Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chapter 50

It's been a long time, I know. Might as well figure that I'll only be updating every other week or so. Things are not slowing down for me, and now the holidays are coming up. Please don't hate me!

I pulled up behind Sidney’s car in the driveway. I’d had a permanent smile on my face ever since we’d gotten to the outskirts of Halifax. I took a moment to take in the sight of the house that was about to be my home for the next few months. Somehow my smile grew as I got out of the car and opened the door to let Bauer out of the back.

“It’s so good to be home,” Sidney said, walking over and putting his arm around me.

“Yes, it is,” I responded. He looked over at me, that crooked smile of his on his face.

“Still think it feels like home?” he asked.

“Even more so now.” He gave me a quick kiss and we turned to begin to unpack the cars.

When Sidney and I had met up for dinner on the night of the last party, I’d been trying to figure out how to word that I’d gotten a job in Cole Harbour so that he’d ask me to move there with him. I didn’t want to just invite myself in case he didn’t want me there. We sat around a table with the rest of the team, and it was nearly impossible to find a way to bring it up. That was until he did.

“Please don’t lecture me for asking what I’m going to ask. I realize that you’re going to say no, but I just have to ask,” he’d started.

“Ask what?” I questioned, confused.

“Move in with me this summer.” It took me a moment to respond because I was so surprised. Was it really going to be that easy?

“Yes.” Sidney sighed and shrugged at my answer.

“Misty, I know I said I don’t want a lecture, but can you at least explain to me why?” he wondered. Then his eyebrows shot up as he realized what I'd said. “Wait, what?” I bit back a laugh.

“I said yes,” I repeated.

“I don’t understand.” He looked genuinely confused, like he’d been ready to fight about it. This time I did laugh.

“I talked to Zara today. She said Walker’s family will give me a job,” I explained. A grin spread over his face.

“So you’re coming home with me this summer?” he checked.

“I’m coming home with you this summer,” I confirmed.

Sidney’s family showed up not long after our arrival and helped us bring our stuff inside while Sam and Bauer reunited and ran around outside. Trina and Taylor were overjoyed that I was going to be there all summer again, while Troy seemed to be avoiding me. I didn’t understand that since I thought we’d cleared everything up last summer and come to some sort of understanding. Apparently that understanding only lasted until I actually started dating his son.

Once everything was in the house and we’d sat out by the water talking for a bit, his family headed back home to start preparing for dinner while we continued to unpack. Sidney made room for me in the master bedroom and bathroom and I combined my stuff with his. We had to work out a compromise as far as how much space I got in the closet compared to his.

“Geez, I give an inch, you take a mile!” he complained after a 10 minute argument about how much of the closet was filled with my stuff.

“You won’t even use all the space I left for you!” I argued. He laughed and pulled me into him.

“This is the best argument we’ve ever had,” he joked. I knew exactly what he meant.

“If you’re not careful, I’ll move all my stuff into one of the guest rooms and we can just be roommates,” I teased.

“Roommates that sleep together though, right?” I punched him lightly on the arm with a laugh before getting back to putting my stuff away.

We spent the rest of the night with his family, which mostly consisted of Troy talking only to people with the last name of Crosby, and me trying to find a way to join in the conversation every chance I got. By the time we’d left I’d come to the conclusion that Troy, once again, hated me.

“He doesn’t hate you,” Sidney told me as we walked into the house. I just gave him a look that said ‘are you kidding me’? “He’s just worried that we’re moving too fast.”

“I’m not going to fight about your father. He’ll feel how he feels no matter what I do or say, so I’m just going to suck it up and deal with it. It still would have been nice to know ahead of time…..” I said, letting my voice trail off at the end.

“I’m sorry I didn’t warn you. I was afraid you wouldn’t come if you knew,” Sid explained.

“From now on, we’re going to have a full disclosure agreement. No secrets because we’re scared of consequences. There’s been enough of that with us since last summer, don’t you think?” I asked. Sidney agreed and we went to bed, exhausted from the trip.

The next morning we were awoken to an incessantly ringing doorbell. I smiled over at Sidney as he groaned while he got out of bed. I laughed as he cursed whoever was brave enough to be the one to ring it. We both knew who was going to be standing there when the door was opened. We walked downstairs and opened the door together.

We were met with Walker, Zara, Valerie, Caden, and Wes standing on the porch all trying to talk to us over each other. We let them in and I started some coffee with the girls following me into the kitchen as the boys made themselves comfortable in the living room. Both Zara and Valerie gave me hugs as they gushed about how happy they were to see me again.

“This is the first time we’ve seen you since you and Sidney finally figured it out!” Zara exclaimed.

“I know, I’m so happy to see you guys!” Just as I said that, Valerie began to cough.

“What the hell is this shit?” she asked, pointing at the coffee mug she was holding. I laughed and started another pot.

We ate the breakfast that they’d brought with them and hung out talking before deciding to head out on the boat for the day. We lugged a bunch of beer on board, headed out to the middle of the lake, put down anchor, and spent the day catching up. I’d missed this. This place really did feel like home to me.

We headed back to Sidney’s for dinner and then, to no one’s surprise, people began to show up for an impromptu party. Texts had been sent, and then forwarded until we had a lot of people welcoming Sidney back home next to the lake and a fire. Everything was going great until I looked up and saw a familiar blonde walking towards me.

“So much for not trying to land Sidney,” Callie said to me. I rolled my eyes at her.

“I don’t have to explain myself or my relationship with Sid to you,” I told her.

“Don’t worry, it’s self-explanatory.”

“I can’t believe you are ballsy enough to walk back into Sidney’s house after he kicked you out last summer just to talk shit to his girlfriend.”

“I don’t know why you insist on arguing with me. You’re just like me.”

“No, Callie, there’s a big difference between the two of us. I will never be a flavor of the month and that’s all you’ll ever be,” I shot at her.

“What the hell are you doing here?” I heard Sidney ask, not allowing Callie to respond.

“I heard you were home and wanted to stop by and say hi,” she told him, putting on that fake sweet smile of hers.

“And talk shit to my girlfriend?” he asked.

“I didn’t…..” she started. He put a hand up to stop her.

“I told you that you weren’t welcome back here if you couldn’t accept Misty. I heard what you said. Get out. Don’t come back. Ever.” I noticed that a great majority of the people at the party were watching us. So did Callie.

“Don’t come crying to me when she fucks the next great superstar,” Callie called out before turning her back on us and leaving.

“Sid…..” I began, turning to look at him. He shut me up with a kiss.

“It’s over. She’s gone. I love you.” I smiled up at him and walked back over to the fire with him.

The night ended much like the rest did. Sidney and I headed to bed with a few stragglers crashing wherever they could find a spot. With the exception of the incident with Callie, it had been a great night back with friends. If this was any indication of what the summer was going to be like, I was never going to want it to end.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chapter 49

It was difficult to enjoy the end of the year party when Sidney knew that in just a couple days he and Misty were going their separate ways for the summer. They were each going to make a trip to visit the other, but that didn’t make the next 4 months seem any easier. He lined up and took a swing at the ball on the tee before cursing. Today was just not his day on the course.

“That cut slightly to the left,” Max said.

“Slightly? It’s in the weeds!” Flower cracked. The two of them, along with Tanger laughed at him. How did he get stuck in this foursome again?

“Mulligan,” Sidney grumbled. The three of them laughed again.

He hit another ball that was only mildly better before the other three lined up to take their turns on the first hole. While the guys were off golfing, the girls were having a spa day. Well, all the girls except for Misty. She was meeting with a potential roommate. Nothing else was lined up for her for next year, so she was banking on getting along with this girl. He was secretly hoping they hated each other so Misty wouldn’t have a choice but to live with him next year.

“Are you really going to send Misty back to her parents while you go home for the summer?” Tanger asked. Great, because this was exactly what he wanted to be discussing right now.

“I don’t know what else to do. She won’t come,” Sidney replied.

“Have you asked her?” Max questioned. He turned and looked at his three teammates and shrugged.

“Are you fucking serious, Crosby? You’re sending her packing and you haven’t even asked her if she’ll go with you?” Flower chastised.

“You guys don’t understand. I know Misty better than all of you. She turned me down when I asked her to live with me here for school next year claiming she needs to be independent. She also continues to stress to me how much she needs to work this summer so she can pay for school herself. There’s no way she’d agree to moving to Cole Harbour with me,” he argued.

“The Captain’s got a point,” Tanger said. Sidney chose not to reply and instead focused on the shot he needed to make to get his ball on the green. He swung and watched as it missed by a good 20 feet.

“Fuck!” he yelled. If this first hole was any indication of how the day was going to go, he was screwed.

“So how does Troy feel about you and Misty being together now?” Max wondered. Sidney groaned as Max then went on to put the ball about a foot from the hole. He gave an exaggerated fist pump.

“I haven’t talked to him about it much,” he replied.

That was mostly true. Of course he’d told his parents that he and Misty were dating now. He thought they’d be happy. His mother had loved her and for whatever reason, by the end of the summer his father had seemed to come to some sort of understanding with Misty. The acceptance that she was going to be in his life was the best he figured he was going to get from his dad at that point.

Unfortunately those feelings hadn’t held over to now. His mom still loved Misty, and was thrilled that the relationship she had seen coming had finally happened. Taylor was happy that he was dating someone that wasn’t ‘some bimbo whore’ in her words. His father, however, was not happy in the least bit and he hadn’t tried to hide it.

“I’m not sure you need to talk to Papa Crosby to know how he feels,” Flower interjected. He was right. Sidney’s father’s emotions were always written all over his face.

“He doesn’t like it. He hates it actually,” Sidney confided in them.

“Does Misty know?” Tanger asked. Sid shook his head.

“How am I supposed to tell her that my father hates that she’s in a relationship with me? If I told her that, she’d come up with some crazy reason about why that’s going to ruin my career or my life and run the other way. I can’t do that,” he explained.

“Is that the real reason you haven’t asked her to go to Cole Harbour with you?” Max chimed in.

