I finished my run and opened the door to let Bauer outside. He ran around and sniffed everything in sight as I stretched out. Taking even just a week or so off from running always made me sore when I started it back up, and I hadn’t run since before I’d gone home. When I was finished I walked inside with Bauer on my heels.
I made myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich and ate while dancing around to the music I had on. When the sandwich was gone I stripped down and got into the shower. Just as I was toweling off I heard my cell going off. I wrapped the towel around me and ran out to find my phone.
“Hello?” I said hurriedly, hoping to get it before it went to voicemail.
“Bad time?” I grinned at the sound of Sidney’s voice.
“I just got out of the shower. What’s up?” I asked.
“Lunch break. I’m afraid if I try to nap I’ll never wake up again,” he replied. I laughed.
“So how’s the camp been going so far?”
I listened as Sidney talked about the Olympic camp he was currently attending. We went over what they'd done, funny stories that had come out, and their upcoming schedule. I almost felt like a spy for the US. If only there was someone in USA hockey I could contact, I thought with a silent chuckle.
“I saw the picture of you in the Canadian jersey online. Must be pretty cool to be wearing it, huh?” I told him.
“It really is. Sometimes I can’t believe everything that’s happened.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not sure anyone deserves it more than you.”
“I’m glad I called you instead of home. I get compliments from you.” I laughed at him. We talked for a few more minutes before he had to go and get back to the rink. I barely had time to get dressed before my doorbell rang. I opened the door to see Zara and Valerie standing there holding up a couple of bottles of alcohol.
“It’s a little early to start drinking, isn’t it?” I asked as I let them in.
“It’s never too early,” Zara replied.
“The boys are golfing and getting drunk all day so we figured we’d hang out, tan, and get drunk all day. We’re going to meet up with them and go out tonight if you want to come along,” Valerie explained.
“Sounds like a plan,” I agreed.
I changed into a bathing suit while the two of them mixed up some drinks. Then we headed into my backyard to lie out in the sun. I turned on some music and we spent the next few hours drinking and talking. As the sun went down we all took turns showering and then ordered pizza for dinner.
“Do you miss Sidney now that he’s out of town for a while?” Zara asked as we were crowded around my bathroom mirror getting ready. I turned to glare over at her.
“Are you going to bring him up every time I see you?” I shot at her.
“Are you going to avoid answering my questions about him every time I ask?” she returned. I sighed and refused to answer her as I continued to get ready.
“Misty, I love you, but when are you going to figure it out?” Valerie asked. I completely stopped what I was doing to turn to face both of them, with my arms crossed over my chest.
“Figure what out?”
“That Sidney is perfect for you. He’s your guy. You just fit,” she responded.
“How many times do I have to tell you both that we’re just friends?” I asked in exasperation. They both rolled their eyes at me, but dropped the subject.
When we were ready I called a cab to come pick us up. Once in the car Zara gave the driver our destination and we danced in the car the whole trip to the bar. We walked in and found the guys already sitting around a table. Walker gave Zara a big kiss as we all took seats.
It took about 5 seconds before they were asking me about Sidney. I wasn’t sure how I felt about being the one they were looking to for information about how the camp was going. They hadn’t talked to him, but I had once a day since he’d left. I told them everything he had told me and we thankfully moved on from the subject of him afterwards.
As I sat there with them I thought it was a little odd that he hadn’t talked to a single one of them all week, but we’d talked every day. Did any of them think that was as strange as I did? My brain was fuzzy with alcohol and I decided it was best to just leave thinking about that until tomorrow when I was sober. I pushed the thoughts out of my head and refocused on the conversation around the table.
Troy pulled into the parking lot of the bar his friends were meeting at. He didn’t typically frequent bars, but his friend, Eddie, had gotten a promotion and they were taking him out for some beers. He walked in and found some of his friends already sitting at a table with beers in front of them.
He greeted them all with a handshake and sat down, grabbing an empty glass and pouring himself beer from the pitcher. Not long after the entire group was sitting around the table telling stories and laughing. It was nice when they could all get out together and do something like this, especially when celebrating about something. They’d done the same thing when Sidney had been drafted and then again when he’d returned to Cole Harbour after his son had won the Stanley Cup.
“Well, hey, look at that,” one of the guys said, looking over Troy’s shoulder.
He along with the rest of the table turned to look in the same direction. He heard someone else let out a soft whistle as he watched Zara and Valerie walk across the bar to join Sidney’s friends at a table. He then noticed Misty following right behind them. His eyes narrowed at the sight of her.
