I know how long it's taken me to get this chapter up, and I apologize ladies!! But the school year is almost up, and I'm still in the works for a summer job so perhaps I'll be able to get chapters out easier now! Thanks for stickin' with me!!!
Sid heard the alarm on the clock radio go off. He rolled over and smacked it into silence before collapsing onto his back again. The room was fairly dark and he rubbed his eyes quickly before staring up at the ceiling. Today was the day. It all came down to the game tonight. He was so lost in thought that when his cell went off he nearly fell off the bed from jumping. Smiling, he grabbed the phone and opened it, expecting something dirty from Melany.
This is a chance of a lifetime to realize your childhood dream to win a Stanley Cup. Play without fear and you will be successful! See you at center ice.
He blinked back a wave of tears, knowing that only Mario could make him want to cry today. Then he laughed as his phone blew up with message from the guys. Some of them cursing Mario for waking them up so early, some telling him how amazing his landlord was. Max’s text was the most amusing though.
Mon ami… I adore that man, but I’ll kill you if he does it ever again! Oh, and ask your girlfriend how her night was. She texted me twelve times last night! But they were gibberish. I think she was trying to write in French!
Why hadn’t she sent him any messages? Sighing, Sid dropped the phone on the bed and peeled his shorts off as he walked into the bathroom for a very unsatisfying shower. They just weren’t as much fun when Mel wasn’t with him. Afterwards Sid threw all his stuff into the huge duffel bag, the only thing missing was his hair gel, toothbrush and suit.
He worked his hair as Mel had showed him, surprised that he could actually pull off this shaggy look, without looking greasy and lame. He was humming to himself as he brushed his teeth, something else he’d picked up from his girlfriend, when his phone started blasting I Melt by Rascal Flatts.
Who in the world is that ringtone?? Jogging over to the bed, he flipped it open without looking.
“Good morning sunshine!”
“When did you change your ringer? And why are you up so early?? I know you girls got in late. And rumor has it you were partying last night too.”
“Who told you that?”
“You shouldn’t drunk text hockey players. We’re very bad with gossip. And why, pray tell, did you message Max and not me?” He tried not to sound whiny, but he had to admit, he was a little bummed.
“Because I don’t care about messing with Max’s rituals, and I knew his phone would be on silent. You refuse to quiet your through sleeping hours, and I didn’t want to wake you up or deviate from your superstitions. I was drunk, not stupid,” she finished with a laugh.
“I love you for thinking of my insane rituals even when your drunk.”
“You love me in general!”
“True. Are you all staying here at the hotel like we wanted?”
“We are. I bunked down with V last night and… oh, she’s coming around.” He listened as Melany tried to get Vero to talk. But if she was anything like Flower, this was going to take a while. Then he heard a thwack and some cursing in French.
“You’re not hurting her are you,” he chuckled.
“Nope. I hit her with a pillow,” Mel laughed back. He heard Vero yell through the phone that the pillow was made of bricks. Sid laughed again and told them to meet him in the lobby in thirty minutes for breakfast. She agreed and blew him a kiss through the phone with a murmured ‘I love you’ before she threatened Vero and hung up the phone laughing.
“Sid says breakfast in thirty minutes so stop trying to smother me and go get ready, it’ll take you longer anyway!”
“Ah, but that is because I must primp and everything while you go in there, snap your fingers and come out looking adorable,” her friend teased. They both laughed and as Vero shut the bathroom door started knocking on the adjoining door and making sure her friends knew about breakfast.
They stepped out of the elevator together and met the boys for a nice breakfast in one of the conference rooms. Max teased her about the perils of drunk texting and laughed when she told him she had been wishing him luck tonight. And she’d chosen him because the rest of the guys didn’t need the luck. He laughed at that, not believing her for a second.
Mel heard Dan tell them to go back upstairs and get their gear ready. This was going to be the last time she saw Sid until after the game. He’d either be really happy or extremely depressed. She was hoping for option number one. They were getting up from the table when he pulled her to him.
“So, I don’t need any luck?”
