In retrospect, the look of horror on Jordan's face shouldn't have been a surprise. But Sidney hadn't been thinking and the words had just popped out. Sidney would have made a joke about popping the question except he was hiding in his bedroom, not answering his phone and hoping that come morning everyone would have forgotten about it.
He didn't actually think they would, because if nothing else there were too many guys on the team who would consider this prime material for teasing him for the rest of their lives. They'll be eighty and visiting the rink for some honorary pre-game show and they'd say "Hey, do you remember the time you asked Jordan to marry you?"
Sidney sat on the edge of his bed and let his face fall into his hands, even though there was no one to hide from in here except himself. He hadn't meant to ask, not really, except for the fact that he had. He'd been thinking about this every day for weeks, chickening out every single time he even saw Jordan, much less whenever he had a proper chance to talk to him someplace private -- someplace suitable for a marriage proposal.
More suitable than on the ice in the middle of the game where Sidney just scored his 500th point. Someplace where his teammates weren't gathered around him, cheering and hugging and congratulating him. But Jordan had gotten in close and whispered in his ear that Sidney could have anything he wanted, to celebrate.
He hadn't actually meant to say "Marry me." Even if it was the only thing he wanted anymore, in addition to hockey and winning games and getting his 500th point. He'd come to realize that he wanted them to come home together after every game and he wanted to have those summer nights year 'round, when they stayed together at Jordan's place on the lake and Sidney felt like the rest of the world stopped caring about them.
Of course he still hated fishing, but he'd grown to appreciate the boat, even let Jordan teach him to drive it well enough that no one really teased him about capsizing anymore.
He wanted that, along with mornings waking up with Jordan in bed beside him and afternoons of arguing whether they were going to do hockey drills or waste the day sitting in the sun pretending to fish when all they're doing is staring out at the water and chilling. Sidney had long since admitted to himself that he was ready, maybe, to grow up and settle down and ask for the one thing besides hockey that made him happy.
He just hadn't meant to do it quite like that. The look on Jordan's face when he'd asked had been all the answer Sidney had needed. The guys had all frozen around them on the ice and Sidney knew the fans and cameras had been watching, wondering what the fuck had happened to make the Penguins go still and stare at him like that. But thank God no one other than his own teammates had heard him, and Sidney had already checked and discovered that none of them had been enough of an asshole to tweet it for the whole world to laugh over.
Sidney had stumbled his way through the last ten minutes of the game and then the post-game press, glad for once that no one expected him to be charming and witty and able to say much of anything other than how great his team was to play with and how he could never have done it without them.
He'd got back to the dressing room late -- and maybe he'd been dragging his feet a little, talking to the press longer than he might have wanted. But it meant that by the time he'd got back to the dressing room to shower and change, most of the team had already gone. Jordan was long gone, and Sidney could still feel the ache and relief in his chest.
Sidney didn't bother trying to call and apologize. He'd never been good at that sort of thing; half the time he didn't know he'd pissed someone off until they pulled him aside and told him. Geno had been the one to tell Sidney that Jordan would say yes if Sidney asked him out and once they'd started dating, Sidney had made it clear that if he screwed up, Jordan would have to say so.
Luckily, Jordan had no trouble expressing himself, probably from years of having to make himself heard over three brothers. He'd probably left half a dozen messages on Sidney's phone already, telling him in no uncertain terms just how badly he'd fucked this up. Sidney wasn't ready to check them yet; he wasn't ready to find out if Jordan wasn't into it for that, but no harm no foul, or if Sidney was going to find some version of the phrase 'we can still be teammates' on his phone.
The thought of breaking up with Jordan over a stupid impulse made Sidney feel more than a little sick. He looked over at his phone, thinking he should just call him, get it over with. Only he couldn't make himself move because, after all, Sidney really did want to marry him. Ironically enough, the fear of getting a horrified look and utter silence in reply had been one of the reasons he hadn't asked before now.
Sidney turned away from the nightstand and his phone resting on top of it, laying down on the bed and rolling onto his side to stare at the far wall. The phone vibrated again with an incoming message and Sidney ignored it, not bothering to turn it completely off. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough to find out just how much he'd lost. Right now he wanted to close his eyes and pretend he hadn't said it.
