Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chapter 42

I warned you about the music that might show up on here. Of course my choice for this chapter may have something to do with the fact that it's late (or early depending on how you look at it) and I can't sleep. Being overtired does strange things to me, haha.

I woke up the next morning when Sidney’s alarm clock went off. He shut it off immediately and then rolled back over to wrap his arms around me. I smiled when I was pulled into his embrace. I’d be a happy woman if I got to wake up like this most mornings. He began to place kisses on my neck and cheek until I giggled.

“Is something funny?” he asked.

“You’re tickling me,” I replied with another giggle. He laughed too before rolling me over to face him and placing his mouth on mine in a lingering kiss.

“I shouldn’t be gone too long this morning. I’ll see you at my parents’ around noon?” he asked. I’d told him I still wasn’t feeling up to going with him this morning to his exhibit in the Sport Hall of Fame the night before.

“Yes you will.”

He got out of bed and got dressed to head out for his second day with the cup. Thankfully his schedule for the day only included the morning. It made what I had planned for him possible. I waited until I was sure he was gone before getting out of bed. I woke up the rest of the girls and we all met downstairs.

“What do you want us to do?” Kelly asked.

“I need someone to run to the grocery store and pick up all of the last minute stuff. Whoever does just needs to go to customer service and ask for Jim. He’ll have everything ready. Then I’ll need two of you to start setting everything up and do any cleaning that you find necessary so the place looks nice. The last person is with me in the kitchen helping me bake,” I explained.

Lisa volunteered to drive to the store and pick everything up. Grace agreed to help me in the kitchen and Hailey and Kelly decided to start cleaning and decorating. We all got started on our tasks right away, knowing there was a lot to be done.

“What’s the order?” Grace asked.

“The cake is first because it needs to cool completely before I can decorate it. Guacamole will be third, and the brownies and cookies are last.”

“Do we have time to finish it all?”

“I hope so.”

Grace and I got to work. She prepped everything and I did the rest. Once in a while I’d make my way out to check on the progress of Hailey and Kelly. When Lisa returned from the store she assisted the two of them with everything.

Just before noon I called Sidney to tell him I still wasn’t feeling well. He thought the plan was to be at his parents' place for the rest of the day, not knowing that Trina and Troy were in cahoots with me. I told him that I’d be there later after resting some more even though I had no intention on heading over at all.

Grace and I managed to get all of the food done in time and the other three girls finished the decorating just as Sidney’s friends started to arrive. All of his family was with him and his parents and I knew they were following him over here. I wasn’t sure what reason Trina and Troy were going to come up with on why he’d have to go back to his place, but I trusted that they’d find something that worked.

The band arrived plenty early and set up everything outside. The caterers were also there with plenty of time to get everything out. Trina called me and asked if everything was set to bring him over. I told her we were ready and she said they’d be here soon. Things were going off without a hitch and I couldn’t wait for Sidney to get home for his last birthday present.

Sidney hung up the phone with a frown. Tanner still wasn’t feeling well and he hated that. He especially hated that she felt sick these past two days. He tried to forget about it for now and enjoy his day. She said she’d be there later so he should just focus on his family right now.

“Hey, Sid?” his mom called to him a few hours later.

“Yeah, Mom?”

“I just talked to Tanner and she said she’s feeling better and wants to come over. The only problem is that something’s going on with the girls’ rental car. Do you want to go get them or should I go?” she asked.

“I’ll go get them,” he told her. As much fun as he was having today, he needed a breather and the drive over would do that for him.

He left Max with his family, grabbed his keys and walked out to his car after telling his family where he was headed. He pulled out of the driveway, cranked the tunes and headed back to his house to pick up the girls. There was a smile on his face the whole way because Tanner was feeling better.

Part of the way to his house his car stalled out. He looked down at the dashboard in frustration and saw that he was out of gas. How was he out of gas? He thought he’d just filled it up two days ago. He groaned and pulled out his phone to call his dad. A little bit later his father showed up with a gas can.

“I don’t know how this happened!” he exclaimed.

“You probably just got too caught up in the excitement to check. Don’t worry about it,” his father told him reassuringly. “I didn’t bring much gas so I’ll just follow you back and then I’ll drive everyone back to the house.”

Sidney agreed and got back into his car. He waited until his father was ready to go before pulling back out onto the road and finishing the drive to his house. They pulled in and he got out of his car.

“Hey, Sid, can you help me with something in back real quick?” Lisa asked, popping out of the house.