“Well, maybe you do. But you get a different type of luck from me,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
“God, if only we could do what I have in mind!”
“Settle for a kiss?”
“For now,” he whispered as his lips found hers. Mel heard herself sigh as he kissed her. He tasted like orange juice and syrup. Or maybe she did. She couldn’t tell, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except for the two of them… until Disco was tapping her on the shoulder and asking her to kindly let go of his captain so that they could get everything packed and head out to the arena.
Pulling away, Mel blushed as she finally noticed that half the guys hadn’t moved from their tables yet. They were staring at the two of them. Duper was the only one to say anything.
“No wonder you don’ want to hang out with us anymore mon cap-i-tan! I wouldn’t want to let her out of the bedroom!!” The guys let out whistles and clapped and she could feel herself turning beet red.
“Wish me luck?” Sid asked against her ear.
“Good luck baby. I’ll see you at center ice,” she whispered back. He pulled back and touched his forehead to hers before turning away and heading up to the rooms with his teammates, all of them ragging on him in some fashion.
Sid stood in the locker room by himself. Most of the guys were out playing soccer, and he’d promised them he’d join in. But he needed a minute alone. Those not playing had nodded and walked out as well, leaving him there to pull his thoughts together.
“Just let me play well,” he asked the empty room. “Let me lead my team as best I can. Let us play for the love of the game, for our friends, our families… let us win this. I don’t need to score tonight. It would be amazing if I did, but I just want to go out there and play hockey. I’m playing for more than myself now. I’m playing for her. It may sound cheesy and lame, but she’s my world. I’ve found someone that makes me think about more than the sport.”
He dropped into his stall and stared at the team logo in the center of the room. He’d been a Penguin for four years now, and he couldn’t imagine being anything else. He’d helped to shape this team into what it was now. They were back at the Finals for the second year in a row. They were one game away from lifting the Cup. He wanted it so bad he could feel his lips pressed against it.
“But unlike last year, I know there’s more to me than this. There’s more that I want for myself now. Is she the one I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with? I don’t know that, but I do know that she’s the only person that I want to share this possible joy with. And I know that win or lose, she won’t judge me. Not like the fans, or Pittsburgh, or even my dad. So… “Sid wasn’t sure who he was talking to. He didn’t know if there was really some all knowing being that was listening to him speak just now. But whether it was God, the hockey gods, her grandfather… he just wanted them to know that he appreciated the effort they’d made to get the two of them together. “Thanks for finding her for me.”
“I think you did that yourself.”
“Afternoon cap’n.” Mario tipped his head in acknowledgement before sitting next to him.
“Will you ever greet me any other way when I first come into the locker room?”
“I don’t think so. I don’t think it’d be possible.” Mario smiled and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You’ll do just fine tonight. I have all the faith in the world in this group of men. Now, you’ve had your alone time, you’ve said what you needed to say. Go play.” He said the last two words with a smile and Sid found himself laughing.
“Yes sir,” he said with a mock salute. Then he walked out of the room to find the guys.
An hour later he was standing on the line, listening to the Star Spangled Banner. He knew that it was wishful thinking… but hockey started in Canada, and even though there weren’t any teams in the Finals… they could still play the anthem. It wouldn’t be bad would it? Ah well, next year, Olympics. Hopefully I’ll be on that team and we’ll go far!
He stared at the puck in the linesman’s hand. Willed Zetterberg to fuck up and miss it completely. Luck wasn’t on his side for this first faceoff though. Oh well, next time. Thirty-three minutes later they were walking through the tunnel and back into the locker room. The score was tied 0-0 and he was thirsty for revenge. The rest of the guys were as well. They had more shots on net, Flower had stood strong, and… and nothing had clicked.
“Next period’s ours boys,” Billy called out. Sid nodded his head and they all relaxed, for a moment. He took a swig of Gatorade and laid his head back for a few minutes before Yeo came over to go over a couple possible plays during the PP or the PK.
“I swear to all that is holy if that man in the next box doesn’t shut up soon I’m going to jump over there and strangle him with my bare hands!”
