Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chapter 52

I hope everyone has a Happy New Years! Sorry this chapter couldn't be a little more upbeat for the occasion, but you know how it goes. Have a safe and fun night tonight!

Sidney stared at the door long after Tanner walked out of it. What had happened? Two days ago everything between them was fine and now he felt like it had all fallen apart. He needed to figure out how and why. It was obvious what the last straw for Tanner had been, but how had it gotten to that point?

He struggled to think back on the last week, the last few weeks, to see if he could remember anything that would signal that things had been headed south, but nothing came to mind. Everything had been normal and then they’d snapped, but things didn’t just suddenly break down like that. Something had to have started to put stress on their relationship to cause tonight.

He turned and walked into the living room, collapsing down on the couch with his head in his hands. He wasn’t going to be able to handle this until he knew what had gone wrong. He started to work backwards through the events in the last day or two hoping to find the cause. It was the only way he could think to figure it out.

Tanner had left because of Tamara. He’d had Tamara over for dinner despite knowing how much Tanner didn’t like her. Hell, he didn’t even like her. Then he’d sent Tamara down to the wine cellar to get a bottle. He hadn’t looked at what she’d chosen when she opened it and poured a glass for each of them. He should have paid attention. He honestly hadn’t even noticed what bottle of wine it was until Tanner told him. For that he’d never forgive himself.

He’d invited Tamara over to get back at Tanner. It was petty, but he had been hurt. She hadn’t come to bed the night before, instead choosing to sleep in a guest room. They’d had arguments before, but they’d always gone to bed together. Then she hadn’t come down for breakfast like she always did and when he’d called home after practice she wasn’t there. He’d guessed and gone to the deli she frequented for lunch and saw her there smiling and laughing with another guy.

It wasn’t even the fact that she was having lunch with another guy that hurt. It was the look on her face that hurt him. He saw that sparkle in her eyes when she laughed that he felt he hadn’t seen in so long. He wasn’t sure when exactly he’d realized it had gone away, but he knew it wasn’t there. Yet when he saw them laughing together, he saw it again. And it was directed at someone that wasn’t him. It stung more than he’d like to admit.

Tanner hadn’t come to bed the night before because of their argument. He’d been angry about the game that night and when he’d gotten off the ice all he could think of was seeing Tanner smile at him and he knew it would all fade away. He’d walked into the family lounge only to have the girls tell him Tanner hadn’t shown up to the game. She hadn’t even called or texted him to tell him she wasn’t going to be there and no one else knew where she was, including Grace.

He wasn’t angry at her for not going, he was angry at her for not telling him or anyone else for that matter. If she’d told him earlier in the day that she was going to stay home and work on her paper he would have been fine with it. If she’d called and left a message for him to find on his phone after the game he would have been fine with it. Instead there had been nothing. Not a word from her about where she was.

For all he knew something had happened to her, and after the past year that she’d had, he was legitimately worried. He spent every day wondering if he was going to come home to bad news. Every time Tanner sneezed, coughed, even looked tired he had to fight the urge to drag her to the hospital to make sure everything was okay. When she hadn’t shown up to the game and hadn’t called anyone to tell them she wouldn’t be there he’d just about panicked.

Instead he’d gotten home to find her sitting at the desk in front of the computer. She hadn’t even come out to see him when he’d gotten home. It was also apparent that she hadn’t even checked in on the game. Did she care that little about what he did? She couldn’t take two seconds to either check the score for a final or walk out of the office and ask him about it?

They’d argued about her not being at the game, but he was pretty sure they both knew they weren’t really upset about that. Now that he’d thought back on it he knew why they’d argued. He was angry because she hadn’t shown any concern for what had gone on with him that night and for making him worry about her. She was apparently still angry at him for not telling her about who he was a year ago.

He was so tired. He’d spent the last year trying to be perfect for her. It was exhausting. He’d screwed up back then, he could admit that, but hadn’t she told him that she forgave him and she was past that? Didn’t that make her a liar too? He couldn’t do it anymore. He couldn’t walk on egg shells around her because he was afraid she’d get mad. People screwed up. He would screw up. She was just going to have to accept that if she wanted to be with him. He didn’t expect her to be perfect so why should he have to be?

