Okay ladies, this one took me a few days longer, because I didn't know where I wanted to go with this... well, I know what I want to happen, but writing it all out was more difficult than I had thought! Hopefully this shorter, but emotional, chapter will hold you over until I can get the final few done*
Putting the last of the dishes away, Sid grabbed Mel’s hand and whisked her off to the front porch. The weather was nice today, starting to warm up a little.
Playoffs are just around the corner when the weather starts to get warmer.
They were rocking back and forth on the new porch swing she’d bought when they started talking about the wedding. She said she didn’t care where it happened, just so long as she got to say ‘I do’ and kiss him. Sid laughed, knowing she was telling him that to take some of the burden off his mind. He hadn’t confided it to her just yet, but he was worried about the playoffs this year.
They were the same, but different than last year’s team. And it’s not probable to win the Cup back-to-back… but he wanted to believe that the guys this season wanted it as badly as the team from last year. He was lost in his own thoughts that he only caught the tail end of what Mel was saying, and he didn’t like it.
“… can plan for the end of May, since that’s when my school year ends. Then, if we need to, we can bump it back until the Finals are over.”
“Oh, so you don’t think that we’re contenders again this year?”
“Well, you obviously don’t think we’re going to win the Cup, right? That’s what you were saying?”
“No, weren’t you listening to what I said?! Of course I think you have a shot.”
“Have a shot, not that we’re going to win.”
He stared out into the yard. The sun was shining and one of the neighbor boys rode by on his bike. Everything was bright and cheery, everything but his mood. He felt Melany pull away from him, but he didn’t stop her. He turned and saw her staring at him from the opposite end of the swing.
“Sid, what the heck?! Why are you twisting my words around?”
“You just wanna sit here and plan this big wedding… I’ve only got three weeks before we have to buckle down and really focus. Three weeks until the dates and teams are set for the quarterfinals. I shouldn’t be worrying about flowers and cake flavors.”
“Excuse me?? Ummm, I told you that I’d be happy with just a small ceremony. Maybe at the lake house this summer. You wanted the whole white wedd…”
“You said that. But you don’t mean it. Every woman dreams of the perfect storybook wedding. It’s what they all want, deep down, no matter what they say.”
And he just didn’t want to have to add all the worries to his plate.
“Are you kidding me right now?? Like, are you even listening to yourself?! The way you’re talking, you make it sound like you’re disgusted with the whole idea. Why did you propose if you don’t want to get married?”
“Of course I wanna get married to you! But I have so much to deal with right now… the guys are counting on me to keep the team together. You don’t know what it’s like to have to deal with that, the media circus, and then come back here and worry about what color dresses you think your bridesmaids should have.”
“Well, if that’s how you feel, maybe I should just plan everything on my own.”
His eyes did light up at that. If she handled everything, she could just tell him what they were going to do. He trusted her, she’d make it great. Look what she’d done with Erin and Geno.
“Really? That would be so helpful! Put it all in a notebook or something, like you did with Erin’s. Oh, I bet she could come help you with this. I’ll just give you my credit card and you…”
“You’re kidding me… Is that really how you think this wedding stuff works?”
“Isn’t that why people hire wedding planners? I mean, that way they don’t have to deal with all of the insignif…”
“Sid… you… you don’t get it right now. I don’t know if you even realize that what you’re saying right now is hurtful. I think you should leave before one of us says something that they’re seriously going to regret.”
“I don’t understand…”
“I know that. Please just go.”
Mel felt like her heart was ripping down the middle. If he didn’t get what it meant to have him helping her with wedding details, how would he be at dealing with things once they were married? He looked crushed, he really did. And that hurt her even more.
Sid went inside to get his keys and when he came back out, she refused to even look at him. If she did, she’d run into his arms and try to explain what she was feeling. But that wouldn’t do any good. He needed to be able to figure out these things.
“I’ll see you at the game tomorrow,” he said as he walked to the car. Mel turned sideways on the swing, pulling her knees up and wrapping her arms around them. Suddenly it didn’t matter that the day was turning out to be nice. She ran her hand through her hair, her ring catching on some strands.
“Hey Sid, where’s Mel? I tried to call her earlier but she didn’t answer.”
Glancing up at Erin, Sid had no answer. She’d never missed a game that she could attend. There had been two, three times tops that she hadn’t been able to make it. And it was Saturday, in the afternoon… he’d said he’d see her. She hadn’t said she wasn’t coming.
