Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chapter 35

She sat in the rusty little Acadian she’d had since high-school in her father’s driveway, the engine idling noisily, puffs of smoke filling the air behind the car with two options in mind. Go to GM place, sign the contract and take her chances with the cramped studio apartment downtown or drive to the airport.

Mya’s hands gripped the steering wheel so hard that her knuckles had turned white and she was beginning to get pins and needles in her fingertips. She stared at the front door of her father’s suburban home and repeated the same two words to herself, over and over again, like a mantra.

Stay or go? Stay or go?

She hadn’t slept all night. She’d lain awake in her bed in her old room and stared at the ceiling with the same two words running through her bed, chasing away the sheep she needed to count in order to float away to the land of nod.

Stay or go? Stay or go?

If she stayed...if she stayed in Vancouver then it was all over with Sidney. There would be no going back and that thought made her chest ache. She loved him, or she had loved him, right now she wasn’t sure which it was. It was difficult to tell exactly how she felt about him without seeing him, in the flesh.

But then the thought of seeing him, of looking into those hazel eyes framed by their long black lashes, made her eyes fill with tears and her heart squeeze painfully and her breath catch in her throat. There was anger, there was no doubt at all about that. He’d left her, walked away from her on what had definitely been the worst of all of the days of her life. Worse even than the day her mother had looked at her, her own daughter, across the table and said ‘who are you?’

There was also that image of him, of those wide round shoulders and the naked muscular breadth of his chest moving over her and of the look in his eyes then, so focussed, so present and so full of passion that it literally made her weak. Just the thought of his lips moving over hers as he moved within her caused Mya to press her forehead to the steering wheel and hiss a string of epithets. She was under no illusions that he had been the best and there would never be another to make her feel what she felt when Sidney made love to her.

But was it love, she asked herself as she sat there in her car, Ville Valo’s husky voice filling her car with dark images and growled curses. Could he love her and walk away from her when she needed him most? Or were they both fooling themselves? Had it only been sex all along? Was it only the heat of passion and nothing more?
“Fuck it,” she snarled, peeling her fingers from around the steering wheel and reaching down to release the hand brake before throwing the tiny old red car into reverse and backing down the driveway, turning right and heading out of the subdivision at break neck speed.

“Hey stranger.”

Sidney looked up from the autograph table to see Mario’s eldest, the reason he’d left their house, Lauren, staring across the table at him. She’d grown since the last time he’d seen her. Her hair was longer. She was wearing one of those spring dresses with the spaghetti straps that left her tanned shoulders and arms bare. She was growing into a quite a beauty.

“Hey Lauren. Visiting your dad?” he asked in a non committal voice as he went back to signing the varied items on the table.

“Sort of,” she replied casually as she moved closer to him, perching on the edge of the table and picking up one of the jerseys he’d just signed. “We miss you around the house,” she added, folding the sweater carefully and putting it back on the table, running her hand over his signature and then looking up at him, catching him looking at her. “Especially Austin. When’s the last time you went to one of his games?”

“I’ve been kinda busy,” Sidney grumbled, injured by the thought that he’d let the little guy down in any way.

“So I’ve heard,” Lauren mused, getting up and moving around the table, slowly, deliberately walking towards him, the click of the high heeled sandals she was wearing echoing loudly in the concrete hallway. “But not as much lately, or so I’ve been told.” Sidney winced, as if punched, wondering which of his teammates could possibly have been talking about his personal life to Mario’s daughter.

“Of course we’re busy now. We’ve got games every other night,” he corrected her, moving sideways and away from her as he leaned towards another jersey, signing along the top of the seven in his number.

“I mean after the games,” she breathed in his ear, sending a shiver down his spine, concentrated by the feel of her fingertips brushing along his arm. “A little bird tells me Mya’s run off and left you...all alone.” Sid’s eyes squeezed shut as he felt the pointed tip of her tongue brush the shell of his ear. He took a deep breath in and told himself not to react but his body wouldn’t listen. The nearness of her, the warmth of her body pressed against his, the sweet floral scent of her had his head reeling and his cock hardening despite the desperate pleas his mind sent racing down to it. She wasn’t even eighteen, not yet and besides she was Mario’s daughter. He didn’t want this. He didn’t.

“Lauren...give me some space,” he asked, hating that his voice sounded hoarse, or that he couldn’t look her in the eye and mean it.

“Oh poor Siddy, you need a little...T.L.C.,” she whispered, walking her fingers down his arm until her hand was flat over where he was gripping the edge of the table. “I can take good care of you. I promise you won’t be disappointed.” His breathe caught in his throat and for one minute, one uncontrollable minute, he imagined her young, lithe body moving beneath his.

“No. Lauren. No,” he said and meant it, dragging his hand from beneath hers’ and backing slowly away. As soon as that sweet floral scent was no longer filling his lungs, his brain, he could think more clearly. “You need to stop this. This...,” he met her gaze, her smouldering, bemused gaze, “is never...ever going to happen.” He wanted her to look hurt. He wanted her to do what she’d always done when he’d rebuffed her. He wanted her to turn tail and run.

She didn’t. Instead she sat there, perched on the table, her long legs crossed so that her insubstantially flimsy dress pulled up, revealing a tantalizing look at a line of long, bare thigh.

“You know what they say about never Sidney darling,” she purred, tilting her head to one side so her long hair fell over her shoulder and the barely there spaghetti strap fell over her shoulder and made the smocked top of her dress gape. “Never say never.”


“Everything happened so fast,” Mya said out loud as she paced the floor, clasping and unclasping her hands. “It was like...trial by fire or something, like being dipped in liquid heat. You know you’re going to get burned but it feels so...I don’t know,” she sighed, stopping in front of the window, the same window her mother had been staring blankly at since she’d arrived. She couldn’t...or wouldn’t talk to Bridgette and she couldn’t make her mind up to take the job with the Canucks, not yet. She needed to talk to someone, someone who didn’t have an agenda, an angle. It was just fortunate her mother was having one of those “bad” days where she didn’t seem to know anyone was there at all. “I feel like I need I can’t really take a deep breath without him. But on the other hand, I just feel so angry, like I want to claw his eyes out, like I want to spit at him or something. I mean, how dare he just walk away and....”

“Mya Angeline Fraser, you’re always too quick to think everyone will think the way you do.”

Mya froze, her breath caught in her throat as the soft, almost strangled voice floated and hung there in the air around her. Slowly she turned and stared at the woman sitting in the high backed chair, her lap covered by a thread bare throw, her eyes no longer glued to the window and the gray day outside.

“Mom? Mommy?” she whispered, not daring to hope for one of those lucid moments when her mother actually knew her. She half expected to see a nurse in the hallway, or someone she knew standing in the room behind her, but there was no one else. No one else but her mother and her shrewd blue grey eyes were trained on her daughter, knowledge and love flaring behind them.

“Come here.” Her mother patted her lap and Mya unquestioningly slid onto her mother’s lap and felt the frail arms cradle her close to the warmth of her chest. She smelled faintly of moth ball and antiseptic, but underneath of that she could smell the white linen and sunshine smell of her mother’s favourite perfume and it made her wonder who had put it on her and who had brought it to her. “You always were too quick to jump head first into things, my impetuous daughter,” her mother cooed affectionately. “You’ve always been too quick to trust people.” Mya cried silently, clinging to her mother, trying to remember the last time her mother had been present enough to give advice. At least she was here when she was needed, she thought bitterly.

“I thought he loved me mom,” she sniffed, ignoring the fact that big, fat cold tears were dripping off her nose and chin and onto her mother’s blouse. Mother’s never minded that kind of thing.

“He does love you baby,” her mother said sternly but quietly, pushing her up so that she could look into her daughter’s eyes. “The way he looked at you...the way you looked at him.... You love him and he loves you. Don’t doubt that sweetheart.” Mya didn’t ask how her mother had seen them, how she must have been looking at them with two sets of eyes and what that must feel like to be trapped in uncomprehending body and mind. Just thinking about it made her head swim and made her want to scream in terror.

“But he left me mommy. He left me when...when....” Mya’s voice trailed off. She still couldn’t say it out loud. Or at least she couldn’t now. It made her chest too tight to speak, stole her breath from her lungs whenever she even thought about how it had all just...stopped, ceased to be, disappeared. Her eyes shut tight against the sudden onset of pain that threatened to rip her into a thousand pieces. She would not miss this moment with her mother. Lucid moments, real moments were so very few and far between now.

“You don’t know what was in his mind baby,” her mother scolded her, gripping her arms tightly so that her fingernails dug into the flesh of Mya’s arms. “They aren’t the same as us. You should know that. Of anyone, you should know that baby. Do you think your father was always so distant?” Her mother’s grey blue eyes searched hers and Mya could only shrug. That was exactly what it seemed like to her. “Of course he wasn’t baby. He isn’t. But they feel things differently. They deal with pain... differently. They keep it all inside,” she added, pressing one long finger into Mya’s chest, where the pain seemed worst. “Here. They keep it all inside. They can’t be like us. They can’t give up. They have to be strong. You can’t blame him for not showing his pain like you do baby. That’s not his fault. He’s a man. That’s just the way they are.”

“But he left me mom. He just...left,” Mya argued as she sobbed, bending her head to press her forehead into the curve of her mother’s neck where the comforting scent of her mother’s perfume was strongest. She could feel the strong, steady beat of her mother’s heart there and felt her own fall in time with it.

“It’s hard on them too, you know, to lose a baby. It kills them inside when they can’t protect you. It makes them feel weak, useless. It’s hard on a man’s pride baby and they’re nothing if not creatures of pride and he’s a strong one, your man. They blame themselves sweetheart, they feel...inadequate and scared, like little boys. You may have needed him baby, but he needed you too. Did you go to him? Did you hold him?” Mya shook her head and felt her mother’s arms wrap tighter around her, even as her chest rose and fell in quick little bursts, as if she was laughing. “Don’t be too hard on him Mya. He’s only a man and god knows, they aren’t equipped to deal with grief. That’s what we’re for.”

“Are you saying...,” Mya’s sat upright and looked down at her mother who returned her gaze with a beatific, motherly smile that made her heart feel like warm, melted honey. “Are you saying I should go back? That I should...should I marry him?” Her mother sighed and reached up to cup her child’s cheek.

“Ask yourself one question baby. Do you love him? Does he make your heart sing?”