He got up and walked upstairs to go to bed. He walked into the bedroom and was met by pictures of the two of them smiling out at him. He turned around and walked out and headed into a guest room. He just couldn’t sleep in their bed until he knew they’d be okay. They had a lot of things to talk about, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. He was leaving tomorrow for a week long road trip.

He woke up the next morning when he heard a bang. He bolted upright in bed and listened for a moment. He heard another sound come from their bedroom. Tanner was home. Sidney jumped out of bed and rushed into the room, eager to get things talked out. He froze just inside the doorway when he saw Lisa and Kelly dragging suitcases out of the closet.

“What are you doing?” he asked. They both jumped at the sound of his voice and then turned to look at him. Boy, if looks could kill.

“Getting more of Tanner’s stuff,” Lisa said coldly.

“What do you mean? Why?” he questioned, a knot forming in his stomach.

“Are you that fucking dumb?” Kelly shot at him. Lisa elbowed her in the ribs and gave her a small shake of her head. Then she turned her attention back to Sidney.

“Tanner asked us to get some things,” Lisa told him. For the first time, Sidney noticed that there were other bags packed and sitting near the door where he was standing. A lot of bags.

“Why would she need all of this?” He could hear the shake in his own voice. He also felt like he knew the answer, but he didn’t like it. He was hoping that there was some other excuse. He looked between Lisa and Kelly who were avoiding his gaze and chewing on their lips nervously.
“We thought you’d be at practice already,” Kelly said quietly, refusing to answer him.

“We’re not practicing this morning because we’re flying to Anaheim. Just answer me.”

“Maybe you should just talk to Tanner later,” Lisa suggested.

“Tell me!” he shouted in a small panic.

“She told us she was moving into Grace’s guest room for a while,” Kelly said, her eyes on the floor.

He felt like he’d been punched. Tanner was moving out? It had been his fear and they’d just confirmed it. This couldn’t be happening, could it? They hadn’t even talked, figured things out, so how could she just be moving out? Was it because of the wine, the argument, or the fact that he’d lied to her a year ago? He had to know what it was.

“I’m going over there,” he said more to himself than to the two girls standing in front of him looking more than uncomfortable.

“No! You can’t,” Lisa told him.

“Why not?” he demanded.

“She’s not there right now. She went into school early to study for her exam this afternoon,” Kelly explained.

Sidney felt his stomach lurch. Tanner never studied in the same place. Sometimes she’d go to the library, sometimes one of the many computer labs. Other times she’d pick an empty classroom, whichever felt more comfortable for her at the time. He’d never find her. He left the girls standing in the bedroom and rushed to get his phone from the guest room he’d slept in.

“Tanner, it’s Sidney. We really need to talk. Please. I don’t want to leave today for the week without talking to you. Call me back. Please,” he begged into the phone when her voicemail picked up.

He sat back in the kitchen as Lisa and Kelly carted most of Tanner’s things out of the house. He held his phone the entire morning waiting for Tanner to call him back. As the hours passed he felt more and more afraid that she wasn’t going to. Eventually he ran out of time and had to hurriedly pack and get to the airport to make the flight. He boarded the plane with just one thought running through his head. Were he and Tanner over?

I hit the ignore button on my phone as I sat in a quiet corner of one of the dining halls on campus when I saw Sidney’s number pop up on the screen. I waited until I heard the alert telling me that I had a voicemail and then picked it up. I listened to Sidney’s message as my hand shook. Then I deleted the message, put my phone back down, and went back to studying.

I bypassed the breakfast I had sitting in front of me when I took a bite of my bagel and realized I just wasn’t hungry at all. I pushed the tray away from me and tried to focus on the notes I’d made the night before. Now that I was looking over them, they didn’t make a ton of sense to me.

I shouldn’t have made them last night when I was so upset. They were a jumbled mess of words that didn’t resemble the English language to me right now. I put them away and pulled out the notes from class and the textbook. They were my only hope for my exam now.

I stayed in the dining hall until my back started to hurt from leaning over the table. I still had another hour until class so I made my way into a lounge in the building where my class was. I found it empty and sprawled out on the couch in it. I continued to scan my materials, but I felt like I was retaining nothing.

