Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chapter 18

“But…do you know who I am?”

It was a last resort and one Sidney hated to use. Unless it was for charity, he hardly ever tossed his name and reputation into the ring but this was the third person he’d been passed on to and he could clearly hear in this woman’s voice that he had hit the end of the road.

“All I can tell you, sir, is that while I do know of a Tabitha King, she is not an employee of Harlequin as such and even if she was, we have a strict policy against giving out personal information of any kind to anyone, no matter who he might be,” she added in that sort of tone that a librarian might use to shush rowdy kids during study hall. Sidney paced the hallway, trying to come up with yet another argument that might get this woman to give him just enough information to go on but he was coming up empty.

“Look, I just need to know where I can get a hold of her about…about a painting,” he stammered, thinking of the one that had arrived on his mother’s doorstep that she had thought he had bought for her. “I just wanted to get a payment to her,” he added, hoping that his agent was right when he said everyone had a price.

“If you would like to send a payment, I’d be happy to accept that on her behalf,” the woman said, her tone saying that she was just about out of patience for this game and Sidney knew the clock was ticking. It was like sitting in the sin bin, watching the seconds tick away, waiting for the official to open the door so he could hit the ice. Only this time he knew he’d be hitting a brick wall.

“Give me that.”

Sidney felt his blackberry being pulled out of his hand and found himself staring at Max as he grinned into the phone with his best ‘guest coming to dinner’ fake smile.

“Hello Madame? I am Pat Brisson, Sidney Crosby’s agent and what my client has been pussy-footing around is the small matter of likeness being used on a number of covers of your product,” Max held a single finger up towards Sid when he opened his mouth to protest. The last thing he wanted was Tabitha getting into trouble over that or getting Pat or the league involved. That would just turn into a colossal cluster fuck. “Yes Madame, I’m sure that you didn’t realize or you would have been in touch with me before now….No, I can assure you we will not be looking for compensation, at this time,” Max added with a wink as Sidney shook his head and gave him his best ‘I am so going to fucking kill you’ glare. “My client merely wishes to get in contact with the artist again about a painting that was unfinished when last they were in touch. It was for a…,” Max tilted his head to one side and got that look on his face that made Sidney shake his head. “It was for a…charity auction and my client is most anxious that he be in receipt of the work on time….Yes, it was a sort of friendly exchange. You could say that.” Max could hardly contain himself, he had to cover his mouth to stop from laughing and Sidney raised a clench hand in warning. “Yes well, if you can have her call my client back at this number, it is most urgent that he hear from her…oui Madame, no thank you,” he added with a flourish handing Sidney’s phone back to him with a gleeful sort of grin. “Well if that doesn’t do it, mon ami, then I don’t know what to say,” Max added triumphantly.

“If she gets into trouble,” Sidney warned, his teeth grinding together as he stared his friend down.

“Mon capitaine, tu inquiétes beaucoup trop,” Max grinned, reaching out to pat Sidney on the shoulder. “Do you want to see your beautiful artiste again?” he added, reaching up to cup Sidney’s cheek before giving it a firm pat. “Then trust ton Oncle Max.”

“I wouldn’t trust ton Oncle Max as far as I could throw him, which, if he keeps chowing down on poutine before the games is not fucking far at all,” Jordy tossed his two cents in as he walked by in nothing but a towel, reaching out to pat Max’s stomach as he went by. Max let out a howl of protest and set out after the tall blonde forward, grabbing his towel and yanking it off but missing the forward himself.

Sidney watched them go and stared down at his phone and wondered if Max’s ploy would work. He certainly hoped so. He had finally given in last night, sitting alone on his bed at Mario’s, and he’d called her number, only to find that it was no longer in service.

Had she done it because of him? Or was she that in need of money?

He’d checked with Taylor and she’d confirmed with a drive by that the big house was still for sale. He knew Tabby had put a lot of her own money into the work they’d done on the house and he felt even guiltier about how everything had turned out.

Mostly he missed her, even more lately now that he was spending his nights alone, staring at the ceiling. She was on his mind all of the time, it seemed.

