Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chapter 28

He is groggy when he rolls over to find her side of the bed empty and cold. Despite her having got up for each and every feeding throughout the night the interruption to his sleep cycle makes the bed feel too comfortable to leave. Years of training, of rolling out of bed for pre-dawn practices and the promise of a pre-dinner nap allows him to drag himself out of bed and across the carpet to the bathroom where he must lean heavily on the wall with one hand to drain his bladder. 

His eyes are still half closed when he steps into the shower and turns his face up into the scalding hot water. He knows he cannot afford to be a step slow today. Preparing to face his father is not unlike preparing for a game against the Caps or the Flyers; it requires a different mindset, a wariness that goes beyond just being on his toes so it is essential that he wash away the cobwebs.

Pressing both palms flat against the tiled wall he lets the hot water run over his neck and down his back. He hasn’t thought about his symptoms in a while and sends out mental feelers for them now and finds none; just the sting of the hot water in the welts on his back. With a smile he reaches for the shampoo and pours a quarter sized dollop in his hand and begins to work it through his thick dark hair. 

His smile grows as his thoughts turn to the events of the previous night. The memory of her body moving beneath his stirs his loins so he reaches down and curls his fingers around his dick and relives the moment of waking up in the middle of the night with her body curled into his, the sweet sigh escaping her lips as he helped himself to a handful of her heavy breast, as he took her, her body warm and relaxed in sleep. 

There have been women, perhaps not as many as the notches in Gronk’s or Tanger’s bedposts, but enough for him to know that she is different. He hadn’t known how it would be, after a child, but he had not expected for her to fit him so perfectly, to make him lose sleep with the need to take her, again and again.
Not that she was exactly complaining. Every time she’d come back from checking on or feeding Simon, she’d fit her body close to his, drape her arm over his waist and he would wake, already ready and willing to roll her beneath him and bury himself inside of her, feast on her lips and get lost in her arms.  

“I put him in this outfit Vero bought for him. It’s still kind of big but I couldn’t resist, he’s so cute in it and…oh!” Caught red handed he can do nothing bug stare as she stares at him with eyes wide with shock and he stares back, flames of mortification licking beneath his skin. “I’m sorry. I should’ve knocked,” she cries, turning away. 

“No, fuck! You shouldn’t have to knock on a door in your own house, and besides, you would think I got enough last night,” he mutters, violently cranking off the water and pushing the glass door open to grab a towel from the warming rack. 

“Well…yeah you would,” she agrees and he can hear the smile in her voice. 

“I’m sorry,” he adds more quietly, lifting a lock of hair from her shoulder and pressing a kiss to the bare skin above the deep burgundy sweater she’s wearing. 

“No I’m sorry,” she mumbles. “I mean, it’s a perfectly natural thing, I guess, even though, like you said, you’d think it would be worn out,” she adds, glancing back at him. He takes her lips as she offers them and looks down at the tiny bundle in her arms; Simon in a miniature snowman sleep-hugger. 

“That’s fucking adorable,” he chuckles, reaching around to lay his hand against his son’s round cheek.
“Hey…you’re gonna have to stop swearing so much,” she hisses at him, “tiny ears.” 

“Yeah, I guess,” he sighs before pressing another affectionate kiss to her cheek. “You look shattered. Let me get dressed and I’ll take a turn with him so you can put your head down for a bit.” 

“I’m fine,” she argues, following him into the bedroom. 

“I just woke up between rounds, you were the one up on your feet, singing and feeding him and all that jazz. The least I can fuck…the least I can do is carry him around for a couple hours,” he offers, dropping the towel on the end of the bed and reaching into his dresser drawer for a pair of white tube socks. He is pulling the second one on when he realizes that there is utter silence in the room and looks up to find her not just watching, but staring at him. 

“Sorry,” she mumbles and turns away again, but not before he sees that her cheeks have turned bright crimson. “I just…it’s gonna take me some time to get used to seeing you…and not…y’know…wanting it.” With a wolfish grin he gets up and gives her ass a firm, open handed smack. 

“If you didn’t have my son in your arms I’d have already had you on the bathroom counter,” he whispers hoarsely in her ear before reaching around her to drag his jeans from the back of a chair. She waits until he finishes pulling them up and buttoning them before she gingerly places their son in his arms. 

Your son huh?” she says quietly, one hand still resting on their baby’s stomach. “I’ll remind you of that at two in the morning.” 

“I told you last night I’d go,” he reminds her, leaning to press a soft kiss to his son’s forehead. 

“Yeah well, it’s still a novelty for me. I’ll let you know when that wares off,” she says and then makes a very unsuccessful attempt at stifling a yawn. 

“See, you’re dead on your feet,” he tells her quietly. “I can do this. Go to sleep. I’ll get you up in plenty of time to get showered and changed before anyone gets here.” She looks at their son and then up at him and makes a tired, resigned face. 

“There’s just so much to do,” she yawns again and because it only takes one arm to hold his son he uses his other hand to guide her towards their bed. 