“No. Yes. I don’t know. I guess it’s a combination. If I asked her to come with me I’d either have to tell her or let her walk right into the lion’s den without having a clue. I don’t like either option. It’s easier to just let her stay home this summer.”

“It’s easier to be away from the girl you love?” Flower questioned. Well, when it was put that way. Sidney tapped his ball into the hole and they all got into the golf carts and headed to the next hole.

“So what are you going to do?” Tanger asked him.

Sidney lined up at the tee and took a moment to line up his shot. He focused on the hole and then took a few practice swings. Then he let it rip. He watched, dejectedly, as the ball cut to the left much too far. Motherfucker.

“Mulligan,” he groaned as his teammates laughed at his expense once again.

I got out of the cab and walked up to the door in the apartment complex that I was potentially going to be living in next semester. I knocked on the door and waited for the girl named Oneida to answer so I could go through the whole interview process to see if we’d be able to live together. A short, pretty, natural looking blonde opened the door.

“Oneida?” I asked. She smiled at me and nodded.

“You must be Misty. Come on in.”

She held the door open for me and I walked over the threshold. I took in what I could see of the apartment and was surprised by how nice it was. I’d seen student housing before, and it usually didn’t look like this. I had been expecting cracks, dirt, and worn furniture, which was not the sight I’d been met with.

“Wow, this looks really nice,” I commented as I stepped in.

“I know. Not typical student housing. I got lucky knowing the girl who was moving out of here. This building always goes in a hurry. Why don’t I show you around? Then we can get to that awkward interview part of today,” she offered with a little laugh.

I followed Oneida around the apartment. She talked about the amenities, bills, and such as we went. If her descriptions of the apartment and building were any indication of her personality, we were going to get along great. I took it all in before we settled on two of the chairs in the common living space.

“So, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?” she asked. I took a deep breath and began.

“I’m 22 years old, and from upstate New York. I’m closer to Montreal than New York City and nowhere near Buffalo if that helps. I took some time off from school but decided to come back and get my degree in exercise science. I love working out and going to the gym, but that doesn’t stop me from indulging in junk food. I’m close with both of my parents, and I have a younger brother who will be starting his second year of school in the fall.”

“Well, so far so good. What’s your lifestyle like? Morning or night person and so on?”

“I’m definitely more a night person, but I don’t sleep the day away either. I love being social, but not to the point that I can’t let people have their own time. I can usually get along with just about everyone and love to meet new kinds of people. I’m a non-smoker who likes to drink on occasion and I’m not such a big fan of silence.”

“You sound just like me,” Oneida told me with a smile.

We sat and talked for a while longer. I told her that I had a boyfriend, but didn’t mention who it was. Until she formally offered to split the lease with me, I wasn’t divulging anything like that. It turns out that we had no problem getting along, and she promised to send over the papers for me to sign the next day.

I walked out of the apartment with a smile on my face, relieved that I had a place to live when I came back in the fall for school. I called another cab and waited in the parking lot for it to arrive and bring me to join the rest of the girls at the spa where they’d been all morning so far. I’d be getting there just in time for the facial, manicure and pedicure, and the makeover to get us ready for the get together with the guys later tonight. My phone rang just as I sat down in the cab and I answered Zara’s call. It had been far too long since I’d talked to her.

“Hey, Zara!”

“Hey, girl, what’s going on?”

“I just got done meeting the girl I’m going to be rooming with next year during school. What are you up to?” I returned.

“Well, I’ve been busy speculating,” she replied. I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of that.

“Speculating about what?” I asked.

“Well, hypothetically speaking, what would someone do if they were told that there was a job in their boyfriend’s hometown waiting for them?” I felt my heart quicken a little at her question. Could this really be true?

“Hypothetically, I’d think one would be very interested in hearing about how this job is possible and what it is,” I answered.

“Hypothetically it’s a restaurant that someone’s boyfriend’s family owns and they’d be more than happy to help out this someone’s friend.”

“Okay, I’m done with this hypothetical bullshit. Are you serious right now?” I questioned. She laughed.

“I’m completely serious. Having a job and making money is the only thing keeping you from coming to Cole Harbour this summer with Sid, right?” Zara checked.

“Well, that and the fact that he hasn’t asked me to go.” I heard Zara groan on the other end of the phone.

“You know he just hasn’t asked you because he thinks you’ll turn him down and he doesn’t want to be rejected a second time when it comes to asking you to move in with him.” I knew she was right.

“I’ll see what I can do when I see him tonight. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you soon.” She let out a squeal of excitement before we said our goodbyes and hung up.

I was days away from parting from Sidney for the summer. It had looked like a long and miserable summer, but in one quick phone call things seemed like they were actually going to work out in my favor. I’d be able to be with Sidney, yet making my own money so I could stay self-sufficient at the same time. I couldn’t wait to see him to tell him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My millionth apology

Guys, I'm so sorry that it's been so long since I've last updated. Life got in the way like it tends to do sometimes. I'm not sure exactly when I'll get another post up on this or my other two stories, but it'll be sometime in the next two weeks for sure. I have not given up or decided to quit anything I'm writing. I've just been super busy. That also means I am sooooo far behind on reading anyone else's fics. I'll catch up and start leaving comments again, I promise. It might just take a little while. Hope everything is going well for everyone out there!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chapter 48

I just wanted to thank everyone for the comments on the last few chapters. For a while I was starting to lose my will to write, but you've all reignited it. I'm so glad there are so many of you that seem to like my writing. I'd never had much confidence in it until I came on here and started posting chapters for all of you. I can't begin to tell you how much those comments meant. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sidney was having a hell of a past nine months. He’d won the Stanley Cup, met a girl, fell in love, and then won a gold medal. Now that he thought about it, they’d been the best nine months of his life so far. He wasn’t sure anything would ever be able to top going first overall in the draft, but that paled in comparison.

He glanced over at the sleeping form next to him and smiled. He’d never look upon another girl and think she even came close to being as beautiful as Misty was. How he’d gotten so lucky to land her, he’d never know. He just knew that he couldn’t risk losing her ever. She stirred a little, just enough to roll over and snuggle up close to him.

Bauer jumped up in response to the movement and began turning circles before becoming satisfied again and plopping back down onto the bed. That was another thing Sidney couldn’t believe. He was allowing a dog to sleep in bed with him. Before Misty he never would have considered it. Now he couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Sidney closed his eyes and tried to shut off his brain. He needed to get some sleep. He was just so tired. No, not tired, exhausted. He’d played so much hockey in the last two years. It was more than most. He needed every minute of sleep he could get with the first playoff game tomorrow.

When he woke up the next morning he was alone in bed. He made a face, wishing that he could have woken up with Misty in his arms. There just wasn’t a better way to start off a morning in his opinion. He made his way downstairs, and the scent of food and coffee struck him the closer he got.

“It smells amazing,” he announced as he walked into the kitchen. Misty glanced at him over her shoulder and smiled.

“I wasn’t sure what you’d want, so I made a few things.”

He watched from his seat at the island in the kitchen as she pulled a skillet off the stovetop. She dumped the contents onto a platter before turning back to the stove and stirring something. Then she dumped the contents of that into a bowl before grabbing a container out of the refrigerator and dumping some into the bowl as well, and stirring it up. Just as she finished he heard the toaster oven go off.

“You weren’t kidding,” he commented as she carried it all over and sat down next to him.

He surveyed his options and decided he wanted a little bit of it all. It wasn’t his typical game day breakfast, but Misty had taught him that breaking from tradition was sometimes a good thing. He dished out some scrambled egg whites, spooned some of the oatmeal with berries mixed in into a bowl, and grabbed some toast.

“I wasn’t sure what you wanted on it all,” Misty told him, handing him salsa and ketchup for the eggs and maple syrup and honey for the oatmeal. Then she passed him an apple and a banana to choose from.

“Why can’t you live with me again?” he joked as he took a bite. She rolled her eyes and playfully smacked him on the shoulder before beginning to eat her breakfast as well. “Seriously though, thank you. This is amazing.” She smiled over at him and gave him a quick kiss.

When he was done he left his dishes for Misty like she told him to and went upstairs to get dressed. He made sure to give her another kiss and thank her again before he left for morning skate. She’d only been in town for a couple of days, but he was already used to having her here. Even if she didn’t cook for him every morning he was looking forward to having her here with him all the time.

He’d missed her in the two months they’d been apart after the Olympics. Misty had wanted to keep working and make money for school. She’d officially enrolled at Pitt for the fall semester and despite getting financial aid, she still had to pay some tuition. He’d understood, but it had been hard to be away from her for that long. Now he was just happy to have her around for the duration of playoffs. She’d promised that she’d stick around until they were over.

“You make me sick when you walk in here looking like that,” Max told him as he walked through the locker room door. Sidney just grinned over at him.

“Morning, Talbot,” he responded.

It was time to get serious then and focus on the upcoming game. They couldn’t take Ottawa lightly. The guys skated and then he headed straight home. After making him his usual pre-game meal, Misty got out of his way and let him be for the rest of the afternoon. He appreciated her effort to let him have some of his superstitions in place. When he was done with lunch he headed upstairs for his nap, and then it was game time.

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it!” I agreed with a laugh. I’d been trying to refuse the snakebites Max had been handing out to the table for a few minutes now, but no one was letting me get away with it.

“She’s in!” Kelsey exclaimed, holding up her shot glass. We all joined her in the gesture and lifted our glasses in the air before downing them in one sip.

“I am now officially done taking shots, so don’t bother asking me to do more,” I announced as I got up from the table. I made my way over to where Sidney was standing with Gogo and TK.

“You doing okay over there?” he asked, a smirk on his face. I narrowed my eyes at him in false anger.

“Shove it, Crosby,” I shot back. He laughed and led me over to the bar to grab refills on both of our drinks.

The Penguins had lost out against Montreal a couple of nights ago, and now the guys were out just letting off some steam. Obviously no one was happy that they were no longer defending their title as Stanley Cup Champions, but they didn’t want to wallow either. This was more a celebration of what they’d accomplished in the past few seasons than a drunken pity party.

