Friday, August 27, 2010

Chapter 26

Tabby made a face at her phone as yet another Trina sent another sarcastic text. She deleted the text and then dropped her phone to the bottom of her purse as she pulled the Land Rover into the driveway and reached for the garage door opener. As she aimed the controller at the front of the house, she noticed a woman standing near the front door.

“What the fuck…?” Throwing the car into park she left it running in case she had to make a quick getaway. “If this is a reporter I swear I’m going to….” She dug into her purse for the can of pepper spray that Mel had bought her as a going away present. To keep puck bunnies away she’d said. “Puck bunny, reporter…same thing,” Tabby grinned to herself as she stepped out of the SUV. “Can I help you?” she called out, careful to keep her distance. The woman looked up from her iPhone, tilted her head to the side and regarded her with narrowed eyes.

“Who are you?”

“I live here,” Tabby replied, careful not to give the stranger any particularly pertinent information.

“Is he home?” the woman asked, with a glance towards the double front doors that they never used.

“No,” Tabby replied, maybe a little too quickly but as she looked at the woman’s jeans that were a little too tight, with her obvious push up bra, nasty looking dried out extensions and bright pink lipstick. This was definitely no reporter.

“So are you like…some kind of friend of his?” the woman asked, crossing her arms across her chest and making a face, as if Tabby was the one who looked like a ten dollar street whore.

“No,” Tabby lied, knowing full well that all the woman had to do was go on the net and she’d know it was a lie, but she did it anyway. “I’m his…his housekeeper.”

“Yeah well…give him a message from me. Tell him thanks for the crabs.” Tabby’s hand tightened around the canister of pepper spray. She seriously considered using it on the stupid tart. She also seriously considered telling her that she’d just been up close and personal with Sidney’s…bits, and they were clean as a whistle. She knew, they’d used a considerable amount of soap in the shower this morning.

“You must be mistaken. I don’t know who you think lives here,” Tabby began but the cheap whore rolled her eyes with their metallic blue eyeshadow and too much mascara and she pulled a face.

“Yeah, Sidney, totally lame in bed Crosby. So like I said, tell him thanks. Oh and tell him he’s a total prick.” The woman made a face towards the house and then she slowly made her way down the street.

She must have taken a bus here’, Tabby thought uncharitably as she watched the woman wobble down the street in her high platform heels. “Crazy bitch,” she added in a hiss as she tried to make herself turn back to the car but she couldn’t get her feet to move.

It couldn’t be true.

Yes, he had told her that he hadn’t exactly been an angel but that? Tabby stared after the woman’s retreating form and tried hard to swallow past the tension in her throat and chest. Not with a girl like that, she told herself. Maybe he’d been with a girl or two but not a girl like that. She couldn’t see him being desperate enough to be with a tramp like that. And lame in bed? Tabby took a breath as she cracked the hint of a smile. That was something Sidney definitely was not.

The girl was just some pathetic, lying little hopeless puck bunny, she told herself as she went back to the SUV and moved it into the garage. She was nothing to worry about. She’d tell Sidney about it later and he’d laugh. They’d both have a good laugh about it and then she’d never worry about it again.

You just have to get used to girls like that, she told herself as she put the vehicle in park and turned off the ignition as she waited for the garage door to close behind her and as it did, she told herself to put it out of her mind. She’s nothing, no one, she told herself as she headed back into the house just as her phone lit up with a text from Sid.

Mtg after practice. Back L8r.Luv u

Tabby smiled and put her phone back in her purse. No, he’d never spend time with a tramp like that she decided once and for all and then shook her head at herself for even thinking he could, even for a minute.

“You had the opportunity to ask questions when you signed the contract. If you weren’t clear on the clause….”

“I was clear,” Sid said for what seemed like the hundredth time. “I just didn’t see myself in this…situation at the time.”

“While I’m sure that’s true, you have to understand that we have a different expectation of the players that the league works exclusively with and that is why you have the benefit of demanding the types of appearance fees that you do.” Sid forced himself to look up from his hands to the two faces staring back at him from Mario’s computer screen, his agent, who, for the moment only raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘I told you so’ and the count from Sesame Street, Gary Bettman. There was a veiled threat behind the smile on the little troll’s face and it took every ounce of will power that Sid had to not rise to it.

“Let’s talk about some options,” Pat suggested and Sid shot him a grateful look.

“If she were to live at another address,” Bettman started to suggest and Sid found himself half way out of his seat and onto his feet, shaking his head, his blood pressure rising quickly.

“Not fucking happening,” Sid growled, even as Mario pushed him back down into the chair.