“I’ve seen the way you look at me Sidney Patrick Crosby. Those veiled looks that you think I don’t see,” she said, pursing her lips as she hopped off of the table and strutted towards him like a run way model, or like Mya had, on the cat walk at Blush. Like a big cat, circling her prey. “I know you think about me,” she added as she reached him, reached out toward him to run her finger beneath his chin. “I know you’re undressing me right now in that twisted mind of yours,” she added, her full lips so close to his as she smiled, baring her teeth at him like a tigress about to strike, about to rip his jugular vein out of his neck. “I know you want to...fuck me.”

“You’re wrong,” he hissed, shutting his eyes and turning his face away from her. He didn’t want her, no matter how his body was reacting to her. It wasn’t about her. It was was Mya’s fault for leaving. He hadn’t even been able to give himself relief since she left. His gut twisted and turned on itself as her breath fanned his cheek. He could smell peppermint and cinnamon.

“I don’t think I am,” she murmured, her hand sliding down his chest, down, down until she was cupping his erection through his track pants. “No, I don’t think I am at all.”

“Stop it Lauren,” he growled, pushing her arm away, putting her at arms’ length as he wished he could put the proof of his words into his eyes. He didn’t want her. Not her. His body wanted something, someone but he wasn’t about to explain that to her. He heard her giggle, a cruel sound that echoed in his ears, that made him blush to the roots of his hair.

“I don’t think you want me to stop, do you Siddy?” she asked, invading his space again, this time pushing her hands up under his shirt, the cool palms of her hands pressed flat against his stomach. “Do you know what I think you want?” she whispered, her lips brushing lightly against his cheek.

“You have no idea what I want,” he replied, his voice catching in his throat as her hand slid beneath the waist band of his track pants, down, down until her fingers were curling around him.

“Oh I think I do,” she purred, her tongue flicking out to lick his bottom lip before her teeth dug into his full lip and tugged. “I’m not a little girl anymore Sidney,” she added, stroking the length of his need, making him moan out loud. “I can do for you what any woman can,” she added, pressing her body against his, brushing her chest against his arm so he could feel how hard her nipples were. “But I know you Sidney. I know how passionate you are. I know you were afraid of hurting me, of being my first. But you don’t have to worry about that anymore baby. I got someone else to take care of that, so now you can just take me the way you want to,” she whispered, her other hand reaching for his and leading it to her hip, using his hand joined with hers to pull her dress up by degrees. “Any way you want to baby,” she added, pressing his hand against her bare hip, trying to press it lower.

“Lauren, don’t,” he begged, shaking his head, trying to make himself breathe, but not pulling himself away from her.

“I’m not wearing any panties Siddy. You can have me right here,” she whispered, pushing his hand lower, lower. “Right now,” she added, her voice husky in his ear as she licked her way around it.

“No, fuck. Stop it!” he snarled, gathering his wits about him finally and pushing her away, peeling her fingers painfully from around his now throbbing hard on.

“Oh Siddy baby. You don’t have to fight it anymore. There’s no one here to see us. Come here baby, come take me,” she pouted, sliding her now free hand down into the smocking of her dress and freeing her breast, revealing it as her thumb slid slowly over and around her nipple. “You want it baby, you know you do.”

“No, no I don’t,” he insisted, his voice shaking as he turned away and told himself to walk and keep on walking.

“You’ll come back Siddy baby. You want me. You can’t run forever,” she called after him.

“Watch me,” he muttered as he continued to walk, heading for the showers, fully intending to soak himself down with icy cold water.

That had been close. Too close. This was insane. This whole situation was insane. He had to get Mya back, had to make her talk to him. There had to be some grand gesture, something he could say, something he could do to make her see how much he needed her because if she didn’t come back....

He shook his head. It didn’t bear thinking about. He’d take one of those desperate girls who waited out by the barricades in their too short skirts and push up bras before he’d fuck Lauren Lemieux.

“Where have you been tos grand idiot? Your phone has been ringing like crazy,” Max grinned at him as he turned into the dressing room. “It’s Mya,” he added, slapping Sidney on the shoulder. “She’s coming home.”

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chapter 34

The air was crisp and cold but the sun had begun to peek through the clouds with the promise of a better afternoon. The ground was moist and damp and Sidney could feel the moisture seeping through his jeans as he knelt in the grass in front of the brass plaque now set deeply in the grass. He pulled at a few blades, tugging them clear of the edges, wishing he’d brought something to cut them back with. The grass having grown around the name plate was not only a reminder that the snow had only recently receded but that he hadn’t been here. Not for a long while.

Not that it seemed that long ago, Sidney realized as he ran his fingers lovingly over the smooth letters that made up her name. This time last year he and Randi had been making love at her apartment. She’d been getting better, or so he’d thought. The whole world had seemed to be coming to life and getting better every day.

Nothing like now, he thought grimly as he closed his eyes tightly against the tears that had begun to flow. Now everything was turning into one gigantic fucked up mess.

He’d rushed things with Mya. Of that he was now sure, now that he’d had some time to think, to get his bearings. It seemed that when it came to women rushing things was definitely a problem he suffered from.

Max had probably been right. He should have played the field. He should have dated and avoided getting serious except that wasn’t the tune that Max or any of the other guys on the team were singing now. Not since Max had started dating that girl from Blush, the sexy little Latina that seemed to be at all the games and all the practices these days, a fact that only made him miss Mya even more.

“What the fuck am I doing Randi?” he asked, pressing his hand flat against the grave marker while wiping at his eyes with the other. “I want her, I don’t want her...I don’t know what to do.”

That was the truth. When it came right down to it, he didn’t want to make the decision. He wanted everything to go back to the way it was before she’d gotten pregnant and things had got so squirrely and out of hand. Not that he didn’t feel strongly about her and not that he hadn’t imagined them being together, forever, but now that he’d had the time and space to look back on it, he just didn’t know what all the rush had been about.

He couldn’t blame her either. He knew that. She’d never once asked for him to propose. She’d never asked about moving in or babies or any of that and now that he’d gotten some perspective, it would have been better just to ask her to move in. Mya wasn’t the kind of girl who needed the flowers and the bridesmaids and the dress and the flashy ring. She would have been happy with just being with him; all of the rest of it...that was on him.

He’d been worried about how it would look. The good boy from a small town, the good Canadian kid having a child out of wedlock; it would have been in the papers here and back home. But it hadn’t just been about the child. He’d already had the ring. He hadn’t wanted to do to her what Flower was doing to Vero. They shared a house, a life, but they weren’t married and didn’t have any plans to get married and that had seemed fine, at first. But now, it had been years and it was just getting...weird.

He’d wanted to do the right thing by Mya. He didn’t want her to have any of the questions he knew the other WAGs constantly harassed Vero with: the ‘when is he going to propose?’ and the ‘when are you getting married?’ and the ‘when are we going to hear the pitter-patter of little feet?’ Plus there was just going to be all the media attention once the word got out. People would want to know who she was and he’d thought it would be so much easier for her if they were married.

Now, of course, none of that mattered because she was more than half a continent away and, at least according to Tish, had no plans to return to Pittsburgh. She was even going for job interviews Tish had told him in that way that he knew was meant to put him in his place and it had. It had put a knife right through his heart.

After all, if she was putting him behind her and she had every right to, he couldn’t blame her. Not after what he’d done, walking away from her when she needed him most.

“If she knew...if I could explain,” he whispered, tracing the letters on the brass plaque with his fingertips. “If she knew what seeing her in the bed did to my head...if she knew how helpless I I just can’t lose anyone else...,” his voice trailed off as the wind picked up and sent a crumpled piece of paper rolling over his hand. It was one of those booklets, those folded pieces of paper you get at a memorial service.

There was a picture of a young girl on the front, maybe thirteen, maybe older. Around Taylor’s age he thought as he turned flattened out the paper and turned it over and the lyrics on the back made his heart race.

So far away
I wish you were here
Before it's too late, this could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side I will fight and defend
I'll fight and defend

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on

'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

He knew the song, but had never really listened to the lyrics before. It was one of those songs on his iPod, one of those songs wasn’t really his taste, wasn’t really something he’d have chosen for himself. Maybe if he had listened a little more closely to it before....

“Okay Randi...okay. I get it. You don’t have to tell me, I know,” he whispered, his voice thick with emotion. “I’ll try harder.”

“Thanks for your time, I appreciate the opportunity,” Mya held her hand out towards the young man in the suit who took it in both of his, clasping her hand rather than shaking it.

“We’ll be in touch,” he promised with a genuine smile. “Can I walk you out?” he offered, maybe a little too solicitously. Mya shook her head, feeling her phone vibrate in her bag at her hip, and not for the first time during the interview. She was glad she’d remembered to put it on vibrate but couldn’t help but wonder if it was obvious and if this jumped up mid-level executive thought it was rude that she had it on at all.

“I think I can find my way out,” she smiled, withdrawing her hand carefully and successfully fought the urge to wipe it on her skirt. Turning she walked down the hallway, feeling his eyes on her back the entire way. She made herself turn as she put her hand on the handle of the door to the stairs and wave. This would be a good job, an amazing job, if low paying and if she was going to stay here, she was going to need a job like this to get back into the business because there were two things she was sure of right now.

One, she wasn’t going back to stripping and two, she wasn’t going to get any kind of reference from the station back in the ‘Burgh.

The young man in the cheap suit with the pathetic attempt at a moustache waved his fingers back at her, like she was five and grinned in that sort of way that said he was already imagining her naked. Mya wanted to wretch but kept the smile on her face long enough to get through the door before stopping and finally allowing a shudder to engulf her entire body. Was the job really worth being pawed like that, she wondered as she reached for the hand rail and began to head down the stairs. Was it really going to be any better than stripping? At least when she was stripping she was making three times what the Canucks were offering for the position of media relations officer.

“Well it’s that or go back to Pittsburgh,” she told herself firmly, putting one foot in front of the other which is what she felt like she’d been doing for weeks now, just putting one foot in front of the other, mindlessly, walking around in a daze.

The station didn’t even call anymore to see if she was coming back and Sidney...well, there hadn’t been a single word from him.

“Are you following me around?” Mya dragged her attention off of the toes of her black boots to look up into a pair of familiar blue eyes. She couldn’t help but smile as she shook her head.

“I think you’re following me around Shane,” she replied, adjusting the strap of her purse as her phone buzzed in her purse again.

“Nope, it’s got to be you. This is my house,” he replied with a confident and sassy grin that made it hard for Mya not to be affected by the warmth in his smile.