It was nice to see Sidney loosen up after the past month. I’d understood why he was so uptight, and I’d dealt with it the best I could, mostly just staying out of his way. Even so, I was much happier seeing him without any stress on his shoulders, at least for a little while. He didn’t get to just enjoy himself very often, so this was a nice refreshing moment.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Max slurred as he came up and slid an arm over my shoulders. I’m pretty sure he did it more to keep himself upright than as a friendly gesture.

“I’m glad I’m here too,” I told him.

“You’ve kept the kid from taking things too seriously this season. He was finally able to just play for once and look where it got him. 51 fucking goals, man!”

“Thanks, Max.”

“Are you trying to mow my lawn, Talbot?” Sidney asked walking back over with our drinks. Max took his arm off my shoulders and swayed unsteadily for a moment.

“Nope, just telling Misty how much more fun you are now,” he responded, clinking his glass with Sid’s. I glanced over at Sidney and bit my lower lip to keep from laughing as Sidney took the drink out of Max’s hand.

“I think you’re done for the night, Superstar,” Sid told him.

“No, I’m good. I’m fine.” Max finished that off with a string of French that I’m sure didn’t even make sense to anyone who spoke the language. He then stumbled and Sid had to catch him.

“Okay, buddy, I think we need to get you home,” I said, helping Sidney with him. He just grinned stupidly over at me.

“You’re pretty,” came his response. I rolled my eyes at him and laughed before saying goodbye to everyone and practically carrying Max out of the club with Sidney.

We put him in the back of Sid’s car and decided it would just be easier to bring him back to Sidney’s place and put him in the guest room. Max was passed out by the time we got there and we could hardly wake him up to get him inside. He collapsed down onto the bed and we put a couple of bottles of water on the nightstand next to him before closing him in.

The next morning I woke up and decided to check on Max and see how he was doing. I knocked on the door but didn’t receive an answer. I turned the knob and opened the door to see Max lying flat on his back on top of the blankets, spread eagle, and completely naked. I immediately squeezed my eyes closed at the sight. Let’s just say catching him naked in the morning was not a great sight for my eyes.

“Morning,” I heard him mumble. He must have heard me come in. I opened my eyes figuring that he was in the process of covering himself up. I was wrong. He wasn’t making any effort to hide his nakedness and even smirked over at me. “Everything okay?”

“I just wanted to check on you after the performance you put on last night,” I told him, keeping my eyes focused on his.

“I feel like shit,” he told me with a laugh. He stood up from the bed then, and I covered my eyes.

“Easy sheriff. Watch where you point that thing.” He laughed at my comment and I heard him putting clothes on.

“Thanks for taking my drunk ass in last night.”

“Thank Sidney. I wanted to leave you on a street corner,” I cracked.

Max followed me out of the room and downstairs where Sidney was waiting with water and coffee ready. The three of us hung out and talked for a while, mostly about the end of the year party there was going to be. Max grabbed a cab home a little while later and Sidney gave me a long kiss afterwards. I wondered how the hell I was going to be able to go all summer without seeing him.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chapter 47

Kind of filler, but I have to get to the summer somehow. Oh, and since I seem to have a habit of writing when I'm tired lately, forgive any spelling or grammatical errors in this and upcoming chapters of all my stories.....

I heaved a sigh of annoyance as I watched Bauer jump straight into a snow drift. Really? He had to do that right now? After yelling at him to get out I grimaced as he jumped up into my car. I got in and turned around, making a face at the muddy puddles forming on my backseat. I was so over winter at this point.

I started up the car and navigated the streets slowly to avoid sliding and wrecking. That would be just my luck. I pulled into Evanne’s driveway a little bit later and let Bauer out of the car. Evie opened the door before I had even gotten up the front steps and the blast of warm air that hit me was very welcoming.

“It’s too goddamn cold out there,” I complained as I stepped inside and she shut the door behind me.

“I can’t even believe you left your house today. It’s too cold to go outside for any reason,” she responded. I just shrugged as I shedded my layers of clothing.

“I needed someone to watch the game with.”

I followed Evie into the kitchen and helped her grab the food she’d made and some drinks before the game started. We walked out into the living room where Bauer had already made himself at home on the couch. She turned the channel and we settled in.

“You were accepted everywhere you applied huh?” Evie asked.

“For some reason, they all like me,” I joked.

“I guess I don’t even need to ask about which college you’re going to be attending in the fall.”

“I haven’t made that decision yet,” I responded. She gave me a look like I was an idiot.

“Come on. You’re going to Pitt.”

“I’ve got to see what I can get for financial aid before I can commit to any place,” I told her. She rolled her eyes at me.

“Misty, you and I both know that you would do whatever it took to make sure you ended up in the same city as Sidney next year.” I could feel myself starting to blush.

“I think the game is starting.” Evie laughed at my change of subject, but she quit bugging me about school and settled back to watch the game.

I’d been away from Sidney for less than a week and I already missed him like crazy. He’d rented me a car and I’d made the drive back home with Bauer two days before he left for the Olympics. It was tough to leave and not be sure when I was going to see him again, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

Despite the fact that I admittedly was a romantic at heart, Valentine’s Day had never really meant anything to me. It was nice to have someone, nice to see them, nice to maybe go to dinner, but if it didn’t happen I wasn’t upset about it. This year I mostly felt the same. I’d come to terms with it before it had even come. Then the oversized stuffed bear with the purple and red roses had shown up unexpectedly.

I may not be there for Valentine’s Day, but I’ll be thinking about you every second. I love you and miss you. ~Sidney

That was when missing him had really hit me. I’d been nervous and excited about the Olympics since. Nervous because I wanted Sidney to play well and excited because it was the only way I was going to get to see him for the next couple weeks at least. My stomach was tying itself in knots as I waited for the puck drop in game 1.

I watched in complete elation as Canada trounced Norway 8-0. On top of that Sidney had three assists. After hanging out a little bit longer with Evie I packed on all the clothes and outerwear I’d previously taken off and braved the cold and the snow to head back home and wait for Sidney to call.

“I hope this is how the rest of the Olympics go,” I told him when he was finally able to get a little time later on.

“Even when we play the US?” he asked.

“Well, can you guys at least let it be close so we’re not embarrassed?” I half joked. He laughed.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

I knew that despite the outcome of the game against Norway, Sidney was still nervous about the rest of the games. Even though Canada, along with Russia, was a favorite to win the gold it didn’t make Sidney feel any better. He wasn’t coming out and saying that, but he didn’t have to. I knew how he felt, I could just tell.

The second game they played against Switzerland proved to Sidney and everyone else that maybe Canada wasn’t going to have such an easy time afterall. The game went to overtime and Canada was playing sloppy. When it went to the shootout I sat with my hands clenched together, legs shaking as Sidney took the puck down the ice. I let out a loud yell as I jumped up off the couch when he scored and won the game.

The next one was by far the worst. I didn’t expect the US to be able to pull it out. I thought after the close call against Switzerland that Canada would wake up and take it to my country, but they didn’t, and they lost. Sidney scored but that was hardly a consolation to him. He didn’t call that night. Just sent a text saying he’d talk to me tomorrow. The only thing I could send back was an ‘I’m sorry’ and an ‘I love you’.

Their next game was against Germany and I sat nervously at Evanne’s house watching. Thankfully that game didn’t end up so nerve-wracking afterall. Canada pretty much dominated the entire game and a smile was back on my face. Sidney was going to be happier than he had been the last few days.

That happiness only lasted until that night. Sidney called and his voice didn’t hold the excitement I thought it would. Then he told me they would be playing Russia. That wasn’t right and shouldn’t be happening so early in the Olympics. Both countries were supposed to be battling for the gold medal, and now one wasn’t even going to get a medal of any kind.

I spent most of the conversation letting Sid vent because I wasn’t quite sure exactly what to say. He had a huge game coming up, one that could cost them everything. What does one say to someone facing that kind of situation? Instead I did my best to just make sure he knew that no matter what I was going to love him.

“Thank you,” he said right before we hung up.

“For what?” I asked.

“Being the only person in my life not trying to give me a pep talk for the game against Russia, for just talking to me about things going on in your life like tomorrow isn’t a big deal.” I felt myself smiling even though he couldn’t see it through the phone.

“I love you.” I heard him laugh.

“I love you too.”

Evie and I curled up on her couch the next day and quietly watched TV as we waited for the game to start. I was a nervous wreck an Evie was having sympathy pains as she sat next to me. It was a completely different atmosphere only minutes into the game. Once the first goal was scored I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Each goal after had Evie and I jumping up and down, screaming in excitement while Bauer ran around the room barking and trying to figure out what was going on.

“I can’t believe you have me cheering so hard for another country,” she chastised me when it was over and Canada was moving on. I could only laugh in response.

The game against Slovakia to make it into the gold medal game was closer than it should have been. The team was up 3-0 in the third and then gave Slovakia two goals. Thankfully Canada held them off, but it wasn’t a good showing for them in the end. That was also when I really started to notice all the criticism of Sidney.

People were starting to talk about how he wasn’t showing up in these Olympics. He was supposed to be a big game player and wasn’t pulling his weight. I could hear in his voice that he knew these things were being said, but he was trying to blow it off. I could see that he was playing his ass off, he knew he was playing his ass off, but it wasn’t good enough. Nothing he did ever seemed to be good enough.

Of course it would have to be Canada vs. the US in the gold medal game. Evie had set up a huge party to watch the game where I knew I was going to be surrounded by people cheering for our country, and I was going to look like a traitor. If it hadn’t been for Sidney I would have been rooting for the US, but I just couldn’t. Not after the things that were being said about Sid.

I sat through an hour of trash talking before the game even started. I was good natured about it, and was at least thrilled that the US had gone above and beyond what anyone had expected of them. I was proud of them and nervous for Sidney. This was definitely an odd situation to be in, to root against your own country, but I couldn’t help it. My heart was making this decision for me.

When the game went into overtime I began to pace. I even started to feel nauseous. Ryan Miller was standing on his head like he had been the whole tournament and I wasn’t sure that anyone was going to beat him. I sat back down when the overtime started and clasped my hands together, remaining quiet and focused while everyone around me cheered and yelled at the TV.

