Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FIFTY-TWO

Marc groaned when he found me sitting alone in Uncle Mario's box, waiting for the game to start later that night. "You killed him, didn't you?"

I laughed. "No, Sid and Uncle Mario are in the locker room."

Marc relaxed slightly as he and Sylvie took their seats. "I was certain you were going to murder Sid when you two left the steakhouse. I'm really sorry, Karine. I shouldn't have said anything."

"I would have told you if I would have known about it," Sylvie interrupted. "But Marc decided the fact that Alissa is Sidney's ex-girlfriend wasn't important enough to mention."

"It's fine, guys. I'd rather not talk about it." I had resolved to avoid Alissa at all costs. I didn't want to think about her, I didn't want to talk about her, I didn't want to see her. I was still a little angry with Sidney about not telling me they had dated, but it wasn't worth getting worked up over. Like he said, he was in love with me. As long as I didn't have to put up with Alissa, I could consider her a nonissue.

Apparently that was all easier said than done.

I froze the second I heard Alissa’s voice in the hallway. Sylvie and Marc looked at me with identical anxious expressions as I turned around to see Uncle Mario enter the box, followed by Sid and Alissa.

“See, Alissa, there’s plenty of room for you up here!” Uncle Mario said brightly.

Uncle Mario couldn’t have been more wrong. Regardless of physical space, there wasn’t enough room for both Alissa and me in the same place. Period.

“Bonjour, Marc!” Alissa greeted him with horrible pronunciation.

Honestly, if you can’t even say ‘hello’ correctly you just shouldn’t try to speak French at all. I chastised myself for my bitter, jealous thoughts. You’re better than that, Karine, I told myself. Be the bigger person.

“Hi, Alissa! What brings you up here?” I was trying to make my voice friendly and pleasant, but I couldn’t hide the dissatisfaction I felt when she walked through the door.

"The other trainers said they didn’t need me unless someone got hurt,” she replied with a shrug. “I was going to go home, but Sid suggested I come up here and watch the game with all of you. Isn’t that fun?”

“So fun!” I replied through clenched teeth. I couldn’t help but send a glare Sidney’s way. What was he thinking? He should have known better. Anyone with half a brain would have known that bringing Alissa up here was a major mistake.

Sid wrapped his arm around my waist and kissed my forehead. I relaxed slightly. He was mine. That was all that mattered.

Alissa sat on Sid’s left as the game started. Sylvie looked relieved that she had not taken the empty seat next to Marc. I frowned. What was this girl doing to us? Sylvie and I had never felt threatened by the legions of women who threw themselves at Sid and Marc during almost every game. Apparently, our instincts were telling us that Alissa was a cause for concern. Sylvie and I both sighed at the same time.

Sid and Marc looked at us quizzically. I wondered if they felt the tension in the room, too, or if they were still completely oblivious.

“Everything alright, babe?” Sid asked as he reached for my hand.

“Everything’s just great,” I replied unconvincingly.

The game was the longest of my life. I contemplated leaving and taking a cab home several times, because watching Alissa flirt with Sidney was unbearable. She did little things, like playing with her hair, touching his arm, laughing a little too much...all very subtle moves. I doubted if anyone else noticed it, but I felt Marc’s eyes on me and looked over. He was staring at me with a sympathetic expression in his eyes, and I felt a sob rise in my throat. I almost wished I was being a psychotic girlfriend and making all this up in my head. Marc confirmed my fears–everyone knew Alissa still had feelings for Sidney. Everyone, that is, but Sidney. He was stubborn enough to believe that her feelings were as innocent as his. I heard Alissa giggle at something Sidney had said and saw her run her fingers through her long, perfect hair.

I swore I could feel my heart breaking. What chance did I have against this girl? Sure, Sidney said he loved me...now. It was only a matter of time before he realized what he could have, and I was certain his feelings for me would evaporate.

"What's wrong?" Sid asked as he drove us home.

I stared at the swirling snowflakes reflected in the Range Rover's headlights. "Do you really have to ask?" I asked without much emotion. I wasn't angry at Sidney. I wasn't even angry at Alissa. I just felt…heavy. There was no better word to describe how I felt, both physically and mentally. My brain was slow, and I felt like I could go to bed and sleep for days. That was exactly what I wanted to do…while I was sleeping, I wouldn't have to watch Alissa flirt with Sdney.

"Come on, Karine. Don't start this again."

"Open your eyes," I replied quietly. "Stop being so fucking stubborn and realize that she wants more than friendship."

"Your imagination is out of control."

I took deep breaths and closed my eyes. I concentrated on the gentle motion of the car traveling on the freeway and tried to clear my head.

***

My mood improved slightly in the next week. Sidney had started more intense physical therapy and his ankle was slowly getting better. He had been cleared to travel, and although that meant we had to postpone our Valentine's Day plans, I was happy for him.

I had been avoiding spending too much time at the arena, because I did not want to see Alissa. I still went to games but Sidney was smart enough to not invite Alissa to join us in Uncle Mario's box. He didn't want to admit that I was right about her, but he also understood if he wanted to avoid drama it was best to keep us apart.

