Thursday, May 28, 2009


Since I haven't updated since February (I know, I suck), some people have asked for a short summary of old chapters. I'm only going to sum up things that are pertinent to this next chapter. Karine let her jealousy get the best of her and confronted Alissa, a newly hired trainer for the Pens and an old friend of Sidney's, about her intentions regarding Sid. The night before, Sid and Karine had some plans for Valentine's Day, but Alissa kept him late at the hospital, with the excuse of further tests for his high ankle sprain, and then took him to dinner. Karine's temper flared while she was talking to Alissa, and she slapped her. Sid took Alissa's side and Karine left the arena very upset. After sitting in the snow in a graveyard for several hours, Jordan Staal finally found Karine and tried to talk her into going back to the arena to talk to Sid. Without realizing what she was doing, Karine kissed Jordan. Sidney showed up a few minutes later and took Karine into his car to talk. He apologized, telling her that Alissa confessed to manipulating Sid to try to steal him from Karine and that she was no longer working with the Pens. Karine told him that she kissed Jordan, and then told him that she did not want to be in a relationship with him anymore. He reluctantly let her leave and she got a hotel room Downtown. The next morning, she returned to the house they shared when she knew he would be at practice and packed all her clothes and belongings and called Sylvie, who had broken up with Marc-André and moved back to Montreal. The story picks up two years later, with a newly engaged Karine returning to Pittsburgh for Christmas with her fiancé, Thomas. Nathalie informs her that Sidney decided to stay in Pittsburgh for the holiday, using a tight game schedule as an excuse. At first Karine doesn't think he will come around the Lemieux house, but as she is playing Wii with Austin and Alexa, Sid enters the room.

Phew. So much for a short summary. Anyway, on with the show....

My heart began to race and flutter within my ribcage. I was being attacked by a million emotions upon hearing Sidney pronounce my name in that loving way—I was scared, I was happy, I was confused…I took a deep breath and turned around to see him standing in the entryway, leaning against the doorjamb casually.

Austin and Alexa exchanged a look and left the room, leaving me and Sidney alone. We were standing at opposite ends of the family room, neither one of us moving to approach the other. It was like we were in the middle of a standoff and we were waiting for the other to pull out his gun.

Sidney smiled widely, and my mouth twitched into a nervous smirk in reply.

"Hi," he said simply.


His eyes slowly travelled over my body, making me feel a little self-conscious. "You look great."

"Thanks," I replied. "I'm trying to lose some weight. For the wedding."

He chuckled and took a seat on the couch. "I heard about that. Congratulations. But to an accountant, Karine? Really?"

My cheeks flushed as I felt the need to defend Thomas. "He is an amazing man and I love him. Just because he isn't a professional hockey player doesn't make you any better than him."

"I didn't say that," Sidney said as he patted the couch, indicating for me to take a seat. I ignored the gesture. "So you're really getting married?"

"In August."

"I probably won't be invited."

I paused. "I don't think Thomas would be okay with you being there."

Sidney shrugged. "That's if there even is a wedding."

I colored again. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, I don't know. You said he's an amazing man and you love him. That's great. But…" he paused and his expression changed. He suddenly looked much older, and very sad. "You said you loved me too."

I could feel my heart breaking. All this time I had been telling myself that breaking up with Sidney was the best thing I could have done, that all the drama we had been through was something I could not deal with for the rest of my life. I was so focused on myself—what was best for me, how I felt after leaving him—that I didn't stop to think about how hard this was on him.

"I came back from practice and you were gone," he said quietly. He couldn't make eye contact with me. He stared at his hands intently and blinked. "I had flowers. I wanted to figure things out. I thought everything was going to get back on track with Alissa gone. I thought we were going to fix things. I thought we were okay. And you were gone."

Tears gathered in my eyes and I slid onto the couch to sit beside him.

"I'm so sorry," I whispered, placing my hand on his thigh. "But…you have to admit, the few months that we were together were pretty rough. We couldn't make our lives fit together. I was constantly stressed out and I was doubting my feelings for you…we moved so fast. Too fast. I couldn't handle it. We couldn't make it work."

"Let's try again," Sid begged. "We'll take it slow this time. You can get your own place. I won't even spend the night for the first couple months. We'll do things at your pace. We'll take it slow."

"Sidney, my fiancé is sleeping upstairs," I replied quietly. "It's too late."

"No, Karine. It is never too late." He stood up and left the room.

I sighed and buried my face in my hands.


Dinner was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. Thomas and Sidney sat directly across the table from each other, staring daggers the entire time. Uncle Mario tried to start a conversation and failed miserably. I wanted to crawl under the table and stay there forever.