“Don’t be hasty Sidney,” Mario suggested quietly. “She could live here,” he indicated his vast home that was more like a palace in its’ vast brick splendor. “Natalie and the girls could be a lot of help to her, especially when you’re not in town,” Mario added and it made sense but still Sid shook his head.

“No, no way. I haven’t been without her this long just to have her live somewhere else,” Sidney growled under his breath. He felt Mario’s big hand dig into his shoulder and then he ruffled Sid’s dark hair before returning to his side of his big mahogany desk.

“Well we don’t want to rush you into anything,” Pat continued, “but there’s always a quickie Vegas wedding.” Sid managed a smile but shook his head.

“Not now,” he mumbled, shaking his head again as he returned to staring at the back of his hands, the scars on the back of his knuckles that looked like some kind of bad road map.

“Well that’s a relief,” Bettman interjected and Sid hid a wry smile.

“I do think we can all agree that Sidney has gone above and beyond the call of duty time and again. He’s been at every event, made himself available every time he’s been asked. I think, this once, if we can all keep this to ourselves for the time being, we can deal with this after the season ends,” Mario suggested and again Sidney found himself giving his mentor a grateful smile.

“And if we make an exception once,” Bettman began and Sidney found himself biting his tongue and looking to his agent for help.

“We didn’t make any kind of exception for Patrick Kane,” Bettman looked pleased with himself but Sidney snorted and Mario hid a grin behind his hand.

“Kane is a tool,” Sidney grumbled. “He only cares about money and showgirls.”

“What I think Sidney is trying to say is that he has made himself available on more occasions than any other player and we don’t think that there is any fair comparison with any other player and with that in mind, I believe an exception can be made, don’t you Gary?” Mario gave his best professional smile, the one he’d taught Sid to use on those occasions when you had to hide your true feelings behind a smile to get through the moment. Sid had used it many times since. He’d hardly ever seen Mario use it. “I think we all realize that mistakes happen but that Sid will do the right thing given the opportunity,” Mario added with a quick glance towards his protégé who made himself still and kept his expression bland.

Wellll,” Gary got that uncomfortable smile on his face, the one he got when he was cornered by one of the owners or an unhappy fan. “I think we all have a major investment to protect here gentleman. I think we have to have some assurances that another event like we had today doesn’t happen again before we can put together a plan of attack.” Sid kept his gaze locked on his hands, trying his best to look diffident, but rolled his eyes. The Commissioner made it sound like the President of the United States had just been caught with a transvestite prostitute and they were getting ready for major spin control. Not that a twenty-three year old red blooded male was having a baby with a beautiful, single, available woman.

“I’m not going to ask her to hide in the house,” Sidney said, sitting up and facing the screen, “and I’m not going to ask her to live somewhere else. I’m sorry if this makes some of my investors nervous and I’m sorry if you’re all disappointed in me but I’m not pretending this isn’t happening. If you want me to sign something that foregoes my endorsement payments for six months to charity or something as a fine, whatever, that’s fine, but I’m not going to pretend that I’m not in a relationship.”

The room fell silent and Sid looked across the big desk to Mario for back up and found his mentor smiling back at him, the same sort of smile he got on his face when Austin did something out on the ice that reminded him of himself, made him proud. With a slow nod, Mario turned his gaze back to the screen in front of them.

“I think we have our answer gentleman. It’s a only a few days before Christmas and I don’t think breaking up a family at Christmas is what any of us want to do so I think our part from here on in is to be as supportive as we can and as long as Sid lets us know ahead of time of any of his plans, we can help him make the most informed decisions he can make.” Mario made it sound very final and neither Pat nor Gary so much as uttered another sound before Mario reached forward to hit the appropriate keys to end the video conference.

Sid sat, staring at the blank screen, feeling a little like he’d just won a game in overtime. He felt a little wrung out, but happy with the outcome.

“I’d say you won that round,” Mario leaned his chair back and steepled his fingers as he gazed across the desk. Sid met his gaze with a relieved smile that only wavered a little at the edges as he remembered that he was still going to have to deal with the media about today.

“You’ve always said to stick as close to the truth as possible,” Sidney answered quietly, “and that family comes first.”

“I also told you to always use protection. I’m glad you to hear you at least listen some of the time.”

Curiosity killed the cat, Tabby reminded herself as she surfed yet another website that seemed to be dedicated, for the most part, to slanging Sidney and his teammates as man-whores, male sluts and worse. The boys on the Pens, it seemed, had rather bad reputations.

“Hey sweetheart, I’m home.”

Tabby felt the brush of his lips at the nape of her neck and quickly shut down the site she was looking at before she turned around to watch him launch himself onto the bed, sending her laptop bouncing precariously near the edge of the mattress. Closing her lap top, she slid it beneath the bed before crawling up to join him, curling her body up next to his and laying her head on his chest.