“That’s why your mom is bringing most of the food and my mom is bringing the desert and snacks or whatever, so all you’d have to do is look after this little guy and rest, which is what the doctor says you need to do. So get in that bed and sleep for a while.”  Then he adds because he can see the doubt clear in her eyes, “I swear I can look after him. I’m his dad.”  A slow, bemused smile spreads across her face as she goes up on tip toes to press a soft and, he tell himself, grateful, kiss to his lips. 

“If he’s too much or he starts really crying…,” she begins but he silences her with his mouth pressed against hers’.

“Sleep,” he insists and waits for her to climb under the covers before he turns out the light and heads down the hallway. “Just you and me buddy,” he tells his son who looks back at him with wide, amber coloured eyes ringed in green. Balancing his burden carefully in the crook of his arm Sid heads down the stairs, taking them slowly and carefully, one stair at a time. “What should we do huh?” he asks aloud as he heads through the living room and into the kitchen. “Cereal or oatmeal?” With his free hand he opens the pantry door and reaches for the boxes on the top shelf. There is a box of All Bran and a box of Raisin Crisp but right next to them is a box of Cocoa Puffs and a box of Cupcake Pebbles that definitely are not his. “Fuck it. It’s Christmas right Si?” he grins and reaches for the box of Cocoa Puffs. 

Keeping his son carefully balanced in the crook of his arm, he puts the box on the counter and gets a bowl down. He’s heading for the fridge and the milk when the sound of a car rolling up the drive makes him freeze. He curses again, this time under his breath as he glances at the car seat, still sitting on the kitchen table, before turning and heading back through the living room, across the landing and to the side door. Looking down at the tiny bundle in his arms he sighs. 

“This is my fault Si,” he whispers and caresses the soft curls on the top of his son’s head apologetically before tugging open the door. His mother’s hand is half way to the door knob, shopping bags hanging from one arm and a brightly wrapped parcel under the other.

“Merry Christmas mom,” he says quietly and waits until her gaze slides slowly up from the door handle to his face and then, more quickly, back down to the little bundle in the crook of his arm. 

What…is…that?” It isn’t his mother’s voice, though the expression in her eyes reads the same. 

This is Simon, your grandson.”

She is running on no sleep, her nerves are frayed and she is quickly running out of patience as she watches Troy Crosby pace across the living room for what seems like the millionth time. Hers, however, are the only set of eyes on the big man with the bulging vein in his forehead. Every other pair of eyes is glued on the small, confetti like remains of the cheque she has just handed back to him. 

“You’re making a huge fucking mistake,” Sidney’s father growls again like a bear who has just recently sat on a hive of yellow jackets. 

“Yeah you’ve said that,” Sidney replies with a sigh, his head hung low but not in a way that suggests he is beaten, merely beaten down. 

“Well you’re obviously not fucking listening,” Troy adds in a threatening tone, beads of sweat breaking out across his broad forehead, his eyes straining like they’re trying to break out of their sockets; a gruesome thought but one that makes it hard for Fern not to smile at him as he glares daggers at her. He is trying to intimidate her in the same way that it is clear his entire family is cowed by his aggression but she has found a new strength and it only takes a quick look down at the round, emerald rimmed eyes of her son and she is like a mother bear, unafraid and unyielding. 

“I tried it your way dad and I almost missed out on seeing my son born. This,” Sid adds, reaching to cup his hand around Simon’s pudgy red cheek, “is non-fucking-negotiable.” 

“Both of you…the cursing,” Trina, Sid’s mother, pleads with a longing glance towards her grandchild, who she has yet to approach though it is clear she wants to, very much. 

“You,” Troy’s Bavarian sausage sized finger wavers in the air as he points at her, “were supposed to stay away from him.” She gently bounces Simon in her arms and smiles at the big man before replying. 

“I did. Your son came after me,” she says calmly, matter-of-factly. Troy makes a face and a guttural sound of disgust before shaking his head. 

“You’re lying,” he snarls, waving his meatloaf hand dismissively at her and then turning his back. 

“Dad!” Sid snaps but Fern reaches over and gently presses him back down onto the couch. 

“I can’t help that you think that,” she insists, very calmly and with the same amused smile on her face, “and we can certainly spend the day arguing it if that’s what you’d like to do but I think that even though you think you’re ruining my day all you’re really accomplishing is ruining the day for your wife and your daughter,” she adds softly but firmly. She feels Sid cover her hand with his own bigger, warm one and when she looks over all she sees in his gaze is appreciation and pride. She aims a bigger smile at Sid and then turns her attention back to his father. 

“What are you, some kind of fucking witch? You’ve got him under some kind of spell?” Troy snaps at her, spittle flying. His wife cringes and his daughter tries even harder to dig herself into the corner of the couch. 

“You know what?  You can get the fuck out of my house,” Sid hisses at his father, like a cat getting ready to scratch. Predictably, Troy is unfazed. 

“Well we’re doing the DNA test. I bet it’s not even his is it?” Troy smirks at her but Fern neither flinches nor looks away, both actions she knows he is hoping for. 

