Mya cast a careful glance down the row of seats and then down at her ticket again. She’d paid the scalper well over two hundred for the ticket and they’d let her past security with it, but you could never be too sure. Still the seat was empty and another surreptitious glance around told her that none of the WAGs or immediate family members were nearby to tip him off as to where she was sitting because this was a test. Just as keeping away from her phone when she’d returned to the ‘Burgh last night had been. It had been tempting, very tempting, to go straight to his apartment and fall into his arms. The phone had been an enticing alternative when she’d got back to her own apartment, just to hear his voice, to hear him say that he still loved her would have been enough to make her fall happily into a dreamless sleep.
As it was, she’d lain wide awake staring at the ceiling for hours going over the conversation she knew had to come in her head.
Because she had to know, had to hear his explanation and a promise, a sincere promise the bottom of his heart that he’d never, ever desert her like that again. That was the pea beneath her mattress, the one that had her tossing and turning and waking up in a cold sweat.
Still, her heart hammered in her chest and tried to claw its way out from beneath her skin as he jumped out onto the ice in full stride. It didn’t matter that the young girls around her squealed like stuck pigs and jumped up and down with their ‘Marry Me Sidney’ signs. As much as her disappointment and anger sat in the pit of her stomach, like a lead reminder keeping her anchored to her seat, just the sight of him flying around the ice like he had rockets on his skates still made her heart flutter.
Her hands clenched and unclenched, alternatively folded and balled into fists on her lap as she watched and waited for the right moment, that moment in the warm up when he would do what he always did because he, more than any other of the players on the ice, was a creature of habit. He was worse than Flower, and in the world of hockey players, being more superstitious than the goalie was truly saying something.
When he at last slid to a stop at center ice and took a knee, shook off his gloves and dropped his stick down beside him parallel to the boards, and leaned down over his skates to re-tie them, she stood and waited because the next thing he would do was go to the bench for a water bottle. Her hands clenched and unclenched nervously at her sides as she waited none too patiently for him to finish with his skates. She focussed on his hands as they tugged at the laces off his boots and forced herself to breathe deeply.
Look up, she willed him silently. See me.
Sidney tugged at his laces hard enough that the thick cotton bit into his fingers and made him wince. Coming back she’d said. On the next flight she could get she’d said. He’d been waiting all day, staring at his phone and still not a call, not even one single fucking text.
He’d even phoned once but only got her voice mail. He’d convinced himself that meant she was on the plane and he’d soon be getting that call from the airport, ‘come get me’. Except he hadn’t got that call and he was beginning to get more than a little worried. He’d even done what he’d never, ever done and probably would have lost his mind at any teammate who would have dared to do it. His phone was sitting on the bench. No one said a word to him of course. They all knew that his head would finally get back in the game if Mya would just give him the word that everything could go back to normal.
Of course her coming back should have done that, Max had told him, but then Max was all fucking loved up lately with his stripper girlfriend and was suddenly seeing the world through rose coloured fucking glasses. Sidney wasn’t the type of guy to see the glass half full all the time and right now he’d be willing to smash the glass to fucking smithereens if it meant that he could just see her.
Pushing himself up to his feet, Sidney grabbed his gloves, stuck his stick under his arm and skated towards the bench and then almost fell to his knees.
“Mya.” He stumbled, dropped his gloves and reached for the boards in front of him. He stared at where she stood, two rows behind the bench, in a plain white dress that immediately made him wonder if this was her way of waving a flag of truce or if it was her way of reminding him that he’d asked her to marry him. Either way she looked some sort of biblical angel. He just wasn’t sure what kind, an avenging angel, here to break his heart or a seraphim, here to sing sweet words in his ear. Either way it was going to totally fuck up his game. “Scott...can you do me a favour?” Sidney grabbed the arm of the head trainer as he moved to hand Sidney his water bottle, as was customary for him at this time during the warm up.
“What’s up Sid?” he asked, his usual easy grin fading at the edges as Sidney brushed the bottle aside, something he never did.
“Do you see that girl?” Sid pointed at Mya who was still standing there, unmoving, not giving him a sign of which way they’re reunion was going to go. Scott glanced over his shoulder and then back at Sidney, his eyes narrowed.
“Your girlfriend...yeah?” he asked, clearly confused.
“Can you just get her down to the training room, please,” Sidney mumbled, remembering to say please, despite the fact that his heart had now made its way into his throat and was making it very hard for him to breathe. Scott nodded, still eyeing his charge with a wary suspicion that Sidney ignored, pushing off and forcing himself to skate away from the boards, to take a lap while he tried to gather his thoughts.
Part of him wanted to head down the hall immediately but the other part of him knew that pacing the hall wasn’t going to help him think any clearer. Besides, he knew that skating was more likely to ease the sudden overwhelming tension in his muscles.
If she’d just given him some sign, he rages as his skates dug into the fresh ice. If she’d only given him a smile, or even a frown, just so he’d know if she was going to break up with him for good or not. If it was one thing that made him crazy it was not being prepared to go into battle. With hockey, he could watch hours of tape, slowing down and speeding up plays, analyzing player’s tendencies, bad habits and skills until he felt like he knew them inside and out.
With Mya, he felt like he was treading on quick sand. Either he was going to get across with some difficulty which he deserved for stepping into the quicksand in the first place, or he was going to drown. Either way, he hated not knowing what he was going to face down that hallway. Should he prepare to grovel? He was willing to. He was willing to crawl through broken glass if that would make things better between them.