Then I was jumping in the air, fist pumping, the loudest yell possible coming from my mouth as the rest of the house fell silent. Tears started to fall from my eyes and I fell my whole body start to shake as I watched Sidney celebrate the game winning goal. He was the hero of his country today. He’d won Canada the gold. That was going to shut everyone up.

I remained glued to the television as they presented the medals after the game. When I heard the roar of the crowd and saw his teammates mobbing Sidney when he received his medal I felt so proud of him and spent the next 20 minutes wiping tears from my eyes. I stayed at Evie’s to celebrate but ran outside as soon as my phone started to ring.

“You’re amazing!” I said into the phone before Sidney had a chance to say anything.

“I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it,” he repeated over and over. It was loud where he was and I wished more than anything that I was there with him while simultaneously knowing that he needed to just be with the team right now.

“You’re a national hero, how does that feel?” I asked.

“I’ll tell you when I know,” he joked.

“If the US had to lose, I’m glad it was you that beat them.” He laughed.

“This is because of you, you know. I couldn’t have done this without having you in my life. I won this medal for you,” he said. Tears filled my eyes again at those unexpected words.

“You’re getting the biggest hug the next time I see you.”

“I better be getting more than that.”

“And the moments over. Nice job, Crosby,” I shot at him.

I told him to go celebrate with the guys and his family a couple minutes later. I knew that he’d be sending me texts the rest of the night letting me know what was going on. That was just the kind of guy he was. Now I just had to wait until we could figure out when I could get back out to Pittsburgh to see him again.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chapter 46

I know, I know, it's been a long time. Things were crazy there for a while, but they've calmed down. I'll be able to write more now and then update more often, I swear! Please forgive any errors in this post. I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open, and just don't want to proofread.

Sidney walked out of his meeting with Mario after practice feeling just a little bit nervous. The Olympics were only a week away and they were going over the travel itinerary and ended up talking for a while about what he should expect. He’d always known he’d be nervous when he got there, but he didn’t expect to already be nervous.

He had to try to put it out of his mind and concentrate on the Pens games that were left before then. That’s what his focus needed to be on. That’s what was important right now. There would be time to think about the Olympics, but that wasn’t right now. Maybe it was better that way, to not think about it until he was there.

He walked in the door and was immediately greeted by Bauer. He gave him a little bit of attention before realizing that he hadn’t heard another sound in the house. Misty must be working out. He grabbed some lunch before settling down in front of the TV. It wasn’t long before he heard the front door open and Misty’s footsteps walk into the house.

“Hey, Sid!” she called.

“In here!”

He watched as she came around the corner and smiled in at him. He felt that little murmur, if that’s what you wanted to call it, in his heart when he saw her. It happened every time he saw her, and he liked that feeling. She plopped down onto the couch next to him and gave him a kiss. That was something else he was really starting to enjoy.

“So how was practice?” she asked. He told her a little bit about it before bringing up his meeting with Mario. “I can’t believe the Olympics are so close.”

“I know. This season has just flown by,” he replied. Misty rested her head on his shoulder.

“I guess I should start figuring out how I’m going to get home.”

Those words seemed to just shatter the moment. He’d known somewhere in the back of his mind that she had to leave at some point, but he hadn’t let himself think about it. He didn’t want to think about her leaving Pittsburgh and being 9 hours away again. He didn’t want to let her leave.

“You could always come with me to Vancouver,” he said, even though he knew she wouldn’t. She looked up at him and smiled.

“I can’t.”

“I know.”

Sidney knew there was a 0% chance that Misty would willingly go to Vancouver anytime soon. After what Andrea Kesler had said to her, and with Mason possibly being there, she wouldn’t step foot in the province of B.C., let alone Vancouver itself. He also knew that with them recently being outed, she wanted to avoid the spotlight as much as possible.

They sat there quietly for a while, neither really knowing what to say. It hurt to know she was going to be away from him again, just after he’d finally gotten her. He knew it wasn’t forever, just for a little while, but it got him thinking. He didn’t want to be away from her anymore. That was all he knew.

Misty finally got up to take a shower and change out of the clothes she’d worked out in. While she was doing that, he went out to get the mail. He sorted through the envelopes as he walked through the front door, and stopped when he reached the large one addressed to Misty. It was from her parents.

He knew that if any acceptance or rejection letters came from the schools she’d applied to, they were going to send them down to her at his place while she was here. He felt his heart speed up at the thought that a letter from Pitt might be included inside. Maybe today he’d finally know if she was going to be going to school here next year or not.

“You’ve got an envelope from home,” he told Misty when she came back downstairs. She rushed over to him and took the envelope out of his hands.

He watched as Misty ripped open the envelope and pulled two letters out. He saw ‘Pitt’ scrolled across the letterhead of one of them. He waited quietly, and anxiously to see what it said. Misty looked up at him before slipping a finger under the seal and opening it. He watched and waited to know what it said as she read over it. He also realized what he was going to do if they’d accepted her.

I ripped open the envelope nervously. They always say that the big envelope is a good sign and the small envelope isn’t. In my experience that wasn’t always true. The last time I’d received acceptance letters my first time going through this, most of them hadn’t come in big envelopes. They’d simply said I was accepted and I’d receive more information if I accepted their acceptance.

I hesitated before pulling the letter out of the envelope. I took a deep breath and began to read. ‘Dear Misty Harris, we’re please to inform you that your application has been accepted’. I felt a smile spread on my face, and before I even had a chance to say anything, Sidney had me in his arms and lifted into the air.

“What are you doing?” I asked with a laugh when he put me down.

“I’m assuming that smile meant you were accepted,” he said. I laughed again.

“You assumed right.”

He pulled me into a hug and spun me around right there in his living room. When my feet were back on the ground his lips were then connected to mine. We shared a long kiss before I pulled away to smile up at him. As long as I could figure out a way to financially swing this, I would be going to school in Pittsburgh next year, and I could be in the same city as Sidney.

“Congratulations,” he told me, a large grin on his face. I smiled right back at him.

“Thank you. I have to make a few calls.” He let me go and I went in search of my phone.
The first person I called was Vero. She was almost as anxious about me getting into Pitt as I was. When I gave her the news it took about 10 minutes for me to get another word in, and another hour for me to get my hearing back. I made a few more phone calls, including to my parents before making my way back out to Sidney.

“So now what?” he asked.

“Now I find out about financial aid and all of that to make sure I can afford to go,” I told him.

“I could pay for it,” he offered.

“You want me here that bad?” I joked. He didn’t laugh, and instead looked completely serious. “No, Sid. No way I’m letting you do that.”

“I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you’ll be in Pittsburgh next year,” he said.

“I appreciate that, I really do, but no. It’s my choice to go back to school to get a degree, it’ll be me going to classes and doing the work, so it’ll be me that pays for it.” There was no other option as far as I was concerned. This was my thing, and I wasn’t going to pass the responsibility off on anyone.

“If you ever need any…..” he started.

“Don’t even finish that sentence. I’ll figure it out,” I told him putting a hand up to stop him.

“Well, at least you won’t have to worry about paying for housing.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. Had we had some sort of conversation I couldn’t remember?

“You’ll just live here.”

Sidney said it so matter-of-factly that I actually had to think for a moment about whether we had come to that decision. It only took me a moment to realize that we never had. I also began to have flashbacks to my phone conversation with Andrea. I wasn’t with Sidney to use him, I was with him because I loved him.

“I can’t do that,” I said. He looked at me in surprise.

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t move in with you.” His expression changed to hurt and I felt awful about making him feel like that.

“Why not?” he questioned.

“Sid, I love you, you know that. You also know I’ve been spending a lot of the last year of my life proving to myself that I don’t need to rely on others and just myself. It’d be so easy to move in with you, but I don’t want to use you, and I want to prove to people that I wouldn’t use you either. I have to do this on my own.”

“What if I tell you that I want you to live here, not to save you money, but because I just love having you here when I come home and when I wake up in the morning?” I sighed and took his hand.

“I love those things too, trust me. Even so, I need to do this for myself. I’ll still be here in Pittsburgh with you. I’ll be able to see you whenever you want. Hell, we’ll probably still spend half of the nights together. I just need to have my own place to prove to myself I can do this. Please, understand.” He gave my hand a squeeze.

“I don’t like it, but I understand.” I got up and moved to sit down on his lap.

“Someday I’ll move in, just not next year.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” he joked, a smile back on his face. I smiled back, and sealed the deal with a kiss.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chapter 45

The day after the college visit hadn’t been a big deal. Sidney had gone to practice and there hadn’t been any sort of questions about what he was doing on Pitt’s campus or who the mystery girl hanging out with two of the girlfriends was. We both felt relief that things just weren’t as bad as we thought they would be. Maybe they had bought Max’s excuse and thought I was just someone’s friend in for a visit.

The following day things started to change. Heather sent me an email with a link to a website. I recognized the address almost immediately. I gritted my teeth in irritation at that damn board. I’d remembered it from my time with Mason. Anything goes on that professional athletes’ gossip board.

I’d only learned about it from Mason. Apparently at the beginning of each season when going over security issues during camp a lawyer always comes in and mentions that board. They suggest for some of the more high profile guys to keep an eye on the content in case something gets written that needs legal action. Most guys blow off the suggestion and don’t give a shit. It’s always the girls who care.

Some girls read it almost never because they could care less. Others check it more often because it amuses them to see what’s written about them and any other girls and guys they know. I’ve even heard of a couple of girls who will post pictures of themselves and say things about themselves just to get a rise out of the posters. Then there are the girls with the thin skin who check it regularly because they’re either insecure about their significant other or about what others think of them. I was in the first group.

To me it was all just a stupid place to gossip about players and their personal lives. I had the same feeling about sites that did the same thing to celebrities. I just wasn’t interested. People can do, read, and say what they want. I’d never want to put somebody down for caring about anything like that, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I’d checked it out a couple of times to see what people were saying about Mason, me, his teammates and their wives and girlfriends. I’d realized quickly that it didn’t matter what was said on there at all. Most of it was lies, some of it was truth, none of it was anything I wanted in my head. I knew myself, I knew the others, and that was enough for me. It was unnecessary for me to care what others who didn’t know us thought. That was the end of it.