“Actually it’s already been done.” As if she’s wrapped her hand around a lightening rod, the shock of the words and who they’ve come from have her rooted to the spot. Very slowly she turns and stares at Sid who, in turn, is staring at the equally shocked expression on his father’s face. “Well I knew you’d fucking insist even though I have no doubt he’s mine” Sid sighs and then turns apologetic eyes on her. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. They took swabs the first night he was off the respirator and I only got the results a couple days ago. In fact I haven’t even opened the envelope. I don’t need to. I know,” he adds gripping her hand tightly in his.

“You could have told me,” she whispers, feeling smaller and less certain of herself than she did a moment ago. 

“I don’t even care. I trust you,” he says softly, lifting the back of her hand up to his lips and pressing an earnest kiss there. “I know he’s mine Fern, I know. I don’t need some piece of paper to tell me what I know,” he adds, pressing his other hand to the centre of his chest. She searches his solemn gaze for a long moment and then takes a deep breath. 

“But you should open it. You should show him, so we can all be absolutely clear.” 

His hands don’t tremble even slightly when he rips open the envelope, though he is careful not to rip the contents. He is cautious when he pulls out the single sheet of thick bond paper from the manila envelope. The certificate listed the testing facility, the two samples and then a bunch of numbers in a chart he didn’t really understand. The only thing that truly mattered on the entire sheet was the conclusion, which read:

The probability of Mr. Sidney Patrick Crosby being the biological father of Simon Marc Crosby is 99.9999%. Therefore it is practically proven that Mr. Sidney Patrick Crosby is the biological father of Simon Marc Crosby

He hadn’t needed to see the proof himself. He has always been able to see it in Simon’s eyes and even before that, he’d felt it, like an invisible fishing line attaching him to the still tiny boy in his mother’s arms. Turning the piece of paper so the proof in black and white is facing his father, he presses the sheet of paper into the middle of Troy’s chest. 

“I don’t want to hear another word, not a single fucking word about this, ever again,” he growls, making sure each of his digits presses hard and deep into the barrel of his father’s massive chest. It had been a strong chest that stopped pucks once. Now it was soft from lack of work, from living off his son. Sidney’s top lip curled up as he stared up into his father’s eyes. “Are we clear?” 

“She’s not even supposed to be here,” his father smirks back, “don’t you have some sort of protection order against her?” Sid throws up his hands and begins to walk away but Troy is far from done with the argument. His son comes by his competitive streak naturally. 

“Troy, honey, don’t you think we should let it drop?” his mother pleads quietly in her mousy voice. His father doesn’t spare her a look. His fierce, menacing grin is all for his son. 

“I’ll get around to clearing all that up. I’ve been a little too busy with my family,” he replies as calmly as he is able, through clenched teeth. His hands are balled into fists at his side. He tells himself, over and over, that he will not raise a hand to his father, but that voice is getting quieter and quieter. 

“Yes, I’ve noticed. I think everyone’s noticed. How do you think it will look when it gets out that you’re not suffering from post concussion syndrome but playing house instead of playing?” This is a dart whose sting he cannot avoid, mostly because the guilt has been eating at his conscience. 

“I’ll play, right after the all star break,” he promises. His father scoffs, loudly. 

“I sure as fuck wouldn’t want you on my team, mister deserter,” he says triumphantly. Sid feels himself shrink before the truth. He knows the guys have told him they support him but he’s heard the rumors, loud and clear. 

“He is the Penguins,” Fern says suddenly, handing her son off to his mother who takes her grandson with a grin as wide as the ocean. “He’s the best fucking hockey player in the world and they will take him back with open arms,” she adds in a slow, menacing voice of her own that he remembers from outside of the diner. She reaches for his hand and he takes it, lacing her fingers in his own. 

“He’s soft. You can’t be soft and be a pro,” his father rolls his eyes and aims a disappointed look at his son. “You can’t put family first if you want to be the best.” 

“God knows you didn’t, right? Look where that big time sacrifice got you.” He cannot believe the words have come out of her sweet mouth and it’s because he’s staring at Fern that he doesn’t see his father raise his hand until the back of it leaves a huge, red welt across her pale, white cheek. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chapter 27

drum roll please

“Thanks for coming, really,” he said sincerely as he grasped Marc’s hand and shook it firmly.

“Pretty big thing having them both home. We wouldn’t have missed it,” his quiet friend shrugged and then pulled Sid into a one armed male bonding kind of hug. “Félicitations à vous deux.” 

“Je vous remercie, vous deux, from both of us. was so good to have you here for this. It made it so much better,” he turned to wrap his arms around Vero. She felt slight, fragile, in his arms. 

“Ce sont les amis?” she replied brightly, though when he held her at arms’ length he could see the shimmer of unshed tears in her dark eyes. 

“Have you talked to legal at all?” he asked, looking from her strained smile to Marc’s more stoic one. 

“Don’t worry about us,” Vero trills, going up on tip toes to press her lips lightly against his cheeks. “Just have a wonderful Christmas with your new family.” 

“There has to be something we can do,” Sid pleads, desperate to erase the brave sadness from both of his friends’ eyes.  

“Yes, get back on the ice,” Marc chides with a smirk that is only partly playful. His gaze is on his girlfriend and Sid feels his gut wrench at the concern in Flower’s eyes. 

