Monday, August 25, 2008

FIFTY-THREE

When we woke up the next morning, Sylvie was gone. I was in the kitchen reaching for a cereal bowl when Sidney came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.

"Happy Valentine's Day," he muttered, kissing my neck. He was clutching a bouquet of deep red roses in his right hand.

It was actually February 15th, but since the Penguins played in Carolina yesterday we had decided to postpone our plans…even though I didn't know exactly what our plans were. Sid was very secretive about how we were going to spend our first Valentine's Day as a couple.

I took the bouquet and inhaled the aromatic smell of the roses. "They're beautiful," I replied, a wide smile spreading across my face. "I didn't get you anything, but I can offer you a romantic breakfast of Cheerios and coffee."

Sid chuckled as he retrieved two bowls from the cupboard. "That sounds perfect."

"So what are we doing today?"

"Well, I have to go to the arena…but only until two, I promise. Then around five you're going to change into the new dress that is currently in a garment bag in the back of the closet and we're going to this French restaurant downtown. Then we're going to come back home and I'm all yours for the rest of the night," he added suggestively.

"You bought me a dress?" I asked excitedly. My expression changed as I thought about Sid's fashion sense. "Was it made by Reebok?"

Sid laughed loudly. "No. Come on, Karine, give me a little credit." I grinned and ran upstairs. "Hey, you can't look at it yet!" Sid shouted as he ran after me. I beat him into the bedroom and hurried to our shared walk-in closet.

I immediately found the white garment bag in the back corner. I wondered how I hadn't noticed it before. I unzipped it and gasped when I saw the stunning emerald green halter dress on the hanger.

"With your hair and skin tone, you look best in green," Sid said.

I laughed at his unnatural-sounding explanation and turned to face him, putting my hands on my hips. "Where the hell did you hear that?"

Sid laughed, too. "That obvious, eh?" I nodded and rezipped the bag. "Nathalie helped. A lot."

"And by 'a lot,' you mean she picked the dress out."

"Yeah," Sid reluctantly admitted. "But I told her what I was looking for."

"Babe, it's beautiful. Thank you." I placed my hands on the back of his neck and pulled him into a kiss. He rested his hands on my hips and pulled me closer as our breathing became shallower.

We were interrupted by the obnoxious ring of his cell phone.

"Ignore it," Sid whispered as his hands traveled under my shirt.

I pulled away. "What if it's important?" I grabbed his phone from the top of the dresser and looked at the ID. "Hi, Marc."

"Hey, Karine. Is Sylvie still there?"

"No, she left earlier this morning. She probably went home."

Marc sighed and was silent for a few seconds. "Did she…say anything? About me?"

"Uh…" I glanced at Sidney and mouthed 'It's Marc.' He rolled his eyes and walked out of the room. "She told me what happened. She's a wreck."

"She brought this on," Marc replied obstinately. "She won't answer my calls."

"I'm really sorry," I replied, anxious to get off the phone. It was awkward to be caught in the middle of Marc and Sylvie's argument. "I'm sure she just needs some time to think."

"Sure." Marc sounded like his mind was already elsewhere. "Could you tell her to call me? We really need to talk about this."

"I'll go see her today," I promised. "But you have to understand, she might need some space."

"Right. Thanks, Karine."

***

Sid left for the arena at 11, and I drove to Marc's house where I knew I would find Sylvie. Sure enough, her silver SUV parked at the top of the driveway.

I knocked on the front door, but Sylvie wasn't able to hear me over the music blasting in the living room. I tried to push the front door open, but it would only open a little way. It was being blocked by something. I managed to slide through the small opening and stepped into the foyer and was stunned by what I saw.

Cardboard boxes were stacked everywhere. I could hear Sylvie in the living room, singing along to a song I didn't recognize. I peeked into one of the boxes and found a small fraction of Sylvie's enormous wardrobe packed neatly away.

"Sylvie?" I called as I navigated through the maze of boxes into the living room.