Now I was sitting on Sidney’s couch while he was at practice, my finger hovering over the button that would click the link and take me to where Heather was sending me. Did I really want to see this? I doubted it, but I felt like maybe I should just so I could be prepared for what might come. I held my breath as the computer loaded the page.

My eyes were met with a collage of pictures of the guys on Pitt’s campus. At first it was just them, but then there were pictures of Vero, Heather, and I. It ended with two pictures of us leaving campus. The first showed the group separating and the fact that Sidney and I were heading in the same direction as Marc and Vero, and the opposite direction of everyone else, as if that didn’t already scream that we were a couple. The second had my hand in Sidney’s, and he was kissing the back of it. Oh shit.

I didn’t bother to read any of the comments. I didn’t need to. It was probably a long list of people discussing who I was, what I looked like, if I was good enough for him, and how long we’d been together. I was irritated that there had been someone out there who had followed us just to take pictures behind our backs, but I realized that was what life would be like with Sidney.

When he came home that afternoon he knew about the pictures being online. He sat down quietly on the couch next to me and we just looked at each other for a while, neither really knowing what to say. After a while he put his arm around me and pulled me into him. I wrapped my arms around his waist as I curled onto his lap.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked after a while.

“Do I have a choice?” I returned. He pulled his head back and looked straight into my eyes.

“There’s always a choice,” he said, his tone and the look in his eyes saying what his words didn’t. I leaned in and pressed my lips to his long and hard so he’d get that I wasn’t going anywhere.

“I never should have let you come,” I whispered.

“You should stop saying that. It was my choice. I did it, not you,” he assured me. I nodded my head and then we dropped it. For then, anyway.

The third day after the visit to campus was when shit really hit the fan. It was game day. I woke up that morning to Sidney’s alarm and got out of bed with him when I normally wouldn’t. Usually I stayed in bed a little longer, but right now I couldn’t sleep. I knew what tonight was. Tonight I was going to be at the arena watching Sidney play with a large part of the city now knowing I existed. Part of me just wanted to get it over with and part of me never wanted it to come.

As soon as Sidney was out the door I got changed, put on gloves and a toque and walked outside. After giving my body a little time to adjust to the cold I began to run. I pushed myself hard enough that my brain didn’t even have the ability to think about tonight. I wanted some time today just for myself, to not have to think.

An hour later I walked back into Sidney’s house and grabbed some water out of the refrigerator. My body ached, and I didn’t feel great after running on an empty stomach. I grabbed some crackers, peanut butter, and a banana and sat at the island in the kitchen to eat. Just as I was finishing and looking forward to a shower I heard my phone ringing from the other room. I jogged in so I wouldn’t miss the call and looked in surprise at the name on my call ID.

Andrea Kesler. I hadn’t talked to Andrea in months. The last time I’d talked to her had been over the summer after Mason had shown up at my door. We’d been close when I’d been out in Vancouver, but after I found out that Andrea had told Mason where I was we’d had a falling out. Our last conversation hadn’t been all that pleasant and had ended with me telling her when she was ready to stop meddling in my life and apologize she was free to call me. Until then she needed to leave me alone. I found myself smiling, glad that it was finally happening.

“Hey, Andrea,” I greeted as I picked up.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” she exclaimed choosing to immediately yell at me instead of even exchanging pleasantries before we got into whatever we were about to.

“I’m sorry?” For a moment I couldn’t figure out why she was calling me to yell at me. I hadn’t done anything to her.

“I thought you were different, Misty. I didn’t think you were that kind of girl,” she chastised. My defenses immediately went up even though I didn’t quite know what I was going to be defending myself against.

“Andrea, sorry, but you’re going to have to clarify here. What kind of girl are you accusing me of being?”

“Some stupid fucking rink rat,” she spat out as if she had no idea who I was. My mouth dropped open as things became very clear.

“Hey! Who do you think you’re talking to? You know I’m not that kind of girl. Come on,” I defended myself angrily. She didn’t give me a chance to explain anything before she really got down to why she was calling.

“What about Mason, huh? The guy’s in love with you. He proposed to you just to have you turn him down for Sidney fucking Crosby!” she accused.

“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” I told her through gritted teeth.

“Don’t I? Mason told me you two were together when he got there, but I convinced him it meant nothing. He’s been trying to work up courage to talk to you again, until now. Bitch move, Misty. Bitch move.”

“Listen to me. I wasn’t in love with Mason. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. And Sidney and I weren’t together then. We weren’t until recently. I wasn’t trying to get him, it just happened. You should know me better than that! Don’t call me out of the blue and start accusing me of things you know nothing about.”

“I don’t believe a word coming out of your mouth. I never will. You aren’t the person I thought I knew and I don’t know how I wasted any time being your friend. Go ahead, live the life since that’s all you were ever after. Just know you’ve lost any friends out here.”

Andrea hung up the phone without giving me a chance to respond. I stared at the phone long after the call was disconnected, tears filling my eyes and spilling over onto my cheeks. How could she have possibly called me and spewed such unnecessary hatred towards me like that? I wasn’t the person she was claiming I was. She should know that. Everyone in Vancouver should know that.

I was still lost in my thoughts wondering how things could have gone so horribly wrong so quickly when Sidney came home. I heard him call out my name when he walked in the door, but I was too upset to talk. He found me in the living room and looked at me worriedly. Then he saw that I had the computer on, the pictures of us on the screen.

“Oh, Misty,” he said sitting down next to me. “It’ll be okay.” Tears filled my eyes again as I shook my head.

“It’s not those. Andrea Kesler called. She said some really hurtful things.”

He pulled me into him and let me cry before asking me to tell him about it. When I was finished and had pulled away I could see his jaw clenched in anger and he was looking off out the window. I knew he didn’t need this right now with a game tonight, so I wiped the tears away and pretended I felt better.

“You need to get upstairs for your nap,” I told him. He stood up and began walking towards the stairs.

“I’m glad I’ve already played them. I’d kill someone,” he said over his shoulder.

“I’m fine. Really. You don’t have to worry,” I lied, still reeling from the phone call. He nodded and walked upstairs without another word.

I did my best to distract myself the rest of the afternoon while Sidney was sleeping. I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I knew that I wasn’t with Sidney for his fame and money, and that had to be good enough for now. Eventually people would see, I told myself, they’d see that we actually loved each other.

Vero picked me up later for the game and I told her about everything that happened. She assured me that no one in Pittsburgh felt like that about me and I managed to relax, at least a little. When we got to the game I went straight to my seat, tried to make myself small, and didn’t move again until the game was over.

We stayed in our seats as long as we could after the game ended, but I was still getting looks from people as we made our way downstairs. I knew I was going to have to get used to this, and eventually the excitement of Sidney Crosby’s new girlfriend would die down, but right now I just wanted to be home and in bed.

I sat on a couch in the family room as I waited for Sidney, not really joining into any conversation. I just wasn’t in the mood. When Sid finally came out he took my hand and led me out the door. Immediately upon the door opening, flashes began to go off. I felt like they were coming from every direction, and put a hand up to block out the brightness of them.

I felt Sidney begin pulling me, and I nearly tripped over my own feet as I struggled to see where I was going. I also did everything in my power to block out what everyone was saying. It may have been all nice things, but I just didn’t have it in me to listen right now. One negative thing after Andrea’s phone call today could just cause me to break down.

I saw Sidney open the car door for me and I got in. I immediately put my head down and started acting like I was on my phone. Truth was, I didn’t want to look into anyone’s faces and see the judgment in their eyes either. A moment later the car started up and Sidney pulled out of the parking lot and began to drive home. Bed was calling my name. I just hoped I could sleep.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chapter 44

Sidney escaped the locker room in record time. Usually it took him forever to get out because of all the interviews he had to do, but this time he’d snuck out. He’d probably hear about it when he came in to practice tomorrow, but he didn’t care. Ever since he’d gotten back to Pittsburgh with Misty, he hadn’t wanted to waste any time with her.

He walked through the door of the family room and saw her standing towards the back, a bottle of water in her hand, talking to a group of people. He paused just inside the door to simply look at her before she noticed him. He’d been doing that a lot lately, every chance he had. He couldn’t help himself. She was beautiful.

“Stop being a creep,” Max chastised him, giving him a hard slap on the back, and drawing everyone’s attention over to him.

“Is it possible for Crosby to be a creep?” Kelsey asked. Sid rolled his eyes at the group before walking over and giving Misty a quick kiss.

“You’re out early,” she commented, what seemed like a perma-smile etched onto her face.

“Yeah, I skipped out on the interviews,” he told her.

“Naughty captain,” Gronk joked.

“So what are we doing? Anything?” Heather asked.

“Something low key please,” Vero begged.

“There’s that bar down the street…..” Flower began.

After everyone agreed, they were on their way. He held Misty’s hand as they drove. It was a short drive, and they were parking after just a few minutes. He’d never been here before, but he knew some of the guys frequented the place when they weren’t looking for an all night blowout. Sidney also knew people were starting to comment on him being out more often, but he didn’t care. Misty had taught him that life was too short not to do the things you wanted.

“So what are you guys doing tomorrow?” TK asked as they sat around a large table in the back, away from the majority of the patrons.

“I actually have a tour at Pitt tomorrow,” Misty replied. Sidney smiled at just the thought of Misty going there. As long as they accepted her, she was going to be here in Pittsburgh with him all next year.

“Ooh, I want to go!” Vero exclaimed. Misty laughed and shrugged.

“Sure, the more the merrier,” she said.

Before he knew it, Flower and Vero, Gronk and Heather, and Max were all saying they wanted to go. Then they turned their attention on him. He hadn’t said anything about going, and now he was squirming slightly in his seat. He hadn’t planned on touring the college with Misty.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea if I go…..” he started. He could see the hurt in Misty’s eyes, but he couldn’t help it. “It’s just that…..if I go then everyone will know about us and since we really just got together, I’m not sure I want to subject you to that.”

