Friday, September 10, 2010

New Story!!

Just a note to let you know I've finally got a chapter of the new story up. It's called Rolling Thunder and Razorblade Kisses and can be found here:

Monday, September 6, 2010


It's always hard to end a story, and it's doubly hard for me when I know that it will disappoint a lot of you who have been so encouraging and have sent me so many amusing and downright hillarious thoughts while reading this story. I thought it would go on longer, but as I wrote this, I just knew that my characters were saying, enough, this is it. So without further disseminating


“Not yet, not yet.” Sidney held his eyes firmly over her eyes, even though she had a scarf tied around her head.

“If you let Max push me off the dock, I swear I’ll stick your dick on the barbeque, cook it and eat it,” Tabby warned. Sid grinned to himself. They’d driven in circles after leaving the airport, her eyes covered the entire time and even though she’d sworn she’d get car sick with the scarf on, Sidney had refused to allow her to remove it while Max and Jordan talked endlessly about upgrades Sid had done to the dock at his house. Oh he’d done upgrades alright, just not to his dock. Well, it was her dock technically, but he liked to think of it as their dock.

“Max isn’t coming any closer than the car, for now, I promise,” he whispered to her as he walked backwards, slowly, leading her towards their final destination. “Jordan and Max will stay at the car with Toby and Cody, I promise,” Sidney grinned, looking over her shoulder towards the two infants still strapped in their car seats.

“Well then the punishment doubles if anything happens to them while we’re doing…whatever we’re doing,” she muttered, looking decidedly unhappy. “If I so much as hear a single squeal out of either one of my boys Jordan Lee Staal I will cut your dick and your balls off and throw them in the lake!” Sidney saw Jordan wince but he wasn’t worried. Every guy on the team were doting and loving uncles to his boys and had been since the day they were born, a week after Valentine’s day, two weeks early.“This had better be some fucking amazing gazebo Sidney Patrick Crosby, or else,” Tabby snarled, wrenching Sidney’s thoughts back from that amazing day when he’d first held his boys in his arms, back to the present.

“Just a few more steps,” he promised, returning his gaze to the face of the woman that owned his soul and at least half of his heart. The other half their boys owned now.

“I don’t get it,” Tabby muttered, her teeth clenched. She really did not like surprises but he hoped this would be worth it. “Did you make the fucking gazebo out of solid gold or something?”

“If you’d asked me to I would have,” he told her, gathering her against his chest as he turned her so that she was facing the lake, and the view he hoped they’d share for the rest of the summer. She sighed and leaned back against him and he smiled as he reached up to tug loose her blindfold. For one, long, agonizing moment, she didn’t say a word. The next moment, he knew, by the hitch in her breathing that she was crying.

“My dock?” she managed, looking down at the new wood beneath their feet before she turned to look up the hill at the house with its new siding, new chimney and new deck. There was plenty more that was new about it, the renovations had been going for months. Those were things they could explore later.

“Yes, it’s yours. I put it all in your name,” he told her in an earnest whisper as he held her, his arms around her waist, his lips at her ear.

“When she’d told me it had sold I didn’t even ask…I never thought,” she sighed again, her shoulders lifting and falling with the deep intake of breath before she turned in the circle of his arms and lifted her hands up to capture his face. She grinned at him, her eyes shimmering with tears but with the same happy light that had filled them on that early morning five months earlier when Toby had been put in her arms and they’d looked at each other just like this, like life couldn’t possibly get any better. “It’s perfect…now everything is perfect,” she added with a sniff as they pressed their foreheads together, “even though I’m beginning to think that you like me best when I’m pregnant.”

“I don’t know about best,” he replied, moving one of his hands between them over the still small curve of her belly. It was still too soon to tell anyone, but they knew and the secret made him smile as did the memory of her waiting for him, the night the Pens’ season ended in that black lace teddy. “So does that mean you will say yes now?” She hadn’t said no, the day he’d finally manned up and asked her to be his wife, but she hadn’t said yes either. She’d only said she was going to reserve judgment while he proved himself to her. He hoped he had, now.

“Yes,” she smiled and then offered her lips up to him. He took them, gratefully, feeling a rush of relief as her arms snaked around his neck.

“Good because this whole thing about not sleeping with other people was getting old,” he whispered against her lips, earning him a cuff to the back of the head. Not that he minded at all. He didn’t seem to mind anything she did. “What I meant was, good, because we’re getting married here tomorrow and it would have been a little awkward if you’d said no. I might have had to have taken Jordan up on his offer to tie you to a furniture dolly and wheel you out here like Hannibal Lector.”

“He’d have liked that,” Tabby laughed, her arms still around his neck, her eyes still shining but the tears were gone now. “Not sure Trin would have been suck a big fan though,” she added, with a glance over her shoulder to where her friend stood beside Jordy, Toby in her arms. He knew it was Toby because he had the black sun hat on. Becky, Max’s new girlfriend Becky had Cody, he was wearing the white sun hat. That was the way they could tell their little bundles of joy apart, when they couldn’t see the puck shaped birthmark on Cody’s cute little bum. At least he thought it was puck shaped. Tabby just thought it was kind of round. “So here?” she said glancing around, finally taking in the fairy lights on the gazebo and the toile draped around its’ edges.

“I thought it was appropriate,” he replied, reaching for her arms and slipping them over his head while he went down on one knee. “We had our first date here, sort of,” he added, grinning up at her. “Until a couple of morons got in the way,” he reminded her while he fished the ring out of his pocket. The ring she’d refused. ‘Later’ she’d told him. She had also told him she would let him know when she was ready. “Sooo,” he grinned up at her, opening the box and holding the ring out to her. “Will you, finally, be my wife?”

