Xavier LaFlamme is a dickhead in the mornings.
It’s not intentional, she knows; she thinks it’s just that he spends a few moments every day thinking about the whole Rhea/concussion/drugs/STD testing shame-spiral and having regrets. That comes through when he’s stumbling in the direction of the coffee while she’s trying to choose a scarf.
And fuck it, Eva thinks, it’s not like she greets each new day with a smile. Doug does: Doug wakes up every morning happy because he’s got hockey and his girl. That’s nice to wake up to; it’s nice waking up to Doug carefully cradling a mug of coffee in his giant hands, holding it out as a gift. But it doesn’t completely make up for the fact that most of her friends think she’s a fucking idiot for leaving her ex to move in with a hockey player.
So she gets where Xavier is coming from, is what she means. She gets that he’s got regrets or whatever, gets that there are things he’d take back if he could.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a total pain in the ass some days, pulling on her coat and boots while he’s slumped on the sofa in his ratty bathrobe, telling her that her scarf is ugly. She doesn’t think he means it, not really: it’s just idle bitching, something to do while the caffeine sinks in. So all she does is tell him he looks like a sack of shit while she pulls on her gloves and leaves for work.
He’s fucking wrong about her scarf, too.
Sex with Doug isn’t what Eva expected it to be. It’s fucking great, is what it is: he’ll push her up against the door of his bedroom and fuck her like that, her legs around his waist while he pushes up into her. Or she’ll tug him on top of her in bed and they’ll bang, exactly as hard and as fast as she wants it, until she comes screaming. But there are weird moments too: he’ll press his fingers into her hips while they fuck, but stroke the skin there afterwards, like he’s trying to smooth away the redness. And he never goes any faster or harder than she wants, waits for her to egg him on before he’ll speed up or press in.
She’s banged a lot of guys. She’s used to them being selfish, used to having to take charge and give orders, but this isn’t that.
She’s watching the Highlanders play when she figures it out. Doug’s on the ice, pushing the puck around with something approaching confidence, when one of the Victoires’ d-men checks him into the boards. They drop gloves—of course they do—and it’s on, the other guy throwing an epic left hook that makes Doug’s head jerk back before he starts punching.
This isn’t exactly what she loves about hockey—the blood, the violence—although it’s what she tells everybody she loves about hockey (she actually loves the speed and the teamwork and the fact that it’s a sport where people strap blades to their feet). But it’s Doug, so she watches closely. Because he hasn’t lost many fights yet, and it’s always worth watching, but more importantly because she loves him.
And there it is, between the dumb fuck who decided to start a fight with Dougie losing his balance and falling to his knees, and Doug throwing the final punch: a moment where Doug hesitates and turns to look at his coach, long enough for Hortense to nod once, sharply. And huh.
She knows Doug’s a gentle kind of guy, of course: hard to miss, the way he goofily buys her bunches of cheery yellow flowers sometimes, the way he talks about his childhood, sketching out stories about his brother with his hands. She knows he’s kind; that he holds doors open for everyone and never drives over the speed limit; that he moves around people so carefully that she’s sure his mother used to constantly tell him to have gentle hands. But she has somehow managed to miss just how reluctant he is to punch a man who’s down; and, more importantly, how willing he is to follow instructions to do it anyway.
When Eva lies on top of Doug at night, her head pressed against his chest and his heart beating in her ear, he tells her things. He likes to stroke her hair while he talks about hockey, about how LaFlamme is showing him some things, how his skating is getting better, how much he likes it.
What he doesn’t ever talk about is how he likes to fuck. She starts asking him to tell her pretty much as soon as she notices that he doesn’t ever volunteer anything, and it comes out in halted, slow sentences: confessions about how he likes to lick her pussy whispered into her hair. She tries to get him to tell her how he wants it when they’re actually fucking one night, but it kind of throws him off, and is so obviously not what he’s in to that she gives it up as a failure. That in and of itself is good to know.
She does find out that he’s done guys, when she tells him about the time she made out with a girl in a bar once. “I totally didn’t want to fuck her, though,” she says. “Which sucked, because the guy I’d been flirting with totally went off with her and another chick for a threesome. Waste of a night, basically.”
Doug nods. “Me and Pat used to give each other handjobs sometimes,” he says. “And I guess I’ve slept with some other guys too,” he continues.
“You guess?” she asks, skeptical.
“I mean I have,” Doug explains. “I’m mostly into girls though.”
