Saturday, June 21, 2008


The next day, I hopped into my newly purchased red Ford Focus and drove into Pittsburgh. Earlier that morning I had scoured the newspapers and made some phone calls. After asking Aunt Nathalie about certain neighborhoods, I produced a list of buildings I wanted to tour today.

I looked at a few complexes in the North Shore and a handful of buildings in the Downtown area. As soon as I entered Allegheny Towers, a brand new building only a few blocks away from PPG’s offices, I knew I wanted to live there. The building supervisor told me that most of the apartments were already full, but construction was being completed on the top two floors, and twelve more apartments would be ready in a week. He put my name on a short waiting list and assured me he would call as soon as there was an opening.


“I found an apartment today,” I told Uncle Mario at dinner that evening. “The building is called Allegheny Towers; it’s downtown, really close to where I’ll be working. They’re still working on it, though, so I can’t move for another week.”

Uncle Mario sighed dramatically. “Well, I guess that’s okay. I was planning on kicking you out tomorrow, but Alain would be pretty upset.”

I grinned. “Yeah, my father wouldn’t be too pleased to hear I’m living on the street.”

“We can put up for you for another week. Do you have any plans for tomorrow?”

“Not really. I was going to do more apartment hunting but I’m number nine on a list for twelve apartments, so I’m just going to hang out here I guess.”

“You should stop by practice. It’s from eleven to one, at Iceoplex in Southpointe.”

“Sure,” I replied. “I was actually looking for somewhere to skate today. Would I be allowed to take the ice after practice is over?”

“Of course. I’ll give you directions after dinner.”


I left for Southpointe at 11:30 the next day and arrived at Iceoplex around noon. A number of fans were seated behind the north goal, watching the team practice. I spotted Uncle Mario with a few other men on the empty away bench.

“Hi, Karine!” he greeted as I look a seat on the end of the bench. I placed my skates, stick, and puck on the floor behind me. He introduced me to the men he was with—they were all high-up team officials. I watched the guys do drills as Uncle Mario discussed franchise matters with the men.

Sidney skated near the bench and nodded in greeting. I gave him a small wave. I saw Colby chatting with a few players I hadn’t met. He pointed in my direction and I blushed slightly, knowing he was talking about me.

After Coach Therrin made the team do suicides, he ended practice early. The team retreated to the locker room and I pulled on my skates. I dropped my puck and stepped onto the ice and felt a rush of adrenaline surge through my body as I dribbled the puck towards the south goal. I shot at the net and skidded to a stop.

“Karine?” Sidney called from the concrete area that led off the ice. “What are you still doing here?”

“I wanted to skate a little before I went home.” I skated to him and leaned against the boards. “Wanna play?”

"Sure." Sid smiled and put on his skates.

I met him at center ice for the faceoff. “I promise I’ll go easy on you,” he said.

A familiar mix of anger and adrenaline began to rise. My heart began to pound in my chest and my breathing quickened. I was a naturally competitive person, especially when it came to hockey.

“Ready? One, two, th–” I shoved Sid before he could finish counting and took off with the puck.“Cheap shot!” he shouted as he scrambled to his feet. I shot the puck into the net and spun around to face him. “No more of that,” Sidney said, stopping in front of me and spraying me with ice. “This is just for fun.”

“That was fun.”Sidney shook his head and skated back to center ice. I won this faceoff too, but this time without knocking him over. I skated close to the wall down the ice, with him right beside me. He bumped into me, not overly hard, but enough to throw me off balance. I fell into the wall and he stole the puck.

“Hey! Don’t hurt le petit lapine!” someone yelled. I looked at the bench and saw Marc-André leaning over the bench watching us with a huge smile on his face.

“I’m fine,” I called back, skating hard to catch up with Sidney. I tried to check him into the wall unsuccessfully, and ended up falling on the ice.

“Alright,” Sidney laughed and helped me up. “You’re a little too physical for a pick up game. Let’s go.”

“You’re lucky I don’t have my pads,” I told him as we skated to the bench.

Sidney rolled his eyes. “Uh huh.”

“I really can’t have you beating up on my captain like that,” Marc-André said to me as we left the ice. “You’re going to bruise his ribs and his ego.”

I laughed and poked Sid playfully with my stick. “Sorry about the hits. I get a little carried away.”

“I can tell,” Sid replied, cracking his neck.

“So who won?” Marc-André asked.

“I did!” I replied cheerfully.

Sidney scoffed. “Hardly. If that had been a real game you would have been in the penalty box.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I teased.

We stepped out of our skates and walked out of the building.

“So, when do we get to meet your boyfriend?” Marc-André asked coyly. I noticed his eyes momentarily dart to Sidney, who was staring very intently at his feet.

I blushed slightly and laughed. “Not anytime soon.”

“Aw, come on, we’re not that bad.”

“No, no,” I replied quickly. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”

“Ohhh.” Marc-André smirked, raised his eyebrows, and glanced at Sidney again. “I see.”

I smiled awkwardly and pulled my car keys out of the pocket of my jeans. “I’d better go. I promised Lauren we’d go shopping when she gets home from school.” Lauren, Uncle Mario and Aunt Nathalie’s oldest child, was 13. It had been an entire week since I had been shopping—a personal record—so I had offered to take Lauren shopping so she could show me the best places.

“Yeah, I’d better head out too.” Sid told us goodbye and jumped into his Range Rover.

“You know,” Marc-André said as I turned to get into my car, “I don’t see Darryl like that too often.”

“Like what?” I asked, confused.

“Nervous,” he replied with a charming smile.

“I don’t…” Marc-André rolled his eyes.

“Didn’t you notice how he couldn’t make eye contact with you when I asked if you had a boyfriend? I saw it when we were all at Colby’s, too. The second you sat by him on the couch he tensed up. Sid has a lot of pressure, but you really stress him out.”

Now it was my turn to stare at my feet. I ran my fingers through my hair and blushed, unsure of what to say. “I think you’re reading too far into it.”

Marc-André shrugged. “We’ll see.”

No comments: