Tuesday, July 29, 2008

THIRTY-TWO

"So you really think it's over?" Sylvie asked.

I nodded, then realized she couldn't see me. "Yeah," I replied flatly. I had called Sylvie shortly after Sid left and told her every detail of what had happened.

"Wow," she breathed. "Are you alright?"

I took a deep breath. "I'm fine," I replied unconvincingly.

"Do you want me to come over?" Sylvie asked, her voice full of concern.

"No, no. I really am fine, Syl." I paused and played with the fringe on one of my throw pillows. "Maybe…maybe this is for the best. We were going to break up eventually…it just happened sooner than I would have liked. Besides, he said we're still going to be friends. I know he's going to remain a huge part of my life. The mechanics are just going to be a little different."

Sylvie chucked at my choice of words. "You two are going to try to be friends? I can't help but think that is all going to crash and burn the next time you two see each other."

"That probably won't be anytime soon," I replied. "I'm pretty sure my invitation to the Winter Classic is revoked, and I wasn't planning on going to the game tonight."

"You're not coming?" Sylvie asked, sounding a little dejected. "What are you doing?"

"I dunno. Staying in."

"It's New Years Eve! You should be out partying."

"With who?" I asked with a hint of exasperation.

"Sorry," she mumbled. "Well, ah, Marc is getting grouchy. He needs food. I'll talk to you later."

"Bye," I replied as I flipped my phone shut.

***

The next night, I was watching highlights from the Winter Classic on the local news when Colby called.

"Why aren't you here?" he demanded.

"Where's 'here?'"

"Bugsy's house. I know he invited you."

I sighed. Ryan had texted me a few hours ago, saying the team was leaving Buffalo and would be back in Pittsburgh around 11. He was having a party at his house to celebrate the win and he wanted me to be there.

"What does it matter to you?" I teased. My eyes flew to the television when I heard an all-too-familiar voice. The news was showing a clip of Sidney dripping with sweat, appeasing reports with a post-game interview in the locker room. I swallowed hard and pressed the 'mute' button.

"I want to see my favorite French Canadian!" I heard a chorus of voices, probably belonging to Marc-André, Max Talbot, and Georges Laraque protest.

I laughed. "It sounds to me like you have all the Québécois you can handle."

"Blondie," Colby replied seriously," either you get your butt here by midnight or I'm coming after you."

I sighed and made my way into the bedroom to change. There was no doubt in my mind that if I didn't show up at Malone's in the next half hour, Colby would be at my door. "See you in a few," I resigned.

I tried on four outfits before settling on a pair of black skinny jeans and a gray v-neck sweater. Normally I didn't put so much thought into what I wore around the guys—most of them were like my brothers, and I was never trying to impress anyone because I had always been with Sidney—but I was sure Sid would be there and I wanted to look good. Even though my insides were a mess, I could at least look good on the exterior.

The drive to Ryan's didn't take as long as expected, but it still granted me lots of time to wonder how tonight would go. Sid said he still wanted to be friends, but what did that mean? Would we be able to speak to each other, or would it hurt too much? Should I talk to him first or wait for him to approach me? What would I say?

I sighed and pulled into Ryan's driveway. It was already full of cars—it looked like the entire team had come out to celebrate. I let myself in through the front door and found Jordan Staal entertaining his latest puck bunny in the living room. I rolled my eyes and made my way into the basement, where I could hear that the loud, rowdy celebration was in full swing.

I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination, but when I stepped into the basement-turned-rec room the boisterous boys quieted a little. I smiled sheepishly and made my way to the bar, where Colby and Ryan were chatting.

"Hi, guys," I greeted them both with a hug.

"I'm glad you came," Ryan replied. The sentence sounded loaded, but once again I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination.

"Me, too. I'm not sure if I would be in any condition to drive to your apartment and drag you here," Colby joked, chugging the rest of his drink.

I rolled my eyes and took a sip of the drink Ryan handed to me. I glanced around the crowded room, but did not see Sidney anywhere. "He's not here yet," Colby muttered, as if he had read my mind.