She jumped when she heard her name and spun around to face me. "Jesus, Karine, you scared me!"

I looked at her and couldn't believe this was the same girl who had cried herself to sleep on my couch last night. She looked completely rested…not even a little depressed.

"Are you okay?" I asked slowly.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Sylvie replied in a convincing tone.

"What are you doing?"

"Packing," she replied as she continued to wrap dishes in sheets of newspaper and carefully stack them into boxes.

I frowned and crossed my arms over my chest. "What's going on?"

Sylvie sighed and turned the music down. "I'm leaving."

"What?"

"I'm going back to Quebec."

"Why?"

"I can't stay here anymore, Karine," she replied with a slight smile, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"You aren't going to try to work it out?"

"There's nothing to work out. We want different things out of this relationship."

"Can't you compromise?"

"How?" she asked with a laugh. "He wants to get married, I don't. Where's the middle ground?"

I stared at my best friend, at a loss for words. I couldn't imagine life in Pittsburgh without her. Besides Sidney, she was the person who meant the most to me. Sylvie had always been there for me, even when Sidney wasn't. And now she was leaving? How was this possible? I need her more than ever now. I needed her to be around to tell me that I was being stupid about the whole Alissa thing…I needed someone to reassure me that Sidney and I were meant to be.

"Marc wants you to call him," I replied in a flat monotone. "Could you at least do that?"

"Yeah," she said quietly.

I was silent for a few moments as she continued to pack her dishes. "Why do you have to go back to Quebec?"

"I can't stay here. It'd be too hard." She paused and looked up at me. "You understand that I still love him, right? He was a huge part of my life for four years. Feelings that strong don't just disappear. We can't be together anymore, so we have to be apart."

"I don't get it," I replied with exasperation. "If you love him, why can't you marry him?"

"It's not right," Sylvie replied sadly. "It's just…it's not right. I don't expect you to understand."

I nodded and sighed quietly. "Pittsburgh is going to suck without you."

Sylvie pulled me into a hug. "You won't even miss me."

"Yeah, right," I scoffed. "Who am I supposed to complain about Alissa to? Who's going to tell me when my outfit is downright hideous?"

"When you get dressed in the morning, send me pictures. I'll let you know if I approve," she joked. "And as far as Alissa goes…just ignore her. She's not a threat."

"Yeah," I replied, "but that doesn't mean I don't hate her." I sat cross-legged on the floor and helped Sylvie pack her drinking glasses.

"I'm only a phone call away. Anytime you need to vent about that redheaded bitch just call."

"I'm definitely going to be calling," I replied with a laugh.

I continued to help Sylvie pack as we talked about random, pointless things while trying to ignore the fact that she was leaving, until I looked at the clock and saw it was almost two o'clock.

"I have to go," I said reluctantly. "Sid said he'd be home around two and we're doing all our Valentine's Day stuff today, so…"

"Alright," Sylvie said as she taped a cardboard box shut. "Give me a call the next time you're in Quebec."

I gave her a hug and smiled sadly. "When are you leaving?"

"As soon as I can. I'll probably crash at my parents' house for a while until I find my own place and get a job."

"I'm really going to miss you, Sylvie."

"I'm going to miss you too, Karine."

***

I returned home and was a little surprised to see that Sidney hadn't returned from the arena yet. I checked my phone, making sure I didn't miss any calls from him, but there were no notifications on my screen.

I reclined on the couch and flipped on the television. I tried to remember what Sidney had to do at the arena today, but he hadn't really told me. Probably physical therapy with Alissa. I tried to push the unpleasant thought of them together out of my head as I found Serendipity on TV. It was one of my favorite movies…I loved the fact that nothing, not fianc├ęs, distance, or time could keep Jonathan and Sara apart. I liked to think that fate played such a huge role in everyone's life. I thought about my relationship with Sidney. Was it fate or coincidence that brought both of us to Pittsburgh? Definitely fate, I decided. What were the chances of him living with Uncle Mario at the exact time I moved to Pittsburgh to take a job that I never dreamed I would have been offered? Very slim…we were meant to be together. Fate was pushing us towards each other whether we liked it or not.