Finally it was time to head to class and take the exam. I struggled my way through the entire thing, cursing Sidney the whole time. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have been able to focus and probably ace this exam. Instead I knew I was going to have to settle for a B, if I was lucky.
I wasn’t at all in the mood for my second class that day, so I put my finished 15 page paper in the professor’s mailbox and headed to my car. I drove to Grace’s apartment and fished out the keys she’d given me so that I could get in while she was at work. When I walked into the guest room I saw bags of my stuff sitting on the floor along the wall. Lisa and Kelly must have grabbed everything like I’d asked.

I felt like my heart was ripping in half as I looked at them sitting there and I had to turn and walk out into the living room. I dug out a syllabus from one of my classes and checked what was due soon. By the time Grace was home from work I was a week ahead in that class and working on getting ahead in a second one.

She didn’t say anything to me past asking what I wanted for dinner and I was grateful. I didn’t want to talk about Sidney. I wasn’t ready to talk about him. I thought about his message earlier for probably the millionth time that day and fought back the tears that threatened. Who was he to say when we talked? We’d talk when or if I was ever ready. I was the one who'd been hurt.

Grace disappeared for a while until the dinner she’d ordered showed up at the door. I wasn’t sure what she’d been doing and I didn’t ask. I wasn’t up for much conversation. When we finished eating I went back to getting ahead in my classes and Grace disappeared again. I figured she knew I wasn’t good company right now and was giving me space.

The clock hit midnight and I closed my books. I’d been going on schoolwork nonstop since Friday afternoon when I’d found out about the exam today. My head thundered with a headache, probably from tension and I rubbed my eyes a few times to try to readjust them before I got up from the couch and headed to the guest room.

I walked in and saw in surprise that there weren’t any bags sitting on the floor any longer. I opened the closet door and saw that my clothes were all hanging neatly and my shoes were organized the way I liked them. I opened the dresser drawers and found more clothes folded and put away. That was what Grace had been doing all night.

I changed and got ready for bed before pulling the covers over my head. That’s when things hit me. The anger and grief struck me all at once. I’d been doing work all day and keeping myself distracted just to ward off these impending feelings. Now that I didn’t have anything to do they’d invaded my mind.

I was in Grace’s apartment instead of my own home sleeping in bed alone instead of next to Sidney. I thought about the sight of all of my clothes hanging in a strange closet and folded in a strange dresser. I clutched at the pillows and the blankets as I curled up into a tight ball and let the sobs tear through my body. I’d never thought it was possible to feel this much pain.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chapter 51

So I'm changing the very end of last chapter. Nothing big, but I'm going to make it so that it ends right after the fight on Saturday night and this chapter picks up on Sunday morning. It doesn't change the outcome of anything, but fits better into the Pens actual schedule. Just wanted to give a heads up!

I woke up and it took me a minute to realize I was sleeping in one of the extra bedrooms. I turned off the alarm and got out of bed. I quietly made my way towards our bedroom, not sure if Sidney was awake yet. I peered into the open room and saw that the bed was made and he wasn’t in there.

It was exactly what I was counting on. I'd hoped that I wouldn't get up until he had already left for practice. I got dressed and made my way downstairs where I made myself a small breakfast. Then I packed up my things and got into my car. I drove to the library on campus where I bunkered in for the day.

Maybe I was running away from Sidney right now, but I had other things to take care of. Things between Sidney and I could wait until I'd finished my paper and taken this test. That may mean that we'd have to spend another day not speaking, but with the stress I was under from school, today would not be a good day for us to talk. I didn't want to say something I'd regret. Later on I walked into the deli where I usually grabbed lunch. I'd finished my paper, and needed a break before studying.

“Hey, don’t we have class together? Tanner, right?” an attractive guy said to me, smiling down from where he was standing. I smiled and nodded, recognizing him.

“Yeah, we do.”

“I’m Keagan,” he introduced himself, shaking my hand. “Mind if I join you?”

“No, go right ahead.”

“So was it just me, or was class really boring Friday?” Keagan asked.

“Just Friday?” I joked. He laughed.