“I guess it is,” she shrugged as she looked down at him. He was a few stairs lower than her, wearing a dark blue t-shirt that only seemed to deepen the blue of his eyes. The thin cotton clung to the width of his chest and Mya caught herself imagining what the muscles of his chest would look like slicked with sweat and closed her eyes, trying to shake the image out of her head.

“Well you’ve found me now...Mya, that’s right isn’t it?” he asked, running his hand through his dark hair, making it stand up on end. “I hope you’re not going to run out on me this time,” he added with a wink that made her laugh.

“Does that work on all the girls?” she asked, unable to stop herself from comparing him to Max, the ‘ladies man’. They were both charming, in a disarming sort of way. But it was an obvious sort of charm. It didn’t have the same effect as the shy boy thing that both Sidney and Tanger had.

“Oh come on now, I’m not that much of a playa,” he grinned, taking two steps at a time until he was only a couple of stairs lower than her, which made him just a little taller than she was. “Besides, other girls aren’t as pretty as you,” he added, reaching out to tilt her chin up with one finger. Mya looked up into those sea blue eyes and wondered how easy it would be to let herself drown in them.

“And I bet you say that to all the girls too,” she added, forcing her gaze down and away from those deep blue eyes which only brought her gaze directly down to where his t-shirt was sticking to his broad, round shoulders.

“Do you always have such a hard time listening?” he asked, his whole hand now cupping her chin, gently forcing her to meet his gaze again. “I keep trying to tell you, I think you’re a hell of a lot prettier than anyone I’ve met in a while.” Mya felt her heart flutter in her chest as he leaned towards her, his gaze focussed on her mouth. He was intent on kissing her, but she had no intention of being kissed. Not now and if she had anything to say about it, not for a long time.

“I don’t date hockey players,” she whispered as she pressed her hand flat against his sternum and giving a solid push that didn’t even move him an inch. He let out a groan but when he met her gaze again, he was grinning.

“I like a challenge,” he smiled at her, his sapphire eyes dancing as he withdrew, just enough to hold his hand out to her. “Phone,” he said simply, his long, thick fingers waving in the air between them.

“Phone?” she asked, confused as she stood there, staring at his hand because it was better than looking into his eyes.

“Yes, your phone, so I can give you my digits. That is, assuming you’re not going to give me yours,” he added with a playful grin. Mya reached into her bag and drew out her phone, telling herself that if it shut him up it was worth it. She was never going to call him so it didn’t matter if she had his number in her phone or not. He took her phone and Mya couldn’t help but notice how small it looked in his hands as he added his number to her address book. Her hand shook as he handed it back to her, making certain that his fingers brushed hers as he placed it in her hand. “I don’t suppose it’s any use asking you to dinner?” he asked, looking hopeful. Mya shook her head and forced her feet to move, placing one foot in front of the other, walking down the stairs, making sure to give him a wide enough birth that their bodies didn’t so much as brush against one another’s.

“I don’t date hockey players,” she reiterated as she continued to walk carefully down the stairs, knowing with absolute certainty he was enjoying the view of the way her hip hugging pencil skirt tugged across her ass.

“We won’t call it a date,” he called after her, laughter ringing in his voice. “We’ll call it a prelude to the best night you’ve ever had.”

“Prelude huh?” she laughed, turning to look up at him as she rounded the corner to the next set of stairs. “I bet that’s a big word for you. Am I supposed to be impressed?”

“If you want to be impressed,” he laughed, deliberately lifting the hem of his t-shirt to wipe the sweat off his face, giving her a very good view of his six-pack and just a hint of the goody trail leading down into his shorts. “I’ve got lots of ways to do that babe, I can promise you that much,” he added with another wink that sent a shudder down her spine. Mya shook her head and turned, keeping eyes front and deciding it was best not to get sucked in to that entire discussion.

After all, she wasn’t going to date a hockey player. Not now. Not ever again.


Sidney snapped his phone shut with a growl. She hadn’t picked up, not once. All he was getting was voice mail and it was beginning to piss him off.

“She could have her phone off,” Flower suggested quietly, which startled Sidney. He’d been pretty sure the young goaltender had been deep in sleep beside him on the bus. Flower often took a power nap on the bus ride to the arena when they were on the road. “Or maybe the battery is dead and she left her charger here,” he added, opening one eye to glance over at Sidney, probably to see if he needed to duck yet, which almost made Sidney smile. “Or maybe it’s down the back of a sofa,” he added before opening the other eye and raising a single eyebrow as he waited for Sidney’s response.

“I guess so,” Sidney growled and flicked his phone open again, staring down at his call display, willing his phone to ring, or at least for a text to appear.

“Also, what time is it there? Peut-ê ne sais pas...peut-être elle dort?” Flower suggested quietly, closing his own eyes again and settled back into his seat.

“It’s the middle of the afternoon,” Sidney sighed, shutting his phone again and forcing himself to put it back in the pocket of his suit jacket. He could see the arena in the near distance. “She’s probably at one of those job interviews that Tish was talking about.”

“Ou elle pourrait ignorer vos appels,” Marc-Andre corrected him quietly, telling him what he already knew was the most likely reason his calls were ending up in voice mail, over and over again. He could see her doing it, pressing ignore, or worse, having blocked his number entirely and could he blame her? No, he thought to himself as he slid down in his seat. She had every right in the world to hate him now. He hated himself a little bit.

No. Scratch that. He hated himself a lot and it was showing out on the ice.

If she’d just call him back, if she’d only listen to him for five minutes, he thought hopefully, closing his own eyes and sending up a little prayer to the only gods he really believed in; the hockey gods. Just make her give me five minutes, that’s all. Five minutes and I swear, I’ll make her understand. I’ll make everything go back to the way it was and then I won’t feel so much like I’m skating through wet cement, he thought as he tried to make his tense muscles relax.

Maybe she’s over me, he thought resignedly, but I’m not over her. Not by a long shot.


Mya, it’s me and....Look, I know I’ve been an ass. No, fuck that. I’ve been a complete asshole and you’re probably pissed at me and I get that. No. I fucking deserve that but...just come home and....And we’ll work things out. I promise I can explain everything and....Just come home. Please. I love you.

Mya saved the message and then played it back again.

There they were. The words that she had wanted to hear but three weeks ago.
Screwing her eyes shut tight, she listened to the message for a third time and felt her teeth grinding together in frustration.

If only he’d said those words a day after, two days. Hell even a week after she probably would have been on the first flight out, even if it hadn’t been a direct flight. She’d have taken any flight that would have got her within driving distance of him.

But now? Mya snapped her phone shut and dropped it onto the kitchen table and put her head in her hands. Now she’d all but accepted the job with the Canucks. She was supposed to go back in the morning to look over and sign the contract. She’d even gone to look at a small studio apartment downtown near the rink...and now this.

“Go. Whoever he is...if he wants you, just go.” Mya raised her head and stared at her father’s too young girlfriend. “You’ve been sitting around here, staring at the walls for weeks. Whoever he is, you obviously want him. So go back to him.”

“Gee Bridgette. Want me out of the way much?” Mya grumbled, narrowing her eyes at the result of her father’s cradle robbing antics.

“What I want doesn’t matter. What’s good for you...that would make your father happy and what makes your father happy....”

“Ugh...spare me the details,” Mya moaned, closing her eyes again and trying very hard not to think of what her happy daddy would do to perky Bridgette once she was out of the house. The very thought that they may or may not have been doing anything sexual while she was in the house made her feel dizzy and sick to her stomach.

“You don’t know anything about my life,” Mya snapped and it was true. She hadn’t told her father why she had run back home; not exactly.

“Do you think I don’t recognize a broken heart when I see one?” Bridgette sighed dramatically and rolled her baby blues at Mya in a way that said she clearly thought she was speaking to either a child or someone with inferior intellect and that...well that made Mya furious...and made her laugh at the same time.

“Like I said, you don’t know anything about me or my life so...why don’t you do me a favour and go back to chewing your gum or whatever it is you do around here,” Mya snarled and pushed her chair back, scraping it across the floor until it fell over backward and left them both staring at it.

“You’re right. I don’t really care about you or how you feel, but I do care about your father and he’s worried about you so I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it so that he doesn’t worry anymore. Get it?” Mya stared at her father’s teenage girlfriend and wanted to say something sarcastic and nasty, but nothing came to her. Instead, she stared at the beautiful blonde and felt her carefully built protective wall begin to crack. “So, this guy. Do you love him?” Mya stared and refused to answer. “Alright, don’t answer me. You’re right, it doesn’t matter what I think and you don’t have to tell me anything but if you love him, then you should go back to him.”

Bridgette shrugged and turned and walked away and Mya watched as she went with that question hanging in the air – did she still love him and should she go back to Pittsburgh?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

in answer to your request

If you look up qfd on you will find some of my stories

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just a Quick Note

For those of you who are confused, please keep in mind that this is not only a sequeal (see above link) to a previous story but a late chapter in a story that begins with grief and loss.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chapter 33

Wow, there was definitely a lot of reaction to the last chapter and I just want to say thank you for your thoughts and passion and encouragement!

Mya curled her fingers around the steaming mug of strong, black coffee and tried not to listen to the woman across the table from her chewing loudly on her Cheerio’s.

They weren’t the normal, plain kind either, nor were they the good for you kind with the honey and nuts. They were the sugary, colourful fruit kind. Something about that struck her as pathetic and only served to underline how young her father’s girlfriend was.

Not that he was here to see his girlfriend chasing her cereal around one of his Italian ceramic Insalata bowls. He had long since driven off, heading for campus, which made Mya wonder if his girlfriend should be at class or not. Not that she planned to ask. If she could help it, she didn’t plan to even talk to the woman, although that was beginning to prove difficult.

She’d run home to lick her wounds, looking for sympathy and the arms of her mother. It hadn’t been a very well thought through plan.

Her mother had gathered her in her arms and made soothing noises while she cried, but the minute that Mya had got up to go to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face her mother had forgotten why she was there or who she was.

For his part, her father had done his best to make sympathetic gestures and had even patted her back as he sat on the edge of her old single bed. It hadn’t lasted long though, and soon he’d retired to his study, behind closed and locked doors and there the sympathy and parental care had ended. He’d been far more concerned with idea of being old enough to be a grandfather than he had with his daughter’s physical or emotional well being.

Still, home, such as it was, was better than Pittsburgh.

Tish had insisted on taking her in, but Mya had only lasted a single night in their guest room. Waking up in the middle of the night to the cries of the twins had been more than she could take. Despite Tish’s arguments against it, the very next morning, Mya had climbed on a plane and headed for the coast.