“C’mon dear, deep breath. You’ve got at least forty more minutes left.”
“Trina, I can’t take more than that, don’t even think it!”
Both women laughed lightly and Nathalie ran her hand over Mel’s back, trying to sooth away the tension. Mel didn’t think it was going to work though. Erin, Geno’s parents, Amanda and Brooks’ family were in the next box to the right. Her own mom had declined to tag along this time. She hadn’t made it to any other away games, and she didn’t want to start with this one. And honestly… she just wasn’t really into hockey.
The guys took the ice and the puck dropped for the second period to start. They were down in the offensive zone, sort of behind the net. And then Max was worming his way in front of Osgood and then the goal light was on and she was jumping out of her seat, screaming out her joy!
The jerk next to them was silent for a few minutes and then he started cheering the exact moment that Mel’s stomach completely dropped. She watched Sid going for the puck, saw Franzen push them both into the boards and then saw Sid grimace of pain. His head flew back and she was sure that he was letting out a string of swear words.
He tried to get over to the bench, neither of the refs or linesmen blowing a whistle so that he could make it safely. She watched him, he didn’t put and pressure on his leg, didn’t really use it to skate. It seemed like forever before he could finally get to the bench and then Cooke and TK were helping him get up and the trainers took him down the walkway immediately.
“Troy? Mario? Somebody… tell me he’s okay!!”
Mel finally took her eyes off the tunnel and glanced at the people around her. Trina and Taylor were holding hands, Troy and Mario had grim faces and Nathalie was wringing a napkin. No one was saying anything though. Her mind was spinning with all the worst possibilities. Torn ACL, torn MCL, shattered knee cap. You name it, she was picturing it.
Mario was pacing, his knuckles white against the rail of the box. She placed a hand over his.
“What can I do? I need to do something. I can’t just sit here an--”
“Hey missy!! Saw your man go down! Gonna add insult to injury soon! He’s gonna be sittin’ on that bench or in the locker room crying like a little bitch! Ha ha ha ha!!” She heard Nathalie tell her to stay calm, felt a hand on her shoulder. But she shrugged it off and turned, leveling the idiot with a glare.
“Listen buddy. I’ve been sitting here listening to you scream and holler since you took your first drink or beer. I may not know as much about hockey as the rest of the people in this box. I may not be able to skate and score goals and block shots like those men down there. But I’ve got more sportsmanship in my fucking pinky than you have in your entire body!” She took a deep breath and let loose all the fury she could muster.
“And I refuse to believe that the hockey gods or God himself will let a sniveling little asshole like you be the fan of a Stanley cup winning team for the second year in a row! Therefore, you can take your insults and shove them up your ass because while he may be hurt, I can’t wait to stand down there at center ice and cry tears of joy when he hoists that Cup above his head and you’re crying tears of shame in the corner! So fuck off!!!”
She could feel herself shaking and the tears were threatening to fall. Turning, Mel expected to get yelled at, looked down at, or reamed out royally. Instead, everyone in the box was smiling at her. And then Troy pulled her to him in a tight hug.
“If I didn’t think it before, I do now.”
“You are something truly good for my son.”
“You still don’t like me sir,” she murmured.
“Not true. I don’t completely trust you. But can you honestly fault me there?”
“No, I suppose under the circumstances… I can’t.”
“I do like you though, and I trust you more each time we meet. And believe me, that’s more than any woman has EVER gotten. Now, I’m going to head down with Mario to the locker room. I’ll text Trina when we know anything, okay? Chin up,” he said as he knocked her chin with his fist gently. Trina came up to her as the two men walked away.
“C’mon dear. This isn’t over yet. Go cheer for your boyfriend’s teammates,” Trina offered. Mel looked down at the ice as Max scored his second goal of the night. She cheered, but the smile never reached her eyes.
“Fucking hell if I don’t get back out there I’m going to shove this stick so far up your ass tha--”
He looked up and watched his dad and Mario walk through the door. They weren’t looking at him though; their eyes were on his knee. It wasn’t swollen, they’d already determined that nothing was broken. Pain killers were pumped into his body, but nothing that would make him loopy. It just felt numb now.
