I don't know what happened today at work, but I couldn't stop writing* Enjoy!
Mel dragged her tired body to the door and leaned against it as she tried to make the key work properly. I’m going to tell Sid that we want key cards and slots like in hotels. Yes, it was a stupid thing to wish for, but at the moment she just didn’t care. Erin beeped her horn once and as the lock finally came undone Mel threw up a hand to wave her home before stumbling through the door.
“Fucking Ottawa bastards.”
The boys had fought so hard tonight. They could have ended it multiple times but things just didn’t connect. So after sixty minutes of play, they went to the locker room to have some food and get ready to end it in over time. Twenty minutes after that they were back in the locker room, having pizza and working out a plan to end it in the second over time. Another twenty minutes and once again, they were in the locker room.
Sid had called her that time. He sounded so tired. But she could also hear the drive and fight in his voice. She heard laughter in the background and thought that it was probably the best thing they could be doing right now, laughing. If they got too serious then it would be over before they could skate back out onto the ice for yet another overtime period.
And she thought they were going to do it. She was convinced that they would put the puck behind the goalie and end this thing on home ice. It would’ve been great. To see all those people in the white out shirts screaming as the Pens knocked the Senators out of the playoffs. But then that jerk got one by Flower and there was a collective sigh from the arena.
In fact, most people were probably just glad they could finally leave.
Mel kicked off her shoes and made her way to the kitchen. Sid would be another thirty minutes at least. He was going to go over game tapes and stuff with Disco and a couple of the other guys. And she was just too keyed up to fall asleep. Which made no sense since she was practically falling over from exhaustion.
After she walked into the room, she decided to bake some cookies. The guys could eat them on the flight tomorrow. Grabbing a bunch of stuff from the fridge and the cupboard beside it, she laid everything on the center island and then turned on the oven.
Memories filtered through her mind of previous encounters in the kitchen. She blushed at the images in her head and then heard the doorbell. Looking at the clock on the stove, she wondered who would be on her doorstep so late. She grabbed a dishtowel and then padded over to the front door. Peering through the window she quickly unlocked the door.
“Erin? Vero?! What are you two doing here?? Is everyone okay? Did something happen to one of the guys? What in th…”
“I couldn’t sleep,” Erin interrupted. “I got all the way home and couldn’t even go inside. Geno’s staying at the arena with Sid… I didn’t want to be alone.”
“Marc is there as well… Erin called… we decided to come over. Keep you company. Unless you are going to bed…”
“I can’t sleep either. I was going to bake some cookies. Wanna help?”
The two of them agreed wholeheartedly and as she shut the door, Mel whipped out her cell phone and sent out a mass text to the other girls, telling them all to come over if they wanted to. It wasn’t long after that Amanda and Tori showed up, and Kelsey brought over Jackson. He was out like a light, but she was wired like the rest of them.
For the next hour and a half they mixed and stirred and baked. There was flour all over the floor, chocolate chips littered the counters and there was peanut butter on the one cupboard door. After the final tray had been taken out of the oven and placed on the cooling racks the group filed into the dining room and sat around the table, nursing cups of hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Mel lifted her head from her arm and looked around the table.
“Did anyone tell their men where they’d be?”
There was a collective groan and a couple muttered curses. Mel snorted into her arm and got smacked in the forehead with a marshmallow. She glanced up and saw Erin trying to look innocent.
“You’re lucky there’s a child in your belly that I want to spoil or I’d hurt you right now.”
Erin let the threat roll off her shoulders and stuck her tongue out.
“Mature Mrs. Malkin. Very mature.”
Mel pulled out her phone to send Sid a text. She knew he was busy, but if any of the guys left and didn’t know where their counterparts were… things were tense and tempers could flare quickly.
Warn 1/29/44/48/71 their women are here. baking. Might crash. Oven is off, no worries!
“I want a cookie,” Vero said. Then her stomach grumbled and they all laughed. Getting up, Mel grabbed a gallon of milk from the fridge. Tori snagged some high ball glasses, Kelsey checked on the little one while Erin and Vero piled from of the goodies onto a plate. They met back up at the table and were all munching on a cookie when the door opened and there stood six very tired looking men.
“Wanna just ride together to the house,” Sid asked the guys. He didn’t know who still had a car here but there would be someone around to watch it until they got back. Or until one of the WAGs came and picked it up.