“Yeah, sure,” he agreed. He diverted his route to the front door and followed her around the house with his father on his heel.

“Surprise!” a chorus of people yelled out.

He looked around in shock to see not only Tanner and the girls, but all of his friends, and his whole family. Hadn’t his family just been at his parents’ house? A smile broke out over his face as a band started to play ‘Happy Birthday’ and every joined in to sing. There were black and gold balloons tied to trees, along with numerous chairs and tables lined with the same colors.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” he cried out turning to his dad.

“Don’t look at me. Every bit of this was Tanner. It was her idea and she did everything herself,” he told Sidney. Sidney turned to Tanner to see her grinning at him from ear to ear.

“You haven’t been sick at all, have you?” he asked her, wrapping her into a big hug.

“Not in the least,” she confessed with a devilish smile.

“This is amazing. Thank you.” She kissed him in response and led him towards everyone.

Sidney quickly learned that Tanner had put this party into motion as soon as she’d heard that the Cup was coming on his birthday. He also learned that his car’s gas tank had been emptied on purpose so that he’d stall out so his family could get from one house to other and beat him there. He had to hand it to everyone, they’d gone all out for him.

He spent the rest of the day hanging out at his house with his friends and family listening to the band play long into the night. It was probably the best day of his entire life and he had Tanner to thank for it all. She’d gone above and beyond for him and he wasn’t sure that he could ever make her realize just how much that had meant to him.

Dusk started to fall and everyone was still there enjoying themselves. Then a hush fell over the crowd and Sidney started to look around, trying to figure out why. He froze when he saw Tanner walking out of his house, a grin on her face, carrying a very large penguin shaped cake with candles forming the number 87 on it. The band struck up ‘Happy Birthday’ again and everyone joined in like before. He gave Tanner a wicked smile before blowing out his candles.

“Where did you find a cake like this?” he asked her as he cut the first slice. She gave him an offended look.

“I made it!” she yelled at him. He looked at her in shock.

“You did not.”

“I did too!”

“How come you never told me you could do this?” he questioned.

“With everything that’s happened so far in our relationship, I never had the chance to showcase this particular talent,” she explained. He gave her a long kiss which received cheers from the crowd.

Night fell and his family began to head out. All of them made sure to stop by to congratulate him before they left. His friends stayed much later, and he didn’t mind at all. It was late into the night when the last person left. Tanner’s friends and Max all bade them goodnight before retiring to their rooms leaving him alone with her.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough for doing this for me,” he told her when they fell into bed.

“You don’t have to thank me. I wanted to do it. You deserved it,” she replied. He pulled her to him and kissed her.

“Have I told you today how much I love you?” he asked.

“Only a few million times,” she joked.

“Then it wasn’t enough. I love you, Tanner Falco.”

“I love you too, Sidney Crosby.”

He glanced at his dresser and saw the Stanley Cup sitting on top of it. He knew that tomorrow he’d have to part with it, but he didn’t care. It was something he’d worked for since he was a boy, and was the symbol of one of the most important things in his life. He looked back at Tanner and smiled. The Cup could go tomorrow but he’d still be holding the one thing that was most important to him long after it was gone.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chapter 41

Sidney lay curled up in bed next to Tanner, unable to sleep. He’d been wired since the day before. His alarm was going to go off in 10 minutes and then he was going to head out to pick up the Cup. Tanner had sent him up to bed early hoping he’d get some sleep, but it hadn’t happened. He’d curled up to her immediately when she’d come to bed hoping that would help him sleep. He’d managed to sleep on and off a little bit, but he was wide awake now.

For the next 10 minutes he decided he was just going to enjoy the last little bit of time he’d have alone with Tanner before the excitement of the next two days. They were going to be a whirlwind but he was looking forward to them and glad Tanner was here to experience them with him. The alarm went off and he quickly turned it off.

“Good morning,” he whispered to Tanner when he curled back up to her. She pulled her knees up to her chest and groaned. “Are you okay?” She made some sort of half whine, half moan noise in response. “Tanner, what’s wrong?”

“I think I’m going to be sick,” she mumbled, burying her head into her pillow. His heart dropped a little bit. This couldn’t be happening. She couldn’t be having a bad day today. She had to be there with him.

“Do you need me to help you into the bathroom?” he asked. She shook her head and pulled her knees even closer to her chest.

“I think if I move I’ll get sick immediately. Maybe this will pass.” She kept her eyes squeezed closed and was taking long deep breaths. He knew she was really feeling bad if she was doing that.