“Hey cap’n. Tell them I’m good to go. Tell them I can go back out there!”
“Do you really thin--”
“Are you out of your mind?!” Sid whipped his head around, his eyes landing on the voice that had spoken. His dad was shaking his head, a wry smile on his face.
“You dad? Really?? This is not what I expected. I figured you’d just want me to suck it up and get on the ice.”
“What I want is for you to be able to play. Whether that’s in the rest of this game or at the beginning of next season.”
They stayed in the room talking and icing his knee until the guys came in at the end of the period. They were all talking, trying to figure out if he’d be able to come back in for the final period. Being up 2-0 was nothing when it came to the regular season, much less the playoffs! Everyone wanted him out there, but he knew that it would be difficult.
Coach went over game plans that did and didn’t include him. It sucked, he felt like crap, but he knew Dan was right. He could be out for the rest of the game. And he’d rather sit there on the bench than skate and possibly injure himself even more. But this was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
As the team made their way back to the ice for what would hopefully be the final twenty minutes of the season, Sid gingerly stepped onto the rink. He got a feel for the ice, and it didn’t hurt much… until he tried to turn left. Fuck, this sucks! He glanced up to the box where he knew Melany was. She was staring at him and even from the distance, he knew she had tears in her eyes.
Sid had asked his dad to tell her he’d see her at center ice, so that she’d know he was alright. He smiled when she pointed at her eye, her heart and then him. He quickly made the same gesture, but in one fluid motion… he was in love but he was still unsure of how to deal with PDA’s. He watched her laugh and shake her head before she sat down.
The period got underway and after a couple shifts he knew that he wasn’t going to be playing for the rest of the game. He came back to the bench during a TV timeout and shook his head slightly at Dan. The man nodded as Sid sat down in the opposite corner as Garon. Here they would both stay until the end, sitting and not able to help anyone.
Halfway through the period the Wings got one goal back and Sid clenched his fists, watching Max go over and pep talk Flower like he normally would. They nodded to one another and Sid found himself smiling. They were going to be okay.
The final thirty seconds of the game were the longest of his life. He wanted to jump onto the ice for the final faceoff, but they needed men out there who were able to move quickly. He couldn’t. So, watching his teammates, and not the clock, Sid held his breath as the linesman dropped the puck. He watched Detroit win it, saw them set up the play. And then, slow motion…
They took the shot on Flower and he blocked it, kicking it out with his right leg. None of the guys could get to it and as the puck landed on Holmstrom’s stick Sid saw Adams diving in the way. The puck lifted though and flew over him. He swore he could hear it hit off of Flower’s chest and then the bench was screaming. He knew the moment Marc realized they’d won.
His goalie’s hands flew up, his stick and gloves flying through the air as he leaned back against his crossbar. The guys attacked him a split second later and then the bench was emptying as the rest of the team made their way to the giant dog pile. Sid lifted his legs over and gingerly stepped onto the ice once again. All of the pain killers had kicked in and he made his way over, screaming like a little kid.
He didn’t remember the next few minutes. He knew that the teams were shaking hands and he tried to get over there to take part but the media had literally swarmed him. They were throwing questions left and right and no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get away.
He answered and answered before finally Mario made it to the ice and was able to drag him away so he could shake the hands of the men who were still waiting. Apologizing, he told those still out there good game and congratulated them on the trying series.
Bettman came out, congratulating them, giving Geno the Conn Smythe… and then he saw the Cup. This was what he’d been playing for, this was his dream. He was going to lift the Stanley Cup above his head. Nothing could’ve made this moment any better. Sid smiled at the guys and turned. He saw his parents and his sister there by the bench. And then he saw Melany. She was standing beside his dad. No, correct that, she was… His dad had his arm around her waist as the four of them smiled and the tears ran down her face.
Now it’s perfect, he corrected himself. Bettman called him forward and he licked his lips as he stood in front of Stanley. His fingers itched and he waited for the commissioner to finish his speech. Then he was grabbing it with both hands and as he swung the trophy into the air, above his head, he let out a whoop of pure joy. Bringing it down slightly he pressed his lips against the engravings and the hoisted it back up and took his turn around the ice.
