Thursday, June 4, 2009

FIFTY-NINE

I was still wide awake and listening to my wristwatch tick away the seconds when I heard the bedroom door open gently. It was nearly two-thirty in the morning. I flicked on the bedroom light to find Thomas standing in the doorway, looking defeated and haggard.

"Why did he do that?" he asked in a slow, tired voice. I held out my arms to him to pull him into a hug, but he stood rooted to the spot.

"Where were you?" I asked quietly.

"I found a bar."

"Are you drunk?"

He shook his head. "I just needed to go somewhere to absorb all of this." He sat on the edge of the bed with his back to me. "Why did he do that?" Thomas repeated, this time more forcefully.

I bit my bottom lip, feeling extremely guilty even though I did not do anything wrong. "He wants closure."

Thomas shot me a disgusted look. "You haven't spoken to him in two years. He needs to grow up and get over it."

"Just hear me out, okay? He gave me a ticket to that game so we could meet and talk."

"Don't," Thomas said in a short, nervous tone. "Don't go. If he wanted to talk he could come here. You don't need to go to that game. I don't know what he's trying to pull, but I don't like it."

I scooted over beside him and took his hands in mine. "I have to go to the game. I've tried cutting him out of my life and it didn't work. I can't keep avoiding Pittsburgh just because he's here. I can't keep worrying that he is going to show up on our doorstep. I tried taking the easy way out and it didn't work. If I do what he asks and go to the game, he can be gone for good."

Thomas was quiet for a few long seconds before he sighed and reluctantly agreed. "What was the ring about?" he asked, his voice strained with emotion.

I couldn't bring myself to make eye contact with him. "Sidney…um…he was planning to propose."

Thomas nodded slowly and raised my left hand to his lips. "Give him his closure. But don't forget whose ring you're wearing," he said, kissing my engagement ring.

***

I washed all the makeup off my face for the third time and prepared for a fresh start. No matter what I did or what colors I used, I could not be satisfied with the way I looked. Even my hair was wrong.

Thomas paced into the bathroom for the fourth time and sighed deeply. "You look way to pretty," he said with dissatisfaction.

I couldn't help but laugh. "I'm not even wearing any makeup!"

He shook his head and stomped into the living room. "You'd better hurry. Game starts in an hour."

I quickly traced my eyes with brown eyeliner and brushed on eye shadow and blush. I totally understood why Thomas was upset—tonight was the game. He had been moody all day, and when he noticed how long I was taking to get ready his bad mood escalated. I kept telling myself that I just wanted to look nice, but subconsciously I knew I was trying to look good for Sidney. And I kind of hated myself for it.

I gave myself a once-over in the full-length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. I was wearing jeans, red Chuck Taylors, and a white Canadiens tee-shirt. I momentarily considered wearing Sid's jersey, which was buried in a handbag deep in my closet so Thomas wouldn't find it, but I pushed the idea out of my mind. My mind was a complete mess tonight. I kept alternating between dread and excitement when I thought about meeting with Sid.

I exhaled deeply and exited to the living room. Thomas was standing between the living room and the kitchen, blocking my exit. His arms were crossed over his chest and he did not look happy.

"You're still in love with him," he accused.

I laughed, a little too nervously, and shook my head. "You're ridiculous."

"Look at yourself, Karine! You spent two fucking hours getting ready for a hockey game! And you know what the worst part is? You look happier than you have since I met you. I have never seen you like this. You're fucking glowing. Because you're going to see him."

I rolled my eyes dramatically. "I'm wearing blush, you idiot." I pushed past him and grabbed my car keys from the hook by the door.

"I love you!" Thomas yelled as I slammed the door behind me. But his tone wasn't loving at all.

***

As I entered Le Centre Bell, I realized that I could not come up with one reason why Sidney wanted me to come with this game. It made sense for us to meet while we were in Montreal, but we could have met after the game. Granted, the seat was amazing and I did appreciate that. Four rows off the class, slightly to the right of center ice. I settled in and checked my messages. One from Thomas. "Be good." Yeah, thanks mom. Sylvie: "I need to know every minor detail of what goes on tonight." I laughed to myself. Although she was going to be my maid of honor in August, she was still pulling for Sid. "You can't deny your soulmate," she told me after Thomas and I got engaged. "He'll be back in your life one way or the other." My lips twitched into a smile. I guess she was right.

I felt a little guilty about the way I left the apartment. Thomas had every right to be upset. While I understood, I couldn't bring myself to feel badly for him. I had never felt this way towards him before…like he was holding me back. I shook my head, trying to get all the bad feelings out as the teams took to the ice.