Later that night as we were getting ready for bed, Thomas began to vent.

"Was it really necessary for him to be here for dinner? I understand he has to stay in town because of the game schedule but he did not need to be here. What is he trying to pull?"

"Calm down, baby," I said softly as I kissed his cheek. "Uncle Mario practically adopted him. He's here a lot."

Thomas shook his head and crawled into bed. "He's trying to get you back."

"You're paranoid," I replied with a laugh. "Besides, it doesn't matter. He can try to get me all he wants. You already have me."


The rest of the Lemieux family arrived on Christmas Eve. We spent the day together at Uncle Mario's, catching up and relaxing. Sid did not make an appearance, which I was extremely grateful for. Uncle Mario told me that his parents and sister flew in to spend the holiday with him in Pittsburgh.

We went to Christmas Eve mass and went to bed early, certain that the younger members of the family would be dragging us all out of bed at six in the morning to see what Père Noël placed under the Christmas tree for everyone.

As expected, four kids, all under the age of seven, came bursting into the room before dawn and dragged Thomas and me downstairs. "Come onnnnnn," Julien whined. "You guys are so slow!"

Aunt Nathalie smiled when we entered the living room and handed me a cup of coffee.

"You're an angel," I mumbled, taking a deep drink.

After the children tore through their presents and had relocated into other rooms to play with their new toys, the adults exchanged gifts. I received a wool pea coat from my parents, a gift certificate for a spa in suburban Montreal from my sister and her husband, and beautiful pearl earrings from Thomas.

Aunt Nathalie was cleaning up the wrapping paper scattered under the tree when she found one more present for me. It was a rectangular box, wrapped in shiny light blue paper. A tag in the left corner showed that it was for me.

"Who's it from?" I asked, looking at everyone curiously. Everyone had given me their gifts, and no one recognized the wrapping. However, I recognized the sloppy scrawl on the tag immediately.

I wanted to wait until I was alone to open Sidney's gift, because I was not sure what it could possibly be. Unfortunately for me, Thomas was intrigued by the mystery present and urged me to open it. I reluctantly unwrapped the box and lifted the cover off. Thomas shot me a confused look as I lifted a ticket to a Canadiens game out of the box.

"Only one ticket?" Thomas asked curiously. "It's for the Pens game next week."

I frowned slightly. A ticket to a hockey game was a strange gift for me. All I had to do was ask Uncle Mario, and I could get tickets to any game I wanted. A piece of paper was folded into a small square was lying on top of the soft white padding in the box. I wanted to replace the ticket before Thomas noticed the note, but I was too late. He swiped the paper from the box and scanned it quickly. He only glanced at the paper for two seconds—just long enough to see Sidney's signature at the bottom. He frowned at me, and then his eyes caught something sparkling in the box. I gasped when I saw a diamond ring sitting innocently in the center of the box.

Thomas' frown transformed into a thin, angry line. He opened his mouth like he wanted to say something to me, but instead got up and left the room without a word. I heard him slam the front door behind him and start up the rented car. I watched his taillights fade down the driveway and onto the street. He probably didn't have a destination in mind….he just needed to get away from me.

My heart and mind were racing as I too left the room without a word. I could feel the curious eyes of my family follow me out of the room, but I did not offer them an explanation. I ran up the stairs into the guest bedroom and locked the door behind me. I sat cross-legged in the middle of the bed and placed the ticket, the ring, and the note in front of me. With shaking hands, I smoothed out the note and took a deep breath. I couldn't understand why Sid had given me these things, but I knew the note would help me make sense of it all.


You probably aren't very happy with me right now. I could see it in your eyes yesterday…you just want me to go away. You want me to move on like you did and forget what we had. I'm sorry, but I can't do that. You owe me an explanation. You never justified why you left me. I was willing to work things out. I was willing to forgive you. But you didn't even give us a chance. I'm giving you a ticket to the game next week because I want to see you and I want to talk. I need to talk. I'm not over you. Not at all. And you owe it to me to talk about what went wrong. Maybe when I understand exactly why you ripped my heart out and stomped all over it I can finally move on. Please come to the game. Please show me a shred of respect and come to see me.

As for the ring…no, it is not a proposal. I'm not stupid enough to ask you to marry me now. I bought the ring on Valentine's Day. I wasn't going to propose to you that night, but I knew at some point we would know we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. I was waiting for that moment. Unfortunately, that moment never came…everything fell apart. I couldn't bring myself to take the ring back to the jeweler's. I want you to have it. I can't stand looking at it anymore.
I'll see you next week.


I sighed and pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes. I had thought that I could leave Pittsburgh and avoid Sidney for the rest of my life, and things would be okay. I was wrong.