Time and space, she hoped, would heal the gaping, bleeding wound in her heart.

Except it still ached, she knew, reaching down to place her hand against her stomach. Her baby was gone. She hadn’t really had time to get used to the idea, to really feel what it felt like to be pregnant, but what she did feel now was empty. Like something was missing.

Of course it wasn’t just that quickening of life inside of her that was gone.
The engagement ring Sidney had given her was on the bedside table at Tish and Jordy’s, if Tish hadn’t found it yet. If she had, Mya wondered to herself, had she given it back to Sidney or had she put it in the safe in their bedroom?

She hoped that Tish, or maybe even Jordan, had returned it to Sidney. It would save her from having to do it herself, she thought with a sigh as she tipped the cup of dark, rich coffee to her lips.

Closing her eyes she savoured slightly nutty, almost burnt taste of the Arabica beans. At least she could count on one thing. Coffee was almost always good. It almost always made her feel better. She’d missed it when she’d given it up as soon as she’d found out about the baby....

No, she admonished herself for the hundredth time. She couldn’t think about the baby. No, not the baby, she told herself firmly, the pregnancy. It was better to think of it as an ‘it’, not a person, and it was better not to think of it at all, because every time she did, she would think of Sidney, and she wasn’t sure which hurt worse.

As the hot, dark liquid slid down her throat, Mya took stock of her insides. The dull ache in her chest, she told herself, was not a broken heart. It was just sore muscles from crying. It would go away in a day or two. The emptiness in her stomach wasn’t a missing baby, it was hunger. She tried to remember when the last time she’d had something to eat was. Three days, maybe four?

That was one of the worst things about the miscarriage she thought darkly, one of the most unfair. Her breasts still hurt. Her hormones were still out of control and she still couldn’t stand the smell of things she’d liked before, like bacon, like fresh baked bread.

No, she corrected herself with a wry smile. Not the worst, just inconvenient. The worst...well she couldn’t decide what the worst was. Not yet, although she had to admit that it would have been nice if he’d at least call to see if she was okay.

The fact that he’d just walked out on her on what seemed now like the worst day of her life...well it was pretty fucking unbelievable and Mya was having a hard time trying to forgive him for it and she’d tried. She really had.

She’d also tried to think of a single reason that would explain how the normally sweet and thoughtful young man she believed she loved could do something so cold, but no matter how hard she tried, the only reasons she could think of seemed either truly farfetched, or worse, truly un-fucking-forgivable.

Had he just got cold feet? Was he cheating? Had he seen a nurse that looked better to him? As hard as she tried, Mya couldn’t make herself believe any of the fanciful daydreams she came up with to explain his behaviour.

There was, however, one idea that she could believe, though she tried not to.

If he’d lied when he said he didn’t need the pregnancy to want to marry her that meant he didn’t really love her. It meant he only wanted to legitimize his child, his progeny. She tried not to, but if it was true, and Sidney was that calculating, then maybe everything else had been a lie and that...well that made the ach in her chest turn into a sharp pain. Like maybe her heart wasn’t just broken. Maybe it was just gone.

Because she knew if he could do that, she hadn’t really known him at all. And if she could love someone like that...well, then she never wanted to fall in love again...ever.


“You are an incredible ass, you know that?”

Sidney snorted and shook his head, but didn’t look up from tying his skates.

“And here I thought you’d be over the moon that I was single again. I thought you’d bring me a fucking bottle of JD and say ‘hey, single buddy, let’s go cruising’,” Sidney sighed, switching to his other skate before looking up at Max who was still standing over him, or rather looming over him, with a thunderous look on his face, which didn’t at all go along with the usually perky, happy go lucky if somewhat moody personality the forward usually had.

“No, I think you’re a fucking moron. A lunatic. Merde Sainte Sid. What were you thinking letting that girl go?” Sidney narrowed his eyes at his friend and waited for that twitch at the corner of his mouth that would signal that Max was about to laugh because this had to be a joke. Max was a consummate bachelor. No he was the consummate bachelor and he firmly believed that everyone else should follow his lead; be single, carefree and fuck everything that moves.

Sidney waited, and waited but Max didn’t crack so much of as the hint of a smile. In fact he continued to stand there, looming, looking disapprovingly down at where Sidney was sitting half in and half out of his gear.

“Okay, what gives?” Sidney asked finally, reaching for a roll of hockey tape, something, anything to keep his hands busy, which had pretty much been his state of mind for about a week. Don’t think, that was his new motto. Practice, work out, drink a bottle of JD, sleep and don’t dream. Just don’t think. Thinking was dangerous and, he’d decided, frankly overrated. “You were pissed at me for getting engaged. I’m not engaged anymore. I thought you’d be throwing me a fucking party.”

“I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll pay for whatever expensive weekend or trip to Paris or what the fuck ever you need to do to get the poor girl back. That’s what I’ll fucking do,” Max snarled and Sidney stopped winding the tape around the blade of his stick and stared at his teammate as if he’d never seen him before, which is exactly what it felt like. This didn’t sound like Max. This wasn’t Superstar.

“I don’t get it Max. What’s this really about? What? You think I’m not playing well or something? Is that it? Are you going to give me that speech again about how I need to get laid and how I can’t play with blue balls? Is that it? Because if that’s where you’re going with this, just save it ‘cuz I’m pretty sure that’s how I got into this fucking shit storm in the first place.” Sidney went back to taping his stick, because he needed to focus on something else, something beside the pair of dark eyes that were glaring at him, questioning him. He’d done enough of that himself. He’d had the twenty questions from Mario and the ‘I told you so’ bullshit from his father, not to mention the ‘how could you’ speed from Tish and Jordan.
Getting it from Max...well that was just bullshit, plain and simple. Max didn’t care about his personal life, not unless it involved some kind of alcohol fuelled toga party.

“You’re right you don’t get it,” Max sighed, shaking his head and letting out one of those long, slow sighs. It reminded Sid suddenly of his mother, the sound that she made when Sid had broken a window with a puck, or when he hadn’t done his homework because he’d been out playing street hockey after dark. That disappointed but not surprised sound.

“Whatever Max.” Sid bit back the ‘fuck you’ and the ‘go fuck yourself’ that he wanted to add. Fighting with his teammates would only add to his misery, and if it was one thing he didn’t need, it was more of that.

“Yeah, that’s right. Whatever. Sweep it under the rug, huh Sidney? Break your word, break her heart, you know, whatever. A little piece of your soul dies, you know, whatever. Yeah...that’s good. Okay, you do that Sid. You do that and see how good you feel huh?” Max finally grinned as he placed a hand on each of Sidney’s shoulders and stared him straight in the face. “Take it from me Super Boy,” he added, pitching his voice lower so that it sounded threatening but firm, so that Sidney had to listen. “Being all alone when you’re ninety because you’re too chicken to get through the rough’s going to suck, non?”


Dealing with Grief

Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy after Miscarriage

Empty Arms: Hope & Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage

Holding on to Faith: Hope after Miscarriage

Piece of My Heart: Living Through the Grief of Miscarriage

Mya ran her fingers down the spines of the books in front of her and felt her eyes well up. She could hardly think about it. She couldn’t imagine reading about it, and yet...she had no one to talk to.

Well that wasn’t strictly true. She talked to her mother. She had talked to her mother just this morning. They’d had tea.

The problem was her mother seemed to think that she was the neighbour across the street they’d had when she was about four. She kept calling her Irene.

Her father, in his infinite wisdom had suggested she join some kind of support group. His exact words had been something to the effect of ‘isn’t there some group...MA or something you could go to?’

MA. Miscarriages Anonymous. The thought made her smile as she turned her back on the section and headed over toward the fantasy and science fiction section. A good, lush fantasy world might do the trick, she hoped, as she waded into the section with all the big thick tomes by the likes of Tolkein, Tepper, Armstrong, Hamilton, and de Lint. She ran her fingers down their titles and felt a sort of peace steal into her heart.

Lord of the Rings

A Plague of Angels

A Lick of Frost


The Mystery of Grace

She pulled out one of the books and opened it, grinning at the creaking sound it made. She loved being the first to open a hardcover. She was already imagining herself curled up with a box of chocolates, under a throw, reading....

“Is that a good one? Do you know?” Mya looked up to find herself looking into a pair of impossibly blue eyes. They weren’t ice blue, or robin’s egg blue. They were sky blue, very, very blue. “It’s just...I like to get something to read on the plane. I mean...I’m starting to. I mean...I didn’t used to. I used to sort of just listen to music and whatever and play cards with the boys but I’m not really good at cards and...I’m sorry. I’m pretty much rambling here. My name’s Shane,” he said, sticking his hand out towards her. “I have this habit of rambling when I meet a pretty girl.” Mya knew she was grinning but couldn’t help it. He was...adorable; like a big, dumb teddy bear, but...adorable.

“Mya. Don’t I know you?” she asked, tilting her head to one side as she looked up into those sky blue eyes, framed by long dark lashes and a spattering of freckles across a nose that look like it had taken its’ fair share of right hooks in its time.

“I don’t think so. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d remember someone as pretty as you,” he grinned, showing a chipped tooth in an otherwise broad, generous smile. Mya felt her cheeks heat and ducked her head, hiding behind her hair.

“This is a good one,” she suggested, turning to reach for a book behind her. “It’s Vikings and raids and all that. You look like you could appreciate a good fight,” she added, turning to hand it to him to find him leaning in to sniff at her hair.

“You smell good,” he grinned, “I can appreciate that.” He was flirting with her, outrageously and he wasn’t even making an attempt to be subtle. It made her skin tingle and she couldn’t stop smiling like an idiot.

“, you should read that on the plane,” she mumbled, realizing that her hand was shaking as his long fingers brushed hers when he took the book from her.

“Thanks for this. I will. The guys will think I’m trying to get smart or sumthin’,” he added as he slipped the big book open and glanced at how many pages it had in it. “So want to get some coffee or something?” he offered, looking hopeful as he stood there, looking down at her with those big, big blue eyes.

She should say no. Two weeks ago she’d been set to marry Sidney, was going to have his baby... Of course all of that was over now. Sidney hadn’t even called her. Not so much a text, an email, nothing. So if it was over....

“Coffee sounds good. I like coffee,” she said quietly and watched the big man’s grin grow impossibly wide as he bobbed his head, sending part of the dark thatch of hair on his head forward. She watched as he brushed it aside before offering to take the book she was holding out of her hand.

“Let me get that for you,” he said, his hand brushing hers’ as he tried to take it.