My eyes snapped up to him in surprise. "Oh," I replied, feeling a little disappointed. I had been ping-ponging between wanting to see him and dreading it the entire way here, but as I stood surrounded by his teammates I knew that he was the only person I wanted to see.

"He's coming, though. He'll be here," Colby added determinedly. It made me wonder if he had called Sid and threatened to drag him here, too.

"Karine!" I heard Sylvie call from across the room. I acknowledged her with a wave and joined her and Marc at the pool table.

I spent the next hour playing pool with Geno, Marc, and Sylvie, but every so often my eyes would scan the room, looking for Sidney. After Geno and I relentlessly beat Marc and Sylvie for the third time, I had resigned to the fact that Sid wasn't coming, and went to the bar for another drink.

I didn't realize until I handed Ryan my empty glass that Sid was standing beside me.

"Oh!" I said, unable to hide my surprise.

Sid grinned awkwardly. "Hi."

"Hi."

We stood in silence, staring at each other for what felt like a very long time. "I didn't know you were here," we said at the exact same time. We both laughed, blushed, and averted our eyes to the floor. The awkward tension between us was almost unbearable. I allowed my eyes to flicker to his face again, and I realized with relief that there wasn't a hint of anger there. That, at least, was progress.

"I just got here," Sid said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I wasn't going to come, but Colby called and told me if I wasn't here by one he would come get me himself."

I laughed and looked at Colby, who was watching us from across the room very intently. "He told me the exact same thing."

"Sounds like he's trying to fix things again," Sid replied, referring to when Colby had dragged me into the VIP room at Tré and forced Sid and me to talk. He had saved our relationship that time, but I wasn't sure there was anything he could do for us now. But apparently, that wasn't going to stop him from trying.

I nodded and took a sip of the drink Ryan had handed me. "So…the Winter Classic. Pretty exciting game."

"Did you watch it?" Sid asked, his expression brightening.

"Only the highlights on the news," I admitted. "I didn't watch the actual game…I…I just couldn't."

Sid nodded and pursed his lips together, a strange habit he had when he felt uncomfortable during interviews. I swallowed hard and once again averted my eyes. It hurt that things were so strained between us. However, I was grateful we were even speaking. Everything was so very…fresh. It was Tuesday, the last time Sid and I saw each other was Friday, when he moved out.

Sid sighed and took a step away. "Well, I'll see you later, I guess."

I nodded and hoped I had enough self-control to keep the tears that were forming in my eyes from falling down my cheeks. "Later," I said quietly.

I turned around so my back was to the room and closed my eyes, trying to collect myself.

"You alright?" Ryan asked softly.

I nodded, but my bottom lip began to quiver. Don't you dare cry now, I scolded myself. Save yourself the embarrassment. Get over him.

In an instant, Sylvie was at my side. "What did you guys talk about?" she asked, both concerned and curious.

"Nothing," I replied honestly. I drew a deep, shaky breath and straightened up. "I should go. I never should have come here in the first place."

"Hey, we're your friends too," Ryan replied pointedly. "Just because you and Sid are no longer together doesn't mean you can't come around."

"Actually, that's exactly what it means," I replied, feeling the sting of the words as they left my mouth. "He said we could still be friends, but…" I shook my head.

"Give it time," Sylvie said encouragingly.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw Colby and Sid talking. Colby looked like he was yelling at Sid, and Sid was shaking his head stubbornly. It didn't take too much to guess what they were talking about.

7 comments:

Kaity said...

once again amazing (:
i cant wait to see what happens next
update soon

lilyr said...

and you thought no one read your story anymore: )

anika875 said...

still love every bit of it! can't for for the next chapter!

Summer said...

@ lilyr, I know! I can't believe I had twelve comments a few posts back.

You all are so great. I can't thank everyone enough for all the positive feedback. =)

Lauren said...

Again, I love this story! Can't wait for the next update!


And I <3 Colby to pieces...

Kimmy said...

I love this story so much!!!

Update soon!!

Kayla Elizabeth said...

I cant wait for the next chapter! Love it! :)