“Yeah, you’re right. Damn electives. So what are you majoring in?”

“Animal Science major. How about you?”

“Math.” I scrunched up my nose at him.

“You must be really smart.”

“I never know how to respond when people say that. Sure, I’m good with numbers, but I don’t know five languages and I can’t cure any kind of disease.”

“I see what you mean.”

“So, I just want you to know right off the bat that I’m not trying to hit on you or anything. I know that you have a boyfriend and I have a girlfriend. Blunt, I know, but I didn’t want to be creeping you out or anything.” I laughed.

“Don’t worry, I appreciate bluntness. What’s her name?” I asked.

“Oakley. We met in class. She’s a fellow numbers geek.”

“Aw, meant to be?” I joked. I heard footsteps approach and looked up to see Sidney standing in front of us at the table. He was glaring down at Keagan.

“Am I interrupting something?” he asked, angrily. I let out a sigh.

“Keagan and I have class together. He saw me sitting here alone and wanted to keep me company.”

“How nice,” Sidney spat angrily.

“I’m going to get home. I’ll see you in class, Tanner,” Keagan said standing up. Sidney glared at him as he walked out.

“We got in a fight so you pick up the first cute guy you see?” I got up from the table and threw my sandwich away.

“Get over yourself. He has a girlfriend. He’s not remotely interested. And I’m not interested in being around you right now. I’m going to stay on campus and do some work and then I’m having dinner with Grace. I’ll see you whenever I get home tonight.” I turned my back on Sidney and stalked out of the deli. That conversation could wait until I’d calmed down.

I could hardly study. I was too upset with Sidney. Who did he think he was? He was so rude to Keagan for no reason and he was treating me like shit. I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t feel any better as I struggled to try to get some studying done at the library. I finally gave up and went to Grace’s early.

I told her all about the fight Sidney and I had and then about his attitude today. She offered to let me stay there for the night if I needed to cool down, but I declined. Sidney and I needed to have it out now or it was only going to fester and get worse. I wasn’t looking forward to getting home, but it had to happen.

I pulled into the driveway and took a deep breath before getting out of the car. I’d thought about everything I wanted to say to Sidney when I’d gotten home the entire car ride back, but now that I was home I’d forgotten it all. I walked into the house and smelled food in the kitchen, which was weird because if I wasn’t home for dinner, he usually had some sort of take-out. Then I heard a woman’s laugh.

I walked down the hall to the kitchen and froze in the doorway. Sidney was on one side of the island leaning on it with a glass of red wine in front of him. Tamara was leaning on the island from the other side with her boobs practically falling out of her shirt right in his face. I spotted the dishes and saw that someone had been cooking. There were also plates in front of both of them. He’d had her over for dinner.

“Oh, hi, Tanner,” Tamara said sounding disappointed. I looked back and forth between the two of them, anger boiling up in me.

“What’s going on?” I asked. Sidney gave me a smile completely devoid of humor and full of “I can do it too.”

“I felt like cooking and since you weren’t going to be home I invited Tamara over so it wouldn’t go to waste.”

That stung. Sidney had not once ever cooked for me. On the rare occasion he’d been in charge of dinner he’d always had something made by someone else. Now he’d cooked for her. Then I spotted the wine they were drinking. There sitting empty on the counter was the bottle of Pinot Noir that the girls had gotten me to celebrate the end of my chemo treatments. The same bottle I never wanted to open so that I’d have it as a reminder.

“You need to leave,” I said turning to Tamara.

“Excuse me?” she asked, glaring at me. “I was invited.”

“Now you’re uninvited. Get the hell out of my house.” I wasn’t sure I’d ever spoken to anyone in that tone before, but Tamara got the point. She walked out of the kitchen and out of the house a second later.

“What the hell?”

“Are you serious right now?!” I yelled at Sidney, cutting him off.

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re so upset about. I invited the neighbor over for dinner. What’s the big deal?” He had a look of anger mixed with a smugness that I wanted to smack off of him.

“You’re unbelievable.”

I turned and stormed out of the kitchen and headed straight for the stairs. I went right into the bedroom and grabbed a gym bag and began to throw clothes into it. I couldn’t be here with him tonight. Not after what he’d just done.