“I understand,” she told him with a reassuring smile, placing her hand over his. Even though he knew she meant it, he still felt like shit about it.

“That’s okay. I can be your date!” Max volunteered. Misty laughed as she turned her attention on him.

“I’m not sure this is the kind of thing you need a date for, Mujo,” she told him, using the nickname she’d given him, shortening the word mujeriego to mujo. Misty had later found out that mujo meant impermanence in Buddhism, which also seemed to fit Max’s lifestyle.

“So you’re saying I can’t go?” Max pouted. She rolled her eyes at him before giving him a light slap on the shoulder.

“Of course you can come.” The rest of the night went by with the whole party having fun, except for him. He felt guilty, and like he was letting Misty down somehow.

“I want to go, I just don’t want you to be harassed by the media and everyone else when they find out about us. Not yet,” he said to her when she got into the car. She leaned over and placed a kiss on his forehead.

“It’s okay, I promise. I don’t like having to be a secret, but I’m not exactly clamoring for the attention either. Whatever you decide is okay with me.” God, how had he gotten so lucky?

I pulled on my jacket and then my boots, preparing for the trek around Pitt’s campus. I grabbed my mittens, and then placed my toque on my head before grabbing my purse, and keys to Sid’s house. Just as I opened the door to hop into Marc’s car when they pulled into the driveway, I felt a hand on mine.

“Hold up. I’m coming,” Sidney said, grabbing his jacket and a toque from the closet in the foyer.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked nervously. Did I want to do this?

“I’m sure as long as you are,” he told me. I took a deep breath before nodding.

“Let’s go.”

Marc and Vero gave us both knowing smiles before doing their best to help us relax. In just a short time, there wasn’t going to be any way to deny that we were a couple. We pulled into the parking lot outside the admissions office and found that Jordan, Heather, and Max were already there and waiting for us. I had been confused about why they’d wanted to come at first, but I realized why they were all so eager. None of them had gone to college and they wanted to know what it was really like.

“Hi, my name is Misty Harris, and I had a tour scheduled this afternoon,” I told the woman at the front desk. She stared past me at the group I was with for a few seconds before nodding and making a phone call, announcing that I was there.

“Misty, hi, my name is Lawrence, and I’m going to be your tour guide today,” a guy said walking out and greeting me. He glanced up at the group I was with and his smile faltered. He obviously knew who they were and hadn’t been expecting to come face to face with a few of the Penguins today.

I introduced him to everyone, and explained that they’d just wanted to come along on the tour and see what the campus looked like. It took a few minutes, but eventually Lawrence settled in to his routine. He led us around campus, taking us through tours of a few of the buildings, showing us the library, and the dining hall. Then it was time for the dorm. I doubted I would ever live in a dorm again, but I followed along. It didn’t hit me until we were inside that maybe walking into the dorm wasn’t such a good idea.

“Everybody’s staring at us,” Heather whispered over to me, giving me nudge. I’d noticed and while I was feeling uncomfortable, she was smiling and sliding her hand into Jordan’s.

I could hear the whispers of everyone that walked by, and while I couldn’t make out all the words, I could hear the gossip about what the hell some of the Pens were doing in a Pitt dorm. When we stopped at the room that they were showing us I caught sight of a group of students who had obviously been following us as we walked. I never should have let Sidney come with me to this. I should have come alone.

I noticed Sidney’s body language had changed, and I knew he was questioning his decision to come along as well. He was doing his best to hide between Marc and Jordan as we stood in the room and Lawrence explained life in the dorms. I could see him pulling his hat further over his face when I noticed a flash that could only have come from a camera. I felt sick about it all.

Lawrence finished talking and led us back the way we came and back out the door. Unfortunately word was starting to spread around campus that we were there. It wasn’t a large group, but there were about a dozen students standing around the doorway in the cold January wind waiting for us to exit. As soon as we did cameras began to flash, and the guys were approached.

“Shit,” I mumbled more to myself than anyone else. I should have seen this coming.

“It’s just best to wait it out on the side,” Vero told me, taking hold of my arm and leading me away from the guys and the group that was beginning to surround them.

“I should never have let him come. I shouldn’t have let any of you come,” I said as I watched the guys sign various items and take pictures.

“He wanted to come and see where you hope to go to school to support you. He knew what he might be getting himself into,” Heather assured me. I nodded, but didn’t feel any better about it.

“What are you guys doing here?” I heard a girl ask. I saw Sidney’s eyes dart over to me quickly as he tried to figure out what to say.

“Just an impromptu appearance in the community,” Max spoke up with a grin. For a second I let myself relax, until I realized that more than one person had noticed Sidney’s glance to me. They were now looking over at Heather, Vero, and I.

“Who’s the brunette with Fleury and Staal’s girlfriends?” I heard a girl, who obviously knew way too much about the guys’ significant others, ask a friend.

“Sid keeps looking over there. Is she his girlfriend?” the friend replied.

“God, I hope not.”

Was this what it was going to feel like to be Sidney’s girlfriend? He’d tried to warn me, but I didn’t want to let myself believe it. I didn’t want to think that people would put others under a microscope simply because of who they were dating. I did my best to act like chaos wasn’t raging through me at the moment, and continued to talk with Vero and Heather until they guys were finally done.

The tour ended after that and Lawrence led us back to the admissions office where I thanked him for the tour and for putting up with what happened. As we walked out to the cars I glanced over at Sidney and gave him an apologetic look. He responded with a smile and took my hand into his, placing a kiss on the back of it.

“I’m so sorry,” I apologized.

“It’s not your fault,” he assured me. While I was happy that he wasn’t upset with me, I still didn’t feel great about the situation. Was this trip to campus going to affect anything with him? I hoped not.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chapter 43

I glanced over at Sidney’s sleeping form in the car and smiled. We’d left New York just after my parents had gotten home from work. They’d been surprised to find Sidney sitting in their living room holding their daughter’s hand, but were more than happy to hear the news that we were now together. I’d packed up a bag, packed some stuff for Bauer, refusing to leave him behind this time, and we’d left. We'd spent the first part of the car ride talking over everything, ending any hurt feelings we had left. I pulled off at a rest stop just outside Buffalo to fill up the tank with gas and Sidney woke up as the car slowed.

“Where are we?” he asked groggily.

“Buffalo. We need gas,” I told him. He nodded and got out of the car when I had parked.

We both went inside to use the bathrooms and I took the opportunity to get an energy drink and a snack to keep me occupied while I finished off the drive. Sidney then tried unsuccessfully to convince me to let him finish the drive, but I refused. He hadn’t slept the night before so I wasn’t going to let him get behind the wheel.

“Suck up the fact that I’m driving your car, Crosby, and get some sleep,” I told him as we got back in.

“Have I told you how much I love you yet today?” he asked. I giggled, still relishing those three words like they were my oxygen.

“Only a million times,” I replied.

“Oh. Maybe I should stop then,” he joked.

“Don’t ever stop,” I begged. He leaned over the center console and kissed me, sending lightning bolts shooting through my body.

“That’s not in the plans.” He settled back into his seat and we were back on our way.

It took about half a mile before Sidney was fast asleep again and I focused on the road ahead of me. When I spotted the sign signaling my exit as we pulled into the Pittsburgh area, I let out a sigh of relief. It was about 3 am and I was exhausted. Driving always made me tired, and driving through the middle of the night certainly wasn’t helping.

Finally I pulled into Sidney’s driveway and then into the garage. We got out of the car, letting Bauer out while we grabbed my stuff out of the back. After lugging it all inside, we went straight upstairs and collapsed onto the bed in Sidney’s room. Bauer didn’t join us, obviously sniffing around this new location.

“I’m so tired,” I whined as I lay there, unmoving.

“Thank you for driving,” Sidney said, placing a kiss on my forehead. I turned my head to face him and kissed him.

“You’re welcome.”

Sidney then turned on his side to face me and pulled my body into his before latching his lips onto mine. It still took my breath away, and probably even more so now. It didn’t take long for the kiss to become a little more heated. We may have slept together before, but not since we’d admitted our feelings to each other.

“How tired are you?” Sidney asked breathlessly when we pulled apart.

“I’m wide awake now,” I returned.

His mouth crashed back down onto mine as soon as those words were out of my mouth. He rolled me as we kissed so that he was on top, and I shivered at the feeling of his body covering mine. Every touch of his set my body on fire and it occurred to me that this was what making love felt like. I realized at that moment that I’d never loved Mason. I couldn’t have if I’d never felt like this with him.

“I hope you don’t get sick of hearing this, because I have a lot of making up to do, but I love you,” Sidney whispered to me as we cuddled up together.

“Never. I love you too.” It was late, or early depending on how you looked at it, but Sidney and I fell asleep just short of the sunrise.

Sidney pulled into the parking lot at the same time as both Gronk and Flower. He finished the last of his coffee before getting out of the car. He stood there and waited for the other two to catch up so they could all walk in together.

“What the hell are you doing here so late?” Gronk asked. He was right. Usually Sid was earlier for practice than most guys, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go of Misty until the last minute this morning.

“I decided to stay in bed a little longer today,” he replied, matching his pace with theirs.

“What’s with the goofy smile?” Flower asked, giving him a strange look. Sidney hadn’t realized he was grinning like an idiot, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t sure he’d ever stop smiling like this.

“I’m just in a good mood.”

“You get laid last night or something?” Gronk asked. Sidney rolled his eyes, but didn’t respond.

“It is nice to see you in a good mood again,” Flower told him. They walked the rest of the way to the locker room in silence, but the silence didn’t last long. Max was on him the second the door opened.

“How’d it go?” Talbot asked. It only took a second for him to see the look on Sidney’s face to make up his mind. “You fucking got her!”

“What’s he talking about?” Flower questioned as Max slapped Sidney on the back.

“The guy manned up and went and got his girl!” Talbot announced.

“You did get laid!” Gronk exclaimed.

“Yeah, I told Misty,” Sidney confirmed.

“What’d she say?” Flower wondered. He couldn't help but beam at his teammates.

