Thursday, August 14, 2008

FIFTY-ONE

"Alissa really likes you," Sid said as we left the arena and made our way to a steakhouse downtown. We were meeting the rest of the team there for a pregame lunch.

"Oh," I replied tersely. I had to resist rolling my eyes. Sid had to be completely dense to believe that Alissa liked me even a little bit.

"What do you think of her?"

"She's…pretty," I replied, choosing not to comment on Alissa's less than pleasant personality. I felt a pang in my stomach as I was reminded of how painfully ordinary I must look compared to her.

Sid sensed that I didn't want to continue the conversation and was silent for the rest of the short ride.

We joined the rest of the team in the private room of the swanky steakhouse. I sat between Sid and Marc and picked at my salad while I listened to the guys talk about pretty much everything but tonight's game against the Islanders.

"So how about the new trainer, eh?" Jordan said to no one in particular. "It makes me wish I was one of these two," he motioned to Sid and Marc.

"Isn't she great?" Marc replied wistfully.

"Where did we find her?" Ryan Whitney asked.

"She used to work in LA," Sid replied. "I guess she heard Tim was leaving and came out here for the job."

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. "She had to have taken a pretty hefty pay cut," I commented.

Sid shrugged. "She loves hockey. She told me this is her dream job."

Massaging Sid's legs while flirting with him and mocking his girlfriend? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's a lot of women's dream job. I stabbed at my salad as I tried to block out the conversation. The only person I wanted to discuss Alissa with was Sylvie, because I knew she felt exactly the same way about the new trainer. The guys were all blinded by her attractiveness, and I'm sure she was a total sweetheart around them, but I knew Sylvie and I saw a totally different person when we looked at the beautiful redhead.

"You should ask her out, Staalsy," I interrupted abruptly. If Alissa had a boyfriend, maybe she would back off Sidney.

"She's seeing someone," Sid replied. "He's a doctor in Los Angeles."

"Oh." My face flushed red with embarrassment.

Okay, maybe I was being a psychotic jealous girlfriend. Maybe I was imagining her flirtatious advances on Sidney. I was probably just intimidated by her good looks…if I would take the time to know her, maybe my opinion of her would change. Maybe we could be friends. Sid would probably like that.

Marc elbowed me in the ribs playfully. "So, Karine, what do you think of Sid's ex-girlfriend?"

My heart stopped for a millisecond. Did he say ex-girlfriend? My eyes flew to Sidney, who was staring at his steak very intently with a red face.

"Ex-girlfriend? Alissa is your ex-girlfriend?" My voice was high and angry. He definitely did not tell me that Alissa was his ex…he didn't even tell me he knew her from Shattuck until I brought it up. My mind replayed what I had seen in the trainer's room…her face dangerously close to his, her hand creeping up his leg, the wide smiles on both their faces…

I thought I was going to vomit. So much for being friends with Alissa.

I looked around the table. All the guys looked extremely uncomfortable and were avoiding eye contact with me. Did they all know Alissa and Sidney had dated? Was I seriously the last person to find out?

"We were only sixteen…it was nothing," Sid murmered.

Nothing? Really? Is that why she left her boyfriend in California and moved to Pittsburgh? There was no way it was just a coincidence that she is now working for Sidney's team.

I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry, I wanted to slap Sidney and then go strangle Alissa with my bare hands. Instead, I took a deep breath and bottled up my anger. Sid and I could talk about this when we got home. I didn't want to cause a scene.

I turned to Marc and plastered on a fake smile. "You want to know what I think of Alissa?" He looked nervous, and I could tell he regretted bringing it up at all. But it was okay, I was going to use every ounce of self-control I had to prove that I wasn't intimidated by her. "Honestly, I think she's a disrespectful, patronizing bitch. And I'm sure Sylvie would agree, Marc-André."

Okay, so maybe I didn't have as much self-control as I thought I did. I could see Ryan Malone trying to fight a laugh, Jordan's eyes wide with shock, and Colby looking torn, like he wasn't sure if he should be amused or stunned.

There were a few beats of silence before someone awkwardly changed the subject to tonight's game. I didn't look up from my food for the duration of lunch. I had never felt so much jealousy towards a person before. It was actually kind of scary.