“Going somewhere?” he asked, coming up behind me.

“To Grace’s. I don’t know when I’ll be back.” I didn’t even bother looking at him as I said it. I just continued to pack whatever I could grab.

“You’re leaving because I had Tamara over? Fuck, Tanner, you’re being immature. You had lunch with that asshole earlier and it was okay for you, but I can’t have a meal with a girl without you flipping out?” I spun around on him.

“Don’t even compare the two! They’re so different and I don’t even know how you can’t see that!”

“How is it different, Tanner? How is what you did better than what I did?”

“Oh, so you did this to get back at me? Who’s immature now, Sidney? I feel like I should just be waiting to hear you say ‘I know you are but what am I?’” I spat at him.

“What the fuck do you want from me?!” he yelled.

“An apology, even though that’s not even close to good enough right now,” I told him.

“I have nothing to apologize for. You went behind my back and had lunch with another guy!”

“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare accuse me of anything, Sidney. Keagan is a classmate who saw I was eating alone and decided to sit down and join me. It wasn’t planned. And if you really want to get into it, why don’t I bring up the how many thousands of girls that would die to have you just for one night? The same girls that I’ve never even once said a word about, not even after I had to witness one kiss you! She fucking kissed you, Sidney and I didn’t say anything to you about it because I trust you! Apparently you can’t give me the same trust when the only thing I’ve ever done was share a table with a male at lunch.”

“And I shared a table with a female at dinner.”

“No, you didn’t. You know that she has a thing for you. You know that she’d do anything to take you from me. And you cooked for her! When was the last time you cooked for me?” He didn’t respond. “That’s right, you have nothing to say because you never have. Even when I had cancer and was going through chemo you never cooked for me, but you had no problem cooking for that gold digging whore! And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that you drank my wine. You drank my fucking wine, Sidney!”

“It was just a fucking bottle of wine!”

I felt the stinging on my hand before I even realized I’d slapped Sidney across the face. He looked at me in complete shock, covering his cheek with his hand. Even so, I found that I didn’t feel bad about it. I only wished I could do it again.

“That wasn’t just a fucking bottle of wine. That bottle was given to me by the girls when I finished chemo. That bottle symbolized the six months of hell I had to go through to save my life. I had a piece of my skull removed, a tumor taken out of my brain, and I went through chemo, getting sick almost every day for six months. That bottle was supposed to remind me that I’d gone through hell and I’d survived. You knew how much it meant to me and you let her drink it and you drank it with her. You obviously don’t care about what matters to me. I can’t even look at you right now.”

I zipped up the gym bag and picked it up. I could feel tears building, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I shoved past him and made my way downstairs. I heard him chasing after me, but I didn’t care. I grabbed my car keys, the ones for my old car, and headed for the door when I felt his hand close on my arm.

“Tanner, wait.”

“Get your fucking hands off of me.” I ripped my arm out of his grasp and walked out the front door, leaving him standing in the foyer.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter 50

At the professor’s announcement I nearly groaned out loud with the rest of the class. Having an exam and a 15 page paper I hadn’t yet started writing due on the same day was going to suck. I packed up my things and wondered why the hell he’d only given us two days notice for the Monday morning exam. Didn’t he realize it was Friday and tomorrow was Halloween? Granted, I wasn’t doing anything but going to the Pens game to celebrate, but everyone else was going out. What a jerk.

I got home and after making some lunch I immediately locked myself up in the office to get started on my paper. I thought three days was going to be enough to write it, averaging about 5 pages a day, but now with the exam I was in a big time crunch. I’d only done some of the research and wasted a couple of hours finishing that up. I never heard Sidney come home and only realized he was when he placed a kiss on the top of my head.

“You know it’s Friday, right?” he asked as he looked over my shoulder at the computer screen in front of me.

“Well, you already know I had that 15 pager to write this weekend, but now one of my professors decided to give our class an exam on Monday morning. I’m going to be sitting in this spot all weekend,” I complained.

“You’ll do fine,” Sidney assured me, obviously hearing the stress in my voice.