“I’m sure she’s just stuck in traffic.”
“Probably. But she hasn’t sent you a text yet or anything?”
Sid just shrugged and shook his head. Maybe she was more upset than he thought. But he didn’t understand what he’d said to make her so angry. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to be a part of things… but she was asking him to help plan things during the busiest time of the season. She of all people had to know that he had enough on his plate already.
By the end of the game, he was feeling pretty crappy himself. He hated losing in overtime. Hell, he hated losing at all. After some questions and a quick shower he stepped out into the lounge expecting to see Mel. But she wasn’t there. He checked his phone, no messages.
They were leaving for the airport in two hours. He hadn’t packed yet, but he could throw everything together quickly and pop by before he flew out. Deciding on that course of action, he drove to Mario’s and jogged up to his room. Shoving his shampoo, a couple pairs of shorts and tees into his duffel bag, he grabbed his suit bag, picked out something quickly and then he was back in his car, driving to Mel’s.
When he stepped out of the vehicle, he was planning on what he’d say when she opened the door. He rang the bell. Then he rang it again. No answer. He was getting ready to use his key, afraid that she was in there, unconscious, or worse, when he heard a car pulling into the driveway. Tori hopped out, giving him a strange look.
“Hey Sid, what are you doing here?”
“Just needed to see Mel before we left.”
“See Mel… she went to visit her mom, didn’t she tell you that after the game?”
“I didn’t see her at the game.”
“Really? We talked until the third period ended. She said she was gonna go away for a couple days while you guys were out of town. Any of this ringing a bell?”
He thanked Tori for the news and walked back to his car. Once inside, he let out a string of swear words. How could she not talk to me about this?!He didn’t understand. It was one thing to be angry, but she just ran away from the issue and didn’t even tell him.
Stewing about it the entire flight, by the time they landed in Michigan he was royally pissed off. As soon as he could, Sid dialed her number. It rang only once before it went to her voicemail. The only reason that would happen was if she had hit the ignore button. She’s ignoring me?!
He didn’t leave a voicemail.
“Who was that on the phone?”
“What… oh no one. It wasn’t important.”
“So, when are you going to tell me why you’re here?”
“Geez Mom… I’m not allowed to just come visit you?”
“Of course dear. But I think there’s a definite reason behind this visit. Do you want to talk about it?”
Mel sat down at the kitchen table. She’d spent many nights here, studying for tests, writing out college applications. Don’t forget the nights you came home from disastrous dates. Mom would make her giant mugs full of hot chocolate, no matter the season. That sounded pretty fantastic right now.
Taking a deep breath, she relayed the events of the previous day. Even as she got to the end of the story, her eyes were burning from holding in her tears. She asked her mom to give her some insight, give her advice on what to do.
“Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Did I do the right thing? What should I do?”
“Well, that’s up to you really. You can take care of everything, just make sure that he shows up to the designated spot on time. Or you could make him a part of it. Make him see that his input is valuable. But it’s your decision to make.”
“I just want him to make a couple decisions. Pick the place for the reception or decide on where we’ll have the actual ceremony. That’s not too much to ask, is it?”
“Of course not. But you’ve said yourself that he’s never really been in a serious relationship like this.”
“No, but we’ve never had communication problems like this.”
“Then instead of running away, you should’ve hashed it out yesterday, not just make him leave.”
“You’re supposed to be on my side you know.”
“Honey, I love you… but he’s such a wonderful man. Maybe you should compromise a little, get his input on some things. But don’t make him have to pick a bunch of things. Or get a wedding planner. That would take pressure off you both.”
“You’re right, I know you’re right. I’ll talk to him the next time he calls.”
But he didn’t call again that night. He didn’t call the next day. He didn’t call after the loss to the Wings, didn’t call after the shootout loss to the Caps. Mel had gone back to her house before they played in Detroit. She waited to hear from him. She refused to call him, but she got more and more worried as the days went by and he didn’t call her. He didn’t even send her a text. She was moping around the house, walking into the kitchen, when she heard Tori whispering on the phone.
“No, I don’t know what happened between them. She won’t tell me anything. Is he saying anything?”
Stopping in the doorway, Mel found herself holding her breath so that her cousin wouldn’t realize she was there. She must be talking to Brent.
“You guys are flying home tonight right? Well, maybe see if you can get him to come over here. I know she wants to see him.”