Sid didn't say much either—I think he was aware that I was seething with anger and was afraid to say anything that would make it worse. We left a few minutes later, and I could feel the tension in the room as we told everyone goodbye. All the guys were probably wondering if Sid's ankle would be the least of his injuries after I was done with him.

Marc gave me a hug and patted my back. "I'm sorry," he whispered into my ear.

"Don't be," I whispered back. "I'm glad someone told me."

Marc shot Sid an apologetic glance and we exited the restaurant in silence.

***

"Why didn't you tell me you and Alissa had dated?" I asked the second we stepped in the front door.

Sid pressed his hand against his forehead and closed his eyes. "This is exactly what I was trying to avoid."

"You really didn't think I'd find out?" I was beyond angry, but I was managing to control my voice. I didn't want to yell at Sidney, I just wanted to find out exactly what the hell was going on.

"Karine, we dated for a few months when I was at Shattuck-Saint Mary's. We were young. It didn't mean anything. We're both so far past it, it's like we never dated. We're just friends now."

I crossed my arms and glared at him. "Exactly how close were you two?" Asking the question was unnecessary. I already knew the answer—on the way home, I remembered that Sid and I had discussed our exes months ago, and the vivid memory of him telling me about the girl at Shattuck-Saint Mary's that he lost his virginity to hit me like a tidal wave. I never dreamed I would ever meet her.

"Look, Alissa was kind of a puck bunny," Sid said, extending his arms to hug me.

I took a step backwards and away from him. "Oh, well that makes it better," I replied sarcastically.

"Come on, Karine, what does it matter?"

"It matters because you lied to me!" I shouted.

"I didn't lie."

"No, but you deliberately didn't tell me something because you knew I wouldn't like it. That's just as bad."

"I'm sorry, okay? I didn't want to upset you."

I sighed. This was a bad case of déjà vu. Wasn't I saying the same thing to him when he found out I hadn't told him about Paris? "Do you even understand what I'm feeling right now? Alissa is beautiful, Sid. I was incredibly jealous of her when I was in the trainer's room today, and that was before I knew you two had dated. How am I supposed to handle this? You can say it didn't mean anything, and that you two are just friends, but I saw the way she was looking at you."

Sid laughed sardonically. "You're crazy."

"You can't tell me you don't feel it."

"There's nothing to feel!"

I shook my head and looked away. "She was eyeing me up like I was her competition," I said quietly. "You can choose not to believe me, but don't expect me to like Alissa."

"Karine, come on. She has a boyfriend. And she broke up with me. It was so long ago!"

"Only four years," I replied quietly. Sometimes it was so easy to forget how young Sidney was…four years wasn't a long time at all.

"It was an entire lifetime ago," Sid argued softly. He tentatively stepped toward me and held my face between his hands. "I'm in love with you, Karine, and only you. Never anyone else. When I was with Alissa, I was young, stupid, and looking to get laid." I couldn't help but smile at his honesty. "And why would you be jealous of her? You're the most beautiful girl on the planet."

"She's a supermodel," I replied as he pulled me into a hug.

"She's not my type."

"What is your type?"

"French Canadian girls with beautiful blue eyes, amazing personalities, and impossibly huge hearts. So far I've only found one, though."

"Lucky for her," I muttered.

"No, lucky for me."

God damnit, why did he have to be so charming? I couldn't even be mad at him anymore. I was putty in his hands. I wanted to believe him, I really did. But at the same time there wasn't a doubt in my mind Alissa Kirkpatrick wasn't just going to go away. I needed to figure out how to deal with her, and fast.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love ur story

Keep up the good work
and
update soon!

stovgirl said...

Once again, an awesome chapter. Update soon, please...

Kimmy said...

Awesome chapter!!!

Can't wait for more!!

PMS!!!!

Anonymous said...

So good.
I lovve your story.
Update soon please!

Lauren said...

Sid is so cute...great chapter!

Anonymous said...

i absolutely LOVE your story! update asap! its amazing. I LOVE IT!

anika875 said...

once again.. love every bit of it!

Tay Tay said...

Yes Karine! Deal with her! Do I sense a cat fight coming on? Cannot wait to see what happens next! :)

lilyr said...

wow, I loved the part when she told Marc-Andre what she thought of Alissa

just great

Anonymous said...

DARN! i was so waiting for an update but there wasnt one today):
its ok but update asap! thanks!
your story is AMAZING! my favorite by far!