The Pens were stationed on my side of the ice for the first period. I located number 87 immediately during the preskate. He skated close to the boards and pretended to inspect his stick, but I saw his eyes scanning the area where I was sitting. Our eyes met and he winked, causing me to blush slightly. I gave him a small wave and he skated away.

Good God, I thought. What the hell is my problem? I've turned into a 13 year old girl.

During Sid's first shift of the game, I realized why he had insisted on me being at the game. This was the first time I had seen him play live (or otherwise…I avoided all Pens games, even during the finals, even when they were playing the Habs) since I left Pittsburgh. I felt his intensity. He was composed, concentrated, and a total force when he was on the ice. I watched him in awe and lost track of the game when a man in a black Penguins polo shirt tapped me on the shoulder. "Excuse me, Miss Lemieux? If you would follow me, please." There was less than two minutes left in the game and the Penguins were up by three. He led me to the concourse level and through a discreet door and down to the visiting team's locker room. "You could have a seat, if you'd like," the man said, gesturing to a chair positioned against the wall. "Mr. Crosby is bypassing the press conference tonight. He will be out as soon as possible."

I thanked him and took a seat as he walked away. I chewed on my bottom lip nervously but stopped once I was conscious of my nervous habit. I crossed and uncrossed my legs four times. My right leg would not stop bouncing up and down at a rapid pace. I sighed loudly and tried to calm down.

I was there for about fifteen minutes before the locker room door opened. I jumped up, expecting Sid, but instead came face to face with Jordan Staal.

He looked like a deer caught in the headlights, and I'm sure I didn't look much better.

"Karine," he finally stammered, sounding surprised and awkward. "What are you doing here?"

"I, um, I'm actually waiting for Sid."

Now he looked straight up confused. "Oh. Okay. Well…have fun." He quickly walked past me. I was expecting him to break out in a dead run just to get away from me. I sighed and sat down again.

I had awkward encounters with six other players who recognized me before Sidney finally exited.

I stood up and couldn't stop from smiling widely. All the nervous butterflies were gone…instead I felt calm and relaxed. Noticeably different from the way I felt at Uncle Mario's house the last time we saw each other. I tried to account for the difference, but I couldn't come up with a reason. All I knew was I was extremely happy to see him.

"I'm so glad you're here," he said, moving towards me.

"Me too," I replied.

He smiled, but looked slightly puzzled. "I was under the impression you hated me."

"Well…so was I."

We stood facing each other. I was conscious of every breath, every flicker of his eyelids. For a second I thought he was going to kiss me, but he stepped back, looking a little flustered.

"Ready to go?" he asked, trying to compose himself.

"Where are we going?"

"Somewhere where we can talk."

I followed him out of the arena and into the player's parking lot, where a taxi was waiting in the near corner. We slid into the backseat and I couldn't help but think that this was eerily similar to a date. And I didn't mind at all.

18 comments:

Katie said...

ooouuu this is going to get good

Val said...

Post more very soon, PLEASE!!!!

Kylie said...

I love those two together. So much!

More (very) soon, please!

Caitlin said...

they have gotta get back together! update soon! great chapter!

carrie. said...

I've got a feeling someone likes someone more than a certain other someone. And I'm liking that quite a bit, lol. This is getting reallyyyy good.

Amazing chapter! Hope you can update soon. :)

AA said...

gosh i can't take it any longer! they have to come together sooner or later!! please update soooon!

gene p said...

please please please please please please please please update asap!!! omg this story is so amazing!

omgthis is so good said...

you neeeeeeeed to update this

it can be '09summer09' lol

Kaity said...

its about time Karine is starting to realize that she still loves sid (: (:
update sid !

Anonymous said...

Okk, I'm glad that you're no longer updating every three months, but can you please make it everyday now?!?!! :)

Sam said...

Oh man, oh man, oh man. They must reconcile and get back together!

Amazing chapter, can't wait for more! =)

Heather said...

dun dun dunnnnnnnnn... Poor Thomas.. He's so getting dumped! haha!

Molly said...

ahh cliffhanger!!
loved this chapter :]

Krystie said...

You really need to write more! I loved it! MORE MORE MORE!!!

Lauren said...

I like where this is headed... :)

Anonymous said...

I loooove your fan fic. It's not creepy or weird and the girl isn't based on you (or at least that's what I'm assuming) which is really refreshing. And you've got the English language and grammar down pat.
So thank you, and please update soon! :)

Kristyyy said...

Hey this is a great story! This is my new story if you want to check it out: http://xxcrosby87xx.blogspot.com/ .

Joanie said...

Your story is sooooo good! I've read all the fifty-nine chapters of the story in like two days ! My name is Joanie and I'm a french canadian, I love when you insert some french here and there. :) Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that your story is amazingly well written and that I hope you update really soon (I'm kinda addicted now, ha ha!) !