling or pushing Sid’s face away like she did the rest of the time.

Watching her got Sid so hot. Geno was gorgeous, annoying, and had been Sid’s port in every storm since she first showed up in Pittsburgh with a shy smile and no English. Sid had spent her whole life trying to be one of the guys, but with Geno she could be only herself, without pretense. Geno would paint Sid’s toenails for her with the brightest, hottest pink varnish she owned and say nothing about it, no comments about how Sid was too girly for hockey but maybe not girly enough to be an actual girl. Sid was halfway in love with her and was only resisting the other half through sheer force of will. Geno didn’t want her like that. They fucked in hotel rooms and nowhere else: a space outside of their normal lives, something that didn’t count or matter.

“Sid,” Geno panted, rocking her hips. She moved in a slow grind and moaned, starting to get noisy: getting close. She ducked her head for a kiss, and Sid kissed her and held her close and promised herself she was going to stop after this, this one final time.

“You gonna come?” Sid asked. Geno had made a mess all over her leg. She worked one hand between Geno’s thighs to stroke Geno’s clit with her thumb, and Geno grunted and grabbed her wrist, holding her there, circling her hips. “Yeah,” Sid said. “You’re gonna—let me see you, G, I want to watch you come—”

Geno swore and reached down to knock Sid’s hand out of the way. Her fingers worked rapidly. She bit down on her lower lip, her eyes squeezing shut. Her face was a blotchy pink, her free hand gripping Sid’s shoulder, tense and shaking.

As Sid watched intently, Geno sucked in a huge breath, held it, and then let out a few sweet high moans as she came on Sid’s thigh.

She shuddered through it as Sid watched, stroking Geno’s lower back and listening to her ragged breathing. Geno rolled her hips a few more times before she finally stilled, disheveled and smiling.

“Good?” Sid asked. She shifted on the bed, trying to get some pressure against her crotch.

“Yes, it’s good,” Geno said. She brought her hand to Sid’s mouth and gently pinched Sid’s lower lip. Her fingers smelled like her pussy. Sid closed her eyes and opened her mouth and sucked on Geno’s fingers, tasting her, wanting everything, always, and always with Geno.

Geno shifted away and climbed off the bed, and disappeared in the direction of the washroom. Maybe that was it: they were done. But Geno came back after a minute, holding a wad of tissues in one hand, and carefully wiped off Sid’s thigh.

“Messy,” Geno said, sounding pleased with herself, and bent down for a kiss.

Sid reached up to tangle her hands in Geno’s hair and keep her there. Geno’s soft mouth opened for a softer kiss. After a moment, she pulled away, but only to drop the tissues on the bedside table and push Sid down against the pillows.

“Help me,” Geno said, and tugged at the waistband of Sid’s panties.

Sid’s breathing picked up. She knew what was coming. She lifted her hips to help Geno strip off her underpants, and Geno caught Sid watching her face and deliberately licked her lower lip, fat and shiny after her tongue passed over.

Sid exhaled. “Geno—”

“I know, I’m best,” Geno said, “you love,” and she wasn’t smirking when she said it, she seemed totally serious, like it was just a fact of nature.

She was the best. Sid had been furtively screwing women for years, so it wasn’t like she was inexperienced. It wasn’t like Geno was the first time Sid had ever gotten what she really wanted. It was just better with Geno than it ever had been with anyone else. Sid didn’t know why. Even the very first time had been good, fumbling around in Geno’s hotel room the same night Sid caught her making out with a girl in a bar. She had been so angry, because why was Geno doing that with anyone other than her? And then the sex had bowled her over, Geno riding her face with no shame, licking the mess from Sid’s chin afterward.

Now, Geno yanked on Sid’s T-shirt until Sid curled up to strip it off. Geno sat on her hips, her gaze hot and appreciative as she ran her hands over Sid’s shoulders and then down to skim over her breasts. Sid dragged in a breath, arching into the touch. Her nipples were so sensitive, and Geno knew it and liked to take advantage, pinching gently until Sid shoved her away or asked for her mouth. Sid liked her small tits but didn’t expect anyone to pay much attention to them, but Geno paid attention, always wanted to touch them and talk about them, and her frank regard never failed to make Sid burn.

“Pretty,” Geno said, her fingers teasing Sid’s nipples into hard points.

“Stop it,” Sid said, because this was what she couldn’t bear, Geno saying nice things to her, touching her like that, like she was precious.

“Don’t touch?” Geno asked. She bent down to kiss Sid’s throat, right at her pulse point, making Sid shiver. “Or don’t say.”