He stared at the phone and silently willed it to vibrate in his hand.

“Coming?” Coach Dan emerged from his office in his wind suit, whistle around his neck, stick in hand. Sidney nodded his head and turned to follow his coach out to the ice. Working out helped, and maybe if he worked hard enough he could forget the empty spot that he could feel deep in his chest; at least for a little while.


Tabby stared at the blue and white stick in her hand and felt tears welling up in her eyes.

“Shit,” she said again as she reached for the box with her free hand and pulled out the instructions again. Not that she needed to read them again. Mel had forced her to buy the digital one that would read pregnant or not pregnant. She knew exactly what she was looking at and the only thing that would come out of her mouth was, “shit.”

“How you doin’ in there babes?” Trina, one of her friends from school had also stuck around, ‘for moral support’ and Tabby knew she should be glad to know that her friends were there for her, but with her panties around her ankles, her ass still hanging over the cold bowl and a damned stick in her hand telling her that her future was shot, it was a little difficult to conjure any kind of warm fuzzy feeling.

“You should have a read out by now,” Mel knocked on the door and Tabby put the stick down gently on top of the box before struggling to pull up her panties, flush the toilet and pull down her skirt before she turned on the tap and ran the water until it got good and cold. She wasn’t sure if it was an old wives tale, but she stuck her wrists under the cold water and then pressed them to her forehead and the sensation of vertigo seemed to subside, for now anyway.

“Babes?” Trina was at the door now too and she could see their concerned faces in her mind. They were the ones that had put two and two together before she did, the nausea, the sudden sensitivity to certain smells and the overwhelming need to eat doughnuts of every size, shape and colour. How she’d managed to overlook that she’d missed her period all this time and then there was the fact that her tits just plain hurt….

Tabby counted back on her fingertips. Not that she should really need to. She knew when the last time she’d had sex was. No one needed to remind her of that. What she couldn’t remember was exactly when she started missing periods, what with the stress of moving and then setting up the show and deadlines for Illustrations and….

“Tabs! Seriously! Get your fucking ass out here and tell us what it says!” That was Trina, about as patient as a three year old outside a candy store.

“You know what it says,” she mumbled, half to herself as she opened the door and pressed the stick into Mel’s waiting hands. She didn’t wait for her reaction. In fact, she purposefully walked away from her to give her friend time to school her features. She knew Mel would be grinning like the fucking Cheshire Cat behind her until she realized that Tabby wasn’t skipping and clapping like a demented cheerleader.

Trina, on the other hand, had slumped into a chair, her long legs over the arm, fanning herself like she was the one finding out that she had a bun in the oven. Tabby stopped at the fridge and admired her friend’s self possession. She couldn’t afford that kind of emotional self indulgence. Well, not anymore anyway.

“What are you going to do?” Tabby turned to see Mel doing her damndest to keep her expression neutral, but she could see the glint in her dark eyes.

“Oh c’mon you both know damn well what I’m going to do,” she sighed as she yanked the fridge door open and reached for the Nanaimo bars her mother had sent home with her the other night. The sugary, chocolaty pieces of heaven that she’d been avoiding as she’d told herself that she had to get back into her skinny jeans. Well there was no fucking chance of that now, she mused as she pulled the whole tray out and cut herself a piece about as big as five dollar bill and slid it onto a plate, licking her fingers as she turned back to face her friends who were both staring at her, waiting. “What? Oh c’mon. You know if it was either of you, or anyone we know, I’d be supportive either way; your body, your choice. But this is me and I’m just not flushing anything down the drain just because I was stupid,” she sighed and then smiled down at the chocolate topped treat on her plate. She lifted the bar to her mouth and bit off a large piece, grinning around it as she chewed happily, rolling the ultra sweet, smooth filling around her tongue.

“So I’m gonna be an Aunty?” Mel gazed down at the stick and then up at Tabby like a kid expecting her favorite toy to be snatched away by the mean older sister. Tabby laughed and nodded, her mouth too full to answer out loud. Mel let out a little squeal and started bouncing up and down while Trina rolled her dark eyes and let out a dramatic sigh.

