Monday, July 7, 2008


"Come with me," Sid pouted comically.

It was December 4th, and I had arrived at the airport just in time to tell Sidney goodbye. The Penguins were flying to Edmonton today, and then were then traveling throughout Western Canada to play Calgary and Vancouver and wouldn't return until December 9th.

"I can't," I replied with a laugh as I ran my fingers through his brown curls. "I have to work."

"You should quit your job."

"I like shopping too much to not have a job."

"I'll pay you."

"To do what?"

"You could be my love slave," he replied playfully, kissing my neck.

"Sidney," I laughed again, pushing him away. "PDA is gross. Everyone's staring."

"I don't care," he replied, leaning in for another kiss. I obliged this time and pulled him closer to me.

"They have to come up for air some time," I heard Colby say loudly.

I blushed and stepped away. Colby and his girlfriend, Lauren, were standing near the gate with smiles on their faces.

"Come on, Darryl, they're gonna leave without us," Colby said impatiently.

"I'll call every night," Sid promised, giving me one last quick kiss.

"Good luck, mon cher," I replied.

Sid gave my hand a quick squeeze and boarded the plane with Colby. Before they were out of sight, he turned around and gave me a small wave. I blew him a kiss in return and turned to leave.

"Karine," Lauren called, catching up with me, "Sylvie and I were going to have a girl's night on Friday since the boys are in Canada. Would you like to come with?"

"Sure," I replied. I didn't have any other plans, and between my demanding job and spending every spare moment with Sidney I hadn't had much time to make female friends. Going out with Lauren and Marc-André's girlfriend would be a nice change of pace. I gave Lauren my number and left the airport, hurrying back to work. I had left early for my lunch break to tell Sid goodbye and I was probably going to be late returning.


"So, where do we want to go tonight?" Lauren asked, pouring another round of piña coladas. Sylvie and I shrugged noncommittally and sipped our drinks.

"Should we go to a club or a bar?" I asked no one in particular.

"Let's go to a bar," Sylvie replied. "Clubs aren't much fun when you have a boyfriend."

"I still have fun at clubs," Lauren replied with a shrug. "But sure, we can do a bar tonight."

Lauren called a cab and we were soon on our way to the South Side. I was already feeling a slight buzz from all of the piña coladas I had downed. Sylvie and Lauren really took pregaming seriously.

"So, Karine, what exactly do you do?" Lauren asked on our way to the bar.

"Really boring stuff," I admitted. "My technical title is 'financial analyst' but I do more organizing and typing than analyzing."

"I could never do anything with the word 'financial' in the title," Lauren replied. "I hate math."

"The job itself doesn't involve much math," I replied. "It's more business than anything."

"Well, I'm happy with my position as professional shopper," Lauren replied with a laugh. "Dating a hockey player was the best decision I've ever made—I'll never have to work a day in my life."

"I would get so bored if I had nothing to do all day but shop," Sylvie said.

"What do you do, Sylvie?" I asked politely.

"I'm a freelance photographer. It's great, I just wander around the city all day and take pictures, and wait for newspapers or whatever to buy them."

"That's awesome."

"Why are you even working, Karine?" Lauren interrupted. "Sidney makes more than Colby and Marc-André combined."

I shrugged. "I like being independent. I would feel awkward spending Sid's money."

"Get over that soon, honey," Lauren said. "Take advantage of what you've got."

I didn't reply as the cab pulled up to the bar. I was slowly starting to dislike Lauren, despite the fact that she was dating Colby.

The bar, a contemporary lounge, wasn't as busy as some of the other bars in the area, probably because it was still new. It was a nice break from the crowded, sweaty clubs and bars we were used to frequenting. We all took a seat at the bar and ordered drinks and I glanced around. The majority of people in the bar looked to be about our age, maybe a little older, and there seemed to be more men than women.

"It's really weird being out without the boys," Sylvie said to me with a small laugh.

I nodded in agreement. "I don't know what to do."

"This is bad. We are way too dependent on those guys."

"Definitely. This is the first time I've been out with someone other than Sid since I've moved to Pittsburgh."

"Do you feel like an old married couple already? Because I'm pretty sure Marc-André and I are seventy year olds trapped in the bodies of twenty somethings."