She was moving in on his son, and he didn’t like it. She’d moved to town by herself two months ago and randomly ran into Sidney? Fat chance of that, he thought. He didn’t trust her. She looked like one of those girls who would use her looks to get ahead in life, and he did not like the thought of her using Sid.
He turned his back to her and tried to pay attention to the new topic that had come up among his friends, but his mind kept wandering back to Sidney and Misty. Sidney had it bad for her, he could tell. Sid had never mentioned anything to him, but he could see it every time he saw them together. He knew his son well enough to see the look he had in his eyes when he saw her.
He’d tried, obviously unsuccessfully at the beginning of the summer to warn Sidney away from Misty. He’d told him that it was just the wrong time to even think about beginning a relationship with anyone. Too much was riding on this upcoming season. The whole league was going to be gunning for the Penguins now that they’d won the Cup, and the Olympics were only months away. He didn’t need a distraction.
Troy thought he’d gotten through to Sidney until Sid had announced that he was going to Misty’s hometown for a week, and right before the Cup came! What had he been thinking?! They’d argued over it, but Sidney had gone and Troy had been pissed off all week. Then he had to walk in on Sidney kissing Misty on the forehead at the Cup party. No, he didn’t trust Misty at all.
The group of his friends started to break up and he grabbed his car keys and walked outside to head home. He called out a goodbye to everyone before heading towards his car. He paused when he heard two familiar female voices talking just around the corner. He didn’t have to see them to know it was Zara and Misty. And he didn’t have to be convinced to stop and listen when he heard Sidney’s name.
“I just don’t understand why it’s so difficult for you to admit that you have feelings for Sidney,” he heard Zara say.
“Why do you keep pushing this?” Misty asked.
“Because I can’t sit around while you two pretend nothing’s there between you anymore.”
“There’s nothing, Zara. What do you want me to say? He had the chance and do you know what he said? He said that we were just friends. He kissed me and then told me we were just friends.”
Troy clenched his jaw at hearing that Sidney had kissed her. It was worse than he’d thought.
“For someone who seems to know Sidney so well, you’re being a real idiot when it comes to his feelings for you,” Zara argued.
“How? How am I being an idiot?”
“You know Sidney’s quiet and he almost never says what he feels. You’ve said that yourself to me when we’ve talked about other things, so why can’t you see that it’s the same thing in this case?”
He heard someone sniff and a small sob. Was Misty crying?
“Say it’s true. Pretend that Sidney really does have feelings for me. What then? What are we supposed to do about it?”
He hated to admit it, but he sensed from the shake in her voice that Misty was really torn up about the whole situation with his son.
“You date like everyone else does,” Zara replied. Misty let out a humorless laugh.
“No, we don’t. In about two weeks he’s headed back to Pittsburgh and I’m headed back to New York. You don’t start off a relationship when you’re 8 hours away from each other.”
“So go to Pittsburgh,” Zara suggested.
Troy tensed up at the statement. That couldn’t happen.
“I can’t go to Pittsburgh with him. People don’t meet, start dating, and move in together in the span of two months. Not to mention I’ve got other things I have to take care of.”
Well, he was at least happy to hear that response.
“So try the long distance thing.”
“I can’t do that either. Long distance relationships are stressful. Sidney has too much going on this season already. He has to go out and try to prove his team winning the Cup wasn’t a fluke. The expectations for him are sky high. Then the Olympics are coming up. I’m not adding any more stress to all of that.”
As Troy heard her talk his opinion of Misty slowly began to change. She sounded completely distressed about the whole thing. Maybe she did truly like his son. He also couldn’t discount the fact that she was refusing to act on anything because of Sidney’s career. She understood how important the year was for him, and she was willing to push her own feelings aside for Sidney. Maybe he’d been wrong about her afterall.
“I guess I just have one more question then and I’ll stop asking you about Sidney,” Zara started.
“Do you love him?”
Troy felt his body tense as he waited for her response. Instead of hearing what she had to say, he heard ringing from a cell phone.
“Sidney?” Zara asked.
“Yeah,” Misty replied quietly.
“That’s twice in one day. I’ll see you inside.” He heard the side door open and close and heard Misty sniff again.
“Hey, Sid,” she greeted as she answered the phone, doing her best to mask any of the tears he'd heard her crying.
Troy sighed and made his way to his car. It didn’t seem like he was going to hear the answer to that question any time soon.