“Oh don’t be like that Trins. You can be the Aunty that buys the kid its’ first dimebag, helps it sneak out of the house, covers for it when it doesn’t make it by curfew, teaches it how to make shit mix…,” Tabby paused as the sugary sweetness in her mouth suddenly seemed to sour. “Oh Christ…I’m gonna be a momma.”

“You’ll be a great mom,” Mel gushed, putting the stick aside and coming around the island to put her arms around Tabby and after a minute Tabby felt Trina join in the hug.

“Yeah, and if you suck, we’ll be here to help, I guess,” Trina added, her enthusiasm, or lack thereof, making Tabby smile. “But before you ask, I don’t do diapers.”

“I would never presume,” Tabby sighed, reaching around to give Trina a squeeze, which left Mel as the cuddly filling in the sandwich.

“We’ll buy a diaper Jeanie and a monitor and….”

“Whoa there sunshine,” Tabby unwound both of her friends from her and went back to the fridge to look for some milk, to cut the sweetness of the bar. “I’m a single mom, and a fucking art student at that. I have a bad feeling we’ll be washing out cloth diapers. Have you ever seen the price of pampers?”

“Oh well then you can definitely forget about me helping,” Trina made a face like she was actually facing a dirty diaper, waving her hand in front of her face and gagging. “God, can’t the guy you knocked you up help out a little? I mean, I assume there were two of you in on this decision not to use protection, genius.”

“I’m pretty sure he doesn’t exist,” Tabby sighed as she poured the cold milk into a tall glass, “or at least the version of him he told me about,” she added as she took the glass and the plate out into what worked as the living room in her tiny apartment, which was a bean bag chair, a worn black suede love seat that dipped in the middle, and a very old wingback chair, which she loved and settled into now. “Did I tell you that I called just about every marketing company that advertises that it does work with sports and not one of them had a Patrick Lemieux working for them? I mean…so if he lied about that, what else did he lie to me about?”

“You could call him,” Mel pointed out, glancing quickly at Tabby’s phone that was sitting out on the coffee table beside her purse. “You did say you had his number.”

“Yeah, I could, if I hadn’t shut it off last month,” Tabby moaned, closing her eyes. “And before you say it, yes I know I could just turn it on and get his number and call from your phone but honestly…he lives, well I don’t fucking know where the asshole lives but I don’t need him. We don’t need him,” she added, her hand going protectively to her stomach and then all three of them looked at one another and there was not a single dry eye in the room.

“Mario…,” Sid growled as his land lord and mentor gave him a little shove in the direction of the cute blonde that had sung the national anthem at the game. “It was Max that said she was cute,” he argued but Mario’s width and height stopped him from turning around and going back, and besides, now she was watching him expectantly. She was wearing too much make up and he could tell from this far away that she had extensions. Another fake Hollywood wannabe.

“Just be nice,” Mario insisted, his big fingers digging into his shoulder as he ‘guided’ him in the direction he wanted him to go. “Nathalie and I are worried about the way you’ve been moping around lately,” his mentor added, sounding just like most of the guys on the team. They didn’t like him whoring around, they didn’t like him staying home…what the hell did these people want?

“Sidney, this is Delta Goodrem,” Shero gave Sidney that look that there was no other way to interpret. It was the kind of look he’d gotten used to when people wanted him to take their daughter or their niece out. It said, be nice, show here a good time, but be a gentleman. As if there was any other way he was going to be. He put his hand out and watched her place her small hand in his. She seemed fragile, tiny.

“Hi,” he said and watched as she blushed and batted her eyelashes. Jesus, did girls really think that worked? It made him think of the first time he’d met Tabby and she’d turned him into the stammering, bumbling idiot.

“It’s nice to meet you,” she whispered it, like she could barely speak in his presence, but she reached out with her other hand and pawed at his arm while she looked up at him through her fake eyelashes. Did women come out of the womb knowing how to flirt like this? Fortunately he seemed immune to this kind of thing. Jordy, or Max on the other hand….