“I will, you know I will. I’ll be skating tomorrow probably. It’ll just take me a few days to get into a rhythm,” he promises earnestly and Flower’s smile grows by an inch. 

“Don’t rush and pull a groin, we’ve been doing just fine without you,” Flower smirks and something of his usual easy going demeanor begins to show. 

“I really appreciate you guys covering for me, I do,” Sid tells him genuinely. Marc nods and reaches out to clap his hand on his friend’s shoulder. 

“Yeah, yeah, you’re just worried you won’t be such a big deal now Nealer and Geno are taking care of things without you,” he teases and then takes his hand and reaches for his girlfriend’s. “Come on babe. Nous allons rentrer chez eux avant de Santa veint.” 

Sid watches them go, standing on the doorstep as his two friends walk, hand in hand through the lightly falling snow towards their car until the chill of the night air begins to make its way beneath his sweatshirt but he only turns to go inside once he watches the car back out of the drive, the beams from its headlights lighting up the night. Locking the door behind him he lets the silence of the empty house sink in and only then does he hear, very faintly, the sound of a lullaby being sung, very softly. 

Turning out the lights in the living room and pulling out the cord for the lights on the tree he turns to make his way up the stairs, padding nearly silently on stocking feet towards the newly finished nursery. From the top of the stairs he can hear the familiar lines of Frère Jacques being sung in a sweet, low voice. 

Rounding the corner he finds her in the dark, with her sun snuggled against her breast. He stands in the doorway, watching her slowly rocking. 

“It only seems real now,” she says in a voice that is only an octave above a whisper, “like I only really believe now that he’s mine.” She only looks up at him then and the slow smile that spreads across her face like honey over bread makes his heart skip a beat. “I’m sorry,” she adds, wrinkling up her nose, “I mean ours.” He tips his head to the side and shrugs. 

“Yours, ours, mine, same thing,” he agrees, crossing the floor to her side and dropping a soft, careful kiss to the top of his son’s head where it sticks out from the soft blanket she has him cradled in. She looks up at him, her gaze sweeping over his face and he can see the question in her eyes before she gives voice to it. “Just like this house is yours and mine. I don’t want you to worry about anything.” She drops her gaze but not before he can see her full lips pressed into a thin line. 

“Your father,” she whispers and he sighs, turning to the window and staring out at the softly falling snow.

“I know, I know I have to deal with him just...can’t it wait until the morning?” he asks, his hand curling into a fist. 

“It’s not like I’m in a hurry for him to come here and yell and threaten me,” she says quietly. He hears her get up out of the chair and turns to watch her gently place her burden into the cot. “But don’t you think they should know they have a grandchild?” she asks, her gaze still on their son, who yawns and then places as much of his tiny fist into his mouth as he can and begins to suck. He moves towards her, slips his arm around her waist and leans his chin on her shoulder.

“Maybe I’m just a fucking chicken shit,” he mumbles and presses an affectionate kiss to her cheek. 

“Well your father is kind of scary,” she agrees as she leans into him, “but I do want to give him that cheque back and I am kind of looking forward to the look on his face when I do,” she adds and he knows her well enough now that he doesn’t need to see her face to know that her lips are pulled up into a smirk and her dark eyes are sparkling with mischief.  “But you should tell them before you open the door in the morning. That’s not the right way for them to find out,” she adds in a more serious tone. He sighs and hangs his head. She’s right, he knows, but that doesn’t make the task any easier to face. 

“It’s late,” he points out, glancing up at the colourful whinnycoo clock on the wall. 

“So text your mom, just so they know what they’re walking into,” she insists and he heaves another sigh.

“She’ll be pissed that she didn’t get to shop for him,” he groans, thinking of the disappointed expression his mother will be wearing when she sees him. 

“Well you should have done it before. You’ve only got yourself to blame,” she points out, poking him in the ribs before reaching for the baby monitor and turning it toward the crib. “I’m going to have a shower and get ready for bed while you do that,” she adds, giving him a look that reminds him very much of his mother and then turning and leaning over the railing of the crib to run her fingertips tenderly over the soft wisps of dark hair. “Night, night sweet prince. Sweet dreams.” 


The shower in the master bedroom is extravagant, she thinks as she stands beneath the rain shower and not just one of those shower wands either but an entire strip that runs from one side of the shower to the other so that it’s like you’re in a rain storm; a hot rain storm. There are lights that change colour too but she hasn’t turned those on. There are steam fittings and a waterfall setting but she is not using those either. The heat and water pressure alone is enough to relax all of her muscles. That and the sense of belonging she has felt since Vero picked her up from the hospital. 

His teammates never once made her feel like one of them and without exception they gushed over Simon and offered to babysit whenever she asked. Of course she knows that it’s easy for them to offer when they’re, in fact, out of town or playing half of every week but it’s the offers and the intent behind them that has her humming to herself as she reluctantly shuts off the water with her mother’s voice in the back of her hand reminding her about conserving and the water bill. Reaching for a towel she finds it already warm and buries her face in the plush softness, another luxury that a girl used to threadbare towels finds hard to get used to. 