I sat at the computer researching and typing away the rest of Friday night, only stopping to eat the dinner Sidney had ordered in for us. I felt bad because I usually cooked for him the night before a game, but with everything I had to do he’d insisted on letting me keep working and just ordering in.

I went to bed late that night and then woke up with Sidney on Saturday morning. I grabbed a cup of coffee and locked myself back into the office. I read what I’d written the night before and hated the entire thing. The entire morning was wasted rewriting the first five pages. When I read over them again I was satisfied and continued on. Sidney came in before he left for the game that night to kiss me goodbye. I hardly acknowledged him, completely in the zone.

My stomach finally stopped me a little while later as I realized I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I stretched out and got up from the desk to walk out into the kitchen. It was completely dark outside and in the house. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 8:00. Shit, the game. I started to rush upstairs to jump into the shower and change when I realized by the time I got to the rink the game would be almost over.

I sighed and turned back to the kitchen, grabbing some leftovers and heating them up. I was going to be missing my first game this season, but there was nothing that could be done. I ate quickly and headed back into the office to write. As I reached my 12th page I heard the door from the garage to the kitchen open and then slam shut. The Pens must have lost and Sidney was obviously pissed.

I decided to just stay in the office and out of Sidney’s way until he cooled down a little bit. I’d learned in the short amount of time the season had been going on to just let Sidney stew until he was calm before trying to talk to him about anything. I heard a few more bangs before he flung open the office door. I turned to look at him, and he looked ready to kill someone.

“We lost, just so you know,” he spit out heatedly. Why the hell was he taking the game out on me?

“I figured. I’m sorry,” I told him softly.

“Where the fuck were you?” he asked angrily.

“Right here writing my paper. I’m sorry I missed the game, I just lost track of time,” I apologized.

“Seriously, Tanner? It’s the last game at home for a week and a half and you couldn’t bother to show up?” I knew I should just keep my mouth shut because he was probably just pissed about how the game had gone, but what he said struck a nerve.

“You’re kidding, right? I had a 15 page paper to write that I’m not done with and I have to study for an exam still. I meant to go to the game, but lost track of time like I told you. Even so, I probably needed these few hours to continue working on things,” I shot at him.

“I needed you there tonight!” he yelled. I rolled my eyes at him.

“Right, because you would have played better with me in the crowd,” I scoffed. It was the wrong move on my part and I knew it the second it left my mouth. I watched as Sidney’s face turned red in anger and he balled up his fists.

“Don’t even begin to question what makes me play better or worse,” he started. I put a hand up to stop him.

“I’m sorry, okay? I’m just stressed out about my schoolwork. I’m sorry I missed your game, but this really was more important,” I told him.

“More important than my career?” he asked through clenched teeth. That question is what made me snap.

“I highly doubt one game is going to ruin your career, Sidney. And if you must know, this paper and exam are pretty fucking crucial to my career,” I responded, my voice rising a little.

“Are we going to do this right now? Are we going to have a pissing match about who’s livelihoods are more important?” Sidney questioned. I narrowed my eyes at him.

“I told you a long time ago and then repeated it numerous times that there were going to be times when I couldn’t go to a game because I had other things going on. I asked you repeatedly if you could handle that and you said you could. I didn’t go to one game and you’re flipping out. Either you forgot that or you lied to me,” I accused. His eyes widened in fury.

“You’re accusing me of lying to you?!” he yelled.

“You’ve done it before!” I screamed out. Suddenly it hit me. Everything I’d been feeling lately made sense. I realized what had been eating at me the past week or so. I was still angry at Sidney for lying to me about who he was.

“Pardon?” I wanted to take a breather, to calm down and assess my newfound feelings on all of this, but I was on a roll and I couldn’t seem to make myself shut my mouth.

“You lied to me about who you were. You led me on for almost two months pretending to be someone else. Not a great track record for you.” He looked at me in shock. I could practically read his thoughts. Why the hell almost a year later was I bringing that back up? I didn’t quite know why it was suddenly invading my thoughts, but it was there, and I was supremely pissed off about it.

“I thought that was in the past. I thought we’d gotten past that. I thought I’d explained it all to you and you understood.”