“I think I’m the only one with a car here still,” Brooks said. “How about we split up into two groups and meet there?”
Nods and grunts of agreement echoed as they all walked down the walkway toward the parking lot. Disco popped his head out of the door and hollered for them once more. Sid didn’t know whether he wanted to strangle the man or kiss him for the help he’d offered after the loss.
“Be careful going home. Someone let me know when you’ve made it safely so I don’t worry, okay?”
Sid opened the door and unlocked his car. Johnny and Marc were riding with him and he could hear them mumbling about who was riding shotgun. They finally settled on playing Rock, Paper, Scissors and he heard Marc swear in French when Johnny’s rock crushed his scissors. Shaking his head, he climbed into the vehicle and laughed as he looked in the rearview mirror and saw Flower pouting like a child.
“Dude, you’re just mad because I get to control the radio now.”
“You suck. I don’t think I like you.”
Johnny and Sid started laughing as they pulled out of the parking lot and headed in the direction of home. When they pulled into the crowded driveway, they waited until Brooks pulled in before getting out and stumbling up the steps to the door. Sid unlocked it and pushed the heavy wooden door open and had to laugh at the sight that greeted him.
There, seated around the table, were the girls. And they all had a cookie paused at their mouths.
“Peanut butter blossoms,” screamed Flower as he pushed past them and ran to the table. Sid watched as he picked up one of the little cookies with a Hershey’s kiss on top and shoved the entire thing in his mouth.
Sid walked over and stood beside Melany, his fingers itching to haul her upstairs. He settled for sitting beside her and going against the rules by having a couple late night crumbles.
Tyler and Kelsey were the first to leave. Sid felt a pang of jealousy as he watched his teammate carry his sleeping son out the door. Brooks had to drag a very sleepy Amanda out before she wound up crashing on the couch for the night. And as Erin and Geno left, the pang came back. Geno, big lug that he was, had turned out to be the most attentive soon-to-be dad in the world.
Tori and Johnny decided to just sleep it off in her old bedroom and said their ‘good nights’ before climbing the stairs. It left four of them at the table. Vero and Mel were talking about the upcoming nuptials and Marc popped another cookie into his mouth, this time in bites.
“You want me to start putting the cookies in containers for tomorrow? I’m guessing that’s why you made them.”
Mel nodded and Sid dragged his friend into the kitchen to help him. The kitchen that looked like a damn war zone.
Marc laughed and tiptoed around the splotches of flour that were all over the floor. Sid just shook his head and grabbed a few containers from the cabinet under the island. They packed away the goodies for the flight in the morning… later today… god was it really 2a.m.?!
“I’ll grab V and we’ll get going. Make sure you don’t forget these, okay? I might have to hurt you.”
“Why don’t you just stay here?” Sid turned at the sound of Mel’s voice. “It’s already late. And why drive if you don’t have to. You can stay in one of three places, four if you wanna sleep downstairs. It’s not like we don’t have the room. The Wilkes-Barre boys are still in their playoff race, so the space is plentiful. You can leave in the morning and pack your bag and stuff.”
Sid saw the uncertainty on his friend’s face. Flower was very particular about things. He didn’t like to change his routines… at all. And especially not during the playoffs. But one look at Vero and he was nodding his head.
The two of them walked up to the guest room to grab sheets out of the closet while Mel and V put as many of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher as they could. Sid heard the creak in the stairs and told Marc good night as he stepped across the hall, shut the door behind him, and stared at the woman by the bed.
“Long night, eh Captain?”
“Well, come to bed then. Sleep. I’ll make breakfast when you wake up. What time are you guys leaving?”
“Gotta be there at eleven.”
“See, plenty of time.” She met him halfway across the room and sank into his arms. He sighed as she ran her hands over the muscles in his back. “Come on, I’ll get those knots out before you fall asleep.”
He just nodded and pretty much collapsed on the bed after shucking out of his suit, throwing on a pair of sweats and brushing his teeth. If she was going to be touching him, there was no point in pulling a shirt over his head anyway.
Mel heard the bed squeak as he flopped onto the mattress and she spit into the sink before hitting the light switch and walking slowly over to their bed. She threw her hair into a ponytail and crawled on the mattress until she straddled him, resting herself on his ass.
“Want me to start at the top or the bottom?”
“Top,” he said into the pillows.