With her hair wrapped in one towel and herself in another she digs for a pair of unworn pajamas reminding herself that she will have to do laundry in the morning when she hears his voice, soft, deep, almost a whisper. 

Reaching for the nearest thing, his dress shirt hung on the handle of the closet, she tip toes down the hallway.

He is standing over the crib, gently stroking the top of Simon’s head with a look of boyish wonder on his face but it is not the expression he is wearing for she has seen that look before. It is the words he saying that captivates her. 

“I wasn’t ready for this but God please bless this little guy, and help me keep him safe and sound. Bless both of his perfect tiny hands and feet, so he may stand tall and touch those around him. Let him hear and learn so that he may become wise. Bless his cute little mouth, so he will speak the truth. But most of all don’t forget to bless his parents too because God…seriously I don’t think I know what I’m doing her but I want to and please…please don’t let me let them both down.” Tears spring to her eyes as she watches Sid struggle not to cry, his big meaty hands banishing tears from his face before he takes a deep breath, squares his shoulders and reaches up to turn on the mobile. “Fuckin’ shoulda fuckin’ known,” he sighs, shaking his head but smiling when it does not turn on. 

She is about to back pedal into the hallway as he turns to leave the nursery but then he stops and turns back and as she watches, he reaches for the clasp on the gold chain he wears around his thick neck and then he hangs the small cross from the mobile, right above their son’s head. He pauses there, his hand lying gently on the tiny boy’s stomach and then he turns. 

When he sees here there, standing in the doorway in nothing but his dress shirt the somewhat thoughtful and slightly bemused expression on his face is replaced first by puzzlement and then quickly that too is erased in favor of hunger, lust and need. He erases the gap between them in two strides and reaches for her face, cupping it in his massive hands before pressing his mouth demandingly over hers’. 

He kisses her with the same fierce protectiveness that he displays when protecting the puck in the danger zone around the net. His thick fingers dig into her cheeks so hard that she is certain his parents will be able to read his fingerprints on her skin in the morning. His tongue demands entrance to her mouth like an invading army breaching the walls of a castle and she gives up as if it’s been a long and hungry siege. 

Using his body like a battering ram he walks her into the wall behind her and flattens her against it. She stiffens, as her brain races back to that first, fateful night and his less than impressive performance. Sensing her sudden withdrawal, he reluctantly drags his mouth from hers’ and his gaze searches her face. 

“Do we still have to wait?” he asks breathlessly. She shakes her head. “Then…what?” he demands, his gaze dropping down to the button that is the only barrier between him and her breasts spilling free. 

“Last time…last time….” She bites down on her lower lip, unwilling to actually tell him how disappointing he was, to bruise an ego she now knows is more fragile than he lets on. The barely held in check aggression leaks from his fingers and, blowing out a breath, a hesitant smile tugs at the corners of his full mouth as he leans his forehead against hers and cups his hand around the back of her neck.

“Fuck, last time. I was a fucking asshole last time. I was a stupid, selfish fucking prick last time. You have to know…everything’s different now. You know that right? You know how I feel about you, right?” Her immediate reaction is to agree but a niggling little voice in the back of her head forces her to shake her head, no. His jaw clenches and with their immediate proximity she can hear his teeth grind together. His nostrils flare and she feels his grip on the back of her neck tighten. Her maternal instincts being in overdrive, she slides her hands up under his sweatshirt and tries to pull him close but he is as immovable as a boulder. “Christ…why am I scared?” he hisses through clenched teeth. 

“Of me? I can’t imagine…,” she begins only to flinch when his other hand leaves her hip and plants itself in the wall beside her head. 

“I love in love with you.” He blows out a breath as if he’s just been punched in the stomach. When his gaze lifts to hold hers, there is naked fear in his gold bronze eyes. A tiny thrill runs through her veins as she realizes that all of the power has suddenly shifted and she suddenly holds Sidney Crosby’s heart in her hands. 


She offers her mouth and he takes it, gently, hesitantly and it assuages some of his fear, but does not erase it. Turning his face from hers’ he asks the question that makes his voice break as he does. 

“Do you…I mean, can you…after everything, can you feel the same?” He feels her hand cup his cheek and then her lips follow, pressing softly to the corner of his mouth. 

“Stupid boy, I’ve loved Sidney Crosby since I was sixteen years old,” she whispers, kissing his cheek, the corner of his jaw. 

“But that’s…,” he begins to object but words fail him when he turns to see her smiling beatifically at him.

“Now I love the father of my child,” she adds, her fingertips trailing fire down his neck as she leans in to press a soft kiss to his lips made immobile by surprise. Groaning he presses the full length and width of his body against hers, crushing her against the wall. “Oh Sidney,” she gasps as he grinds his urgent need against the top of her thigh. 

“I have to have you…now,” he moans into her neck, biting and licking his way down to her collarbone. He feels her fingers dig into his hair, the pressure of her hands guiding him to that button that, once popped open, releases the soft swell of her breast to his questing mouth. Her skin is sweet and fragrant from the shower, still warm as his lips move over the pale mound of her breast to the ripe, dark berry of her nipple. “Is it…is this okay?” he asks, cupping the heaviness of her breast in his hand. 