“I can’t believe this is happening to you today,” he groaned as he placed a kiss on her cheek.

“I’m sorry,” she sighed and he saw a tear fall down her cheek.

“No, don’t apologize. It’s not your fault. I just hate that you feel like this ever. You know that.”

“You should start getting ready. Maybe I’ll feel better soon. I just need to lie here for a minute.” He kissed her forehead before getting out of bed.

He moved around the room in the dark, grabbing his clothes and making his way into the bathroom to get ready. He was upset and disappointed about everything. He wanted Tanner there next to him for everything, but he couldn’t make her do that when she was obviously feeling like she was. It just wasn’t fair that she had to go through this. He finished up and walked back into the bedroom.

“Are you feeling any better?” he asked as he sat down on the bed. Tanner was still curled up in the same position she was in when he’d left the room.

“Worse,” she grumbled. He sighed. “I think I have to stay here today. I’ll never make it to the cruise tonight if I push it.” He knew she was right, but he didn’t like it.

“Are you sure?” She nodded and he frowned. This was not how he’d pictured his day starting. “Okay. I have to get going or I’ll be late. I hate that you’re feeling like this. I wish you could come with me.”

“I’ll see you later though. Have fun with everything. And happy birthday.”

“Thanks. I love you. I’ll see you tonight.” She attempted a smile that looked more like a grimace. He gave her one last kiss before making his way downstairs.

“Morning,” Hailey greeted him when he walked into the kitchen. He nearly jumped out of his skin.

“What the hell are you doing up so early?” he asked, his heart racing. She looked up at him and laughed as she took a sip of her coffee and turned the page of the newspaper.

“I’m a morning person,” she replied. He looked at her skeptically.

“I’ve never seen you awake before noon,” he joked. She laughed again.

“You were only at our place on mornings after I was out drinking all night,” she shot back. “Where’s Tanner?”

“She’s not feeling well so she decided to stay back for the day so she can hopefully come out tonight for the cruise,” he told her. She scrunched up her face.

“That’s no good. I’ll go up and check on her in a bit.”

“Thanks. I’ve gotta get going. I’ll see all of you tonight.” Hailey nodded and he left the house to pick up his family. Then it was on to get the Cup.

I stayed curled up in bed after Sidney left, wishing my headache would just go away. I heard footsteps in the hallway and a quiet knock on the door. Before I could say anything I heard the door creak open slowly.

“Tanner?” I heard Hailey whisper.

“I’m awake,” I said. She walked over and sat down on the bed.

“He’s gone.” I threw the blankets off of me and rolled over. “Nice acting job. He looked really concerned.”

“Well, I didn’t have to do a ton of acting. I have a killer headache,” I told her.

“Do you want to get some more sleep then?” she asked.

“No, there’s too much to do. I’ll get Grace. You get Lisa and Kelly.” She nodded before leaving the room.

I walked down the hall to the room Grace was using. I knocked on the door but there was no response. I opened the door and could see Grace sleeping. I called out to her but she didn’t move. I made my way over to the bed and considered how to wake her up. I launched myself onto the bed, causing the mattress to bounce her in the air.

“What the hell?!” she yelled, jolting awake. I giggled and she glared at me.

“Sidney’s gone. It’s time to get up.”

“I could kill you.”

“You were dead to the world. I couldn’t think of any other way to wake you.” She glared at me in response. “Okay, well, we need to get going soon. Meet downstairs in an hour?” She just continued to glare and I laughed before getting up and walking out of the room.

An hour later all five of us were sitting in the kitchen having breakfast. I went over everything that we needed to do that day. I’d thought about splitting the group up to get things done quicker, but I wanted everything done perfectly so we stayed together. Once breakfast was over we piled into a car and headed out.

Hours later we were back at the house carting things inside. We had to store everything in the basement which was a huge pain in the ass, but necessary. Once all of that was done we sat down and started diagramming and planning out a schedule for the next day. We finished with just enough time to get ready for the cruise that night.

“How are you feeling?” Sid asked when I arrived later. I shrugged, still putting on the act.

“Not great, but I didn’t want to miss this,” I told him. He smiled at me sadly and I almost felt bad for misleading him, but I knew it would be worth it.

“Tanner!” I heard an accented male voice yell. I turned and smiled as I was enveloped in a hug.

“Hi, Max. How are you?”

“Fantastic. I’m glad you felt well enough to come out tonight.”

