Saturday, July 26, 2008

TWENTY-SEVEN

We returned to Pittsburgh late Wednesday night. I stretched out on the couch and propped my feet up on Sid's lap. "I'm so glad to be home," I sighed.

"Me too," he replied, stroking my leg. "You know, I've been thinking…"
"Uh oh," I teased.

Sid glared at me playfully and continued. "I've been thinking about buying a house in Pittsburgh."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. My dad and my agent both think it's a good idea. They think I need to show solidarity in Pittsburgh, because living with Mario makes it seem like I'm not really settled here."

"That makes sense," I replied with a nod.

"Would you be okay with living in the suburbs?"

I inhaled sharply. "You want to get a house…together?"

"Yeah," Sid replied, his expression a mixture of confusion and hurt. "We're living together now…why wouldn't we buy a house together?"

I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how to handle this. "Why do we need to get a house? This apartment has been fine…it's close to my office and the Igloo."

"But it's so small," Sid protested. "I want a big house with lots of rooms and a huge yard for the kids to run around…"

Woah. Did he just say kids? "What kids?" I asked cautiously.

"Oh, uh, Julien. And Mario's kids. You know," he stammered.

"Right," I replied. "Hey, look, Family Guy is on." I was eager to move Sid's attention and change the subject.

"Karine, why don't you want to move in with me?" Sidney asked, his expression darkening.

"Buying a house is a huge deal, Sid," I replied, sitting up to face him.

"I thought we were ready for this."

I swallowed and averted my eyes to the floor. Sid looked very hurt and it was killing me. Had he asked me to get a house with him a week ago, I would have jumped at the chance and immediately started to look for a decorator. But with my impending move to Paris—my move that he knew nothing about—I couldn't start looking at houses and pretend that everything was okay.

I exhaled quietly and thought about telling Sid everything. He could tell something was wrong—that was evident in his expression—and he had every right to assume the worst. I planted my feet on the floor and was about to pull myself off the couch and retrieve the infamous manila folder Christopher had given me last Friday, but I stopped myself and instead scooted closer to Sidney.

"Sid, I'm sorry," I said softly as I ran my fingers through his curls.

He brushed my hand away, obviously annoyed. "Don't be."

I recoiled, feeling like he had slapped me. "Stop. You know how much I love you."

"If you really love me, then you'll tell me what the fuck is going on. You're keeping something from me and I need to know what it is."

"Sidney, I'm not keeping anything from you," I protested quietly. I reached out to touch him, but he brushed me away once again.

"I'm going to Mario's tonight." He stood up and pulled on his winter coat. "You can call me when you decide to stop lying."

"You're acting like a child!" I spat, jumping to my feet. "Stop being so petty!"

"I'm not being petty!" he roared. "Something is going on. I'm not stupid! Look, I know you're an independent person but this is just going too far. I'm your boyfriend. I love you. I thought you loved me. We shouldn't keep secrets from each other! I'm already stressed out enough with hockey, and you're not really making things easier."

I shook my head and closed my eyes. I was too exhausted to fight with him—there was only one thing I could do. "Fine," I resigned quietly. "Do you really want to know what I've been dealing with?"

Sid nodded and I padded into our bedroom and retrieved the folder. I stood in front of Sidney, my entire body shaking, and handed him the file like I was passing him a container of nuclear waste. His eyes flickered from the folder to me, looking very confused. He flipped through the papers, his confusion growing. "What is all this stuff?" he asked quietly. He pulled out the plane ticket and studied it. "Why are you going to Paris?"

"I got a promotion," I replied. I wished I could have found a better word than 'promotion' to describe my work situation, but although it felt like a punishment my new position in France really was a better job.

"Karine, that's great! Why didn't you—"

I held up my hand and shook my head. "Listen. This new job…is in Paris."

"Oh," Sid whispered. I noticed his jaw become rigid as he leafed through the contents of the folder once again. "When did you find this out?"

I stared at the floor, ashamed that I had been hiding this from Sidney. "Last Friday," I mumbled.

"Last Friday," he repeated. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I was going to after the Winter Classic," I replied.

"You were going to keep this from me for another week?" I could hear the anger rising in his voice and I braced for another round of fighting.

"I wanted us to have a good Christmas. I thought if I didn't tell you, I could forget about it."

"How'd that work out?" Sid asked sarcastically.

"I'm so sorry." I wanted to explain to him how I felt, how it was killing me that I couldn't bring myself to tell him, but I couldn't find the words to convey my feelings.

"Who else knows?"

"Sylvie."

"You told Sylvie before you told me."

"I needed to talk to someone. I wasn't trying to hurt you, Sid. I was trying to protect you. I'm so sorry," I repeated, stepping close to him. I tried to touch his arm, but Sidney took a step backwards.

"Don't," he said firmly. "Why did you keep this from me?"

"I was trying to protect you," I repeated, staring at my feet.

Sid shook his head, obviously not buying what I was trying to sell. "No. No, you were only trying to protect yourself. You had to tell me eventually, and you knew it would be hard. You were too much of a coward to tell me about this as soon as it happened because you didn't want to face the consequences." His voice was dangerously quiet and he was using a tone I had never heard from him before. My stomach churned as I realized his voice was dripping with hatred.

"You're right," I replied quietly, still unable to make eye contact with him.

"I can't talk about this right now," Sid said, tossing the folder on the kitchen table angrily. "I'm going to Mario's tonight. I'll call when I'm no longer disgusted by you."

My feet felt like they were glued to the floor as I watched Sidney leave my apartment. I stood there, my eyes never leaving the door, for about five minutes. Hot tears ran down my face but I hardly noticed. I was feeling too many emotions at once and my chest was constricting painfully, making it hard for me to breathe. Sid was right—I was a coward. I should have told him the second I found out about Paris. I had enough opportunities, but my selfish child-like need for his affection caused me to lie to the most important person in my life.

I irrationally hoped Sid would walk back in the door, wrap me in a hug, and tell me we were going to work this out. I shuffled into the bedroom and flopped down on the bed, still finding it hard to breathe.

4 comments:

stovgirl said...

I am loving this story - keep on updating, please...

miss.crosby said...

I am glad she finally told Sid about going to Paris!!!!! Can't wait to see what happens next!!
Keep the updates coming!!!

Kimmy said...

I'm SO glad that she told Sid!

Can't wait for more!!!

KylieD32 said...

Love the story! Updated ASAP!