“Yeah,” Eva says. She has absolutely no doubt that Doug is into her, at least, and she could give less of a shit about how many other girls Doug has wanted to bang in his life.
Eva sits down next to Xavier one day after she comes home from work. It’s late and dark: there's no game tonight, so he's just sitting there in y-fronts and a dirty bathrobe, lackadaisically playing some stupid game with zombies in it. She spent the whole day fighting with people about their orders—marketing keeps promising people shit, the fuckers—and it's relaxing, chilling on the couch lazily watching Xavier mow down a bunch of flesh-eating monsters while Doug cooks.
“Boned this girl last night,” he offers up between headshots. It's casual, easy—they're friends, the kind of friends who drink and talk shit about each other. He's stopped calling her a puck bunny and in return she's stopped asking if the test results came in okay.
“Oh yeah?” she asks, as if she cares.
“Yeah,” he says, and then curses a lot when his avatar takes a dive down a flight of stairs. A couple of minutes pass while he takes out a small horde in a shopping mall, and then he adds, “She was a screamer.”
“Probably faking it,” she says, nudging him as he's trying to take down a shaman. His bullet misses, ricochets off the wall and out a window, and he curses again.
“Fuck you, faking it,” he says, but he's laughing. “Nobody needs to fake it with this.” He takes his hand off the controller long enough to gesture down his body, sketchy chest hair on display in the open V of his loose bathrobe and beard patchy as fuck.
She laughs, pretty sure he's not offended. “Yeah,” she says, and he starts pressing buttons again until Doug comes in with dinner: KD.
Eva fucking loves KD. Doug's a motherfucking star.
Eva and Doug get woken up at like three am on a fucking worknight by Xavier’s latest girl screaming really, really fakely about how much she wants his dick. She grumbles sleepily into Doug’s shoulder; she thought she was done with listening to other people bang as soon as she left college, and she’s way too tired for this bullshit.
It goes on forever. Doug is completely still beside her, and she realises after a while that he’s hard. “Sorry, Eva,” he says once she’s got her hand on his dick.
“What for?” she asks.
“Uh,” he says. “For not being respectful? LaFlamme’s banging a girl in there.”
“Hey,” she shrugs. “It’s like free porn. Want to fuck?”
“Sure, okay,” he says.
She vaguely notices that the yelps from Xavier’s room die off suddenly as she’s coming, but she’s too busy moaning and collapsing onto Doug’s chest to give a fuck. The apartment is silent when she surfaces from her usual post-orgasm fugue state, which: awesome. That means she can totally go back to sleep.
It’s a few days before Eva sees the boys again—they’re off playing the Minutemen, and her job turns into a shitshow with, like, a million hours of overtime. But she drags herself home at 9pm on Friday, punch-drunk with tiredness, to find Xavier and Doug on the couch talking about something. Xavier’s even wearing pants.
The topic seems to be whether their goalie’s Percocet addiction is a liability or a strength; Doug thinks he should probably slow the fuck down or something, but Xavier’s all for it on account of the drugs meaning the guy feels no pain. “It’s bad for him,” Doug says, kind of sadly, and the thing is: for a hockey player, Doug is pretty much a model of clean living and sobriety.
Xavier nods—it’s not like he can really disagree—but Eva guesses that dudes who legit have done coke off multiple hookers’ asses probably aren’t going to get too worried about the abuse of prescription drugs. “Yeah, maybe,” he says, and then grins suddenly. “You guys had a good time a few nights ago, hey? When I had that girl over?”
“Uh,” Doug says, and then falls silent, sheepish. He’s not really into bragging, even though in Eva’s well-researched opinion he’d be totally justified in doing so.
“Yeah, we did,” she says easily. “Sounds like you did too.”
Xavier shrugs. “She got loud, that’s for sure.”
Eva rocks so hard she’s not even going to crack a joke about the girl faking it—again—but it doesn’t matter: she can tell Xavier’s thinking about it anyway. Awkward. So she shuffles off to find dinner (reheated lasagne, excellent) and her slippers, and Doug goes back to trying to ask Xavier for stickhandling tips.
Eva’s job, which often consists of fixing the messes of dicksmack sales guys, sometimes throws up awesomeness. She’s in logistics: it’s basically her job to keep the factory floor moving and the stock control guys on track, besides suppressing the excesses of the smooth-talking bastards on the second floor. She’s good at it, and she likes it, even if the hours suck sometimes and she’s pretty sure she’d be earning like $10K more if she had a dick. If the economy weren’t so shit, she’d take her skills elsewhere, but as it is: it’s a steady job. And the holiday parties rock.