“So have you been to Pittsburgh before?” he asked, steering her away from the prying eyes of the owner and general manager. He’d talk to her for a while, be nice but there was no way in hell he could be interested in this…cookie cutter blonde.
He’d had Burgundy from the Loire Valley in France, he had a hard time imagining himself going back to the kind of wine that came in a box.


“More, really?” Katie scooped up Tabby’s plate and, blushing like she’d just won Miss America, got up to get her seconds. Normally, and especially in front of Kevin’s friends, Tabby would never even finish her food, not that Katie wasn’t a good cook, it was just between laughing and talking, usually her food would get cold and they’d move into the living room and it would be forgotten. But then, that was before Tabby suddenly found just about everything not only edible, but fucking delicious.

“What about some wine?” Shane lifted the bottle again but Tabby shook her head and covered the glass with her hand.

“Nice try OB, stop trying to get my guest drunk,” Kevin laughed, handing his own plate over his shoulder to his wife. Tabby’s eyes followed the plates, hoping there was enough turkey tetrazzini for all of them.

“Well she wouldn’t let me walk her home last time,” Shane complained, grinning that boyish grin of his across the table at her and Tabby managed, just, to tear her attention away from Katie and the pot of food long enough to blow the big freckle faced defenseman a raspberry.

“You’d have to try Tequila and lots of it before I let you take me home O’Brien,” she teased, narrowing her eyes at him and pursing her lips. He laughed, but then he seemed to laugh at almost everything. “I know where you’ve been and I don’t want to catch where you’ve been,” she added, making the entire table groan. Tabby winked at him, to let him know that she didn’t really mean it, although she sort of did. Shane liked to party and when he partied he partied until the beer goggles were well and truly fused to his head and there were pictures on the internet to prove it.

“If you need a ride home,” a voice whispered in her ear as the clunk of ice cubes falling into her glass made her turn her head. “I would be happy to oblige.” Tabby glanced sideways at the very tall, very blonde young defenseman that everyone called Eddie and she let herself really smile for once. The Bieksa’s had invited her to a few of these dinner parties now and she was fairly certain that this was one of the main reasons. They were trying to set her up with the young Swedish defenseman and she had to admit that the idea was growing on her. She opened her mouth to say so when Katie’s arm slid between them and put the plate of carb loaded goodness in front of her and the need to speak sort of…dissipated with the steam and the scent of cream and cheese and turkey.

“Well this is you,” Sidney said quietly as he pulled up in front of the Marriott. He thought he detected a pout on the thin lips of his ‘date’ but considering it hadn’t even been his idea to take her out for desert, he thought it was very gentlemanly of him not to have just called her a cab.

“Do you want to come up for a…a nightcap? Or we could get something from the bar?” she asked, her eyes a little too wide, practically pleading with him to come inside and screw her brains out and Sidney found that it wasn’t even remotely tempting.

“We leave for a road trip in the morning,” he explained, wishing for her sake that Mario had pawned her off on Max, TK, Jordan, any of his single friends who would have gladly taken her up on her obvious offer and provided her with the kind of night she was obviously looking for. Once again, he knew, she’d be telling all of her friends that he was aloof, at best, rude and obnoxious at worst. Still, he found that he just didn’t care. “I have to be up at five and I’m a real bear when I don’t sleep.” He thought it was a good reason and it wasn’t far off, except that Flower would be picking him up in the Lambo nearer to ten than five.

“This is closer to the airport,” she pointed out, which again was true but now she was really begging and that was just sad. Sidney thought about letting her suck on his dick for a while but then shook his head at his own selfishness. There was only one girl he wanted with her lips around his cock and he was still hoping that she would call, soon.

“It was very nice to meet you. Good luck with your singing,” he added, trying his best to be diplomatic and nice at the same time. She stared daggers at him and then turned with a sort of huffing noise and pushed open the door to the SUV and stomped up the steps of the hotel. Sidney watched her go. It was the least he could do to make sure she made it inside safely. That, or he could call Jordan and let him know that the cute blonde was all alone….