“I thought I’d already answered that question,” she replied, raising a single eyebrow and trying, but failing, to hide a smile.

“I just asked if you would say yes. This is the official, no going back, until death do us part question,” he repeated, pulling the box back and holding it against his chest. “So, will you, Tabitha King, marry me and be my wife, forever and all that?”

“Yes, you idiot,” she laughed, going to her knees and reaching for his lips with hers’. “Yes, yes, yes.”

He thought he could hear his friends’ cat calling and wolf whistling behind him. He thought he could even hear one of the boys crying, probably because of the piercingly loud whistle that Jordy was doing, but he didn’t care. He kissed the woman he loved and slid the ring he’d been trying to put on her hand for almost a year onto her finger and his heart beat so hard in his chest he thought he might be having a heart attack, and he didn’t care.

If I died right now’ he thought to himself as her lips parted beneath his and her tongue slid over his, ‘I’d die happy’.

**please look for a new story coming soon, with Max and the boys...***

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chapter 29

wow...we're really flying now huh?

“What happened? How is she?” Sid skidded around the corner with Max, Jordan and Flower close on his heels, his phone still in his hand. All of the boys were still in their suits, having come straight from the airport.

“Her blood pressure spiked, there was some bleeding,” Tabby’s friend Trina replied in a matter-of-fact tone of voice from where she stood beside the hospital bed. “They have her on Nifedipine and magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions.”

“Contractions?” Sid stared down at the text he’d received as the plane had landed. It still read Tabby’s at Sewickley Valley Hospital. Come as soon as you can.

“There was a girl…a woman, I guess…I mean, really she was more of a tramp,” Mel began only to be cut off by Trina, who’s arms were crossed and she was wearing a scowl on her face that said that she was ready to defend her friend, which meant somehow he had done something wrong.

“This whore was waiting at the house, with a baby in a stroller and some papers requesting child support. You can see how that might be upsetting,” Trina hissed, tilting her head to one side and regarding him with pursed lips that said she wanted to say more but wouldn’t because of the very still form swaddled in the blankets on the bed between the raised security bars with wires running from at least half a dozen places on her chest and an ominous looking belt strapped across her belly with some kind of monitoring device on it. Her face was turned away from his. Sid felt a tightening in his chest. He had hardly been able to breathe the entire way here and it hadn’t just been Max’s driving that had his own blood pressure sky rocketing. But now…now he was scared.

“I don’t…that can’t be right,” he muttered, but it wasn’t as hard as it should have been for his imagination to conjure up visions of a line of women with bundles of joy waiting for him with orders for payment in their hands, except…. “Tabby was the first woman I ever had unprotected sex with.” He looked pleadingly towards the two women who were standing on the other side of the hospital bed beside the monitors that were emitting beeping and chirping noises that were starting to make his head hurt. Her friends looked back at him with cold expressions.

“You said first…so there have been others?” Her more diminutive friend asked after a stretch of charged silence. The back of Sid’s neck itched.

“To quote Ross Geller, they were on a break,” Max interjected, though Sidney shot him a warning look. That wasn’t going to help and it wasn’t even a good excuse.

“After she…when we broke up…I was angry, I was hurt,” he tried to explain, rubbing at the spot at the back of his neck that felt like it had been zapped with an electrical charge.

“You said there was un bébé, un enfant reel?” MAF asked quietly, rubbing thoughtfully at his soul patch as he regarded the women on the other side of the room seriously. Both nodded as they turned their attention to the lean goalie. “If Sidney says he did not sleep with anyone before Tabitha, then cet enfant cannot be his. Le calcul ne fonctionne pas.”

“He’s right,” Max agreed, a little too enthusiastically. “If she was un des ces putains he’s been with, then she would have been less pregnant than Tabs, not more.”

“Don’t help guys,” Sidney breathed, his gut lurching into his throat at the thought of that dark time and the things he did. He hadn’t been proud of it then. He was sick to his stomach at the thought of it now.

“How many?” It took a moment for him to realize where the voice was coming from. It was muffled and seemed almost disembodied but the cool gazes of her two friends told him that it had been neither of them that had posed the question. “How many have there been?” she asked again, this time turning to face him with exhausted, red rimmed eyes.

“Guys, can we have some privacy?” he asked softly, pleading silently with her for the chance to explain, even though he didn’t feel like there was going to be words enough to deserve her forgiveness.

For a moment, just hearing his voice had made her feel calmer, made her think things were going to be alright. But then she remembered the woman looking at her with shrewd eyes that seemed to know too much and in her mind’s eye she saw her thin red lips forming her own name and her threatened tightened around the huge ball of emotion that was restricting her breathing. She heard the beeps and chirps on the machines quicken. They seemed to get louder and she tried to remind herself to breathe slowly and deeply. Closing her eyes she imagined the child within her and told herself to relax, for him.

“I’ll make a call,” he was saying as she heard the footsteps of their friends retreating out into the hall. “I’ll get the gate done today and we’ll get a security company to have someone outside the gates,” he was promising, but Tabby squeezed her eyes shut against the sorrow in his voice and the way it was making her feel, like that mattered. Like that could somehow undo what had already been done.

“How many Sidney?” she asked again, opening her eyes, though they stung from the tears she’d shed. Tears for herself, for fear of losing their child, of having lost him already, or at least the part of him that felt special to her, that she had naively believed was hers’.

“I don’t know,” he replied hoarsely, moving closer, until he was almost at her bedside, but not quite, like he was afraid to come closer to all the wires and all the machines, or maybe to her.

“Two? Ten?” she asked as tears welled in her eyes. Not that it mattered, she told herself, if it was one or twenty-one. The result was still the same.

“I don’t know,” he repeated, “maybe five…six, I don’t know. I wasn’t counting,” he muttered, his head hung low, shoulders drooping and the tips of his ears were bright red. At least he had the capacity to be ashamed.

