Sunday, July 20, 2008


Sid returned home around midnight, looking absolutely exhausted. "I would rather play eighteen straight periods of hockey than do an interview and photo shoot," he groaned, joining me on the couch. He glanced at the half-empty wine bottle that was resting on the coffee table and a frown passed across his face. "Have you been drinking?"

"Yeah," I replied in what I hoped was a calm voice. The minute Sid walked in the door my heart began to race. I looked into his brown eyes and ran my hand through his silky hair and smiled sadly. I felt a sob begin to form in my throat and knew I couldn't tell him. Not tonight. "I'm celebrating," I lied. "Christopher told me that I have two weeks off for Christmas."

"Two weeks!" Sid repeated. "That's great! I'll drink to that." He poured himself a glass of wine and tapped it against my empty glass.

"I have to work all next week, and then I'm off until January 7th." I winced slightly, hating myself for how easily I lied to my boyfriend.

"You can come to the Winter Classic with me!" he said happily.

"Yeah!" I replied, trying to match the excitement in Sid's voice. I averted my eyes to the floor and blinked rapidly, trying to stop the tears that were inevitably going to surface. It killed me that I was lying to Sidney, but I wasn't ready to tell him I was leaving. After the Winter Classic, I told myself. I wanted the holidays to be perfect, and although the situation would be looming over my head I didn't need to have Sidney worry about it too.


I stayed in bed until two the next afternoon—something very out of character for me. Sidney had left earlier in the morning for New York, where the Penguins were playing the Islanders at seven. He had asked me to come with him, but I made up an excuse about having to catch up on work. Another lie. The truth was I couldn't even look at Sidney without wanting to cry. I knew I needed to tell him about France, but I just couldn't. I was being weak and I hated myself for it, but I knew Sid would be devastated to learn that I chose a job over him.

I was completely awake but couldn't find the motivation to get out of bed. I was mentally exhausted and all I wanted to do was lie in bed all day and not speak to anyone. Unfortunately, I had invited Sylvie over to watch the game tonight.

I rolled out of bed, took a shower, and threw on a pair of ancient sweatpants and a Penguins tee shirt. I cleaned the apartment and then contemplated going shopping and indulging in a little retail therapy, but I didn't want to leave my apartment.

This is bad, I thought. I had never felt too apathetic to shop before.


"I really hope Marc's ankle heals soon," Sylvie said as I turned on FSN to watch the game. "I've never seen him so mopey. It's almost unbearable."

"How long is he out?"

"At least two months. Maybe more, if Coach thinks Conklin is the better goalie."

"He'll be playing again soon. You can't keep the Québécois down."

"You've got that right, sister," she replied, raising her beer bottle in a toast. "Is everything alright? You seem kind of distant."

I rubbed my forehead and sighed. "Actually, I need to talk to you. I'm kind of…keeping something from Sidney."

"Is everything okay?" Sylvie asked, panic rising in her eyes. "Are you…pregnant?" she added in a hushed tone.

I smiled bitterly. At this point, I would prefer pregnancy to France. "No, no. It has something to do with work. I got a promotion."

"Karine! That's amazing! Why won't you tell him?"

"It's in France."

"Ohhh," Sylvie replied, her expression darkening. "Are you going to take it?"

"I don't have a choice. If I don't go to France, I lose my job."

"Oh, no," Sylvie breathed. "When did you find this out?"


"Why haven't you told Sidney?"

I shrugged. "It's so close to Christmas…we're going to my parents' on the 23rd and I want it to be a good time. I don't want this dark cloud hovering over us during the holidays."

Sylvie paused and took a sip of her beer. "I think you're making excuses. I think the real reason why you haven't told Sidney yet is because you're not sure if you should leave, and by telling him it would make it final." She held her breath and braced for me to argue.

I opened my mouth to protest, but then I realized Sylvie was right. "I don't want to go, but I have to," I said, tears running down my cheeks.

