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.
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 him...like 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 about...it 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.”