“Come on,” Sid said, reaching up to tug on a strand of Geno’s hair, and Geno sighed and kissed her again.

Geno settled on the bed between Sid’s legs, still wearing her T-shirt and nothing else. Sprawled out on her belly like that, Sid could see the whole length of her body, her round ass, her long slim legs, and Sid draped one arm over her face so she wouldn’t have to look. Geno did her in every time.

“Sid,” she heard Geno say, and then Geno’s hands were stroking over her upper thighs, thumbs teasing at her groin. “Come on. Don’t hide.”

“I’m not hiding,” Sid said into the crook of her arm. “Hurry up.” Her stomach was in knots, but her pussy was throbbing, she wanted Geno’s mouth on her, she wanted to get off and go back to her own room and pass out and this would be the last time, really. She was done with all of it after this.

“Hurry, hurry,” Geno muttered, but she pushed Sid’s thighs up and out, spreading her open. Sid reached down to bury her free hand in Geno’s hair, tugging gently, mutely asking Geno to skip the teasing just this once. She was aching for it.

The first touch of Geno’s mouth, soft open kisses along Sid’s labia, had Sid sighing and shifting against the pillows. She had been waiting forever—basically forever. Geno nuzzled her open and teased her tongue along Sid’s folds, testing how wet she was.

Sid was—pretty wet. She scratched her nails lightly against Geno’s scalp and tugged again. “Geno,” she said, just to say it.

Geno settled in. She licked for a while in long strokes that made Sid twitch when Geno passed over her clit, harder than was really comfortable, but Sid liked that squirmy too-much feeling and Geno knew it. Geno’s tongue was so soft and her lips were full and a little bit chapped and Sid was into it, shifting her hips beneath Geno’s mouth, catching the rhythm—and then Geno stopped, and moved away to press wet, pointless kisses into Sid’s groin.

Sid groaned. Geno would never take pity on her.

“Pretty,” Geno whispered, her mouth against Sid’s upper thigh, and then she held Sid open with her fingers to suck carefully on her clit, lapping teasingly with the tip of her tongue and then sucking again, just a little bit too hard, to make Sid gasp and flinch. And that was good, too, Sid could get off like that, but then Geno switched it up again, sliding down to push her tongue inside, hot and wet. She was driving Sid wild. Sid was so turned on, it wouldn’t take much to make her come, and Geno was just playing around, taking her time, doing whatever she wanted, the way she always did.

Sid tugged again. “Geno.”

Geno stopped. Sid arched her back, hoping, but Geno didn’t get back to work. Finally Sid peeked out from under her arm. Geno was watching her, mouth wet, chin wet, eyes so dark, and Sid felt stripped down to raw muscle beneath her gaze. Geno didn’t know how Sid felt about her, but in that moment Sid almost believed she did.

“What you like?” Geno said.

“You know,” Sid said. She hid her face again. Geno always wanted her to say it.

“Tell me,” Geno insisted.

Sid’s face burned. She had her fingers twined deeply in Geno’s hair. She tugged more sharply than Geno would usually tolerate and said, “Eat me out. Make me come.”

“Good,” Geno said, and pushed two fingers into Sid’s wet pussy.

After that there was no more teasing: just Geno doing her best to get Sid off. She pushed her fingers in deep and worked her tongue over Sid’s clit exactly how she liked it, a slow firm glide, not too hard. Her mouth was so wet and so soft and perfect, and right there, over and over, in exactly the right rhythm.

The tension in Sid’s belly spiraled tighter and tighter. Her thighs quivered. She made a helpless noise as Geno curled her fingers, and then the same noise again but louder when Geno did it again. Geno was so—and Sid was—

She let go of Geno’s hair so she wouldn’t yank too hard, and grabbed her own instead. She clenched around Geno’s fingers as her body tensed, struggling toward orgasm. She rocked her hips against Geno’s mouth, getting herself just right, almost, almost, Geno’s soft tongue and the stretch of her fingers, and then she was over the edge, shuddering and pulling at her own hair, wave after wave of it as Geno worked her sweetly through.

Finally she reached down to touch Geno’s cheek, stilling her.

Geno pulled away and kissed Sid’s thigh a few times, murmuring something Sid couldn’t make out. Sid felt swollen and tender between her legs, and her face was hot. Geno kissed her way up Sid’s body, sliding her hands over Sid’s ribs to cup her breasts, kissing Sid’s throat and jaw and finally her mouth. She smelled and tasted like Sid. Sid curled a hand around the back of Geno’s neck and kissed her hungrily, sucking the taste off her tongue. She could probably go again, but Geno wasn’t usually interested in a second round.