“That’s okay,” she replied, holding fast to the book and looking back at him quizzically. Buying her a coffee was one thing. A thirty dollar book....

“Hey, I’m a professional hockey player. It’s no problem,” he grinned, taking the book and stacking it on top of his before offering her his arm.

“Professional...what?” she asked, her heart sinking.

“I play for the Canucks. C’mon. You don’t watch hockey? I thought everyone in this city watched hockey.”

“I...I watch hockey. I just...I just....” She wanted to run. She wanted a hole in the floor to open up and swallow her whole. She wanted a portal to another dimension to open and drag her through the rabbit’s hole. “I just remembered I have to be somewhere. It was nice to meet you Shane,” she mumbled, turning on her heel and practically running for the door, leaving the big defenseman standing there with the books in his hand staring after her.

“Do you even remember what you went through to get her?” Jordan asked as they sat in the hotel room, in the semi dark. Sidney hadn’t been able to sleep and Jordan couldn’t sleep unless Sidney did. Normally Sidney roomed with Fleur but the young goalie kept giving him that look lately, the same disappointed ‘I can’t believe you’ look that Mario and Nathalie kept giving him. He couldn’t stand it.

Jordan’s wife didn’t approve either. But she wasn’t on the road trip and Jordan was pussy whipped, there was no doubt about that, but when they were on the road, she loaned him his balls.

“Sure,” Sidney replied at long last. “But...I don’t know. I think I just realized it was all happening too fast. I think maybe we need a break,” he added, which is what he had convinced himself was happening. They were on a break, taking some time apart to get their bearings. At least that’s what he was doing. All he knew was that Mya had gone running home to Vancouver, jacked in her job and school and went home to her mommy and the only reason he knew that was because Gronk had told him so. Tish had told him not to but more often than not, Jordan couldn’t keep a secret.

“Yeah well, you know what happened to Ross and Rachel when they were ‘on a break’,” Jordan replied, lacing his fingers behind his head and staring at the ceiling.

“What are trying to say Gronk? Do you think I’d cheat on My?” Sidney asked, still wondering to himself why Max hadn’t tried to drag him down to the club earlier when he and Duper and TK had gone girl hunting.

“I’m saying she’s a beautiful girl and she’s pretty pissed at you so...I’m saying she’s probably going to move on if you don’t get your head out of your ass pretty quick,” Jordan sighed, closing his eyes and letting out a long sigh.

“She’s not like that,” Sidney heard himself reply defensively. “She wouldn’t do that.”

“She returned the ring, didn’t she?” Jordan asked passively. “Put yourself in her shoes man. If you think you’re grieving, imagine how she’s feeling and you’re not there to lend her a shoulder to cry on and I’m sure there’s plenty of guys who’d be willing to....”

“She’s not like that,” Sidney growled, grabbing his pillow and turning his back on Jordan, screwing his eyes shut. “She wouldn’t...fuck it’s only been a couple weeks. I was going to call her...I just...I just needed some space.”

“I’m just saying,” Jordan yawned. “If you were in her shoes and some big hunk came along to make her feel know...if I was single and in Vancouver and....”

And shut up Jordan okay? Mya’s not like that. She’s not just going to jump into bed with some guy. I’m sure she’s still...working stuff out for herself. I’ll call her tomorrow...or in a day or two,” Sidney mumbled, punching his pillow and trying not to see the vision suddenly creeping into his head of Mya in some other man’s arms.

“Your funeral man. Whatever you think. You know her better than me,” Jordan added sleepily and Sidney thought that that sounded about right. He did know her better. She wasn’t like that. She was probably laying in the dark thinking about him just like he was thinking about her. No one was cheating on anyone. She wouldn’t even think about it. She was probably still working things out for herself. She didn’t have time to look for other men just like he wasn’t looking for anyone else.

Sidney took a deep breath and told himself to relax. He had to stop listening to other people. He’d freaked out, reacted badly. The whole hospital thing had really fucked with his head, brought back memories of Randi and messed with his mind. He hadn’t been thinking straight and it had taken him some time to figure out just exactly what had happened. But now that he did have it straight in his head, he was going to wait until this road trip was done and then he was going to call her, when he had more time and there weren’t a lot of people around to listen in. She would understand that.

Mya was a smart girl. She’d probably already figured out what had taken him so long to come to terms with. She was probably waiting for him to come to her and he would.
In a few days.

In the mean time, he needed some sleep and he needed to stop thinking about her and definitely about her and some other guy, because that would never happen, not in a million years.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When You Love Someone Chapter 32

Thank you for your patience waiting for this chapter and if I don't get to it before then, Happy Holidays to one and all.

Just a note on this chapter. I changed my mind several times on whether or not to even bring this subject up, but it just wouldn't leave me alone, so bear with me as I work through this.

“No, no, no, no.”

Mya stared at the red stain and swore under her breath. This could not be happening. Not now. There were people downstairs, a wedding shower and baby shower all in one. There were balloons and cake and a mountain of presents.

And she was bleeding.

“No. God, please no,” she moaned, reaching for more bathroom tissue and blotting again, praying it wouldn’t be there this time.

But it was.

“You comin’ out of there soon?” Tish called from the hallway. Mya could picture Jordan’s wife in her mind. She was wearing a silver cocktail dress and opaque black tights and impossibly high heels. They’d left the twins at home with Jordan’s mom. Jordan’s mom had been spending an inordinate amount of time with the young couple of late, which was why Tish was shadowing Mya. She’d had enough of her mother-in-law and all of her ‘down home’ suggestions. Tish seemed to think it was her turn to run someone’s life for a change. Not that she’d minded a single suggestion Tish had forwarded so far. If it had been entirely up to Mya, the wedding dress hanging from the door would have been replaced with a burlap sack.

Not that there was going to be a wedding now, she thought darkly as she closed her eyes tried to feel what was going on inside of her own body. She’d had a dull sort of pain in her back all day. Not cramps, she thought, just sort of an ache.

“Tish?” she called out, her hand shaking as she reached back to jiggle the handle.
“What’s up hun? You fall in?” Tish joked but Mya couldn’t even crack a smile as she searched through the bottom of her purse, looking for some kind of panty liner, even if it was ten years old and covered in fuzz. Failing that, she grabbed a handful of tissue and folded it carefully in place.

“Can you take me to the hospital?” she asked quietly as she opened the door. Tish’s always bright smile disappeared immediately as she searched Mya’s expression.

“Are you bleeding?” she asked immediately to which Mya could only nod as fat, wet tears began rain down over her cheeks. “Okay, just try not to panic. I’ll go get Sidney and we’ll....” Mya grabbed Tish’s outstretched hand and vehemently shook her head.

“ don’t...not until we know,” she insisted and though Tish looked back at her sceptically, she nodded, and reached into her own purse for some kleenex.

“Mom now...,” Tish explained as she blotted Mya’s tears before palming her keys and silently leading Mya down the hall.

Mya could hear the party going on behind them, the laughter and the raised voices. A few minutes ago she’d been one of them, laughing and joking with some of the other WAGs as she tore into professionally wrapped presents with perfect bows containing gifts that altogether represented more than her entire years salary. Now she was escaping under the cover of darkness without a word to anyone.

They’d have to return all the gifts.

Mya thought regretfully about the solid silver rattle that Vero and Marc Andre had given them. It was so beautiful. Then there was the crib that Natalie and Mario had given them with the Winnie the Pooh linens. It had to have cost them a fortune. Of course they could afford it. But it would all have to go back now anyway.

Sidney wasn’t going to want to marry her now.

Or at least he wouldn’t have to, and his father would be so pleased about that, Mya realized as she thought of the way the big bear of a man had stood, looming over her, looking down at her with distaste as his wife fawned over her soon to be daughter in law. Trina had been so looking forward to be a grandmother.

At least Tish wasn’t trying to tell her that everything was going to be okay. As it was she was coming undone. If anyone did try to tell her everything was going to be okay...Mya bit down on the inside of her cheek to stop a sob escaping from her lips.

This was not okay. There was no way this was going to be okay.


“It’s always hardest when it’s the first one,” the nurse was saying quietly as she held the thermometer into Mya’s ear and took her pulse with her other hand. “You’ve already got a name and you’re all excited,” she continued in that soothing voice, or at least Sidney assumed that’s what she was going for as he stood at the foot of the bed. It didn’t sound reassuring to him and by the looks of Mya’s tear stained face, red-rimmed eyes and red tipped nose, it wasn’t doing much for her either. “You’re lucky,” the nurse added, noting both her temperature and pulse rate on the chart behind Mya’s head before giving her hand a firm squeeze. “It could have been worse. You could have been further along.”

“Yeah, great silver lining,” Tish snarled, giving the nurse a cold stare as she stepped between the woman in scrubs and Mya, practically tearing the nurse’s hand off and replacing it with hers.

It was only then that the nurse seemed to notice him standing there and he saw her eyes get wide. That was probably a bad thing. He could hear it already, the gossip that would start out at the nurse’s station and quickly spread through the rest of the hospital and out onto twitter and facebook and...but he didn’t care. He cared about the woman lying curled in a fetal position on the hospital bed, clutching Tish’s hand like it was a lifeline.

The anger he’d carried all the way to the hospital lessened as his gaze swept her pale complexion, marred by streaks of mascara, bright fever spots on her cheeks. It was the pain in her eyes, the utter agony that stole the words from his lips as he stood there at the end of the hospital bed, torn between climbing onto the bed and wrapping her protectively in his arms or turning and leaving.

Except that he had to know.

Not that the anguish in her face didn’t make it crystal clear that there wasn’t going to be good news. But still, he’d always been the kind of person that held onto any shred of hope, no matter how small and he just couldn’t believe this could happen, not now, not to him.

His hand reached out to brush over her foot, to let his presence be known, but one sharp look from Tish froze him mid movement. With a glance, she made it known that his place should be beside her, at the empty side of the bed.

Sidney reached for her hand, the one that was balled in the crisp white hospital sheets. Patiently he unfolded her hand and tugged the sheet free and then wrapped both of his hand around hers’. She hadn’t looked up at him yet and there was this horrible feeling in the pit of Sidney’s stomach that was begging to grow, beginning to make it hard to take a breath.

“Is it..?” his voice failed him as he tried to ask the question that had haunted him ever since Jordan had come to find him in Mario’s office. Jordan hadn’t known the answer and neither Tish nor Mya had been answering their cell phones. He’d pushed the black BMW to its’ limits through the dark city streets, the engine roaring as he pressed his foot to the floor, ignoring red lights, forgetting about his own safety or anyone else’s. All he wanted to know was....

