A first impression can tell you many things. It can tell you whether someone is shy or egotistical. It can tell whether someone is lazy or hardworking. It can also tell you if someone is smart or doesn’t care. In fact it was my first impression of Steven Stamkos that started this whole mess. Sitting there watching the 2008 NHL draft from the upper bowl is when I got my first impression of him. As he hugged his parents when the Tampa Bay Lightning called his name he had this smirk that gave me the immediate impression that he was a jerk, that and the fact that he took half-an-hour hugging everyone in his entire section. I mean seriously you will see them later…it’s not like you are flying to Tampa right this minute. I understand mom, dad, and even grandparents or a girlfriend but beyond that save it for later. After that he was the last thing on my mind because honestly those boys are hot and well he’s just average looking.
A few weeks later.
I never realized how much stuff I had from when I was little until I had to pack it all up and move away from home. My favorite uncle had recently gotten a job in Tampa Bay and had asked me to join him. Not only was his new job in Tampa Bay it was with the Lightning. Therefore it entailed me to things I had never dreamed of. Things like ice level seats to see some of the premiere players of the game or free stuff. Walking through the lobby of Ottawa International Airport is a pain let me tell you that. As I was reaching my boarding area my phone rang. I managed to dig through my bag and find my phone before I missed the call. Granted by this time I was slightly flustered so seeing my uncle’s name on the caller ID was a relief.
“Hey,” I smiled answering.
“Samantha I know I told you I’d be there to pick you up but uh something came up and they need me at work. I’m truly sorry,” He apologized.
I sighed; I was really looking forward to seeing him. “That’s ok Uncle Mac, I understand.”
“No it’s not ok, you know I hate breaking my promises especially those to you. I’ll talk to one of the players and see if they can pick you up and bring you back to the arena. I should be done by then and I can give you a tour. Then we’ll go out to dinner, my treat.”
“Really it’s fine I’ll manage…” He quickly cut me off.
“I insist, you know how stubborn I can be.” That I did and since my plane was to start boarding in a few minutes I knew better than to even get into this argument with him.
“Alright,” I groaned. “I’ll see you soon then my plane is boarding.” I ended my call and got in line with my boarding pass and passport.
When the flight landed in Tampa the first thing I noticed was how bright it was, and how warm. Dang I already needed to shed layers and I hadn’t even gotten inside the main part of the airport yet. Quickly I sprinted to the baggage claim hoping to beat the rush of passengers. I grabbed my bag and headed off to the passenger pickup area. Scanning the area I was unable to find anyone that looked even semi-familiar. Then again I wasn’t very up to date on Tampa’s revamped roster either. Of course he wouldn’t send anyone that I knew what they looked like. I turned on my phone hoping my uncle had called to tell me who was picking me up. Once again, no such luck. Scanning the room once again I saw a guy kind of hiding near the back who appeared to be waiting for someone. On a closer look I finally recognized him. It was Ryan Malone who had previously been a Pittsburgh Penguin before signing with Tampa prior to free-agency. Slowly as to not blow his disguise I walked toward him. He greeted me with a hug even though he had never met me. I guess he's a very friendly guy. He took my bags and led me to a silver Lexus. It was a very nice car. He opened the passenger door for me and I slid into the seat. He drove me to the arena and took me into the player's lounge. That's where I saw him. He was hanging with a flock of girls all crowding around him like vultures to a dead body. It was disgusting. Ryan introduced me to some of the guys like Lecavalier, Hall, Roberts, Recchi, and St. Louis. They were all really cool. I sat on the couch and watched them play NHL 2K9 until my uncle appeared in the doorway to take me home and then out to dinner.
As the weeks passed I grew to hate HIM even more. Since he met me my second day in Tampa he has been flirting with me non-stop. I was so sick of his egotistical butt. Eventually the guys got sick of my moodiness and kept me away from HIM if at all possible.
With the end of training camp I was hoping that they would send him back to Sarnia and that I would no longer have to deal with him. My wish wasn’t granted. Of course I was stuck watching the biggest jerk on the planet for at least the next 9 months. During the beginning of the season I became good friends with Ryan’s wife Abby. I spent most of the games with her and their son William. It was the easiest way to avoid Stamkos.
When the head coach was fired things changed. I noticed an immediate change in Steve’s behavior…well at least at the rink. He finally stopped hitting on me and I was so longer stepped on by puck-bunnies after every game. Abby seemed to acknowledge the shift in my opinion of Steve. She now made it her mission to help me realize that I was falling for the cocky idiot, and I’ll admit it I didn’t think he was near as bad as my first impression made him to be. The look on his face when he or one of his teammates scored was actually kind of cute.
The night that he scored his first NHL hat-trick Ryan decided to have a small party at his house while Abby and William were back in Pittsburgh visiting some family. Ryan practically threatened that if I didn’t come he would tell Abby and she would find some way to torture me. Therefore I relented and let him drive me back to his place to help him set up for the party.
While the party was in full swing I was sitting out on the back porch sipping at a can of pop and just looking up at the moon and stars. I was so caught up in the gorgeous view that I didn’t even notice the sliding door open and someone’s body plop down next to me on the steps. I shivered slightly at the proximity of whoever was there. I looked over at the male only to see Steven sitting next to me. He looked at me with those bright bluish/greenish eyes and I was slightly taken aback. They say the key to a person’s soul is their eyes and I could read every emotion in his at that very moment. They held excitement, peacefulness, happiness, and another emotion that I thought to be love. He set his pop down next to him and turned his body slightly towards me. He wrapped his arm around me pulling me closer and also warming me to the bone. He was well muscled and yet very soft at the same time. I couldn’t help but to look up at him with wonder and amazement at the promise his eyes held.
He tilted my head up slightly with his free hand and placed his hand on my cheek. Looking deep into my eyes he slowly leaned in and briefly brushed his lips to mine. Pulling back so that only our foreheads touched he whispered, “I like you…no scratch that I’m in love with you.” Hearing these words and no longer caring about holding back my feelings I collided my lips to his and kissed him with all the passion I possessed. He smiled into the kiss.
When we broke apart I said “People say first impressions are the most important but screw them, I’d rather follow the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. He just laughed and pulled me further into his side as we watched the stars above and I knew that this was right.