“So, how was your meeting? Mario freaking out about the pk again?” she asked, tracing invisible patterns on his chest with her fingertip.

“Mostly we were talking about you,” he replied, causing her to push herself up on her elbows so she could look him in the eye.

“Me?” Sid smiled slowly, reaching up to brush his fingertips down her cheek until the pad of his thumb came to rest on her bottom lip and then he pulled that down so that she was looked like she felt, a full on pout coming on.

“Yep,” he smiled as she threatened to bite his thumb. “Everyone’s pretty worried about you getting your wicked fingers hooked into me,” he added, lifting himself onto his elbows so he could press his lips to hers’. It wasn’t fair, Tabby thought as he kissed her deeply. It was hard to stay worried about anything when he was kissing her. “I even had to pay a pretty hefty fine because of you,” he continued as they came up for air and at this Tabby grabbed his handsome face in her hands and stared down at him.

“What do you mean you had to pay a fine?”

“It’s called a morals clause,” he replied nonchalantly, almost like he was enjoying her concern. “I mean, we are living in sin and you are pregnant with my love child.” Tabby’s mouth fell open and she blinked at him in disbelief.

“What the fuck is that about? We’re not in the fucking dark ages,” she howled, backing up onto her knees and moving to straddle him, which only made his satisfied grin wider. “Don’t grin at me like that! How can they get away with that? That can’t even be legal.”

“Hey, hey,” he chuckled at her outrage and that made Tabby even angrier, but when she opened her mouth to continue her rampage, he just shook his head at her.

“I don’t care about a million bucks in endorsements. That’s like…I don’t know, a tenth of what I’m gonna make this year. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that they back off, and you’re here and not living at Mario and Nathalie’s,” he explained, reaching for her and placing his hands over the swell of her stomach. “That you and Steven are here with me.” Tabby narrowed her eyes at him and pursed her lips.

“First of all, I like Mario’s place and Nathalie is an absolute sweetheart. And,” she added quickly before he could argue, “and, there is no way this baby is being named Steven.”

“My favorite player was Steve Yzerman,” he explained, but Tabby just shook her head and then went to lean forward, only to be stopped, mid bend, by an unexpected pain that took her breath away for a moment. She stared down at Sidney who stared right back at her, his eyes as wide as hers felt.

“Holy shit! What was that?” he asked, his hands still on her stomach, now with hers’ over top of them.

“A kick, I think,” Tabby replied slowly, moving his hand down to where she could still feel something solid pressed against her insides. She’d felt things, fluttering, wave like motions and what the doctor had termed ‘quickening’ which had felt more like ‘tummy rumbling or bad gas, but this…this was definitely something else. For a long moment nothing happened and Tabby was about to let go of his hand when suddenly there it was again, and this time she was sure of what she felt through both of their hands.

“Holy…wow,” Sid said softly, his gaze riveted to their joined hands, to the spot their son had just given another significant boot to.

“I’d say he’s gonna be a placekicker for the Steelers,” Tabby grinned and Sidney just noted, mutely, before carefully gathering her onto his lap and holding her close. When she leaned in to press her lips to his cheek she tasted salt and found that she was kissing away a tear. “Hey,” she whispered, snuggling close, “what’s this about?”

“I won’t let anyone or anything take you from me. Either of you,” he whispered, holding her tight.

Tabby closed her eyes and let herself melt into his arms. She decided that now wasn’t the time to ask about the strange visitor she’d had earlier and instead concentrated on listening to Sidney’s heart beat in time with hers’, on breathing and this strange new feeling of their son stretching and kicking inside of her.

Family, she thought silently as she felt Sid’s arms tighten around her; our family.


  1. why would he get fined or be in trouble?

  2. awee. sid's sticking up for his mini-family. i love it.

  3. I'm glad that he is sticking up for not only himself but her and the baby too. I really hope there isn't too much fall out from that nasty girl showing up.

  4. I do love how Sid protects his family... warm fuzzies there. Even though this is a work of fiction, I believe you have captured much truth of how it could possibly be for these amazing athletes and their families. There are trade-offs but you have pointed out some of the difficulties. I enjoy Mario's role here..Mentor who isn't afraid to let him know the right and wrong

  5. Nasty girl showing up should only encourage Sid to elaborate on his "i wasn't an angel" story, but then Tabs being Tabs should let it go. Sid, tho, needs to reassure her in some way that she is his one and only.

    Love this story...

  6. omg i cried, you made me cry, this chapter was so sweet

  7. Awe sid's being such a good boy!

  8. I'm glad that it was just a kick. I thought for a sec that it was going to be something bad.