“I don’t know,” she replies honestly, her eyes glazed over, her jaw slack. Tenderly, cautiously he flicks her nipple with the tip of his tongue. She drags in a ragged breath. He waits to see if she will stop him but instead she hooks her leg around the back of his thigh and digs her nails into his scalp, so, gently he closes his lips around her nipple and sucks it into his mouth. She gasps and tips her head back, revealing the long pale line of her throat. Kissing his way up it he captures her lips again and slides his hand down over her hip and onto her ass, pulling her against him, grinding his erection against her stomach. 

She is still soft there, her body yielding to his eagerness, not quite like the cute little body she had before but he is no less impatient to have her, to be inside of her. He could have her there and then, but he won’t. It isn’t right. Not with a California King sized bed a few steps away. 

Reaching for her hand he laces his fingers with hers and leads her down the hallway, to the end of the bed and then reaches to undo that last button on the dress shirt but her hand covers his and she looks up at the light over their heads. He opens his mouth to tell her that she shouldn’t be insecure but decides against it and goes to turn off the light instead. When he turns back around she is under the blanket, his shirt in a ball on the floor.

Her eyes follow him as he tugs the sweatshirt over his head and tosses it behind him, her gaze dropping to his jeans as he undoes the button and unzips the fly. Her eyes suddenly rise to meet his when he wriggles out of his boxer briefs, her eyes wide, as if she hasn’t seen what he has to offer. He climbs into the bed beside her, diving under the covers and fitting his body neatly along hers’. He will need to take his time. As much as he wants to forego the preliminaries and get straight to the main event he reminds himself that she is not just another girl, she is his, to have and to hold and besides that, he’s promised that this time will be different. 

To prove his point he begins again at her mouth, ignoring the painful ache in his balls, and kisses, nibbles, licks and bites his way back down to her breasts, paying special attention to the little sighs, whimpers and cries she emits to guide him and then, with his lips locked around one nipple he slides his hand between her thighs. He barely brushes his fingertips over her mound when she jerks beneath him. Startled, he rises above her, searching her face for a sign of pain and then, finding none, slips his fingers into her damp folds. 

“Ooooh god,” she moans and digs her fingernails deep into his shoulders. He has always been worried about carrying bed time battle scars into the dressing room. Tonight’s he will wear with pride. 

“You like that baby?” he asks, watching her bite down on her bottom lip as he strokes her clit, slow, lazy circles that make her squirm. 

“Oh god, harder, yes, there,” she cries out as the small of her back arches up off the mattress. Using the pads of two fingers he follows her whispered commands and presses down on her joy button, moving his fingertips in a tight hard circle that makes her thighs quiver. “Mmmmm oh fuck yeah,” she sighs, twisting and writhing beneath him as he lowers his mouth to lick his way around her dark areola. Sliding his hand down he pushes two fingers up inside of her, probing for that spot that will make her cry out for him. She gasps and he stops, pressing on that spot again. She cries out, her nails dig a furrow in his back and as he watches, milk leaks from her nipples. 

Curious, he licks the few drops from her breast. It’s warm and sweet and as his lips close around her nipple a few more drops leak out. Realizing that she might think this is crossing the line he rolls his eyes up to meet hers only to find them closed and her top teeth embedded into her bottom lip. 

“You…like that?” he asks, sliding up to nuzzle her neck, bite down on her earlobe.

“One of the nurses said something about a love hormone or something,” she mutters and turns to curl her body into his. “Makes you want to be held,” she adds, walking her fingers up his chest before meeting his gaze. 

“Is that…all you want to do?” he asks, hoping and praying she will give the answer he wants. 

“No,” she purrs, offering her mouth again, which he takes as he rolls her beneath him. He settles himself between her thighs and she reaches down to guide him to her entrance. Holding his breath he stays there, though it takes every last drop of his will power not to immediately shove himself balls deep inside of her. “Do it,” she whispers, a husky edge to her voice. 

“Sure?” he asks while every muscle in his body strains to stay there, to hold back his inner beast. 

“Fuck me Crosby,” she growls and it is such a departure from the usually sweet girl he has come to know that his balls tighten, his inner beast growls and he loses that hard fought control and slams his cock home. 

It is nothing like the first time. He is not the selfish self centered bastard that fucked her like she was nothing better than a blow up doll. Now he holds her close while his body rocks against hers, his cock buried deep within her and he whispers her name into her neck. He is like an anaconda, his huge, muscular body coiled so tight around her that she nearly cannot catch her breath. 

“Yes baby,” he whispers, as she locks her ankles behind his massive thighs, “yes like that.” 

“Harder,” she hisses, her nails digging into his ass, begging him to fuck her deeper. Like the professional athlete he is, he responds immediately, redoubling his efforts, his body like a piston in a massive diesel engine, his hips slamming against hers, pinning her to the bed. 

“Oh Jessssssuusss,” he moans into the curve of her neck. “God Fern…oh god baby.” She arches her back, pressing her body up against his, wanting to be even closer. He moans again and reaches down between them, his fingers searching for and finding her clit, pressing against it, rubbing it hard and fast. “Cum…cum for me,” he whispers urgently. 