“I don’t even care that you did…what you did,” she told him, though her voice felt and sounded strangled by that damned ball of emotion in her throat. “I can’t believe you’d risk not just me but our child.” She barely got the word out before it was chased by a sob.

“I’m sorry,” he managed, reaching over the safety bar that was there to stop her from rolling out of bed she supposed. He grabbed her hand, and clutched it hard, maybe too hard. It felt like the bones in her hand were being crushed to a fine powder but that didn’t hurt as much as the thought of some kind of petulance, some form of plague hiding in her body, eating at their child.

“It’s not just the clap or gonorrhea,” she sniffed, looking up into his gold flecked eyes to find tears brimming in his eyes as well. “It’s HIV…AIDS. Maybe you don’t care about yourself but…the baby….” Her free hand had not left the swell of her stomach since the cramps had started after watching that woman go. She willed him to kick and felt an answering roll and stretch that eased her overwhelming fear, for a moment at least.

“I care,” he insisted, his eyes wide and pleading, a single tear sliding down his cheek as his other hand wrapped around the hand that she was sure he was breaking. “I’ll take any test you want, I’m clean, I promise. I wouldn’t do that, ever. I love you,” he added more quietly, “both of you.” His gaze slid to her stomach, for a moment, and then, as his gaze met hers again, his eyes were wild with fear. “Is…is everything alright?” For a brief, dark moment, it occurred to Tabby that she could hurt him if she lied. She could tell him no, that everything was definitely not alright. She could tell him that they’d lost the baby. That maybe then he’d understand how she felt. But she could not, would not tempt fate that way.

“They say it will be okay, if I rest and,” she added, steeling her gaze and raising her chin, “if I don’t have any more shocks. Will I, do you think?” He shook his head, vehemently, in denial, but when she raised her eyebrows at him he shrugged.

“I guess I can’t promise that…but…,” he dropped his gaze from hers and sighed. “I’m sorry. It’s bad enough when shit like this happens to me but I didn’t prepare you for this and even though I’m sure, sure that it’s not true…I’m still sorry.”

“She knew my name Sidney,” she said quietly, her voice small and almost indistinct because it was the hardest thing to say. It was the part that made her the most afraid that it was all true. He raised his gaze, fear infusing his eyes with panic. “Why did she know my name?”


He didn’t know how to answer that question. He knew the answer to the question, just not how to explain it without making it sound seedy and repulsive, which it was. To sleep with other women, random strangers and to pretend that they were her…as if she could be replaced, his stomach heaved.

He could lie, say he didn’t know but there was already too much of that between them, a wall that he had only begun to break down, that he’d only started to be able to see over to that sweetness, that innocence that they’d shared in the summer. If he lied now, if he added to the lies he’d told, the half truths and the omissions he’d told himself weren’t as bad as lies, he’d only be adding more building blocks to the wall, making it higher and more impossible to get over.

“If I did sleep with her…,” his voice trailed off as anger and mistrust flickered in her dark eyes. If…he shook his head. That made it sound like he doubted the truth of it. Dissembling, wasn’t that just as much of a lie? “Some of the girls…the women I fucked, because that was all that it was, fucking, meaningless one night stands.” He held her gaze, hoping she could see the truth in his eyes and hear that he meant every word. “Some of them I asked them…I told them that I was going to call them your name. I wanted them to be you.” His voice faltered. It had made sense to him at the time. It had even seemed like some kind of romantic notion that she might appreciate. It was clear in the curl of her lip and the flare of her delicate nostrils that she didn’t find the idea at all romantic.

She turned her face away from him and with a tug, let him know that she didn’t want him to hold her hand. With regret, he let her hand go and watched it slide over her stomach, and he couldn’t help but wonder if their son was kicking, moving in ways that she could feel beneath her fingertips. He longed to put his hands beside hers’ to feel what she was feeling. Instead, he curled his fingers around the safety rail until his knuckles turned white.

“I don’t think I can do this,” she said after a long, unbearable silence. “I don’t think I can ignore those kinds of…indiscretions.” She said the word like it tasted bad, like she was spitting it out on the sidewalk. He held his breath as she turned her dark, tear filled eyes to face him. “I don’t know how they do it, Vero, Michelle…all the others. I don’t know how they forgive you…I don’t think I can,” she added, her gaze holding his long enough that he knew there was going to be no way of arguing his way out of this. Not that he was sure he could. What argument could he use? He’d never been sure of how some of the other guys went back to their wives as if nothing had happened. How they picked up their kids with the hands that had touched another woman? He’d never intended to be that guy. He didn’t feel like he was but he could understand how she would. “Even if, realistically, I know the math is wrong, that is, if I trust what you’ve said and that you didn’t make a mistake before me…before us,” her mouth curled up a little at the corners, almost like she still liked the idea of ‘us’. It gave him a brief glimmer of hope. “I know that it will happen again. Other women will come and say the same thing and next time I won’t know…I’ll never know for sure.”

She turned her face away and he heard her sob and it took every ounce of will power he had not to climb over the safety rail and gather her into his arms and promise her the world if she would only just forgive him this one time. She wouldn’t want him to do that, he knew, even as the bar bit into the palms of his hands as he squeezed them ever tighter around it and he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to keep the promises he’d make. If he’d been able to give up on them so easily once, if he’d been so quick to try and replace her once, he might do it again. Even if he thought he wouldn’t. Even if he felt sure he could resist every temptation, knowing that he’d been doing it for years, could he be one hundred per cent sure it would never, ever happen?