“Of course it is. Do you think she’d be balling her fucking head off if it wasn’t?” Tish snarled, her dark eyes judging him as he stood there, staring back at her, shaking his head.

It couldn’t be true. It just couldn’t.

“Isn’t there something they can do? I mean...there must be something...,” he asked hopefully. He was grasping at straws. He knew it, he didn’t need Tish to roll her eyes at him.

“It happens.” A new voice, a young male doctor ducked through the curtain, clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other. He made some kind of notation on the clip board before setting it down on the bed and reaching out to lay his hand comfortingly on Sidney’s shoulder before moving away and around the foot of the bed.

For his part, Sidney wanted to shrug it off, to give this man in his crisp, clean white coat a piece of mind. After all, what good was an expensive degree if he couldn’t do anything about this?

“A lot of times women this early don’t even realize that this is even what’s happening,” the young doctor continued as he moved up the bed, displacing Tish as he reached for Mya’s hand, pressing his fingers to the inside of her wrist and his other hand over her seat slicked brow. “It’s never easy though, that’s for certain. I’m very sorry for your loss,” he added with just the hint of a smile as he looked down at Mya who began to cry anew.

He held her hand a moment longer and Sidney watched as he gave Mya’s hand a gentle, reassuring pat before he turned to look across the bed at Sidney.

He recognized him, of that Sidney was certain. He was also weighing him up with what seemed like a deliberately critical sort of gaze that swept over him while that half smile never left his face. Professional and yet...not, it made Sidney’s hackles rise. It was the same sort of look some of the older referees, like Devorski or Fraser, gave him when he complained. It was patient and derisive at the same time. It made him want to break a stick over their head. This made him want to grab the doctor’s stethoscope and wrap it around his neck and tighten it until his eyes bugged out of his head and his lips turned blue.

He knew, or at least he could guess what was on the young doctor’s mind. He was probably thinking that the young superstar had gotten off lucky, had escaped unscathed. That, of course, was the furthest thing from Sidney’s mind. At this moment, he felt anything but lucky.

“Isn’t there...something you can do?” Sidney made himself ask, and ground his teeth together as the doctor looked back at him, a smug sort of grin on his face.

“We can test the tissue that’s been sloughed so far. As I said to your umm...friend here,” the young doctor looked up at him and actually winked, and it took every ounce of will power Sidney had not to launch himself over the bed at him and send him crashing to the floor. That would make an even better story, Sidney thought as he imagined people whipping out their cell phones to record the local hockey star rolling around on the floor with a doctor. It would do wonders for his reputation. “As I said, these things tend to happen for a reason, but sometime knowing what the reason was can bring a little closure.”

Tissue...tests.... It was all so fucking clinical. His baby was gone, dead, and this guy was talking about tissue and closure. Sidney had long since let go of Mya’s hand, lost entirely in his own grief, and now he could feel his hands ball into fists at his sides. He wanted to smack the smug look off of the doctor’s face and then he was going to punch some holes in the wall, and then maybe he was going to toss some bed pans around. Maybe then he’d feel better. He doubted it though.

“Do the tests,” Tish replied for both of them, taking charge once again of the situation as she stepped between the doctor and Mya once more, perching on the edge of the bed and gathering the prone and shaking form into her arms. “Can she go home now?” Tish asked, glancing at Sidney as if he was some sort of monster before turning back to the doctor. Sidney could only stare back at her, There was something in the way she looked at him though, something he couldn’t face.

She thought he should be the one to be the one holding onto Mya, except he couldn’t. Or he didn’t want to. He wasn’t sure which. He just knew he couldn’t be here anymore. He couldn’t stand the way the doctor was judging him. He hated the knowing look the nurse at triage had given him. He hated the smell of the place.

Mostly he hated feeling so fucking helpless. If there wasn’t anything he could to help, he didn’t want to hang around and have everyone look at him as if this was somehow his fault.

“Sid? Sidney?” She was reaching for him. Her hand outstretched towards him and he couldn’t make himself take her hand. If he did it would be like he’d forgiven her, and suddenly he couldn’t. He knew he should, but he couldn’t. He stared down at her hand for a long, silent moment and then he turned and swept the curtain aside and began to walk.

“Don’t. You. Dare.” He heard the tapping of Tish’s high heels on the linoleum floor and he knew in a moment she was going to grab him and spin him around but Sidney didn’t stop walking. He knew what it looked like, but that didn’t stop him from putting one foot in front of the other. “Don’t you leave her Sidney Crosby. Don’t you walk out on her now or I swear to God....”

“You’ll what?” he hissed, turning to face down Jordan’s tall, statuesque wife.

“She’ll probably never forgive you,” Tish replied, matter-of-factly, raising her eyebrow at him like she dared him to turn and walk away now. Sidney could barely breathe, could barely swallow, and he knew that Tish might just be right but somehow that didn’t matter right now.

“Maybe I’ll never forgive her,” he whispered back, glancing at the lump of sheets on the bed that he knew was the woman he was supposed to marry in the morning. He couldn’t imagine that happening now, maybe not ever.

“I cannot believe you would do this. Not you. Max, sure, but not you. I know your mama raised you better than this Sidney Patrick Crosby. Don’t you dare leave her now. She needs you,” Tish warned, the threat clear in her dark eyes. “Now I know you’re not good with the whole hospital thing since Randi but I swear to God, you will fucking regret this if you leave her now.”

Sidney stared past her at the unmoving form on the bed and knew that maybe Tish was right, but as much as he knew it was probably true, the tightness in his chest, the urge to flee was too strong. Shaking his head, as much at himself as in answer to her threat, Sidney turned his back on his fiancée and on Tish and walked away.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter 31

“Jordy’s right, you could put your eye out with that thing,” Tish exclaimed as she examined the ring on Mya’s hand. Quickly withdrawing her hand and putting it back on her lap, under the table and out of sight, Mya rolled her eyes.

“I should get him to trade it on something smaller, less...conspicuous,” she mumbled, reaching for her Venti vanilla chai and sucking noisily at the straw.

“Don’t you dare,” Tish laughed, sitting back and reaching to give the double stroller a little push. The twins slept better if she rocked it every once in a while. “You wear that thing like a god damned homing beacon, and even if your hands get swollen in your next trimester, you wear that fucking thing around your neck and be proud of it. Are you kidding me? That’s god damned gorgeous. Paris Hilton would be fucking jealous as hell.” Mya glanced across the small table at her friend and couldn’t help but smile.

“Your kids are going to get their mouths washed out with soap on their first day in kindergarten,” she admonished Tish who only shook her head, quite decidedly and quite firmly.

“If anyone so much as touches my kids without my say so, I would kick their ass,” she answered without so much of a twitch of a smile, lifting her brand new, precariously high heeled, Cesare Paciotti black leather boots. “I will insert these directly up anyone’s ass that so much as even breaths hard on either of them...although that would be a kind of waste. Fuck these are great boots.”

“They should be for a thousand bucks,” Mya muttered, knowing that it was unlikely Jordan would care about the cost, or even notice the thousand dollars as more than a blip out of his bank account. It was more likely he’d just be very, very appreciative of the way they looked on his tall, long legged wife. Still, Mya knew it was going to take her some time to get used to being able to spend money like that. Tish had done her best to talk Mya into purchasing a pair of ferocious wedges for half the amount of money that she’d spent, but Mya couldn’t bring herself to do it. Not even with the platinum American express card that Sidney had insisted on giving her. It was for necessary expenses she told herself, for things they needed for the apartment, not for frivolities.

“Honey, he has more money than you two will be able to spend in a lifetime,” Tish sighed, reaching across the table to place her be-jewelled hand over Mya’s, “and if I know anything about our Sidney boy, he’d want you to have a little fucking fun with it.” Mya smiled at her friend but kept silent. That wasn’t the way Sidney spent money. Oh sure, he’d take her out to eat at nice restaurants, even close them down if he had to, but he didn’t just go crazy on the most expensive clothes either. Not that he had to, he got so much free shit from Reebok, he hardly ever had to actually buy clothes, aside from jeans, and those he had specially tailored for ass. Mya grinned at the thought of the special package of new jeans that had arrived at the apartment that morning. It had never occurred to her such a perfect body couldn’t just wear things off the rack. “You two deserve each other, you know that?” Tish sighed, removing her hand and going back to pushing the twins back and forth. “You’re both so...small town.”

“Is that a bad thing?” Mya asked, partly amused at the idea of Vancouver being called a small town, although in comparison to most of the cities in the US, it probably seemed like that to an outsider.

“No, it’s just...don’t even listen to me. You’re perfect for him. You’re so not even interested in the money. It’s cute. It must make daddy Troy very happy,” Tish added with a wink as she let go of the buggy long enough to drag one of her bags closer so she could peer in at her other purchase. Another pair of buckled boots that made Mya wonder just what she and Jordan got up to when the twins were sleeping.

“I don’t think Troy likes me much,” Mya sighed, thinking about the thunderous look on Troy’s face when Sidney said he wanted to celebrate his gold medal with her and not with the entire family.

“Don’t worry, I don’t think Troy likes anyone much, aside from Mario. He looooves Mario,” Tish drawled sarcastically, throwing her head back and laughing while Mya shuddered at the idea of Troy kissing up to Sid’s boss. “Speaking of the big sweaty bear,” Tish added, raising a single, perfectly arched eyebrow, “do they know yet?”

“Know?” Mya narrowed her eyes, and then, as Tish gave her own, now completely flat stomach a pat, opened her eyes wide. “Oh, and I don’t even know if they know he’s asked me yet and I’m not sure I want to be part of that conversation.”

“Wise choice,” Tish laughed, and then gave a shudder. “I can just imagine how well daddykins is going to take the news that he’s about to become a Grandpa.”

“Here?” Sidney looked out the window at the grey sky and made a face. “Do you really think that would work?”

“Not outside. I mean, well, we can check what the weather will be like on the weekend but...we could even do it in the living room with a little work. But think about it Sidney, where else are you going to have the kind of privacy to keep this quiet?” Nathalie reached over and Mario’s hand automatically covered hers’. Sidney smiled at his mentor and sometime foster father. He’d taken the news so much better than he’d anticipated, and Nathalie, well she seemed ecstatic.