It had to be bad news though, he decided, as he gave up and skidded to a halt before the doors that would lead him under the stands and towards the dressing rooms. If it had been good news she would have given him some hope. Even a Mona Lisa smile was better than the blank expression that had met his when he looked up at her. Better to get it over with quick then, he thought to himself as the doors swung shut behind him and he felt the grip and clutch of reaching fingers. He didn’t high five any of the fans as he passed beneath him, however. His heart wasn’t in it.
The sound of his skates on the rubber mats seemed inordinately loud as he walked head down along the dimly lit corridor. With every step he felt like he was getting closer to the firing squad and his stomach rolled accordingly. He couldn’t think the last time he’d actually felt like this. Maybe game seven against the Caps, maybe, which made him wonder, albeit half heartedly, what it was going to take to pull this one out of his ass.
Taking a deep, steadying breath Sidney pushed open the door to the trainer’s room to see Mya sitting on the edge of the desk, ankles demurely crossed with a pair of silver high heeled sandals dangling from her toes. She looked up at him and for just one, fleeting, moment he thought he had detected just the hint of a smile and then it was gone.
He wanted to say he was sorry. He wanted to cross the room and toss down his stick and gloves and grab her and kiss every inch of her beautiful face. He wanted to promise that he’d never, ever be such an enormous jack ass, ever again.
Instead, he stood there in the doorway and waited, because it felt like she had the floor, like she had to make the first move before he could even draw a single breath.
It wasn’t fair.
Mya thought that every time she saw him he seemed to be even more handsome than the last time. Maybe he was a more gaunt than he had been, she thought as her gaze swept over his face. His cheeks were hollow, his skin sallow and he looked tired. She knew what that felt like. Mya could hardly remember the last time she’d actually slept through the entire night without being woken by nightmares, or at the very least, gripped in a cold sweat at the thought of never being held in his arms again.
That was what she wanted as she watched him standing there in the doorway in full uniform. She wanted him to cross the floor to where she was perched on the trainer’s desk and pull her into his arms, hold her against the width of his chest so she could hear his heart beat and feel him breathing. She wanted him to say her name in that way that made her stomach do a little flip flop of excitement. She waited and the silence in the room grew heavy with all the words that needed to be said and he didn’t move.
Taking a deep breath, Mya dropped her gaze to a spot on the floor and asked the question that she’d asked a hundred times or more as she’d sobbed into her pillow.
“Why?” she asked quietly, forcing herself to look up at him, to see her words hit him like an open handed slap. “Why did you leave me after the miscarriage? Am I that much of a disappointment to you?” He shook his head and his wide shoulders shrugged. She waited, but the waterfall of words she’d expected didn’t happen. She waited, but he didn’t explain. “So...is that it then?” she asked, her voice pitching higher as her emotions began to get the better of her, constricting her throat and making it hard for her to speak. “Was I really just a rebound? Are you...are you still in love with her?”
Mya felt tears beginning to fill her eyes and tried to brush them away with the back of her hand but for every one she dashed away, ten seemed to come behind it. She couldn’t decide if she was more hurt or angry but more than that she felt humiliated as she slid from the desk only to find him shaking off his gloves, the clatter of his dropped stick on the concrete floor echoing loudly in her ears as she watched him walk towards her.
“No,” he said simply as he took her in his arms, brushing his hand through her hair as he pressed his lips to her forehead. “It’s not that...not...it is but....Fuck!” He cradled her face in his hands and looked down at her, a melange of emotions swirling in his eyes, the most prominent of which was a fierceness that made her want to shrink from him. “Don’t...just don’t ever think I don’t love you,” he hissed before pressing his lips firmly over hers’ in a bruising open mouthed kiss that matched the ferocity in his eyes. “I may be fucked up and confused about a lot of things but that’s not one of them. That’s never been one of them.”
God it felt good just to hold her, Sidney thought as his mouth moved hungrily over hers’. Just the scent of her was intoxicating and was quickly chasing away all of his insecurities and all of the dark thoughts that had been chasing around in his head for weeks.
“I’m sorry, so, so sorry,” he whispered against her cheek when he at last gave in to the need for oxygen. “I fucked up. I’m an asshole. I’m sorry.”
“Just tell me why,” she whispered, her voice sounding strangled as she turned her tear filled eyes up to meet his. “Why would you just walk away from me like that? Why did you leave me to go through that all on my own?”
“I don’t know,” he replied simply, pressing his lips to her brow, feeling a weight lift off of his shoulders. Just holding her again, just his much was almost more than he’d hoped for. “That’s the god’s honest fucking truth. I think I just...no I know that I just freaked out at the thought of losing someone again.” His own voice caught in his throat as he looked down into her emerald green eyes, so similar to Randi’s yet with a light all their own. “I can’t fucking lose you My...please.”
“How do I...how can I trust you again?” she asked, her gaze earnestly searching his.
“Honestly...I guess all I can tell you is that I don’t want to lose you and that that scares me more than anything else right now. Just...just give me another chance and...I can’t promise to be perfect My but I swear I’ll fucking try.” He tried to smile but his face felt frozen, and he couldn’t breathe, not until she said she was coming back to stay. “Please My,” he whispered, a sort of pain building in his chest as she remained still and silent in his arms. “Please don’t give up on me.”
“I love you,” she whispered in reply, at long last, though her small hands were balled into fists and pressed against his chest. “You hurt me Sidney. You really fucking hurt me, but I love you and that’s why I came back. I love you and maybe right now I wish I didn’t but I do so...promise me you won’t do it again. Promise you won’t walk out on me again.”
“I promise,” he sighed, leaning his forehead against his and letting a sense of relief flood his tense muscles. “I’m here. I’m right here and I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”