“Please,” he whispered, forcing his voice past the constriction in his throat that he thought might be his heart trying to climb out to spill itself onto the bed, for her. “Please Tabs…please.” He wanted to say ‘please forgive me’ but he couldn’t even forgive himself, so how could he ask her to forgive him? He wanted to say ‘please love me’ but in this moment he hated himself, so why should she love him? He wanted to say ‘please give me another chance’ but this had been a second chance and he’d lied, or at least he hadn’t told her the truth and wasn’t that the same thing? He didn’t deserve any of those things, so all he could say was ‘please’ and know that he meant all of those things.

“Just go,” she whispered, her face still turned away, but he didn’t need to see it to know that she was crying. He could see her shoulders shaking, her chest rising and falling as she pulled in ragged breaths. The monitors began to squeal and he watched as the lines began to spike and climb and fear froze him to the spot.

“No,” he sobbed, grabbing for her hand. “I told you, no one is going to take you from me and I meant it,” he added in a hoarse whisper as nurses began to fill the room, as he heard them calling for an attending, as he watched them analyzing the printouts from the machines that were monitoring her heart and the baby’s. “I’m not going anywhere,” he promised, even when a nurse shooed him from the room, giving him that look that said she thought he’d caused this, that this was entirely his fault and how could he argue that? It was, it was completely his fault.


Tabby felt like she’d run a marathon. Every bone and muscle in her body ached. Worst of all, her head was pounding. One of the nurses said that the headache was a direct result of her high blood pressure. She’d also promised that one of the medications they were currently pumping into her veins through the i.v. was going to make it better.

She stared up at the ceiling and counted the tiles. Fourty-two. Two of them were cracked. Nearly all of them had some kind of stain on them. She wondered how many of those stains were blood and how many of them were worse than that, other human bodily fluids that made her stomach heave, threatening to spill its contents which wasn’t much more than a few crackers and some rubbery lime flavored Jello. She wondered if they served that in the hospital because they got a discount on it, because no one ever buys lime Jello?

“Twins.” She said it out loud and it still didn’t sound real. She ran her hands over each side of her stomach and closed her eyes. “Twins,” she said it again and felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth. They hadn’t given her a picture, like they had the first time, but she could still see the two sets of hands, the two feet, two bodies curled around one another like yin and yang.

They’d missed it the first time, the doctor had explained, probably because they’d been in line with one another, one hiding behind the other, their hearts beating in unison. She liked that thought; two little boys, each one defending and supporting the other, a defensive pair.

“They…a nurse told me we’re having twins.”

Tabby looked over at the doorway to where Sidney was standing, his charcoal suit rumpled, like he’d slept in it, his hair equally bedraggled, like he’d been pulling at it, his tie loose like a noose around his neck waiting to be tugged tight.

“That’s what they say,” she replied in a whisper, half relieved to see him, half angry that he still looked handsome despite the fact that he looked as if he could almost pass for homeless even though the suit was expensive. The tie alone was worth at least a hundred bucks.

“The nurse told me that they’re going to be okay,” he added, looking towards her hopefully, like he needed confirmation.

“As long as I keep my blood pressure down,” she replied, unable to make herself frown threateningly like she wanted to. He really was too damn good looking, even now when he was looking even younger than he was, hesitant and scared. Reaching out, she offered her hand and watched relief break across his handsome features as he crossed the floor in three strides. Taking her hand in both of his, he fell to his knees and pressed his forehead against the back of her hand.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice rough rasping with emotion.

“I know,” she smiled while tears welled in her eyes as she reached over to ruffle his hair with the fingertips of her free hand.

“If I lost you…any of you…,” his voice trailed away as he turned his imploring gaze up to meet hers’. She could only nod. When the room had been full of doctors and nurses, strangers poking and prodding her, talking over her, through her, she’d wanted him. She’d wanted his hand to hold. She’d wanted him to tell her it was going to be okay. She’d wanted to look into his hazel eyes and see what she could see now, and she knew…this is how they do it. This is how they forgive them, because they love them.

“I guess you can’t get rid of me that easily,” she told him, brushing her hand down his face until he caught that one in his hand and kissed each knuckle before turning her hands over and pressing his lips to the center of each palm.

“I don’t want to get rid of you,” he whispered fiercely as he turned his eyes up to her again. “I love you,” he added in the same ferocious tone.

“I love you too,” she whispered back, pulling his hand up to her mouth and pressing her lips to the back of his hand as he got back to his feet.

“I want this to work,” he told her, still holding fast to both of her hands and giving each a firm squeeze. “I’ll do anything,” he added and the ardent look in his eyes told her that he meant it. Just for a moment she wondered if castration was too much to ask and then decided against it. She liked that part of him too much for that.

“Not that I want you to…you know…roam,” she couldn’t help but smile as she said it, though she was deadly serious, “but if you do, just be honest with me. No secrets. No more secrets,” she added just for clarification.

“I know you have no reason to believe me,” he sighed, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before he opened those hazel orbs and focused them on her full force, “but I don’t want anyone but you Tabs. Since the first day I saw you in that bait shop, I haven’t wanted anything or anyone else but you.” He let go of her hands, but not before pressing another kiss to each of her hands. Tabby watched him quizzically while he searched his pockets until he found a small, slightly crushed, worn looking velvet box. Her breath caught in her throat. “I’ve been carrying this around with me since the day we broke up,” he told her, opening the small box and withdrew a small, elegant looking ring from it. He held it up between his forefinger and thumb and then reached for her hand with his. “Tabitha King, marry me and be mine forever.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chapter 28

this doesn't happen too often, back to back chapters on back to back days, but hey! when a girl has an evil plan the words just all come in a rush

“I can’t believe you finally made it!” If it had not been for her general size and the fact that her back was aching, her ankles were swollen and she had to pee, Tabby would have launched herself into her friends’ arms. As it was, Mel and Trina gathered her into a group hug and all of them jumped up and down and squealed like happy pigs rolling in mud.