I became so engulfed in the movie that I hadn't noticed that two hours had passed. It was nearly 4:30 and Sidney hadn't called. I opened my cell phone and scrolled to his number. It rang three times before he answered.

"Hey, Karine." I noticed he sounded slightly annoyed.

"Hey, are you okay?"

"I'm fine," he said tersely.

"Oh," I replied after a short pause, expecting an explanation. "I was just making sure, because you said you'd be home at two."

"I had to get x-rays," he said. "I'm still at the hospital. It's taking forever, but Alissa said it was necessary."

"Of course she did," I muttered. "Do you know how much longer you'll be?"

"I'm really sorry, Karine. Go get ready and I'll be home as soon as I can."

"Okay," I replied as I snapped the phone shut. I went upstairs and retrieved the green dress from the closet and laid it on the bed. I took my time in the shower, and then slowly did my hair and makeup. By the time I was ready to get dressed, it was after six. I looked at my phone—no new messages.

Sid said he would be home as soon as he could…he shouldn't be much longer. I pulled the dress over my head and managed to zip it up and studied myself in the mirror. The dress fit perfectly, and the color really complimented my blue eyes and blonde hair. I ran my fingers through my hair and slipped on a pair of black ballet flats.

I returned to the living room couch and mindlessly channel surfed, ignoring the urge to look at the clock every two seconds. I was sitting very still, not wanting to wrinkle my dress or mess up my makeup or hair, but eventually drowsiness overtook me and I lay down on the couch.

I must have dozed off, because after what felt like minutes later Sidney was shaking me awake. I stretched and sat up on the couch and realized it was dark outside.

"What time is it?" I asked thickly.

"Ten-thirty," Sidney replied. His guilty eyes wouldn't meet mine.

"Where have you been?"

"The hospital. We had to wait for hours for the x-rays."

"You couldn't have done this tomorrow?" I asked, not even trying to hide my annoyance.

"Alissa said it had to be done today," he replied quietly as he averted his eyes to the floor. "I'm really, really sorry we had to miss dinner, but I brought you some food from Angelo's."

"You went to Angelo's?"

"Yeah. When we were done we were starving so we stopped there for a quick dinner."

I closed my eyes and exhaled quietly. Sid should have just slapped me in the face…it would have hurt less. "Who's 'we'?" I already knew the answer…I just wanted to hear Sidney say it.

"Alissa and me," he replied, his voice barely above a whisper. "I'm so sorry, Karine. I'll make it up to you." He reached for my hand but I pulled away and started to walk out of the room. "Don't you want any food?" I noticed Sid's voice sounded almost child-like…was it from guilt, or was he simply afraid that I would blow up in his face? I was beyond yelling, though. I just wanted to be away from Sidney. Instead of coming straight home from the hospital and attempting to salvage our Valentine's Day, he opted to go to dinner with Alissa. Regardless of if he thought it through, it still seemed like she meant more to him than I did.

"I don't have much of an appetite," I replied stonily. I walked upstairs to one of the spare bedrooms and locked the door behind me. I crawled under the covers, still wearing my dress, and tried to will myself to sleep.

I heard Sidney approach the door, but he didn't knock or say anything. I wondered if I was overreacting…would it be so horrible for me to swallow my pride and forgive Sidney? It wouldn't be horrible, it would be impossible. He was my boyfriend. We had plans for Valentine's Day, and he cancelled them without telling me and spent time with another woman. I wasn't mad that he had to be at the hospital, but it was just a slap in the face that he went out to dinner with Alissa when he could have returned home sooner.

I heard Sidney walk away and close our bedroom door behind him. I sighed and squeezed my eyes shut. Why did it feel like my life was falling apart?

26 comments:

Summer said...

I started classes today, but you can all thank my talent for procrastinating when it comes to school work for this post. =)

LC said...