There’s an entire week where she has the apartment to herself. Doug and Xavier are off on a road trip so that Xavier can skate around people while Doug punches them. From what she can tell from the text messages she gets from both of them, it’s going well and they’re having fun; Xavier scored a hat trick in the first game, and some dude actually fell over when Doug looked at him. Doug doesn’t like to think of himself as a scary guy, she knows, but he also doesn’t like having to punch people when they don’t need punching, so. The reputation helps, is all she’s saying.
It’s a good thing the apartment’s empty, though, because that week she ends up working a billion hours trying to convince a shipping company to throw their schedule off just for her (which works) and a trucking company to do the same (which also works, but is a lot harder). Meanwhile, she’s in talks with purchasing about whether to switch packaging suppliers, and the three competing quotes are all trying to woo her with beer, pizza, and hockey. Her reputation helps sometimes, is all she’s saying.
Friday morning five am finds her sitting on the couch in her underwear and dirty bathrobe, wishing to god that the painkillers would kick in already and that she could summon the energy to shower and slap on some clothing and makeup for work. She’d stayed out until almost one, got a cab home from the bar where she’d left her purchasing and stock guys to be seduced with lite beer by Holdrum Packaging Ltd, and fallen into bed without taking off her shoes. Doug would probably be rubbing her back and feeding her protein and drugs right about now, if he weren’t away, but she doesn’t think Xavier would be so nice, and the silence is fucking golden.
She texts Doug to say she’s hungover right before she finds her boots, and gets a text back from Xavier three-quarters of an hour later, telling her to drink lots of water.
Im not new to this she texts back, and he replies ha ha true good luck. She wanders off to the water cooler anyway, because she is kind of thirsty.
That night, she walks in on Doug trying to explain to Xavier the ins-and-outs of giving head to the ladies. Almost the exact same conversation had been going on in the staff cafeteria at lunch, and so she does now what she’d done then: join the fuck in, because conversations about cunnilingus should involve input from actual women.
Xavier’s trying to demonstrate his technique on an imaginary girl. Whatever he’s doing with his tongue looks... less-than-stellar. “Probably you should stick to following instructions,” Eva says, and he goes bright red.
“I mean,” she adds. “Not if you’re not into that, but if you’re not into that, you should maybe try to just pay a lot of attention to however she’s reacting.”
Doug nods. “Girls like different things,” he says.
Xavier’s still bright red, his gaze flicking between her and Doug, so Eva punches him on the shoulder on her way to the kitchen. “Good talk!” she says.
“I don’t not like instructions,” Xavier tells Doug. Perhaps the man can learn after all.
Xavier’s room is pretty quiet the next time he brings a girl home. Eva doesn’t know if that means he’s drawing up a game plan with her or something, but whatever’s going on in there is great because it means she can go down on Doug in peace and quiet.
The girl’s still there in the morning, which is unusual, wearing one of Xavier’s old shirts and sitting on his lap on the couch. Xavier, of course, is wearing his bathrobe and a medallion, though for once his beard is looking kind of purposively shaped. He’s grinning up at the girl, saying something in French—probably filthy—and she’s grinning back, not even looking grossed-out or annoyed. It’s, like, a first, and Eva’s kind of proud of him.
The girl’s still there when Eva leaves for work, laptop in satchel and scarf coordinating with her awesome new hat. She’s got alligator mittens her mom sent her tucked into the pockets of her coat, and she’s feeling pretty prepared for a day of meetings and/or gossiping with the purchasing officer.
“Hey, Eva?” Xavier says, as she’s heading out the door. “Nice scarf.”
She pulls a finger-gun at him and grins. “Thanks!” The girl looks between them, confused.
“That’s my roommate,” she hears Xavier explain as she’s banging the front door closed; it sticks sometimes.
It’s Eva’s turn to get dinner, so she stops by the takeout place that does the good Pad Thai that night on her way home. Doug’s by far the best cook of the three of them, and actually makes shit on the stovetop or in the oven sometimes; Xavier’s idea of cooking mostly involves scowling at the directions on tins of soup and occasionally calling his mom for assistance in operating the microwave. Eva doesn’t try even try that shit—that’s why market forces invented takeout.