“We thought we’d give you Christmas day with your folks at least,” Mel replied finally, after they had disengaged themselves only enough to link arms as they walked through the arrival terminal. “So, did you get some good prezzies? I don’t see a ring on it yet?” Tabby groaned and rolled her eyes.

“Oops,” Trina laughed, sharing a grim glance across Tabby’s body with Mel. “Looks like you’ve hit a sore spot there.”

“It’s not…I mean…I don’t care…not really,” Tabby began, not really sure if she was trying to make herself believe it or her friends. “It’s just…well I’ll show you when we get back to the car but, let’s put it this way, I don’t think that he’s used to buying stuff for women.”

“Uh oh, sounds like someone’s in the dog house for more than not putting a ring on it,” Trina snorted as they found their way out onto the sidewalk where a long, black stretch limo was waiting. Mel slid in first, with Tabby crawling in after her and Trina following, tucking her long legs beneath her on the plush bench as the driver closed the door behind them.

“Look at this,” Tabby sighed, grabbing a bag she’d left on the floor of the limo out of which she pulled a black lacy teddy, and not the kind of scratchy cheap nylon kind from Frederick's but a well made basque from Agent Provocateur with intricate embroidery and sexy sheer mesh paneling. Both Mel and Trina whistled but Tabby continued to look as nonplussed as she had when she’d pulled it out of the box on Christmas night. “What’s wrong with this picture?” she asked, holding it up to herself so that it was painfully obvious that the provocative piece was not made for a pregnant woman.

“Well maybe he was thinking about after the baby’s born,” Mel suggested, a hopeful tone in her voice that suggested she didn’t really believe a word of it.

“This would never have fit me before I became a beached whale,” Tabby moaned, stuffing the offensive piece bag in the bag.

“I’ll have it,” Trina grinned, making a grab for the bag. For a moment Tabby held the bag just out of her friend’s reach, but then shrugged and handed it to her.

“Jordan has been looking forward to getting back at you for leaving him handcuffed and naked for all his teammates to see. Maybe that will keep you from being punished too severely,” she added with a chuckle and a shake of her head. Trina just grinned wider, which caused both Mel and Tabby to roll their eyes.

“So don’t tell me that was all he got you?” Mel asked and Tabby shook her head as she held out her hand. “Oooh, pretty!” Mel took Tabby’s right hand and both she and Trina bent over it, examining the gold band and the three stones set in it.

“My birth stone, his and an aquamarine for the baby,” Tabby explained as her two friends gushed over the size of the stones and the thickness of the band.

“That’s gorgeous,” Trina exclaimed as she sat back. “Not an engagement ring, but really nice.”

“And expensive looking,” Mel added, giving Tabby an encouraging smile. As if it mattered how much he’d spent on it. At least it didn’t to Tabby.

“But you should have seen my face,” Tabby explained as she ran her thumb over the stones and thought about how hard her heart had beat when he’d pulled out the small Tiffany blue box with its’ patented silver bow and put it in her hand. “I thought…I mean if you’d seen the box, you would have thought so too, right?” Tabby searched her friends’ faces and both of them nodded and looked appropriately sympathetic. “I mean, it’s so stupid, because you know me. I’m not the 'bling-bling' girl and I’ve never wanted the big white wedding or any of that shit. That’s not me but…but when I saw the box and my mom had been going on and on about how we should be married…I just assumed and then…and then this,” she sighed, running her hand over the stones again.

“It’s super pretty but really disappointing,” Trina filled in the words that Tabby hadn’t said out loud and a silence fell over the group of women until Tabby felt Mel’s hand on her arm.

“Maybe, after the whole ‘break’ thing, he’s just taking the time to make sure that you two are solid,” she suggested and Tabby nodded. That was very like what she’d been telling herself. The problem was, she hadn’t managed to convince herself yet.

Or maybe he’s like Prince William and he’s going to make you hang around for seven years,” Trina added skeptically, earning her dark looks from both Mel and Tabby. “What? I’m just saying it’s a possibility. Don’t jump down my throat. He’s the one that gave you that,” she said, pointing to the three stoned ring on Tabby’s hand, “instead of a five carat diamond.”

“Maybe I should phone Jordan and make sure he doesn’t bring the fuzzy cuffs,” Tabby grumbled but Trina just grinned back at her.

“That’s okay, I brought my crop and a paddle and….”

“Don’t,” Tabby squealed, holding up her hands and squeezing her eyes shut against the image that had sprung into her mind’s eye of the big blond forward with rosy ass cheeks. “Don’t tell me anymore. I don’t want to hear it.”

“Mmm, I wonder if Johnnie’s into any of that?” Mel asked as if she was thinking out loud and the girls fell into a fit of giggles.

“So, did you do it?”

Sidney glanced up from the text he’d just gotten on his blackberry as Flower dropped into the seat next to him on the plane and shook his head.

“And don’t look all smug,” Sid admonished the dark haired goaltender when Marc grinned. “I didn’t chicken out and it has nothing to do with that whole macho French thing you and Max were going on about, making her sweat either,” Sid added glumly. “I just…it wasn’t the right time, that’s all.”

“So mon ami, what is that now, une fois, est que deux fois que tu ne l’as pas demandé de t’épouser?” Marc manages, just, not to laugh as he poses the question that makes Sid slump further down in his seat.

“I couldn’t ask her in front of everyone…what if she’d said no?”

“Tabby?” Sid looked up to find Max peeking over the top of the seat in front of him with a quizzical look on his face. “She’s your baby momma, of course she’s going to say yes…or is that oui, ah oui, oh Sidney oui!” Rolling his eyes at Max’s sex noises, Sidney looked back down at his blackberry.