“Well I don’t understand! I don’t understand why you would lie to me. I can’t help but wonder how long you would have gone on with the lie and let me believe that you were nothing special, no big deal. How long would you have lied to me, Sidney?” I wanted to hear what he had to say. I wanted to know how long he would have kept the charade up.

“I was going to tell you. I’d been trying to find the right time.” Not good enough.

“How fucking long, Sidney?” I shouted.

“You’re psychotic,” he shot.

“And you’re an egotistical liar,” I returned.

“Okay, you’re jumping all over the map right now, Tanner. Explain this to me. How did we get from fighting about you being at my game to me being egotistical and a liar? This doesn’t make any sense!”

“It makes complete sense. You’re pissed off because you lost and I wasn’t there to see it. You walked in here basically telling me your career is more important than mine and you had no intention of being okay with me missing games even after you told me it was fine. Egotistical and liar fit right in there!”

“I can’t even be around you right now.”

“Then get the fuck out. You’re the one who barged in here screaming and yelling. If you didn’t want to fight you shouldn’t have come in guns blazing.”

Sidney stood in the doorway glaring at me for a moment, neither of us saying a word. Finally he grabbed the doorknob and slammed the door behind him as he left the office. I continued to glare at the closed door as I heard his stomping footsteps head upstairs. Who the hell did he think he was?

I turned back to the computer screen but I knew I wasn’t going to get anything else done tonight. I saved the paper, turned off the computer, and slammed the laptop shut. I stayed sitting in the office for a good half an hour stewing over the fight we’d just had and my realization that I still had anger in me about Sidney lying to me about who he was at the beginning of our relationship.

The more I thought about it, the more confused and angry I got. I was confused because I had no idea why now, after almost a year I was suddenly angry about it all over again. Then the more I tried to figure it out the angrier I got over him doing it. I finally realized I wasn’t going to come to terms with it all that night and decided to just go to bed.

Not even remotely close to wanting to see Sidney I headed into one of the guest rooms furthest from our bedroom. I got into bed and struggled to shut my brain off and get to sleep in a bed and bedroom I’d never slept in before.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chapter 49

Grace and I walked around the Halloween store trying to figure out Halloween costumes. The guys were leaving it up to us to come up with them. We were throwing out ideas as we passed costumes. Suddenly we both saw the same costume and started to laugh. I made a phone call to Max to find out if he had a costume yet. When he said he didn’t we told him he didn’t have to worry about buying one.

We got what we could at the Halloween store and then made our way around town picking up the rest of the supplies necessary. Thus started the debate about who was going to be what. We sat at her apartment with the costumes set in a line on the floor discussing who would be best as what.

After a little deliberation we were giggling with excitement when we had it figured out. The guys were probably going to hate us, but they were going to have to deal with it. I grabbed the costumes for Max, Sidney, and I and headed out with Grace keeping Jordan’s.

I had to get home to keep watch over Tamara while she interviewed Sidney. When I glanced at the clock I realized that I had just enough time to swing by Max’s and drop off his costume. I pulled up and carried it to his door. He opened the door with a smile and a curious expression when he saw me.

“So what do you have planned for me?” he asked as I stepped in through the doorway. I pulled his costume out of the bag and held it up. He began to laugh when he saw what I was holding.

“You like?” I asked, laughing along with him. He merely laughed in response.

“Please tell me Crosby’s going to look like an asshole,” he begged.

“Is there any way he can’t?” I returned. He laughed again and I left him with his costume and headed home.

I pulled into the driveway and into the garage. I grabbed our stuff out of the trunk of the car and carried the bags inside. Once I was in the house I heard voices and knew that Tamara was already there. I carried the bags to the living room where they were sitting. I was happy to see that Sidney was sitting in the chair away from where Tamara was seated on the couch. He looked up and smiled when he saw me.

“Hey, Tanner,” he said. Tamara glanced over and scowled at me.

“Hey guys. Sorry to interrupt,” I apologized.

“Are those Halloween costumes?” Sidney asked. I nodded and pulled them out of the bags. He groaned when he saw what they were. “Are you serious with those?”

“You should see Max,” I joked. He laughed in understanding. “Okay, I’ll let you two get back to it.”