“I can’t...I mean thank you. I was ready to fly to Vegas but...I mean if you think it would work,” he looked down the hall towards the large formal living room with the French provincial furniture, the cream coloured walls and plush rug. It was the room that hardly ever got used. The far less formal entertainment room downstairs was the one that he and the Lemieux’s had always used. That was where Christmas mornings took place, movie nights, or just watching a Steeler’s game on the tube. The formal room at the front of the house even had one of those sweeping stair cases leading to it from upstairs. It looked like something out of Homes and Gardens.

“Well if someone can pull something like that together at short notice, I think it’s Nat,” Mario said proudly, reaching over to pat his wife’s hand while sharing a look with her that Sidney wondered if he would share with Mya when they’d been together as long as the Lemieux’s had. “She’s got a book full of caterers and floral companies. I bet she can put something together that will be good enough for Hello Magazine back home,” Mario added with one of his warm smiles and a wink towards Sidney, who shuddered at the idea. He’d already been voted one of Canada’s most ‘beautiful’ people in that magazine, but he knew that his mentor was probably right. Even though he wanted to keep it private, no matter how hard he tried, the news was likely to get out, somehow, someway. Even Pat had suggested that they try and control that likelihood by giving exclusive rights to someone.

“I don’t want anything too...crazy,” he said, thinking of the weddings he’d seen in magazine. The completely over the top and out of control pomp and circumstance of Celine Dion’s wedding along with its official book that had come out a week after, or even the full formal church wedding Colby had had. Although that had probably been the most fun he’d ever had at formal event.

“Well it’s not really about what you want is it?” Nathalie grinned and Sidney could see the wheels already turning in her head. “You’d better get Mya over here. We have lots to discuss.”


“What do you mean called up? You’re like what, over forty? You can’t go to Afghanistan. Phone them up. Tell them they’ve made some kind of fucking mistake,” Mya picked up her phone and shoved it towards Steve who backed away, hands up in a defensive gesture, shaking his head.

“Pumpkin, even reservists are going. I’m going to be working in the bases, fixing trucks. I’m not going to be in the line of fire, promise. I’ll be fine,” he smiled at her like he was trying to placate a crazy person, and that only made Mya even more angry.

“Then tell them you can’t go now. I mean, shit, don’t they even give you some fucking warning? Ship out on Friday? I mean, who does that?” Mya slammed the phone down and turned away so her Uncle wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes. Better he leave thinking her angry at him then upset like this, she thought as she brushed at her eyes with the back of her hand.

“The Army sweetstuff,” he said quietly, putting his hands on her shoulders and pressing his cheek to the top of her head. “The President says go and the Uncle Sam snaps his fingers and all I’ve got to do is put some stuff in a duffle bag and go. Besides, you don’t need me now. You’ve got that hockey player of yours to look after you.”

“Yeah but...but...if you’re not here...,” Mya fought against the tears but she knew it was a losing battle. It was most of the time now that her hormones were firmly in control. “If you’re not here, who’s going to give me away?”

“Give you...My...did I miss something?” he asked, turning her around and peering down into her face. Mya refused to look up but sniffed and cleared her throat and did her best to keep her voice calm.

“I’m up the spout,” she explained, sniffing and wiping at her nose with her sleeve, “so we’re getting married.”

“Well at least he’s doing the right thing and I don’t have to fucking kick his ass before I leave,” Steve chuckled, lifting her chin and placing a paternal sort of kiss on her forehead. “So what’s with all the tears? I know you’re nuts about the guy, so is this just hormones or what?”

“We’re getting married this weekend,” Mya sighed, “I’m going dress shopping today with Tish and Vero and I hate shopping. I can’t stop throwing up and...and you can’t go. You have to give me away.”

“Oh pumpkin,” Steve wrapped her up in his arms and held her close, rubbing her back in soothing circles. “I’m so honoured you’d even think of me for that.”

“You know I can’t ask my dad. I mean, not can’t. I won’t,” Mya sniffed, letting herself relax into her uncle’s arms. “I don’t even want him here.”

“My,” Steve stepped back so that he was holding her at arms’ length as he looked at her with that ‘are you serious’ look, his eyebrows raised as he searched her face. “You don’t mean that. He’s your dad. That’s who gives you away. Your dad. Of course you want him here.”

“I don’t,” Mya said firmly, wiping away her tears and returning Steve’s concerned gaze. “I really don’t. I don’t even think I’m going to tell him about the wedding, or the baby.”


There was a long silence on the other end of the line and it made Sidney wince. He could hear it coming. In fact, as he closed his eyes and pressed his fingertips against the throbbing that had begun in his temple as soon as he’d picked up the phone to talk to Troy, he could picture beads of sweat breaking out across his father’s forehead as his lips thinned out in annoyance.

“There’s such a thing as an abortion,” his father began in his deep baritone, the sound of disappointment causing Sidney to scrunch down in his chair.

“That’s not an option dad,” Sidney sighed, shaking his head. He’d known that particular suggestion would be his father’s most likely initial reaction, but that didn’t make it any easier to hear. “I love her. I’m going to marry her.”

“It’s not the god damn fifties Sid. You don’t have to marry her because you knocked her up. We’ll call Brisson. We’ll get some kind of payment arranged. You don’t need to go tossing your god damn future down the drain for the first girl with a working uterus.”

“I’ve called Pat. He’s talking to the lawyers about a pre-nup. We’re getting married dad. I’m not asking for your opinion. I’m not even asking for your blessing. I’m just telling you, we’re getting married this weekend at Mario’s. I hope you’ll be there. Mom and Taylor are coming so I hope you will too,” Sidney said, trying to keep his voice calm and even, drawing on the last reserves of his patience. There was a long silence on the other end of the phone again. Long enough that Sidney began to wonder if his father had actually hung up on him. It wouldn’t have been the first time. “I thought, at least, you’d be happy that we’re keeping it small and private,” Sidney added, the little boy inside of him still needing to placate his overbearing, over protective father. “It’s not even going to be the whole team, just a few of the guys. It’s going to look like a dinner party, that’s all. The only people who even know what’s actually going on are Mario, Nathalie and you and mom. I don’t even want you to Taylor, in case she decides to facebook this too,” Sidney continued, trying to fill the silence, and trying his best to paint a picture he hoped his father could accept.

“So her parents have the good sense to think this is stupid idea too?” his father said finally, sounding just a little too pleased at the idea of more family strife. Sidney pressed at his temple and reminded himself to breathe. This thing of his father living precariously through him, of trying to control his every move, every decision, he’d really hoped it had ended with the Cup. Obviously that still wasn’t quite the case.

“No...her dad is...,” Sidney started to explain about the complicated and strained relationship Mya had with her father, but decided against it. After all, that would only add fuel to his own father’s argument that she wasn’t the right girl for him. The fact that Sidney thought it made her even more perfect made him smile. “Her relationship with her parents has nothing to do with you, dad. Are you coming or not?”

“I’ll be there,” his father said at last, but there was a note in his voice that made Sidney wince. He sounded just a little too happy about it, which only meant one thing. Trouble. “Someone’s got to talk you out of this bullshit.”

“If you’re going to be like that, dad, then don’t even bother coming,” Sidney grumbled, slamming the phone down, despite the fact that he knew that by doing that he was only playing further into his father’s hands.

He could hear it already. The ‘you’re too young to get married’ and the ‘you’re too young to be a father, look what I went through, what I gave up for you’. Sidney had heard his father’s warnings time and again. The evils of women and how falling for their wiles and falling into their clutches would ruin his career. The fact that he’d never actually been happier than when he was with Mya didn’t seem to matter to his father.

There was no point in arguing with the man though, Sidney knew from long experience. Troy wasn’t what you call ‘a good listener’. That had served its purpose early in Sidney’s life, he knew, but he’d long outgrown the need to have his father serving the bull in the china shop role in his life. If he was going to stop being ‘Sid the Kid’ he was going to have to step up and make his own decisions, even if that meant that Troy never spoke to him again.

Sidney grinned suddenly at the thought.

A guy could dream, couldn’t he?


When she’d gotten in Steve’s car, which he’d insisted she take considering he wasn’t going to need it for the next few months, Mya had had every intention of heading to the bridal salon whose address she had printed out Tish had texted to her earlier in the day but instead, she’d been driving in circles, trying to clear her head.

She wasn’t going to call her father. That much she knew for certain. There was no way the she was going to risk ruining her wedding day by having her dour father there, disapproving of everything and everyone. And besides, Max would probably hit on his girlfriend and then all hell would break loose....

Mario would do it. All she had to was ask and considering he and his wife had been generous enough to offer up their home for the wedding, it might be the right thing to do, Mya thought as she sat staring at the stop light in front of her. He was a really nice man, and Sid thought the world of him, but she hardly knew him. The problem was that she’d only met him once, maybe twice, she thought as the light turned green and Mya gave the car some gas and headed across the intersection and into the driveway. She hardly knew him. It didn’t seem right.

As she put the car into park, she felt her hands go clammy, but that didn’t stop her from pocketing her keys and heading towards the front door.

She’d only been here once before. In fact this was as close as she’d come, the driveway. She’d never been inside. In fact she’d never been out of the car. He’d only come here once, to get something he’d forgotten. His wallet, she thought as she walked up the driveway and put her hand out to knock on the door.

This was a crazy idea, she thought as she listened for movement inside. He’d say no. She was almost certain of that, and yet she couldn’t think of anyone else she knew well enough, or cared enough about to ask.

“Can I” His voice faded away to nothing, as did his friendly, toothy grin as his brown eyed gaze met hers’. “Tabernak. Je dirais que c’est une surprise, but I always knew you’d come crawling back, par la suite.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chapter 30

It was like New Years Eve, Mardi Gras and the Fourth of July all at once. The people of the city had spilled into the streets in a celebratory mood. Canadian Flags flew from windows, were draped over railings and licked the wind from car windows and moon roofs.

The sidewalks were jammed with grinning faces and it felt as if they hadn’t moved more than a block. Sidney was stopped every few inches by someone wanting to shake his hand, pat his back, thank him or congratulate him. For himself, Sidney didn’t seem to mind and his own grin never wavered. He could even ignore the slight throb in his forehead where he was sporting a set of fresh stitches, care of Tuomo Ruutu. He didn’t even seem concerned about anyone taking the precious gold medal from around his throat.

He signed every card, every jersey, every napkin and every baseball hat put in front of him without complaint. He accepted the good wishes and the invasion of his personal space with equal aplomb.