“Well she has her friends in town now, so unless I do something for New Years….”

“Friends? What friends?” It was now Jordan’s turn to peek over the seats, this time from behind Marc, looking like an eager puppy.

“Yeah, those friends,” Sidney sighed out loud, holding his phone up so that Jordan could get a good view of the photo that Tabby had just sent of her and her two buddies at the Penguins store, stocking up on jerseys. He hoped it had been taken in a dressing room, considering that in Trina’s case, she looked to be wearing very little besides a pair of knee high boots and Jordan’s jersey.

Daaamn,” Gronk groaned and disappeared from view, with Sidney’s phone.

“Why not do something for New Year’s? We’ll be in New York right? Bring her up there, go to some fancy restaurant, drop the ring in some champagne….” Max suggested while both Flower and Tanger rolled their eyes and made gagging noises.

“Ne l’écoute pas,” Kris mumbled, shaking his head at Max, which made his hair fall into his dark eyes “He only dates whores. What does he know about romance, au sujet a courtiser une jolie femme?”

“Je suis très romantique! Nous Québécois savent tous sur les romantisme!” Max argued and that started an argument between defenseman and the forward that Sidney decided to ignore. Neither of them had ever had a steady, real relationship as far as he knew. There was little point in listening to either of them.

“Do you want to marry her?” Marc asked as Sidney reached for PSP, hoping that a game of Medal of Honor, killing some people, even hypothetically might help him feel better.

“Yeah,” was his one word answer, though it came out more as a grunt than an actual word.

“Then just ask her mon ami, et je pense que Max et raison, je crois qu’elle va dire oui.”


This is your place?” Trina had the window rolled down and had stuck her head out into the breeze as the limo pulled into the driveway.

“I know, it’s way too big for just us. Even when he’s born, there’s too much room. I’m terrified of what hide and seek will mean in this palace,” Tabby replied with a sigh as she rubbed at her stomach. Junior had been playing hacky-sack with her bladder for most of the ride home.

“Yeah but it’s nice,” Mel chimed in as the limo slowed to a stop. “I mean, other than the hooker on the corner,” she added, scrunching up her nose as she peered out the opposite window.

“Hooker?” Tabby slid down the seat to look. “Please don’t tell me it’s that girl again,” she added, half under her breath.

“You guys don’t have gates?” Trina hissed as she slid out of the car and stood, staring at the woman who was standing near the front door of the house, staring back at them.

“There was but Sidney wanted some higher ones and then there was a problem with the contractor…you don’t want to know,” Tabby mumbled, leaving her bags behind for the driver to retrieve as she took Mel’s hand and allowed her friends to help pull her out of the car. “This had better be good. I have to pee.” Grumbling curse words under her breath, she strode towards the woman, but stopped when she realized what was just behind her, a stroller. “Oh holy fuck,” she hissed, stopping dead in her tracks, about ten feet away.

This woman had the same sort of cheap look about her that the last one had, with obviously dyed black hair and cheap, dry looking hair extensions that fell to the middle of her back. Unlike the first one, this woman had nicer clothes, designer jeans that looked like they were painted on and an expensive looking leather jacket. She was wearing too much make up, Tabby thought, lipstick a shade too bright, and the kind of false eyelashes that made her eyes look like they were ringed by spider’s legs.

“Hey bitch, you’re on private property,” Trina called out, making herself useful. The woman didn’t even flinch. ‘She is a hard faced cunt’ Tabby thought as tried to peer around her to see what was in the stroller.

“You’re her, aren’t you?” the woman asked, her gaze focused entirely on Tabby. For a moment it felt a lot like she was being given that once over that a man usually gives, that whole up and down while he undresses you with his eyes. Except the woman in front of them raked her gaze over her like she ripping off her skin with a sharp blade. Tabby shivered. “You are,” the woman decided with an evil looking smirk. “He wanted to call me something…some name.” She looked thoughtful for a moment and then her nasty looking grin widened. “Tabby, am I right?”

Tabby heard Mel gasp behind her and she was sure she could hear Trina’s knuckles cracking beside her. For herself, she could only hear the sound of her own heart, beating hard and quickly, in her ears. Her first thought, when she managed to catch her breath, was ‘don’t answer that’. Her second thought was ‘I’m going to kill her and then I’m going to kill him, slowly and painfully’. She didn’t say either of those things.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” she asked, hoping that she sounded cooler and calmer than she felt.

“Is that his?” the woman asked, ignoring Tabby’s question and pointing at her swollen midsection. Tabby’s hands went protectively around her stomach but she didn’t answer the question. She just stared back at the woman who was sneering at her. “I guess he didn’t want to use protection with you either huh?”

“I’m going to ask you this one more time, bitch,” Tabby said carefully, taking a deep breath as she did. “Who the fuck are you and what the fuck do you want?” The woman continued to smile, that cat that got the canary look on her face that made Tabby’s skin crawl.

“I have a message for Sidney,” the woman grinned, showing teeth that weren’t exactly straight, red lipstick on the tips of her two front teeth. She moved around behind the stroller and brought out a large, manila envelope. “You’ll make sure he gets it, won’t you sweetie?” she said, sarcasm dripping from her tongue like honey from a spatula. Tabby stared at the official looking stamp on the front of the envelope and found that her feet would not move. She felt Mel reach for her hand, but she couldn’t make her fingers uncurl from the fists they were clenched in. She found herself staring, mute, as the woman pushed the buggy towards them until she could look down at the contents, at a round little face that looked up at her from beneath a pink blanket with bunnies and kitties all over it.

Trina reached out and snatched the envelope from the woman’s hand but Tabby never looked at her again. She couldn’t drag her attention off of the tiny bundle. Not until the buggy rolled down the driveway to a car waiting on the street, an older, five liter mustang that had seen better days.