“She came back here with me.”

The three of them, along with the other guys who had overheard the exchange all congratulated him. It felt good. Things finally felt right again. The girl he was in love with loved him back and she was here in the same city as him. At the moment, things could not be any better.

I sat in my seat at the rink staring out at the empty ice. I’d come to the rink for the game with Sidney, so I was super early. Even so, I didn’t mind. I’d brought a book to read to kill time before gates opened and people began to show up, but I hadn’t so much as reached for it. Instead I took the opportunity to just look out over the empty arena.

I’d always loved the smell of an empty rink when the ice was fresh. People who had never experienced that would think I was crazy, but there was something magical about that smell. Now though I realized that the smell of the ice in this place was something even more special. I’d be sad when the smells of the food cooking at the concession stands wafted their way down to me.

The gates opened not much later and I watched as people began to filter in to both their seats and to concessions. Once they had arrived and the music started playing, the moment was over and I pulled out my book to read until the girls arrived. I hadn’t talked to any of them yet even though I’d received about a million messages from them. Obviously they knew what was going on. That was confirmed to me when I heard a squeal come from behind me.

“You’re back!” Vero’s voice called out as she practically ran down the stairs to get to me. Heather and Kelsey were hot on her heels. I stood up to accept the hugs they all gave me.

“I’m back,” I repeated.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell us you were back!” Heather exclaimed. I shrugged.

“Sorry guys. I was a little busy.”

“Sure you were,” Kelsey cracked and we all laughed.

“So, what happened? Tell us everything!” Vero demanded once they’d all sat down around me. And I did.

When the game that night was over I made my way down to the family room with the girls. It seemed that everyone was dying to hear about Sidney and I, and I spent the whole night laughing along with them. I was in a great mood, and happy that I had all of these people to share that with.

“Come here, you big softie,” Vero said to Sidney when he walked into the room to get me. She gave him a hug as he laughed and thanked her. Then he walked over to me and gave me a kiss, which caused the room to yell over at us.

“You should come out with us tonight to celebrate,” Heather suggested. Sidney turned to look at me to see what I thought.

“That’s sweet, thanks, but I think I just want to stay in tonight,” I told them. Sidney smiled down at me and kissed me again.

“Would you two get a room?” Tyler Kennedy joked as he walked into the room to get Kelsey. I didn’t care. I was happy and in love. Nothing was going to bring me down tonight.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chapter 42

Sidney pulled off the highway into the rest stop. He was about halfway to Misty’s house and fighting sleep. The sun had come up a while ago, but it wasn’t helping to keep him awake. He’d only gotten a couple of hours of sleep on the flight and he needed something to keep him up. He walked inside, grabbed a couple of energy drinks and something to snack on before filling his car up with gas and continuing on his way.

He’d spent the last 5 hours going over in his head what he wanted to say to Misty when he saw her. He’d rehearsed speech after speech and nothing seemed right. He was in the middle of trying out another one when he heard his phone go off. He saw that it was Talbot and put it on speakerphone.

“Interested in a little gaming action?” Max asked.

“I can’t. I’m not home,” Sidney told him.

“Where the hell are you this early?”

“Just out.” Sidney didn’t want to tell him, didn’t want to get into it right now.

“Then get home and get on,” Max demanded. Sidney sighed.

“I can’t. It’s not possible.” Suddenly Max started to laugh and Sidney wasn’t sure why.

“Jesus, you’re going to get her, aren’t you?” he asked through the laughter. Sidney didn’t have a response and he couldn’t think of one. Instead of replying he just hung up on Talbot’s laughter.

Sidney finished the drive with no more interruptions. He also didn’t get any closer to what he wanted to say to Misty. Everything sounded so dumb. As he pulled into her driveway he realized he was just going to have to wing it. He took a deep breath to prepare himself before he got out of the car.

Sidney walked up to the front door, hesitated for a second before ringing the doorbell. He waited on the doorstep, hearing Bauer’s barking coming from inside. When a little bit of time passed without anyone coming to the door, he rang the doorbell again. He realized dejectedly after a while that no one was home. Great. Now what?

He walked back to his car and got in, wondering what his next move would be. Should he just wait until Misty got home? That might seem a little weird if her parents got home first. What would he say to them? Then he remembered the name of the restaurant where Misty worked. That must be where she was.

Sidney looked up the address of the restaurant on his phone and then found a set of directions. He backed out of the driveway and started on his way. If it seemed desperate, that’s because it was. He absolutely had to talk to Misty. There was no way he could handle not having her in his life anymore.

He pulled up to the restaurant in the early afternoon and found that there weren’t many cars parked. That was good because there wouldn’t be a restaurant full of people watching him bumble through some poorly thought out speech about how sorry he was and how much he loved her. He walked through the door and paused just inside, looking around for Misty.

“Table for one?” a girl asked him, walking over to the hostess station.

“Uh, no. I was just looking for Misty Harris,” he told the girl who was holding a menu in her hand, and had half her body turned and already walking towards a table.

“Oh. Misty’s not working today,” she told him. Sidney sighed in frustration. Now what the hell was he going to do?

“I don’t suppose you would know what her plans were for today?” he asked the girl. She just shook her head and apologized. Then Sidney had another idea. “Do you know what gym she uses?”

“I don’t, but let me see if someone else does,” she offered before walking away, giving him a strange look as she did so.

“Can I help you?” a male voice asked him. He turned to see an older man walk over.

“I was just looking for someone,” Sidney told him. The man smiled at him and nodded.

“Misty, right?” Sidney nodded. “When you find her, tell her that Jake said he doesn’t expect to see her back at work for at least two weeks.”

Sidney smiled and nodded after realizing he’d just spoken to Misty’s boss, and her boss had just given him some hope. A moment later the girl he’d spoken with was back and she told him the gym that Misty worked out at. He went back out to his car, looked up the gym on his phone and headed in that direction. If Misty wasn’t there, he had no idea what he was going to do.

When Sidney pulled into the parking lot he hoped that he’d find her finally. He was almost afraid that if he didn’t find her here that he’d have to just give up and head home or camp out in front of her house. He got out of the car and walked through the door. He was immediately on alert and looking for her.

The person at the front desk greeted him, but he ignored the girl and moved to a spot where he could see the entire gym. He began to look around, scanning the faces of everyone who was working out. He began to lose hope when he didn’t see her. Then he looked at the last treadmill in the furthest corner of the gym. There he saw her running and his heart sped up. It was time.

I hopped onto a treadmill at the end of the row, trying to avoid as much contact with other people, especially Eli since I'd ignored his calls and hadn't shown up at his friends for New Years, as possible. I began my run, trying to block everything else out. As I ran I casually looked around the gym. From my vantage point I could see the entire gym and everyone in it. I watched the other members go through their routines, not focusing on anyone in particular.

About halfway through my run I began to notice that almost everyone was stopping their workouts. It seemed strange to me that everyone would finish at the same time, but I noticed something else. They were all looking at the same spot towards the entrance of the gym and whispering to each other. In confusion I turned to see what they were looking at. I almost stumbled on the belt of the treadmill when my eyes met Sidney’s.

He began to make his way over to me and I hit the pause button to stop the belt from moving. I removed my earbuds after hitting pause on my iPod, never taking my eyes off of Sidney’s. My breath was caught in my throat as I tried to figure out why exactly he was here.

The entire gym watched Sidney walk straight over to me and my heart started to pound as he got closer. I began to brace myself for whatever he had to say to me now, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened. In one smooth motion Sidney reached me, brought his hands up to my face and kissed me.

My head began to spin as I felt his lips on mine. For a moment I was stunned before my body gave in and I kissed him back. I melted into him and the whole world seemed to fall away. His hands moved from my face, down my sides and wrapped around my waist as I wrapped my own around his neck.

When the kiss finally ended we were both out of breath. Our foreheads were still pressed together and we held onto each other like the world would end if we let go. As my breathing returned to normal I heard the murmur of the people in the gym and I pulled back from Sidney a bit. We looked into each other’s eyes again and I struggled to think of something to say. He beat me to it.

“I pushed you to look at schools in Pittsburgh because I’m selfish. I want you in Pittsburgh because I can’t stand to be away from you. I’ve been a mess with everything because I’m so in love with you I can’t see straight. I want you to be there so I can be with you because I love you.”

“No you don’t.” The words were out of my mouth before I realized what I was saying. He looked taken aback and I wanted to crawl under a rock and disappear. That’s not what I’d meant to say.

“You know something I don’t?” he asked, a hint of anger in his voice. I squeezed my eyes closed as I felt tears start to slide down my cheeks. This was the moment I’d been dreaming of since Sidney had left Cole Harbour and I’d just ruined it.

“I’m sorry.....I just.....is this happening? Are you really standing here and telling me that you love me?” I stammered out.

“Do I have to repeat myself? Should I prove it? You were wearing jeans, flip flops, and a purple t-shirt with your hair up in some weird messy bun thing when we first met and I’d never seen anyone so beautiful. You’ve done a million things that should have pissed me off and I found them oddly endearing. You barged into my life by dumping coffee on one of my favorite shirts and have screwed up every superstition I’ve ever had yet I can’t keep myself from wanting to see what else you can possibly fuck up. I know that a life that felt complete now feels empty when you’re not around. Yes, Misty, I am really standing here and telling you that I love you.”

I jumped off of the treadmill and into Sidney’s arms. Tears weren’t just falling now, I was practically bawling. He pulled me into him and held me as I cried tears of disbelief and joy. I clung to him afraid to let go and find that it had all been a dream. When I finally composed myself, I looked up at him.

“I’ve been dreaming of hearing you say that.” His lips found mine again and it was like bells were ringing and fireworks were going off. “I love you too,” I whispered. He grinned down at me.

“Do you want to get out of here?” he asked. I nodded and grabbed my iPod before following him outside.

“How did you get here?” I questioned when I realized that he was here in my hometown and not in Pittsburgh.

“I drove,” he replied. My eyes widened in shock and my jaw dropped.

“Are you insane?!” I exclaimed. He closed the little bit of distance between us and wrapped his arms around me.