“Do you think I would risk not seeing you? Not a chance,” I joked. He grinned at me as we filed onto the boat.

The cruise was a lot of fun. Sidney’s friends and family were all there and Max was as entertaining as always. When we finally got back to Sid’s it didn’t take much convincing to get him to go right upstairs to bed with me. I was afraid that he’d figure out something was going on if he stayed downstairs too long.

“Do you want your presents now?” I asked when we got into bed that night. He looked over at me and grinned.

“You got me presents?” he asked giddily, rubbing his hands together. I rolled my eyes at him and leaned over, pulling the two presents out from under the bed.

“They’re really not anything special. I couldn’t really get out to get you anything, so I’m sorry that they’re kind of lame,” I told him.

He placed a kiss on my forehead before deciding which gift to open first. Sidney chose the bigger one first and I had to contain my giggle. He ripped the paper off and looked down at the stuffed pig in confusion. He held it up to me with a questioning look on his face.

“Thanks?” he questioned. I laughed.

“When I was at your parents’ I noticed you were missing something that I knew I had to replace. While I don’t know what the original Puckchop looked like, I thought this guy was cute enough to be a replacement.” Sidney started to laugh.

“I’ll never live that story down, will I?” I shook my head with a grin on my face.

He moved on to the second gift and my smile faded. I hoped it wasn’t too lame or sentimental for him. He ripped the paper off and then looked at the cover of the album for a minute before looking up at me. I averted my eyes, still nervous about how he’d feel. He opened the album and started flipping through pages. It was a basic scrapbook, full of pictures, quotes, and mementos from our relationship. When he was done, he closed the book and didn’t say a word.

“It sucks, I know. I’m sorry. I swear I do better than this with presents when I can actually get out of the house,” I started to ramble. He shut me up by placing his lips on mine. I melted into the kiss, forgetting about my worries.

“This is the best gift anyone has ever given me,” he whispered as he pulled away. I smiled while keeping my forehead pressed to his.

“Really?” He smiled too.

“I mean it. You just have to promise me one thing.”


“Keep this updated.” My smile grew and I kissed him.

“I will.” We laid back on the bed and cuddled up together.

“I love you, Tanner. Thank you.” He kissed me again before we fell asleep.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chapter 40

I groaned as I tried to find any comfortable position. I was having an awful day and the combination of the aches in my body and an upset stomach were making it impossible for me to even lie down comfortably. Just one more month, Tanner, just one more, I told myself.

I looked towards the window where the curtains were drawn to keep it as dark as possible in the bedroom. I could see a sliver of sunshine that had made its way through and grimaced. It was a nice day and I couldn’t even enjoy it. Sometimes I really hated my life.

I decided that maybe some music would help me fall asleep and rolled over to open the drawer of the nightstand. Halfway there I vaguely remembered Sidney taking my iPod and putting it into the nightstand on his side when I’d been almost completely asleep the day before. I rolled in the other direction and opened his drawer. Taylor’s words from a few weeks before popped into my head when I looked inside.

Sitting there in the drawer was a ring box. My breath had caught in my throat as I looked at it. I’d been putting off talking to Sidney about Taylor saying she couldn’t wait to have me as a sister because I was scared. As much as I loved Sidney, I just didn’t know that I was ready for marriage.

Now I was staring down at a little black box that could only be holding a ring. Was he an idiot? Did he really try to hide it in the drawer of one of the nightstands in the bedroom we shared? Who does that? I wanted to take my eyes off of it, to just shut the drawer and pretend I’d never seen anything, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I reached in and grabbed the box.

“What are you doing?” I dropped the box and spun around to see Sidney standing in the doorway. I swore I saw panic flash through his eyes.

“What? Nothing.” He looked at me skeptically as he started to walk towards the bed. “My iPod. I wanted my iPod,” I told him, suddenly remembering why I’d opened the drawer in the first place as I internally cursed myself for my real smooth initial response to his question. I hastily grabbed the iPod and held it up for Sidney to see as I slammed the drawer shut with my other hand.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, sitting down beside me.

“Like death warmed over.” He sighed and smiled sadly at me.

“Well, that’s too bad. I had a surprise for you, but maybe I should just wait.” My interest was piqued.

“No, I’m exaggerating. Well, only slightly, but it was still an exaggeration.” His smile grew.

“Well, if that’s the case.” He stood up and moved as far away from the bed as he could get before turning towards the door. “Come on in!” he yelled.