He also did all of these things without taking his hand from around Mya’s. He kept her by his side, refusing to disengage his hand from hers’, even when she offered to. Partly he was afraid of letting go of her and having her washed away in the current of the crowd. It had been hard enough to find her in the press of bodies outside the room after the game. But mostly, this was something he wanted to share with her. He wanted to share in the energy swirling around them.

Of course he wasn’t the one getting the strange sideways looks and though people were certainly pointing him out and talking about him as they passed through the crowd, it was Mya they were discussing about behind their hands; especially the young girls who squealed when they realized who was passing through the crowd.

Sidney took that in stride. It was something he had long since grown used to, almost didn’t hear, but he could feel its affect on Mya. She stiffened more and more each time a gaggle of teenage girls approached clucking like excited hens. He wanted to tell her he didn’t see them, not really. That he’d trained himself to just see the piece of paper, the ticket, the jersey that they thrust at him. It wasn’t entirely true. Of course he noticed if they were pretty or not, but that didn’t change how he felt for her.

This was something she’d have to get used to, he knew as he asked yet another fan politely to steady the ball cap thrust into his hand so that he could sign it one handed. He’d talked about this with Mario and Nathalie. He’d asked what it had been like for her to date the second biggest star in the league next to Gretzky. He knew what it was like for the girlfriends of some of his friends like Vero and MAF, and then there had been poor Heather before Jordy hooked up with Tish. At least Tish seemed better equipped to handle all the negative attention that being the significant other of one of the Pens seemed to bring with it.

Not that he wouldn’t protect her if he could, Sidney thought to himself. He just knew that he couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to. Not all of the time.

He could keep it on the d.l., like he tried to do with most of his personal life. Keep it quiet. Keep it behind closed doors. He’d had pretty good luck with that so far, if you didn’t count all of the people that walked up to his parents’ front door and asked to take a picture with the people that brought up Sid the Kid.

They even knew where he lived in the off season. He could sit on his dock and see the high powered lenses pointed towards him. Luckily, for the most part, the people taking those pictures liked him or at the very least, had some modicum of respect for him. For her though...he couldn’t be so sure.

It was a lot to ask of a woman. He wasn’t like Max or Jordy or Fleur. His girlfriend, once she became public knowledge, would be in the public eye, on the internet, probably even in a magazine or two. He could hope to avoid a big fucking scene like Gretzky had for his wedding. After all, it wasn’t like Mya was some kind of D-List actress.

No, he thought with a grin as he gave her hand a little tug and pulled her into the restaurant at last. She was way fucking prettier than Janet.

The maitre d’is showed them immediately to a secluded table near the back of the restaurant and Sidney waited until Mya had settled into her seat before sliding into his own , beside her, instead of across from her. Tonight he wanted to keep her close, to keep her within touching distance. Did it make him needy? Fuck it if it did he thought, taking her hand in both of his and running his thumb thoughtfully along her lifeline.

“It’s funny,” he began, tracing the line that cut across the top of her palm. The heart line, he thought they called it. He’d been to a palm reader once, at Army’s insistence. Not that there had been anything she could have told him that he didn’t already know. He’d be successful. Well no shit. “I have almost everything I ever dreamed of,” he added, glancing up to see if she was following him. Her eyes were heavy, like she was half asleep or relaxed at last he thought as he allowed his gaze to roam her muted expression.

“Almost everything?” she repeated, her free hand resting protectively over her stomach. He glanced down at the way her fingers curved over stomach and smiled.

“NHL, Captain, Stanley Cup and now a gold medal, so yeah, there’s just a couple things I need and then I guess I’ll have to make a new list,” he continued, his thumb now tracing her money line, the one that ran from the base of her thumb up toward the index finger. “You know what those are right?” he asked tentatively, as his thumb went back to tracing her love line, before he finally closed his hands over hers’ and looked up into her green eyes. He could see that she was waiting, hope and fear mingled in her eyes.

He’d already asked her, or just about. He wondered what the fear was he could see in her eyes as he reached up to brush her cheek with his fingertips. Was it fear of marrying him and all it meant and all that came with that? Or was it just that he was asking her here, in front of all these people?

Glancing over her shoulder he gave the nod to the maitre d’is and heard the first strains of what he hoped would be their song and slid off of his chair and onto one knee in front of her.

“You know what those are right?”

When his hazel eyes looked into hers’, Mya felt her heart leap into her throat. He was going to ask her, pop the question, and he was going to do in front of a bunch of strangers. If that wasn’t bad enough, her favourite song was playing in the background.

It almost made her wish she’d just said yes the other night.

Her hands shook as he took them in his and slid from his chair to kneel in front of her. God, this was really happening, she thought as he smiled up at her, his thumb stroking the back of her hand as he looked up at her with an encouraging smile.

She felt her eyes well up, though she told herself she was being ridiculous. She knew he was going to ask her, knew he’d been carrying around a ring and as the light caught the gold medal hanging around his neck, she knew he was feeling on top of the world tonight. She should have seen this coming but still....

There'll never ever be another you
I can search my whole life through
It's no use
All roads lead me to you
There'll never be another you

Mya nearly leaped out of her chair when she felt a hand close on her shoulder. She looked up to find that it wasn’t just pre-recorded piped in music playing; Adam Gregory himself stood behind her, his sexy voice crooning in her ear.

“Oh my god Sidney, is there anything you can’t do?” she breathed, her entire body shuddering with nervous energy.

“When it comes to you sweetheart, I’ll do anything,” he whispered, as he bent to press his lips tenderly to the back of her hand.

“You must be awfully sure of my answer, to have him serenading me,” she added with a glance back toward the handsome sandy haired blonde, unable to edit the thoughts in her head before they spilled from her mouth.

“Well I guess I do have a little something going in my favor,” Sidney grinned, guiding her hand up to her stomach and pressing both of their hands over it. Mya felt the tears begin to flow, and shook her head. She was smiling and crying at the same time. It was the strangest feeling.

She watched as he took his hand back, fumbled in his pocket and then produced the small box that she’d seen before. Certain she was going to hyperventilate, Mya watched him open the box and her breath caught in her throat as the light caught the brilliant diamond within.

Oh holy shit, was the only thing that she could think as she stared at the ring as he took it out of the box and took her hand in both of his.

“Mya, will you make me even happier than I am right now, and marry me?”

There'll never ever be another you
I can search my whole life through
It's no use
All roads lead me to you
There'll never be another you
Never be another you
Oh no
Never be another

The whole room grew deathly quiet, like the whole world was holding its breath, waiting for her answer. As if there was any kind of question about what that answer would be.

“Yes, yes a thousand times yes,” she sniffed as he slipped off her promise ring and replaced it with the new, flashy, engagement ring.


“You could put someone’s eye out with that thing,” Sidney whispered softly, his fingers laced with hers’ over her stomach, his cheek resting lightly just over her belly button.

“Yeah, about that, are you sure that this is really two month’s salary?” she quizzed, giggling as he rolled his eyes at her. “I’m kidding,” she sighed, letting his body warmth and the warm, clean smell of his skin relax her. “It’s probably my eye I’ll put out with it.”

“As long as you don’t put Colby’s eye out with it,” Sidney mumbled, closing his eyes but not long he was resting, but more as if he was concentrating.

“Colby?” Mya asked, puzzled and amused at the same time.

“Mmm, works either way. Good eh?” he replied, a slight smile tugging at the corners of his full lips. Mya snorted and closed her own eyes, allowing herself to fully relax for what seemed like the first time in forever.

“You know it’s not going to do anything that you’ll be able to feel for a couple of months right?” she asked, feeling his other hand snake along her pelvis.

“Do you feel anything?” he asked, finally giving up and sliding up the bed to roll her body against his, his strong arms surrounding her, cuddling her close.

“I guess, now that I know,” she sighed, her body moulding itself to his. “There’s sort of this…I guess it feels like there’s a tennis ball in there. That’s about it. Oh and your hockey gear,” she added, making a face as she thought of the way her stomach had turned over at the funk of entrenched sweat and mold. “It’s…not good, really. You’re going to have to keep your work out stuff away from me for a while.” She felt more than heard him laugh, and then the soft press of his lips to the top of her head.

“I think I can promise that,” he whispered, letting out a long, contented sounding sigh. “So…when do you want to do this?”

“Mmm? Do what?” she asked sleepily, trying to stifle a yawn. It had been a long, nerve wracking day, what with the game, Sidney spurting blood all over the ice and then the proposal. Today had seemed like it was going on about two days now.

“Get hitched,” he replied, his lips pressing a little more insistently against the back of her neck, sending a warm surge through her nerve endings that made her smile. Mya felt the ring on her finger, a sort of heavy, unfamiliar weight and smiled. It was enough to be engaged, she thought. It would probably take a while just to get used to being the fiancée of Sidney Crosby. That in and of itself was sort of mind blowing, life altering, and made her stomach do a little flip, or was that the tadpole inside of her, she wondered as she closed her eyes and hummed happily as his teeth dragged across her shoulder. There was the baby to consider.

“Do you think you’d have time to get married before the end of the season? I mean…isn’t it kind of go go go until…June?” she asked, feeling his body growing rigid and hard against the small of her back and reminding herself that it was bad luck to even think about his season being over before the last day of Stanley Cup finals. He made a noise in the back of his throat that she took for frustration and wondered if it was because she was still talking or because he’d only just realized himself how long that could be. After all, if the Pens season did go right until June, she’d have to buy something that would make her look like trailer trash to head to the alter in. Not that she minded. Well…not really.

“I didn’t think of that,” he grumbled, and she felt his forehead press against her shoulder. “I don’t want you to have to miss out on anything…,” his voice trailed away and Mya realized just what he was worrying about and shook her head. Rolling over, so that she could face him, Mya reached up to cup his cheek in her hand.

“I don’t need…no, scratch that. I don’t want a big white wedding in a church with a dozen bridesmaids and flower girls and all that shit. C’mon Sid, this is me. Be honest, I’m not exactly the most girly girl you’ve ever met, am I right?” Sidney smiled and shook his head, the concern seeping quickly from his gaze. “If we went to Vegas tomorrow, I’d be perfectly happy with that.”

“If I didn’t have a game on Tuesday,” he groaned, rolling over onto his back and grinding his teeth together. He stared at the ceiling and Mya knew he was imagining his schedule as if it was before him, printed on the ceiling of her room at the B&B. “Fuck…I have games like…every other day for the whole month.” He looked over at her apologetically and Mya shrugged.

“So I’ll look like a swallowed a beach ball…I’ll just ban cameras from the wedding. I mean, isn’t that what Tish did?”