“Close,” she moans, meeting him thrust for thrust, her body zinging with electricity, her own breathing quick and sharp in her own ears. 

“Do it baby,” he whispers, rubbing her clit like he’s trying to shine up a car, “I wanna feel you fucking cum all over my cock.” Dirty words coming out of those full, pink lips make her shudder and she lets herself go, her fingernails dragging up from the middle of his ass to his shoulders while she screams his name. He gasps, his body going still, his head buried in her neck. She can hear him pant, short sharp breaths and then his head tips back and he roars like a lion. His body jerks with each spasm of his cock as his balls empty inside of her and then he collapses, his full weight on top of her. “Fucking wow,” he moans and then rolls to the side and pulls her into him, wrapping his body around hers. “Better?” he whispers, pressing a kiss to her cheek. 

“Better,” she agrees and snuggles into him, pulling his arms tighter around herself, a cocoon of muscle and warm skin. 

“Merry Christmas Fern,” he adds, nuzzling the top of her head, “I’m so glad to have you and Simon home. Best present ever,” he adds. 

“This was good too,” she sighs, closes her eyes and lets her limp relaxed muscles, the soft luxurious sheets and the heat of his body drag her down into sleep.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chapter 26

“That part doesn’t go in there,” Gronk smacks Kennedy’s hand away from the mobile he’s putting together. “Go back to painting. I’m doing this.” 

“Hey, less fighting, more working. We’re bringing Simon home today.  I want everything to be perfect,” he grumbles, his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth as he concentrates on smoothing the edge of a Buzz Lightyear decal on the wall behind where the crib will go, if Dupers ever finishes putting it together, he thinks as he glances at his friend kneeling in the middle of the room, screwdriver in hand. “Need a hand Dupes?”

“I’m just about finished,” Pascal calls back.

“Could’ve fooled me,” Tanger snipes from his perch high on a ladder in the corner of the room where he’s painting fluffy cheerful looking clouds on the ceiling with a sponge. 

“What I’m doing requires some skill and mathematics,” Dupers grins menacingly at the long haired defenseman who rolls his eyes. 

“You’ve got instructions, I’m using my creativity here,” Kris replies, dabbing the sponge in the paint and then flicking the excess down onto Pascal’s head. 

“Fuck you Letang!” Pascal growls and shakes a screwdriver at him. 

“Tu ne me font pas peur,” Kris laughs and showers more paint down. 

“I’ll kick that ladder out from under you,” Pascal menaces, getting up from his knees. 

“Hey! Fuck, what did I just fuckin’ say?” Sid shouts, putting himself physically between his two teammates. “My son is going to be here in a few hours and we haven’t even put up the Christmas tree. Can we please just get this done?” 

“Chillax will ya? We’ll get ir done Cap, don’t get your panties in a knot,” Kennedy grins, a smudge of light blue paint filling half of his cheek. Sid resists the urge to add a yellow stripe to the other side of his teammate’s face and goes back to painting the chair rail a cheery sunny colour. 

“Speaking of your sprogue, where is the little lady?” Jordy asks, his blue eyes nearly crossed as he hangs a small stuffed bear from one of the hooks on the mobile. 

“They have kind of a crash course before they let you take your kid home, bathing, diapers, that kind of thing,” he replies, a smile on his face and a far away expression in his eyes. 

“Diapers...ugh,” Gronk shudders visibly paling. 

“You get used to it,” Pascal tells him with a shrug. 

“You get a fucking nanny to do it,” Kennedy gags and makes a face that makes them all laugh. 

“C’mon, back to work, there’s lots to do still. I want all this done before she gets here,” Sid commands. Dupers reaches over and turns up the music and each goes back to their task, humming happily until Jordan starts to sing, very out of tune and Tanger launches his pet soaked sponge at the tall forward’s head. Sid shakes his head but smiles at all of them in a new, indulgent and paternal sort of way. 


“Oh god, I feel like I’m never going to get the hang of it,” one of the other women complains loudly as she fusses with the swaddling on her little girl. Fern tucks the corner of her blanket in and smiles at her effort. For an only child, she thinks with a certain amount of smugness, she’s doing pretty well. 

“Very good,” the midwife puts her hand on Simon’s tummy and he looks up at her with his gold flecked green ringed eyes and smiles beatifically. “You’ve got a happy baby there.” 

“I’m the luckiest girl in the world,” Fern answers softly, laying her own hand gently on the top of the dark curls atop his head. 

“I’ll say,” a woman not far from her says, mostly under her breath but shoots her a sideways glance that would wither a garden full of flowers. Fern carefully regulates her expression and keeps her gaze lowered. As Simon has improved she’s become aware of nurses watching her and whispering behind her back, especially when Sidney is around. 

“Just remember, as preemies they will probably cry more often, be a little more fussy, so you’re going to have to be patient,” the midwife reminds them all and then produces a giant white wicker basket loaded with all the goodies needed for taking a little one home. “I have one of these for each of you but hopefully your significant others have more waiting for you at home. I know sometimes when your little bundle of joy comes early you’re not always as prepared as you’d planned to be.” Fern thought of the big empty house back in Selwickly and all of the things they have yet to buy and she has a moment of vertigo and needs to cling to the edge of the changing table. 