“I’ll kill him,” she said quietly, as she watched the woman load the tiny child into an infant seat. “I’ll fucking kill him.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chapter 27

“Merry Christmas everyone!”

Where he’d got the elf outfit, Sid was almost frightened to ask but he couldn’t help but smile at the sight of Cookie in green tights. Even better was the sight of his wife, Michelle, in a matching red outfit. Ever since Gonch had signed with the Sens and the club had decided not to resign Billy G, Cookie had taken on the role of the grizzled veteran and over all father figure so it was nice to see him in his more natural role of cut up. He couldn’t be the class clown. After all, that role had long belonged to Max. At least since Army left.

The sight of ‘Santa’s little helpers’, however, recharged the waves of nausea emanating from his stomach. Tabby’s parents and brother had arrived this morning. His parents would be somewhere in the building and he’d have to bring them home. Normally spending Christmas day with his parents was something he looked forward to. Not today.

“Cheer up, might never happen.” Cookie grinned as he handed him a box tied with a lime green ribbon. Sid stared down at the present and sighed. “Hey,” Cookie leaned in and hissed in Sid’s ear, “not that there’s anything wrong with it, but if you really don’t want to deal with having a kid, I know a guy who knows a guy if you know what I mean.” Sid knew he was joking but he also knew that his old man was likely to say, if not exactly the same words, something at least similar and it he felt his entire body tense in response.

“Sure, we can have her kidnapped and sell her to some sheik in Arabia or something,” Jordan added unhelpfully. He’d bitten his tongue, over and over, knowing that some of the guys just said shit, that it didn’t mean they believed what they were saying, that it was just hazing and that he needed to let it roll off his back. But after what Bettman had said, had threatened to force him to do, Sid’s patience had been worn thin.

“I can’t wait,” he said simply, looking first Cookie and then Jordan in the eye. “I honestly can’t wait to be a father.”

“If your father lets you live long enough to see that day,” Jordan reminded him and Sid felt the tension in his body grow.

“Hey, Joyeux Noël,” Max interjected, “let the guy breathe. Can’t you see he’s in love?” Sid aimed a grateful smile his friend’s way even as his shoulders drooped as he worried about what his father was going to say. He’d begged his mother to pave the way, to break the news to his father. She’d been thrilled, of course. He just wished everyone could be a little more fucking positive about his situation. “Are you going to open that?” Sid stared down at the box. A quick look around the room told him everyone was either getting the same thing, or at least something similar, so, with a shrug, he tugged at one end of the ribbon.

The ribbon fell away and he slid his finger beneath the tape, planning to carefully open it, only to have Jordan grab the package out of his hands. Sid and Max exchanged a furtive grin and shook their heads as the tall blonde ripped into the paper like an impatient and excited three year old on Christmas morning.
“Hey, I got a fucking iPod. This is cooool.”

Sid stared at the object in his friend’s hand, but even tilting his head from one side to the other didn’t make it any clearer what Jordan was holding.

“Give it to him, sheeit.” Cookie grabbed at what was in Jordan’s hand, pulled it out and pressed it into Sid’s hand. It was cool to the touch and surprisingly heavy for something so small.

“Wow,” he said quietly as he turned over the solid silver rattle, listening to the musical sounds coming from it as engraved words caught his eye. He traced the letters with the pad of his thumb, his initials linked with Tabby’s on one rounded end of the rattle and just the word baby at the other end. “Thanks guys.” He felt a little choked up as he raised his gaze to meet Cookie’s.

“I know we’ve been giving you hard time,” Cookie began.

“But we’re all fucking proud of you for doing the right thing. Plus, we like Tabs, she’s good for you,” Max completed the thought and Sid found himself unable to say another word.

“Nice score sis.” Tabby raised a single eyebrow at her brother and he just grinned at her as she took his empty plate and headed for the kitchen. “When do I get to move in?”

“Leave your sister alone,” her mother sighed, getting up to follow her daughter into the kitchen. “It is a very nice house,” she agreed with her son as she took the plate out of Tabby’s hands before she could put it directly into the dishwasher.

“I don’t love him because he’s rich mom,” Tabby said quietly and her mother merely shrugged as she went over to the kitchen sink to wash the plate before it went into the dishwasher.

“Still, I never thought you’d land on your feet quite this nicely,” her mother replied as she turned back to hand her daughter the plate. Tabby thought about just putting it in the cupboard, just to see what her mother would do, but reminded herself that it was Christmas and things were already stressful enough without intentionally starting something. She told herself that her mother couldn’t help the way she was. That didn’t mean she had to like it though.

“Things could still go horrifically wrong mom,” Tabby answered thoughtfully, thinking about that woman in the driveway. The one she still hadn’t asked Sidney about.

“Yes I’d noticed he hasn’t put a ring on your finger,” her mother answered dryly, with a meaningful glance toward Tabby’s naked hand as she reached for a glass in the cupboard. Tabby flinched and withdrew her hand, switching the glass to her right hand as she did.

“Mom, don’t be old fashioned,” Tabby snapped before ducking her head into the fridge to hide her expression while she swore under her breath.

“I know you’re going to tell me that people don’t do that anymore, but they do,” her mother told her firmly while Tabby rolled her eyes and gritted her teeth.
“Especially young men like Sidney who have a reputation to protect,” her mother added as if she’d practiced the speech and Tabby was willing to bet she had, on her father no doubt, on the plane, all the way to Pittsburgh.

“Don’t you start too,” Tabby mumbled as she poured herself a glass of orange juice. It gave her wicked heartburn but she’d been craving it lately. “The fucking league told him the same thing, and I can’t believe they think they have the right to tell us what to do, so…just leave it, okay mom?”