I carried the bags upstairs and put the costumes in the closet. Then I headed back downstairs and into the office which was right next to the living room. I left the door open so I could hear the conversation going on between them. I shook my head and rolled my eyes too many times to count. Tamara kept getting off topic and asking Sidney personal questions.

I pretended to be working on a paper when I heard them finish. I glanced out through the door as they walked past to the front door. Tamara thanked Sidney for letting her use him for her paper and he was polite enough to thank her back. I got up from my seat to walk out when I heard the front door open. Just as I made it into the hallway I watched Tamara throw her arms around Sidney in a hug.

I opened my eyes wide in surprise. She was certainly in no hurry to let go of him. I felt anger bubble up in me as she very slowly pulled away from him while he struggled to untangle himself from her arms. She didn’t notice me standing there and leaned up to kiss him on the cheek. I was about to say something when Sidney jerked his head back and took a step away from her. She gave him one last smile before walking out.

“What the fuck was that?” I hissed out when the door was closed behind her.

“I didn’t do anything,” Sidney started. I let out a growl of anger.

“I know, I saw the whole thing. Who the hell does she think she is?!” Sidney sighed.

“Just let it go, Tanner, please,” he begged. I glared at him. Let it go? Really? Would he just let it go if some guy was hardcore hitting on me?

“No, Sidney, this is getting ridiculous. It’s gone from ignoring me, to dressing like a whore, to hugging and kissing you. This needs to stop, and it needs to stop now,” I argued.

“What do you want me to do? It’s not like I’m hanging out with her. I did an interview with her for a school project,” he said. I shook my head.

“No, you didn’t. I could hear it all. She asked you more questions about yourself and your likes and dislikes than about any injury you’ve had.”

“Because I could see that coming,” he spat sarcastically. I saw this conversation heading downhill quickly and took a deep breath to try and calm myself.

“I know, I’m sorry. She’s just driving me crazy.” He walked over and pulled me into a hug.

“I’m sorry too. I’ll turn her down for anything she asks from now on, okay?” I nodded and angled my face up to his. He kissed me and we both let the topic drop.

A few days later Grace, Jordan, and Max met us at our house so we could all walk into the team’s Halloween party together. We put the finishing touches on the costumes, grabbed our prop and headed out. Once there we paused outside the door and put the cardboard box we’d cut and painted around the five of us. Then we burst through the door honking the horn we’d bought for it. The place erupted in laughter as we ran in with Sidney continuously blasting the horn. Once we reached the middle of the room we paused for effect.

“Nice Mystery Machine!” Marc called out to us. Sidney gave another honk and Max barked like the dog he was before we pulled the makeshift van off of us.

“Aw, Fred and Daphne, you look so cute!” Vero exclaimed to Sidney and I.

“I thought Velma would be too smart to date Shaggy,” Kris Letang joked, aiming it at Grace and Jordan.

“How about a Scooby treat?” Tyler Kennedy asked as he handed Max a beer.

“Rank roo,” Max replied in his best Scooby voice.

We all grabbed drinks and proceeded to spend the entire night drinking and hanging out. Games of flip cup and beer pong broke out as the night went on. Overall it was a great night full of laughter and jokes. At some point Max had started corralling people inside the Mystery Machine as he “drove” it around recklessly, running into just about everything in sight, and then blaming it on having paws instead of hands.

By the time we left that night our costumes were disheveled, the Mystery Machine was in pieces, and we had a lot of great memories we were sure to only remember when we looked through the many pictures that had been taken. When Sidney and I fell into bed later that night I fully expected a repeat of the morning I’d had after my birthday. I wasn’t let down.

Sidney didn’t even wait for me to bring up needing greasy home fries before grabbing the car keys and leading me to the car. We walked into the diner that was quickly becoming our favorite breakfast spot and had breakfast. I ate almost half of my Belgian waffle and order of home fries before passing it along to Sidney like I always did.

As we sat there eating I noticed how familiar it was all getting. It was nice to fall back into a normal routine. For the first time in almost a year I was healthy and my only worry was finishing school. Despite it all something was gnawing at me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I tried to push the thought away and be grateful for everything, but I couldn’t completely do it. Call it woman's intuition, instinct, or whatever you want, but there was something. What was it that was bugging me?