I laughed and took a sip of my drink. "Why don't we hang out more?"

"I don't know, but that has to change. We're going to have to start shopping and going to lunch and complaining about our boyfriends."

"Yes!" I replied happily. "Although I don't have much to complain about."

"You and Sid are so cute together."

"Thanks," I replied sheepishly. "So are you and Marc-André."

Sylvie rolled her eyes. "He's such a child."

"They all are." I looked down the bar and realized Lauren wasn't sitting with us anymore. "Where's Lauren?"

Sylvie spun around on her stool and looked around. "Oh no," she said quietly. I squinted and followed her gaze to a couch positioned in the far corner of the bar. Lauren was sitting very, very close to a man and obviously flirting with him.

"Should we go get her?"

Sylvie shook her head. "She does this every time we go out. If we would go over there now she would freak out on us."

"Has she ever..."

"Cheated on Colby?" Sylvie finished for me. I nodded.

"I'm not sure. It wouldn't surprise me if she has, though."

"And Colby has no idea," I replied softly. I was really upset—Sid had just told me a few days ago that Colby was planning on proposing to Lauren on Christmas. Colby was such a nice guy; he deserved better than a girlfriend who was dating him for his money and possibly cheating on him while he was on the road.

Sylvie shook her head. "There were so many times I've almost told Colby all the things she says about him, and the way she acts when we go out…but it isn't any of my business. I feel horribly about this, but I'm worried Colby wouldn't believe me if I told him."

"Yeah, I know what you mean." When Lauren was around Colby, she was a completely different person. She was sweet, devoted, and only had eyes for him. But as I watched her play with the man's hair and laugh a little too much, it was like I was looking at a stranger.


Two hours later, Sylvie and I were dragging a very drunk Lauren out of the bar and into a cab that Sylvie had called half an hour ago.

"Guysssss," Lauren slurred belligerently. "I don't want to leave!"

"I'm sorry, Lauren, but it's time to go," I replied.

"You're no fun!" I didn't reply. Considering that Lauren's idea of 'fun' is getting as drunk as fast as humanly possible and then telling every guy in the bar she didn't have a boyfriend, I was glad she didn't think I was 'fun.'

"Karine's tired," Sylvie replied in a motherly tone. "She had a long day at work."

"Psh. Work," Lauren scoffed as I pushed her into the backseat of the cab and told the driver my address. "Hey, I wanna call Colby."

I opened my mouth to protest, knowing that drunken phone calls never ended well, but Sylvie shook her head. "It's best not to argue with her," she said to me in French, which Lauren did not speak. I nodded and prayed Colby wouldn't answer.

"Damn, I got his voicemail," Lauren muttered. "Hiiiiiii Colby!" she slurred into her phone.

"Maybe you shouldn't…" I started.

"Shut up, Karine," Lauren shot back. I raised one eyebrow and crossed my arms. "Anyway, Colby," Lauren continued her message, "I went out with Karine and Sylvie tonight and it was soooooo much fun! Because they let me do whatever the hell I want! And there were a bunch of people there, a lot of really cute guys—"

Sylvie quickly reached for Lauren's phone and snapped it shut. "You can talk to Colby tomorrow," she said firmly.

Lauren sighed dramatically. "Fine."

We arrived at my building and I suggested that Lauren and Sylvie spend the night. "She's not in any condition to drive," I said to Sylvie in French. "And I'm not sure if I can handle a drunken Lauren on my own."

Sylvie laughed. "Spending the night sounds good."

"I get the bed!" Lauren shouted as soon as I opened my apartment door.

I didn't have enough energy to argue with her, so I showed her into my bedroom and found a few blankets and pillows for Sylvie and myself. "You can have the couch," I said to Sylvie. I situated myself on the floor and heard Lauren run to the bathroom, probably to vomit.

"I'm glad you came out with us," Sylvie said quietly. "Usually Erik's girlfriend Emily comes, but she was busy or something. I'm just happy I didn't have to deal with her on my own."

"So she's like that all the time?"


"Do you think we should have…intervened or something?"

"She would have got mad at us. There's really nothing we can do."

"I feel like Colby needs to know what she's like."

"It's not our business to tell him. He has to find out on his own."