Sidney laughed and reached over to pull the door of the SUV shut and headed for home, leaving his phone safely in his pocket, ready to receive a call at any time.


“Thanks for taking me home.” Tabby sat in the passenger seat holding her purse on her lap like it was a security blanket, but she knew, if he made the move, she was about ready to toss it into the street, Guess or not. She glanced across the car and watched his long, elegant hands as he put the car into park. Her entire body tingled. ‘It’s just because you haven’t been touched in months,’ she told herself firmly. It wasn’t that she was really all that attracted to him. Not that he wasn’t good looking. He definitely had a sort of boyish charm that had something to do with his shy demeanor and his big blue eyes that were looking at her as his arm sort of casually stretched out along the back of her seat.

“I could pick you up, for breakfast,” he began, his Swedish accent lending him a cute sort of lisp that made her want to lean towards him to make sure she was listening to him. Or at least that’s what she told herself as she swayed in his direction. “Or I could just…come up, and we can go for breakfast…together.” She wondered how he did it as his blue gaze searched hers’ as he waited for her answer. He was basically saying let’s fuck while remaining entirely innocent looking. His suggestion had nothing of the smoldering darkness that Patrick had had whenever he looked at her in that certain way that said ‘I’m stripping your clothes off in my mind, right now’.

She wanted it, or at least part of her did. The other part, the sane part, smiled and shook her head.

“Maybe another time,” she promised, leaning forward to press her lips, very briefly against his before opening the door and heading into her apartment, alone.

I can hear it now... but just so you know, this is the direction I was aiming in all along so those of you who think you called it, yes you did but this is where I've been going from the start and for those of you who didn't want this to happen I just ask that you give me & Tabby some time with this


  1. i never really know what to expect with your stories and characters, so i didn't see this happening. but with that said i've never been disappointed with any of your work, well only when they end! =)

    i love how strong tabby is being, especially not letting the swede come in. and i love how weak sid is without her. i hope he actually regrets being such a douche.

    p.s did u see the pics of him from the winter classic conference?? AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. i forgot to add. ive been reading some of your stories from the yahoo group and they are all sooo good. ive seriously been so unproductive since i found them.

    but some of them i cant open. do you know why??

  3. I'm a little disappointed she's preggo. I feel like it's a sort of copout, that will be what forces them back together.
    But I'll trust you on this...

  4. Oh my, I did figure she was pregnant but it's fine with me! Just promise there will be some amazing fireworks when they finally find each other. Can.Not.Wait!
    and yes, the amazing hot photos of Sid today..gaaah

  5. Love the pregnancy factor, but her knight in shining armor needs to show up soon...something tells me he will be thrilled with the knowledge, while she will be thrilled with him, but not the knowledge of who he is...can't wait for more!

  6. I had a feeling she'd end up knocked up. You are a ridiculously awesome and talented writer. I'm along for the ride, wherever you take this....

  7. please hurry and tell sid hes gonna be a daddy. i really want to see those two together


    ohhh god is she showing and when are they suppose to meet


  9. Wow. I have to say I expected the pregnancy, but I am curious how far along she is and how it will affect things with her decisions with the new guy. I'm also glad that Sidney has begun to make the right decisions in his life again. I'm still dying to see how the truth about his life comes out to Tabby. Does someone spill the beans to her or does he get to tell her? Can't wait for more!

  10. Oh poor Tabs,I hope Sid finds her soon.
    Hopefully Max helping out with the phone call does the trick

  11. :D I didn't see that coming! You are an amazing writer and I really want to see how this is going to play out.

  12. I just love this story. Pregnant or not. :)

  13. for ther person that asked about opening up files on the yahoo site, can you be specific or email the moderators on that site to ask them

  14. i expected the pregnancy more than the crabs thing, LOL... but way to be realistic! your story is awesome, from one writer to another...