“I just needed to see you, to tell you.” He finished that off with another kiss.

When we broke apart I got into my car and he followed me back to my house. The entire car ride my mind was racing a mile a minute. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Sidney had literally just driven 9 hours to tell me he was in love with me, which meant he had to have left early in the morning. Things like this didn’t happen to me. They didn’t happen in real life, period. And yet when I pulled into my driveway, there he was, getting out of his car with a giant grin on his face.

“I forgot to tell you something. Jake said that he doesn’t want you back at work for at least two weeks. I guess that means you have time off,” he said. I looked at him in confusion before realizing there had to have been a way he knew where I was to come get me.

“Are you telling me you want me to come back to Pittsburgh with you?” I asked, wrapping my arms around his neck.

“I couldn’t go back without you.” I pressed my lips to his and savored this new feeling that had come over me. Any leftover pain and anger was gone, replaced by only happiness and ecstasy. This had been the best day of my life so far. Sidney loved me too.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chapter 41

Three things before I post this chapter (one is kind of long, sorry).....

1. There is an amazing story out there that it seems not many know about. I think you should check it out. http://imperfectlullabies87.blogspot.com/ This is one of my favorite stories out there right now, and it deserves to have so many more people reading it.

2. So I realize a flight from Vancouver to Pittsburgh is a long flight no matter what way you cut it, but for the story I needed it to be short and landing at a certain time. Hey, it's fiction, right? I can do what I want, haha.

3. I was caught by surprise by how many people blamed Sid and solely Sid for this whole fight and Misty leaving to the point of getting a question from someone asking why Misty was always perfect. Maybe it's because since this is my story and I know what my characters are feeling and going through that I didn't write it as well as I could for everyone to understand. It was not my intention for Sid to be the bad guy. Through this whole story Misty has been fighting with herself to be independent and not need someone and yet for most of it, she's felt like she needed Sidney. Time after time she said things she didn't mean and did what she could to push him away, using any tiny excuse as a way to guard against making the same mistakes she did in the past. She used Sidney simply talking to another girl he had a past with as a catalyst, refused to talk to him about it, said something she knew would be incredibly hurtful to him, and then ran away again. I'm sorry that the way I wrote it, the blame was places solely on Sidney's shoulders, but really, my intention was not for that to happen. To me, the only crime he committed was not sucking it up and telling her he loved her earlier.....but he was scared of that too. My apologies again for failing in telling that story. Hopefully I'll never have to explain something I've written again, haha. Anyway, off my soap box and on to the next chapter.....

I hit the stop button on the treadmill and stepped off. After cleaning it I made my way to the designated area for stretching in the gym. I sat down on a mat and began to stretch out all the built up lactic acid in my muscles. As I stretched I felt the soreness in my muscles. Ever since I’d gotten home my runs on the treadmill had become longer and more grueling.

“Hey, Misty,” I heard a male voice say as a mat was plopped down literally a mere foot away from me despite there being no one else in the area.

“Hey, Eli,” I greeted him. He sat down and started to stretch, despite the fact that I hadn’t seen him do anything other than pull-ups so far today.

“How is everything?” he asked. I gritted my teeth at the annoyance.

“Fine,” I lied as I folded my body over my outstretched leg, feeling the pull in my hamstring.

“Can you believe it’s Christmas already?” I felt my body stiffen at the mention of my second favorite holiday that I wasn’t at all looking forward to this year.

“The year went by quickly.” I switched positions, turning my back on Eli, trying to signal that I was not at all in the mood to talk.

Eli had been hitting on me for as long as I could remember, even when he knew I was dating someone. I’d hardly given him the time of day, but that didn’t discourage him. He was one of those guys in the gym that wore the tight beaters that showed off their upper body. He was also one of those guys that only worked out his upper body because he figured that’s what girls liked. Basically, Eli was your typical gym meathead, and so not my type.

“What are you doing for New Years?” he asked, obviously not getting the point.

“I’m not really sure,” I told him truthfully. I hadn’t made plans, not really sure that I was going to be feeling any better by then.

“A friend of mine is having a party. You’re more than welcome to come,” he invited me.

“Yeah, maybe,” I heard myself saying.

The second it was out of my mouth I was shocked. Eli had invited me to do things about a million and a half times and I’d always turned him down. What the hell was I thinking? When I saw the look on Eli’s face I realized he was just as shocked as I was. A grin slowly formed on his face and he hopped up from his spot and walked over to the front desk. He returned with a piece of paper and a pen.

“Just give me your number and I’ll call you with the details,” he said, handing them to me. I was stuck now, and just obliged, even though I really didn’t have any desire to go.

“Okay, I’m going to go finish my workout. I guess I’ll talk to you later,” I told him, standing up and beginning to head back to the weights.

“Sounds good!” he called after me. I squeezed my eyes closed and fought back the tears that were threatening to spill out. I needed to get a grip.

A few days later I sat in my room after opening presents Christmas morning with my family. My parents and grandparents were busy drinking coffee and making brunch while Nick was shacked up in his room testing out one of his new video games. I was sitting on my futon staring at the wall in front of me.

The wall had previously been covered with pictures of Sidney and everyone back in Cole Harbour. Now it was empty. I let my head fall back against the wall behind me and tried to swallow back the lump that was forming in my stomach. I hadn’t talked to Sidney since the day I’d left. Half of me didn’t want to talk to him and half of me wished he’d call. I doubted he would. Why would he want to talk to me after what I'd said and done to him? I couldn't even forgive myself.

As if on autopilot, I reached over to my purse and absentmindedly grabbed for the picture inside. It wasn’t until my hand was inside and groping around that I realized that I’d left the picture of Sidney and I at his house. I hated that even after the past week and a half I was still reaching for that picture. I also hated that I’d forgotten to pick it up off the counter when I’d left that morning. Even if we hadn’t talked, and I wasn’t sure when or if we ever would, I still wanted that picture to look at to cheer me up.

After being called out to the dining room for brunch and being forced to witness all the sympathetic looks directed at me by my family, I locked myself back in my room. I’d told my family I was going to watch some of the DVD’s I’d gotten, but they knew better. They knew I hadn’t been right since I’d gotten back unexpectedly early from Pittsburgh. I hadn’t told them anything despite all the questions, but they knew whatever had happened was bad.

A knock sounded on my door later that afternoon and I paused the movie I hadn’t been paying any attention to. I got off the bed, unlocked the door, and pulled it open to find Evanne standing there. She rolled her eyes at me when she saw that I wasn’t even dressed before walking past me and flopping down onto the futon.

“Merry Christmas!” she said cheerfully. I gave her a completely unamused look before sitting down next to her. “Okay, it’s time. Start getting over it, or call him.”

“I’m doing my best here,” I argued. She rolled her eyes at me again.

“Whatever you say. I came to cheer you up, because I knew you’d be sulking in here all day. I’m having a party at my place for New Years. Don’t even try to come up with an excuse not to come. You know I can’t have fun without my favorite partner in crime.”

“Evie,” I started, but she shut me up by putting her hand in the air, signaling for me to stop.

“You have something better to do?” she asked.

“Well, Eli did invite me to his friends party,” I told her. She nearly burst out laughing.

“That juice monkey will not give up, will he?” I cracked a small smile. “See! I knew I could cheer you up!” My smile faded and she sighed.

“I miss him,” I whispered.

“Then you should call him,” she replied. I shook my head as tears began to build up again.

“I don’t know that I can handle talking to him or seeing him when I still feel so raw. I love him, Evie, and he doesn’t love me back. I don’t know how to be okay with that.” She pulled me into a hug.

“Don’t worry, he’ll come around. It’s impossible not to fall for Misty Harris once you’ve met her.”

Sidney sat on the plane headed home from Vancouver, his emotions on overdrive. It had been almost a month since Misty had up and left in the middle of the night. He hadn’t quite been the same since then, and tonight had really pushed him over the edge. Watching Mason Raymond assist on two goals while helping the Canucks kick their ass pissed him off.

Sidney had been dealing, or more so coping, with Misty not being in his life right now. Watching Raymond parade around the ice like he was hot shit just made Sid think of how he’d treated Misty. He’d thought going into the game that it’d be fine, that she’d never cross his mind, but he’d been wrong. The first time he’d spotted Raymond, Misty hadn’t left his mind at all. He missed her. He couldn’t stop thinking about her, about all the mistakes he’d made with her.

“Something on your mind?” Flower asked, turning to him.

“Why do you say that?” he asked.

“You declined to play COD with everyone and you’re just staring at the back of the seat, a barely touched meal on the tray in front of you,” Flower responded.

“Stop being such a whiny bitch. There’s plenty of pussy out there!” Talbot chimed in from a few seats away. Sidney wouldn’t even dignify that with a response.

“What’s the deal with Misty?” Flower asked. Sidney shrugged.

“She left. She accused me of not being who she thought I was and disappeared in the middle of the night. I’ve told you that,” Sidney groaned.

“Yeah, but there’s got to be more to it than that, mon ami,” Flower pushed. Sidney closed his eyes and sighed. Maybe it would help to talk to Flower.

“I loved her. Love her. I was going to tell her the day she left. And she didn’t just leave. She made sure to leave things that told me she wanted nothing to do with me anymore. I thought maybe she felt the same way, but you don’t do that when you love someone, right?” Sidney questioned.

“And you’re sure that was her intention? You’re sure that she doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore?”

“No. No, I don’t know that. I fucked up. She asked me if there was anything that should keep her in Pittsburgh and instead of telling her, I was too wrapped up in being stung by what she said to me. Maybe she wouldn’t have left. Maybe I would know the truth,” Sidney finally admitted.

“Then call her. You won’t feel better until you know.” Sidney nodded and settled back into his seat.

Maybe Flower was right. The worst thing that could happen if he called would be Misty hanging up on him. At least then he’d know. He drifted off to sleep not long after and didn’t wake up until the plane was landing. He got off and walked over to his car. He got in, started it up, and Coach’s words ran through his head. “Tomorrow’s off, boys. See you Monday morning.” Suddenly Sidney knew what he had to do.