She opened the relaxing oil from beside her and smoothed some between her fingers. Then she started at his shoulders and kneaded the tense muscles there. He groaned as she worked through all the kinks. And there were definitely a lot of them. Things were so stressful for him right now. she knew it, and she wanted to help.
Placing the heel of her palm in between his shoulder blades, she told him to take a deep breath and then breathe out. As he exhaled she pushed down and up and listened to his bones pop and release. He groaned again. Mel worked her way down his spine, alternating between massaging the muscles and cracking his back. After she was finished with her task, she went back to just rubbing his shoulders gently.
Leaning down, she noticed his eyes were closed and his breathing had evened itself out. He literally fell asleep to my touch, how sweet. She slid off of him and lay down beside him, her body curling itself against him. she heard him sigh and then he brought his arm around her, dragging her into his embrace as he turned to his side.
Mel made sure the alarm was set to give them enough time for breakfast and then she closed her eyes, breathing in the relaxing scent and Sid. When the beeping started a few hours later she felt surprisingly refreshed. Sid was still deep in dreamland so she lifted his arm and slipped from the bed, heading down to start cooking.
Tori was making a pot of coffee when she walked into the kitchen. The floor was swept and the counters cleaned.
“Doing some housework for me, cousin?”
“Non, that was all me. I could not sleep any longer. The light came in and I was up. I am too nervous for Marc anyway.”
The three of them worked together, making omelets and waffles for the guys. Tori juiced some oranges and made a new pot of coffee while Vero ran around, setting the table like she’d lived there all along. They were just putting the final set of waffles on a plate when Mel heard the stomping of three hungry men coming down the stairs.
Breakfast was lively, the guys all recharged for their trip to the Great White North. Mel made plans to go shopping with Vero the next day, telling Sid she needed a new celebration outfit. She knew he got nervous when she talked like that, but she knew they could pull it off. As she kissed him goodbye, she made him promise to have fun.
“Good luck on Saturday babe. You’re gonna do great things.”
“I don’t know… hopefully! But you come back to me with the series finished. You got me Crosby?”
“Is that a ‘come back with a win or don’t come back at all’ speech?”
“No, you come back no matter what. But bring home the win as a bonus!”
“FUCK! Come on ref! Call something why don’t you?!”
Sid watched as Gonch wrapped his stick up in one of the Sens and the ref’s arm came up.
“You got your call Doofy.”
Sid turned and glared at Billy. They were down 3-0 in the second period. After a successful penalty kill the lines were a little off. Coach yelled for Duper to get out there with Jordan and Cookey and Sid watched them race into the zone. Come on, come on, come on.
They went into the locker room down by two goals instead of three. That was a plus. They had twenty minutes to tie it up. Another plus. They could do it. He took the ice after a pep talk from Coach and went out to center ice for the opening faceoff of the period.
Five minutes later they got a break. An interference penalty that was probably questionable. To hell with it, I’ll take it.
Disco yelled for the second power play line to start off and Sid bided his time, watching the dynamics between the two d-men on the PK. They had a small chink in their defense, and he passed the word down to Billy and Geno. If they stuck Geno on the half wall, Billy in front of the net… Ottawa shot the puck down the ice and he jumped over the boards with the rest of the first unit.
Getting back into the offensive zone, Sid went down low with the puck. While two guys came at him he saw Geno to his right, completely clear. He wrapped the puck behind him, shooting it out to the Russian. With seemingly no clear shot, Geno passed it to Goose for a one-timer. Billy stayed planted in front of the net and watched as Goose shot it wide on purpose. With his stick out he deflected it in and past Leclaire.
Two down, one to go.
It was when he found himself out on a line with Cookey and Poni that Sid started to question his coach’s mind set. This wasn’t a line. It wasn’t any type of combination they’d ever worked. But he went with it. and the even-up goal that Cookey got had to have been the luckiest shot in the world.
He pretty much tackled Matt as he hollered in triumph. They had tied it up. now they just needed to get that one shot to end the series and move on to the next one. It would have to be in overtime though. As the buzzer sounded and they made their way back to their stalls, Sid fought himself to keep from checking his phone.
There would be a msg on there from her. he knew there would. But he kept his hands away from his bag. He went over the possible scenarios in his head. Who could pull of the goal, how they would celebrate. It never entered his head that they wouldn’t win. And so they trudged back out for yet another game of overtime, sudden death hockey.