Mel clenched her hands into fists. Please let Johnny be able to talk him into coming over.
“No. I don’t think she’s mad. Whatever they fought about last weekend… she’s not angry. Right now she’s just sad. Miserable really… it hurts me to watch her. Just… just talk to him.”
Stepping back into the hallway, Mel climbed the stairs and got ready for bed. They were obviously back in town. Sid hadn’t bothered to get in touch with her. Was this what it felt like to end a relationship?
Last time we talked, the night that I walked Burns like an iron in the back of my mind I must've been high to say you and I Weren't meant to be and just wastin' my time
Oh, why did I ever doubt you? You know I would die here without you
All that I'm after is a life full of laughter As long as I'm laughin' with you I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after After the life we've been through 'Cause I know there's no life after you
Sid sighed in disgust and ripped his headphones out of his ears. Fucking Daughtry and his lyrics that were perfect for the way he felt right now. Mel would laugh at him and call him a girl. What’d he’d give right now for the sound of her laughter.
“So… you going over to Mel’s tonight, after we get back?”
Sid looked up at Johnny. The goalie was staring at him, trying to read his face.
“I hadn’t thought about it yet.”
Liar. You were willing the plane to fly faster the entire time.
“Well, I know it’s none of my business… and you’ll probably tell me I’m reading too much into it… but I hope that you two can work out this difference… she seems pretty perfect for you.”
Sid nodded and stepped off the bus, walking to his car. He drove out of the airport parking lot and before he knew it, he was pulled up right outside her house. Would she be glad to see him? He was slowly walking up to the door when it opened and he was staring at Tori.
“Is… is she home?”
“She is. I believe she actually went to bed. Listen, I don’t know what happened between the two of you… and she’ll kill me for this… but she’s been miserable. I hope you’ve figured out how to fix this.”
“I’m certainly going to try.”
Tori nodded and stepped back so that he could get inside. Sid looked at the stairs, his feet rooted to the ground. Taking a deep breath, he turned and made his way up to Mel’s room. When he opened the door, he noticed there were a couple candles burning. It smelled like a cookie factory. Mel was lying in bed, her hair spilling over a pillow and her blankets tucked under her arm.
He stripped down slowly, leaving him in nothing but his boxers. Stepping up to her bed, he pulled the covers back enough to crawl in beside her. Pulling her back against him, Sid felt sweet relief at her body instinctively seeking his warmth. As she twisted around, facing him, he held his breath. Then she snuggled herself close, burying her face into his chest.
“Mmmm, Sid,” she murmured. He didn’t know if she was awake or not, so he just pulled the blankets up and fell asleep with her in his arms. The next morning, when he woke up, she was sprawled over his body. He ran a hand through her hair and stared down at her, willing her to open her eyes and realize that he was really here. When her eyelids fluttered open, he held his breath, unsure of what her reaction would be.
God I miss him. I miss him so much that I dreamt that he was here with me. Even now I feel like I’m lying on his chest and…
Mel opened her eyes and looked up into his hazel ones. She blinked a couples times, trying to figure out if he was real or not. She poked his chest and watched a slow smile spread across his face.
“Sid? What are you doing here?”
“I got home from a road trip last night.”
“But why are you here, in my bed?”
“Because I love you… And I needed to tell you that I was sorry.”
“What exactly are you sorry for?”
“Sorry that I made it seem like I didn’t care. About the wedding and everything. I do. I want to be a part of the planning. I just don’t want it to take over our relationship. Does that make sense?”
“It does. I’m sorry too.”
“What on earth are you sorry for?”
“I should’ve tried to explain myself better. I just got angry, and then I let that anger get the best of me. It’s been a while since we’ve had a fight or anything… I’d forgotten how much they suck. But I’d rather fight with you than not talk to you at all.”
“I’d rather fight with you too.”
Mel snuggled into his embrace, sighing. Sunshine and roses was nice, sure, but the simple art of making up… it had its benefits as well.
“So, what are we doing now?”
“Right now we’re going to go downstairs and get some food before I have to leave for practice. Then, once I’m done, I’ll come back here and you can show me what you have so far for ideas on the wedding. And I’ll try to add some valid input.”
Mel laughed and burrowed against him. No relationship was perfect, but what she had with Sid seemed to be the real deal. And she meant what she’d said. Sure, fighting sucked, but if they could work through their problems, then they would be okay in the end.