“You almost sound like you don’t want to marry the boy?” Her mother made it a question and raised her eyebrow as she regarded her daughter with a look that clearly said she didn’t and wouldn’t believe that was true and of course it wasn’t but her mother was honestly the last person Tabby wanted to talk to about this.

“The whole marriage thing is just some kind of convention anyway,” Tabby lied while doing her best to sound convincing while she also did her best to keep her expression neutral. “You know I’ve never been that girl pouring through Bridal magazines planning her wedding down to the last detail. I don’t really care. Besides, I’m as big as a planet. I was just saying that to Sidney…I could totally have moons orbiting me now,” she added, brushing her hand over her swollen mid section. “Were you this big when you were having me?” she asked her mother, artfully changing the subject.

“Not with you, with your brother, maybe,” her mother replied, falling for it, or dropping the subject while she moved forward to place her hands on either side of her daughter’s belly button and started into her other favorite subject of the day, the horrors of stretch marks and child birth while Tabby did her best to smile and nod and act like a dutiful daughter.

“I told you to go ahead and get into her pants son, not make her pants bigger.” Sid tried his best not to roll his eyes as his father gave him one of those paternal pats on the back. ‘And he wonders why I never brought girls home,’ Sid thought as he nodded, all the while biting down on the inside of his cheek to stop himself from telling his old man just where and how hard to shove his opinions about his girlfriend and her condition. At least he didn’t seem pissed off about it, which Sidney felt marginally positive about.

Glancing over at where his mother was now peeking into the oven, he felt worse for Tabby. This was a lot to ask, entertaining both his family and hers’, especially with the way she’d been feeling.

She’d pronounced herself officially ready to have moons in orbit around her stomach just the day before, staring at herself in the mirror after getting out of the shower. He couldn’t exactly remember from biology what stage Tabby was at or what it should or should not look like. All he knew was that her skin had this sort of glow about it, and that her breasts were full, firm and high and even with the swell of her stomach that was now taking on an almost translucent look as her skin stretched to accommodate their child nestled in her belly, he still wanted her.

Even now, watching her wary eyes following the conversation between their two mothers, part of him wanted to drag her into their bed and lay her down and place himself between her thighs with her ripe belly pressed against his flat one, her legs over his arms. He wanted to nestle his cock deep inside of her and hear her sigh, watch her fingers twist the sheets as she gripped the quilt, watch her bite down on her full bottom lip until she couldn’t hold back any longer and her eyes flutter shut as she cried out his name.

“Earth to Sidney, come in Sidney.” Blinking back to reality, Sidney stared at his sister while she rolled her eyes at him. “Wow…you really have it bad huh?” He didn’t reply. He knew he didn’t need to. He didn’t have much of a poker face. “So have you asked her yet or what?”

“Asked her…what?” he took the bag of brightly wrapped packages out of his sibling’s hands and turned to begin stowing them under the tree, where they’d stay until after dinner.

“Okay, be obtuse, whatever” Taylor landed on the couch like she thought it was a trampoline and it was Sidney’s turn to shake his head at her. “I mean, I’m assuming this is the one you were shacking up with back home, then I’m guessing this is more than just hot sex.” Sidney glanced up from the presents he was stacking and gave her a look that he hoped made it pretty clear that he wasn’t up to discussing his private life with his little sister. “I mean, I guess it doesn’t look like she’s got a gun to your head or anything,” Taylor continued without waiting for an answer.

“She hasn’t, no one has,” Sidney hissed under his breath. He was getting a little tired of everyone assuming that Tabby had somehow ‘trapped’ him by getting pregnant. He was pretty sure that if anyone had the right to feel that way, it was Tabby. “For your information, I love her and I’m happy that she got pregnant, okay?” He shot his younger sibling a dark, and he hoped threatening look which she blithely ignored, as she often did.

“So if you love her so much how come you haven’t put a ring on it?” Sidney’s hand paused, mid air, above one of the gaily wrapped packages and he turned to glare at his sister. “What? I’m just trying to look out for my niece or nephew. I mean, I think being born a bastard is still pretty déclassé, don’t you think?”

“I don’t think people really care about that, no,” he replied slowly, his hand hovering over the small box wrapped in metallic silver paper with the sapphire blue ribbon.
“Oh well, as long as you don’t ask her in front of all of us,” Taylor added, making a retching noise and sticking her finger down her throat.

“Would there be something wrong with that?” Sidney asked, picking up the small box and weighing it in his hand.

“Yeah, totally,” his sister replied as she got back up to her feet and stretched, her hands over her head. “Like, way to put a girl in a position where she looks like a total bitch if she says no in front of everyone right? Like you’re forcing her to say yes,” she added with a yawn. “Not that I’m saying she’d turn you down bro but… anyway, it’s not very original either,” she added with a grin before turning on her heel and heading out of the room. Sidney stared after his sibling and then looked down at the diminutive package in his hand.
Taylor was probably right, Sidney thought bleakly as he withdrew the package from beneath the tree. It might seem like he wasn’t sure of her answer, which he wasn’t, he thought as he sat back on his heels and stared up at the tree with its twinkling lights and gold star on its uppermost branch. Vero was always bugging Flower for a ring. Jordan’s high school sweetheart Heather had practically threatened to cut his dick off if he didn’t propose. Tabby…she never said anything. Not a single hint. She didn’t so much as leave a copy of a bridal magazine in the bathroom for him to find.
She loved him. He believed that. But maybe she didn’t want to marry him. Being a realist, Sidney was beginning to think that he had to face that as possibility and so, for the third, or was it the fourth time, he pocketed the small package and dragged himself to his feet as he heard his mother calling him from the kitchen.