I furrowed my brow in confusion. Who or what was coming into the bedroom? I heard the squealing before I saw anyone. My eyes widened as I started to figure it out. Suddenly I was bum rushed by four very familiar girls. I was so excited to see them that I hardly felt the pain as my best friends enveloped me into a group hug.

“What are you guys doing here?” I asked with a smile when we finally pulled apart. They had all joined me on the bed.

“That guy invited us up to visit and help celebrate the cup coming to Cole Harbour in two days,” Kelly replied, pointing over at Sidney. I turned to look at him and he was grinning back at me.

“You’re perfect,” I told him.

“Gag,” Lisa joked as the rest of the girls joined her in making gagging noises.

“I’ll let you guys hang out for a bit,” Sidney threw out before giving a small wave and walking out of the room.

“I can’t believe you four managed to keep this a secret. Especially you, Grace.”

“Oh fuck off,” she shot at me with a laugh.

The five of us stretched out on the king size bed and talked. Seeing them was the perfect antidote for the pain and nausea I was feeling earlier. They had faded completely in my good mood. We chatted until Sidney came back up and asked what everyone wanted to do for dinner.





Sidney looked over at me with wide eyes and I just laughed and shrugged. Sidney grumbled something about being a butler before leaving the room again. A few minutes later I heard his car start up.

“He didn’t even ask what we wanted,” Hailey pouted.

“Don’t worry, whatever you’d want he’ll probably bring back,” I assured her.

“Okay, so tell us about how things have been here lately” Kelly urged. I sighed as an image of the ring box flashed into my head.

“You have no idea how glad I am that you guys are here right now. I really needed someone to talk to.”

“What’s going on?” Lisa asked. I glanced at the nightstand before saying anything.

“When I was staying at his parents’ house Taylor and I were talking. She basically told me that the whole family loves me. Then right before she left the room she made a comment about not being able to wait to have me as a sister.”

“What?!” Grace squealed. I nodded as they all grinned at me. One by one the smiles faded as they saw that I wasn’t exactly as thrilled as they all seemed to be.

“Why aren’t you happy about this?” Hailey questioned.

“I don’t know if I’m ready for that. Obviously I want to get married someday, and unless something awful happens I want it to be to Sidney. I just think I have way too much going on in my life right now for that. Sure after next month the chemo’s done, but I have to finish school and then get a job. I have no idea what that’s going to entail or how busy I’ll be,” I explained.

“Have you talked to him about it?” Kelly wondered. I shook my head.

“I kept putting it off because I wasn’t sure he was even going to, but then today I found it.”

“Found what?” Lisa wanted to know.

I reached over and opened the drawer of Sidney’s nightstand. I heard the collective gasp as they all looked in. I watched as Grace stuck her hand in the drawer and pulled out the ring box. I felt all four pairs of eyes on me.

“Have you looked at it?” Grace asked. I shook my head. Hailey snatched the box out of Grace’s hands.

“Well, you are now,” she said.

Before I could stop her she had the box open. I felt myself cringing even before I saw the ring. There had to be some sort of rule against this. All five of us sat staring in the box and my eyes went wide when I saw it. Suddenly Kelly broke the silence when she started to giggle.

“He’s going to propose to you with the Shattuck-St. Mary’s national championship ring from high school?” she joked.

“Tanner, you’re an idiot,” Lisa threw in, grabbing the box from Hailey, snapping it shut, and then throwing it at me. I felt relief flow through me as I joined the others in their laughter. I was just apparently crazy.

“Just talk to him, Tan. You don’t have to ask him if he’s going to propose. Just have a talk about your futures together,” Grace suggested.

The next day was spent mostly trying to prepare for the Cup’s arrival the following morning. Things were hectic and I spent most of the day sitting on the couch giving out directions and orders every time Sidney started to panic about something not going right. He wanted the day to be perfect, and I didn’t blame him. Not only did he get a day with the Cup he’d battled so hard for, but it was his birthday too. And I had my own plans for that.

When it seemed like everything was under control I told Sid that I wanted to take the girls for coffee. The five of us headed out, going shopping instead. We picked up everything I was going to need, and then a present for Sidney. When we got home I left everything in the car so the surprise wouldn’t be ruined.

That night Sidney could barely even eat, he was so giddy. It was like a kid on Christmas Eve who is so excited for Santa that he can’t even sleep. I sent Sidney up to bed early because of his early wake up the next day and then the girls and I snuck everything inside. We discussed our plan for the next day and then I headed upstairs to bed myself. I was going to need all the sleep I could get.