The hits came harder, the tension hung thicker. Each side knew that the first goal in could determine the end of a season. And neither team wanted that to happen to them. Sid just remembered what Mel had told him. have fun.
He did. He played for the love of the game and soared in on net, deke to the left, deke to the right, pass, skate. He was kept off the score board but he knew he’d worn down their defense. A few more shifts a piece and then he was screaming and racing out to tackle Duper.
The cheers and jeers died away. The roaring in his ears dominated any other sound. They had done it. they had moved on once again. And as they shook hands with the Senators, his mind was already on who they might face next.
He didn’t remember what he said to the media, hopefully it wasn’t anything stupid. He just wanted to get on the plane and get home. after the media was sent away, they all sat in their stalls, no one wanting to break the tranquility of the moment. Brooks was the first one to speak.
“It’s far from over.”
They knew it was true. There would only be so many lucky breaks, so many times when the puck went their way. The second and third seeds had been knocked out already. And so now it was time to play the ‘Waiting Game’ until the series between Washington and Montreal ended.
The series had been a solid 3-1 with Washington looking to end it all in Game 5. And then Montreal had found their second wind or something. They won Game 5 and last night they had won Game 6. Now they played Monday night to see who would end who. Washington had taken the regular season by storm, and Sid didn’t know how they had let it come to a Game 7, against the eighth seed in the conference.
As he crawled into bed late that night with Mel, he smiled in the dark. For once, he wasn’t worried about whether or not they would go all the way again this year. He was honestly just tired. Two finals in a row had left them without a lot of recovery time. IT had shown on some of them already. Max hadn’t had the return he expected, a couple of the older guys were lagging… hell, he felt a couple times like he just wanted to sit and rest for five minutes. Holding her close, Sid fell asleep to the sound of Mel’s even breathing.
“Congratulations Captain,” came a soft voice in his ear the next morning.
Sid blinked his eyes and squinted against the light coming in from the windows. It couldn’t be morning already, it had to be a dream. but when he opened his eyes more and looked around, everything looked the way it should. He groaned and snuggled his body close to Mel’s, listening to her giggle as she wrapped her arms around him.
“Wake up sleepy head.”
“I’m clean enough.”
He chuckled as Mel poked him repeatedly in the side, trying to get him to wake up. finally relenting, he flung the blankets backward and stared down at her. how can she look so sexy in an old t-shirt and my shorts??
He rolled back over and fell on top of her, hearing her whoosh of breath since he’d surprised her. then he slid his hands under her shirt and ran them lightly up and down her sides. She shrieked with laughter and jerked, trying to escape him. it didn’t work though, and he refused to release her until she threatened to pee the bed if he didn’t stop and let her up.
They had some granola and yogurt and pretended to do stuff throughout the day. They went over more plans for the wedding. She was getting fitted later that week for her dress. And Erin’s dress was being tailored already. The colors were set, the flowers picked, the caterer knew what to make and had a staff picked out already.
“What else is left?”
“Who’s your best man?”
“Does he know yet?”
“No… I’ve kind of been putting it off…”
“Why? He’s going to be so excited!”
“If I tell him… what will the others think?”
“They won’t think anything. It’s your choice of who you want to stand up there with you. The rest of the guys won’t care Sid. Besides, they know who your close with, they know who has been there for you. Heck, tell them I wanted it to be Max!”
He smiled at that. If she could’ve, she’d have had Max on her side.
“Fine, I will go call him right now.”
“He’ll be over in like an hour anyway.”
“He’s helping me with my vows.”
“We’re allowed to get outside help?? Why didn’t I know that?!”
“Well, you can’t ask Max now. I already did. And if you ask him to help you, then it’s like he’s working both sides. And that’s not fair.”
“Ugh… I’m calling Flower then!”
Mel just smiled at him and went off to grab a shower.
The next day, at Geno’s party for the deciding game, they announced what everyone already knew. Erin and Max would stand up with them at the ceremony. He added that he hoped no one was offended by it. Geno dumped him in the pool.
They all settled in for the game and Sid couldn’t decide who he was rooting for. If Washington won, it meant possibly facing them somewhere in the future and that they’d be taking on Boston. And if the Habs won then they’d be facing a Cinderella team like last season when they took on the Canes.
When the final buzzer rang, Sid took a deep breath. Up next, Montreal. And they’d just fought back from a 3-1 deficit to knock out the top seeded team in the conference. And their goalie was standing on his head. This was going to be a tough series.