He was supposed to be celebrating right now. He remembered the party after Geno's 500 and how none of them had been able to walk the next day, still too drunk at six a.m. to find their cars and crashing on every surface of Sidney's house until they'd had to drag their sorry asses to the rink for practice. Right now there was beer and more than a dozen bottles in the kitchen downstairs; his teammates had been adding to the stash for the last two weeks, knowing that any day he'd get the points and they'd celebrate.
Sidney got up and headed downstairs. He didn't normally get drunk -- and never during the season -- but there was a ton of alcohol within easy reach and breaking up with his boyfriend by proposing was probably one of the best reasons Sidney had ever heard of for having a drink or five.
When he got to the kitchen, he flicked the light on and stared. Cases of beer were stacked on the counter beside the fridge; he knew the fridge itself was full already. But he went for the whiskey instead, cracking open a bottle and digging out a glass. He took them both to the living room, pouring it on the way and thinking how nice it would be to stop replaying the scene in his head, stop seeing the look on Jordan's face.
He'd just sat down, glass nearly to his lips, when he heard the front door open. The sound of half a dozen of his teammates made him freeze and Sidney found himself looking around frantically for someplace to hide. The stairs were within view of the front entry so he couldn't get back to his room, then it didn't matter because they were spilling into the living room, carrying bags of ice and pizza boxes and calling over their congratulations again.
Geno grinned and waved at him, smiling in approval at the glass in Sidney's hand before his gaze hit Sidney's eyes. He stopped and frowned, shoving the bag in his hands at Nealer and pointing him towards the kitchen. Geno headed straight for Sidney while the entire rest of the team began filling up Sidney's house.
"You don't answer phone, so we take care of all arrangements for party," Geno said, still scowling distrustfully at him. "Not a good host, Sidney." Geno shook his head, but then he dropped onto the couch beside Sidney and tilted his head at him, and asked, quietly and confused, "You think we not have party?"
Sidney shook his head. "I wasn't... I was--" He stopped and tried to get his words in order, and felt like maybe he'd already been drinking all evening. "Jordan," he whispered, looking down at the floor. "I really fucked up."
"Yes, I think Jordan prefer wine and roses, not winning hockey game and beer with team," Geno said, slapping Sidney's shoulder and rolling his eyes. "You date him one year, and still not know him very well?"
Sidney glared at him, hard, because Geno had been right there, along with everyone else currently filling his house up. He hadn't missed hearing Sidney's stupid proposal; he surely couldn't have missed Jordan's reaction. "Obviously not, since I didn't realize how much he'd hate the idea of getting married." Sidney took a quick drink of the whiskey, trying not to cough as it burned his throat.
Geno was giving him a look now, one which Sidney had grown very used to seeing. It was the look that said Sidney was being an idiot; it was the same one he'd got right before Geno had said of course the team didn't care, because who did Sidney think Jordan had been asking for advice from all along?
He was saved from having to ask what the hell Geno meant by that look right now, as the front door opened again and Jordan's voice called out, "Who the hell ended up with my keys, because you're sure as shit not keeping them!"
"In here!" Geno yelled back, and Sidney watched him dig a keyring out of his pocket. He held them up as Jordan came in, and Sidney was caught, staring, as Jordan gave him a wide smile and stole his keys back from Geno. Jordan leaned over the back of the couch towards Sidney, looking like nothing at all had happened -- and maybe he'd decided to ignore it, Sidney thought frantically. Maybe something could be salvaged from this after all.
But Jordan froze in mid-motion towards him. "What's wrong?"
Sidney opened his mouth to say nothing, deny everything and just go back to the way things had been yesterday, but instead he found himself saying, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."
Jordan's eyes went wide and his smile vanished, and Geno suddenly hit Sidney on the thigh, hard. "You...didn't mean it?" Jordan straightened up and looked down at him. Sidney watched as his expression changed, confusion flickering into something darker. "You didn't mean to ask me to marry you?"
Sidney shook his head, and Geno hit him again, harder, and Jordan's face closed off completely before Sidney could blurt out, "I want to, I just didn't mean it like that. In front of everyone."
Jordan blinked, and Sidney saw him relax, smiling wide. "So you want me to kick everyone out and you can ask again? Because I think they're already entrenched in the rest of the house." He waved a hand, then looked thoughtfully towards the back of the house. "Sounds like a few of them are in the garage. Remind me to check when it's time to round up the drunks," he said to Geno.
"Not fair I always have to babysit," Geno complained. "Just because I only one who can hold liquor and not pass out."