When she gets home with it, Xavier and Doug are on the couch watching some kind of reality tv that involves a lot of shouting at a fat woman. Doug’s apparently telling Xavier about how body-shaming isn’t cool. Xavier’s mouth is open and unmoving, his gaze flicking between the screen and whatever Doug’s saying.
“Honey, I’m home,” she announces, and they turn to look at her. “With dinner!” she adds, and Doug grins at her.
“Awesome,” he says, then stands to go and get plates and cutlery.
After they’ve eaten, Eva squishes herself between Doug and Xavier on the couch, throws her legs over Doug’s tree-trunk thigh, and leans back. “That girl seemed nice,” she says, looking at Xavier.
“Yeah, Therese,” Xavier says. “She is. She gave me her number, even.”
“Are you going to call it?” Doug asks.
Xavier shrugs. “I don’t know. She’s nice and everything, but.”
“You get a lot of numbers, though,” Eva says, sympathetic to his plight as an in-demand minor hockey star.
Xavier flushes. “Uh, not afterwards, usually,” he mutters.
Eva can feel her face freeze, and she turns to exchange a meaningful look with Doug.
“So she really liked you,” he says.
“I guess?” Xavier says. He looks really confused, sitting there on the couch in his jeans and a tank, drinking a beer. Eva feels strongly that he needs a hug; she also feels strongly that he deserves a victory blowjob or something, but that would probably get in the way of her thing with Doug.
Xavier looks even more confused when she hugs him and whispers good job into his ear, but he relaxes into it after a minute anyway. She thinks Doug is giving him the thumbs-up behind her back.
Eva takes Doug home for Christmas. He doesn’t celebrate it, but it’s cool: he’s a good sport about wearing the frankly stupid reindeer sweater her Nana buys him, and he gives her a badly-wrapped box-set of Trailer Park Boys. Her dad takes her aside on the 26th and tells her that they’re all glad she’s happy, but has she thought about his long-term career prospects? She totally has: Doug’s long-term career prospects are to be her house-husband and go back to work part-time once the kids are in school, so that she can force her way through the glass ceiling and towards an executive position in kicking ass.
They end up ditching the family thing a day early and heading back to Halifax, because she kind of misses not having to worry about people hearing them fuck. And, hell, she misses Xavier, who didn’t go home for Christmas because things are still shit between him and his family on account of the public sex and the drug abuse and the ruination of a once-promising career.
Probably they should have called first, though, because when they open the door, Xavier’s on the couch with some hairy guy, groaning loudly as the dude—who’s wearing a fucking gold medallion and white calf socks, Jesus—bangs him. The guy stops thrusting when the door slams open, and Xavier looks up from the cushions and goes pale. “Tabarnak!” he hisses, before elbowing the guy until he pulls out.
“Uh, we’ll just go into our room, okay,” Doug says. “Didn’t mean to interrupt anything.”
“Sorry!” Eva adds. “We should have called.”
“Shit,” Xavier says again.
“Hey, I’m Paulie,” the guy says. Eva doesn’t think anyone else in the room could give less of a fuck.
She bites her lip as soon as they’re in their bedroom, and stares up at Doug, who looks like he’s thinking hard about something. “Oh my god,” she says slowly, half-giggling.
“Do you think we should go out and say hi, once they’ve got clothes on again?” Doug asks.
“Uh,” Eva says. “I don’t know. Xavier looked pretty embarrassed there.”
“Okay,” Doug says.
Xavier is fully clothed in jeans and a fucking button-down the next morning. It’s like opposite-land; Eva’s wearing a pair of Doug’s boxers and a ratty old tank she bought in college. “Soooo,” she says. “He seemed nice?”
“I’m not gay,” Xavier says, flushing.
“Sexuality is a spectrum,” Doug says from behind her. Eva turns to stare at him; she’s pretty sure Xavier’s doing the same. “My brother’s gay,” Doug explains. “We talked about it.”
“Okay,” Eva says, half a question.
“So you like having sex with men sometimes,” Doug informs Xavier. “It’s cool.”
“Uh, yeah,” Xavier says.
“I like going down on guys sometimes,” Doug says.
He kind of sounds like he’s trying to be encouraging and supportive, and Xavier looks like he’s about to have an apoplexy, so Eva jumps in. “I like going down on guys pretty much all the time,” she says. “We can be a club!”
“I like clubs,” Doug says agreeably.
“I—” Xavier says. “Uh, okay?”
“Cool,” Doug says.