As he passed it along to the next man, Sid slowly made his way to his waiting family. His sister was first, hugging him tightly. Then she squealed as he blew a raspberry against her cheek. He laughed and pulled back, his mom tugging him into a giant hug. She was crying and mumbling something that he couldn’t understand but he laughed as she brought a hand up to his check and told him how proud she was of her baby boy.
His dad was more emotional than he thought he’d be. The embrace was fierce, his father telling him how much he loved him. It wasn’t that the man was cold, but he didn’t get emotional very often. And last year, after Game 6, he hadn’t been the most helpful person to talk to. Sid laughed as his old man almost refused to let go. But then he laughed and clapped Sid’s back a couple times before telling him to move along and kiss that ‘spitfire.’ He’d have to ask Mel about that later.
Mel watched him go down the line of his family. Troy had surprised her by putting an arm around her while they waited for Sid to come over. Maybe he was drunk… or just extremely happy for his son. Either way, she knew they weren’t completely seeing eye-to-eye yet. And she doubted they ever would. But she didn’t expect that. She had an ally in Trina, a fun younger sister in Taylor, and so she needed that argumentative man to keep her from slipping into fantasyland.
She knew that they were all probably telling him how proud they were. She wasn’t sure if he would find it redundant or not, but that was what she wanted to tell him. She thought about how they’d made it through the playoffs without tearing each other apart. Or their relationship. She knew he worked well under pressure and so did she.
But still, she had expected more fireworks. Perhaps that why the sex they had was so great. Maybe he was normally boring in bed, but the playoffs had brought out the inner beast that normally lay dormant. Mel bit the inside of her cheek and mentally smacked herself. There was no way that he was ever dull in bed. She was just amusing herself until her turn came.
And there he was, standing in front of her. She stared up into Sid’s eyes, the crowd dying into the background. He smiled down at her and Mel was pretty sure she forgot to breathe. She didn’t know why, he looked like hell really. She could see the pain in his eyes even as he tried to mask it with elation.
“I’m so fucking proud of you Sidney.” She brought a hand up to his cheek and jaw, feeling the coarse hair press against her palm as he leaned against her fingers. Feeling him inhale, Mel leaned forward, dropping her hand and wrapping them both around his waist. She didn’t care that he was sweaty and gross.
It didn’t help however that he was even taller than normal because of being on his skates. And with all the padding she couldn’t really get her arms to clasp firmly. But when he leaned down ran his fingers through her hair before pressing his lips to hers, she couldn’t imagine anything better than this.
Dragging her tongue over his lower lip she heard him groan. He pulled her as close as possible as her lips parted and their tongues dueled. All too soon though he was pulling away.
“I love you Melany.”
“I love you back.”
“Thank you for being here.”
“I didn’t have any other famous athletes taking up my time this week,” she joked.
“You know what I can’t wait to do?”
“I can’t wait to stay up as late as I want, lay in bed with you, eat a bag of potato chips and not have a care in the world.”
“Whoa… what was in those painkillers they gave you? Are you high right now? Did you just say chips??”
He chuckled and held her against him, his lips brushing over her temple.
“Funny. Very funny. Kiss me again Melany, and then I’ll take you to meet Lord Stanley.” She smiled and obliged him, his lips covering hers. Then she shrieked as she was pulled from his embrace and was being twirled around.
“You must drunk text me before every game for the rest of my life!!!”
“Ahhh!! Max, put me down!!”
“Never!” But he did. He placed her back in front of Sid who was laughing at the two of them.
“Should I be worried,” Sid asked with a quirk of his eyebrow.
“Nah, he’s too flashy for my taste! I wish you could stay at the hotel with me tonight.”
“Mmmm, as do I. But I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow morning at the airport. Promise!” They sealed it with a kiss and headed off to the locker room to celebrate some more before the guys left for the ‘Burgh and Mel went back to the hotel with her girlfriends.