“You of all people shouldn’t be worried. What do you have waiting at home, like ten nannies?” one of the other mothers asks snidely. Fern presses her lips together and neither looks up, nor answers. 

“No, just friends, lots and lots of friends, d’accord?” At the sound of the soft musical lilt of her Quebecois accent, Fern looks up to find Veronique standing nearby, a tiny car seat swinging from her hand. “Pretty ones like me,” she adds with a dazzling grin before brushing by the rather dowdy woman and her slightly balding husband. 

“Vero....” There are words she wants to say, apologies she should make, but the only word that comes to the tip of her tongue is, “thank you.” 

“Well what are friends for?” Vero grins as she puts down the car seat and opens her arms to gather Fern in a warm, forgiving hug. “Is everything okay?” she asks, her voice a warm, welcoming whisper in Fern’s ear. “You? Le bébé?” 

“Fine...I think,” she answers, haltingly, suddenly wondering why Veronique is here and not...him. “Not that I’m not glad to see you but...?” she begins, only to have Vero hold her at arms’ length, a secretive sort of smile on her face. 

“He wants everything absolument parfait. So you, me et le petit homme are going to do some shopping for one or two thing left on the list so he has some time to make your nest parfait pour vous, ça va?”

“One or two things, I wish,” Fern mumbles as she reaches to unravel Simon so they can put him in the car seat. 

“You might not have had time for a shower but that does not mean nous les filles have not been très occupies,” Vero grins, grabbing hold of the basket. “Dépêchez vous, lots to do,” she adds, turning and heading for the exit. Fern watches her go, sighing at the sight of her friend’s tight little ass squeezed into an even tighter pair of jeans. 

“Well Simon, here we go,” she whispers, making sure he is snug as a bug in a rug and then pressing her lips to the middle of his tiny forehead, inhaling the soothing scent of warm milk and baby powder from his skin. “You’ll hate this when you’re older,” she promises and then, very carefully lifts his car seat off of the table. 


The last light is on the tree when the boys stumble in from the cold, dusting snow from their jackets and, in Tanger’s case, from his hair. Their cheeks are rosy but their lips are almost blue. 

“Did you order pizza?” Gronk asks. Sidney carefully opens the first box of newly purchased Christmas ornaments and pulls the first red glass ball out. 

“No, but thanks for helping, I appreciate it.” The guys all stand in the doorway and stare at him. “What? She’ll be home any minute,” he explains, hanging the first ball on a branch in the middle of the tree. 

“Wait, we worked all day and you’re not even gonna feed us?” Kris asks, frowning. 

“But we get beer, right?” Kennedy asks, starting to shrug off his jacket. 

“I don’t have any beer in the house,” he replies, pulling the next ornament out and holding it up to the light. Hand painted, green with gold leaf, it catches the light and sends green and gold glow through his system.

“Should I kill him on my own or do you want to help?” Gronk growls and TK gets a dangerous gleam in his eye. 

“No need to commit murder,” the door opens, letting in a cold wind as a soft voice calls from behind the group and he looks up to see Flower squeezing between Pascal and Tanger with three pizza boxes balanced on a six pack, another six pack swinging from his pinky finger.

There is chaos for a moment, long enough for the rest of the group to divest Marc of his burden while the two young men stare at one another, both with wary half smiles on their faces. When they are alone, the rest of the group in the kitchen searching for plates or at the least napkins, Flower approaches, silently, and opens a box of ornaments and takes one out. 

“You look like you need some help mon ami,” Marc says quietly, taking in the mostly bare branches.

“Thanks,” Sidney says, meaning more than just for bringing the pizzas. Marc nods, shrugs one shoulder and then reaches to hang the candy cane shaped hand painted ornament on a nearby branch. 

Side by side, companionably, they hang the ornaments one by one, Christmas carols playing on his iPod, a fire in the hearth and their teammates munching happily on deep dish calorie laden pizza. The tree is nearly groaning with ornaments when the door swings open again and all eyes swivel towards the two women, laden with shopping bags. But it’s not those encumbrances that his gaze focuses on. It is the car seat swinging from Fern’s hand, her big, dark eyes and her huge, shocked smile.

“Welcome home,” he says, walking past his teammates and Vero, taking the car seat form her with one hand and cradling her cheek with the other. 

“You did...all this?” she asks, breathless, a look of childish wonder on his face that makes his heart swell to fill his entire chest. 

“Fuck no, he did fucking not,” Kennedy calls out, tipping his head back and shoving most of a giant slice of pizza into his mouth. 

“I had a lot of help,” he admits, brushing her lips with his own. 

“Hey it’s sprogue Crosby!” Jordy yells and hurdles the couch, grabbing the car seat and carrying it, and their child, over to the kitchen table. He hears her laugh and then feels her arms slide around his waist. 

“I tried to get rid of them,” he explains. She beams up at him and doesn’t complain. “I’m glad you’re home, both of you,” he adds. She nods and offers him her mouth and he takes it, capturing her lips in a long, soft, kiss.