Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FORTY-ONE

The next week the team was on a week-long, three game roadtrip to Florida, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta. Sid begged me to go with him, but I decided to stay in Pittsburgh and begin my job search.

On Monday I sent my résumé to every corporation downtown. I decided that if I didn't hear back from any of them in a week, I would check out smaller local businesses, colleges, or maybe even hospitals. I wanted to totally exhaust my options; now that I realized how important it was to Sidney that I stayed in Pittsburgh, I was determined to find a new job.

In the meantime, I decided to throw myself into decorating Sidney's new house. I managed to convince Lauren and Sylvie to come over on Tuesday to help me paint…sure, I bribed them with bottomless strawberry daiquiris, but I had a large two-story house to paint and I knew I couldn't do it on my own.

"So, Lauren, have you and Colby decided on a date for the wedding?" I asked as I dipped my roller into the beige paint. I picked very neutral paint colors, because even though Sid had assured me any colors I wanted were fine with him I knew he wouldn't like anything too drastic.

"We were thinking June 21st," she replied, taking a sip of her first daiquiri. I reminded myself to keep track of how much Lauren was drinking—drunk painting could only end badly. "We still don't know where were getting married though. We want to have the wedding somewhere in Pittsburgh, but we're having trouble finding a place on such short notice." She shrugged and unenergetically rolled the paint onto the living room wall. "We do have the wedding party picked out, though. My sister Jenna is going to be my matron of honor, and Sid's going to be the best man. Marc and Staalsy are the other groomsmen, and then you two are my bridesmaids," Lauren said to Sylvie and me. "That is, if you want to be in the wedding," she added.

"Of course!" I replied excitedly. Sylvie nodded in agreement. The only other wedding I had been in was my sister's, and it was a complete disaster. I was paired with Guillaume's sweaty friend Christophe and my dress looked like a bad prom dress. It was a teal taffeta disaster.

Lauren's expression brightened. "I was worried you wouldn't want anything to do with me, Karine, after the whole vomit incident."

I laughed. "Lauren, if it weren't for you vomiting on me we probably wouldn't be here right now. Your puke saved my relationship."

"You're welcome," Lauren replied jokingly. "Do you guys want to see the dresses I picked out? I have a book in my car."

"Yes!" Sylvie was literally giddy with excitement. I couldn't help but laugh; it was like she was the one getting married.

Lauren returned with a thick bridal catalog and flipped it open to a dog-eared page. "Since it's going to be during the summer, I wanted to go with short dresses." She pointed to a knee-length halter dress in a beautiful kelly green. A lighter green ribbon was tied right below the bust, and the hem was lined in matching ribbon.

"I love that dress," Sylvie replied appreciatively.

"It comes in navy and violet, too," Lauren explained. "I can't decide which color I want." She looked at Sylvie and me thoughtfully. "You both look good in green, but blue would bring out your eyes."

"It's your wedding," I said. "We're fine with whatever you want. This is so exciting! I can't wait."

Lauren chuckled and closed the book. "First we need to find somewhere for this wedding to happen."

An idea popped in my head—Lauren and Colby could get married in the backyard! The patio was huge and the yard itself was even bigger…there'd be plenty of room for everyone and they wouldn't have to worry about booking a church or renting a hall for the reception. I'd have to run it by Sid when he returned home on Sunday, but I was sure he would love the idea of hosting his best friend's wedding.

"Okay, girls," I interrupted our happy wedding thoughts and picked up my roller again. "We have nine rooms to paint before the game starts tonight…let's get moving."

***

As the week dragged on, I became more and more uneasy about my employment situation. It was now Friday, and I hadn't heard from any of the places I had sent my résumé to. I tried to busy myself with shopping for the house, but I was quickly running out of things to do. I paid my landlord the last month's rent and told him I was moving out, I began packing everything in my apartment into cardboard boxes, and I had found, with Sylvie's help, two bedroom suits, a dining room set, and living room furniture.

When Aunt Nathalie stopped by the new house Friday afternoon, it was obvious that I was extremely stressed out.

"What's wrong, Karine?" she asked, her voice full of concern. We were in the living room and she was helping me arrange the furniture—a masculine black leather couch (I knew Sid would love it) and a few colorful, comfortable chairs.

I sighed and pulled my hair into a ponytail. "I'm trying to find a new job so I don't have to move to Paris next month," I replied. I knew I didn't need to explain anything about my promotion—I was certain Sid had told Uncle Mario why we were on bad terms after Christmas, and Uncle Mario had definitely told Aunt Nathalie. "I've sent my résumé to basically all the businesses downtown, but I haven't heard back from any of them. I don't know where else to try," I replied, feeling a little overwhelmed.

"There isn't way you could stay with PPG without taking the promotion?"

I shook my head. "When they told me about the job, I asked how long I had to make a decision and they told me they had already found my replacement. If I don't go to Paris, my career with PPG is done."