And, shit, she’s totally running late for brunch with the girls. This emotional roommate bullshit is way more time-consuming than she expected. “Nice talk, Xavier,” she says. “Let me know if you ever want to hook up, I know some cute guys.”
Xavier stares at her, mouth open, for long enough it gets totally weird.
She catches Xavier looking at Doug two weeks later, a long speculative look when he’s meant to be steering a car around a cartoon racetrack. She knows that look; she’s had it aimed at her often enough. It’s the look of a hockey player who wants to fuck but doesn’t know if he should try asking.
She sits down with him on the couch a couple of nights later while Doug is doing the dishes. “So, guys,” she says.
“Uh,” Xavier says, clearly not super-comfortable.
It’s kind of unfair of her, and she’s not into pushing people where they don’t want to be pushed, but she really wants to know a little more. She has her reasons. “But girls too, obviously,” she adds.
He snorts at her. “Yeah,” he says. “You know all about me and the ladies.”
She laughs. “Awesome,” she says, ruffling his hair when she stands. “Wash your fucking bathrobe, man, it’s gross.”
“Hey, Doug?” she asks that night, when they’re in bed.
“Yeah?” he asks.
Eva spends a few seconds trying to work out how to say it, and then remembers that she’s the kind of woman who just says what she means straight up. “Have you ever thought about banging Xavier?” she asks.
He’s silent. It’s a thoughtful silence, and it lasts a couple of minutes. “You mean like a threesome?” he asks.
Fuck, she picked a good one. “Yeah,” she says, and rolls over to lie on top of him.
“We could try it,” he says. “If he’d like it.”
“I’ll try to find out,” she promises.
“Cool,” Doug says.
She catches Xavier checking out her rack the following Tuesday. It’s a new dress, navy and only just respectable enough for work; she bought it so she could scare the sales guys into obedience. “Awesome dress, right?” she says, grinning at him, and he totally flushes and looks away.
That means it’s probably not just aimless leering, which means that Operation Threesome might be a go. She tells Doug that night about how she’s pretty sure Xavier wants both of them, at least enough to maybe talk about it a little.
“You should probably do the talking,” he says. “I’m not good with words.”
Eva lifts her head off his chest to stare at him. “Doug,” she says.
“Huh?” he says.
“Doug,” she says slowly. “You’re fucking excellent, okay, don’t say that. You’re the best person I’ve ever dated.”
“Thank you, Eva,” he says solemnly; and even if things don’t work out with the Xavier/threesome thing, she’s fucking keeping Doug forever.
In the end, it’s way easier than she expected. She comes home after work one day, exhausted, cranky, and ready to set fire to all her heels, and Doug and Xavier are on the couch playing computer games while the delicious smell of macaroni cheese wafts from the kitchen.
“Your dinner’s on the counter, Eva,” Doug says.
“You are actually the best,” Eva says.
“Hey,” Xavier complains, all bullshit and smirk.
She drops her briefcase. “You too, sweetheart,” she teases. “So,” she says, bracing her feet slightly wider. “You, you, and me: threesome?”
“Your dinner will get cold,” Doug says.
She shrugs. “We have a microwave.”
Xavier has gone dead-silent. “What?” he says. “That’s not funny.”
“We’re not joking,” Eva replies. “Like, seriously, do you want to bang us: yes or no answer.”
“I—” he says. “How would that even work?”
“Pretty much the way it works now,” she says. “Except we’d all have sex with each other, and probably not with other people without talking about it first.”
“Huh,” Xavier says. “Wait, seriously?”
“Yeah, buddy,” Doug says.
“I—hell yes,” Xavier replies.
“Cool,” Doug says, and then kisses him.
Sometimes when Eva gets home from work, Doug and Xavier are making out on the couch. Sometimes it’s lazy and sometimes it’s fierce, Xavier trying to climb Doug like a tree. Sometimes when Eva gets home from work, the apartment’s empty because the boys are off playing hockey somewhere; and that’s cool too, she needs her alone time.
“You gotta watch his reactions to shit,” Eva tells Xavier one afternoon when Doug’s gone to look at puppies. “And if you hurt his feelings, I’ll cut you.”
“Yeah,” Xavier says, and they exchange a look of complete understanding. It’s pretty much the best.
“So, hey, blowjob?” Eva asks. “Then you can fingerbang me if you want.”
“I’m all yours,” Xavier says, gesturing down his body. He’s even wearing a clean bathrobe. It’s pretty fucking great.