“Sid,” Geno murmured, and kissed her again, and drew back to smile down at her and stroke her hair, far too sweet and warm for Sid’s peace of mind.

Sid squirmed away and rolled off the bed, ignoring Geno’s noise of protest. “I’m just gonna,” she said, and went into the washroom to pee and clean up and splash some water on her face. She smelled like sex. Her hair had dried into wild curls, rumpled by a combination of Geno’s hands and the pillow. Her stomach hurt, an empty, hollow ache.

She went back out. Geno had taken her place at the head of the bed, sitting there with her legs spread wide, an invitation that she probably didn’t mean. Sid was mad at herself for making this so complicated when it had been so simple at the start, but—she couldn’t help the way she felt. But she had to end it now, before her resentment ruined her friendship with Geno.

“Sid, come here,” Geno said, as Sid retrieved her underwear and sweatpants and pulled them on, and her discarded shirt. “Let’s watch show.” The TV was still on, had been on the whole time, a quiet soundtrack for their fucking.

“I should go,” Sid said. She patted her pockets, checking for her room key. “It’s getting late.”

“It’s not late,” Geno said, which was a lie; it was probably after midnight.

“It’s late,” Sid said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Geno made a sharp, frustrated sound. When Sid risked a glance at her, she was scowling. “Why you like this? You mad at me? Why?”

“You didn’t do anything,” Sid said, “I’m just,” and then she sucked in a breath and said, “You gave that guy your number.”

Geno squinted at her. “What guy?” Her eyebrows drew together. “At Meat and Potatoes?”

“Yeah,” Sid said. She folded her arms across her chest and tucked her hands in her armpits. “I saw you. You were flirting with him, and then—and Flower said you gave him your number.” Three nights ago, and Sid had been trying not to think about it, trying not to dwell on what it meant, but she knew very well. She wanted to turn away and hide her face, but she forced herself to keep looking at Geno. They were adults. They could be adults about this.

“Flower,” Geno muttered. She shifted so her legs were flat on the bed. “Okay, yes, I give him my number, so what? I can’t date?”

Sid could have backed down then, invented some bullshit, brushed Geno off, gotten over her humiliating crush in private without ever revealing her feelings to Geno. But she was tired, and tired of being a coward.

“Guess I’ve been hoping you’d want to date me,” she said.

Geno’s face flushed pink. She opened her mouth and closed it again. Sid couldn’t bear to watch anymore, and she went over to the desk and fiddled around with their discarded plates, rearranging the cutlery, so she wouldn’t have to watch Geno reject her.

She heard Geno climb off the bed, and the soft scrape of fabric as Geno pulled on her shorts.

“Sid,” Geno said, and Sid forced herself to turn around and face the music.

Geno was chewing on her lip and playing with the hem of her shirt. She took a step toward Sid and then stopped.

“I’m gonna go,” Sid said.

“No!” Geno said. She took another step. “Sid, it’s just—fun, play around.” Her expression was pleading.

Sid’s throat was so tight she wasn’t sure she would be able to make the words come out. “It’s not. For me. Fun.”

Geno grimaced. “You don’t like?”

“No, I mean.” Sid wrapped her arms around her ribs and squeezed herself tight. Mortification burned in her gut. “The sex is. Obviously I like that part. But it’s not, uh. You’re really important to me, so. It’s more than just. Playing around.”

Geno said something in Russian and flopped onto the bed, face-down.

Sid wanted to be literally anywhere else in the world. “Sorry. I should have just. Kept my mouth shut. I won’t make it weird.”

Geno turned over onto her back. She raised one hand and crooked her fingers at Sid. “Come here.”

Sid shifted her weight forward and then back again. “I should go.”

“Come here,” Geno said. She sat up and reached out with both arms. Sid took a tentative step and then another, and then Geno grabbed her sweatpants and hauled her in, sliding her arms around Sid’s waist. She looked up at Sid, and Sid couldn’t resist smoothing her eyebrows into place. Geno was always so put together in public, perfect makeup, perfectly manicured nails, tacky clothes that Geno swore were the height of fashion, and seeing her post-sex dishevelment made Sid feel, every time, that she was special, privileged to see this hidden and human side of Geno.

“Sorry,” she said again. Geno’s hands were on her lower back, stroking beneath her shirt. She didn’t know what it meant.

“You never say,” Geno said. “What you want.”

“You never want to talk about it,” Sid said. She rested her hands lightly, uncertainly, on Geno’s shoulders.