"When are you going to tell him?"

"After the Winter Classic."

"Do you think you should wait that long?"

"I won't be leaving until February. And I really want the next couple weeks to be good, you know? I don't want us fighting over Christmas." I sighed and peeled the label off my beer bottle. "I don't know how I'm going to tell him."

"Are you sure it's worth it?"

"I don't have a choice, Sylvie."

"You could find another job."

"I was lucky to get this one. Even if I did find a different job, I'd probably have to move anyway."

Sylvie nodded slowly. "You're going to break his heart."

Tears clouded my vision. "I know," I whispered.

Sylvie and I watched the game in near silence. I could tell she was stressed out about Marc's injury and his future in Pittsburgh, and I wanted to be there for her, but my mind was full with thoughts of Paris. I ran through all the possible ways I could break the news to Sidney and the ways he would react, each one worst than the last.

I went to bed as soon as the game was over, and Sid accidently woke me up when he arrived home early in the morning. My eyes fluttered open and I realized it was still dark out.

"Sorry," he whispered when I turned to face him as he was sliding into bed beside me.

"It's okay," I replied thickly. "Good game."

Sid brightened. "I wish you could've been there." He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. I rested my head against his chest and inhaled deeply. He smelled like soap and a familiar sweet smell I couldn't identify—all I knew was it was his smell. "Is everything alright?" he asked.

I clenched my eyes shut tight and nodded. "I'm just tired."

"I'm sorry for waking you," Sid replied softly, kissing my forehead. "We can sleep in."

"I love you," I whispered.

"I love you, too."


I woke up a few hours later and smelled something burning. I hurried into the kitchen, where I found Sidney scraping a charred mess off of a skillet and into the trash.

"What happened?" I asked, trying to stifle a laugh.

"I tried to make you scrambled eggs," Sid replied apologetically.

"Sweetie, you should know by now…"

"I know, I can't cook. But that doesn't mean I have to stop trying."

"Well, ah, maybe you should," I said, peering at the blackened mess that must have resembled eggs at one point. "It's okay, I'm not hungry anyway."

"Hey, are you feeling alright?" Sid asked, staring at me with a slight frown. "You don't look so good."

"Yeah, I'm just tired," I replied with a weak smile. And that, for once, was the truth. The past two nights I had slept more than usual, but I had never been so exhausted. I knew it had everything to do with work.

"Go back to bed. It's only eight."

"No, I won't be able to fall back asleep. Besides, someone has to make you breakfast."

"Crêpes?" he asked hopefully.

"Of course."

"Oh, I forgot to tell you. My parents are in town for the day. They were in New York for the game yesterday and came back with the team. They want to take us out for dinner."

I stirred the batter and nodded. I had met his family at the home opener, but hadn't seen or spoken to them since. "So they know we're together?"

Sid grinned. "Yeah. I told them in November. After we, uh, made up," he said awkwardly. I poured the batter into a skillet and didn't say anything. Our fight was still somewhat of a sore subject. "My father said he knew the first time he saw you with me we would end up together."

"Smart guy," I replied simply.

"Do you want coffee or something? You seem really…off."

"I'm sorry, babe," I sighed, pulling him into a hug. "I think I might be getting sick." I suppressed a sigh as the lie escaped from my mouth. Besides being competely exhausted, I felt physically fine. I just didn't want Sid asking questions and forcing me to tell him about work before I was ready.

Sid stepped back. "Don't get me sick!" he exclaimed.

"You don't want my germs?" I stuck out my bottom lip and crossed my arms, pretending to be hurt.

"I'm going to get you medicine. I can't afford to get sick right now. Not with Marc out." He pulled on his wool pea coat and grabbed his keys. "I'll be back soon."

I laughed as I watched him hurry out the door, and then suddenly got very sad. I tried to push all thoughts of work out of my head, but once again the phrase relocate to Paris floated through my consciousness. I hummed a random song loudly, trying to concentrate on anything else.

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