Saturday, June 21, 2008


“Have you had a chance to see the city yet?” Uncle Mario asked as he twisted spaghetti around his fork.

“Not really. My plane didn’t land until one, and I just wanted to get here. I’m a little nervous to explore by myself. I did a little research before I left Montreal, though, and I found a few buildings that I’m going to check out this week. Heinz Lofts…it’s on the North Side I think?”

“North Shore,” Uncle Mario corrected. “That’s where Heinz Field and PNC Park are. Where the Steelers and the Pirates play,” he explained.

“I also found a building really close to Mellon Arena…Washington something.”

“Washington Place?” Sid offered.

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“A few of the guys live there. Some of the apartments are pretty nice…I’m actually going to Colby’s tonight. You could come along and check out the place if you’d like.”

“That’d be great!” I replied. I chastised myself for sounding a little too eager. “I mean, if you don’t mind me tagging along.”


I helped Aunt Nathalie clear the table after dinner and returned to my room to change and get ready to go to Colby Armstrong’s apartment. Sid knocked on my door at eight and as I climbed into his black Range Rover I felt a tiny knot form in my stomach. Although people often described me as charismatic and I often made a very good first impression, I still got very nervous around new people. Plus, it didn’t help that I was with Sidney Crosby, who besides being a superstar in Canada was also ridiculously attractive in person.

“Mario told me you got a job with PPG.” I was thankful he initiated conversation as we pulled onto the freeway and headed toward the city.

“Yeah. I’ll be working as a financial analyst…I’m actually surprised I got the job. They were looking for someone with experience. I was pretty lucky.”

“I’m sure your last name had something to do with it,” Sid replied, smirking.
My eyes narrowed and I glared at him before I could stop myself. I opened my mouth to argue, then shut it again, deciding to tastefully ignore him instead. I crossed my arms across my chest and stared directly ahead.

“I’m sorry,” Sid apologized quickly. From the corner of my eye I could see he was blushing slightly. He had realized he’d offended me. “I’m sure you’re more than qualified, it’s just when people see the name Lemieux…”

“The name doesn’t mean a thing off the ice,” I shot back.

“I’m sorry,” Sid repeated.

The rest of the ride passed in uncomfortable silence. We finally pulled into a parking lot adjacent to the Washington Place Apartments. I stepped out of Sid’s Range Rover and looked around. The building was right on the edge of downtown, which would be convenient. The building itself was very contemporary-looking: it was longer than it was tall, with very large windows and a few balconies. I looked over my right shoulder and saw Mellon Arena a few blocks away. Sid led me into the lobby, which was both modern and comfortable.

“Army lives on the fifth floor,” Sidney told me when we got in the elevator. I nodded curtly. I wasn’t making an effort to be rude to him—I was just very offended that he suggested I only got the job because my name is Karine Lemieux. It made me wonder how many other people thought the same; I would really have to prove I belonged at PPG when I started working.

“Don’t hate me,” Sidney said, only half-serious.

I looked at him and grinned. “I don’t.”


“Promise. I’m not mad at you. It’s just that for every team I played with, all I’ve heard is how lucky I was to be a Lemieux. Like I was royalty or something. I always had to work twice as hard to prove to myself and my teammates that I had talent, not just the name. And I hate to think that I’m getting preferential treatment in my career too.”

The elevator arrived on the fifth floor and I followed Sid down the hall. He knocked twice and the door flung open. Colby Armstrong gasped audibly when he saw me standing beside Sidney.

“Darryl brought a lady friend!” Colby said loudly to the occupants of his apartment. I saw a few younger guys craning their necks, trying to see past Colby and get a glimpse.

“Darryl?” I repeated, raising an eyebrow.

“It’s my nickname. I got it in Junior League and it just kind of stuck,” he explained as we entered Colby’s apartment.

“Introduce us to the girl!” Colby demanded with a huge smile.

“This is Karine Lemieux,” Sidney said. “She’s Mario’s niece. She’s looking for an apartment so I thought I’d show her the building.” Colby nodded and smirked skeptically. “Karine, this is Colby Armstrong, Erik Christenssen, Marc-André Fleury, and Max Talbot. And that’s Colby’s girlfriend Lauren, Marc-André’s girlfriend Sylvie, and Max’s girlfriend Dominique.” I told everyone it was nice to meet them and moved into the living room with Sidney.

Colby tossed a beer to Sid and then held one out to me, but pulled it back quickly. “Wait,” he teased. “I can’t be caught giving alcohol to minors.”

“Sid’s only 20,” I reminded him.

“He doesn’t count. He’s the captain.”

“I’m 22,” I replied, snatching the beer from his hand.

“Ooh, Sid, an older woman!” Marc-André teased. Sidney blushed and I rolled my eyes.

“So, Karine, what brings you to Pittsburgh?” Max asked.

“I got a job with PPG as a financial analyst.”

Colby made an impressed sound and said, “Wow, Darryl, she’s smart. You’d better hold onto her.”

Sid shook his head and laughed nervously. “You realize we just met four hours ago,” I said to Colby.

He cupped his face in his hands and sighed wistfully. “And I can already feel the love blossoming.”

“Leave them alone,” Lauren said with a laugh, perching on Colby’s lap. “Look at poor Sidney. I’ve never seen his face that shade of red.”

I looked at Sid and smiled. He was blushing furiously and avoiding eye contact with me at all costs.


We left shortly after one am. “The guys are all pretty cool,” I said as Sid pulled out of the parking lot.

“Army is so embarrassing,” Sidney replied, shaking his head. “I’m sorry about that.”

I laughed. “Don’t worry about it. He’s funny.”

“They all like you.”

“I’m glad.” We pulled into Uncle Mario’s driveway and Sidney opened the front door for me. “Thanks for taking me tonight,” I said as we walked to our wing of the house. I yawned and stretched before I opened my bedroom door. “Night, Sid.”

“Goodnight.” He hesitated before opening his door and looked at me with a strange expression on his face.

“What?” I asked, suddenly feeling very self-conscious.

“Nothing.” He blushed and shook his head as a smile slowly spread across his face. “Night.”

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