Aunt Nathalie looked thoughtful for a moment. "Come over for dinner tonight. Maybe Mario will be able to help."

"Aunt Nathalie, I really appreciate it, but it isn't Uncle Mario's job to help."

"Come over anyway," she insisted. "I feel like I haven't seen you in such a long time—the only time I see you is at games, but we don't really get to talk."

"Okay," I resigned with a smile.

"Great," Aunt Nathalie replied brightly. "We'll see you at seven."

***

"So do your parents know you and Sidney bought a house?" Uncle Mario asked with a slight smirk as we ate a delicious meal of marinated chicken.

"No," I replied with a sheepish smile.

"Are you going to tell them?"

I shrugged. "In time. I haven't spoken with them since I left Montreal. The next time my mother calls I'll bring it up."

"Good luck," Uncle Mario replied. "You'll need it."

I smiled again. Sometimes it was hard to believe my father and Uncle Mario were brothers—Uncle Mario was so laid back, not nearly as conservative as my father, and actually seemed to support my convoluted relationship with Sidney.

"Nathalie tells me you're looking for a new job."

I nodded. "Now that Sid and I have finally figured everything out, I want to stay in Pittsburgh."

Uncle Mario grinned and shook his head. "You're making a huge sacrifice for him."

"He's worth it."

"Oh, I'm sure he is. It's just…this is the first time in your life you've ever considered rearranging your plans for anyone, let alone a man." I flushed slightly, unsure of what to say. "Oh, that's not a bad thing," Uncle Mario quickly amended. "It's great, actually. I'm so pleased to see you and Sidney together and happy. Even if you drive each other crazy from time to time." He absent-mindedly fiddled with his napkin and stared at me. "How would you feel about working for the Penguins?"

I sighed. "Honestly, I would love to work for the Pens. But…I'm your niece and Sid's girlfriend. People are going to talk, they're going to say the only reason I have the job is because of my connections."

"So?" Uncle Mario replied. "Really Karine, what's the fun in owning a hockey team if I can't pull a few strings?"

I laughed. "I appreciate the offer, I really do, but I can't accept it. I'm sorry."

"No, it's fine. I understand." Uncle Mario paused and smiled at me. "You're so stubborn. Why can't you be like the rest of the girlfriends and wives and rely on Sid?" I shook my head and smirked. He knew exactly why I couldn't do that—I was an independent, proud person. I needed to job to feel like a functioning member of society. "I know you're not going to let me help you, but the offer still stands. You're always welcome in the Pens' front office."

"Thanks, Uncle Mario. I really appreciate it."

We finished dinner, and then I helped Aunt Nathalie clear the table. "We're going to Atlanta for the game tomorrow if you'd like to join us," she said as I was loading the dishwasher.

"Thanks, but I promised I'd watch it with Marc and Sylvie." I hesitated, and then decided to tell Aunt Nathalie about Sylvie's concerns. "They're a little stressed out…they're worried once Marc is healthy he might be sent down to Wilkes-Barre."

Aunt Nathalie was quiet as she wrapped up the leftovers and put them in the fridge. "You have to understand, the team is a business. Mario, Ray, and the rest of the administration can't let personal feelings about a player get in the way of what is best for the team."

"Does that mean Marc won't be in Pittsburgh for much longer?" I reluctantly asked.

Aunt Nathalie sighed. "I shouldn't be telling you any of this, so none of what I'm about to tell you is to leave the room." I nodded and braced myself for her reply. "They're planning on sending Marc-André to Wilkes-Barre, at least for a short amount of time."

"So he'll be back?" Aunt Nathalie shrugged. I pressed on: "Sylvie said there are rumors that a few guys are going to be traded."

Aunt Nathalie's expression softened. "You don't need to worry about that," she replied. "Sidney is signed for the next six years."

"I'm not worried about Sidney. But what about Marc?"

"Don't worry about him, either." She hesitated. "If I were you, I would be more concerned about Colby Armstrong."

"Colby?" I repeated. I felt the blood drain from my face.

I could tell by Aunt Nathalie's expression that she regretted mentioning it. "Don't tell anyone that, Karine. Not even Sidney," she said seriously.

"But…Colby and Lauren are getting married in June. In Pittsburgh."

Aunt Nathalie looked slightly distressed, but then the professional edge to her voice returned. "I told you Karine, they can't let personal feelings get in the way of business."

I shook my head and continued to load the dishwasher in silence. I regretted even bringing all this up. Now, on top of the stress of finding a job, I had to worry about the possibility of Colby being traded.

4 comments:

ashley. said...

oh man.
this is getting good.

KylieD32 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashley. said...

and you know that cliffhangers suck so much right?

KylieD32 said...

I agree, so good!
Loved the update. I just want to hug Sylvie and tell her not to worry about Marc. I wondered how you were going to handle the Colby trade...good stuff!

P.S...Also loving the new title! Wasn't too sure until I listened to the song, but I think it's perfect.