"You could fake it," Jordan said, thumping Geno on the shoulder. "Your choice: lose your reputation for drinking everyone under the table, or be the only responsible adult left standing come five a.m."
Geno looked thoughtful as he considered it and Jordan turned back to Sidney. He suddenly looked a little nervous, which surprisingly made Sidney feel a little bit better.
Jordan didn't quite look him in the eye as he said, "So. I realize I didn't actually, you know, say yes. I wasn't expecting you to just..."
"Come right out and say it during a game?" Sidney finished, smiling wryly at himself. "Me, either. I really am sorry about that."
Jordan leaned back down again, reaching over to grab at Sidney's hand. "Don't be. Just...remember that you have to ignore anything my brothers say. And if Marc says anything about me being horrible and lazy and not house-trained, he's lying and you can't believe him. He's a shit like that, you can't listen to him. And I never drew on his gear with crayons when I was five. That's completely untrue. Jared did it."
Confused, Sidney felt something that might have been hope unfurling inside the twisting feeling in his chest. Sidney narrowed his eyes. He'd hung out with Jordan's brothers, obviously, both before they'd begun dating as well as after. Before they'd just been...normal, if a bit loud and prone to pushing each other into lakes. After Jordan had told his family he and Sidney were together, Jordan's brothers had suddenly started popping up without any warning, trapping him in corners and interrogating him. It had taken a couple months and dozens of threats and full-body checks on the ice from Jordan before they'd finally stopped. Now they hung out together and almost acted as if they liked him.
Jordan said he'd won their approval, though Sidney didn't have any idea what he'd done to do so. He suspected it was totally dependent on how well the Pens had last played against their respective teams. Marc was always nicer when the Rangers had kicked their asses.
But it didn't explain why Jordan was warning him about them now. "Why would your brothers lie to me about you?" Sidney asked. "What does that even have to do with this?"
Because no one else but the team had heard Sidney's embarrassing question, and Sidney had checked, and they hadn't spilled the beans. So how would they even know?
"Jordan?" he asked with growing apprehension when Jordan just leaned against the couch, toying with Sidney's hand and not looking him in the eye. "Did you....tell them?" He was pretty sure his voice hadn't squeaked, just then. He glared at Geno who was stifling laughter. Sidney kicked him in the foot and Geno stood up, waving at them as he headed for the kitchen.
"Hey!" Geno said loudly as he left. "Why everyone crowded in doorway listening in? You hear just fine from dining room, too!"
Sidney closed his eyes and let his head fall forward, not really minding when it landed on Jordan's arm. He probably couldn't complain, since it was his fault they all knew, anyhow.
"Um," Jordan said, and stopped. Then, "I kind of called mom right away and told her we were getting married and she told everyone else, judging by how fast I started getting congratulations from everyone. It didn't even hit me until about an hour later that I hadn't actually said yes." He tugged at Sidney's hand again, and Sidney looked up at him, not moving his head away from where it was resting. Jordan stared down at him, and for a long moment all Sidney could process was just how gorgeous he looked.
Then he found his breath, and asked, "Yes?"
Smiling and looking suddenly shy, Jordan nodded. "Yes."
There was a chorus of loud shouts from the kitchen, along with the sound of cans being opened. Geno's voice shouted above the noise for them to hush so they could hear.
Sidney closed his eyes again, wishing he'd had the nerve to do this a month ago, when he'd been lying in bed with Jordan, alone. Or anytime at all, when they'd been alone. Then he tilted his head up, and Jordan leaned down far enough to kiss him.
"My brothers are not in charge of a bachelor's party," Jordan said, sternly. "And neither is Geno. We'll run away to Sweden, first."
Sidney laughed, as Geno called out, "I know people in Sweden!"
Sidney set his glass down on the coffee table and pulled at Jordan's hand. Jordan crawled over the back of the couch and settled in beside him, wrapping himself half around Sidney. From the sound of it the party had swung into full gear in the kitchen and dining room and would probably last until the wee hours of the morning. Sidney felt half-drunk, or possibly just giddy with relief, and happier than he'd felt since -- well. Since he'd scored a goal and reached 500 points of his career.
"Congratulations, by the way," Jordan said, placing a kiss on Sidney's cheek.
Sidney just smiled and burrowed himself closer to Jordan and listened to the sound of his teammates trashing his house and drinking every last drop of alcohol they could find.
Life was perfect.