I'm dreamin' tonight of a place I love
Even more then I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you--
"HEY! Loverboy!" I jumped startled and raised my glance, away from the ice at morning skate in Florida, to find Billy staring at me with a stupid grin on his face. "Get your head back on the ice. Stop thinking of your pretty little girlfriend." The rest of the guys chuckled and I could feel a slight blush grace my cheeks.
"You're just jealous that my girlfriend's prettier than you're wife!" I called as he skated off, shaking his head. The young guys around me chuckled, patting my back gently as we moved into the next drill coach set up for us.
"Crosby! What the hell!?" Coach screamed at me as I came off the ice from another bad shift.
"Sorry, Coach..." I mumbled into the bench, taking a long drink of water, before turning back to watch the guys head down towards Vokoun. I watched attentively for a few seconds before my mind wandered back to Harley. What was she doing right now? Did she have the house decorated? The tree up? I sighed softly before feeling a loud tap on my helmet.
"Go shower, Sid. You're done tonight..." Coach Granato called into my ear; sighing deeply I pulled myself up, knowing he was right. My head was thousands of miles away curled up with Harley in front of the fire, opening presents. I took a quick glance at the clock before turning down the hall. 6:20 left in the 3rd; two hours after that to get to the plane, 20 minute drive to the airport, 4 hour 30 minute flight home. Just over 7 hours until I was home. Just in time for Christmas.
I jumped into the shower quickly, wanting to get Coach Bylsma's screaming at me over with. I sat in my stall waiting as the guys filed in and headed to the showers. We won... I saw the pleased faces as they walked in. Plus, we were up by 3 goals when I left. But everyone kept giving me the same strange look, like I wasn't me anymore.
I was still me. I was still 110% hockey, but after being on the road for a week, I was missing my girl! I can't help that I can't do anything less than 100%. Bylsma was the last one through the door. I glanced up quickly and saw him nod for me to follow; which I did quickly, no need to be in more trouble than I already was. I stood stoically in the hallway as he stood off to the side waiting for someone. What the hell was going on?
My stomach dropped as soon as Mario walked through the door, with my father directly behind him.
"Sid..." Mario started holding his hands out like you would to a dog getting ready to attack. Was I that tense? "What happened out there?"
"I know what happened!" My father cut in, stepping in front of me, in attack mode. And I'm the angry animal? "You lost your focus over a cute piece of ass! What are you thinking, Sidney! You cannot let this Harley girl get in your head like this!" He was going to yell at me about Harley? He was going to yell at me about my girlfriend?!
"Harley's in my head 100% of the time, dad." I bit, finally over this bullshit. "However, this was the first game it's affected ever. And only because I'm going on 9 days of not seeing her and we're finally good again. I miss her, I want to go home and spend Christmas with her." I took a deep breath waiting for, and watching as the reaction hit; his face slowly turning pink, then red, and finally an angry burgundy.
"You're not even coming home for Christmas?" He whispered. Oh shit... This isn't good. "Your sister is waiting for you to come home with me.
"Well then you told Taylor wrong, Dad. I told you all at Thanksgiving that Harley and I were spending Christmas in Pittsburgh and that I'd see you all in February for the Olympics. Mom and Taylor were both fine with it." I sighed; wishing, for once, he'd listen to me instead of living out his dream. "Now I'm going home, as long as Mario and Coach are done with me, and I'm going to spend most of the day with my girlfriend." I glanced over at Bylsma, then Mario as both men nodded their accent to my plans.
"See you on the plane, Sid." Bylsma grinned at me, patting my shoulder as I walked past him, back into the locker room.
"Come on, Troy... Let's get you back to!" Mario chuckled, adding softly as he left with my dad. "You know I remember being like that with Nat... Couldn't play to save my life. It was honestly kind of sad." I chuckled lightly, pushing the door open.
"Joyeux Noel, Sid!" Flower shouted as I jumped out of their SUV, Vero waving from the passenger seat.
"Merry Christmas, Flower!" I called back waving as I slowly walked up the steps to home. "See you in a couple days!" I turned my attention to the door and slid it open as quietly as possible, turning the alarm off before re-arming it, so it didn't wake Harley. It took me a minute before my senses were attacked with what was going on in the house. She really went all out... My mind wandered to Christmases back home as I entered our front room to find garland and lights on every available surface...
Table centerpiece, on the mantle, over the stair railing. And the tree... The tree was a masterpiece all to itself. It looked even bigger than when I bought it, all done up with red and silver garland and ornaments. God, she was the best girlfriend ever to do all of this... I was one lucky son-of-a-bitch. Well not really son of a bitch... cuz my mom's not a bitch.... Whatever.
I slowly and quietly snuck upstairs to our room and found Harley curled up in bed in red and white pajamas. I smiled gently as I stripped down to my boxers, gently hanging my suit and placing on the to-be-dry-cleaned rack. I'd have to take them in on the 27th. Then I finally climbed into bed, kissing my girl's shoulder as I pulled her close.
"Sid...?" She groaned, half waking up. "'S that you?"
"Yah, babe..." I whispered. "It is... Go to sleep... I'm home."
"Merry Christmas, Sid..." She whispered closing her eyes, smiling subtly.
"Merry Christmas in 2 days, Har. Good night..." I whispered back, letting her steady breath draw me to sleep.