Marc had been sent to Wilkes-Barre for a few weeks as part of his rehabilitation. He played his first game on Wednesday and Sylvie called from their temporary apartment in Scranton with only positive things to say. It was only a matter of time before Marc would be in the goal in Mellon Arena again.

On Valentine's Day, Sid and I returned home from Raleigh around two in the morning. We went straight to bed and I had been asleep for about an hour when I woke up to the sound of the doorbell being pressed so rapidly it was one long, continuous drone.

"What the fuck?" Sid murmured into my neck.

I crawled out of bed and wrapped a blanket around me. Something was obviously wrong…who could possibly be at our house at three AM? I hurried down the steps and tried to wake myself up as I opened the front door.

At first, I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing. It was snowing very badly, making the outline of the petite figure in front of me very fuzzy. I squinted into the snow and noticed Sylvie's silver Escalade parked in the driveway.

"Sylvie?" I grabbed her wrist and pulled her into the dark house. "What's going on?"

"Marc proposed," she said quietly.

"You came all this way to tell me you're getting married?" I asked, my voice dripping with annoyance. Sid flicked on the foyer light as he came down the stairs and joined us.

It was only then that I noticed Sylvie's disheveled appearance and the tears streaking her face. Sylvie hadn't driven from Wilkes-Barre to Pittsburgh to tell me she was getting married…she had come to tell me she wasn't.

I pulled her into a hug and let her sob on my shoulder. "Call Marc," I mouthed to Sid. He nodded and ran back upstairs to retrieve his cell phone. Sylvie was hyperventilating as I dragged her into the living room and set her on the couch. I sat on the edge of the coffee table and rubbed her back, trying to calm her down as she continued to sob.

Her breathing eventually became more even and I went into the kitchen to get her a glass of water. "Tell me what happened," I demanded as she took a large drink.

"He took me out to dinner, and right before we ordered desert he launched into this huge speech about how we had been together for four years, and he knew there was no one else he wanted to be with…and then he got down on one knee, took a ring out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him."

"What did you do?" I asked, even though the answer was obvious.

"I froze. I don't want to get married, Karine. We've been dating for four years, and it's been good. Marriage is unnecessary. I don't need a ring on my finger to know that I belong with Marc. I explained to him that I loved him with all my heart and I loved what we had, and I thought that marriage would change us. I told him that I still wanted to be with him, but I don't want to get married." She paused and took another drink. "He told me he understood where I was coming from…I thought everything was fine. So we finished dinner, and went back to our apartment, and we were watching highlights from the game when out of no where he said that he always imagined himself with a beautiful wife and lots of kids. And then he said if I wasn't willing to be part of his dream then maybe we should break up."

I pulled her into another hug as Sid entered the room and said my name. I looked up and he motioned for me to join him in the kitchen.

"Did she tell you what happened?"

"Yeah. How's Marc doing?"

"He had no idea she was here. He's really upset…he wasn't expecting her to say no."

"She won't give me a real answer as to why she said no," I replied quietly. "All she said was she doesn't want to get married. She thinks it will ruin them."

Sidney rolled his eyes. "There's not much that can ruin a four-year relationship."

I sighed and returned to the living room, where I found Sylvie passed out on the couch. I draped a blanket over her and switched off the light.

Sid shook his head as I followed him up the stairs. "What a mess."

"They'll work it out," I replied confidently. "It's Sylvie and Marc. They're going to be together forever. This is just a little bump in the road."

"I don't know," Sid replied as we crawled into our warm bed. "Marc's pretty set on getting married.

"She'll come around."

Sidney was quiet as we returned to our warm bed. "Do you agree with her?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do you think that marriage is a waste of time? Do you ever want to get married?"

"Maybe someday. I'm too young to consider marriage right now. I think everyone knows when it feels right. Maybe Sylvie is doing what she thinks is best."

"Yeah," Sid replied quietly. "I never really thought about being married until pretty recently," he added. "I could never imagine myself spending the rest of my life with one person...until I met you."

I was silent. Could I see myself spending the rest of my life with Sidney? He was a great guy, and he made me so happy, but I couldn't imagine us together ten, twenty, thirty years in the future. Was that bad? Did that mean I didn't love him?

10 comments:

ST said...

Finally!
Great update, as always!

Anonymous said...

Yesss! Now please tell me you'll be updating tomorrow, or rather, today?!?!

anika875 said...

yay! an update! i love it!

Kimmy said...

Yay!!!
Great update!!

More Soon!!!

Kylie said...

Yay!!
You're update made my day...I wasn't expecting one this soon!
I hope school is going well! :)

Lauren said...

Yay for the update - this story is one of my favorites! Hope things are going well for you! More soon, please, if you can!

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind, can you tell us after each post when your next update might be? That is, if you know yourself...

Summer said...

I'm really sorry, but I have no idea when I'll be able to update again. I had this part written and only had to do some editing before I posted. I don't have the next part finished yet so it's probably going to be a while.

mare said...

cant wait for the next update. this was crazy awesome. im otally into it.

stovgirl said...

Loved this update, and I think it's good that she is the one that is undecided about her feelings, not him...update ASAP :)