I loved this chapter! And although I miss getting those daily updates I completely understand the importance of school. I myself am dreading the first day which is on Thursday. And I'd be pissed too if I were Karine by the way haha

Aeryn said...

Your starting to sound like me with procrastination thing. I loved this chapter, but damn Alissa is really getting on my nerves, she's pretty good at pushing them apart. Can't wait for more, and have fun procrastinating. :D

SparklyPurple16 said...

I loved the update! Thank you for pushing aside school work to post.=] But Alissa is really starting to annoy me. Please post when you get the chance. I love this story.

stovgirl said...

Loved the update...post when you can, please :)

Steph said...

wow I really liked the update.
:]

Anonymous said...

Wow this was a really good chapter.
I want to like punch Alissa in the face.
Haha.

Lauren said...

Love the update! :) Hope your school year is super boring and then you'll have lots of reasons to procrastinate ;-) I totally understand the school thing though - update when you can!

Can I please just punch Alissa in the baby-maker?

ST said...

Ahhh, so good! I hope you continue to procrastinate so we get an update tomorrow! ;]
Please don't let Sylvie leave!

anika875 said...

i can't wait for the next update! as long as your school work doesn't suffer.. please procrastinate more often! :)

giveupon-me said...

haven't talked to you in a couple days.
loved this chapter..but sylvie can't just..leave. anyways. good luck with senior year! and procrastinating is pretty much the word that sums up my senior year.
i finished my huge research paper for english the morning of..hahaha
-ashley.

Trish said...

OH god, why did you have to stop there?! Soooooo good!! I love this story so much!
I totally understand about school, don't procrastinate too much!! But keep the storying coming!! =]

Kimmy said...

Oh man
I'm glad you updated.

post more whenever you can.

Kylie said...

Fantastic updated! I hope Marc and Sylvie can work things out, I don't want her to leave!

I hope school is going well! Feel free to procrastinate lots. :)

SportsHistory said...

Dude, I love your story... here are some thoughts - the part where she asked him if the dress was from Reebok made me laugh for probably a good minute straight. I really hope Marc and Sylvie can work something out... I hate Alissa and think she should get thrown off a bridge onto a busy highway... and Karine is totally right in being angry with him for going to dinner with her. He better come to his senses, and soon.
Awesome, as always.
~Traci

Anonymous said...

This story is sooo good. You deserve some sort of prize!
Please tell me we will be getting a dozen or so updates this long weekend?
JK! ..I know you have a life! :]

sportsgirl3115 said...

I just read the whole story so far in like two days. I absolutely love it!! You're a great writer, and I really hope you have time to procrastinate again really soon, lol. I know exactly how school goes though. I'm in college too, and even though I try to put things aside, eventually they have to get done.

Christen said...

This story is amazing! I really can't wait for you to update!

Summer said...

I'm sorry it's taking me so long to update guys...school is taking up so much time. I'm working on the next part and I should have it up sometime this week. In case you haven't noticed, I added the "followers" thing on the sidebar. If you have a Blogger account you can add my blog to your list and as soon as you sign in you'll know if I updated.

Thanks for being so patient.

stovgirl said...

Summer girl, just update as soon as you can, but know that we all miss your great story...I check for an update every day...

JerseyLove said...

Yesss! This week is almost over!!!

Anonymous said...

yessss!
i cannot wait for the update
this is my fav sid story

JerseyLove said...

Summerrr! Anytime soon...like today?! :]

Summer said...

Well, the good news is I have Fifty-four written. The bad news is I hate it and I hate the direction it would take the story (and I think you all would too). So...until I can write something I like you're going to have to be patient. Sorry.

katie said...

I feel your pain, Summer! I had to do so many re-writes when I had mine (ohbutitwasreal). Hate when characters go where they are not supposed to go! Hope school's going well.

Anonymous said...

You haven't updated this story in a really long time.
:[
I do understand if you're busy and all.
But I really do miss this story, and I'm sure others also do.