Geno scoffed. “Oh, you try so hard? Geno, let’s talk, we have sex, what’s it mean? No, you just let me fuck you, it’s just friends, we still hang out, get room service, watch movie like always, but now I know you like me to finger your ass. So? You don’t say.”

“I thought we were—I don’t know.” Sid avoided Geno’s eyes and toyed with the shoulder seams of her shirt. “I thought—but then you were flirting with that guy.”

“Okay, come here,” Geno said. She shifted backward to lie down on the bed, tugging at Sid’s hands until Sid gave in and climbed on with her, lying curled against Geno’s side, one leg slung across Geno’s hips. Geno slid a hand under the waistband of Sid’s sweatpants and squeezed her ass. “Sid, I think you want boyfriend, be together, be—public, show everyone, have babies.”

“I haven’t had a boyfriend in, like. Three years.” Sid pushed her face against Geno’s neck. Geno was so warm and soft.

“Okay?” Geno said.

“I’m not into guys,” Sid said. She exhaled. “Um. Basically at all.”

“Oh,” Geno said. “Sid, I don’t know that.”

“Well, I never told you,” Sid said. She fluttered her eyelids against Geno’s skin to feel her eyelashes catch and make Geno twitch. “I was kind of—I wanted to like guys. I tried pretty hard.”

“Women best,” Geno said, and squeezed Sid’s ass again.

“I know you don’t think that’s true,” Sid said. “You were trying to hop on that guy’s dick.”

Geno pinched her, pretty hard, right in the middle of her ass-cheek. Sid flinched and squawked. Geno said, “Don’t be rude.”

“Jesus,” Sid said. “Sorry.”

You’re best,” Geno said. “Best for me. Best sex, best hockey.” Her voice softened. “Best friend.”

Sid pushed up onto her elbows, stirred into warm disbelief by the tone of Geno’s voice. Geno smiled up at her, her hair wild against the sheets, her big nose and her full mouth and the scar on her cheek, and Sid thought she was beautiful, and always had.

Sid’s heart began to lift from the dark place it had sunk to. “Geno,” she said.

“Yes,” Geno said, and reached for her.

Sid leaned down, still not certain, hesitating before their mouths met, and Geno raised her head and closed the distance for the second time that night. Their lips touched and parted, and came together again. Sid closed her eyes and slid one hand over the soft curve of Geno’s belly. The TV erupted into laughter. Geno’s arm curled around Sid’s neck.

She lost track of time, kissing Geno, Geno’s warm body against hers, Geno’s hand in her hair. They broke apart at last. Sid watched Geno’s eyes open, waited until she had Geno’s full attention.

“I don’t want a boyfriend,” she said. “And I don’t want you to go out with that guy from Meat and Potatoes. He wasn’t even cute.”

Geno laughed and turned her face into Sid’s neck. “You don’t like? He’s cute, good shoulders, good hair.”

“He looked like a jackass,” Sid said. “You can do better.”

“Like you,” Geno said.

“Well. Yeah,” Sid said. “I mean. Maybe my hair’s not as good. But I’m probably way better at giving head.”

Geno laughed again and flopped onto her back. “Okay. No Meat and Potatoes guy.” She snapped the waistband of Sid’s sweats. “Let’s have sex in Pittsburgh, not just in hotel.”

“Let’s do it everywhere,” Sid said. “Your house, my house. The arena—”

“No!” Geno said, eyes wide.

Sid had to laugh at the scandalized note in her voice. She kissed the corner of Geno’s mouth and the warm flushed curve of her cheek. “G, I’m not, uh. I’m not kidding around about this. I want to—be together. If you want that.”

Geno’s smile faded, lingering in the warm lines around her eyes. She reached up and ran a hand through Sid’s hair. “Yes. Sid. Of course I want.” She drew Sid down to lie beside her again, their bare legs sliding together. Her mouth pressed a soft kiss to Sid’s mouth. “I don’t think I can have, you know? But of course I want with you.”

The question rose in Sid’s throat. She choked it back, but it stayed on her tongue, sweet enough that she decided, at last, to speak it.

“Can I stay here tonight?” she asked: the question she had wanted to ask Geno since the very first time.

“Yes,” Geno said. Her fingertips brushed along Sid’s jaw, and Sid glanced up to watch Geno’s face, the way her gaze followed her touch. She looked happy, almost the same look Sid saw after a good game or during one of Geno’s ridiculous conversations with Nealer—but gentler, quieter. A look just for Sid. Geno said, “Please stay.”

Sid’s heart felt like the sun, glowing bright inside her chest. “I talk in my sleep.”

“I know,” Geno said. “I take blankets. Steal? We good pair.”

“Yeah,” Sid said. “We are.”