Chapter 68: Sickness Part 2

Alright, here is the second part of the chapter. Don't ask me why I chose to put it into two parts, cause I'm really not quite sure. It just seemed to fit for this chapter. Oh, and I also changed the story just a little bit. I some how totally forgot about Sid's birthday so I made that the night he took the girl home, sorry if I cause any confusion. And just a heads up, it may be a while before I can post again. Sorry to leave you here on a depressing chapter, but I had already had them written for a while now and was excited to get them out there. 

~ Aeryn

Sid's POV

I call her for the 5th time on her cell but it again goes to her voicemail, I had tried the house numerous times but she wasn't picking up. I even tried the office but it was closed. I board the plane to go back to Pittsburgh with the team, worried as to why Caitlin wasn't picking up the phone. Did I she some how find out?

A few hours later I pull into the driveway and walk into the house. It was dark and there was no light anywhere.

"Hi guys," I say greeting the pack, "Where's Caitlin?"

Flash perks up his ears and looks upstairs. I take the hint and run up the stairs. I walk over to the small amount of light in the bedroom. I spy her on the edge of our bed, staring off into space.

"Caitlin? Hun what's wrong, I tried calling you but you wouldn't answer," I say sitting on the edge of the bed. She doesn't even turn to look at me, it's as if I'm not there. Normally coming home from a road trip she would be laughing and hugging me right now, but instead she doesn't even acknowledge me.

"Caitlin, hun what's wrong? Please talk to me," I say in a shaky voice, hoping to God that she didn’t find out about the night from someone else.

She inhales as if coming back to life and looks over at me. It's then I notice her tear stained cheeks and a tremendous amount of hurt in her eyes. Oh God, she knows.

"Babe what's wrong? Did I do something?" I ask, wiping a tear from her cheek, not wanting to give anything away if she didn’t know.

"No Sid,"she whispers her voice shaky.

"Then what, Caitlin tell me what's wrong," I plead, half hoping that she will yell at me, slap me, do something to let me know that she knows.

"I took Bran to the vet today because his glands were kinda swollen," she sniffles.

"And..." I ask gently, maybe she doesn’t know.

"Bran has cancer Sidney," she says bluntly, biting her lip and holding in the tears.

"Oh babe, come here," I whisper pulling her into my arms. I expect her to break down, but she doesn't, tears just pour down her cheeks silently. This was worse than I could have imagined.

"Sidney, I don't think I can do this. Not again. I've already lost one dog to cancer and that hurt like hell. I remember coming home from school and walking up the road in tears because I didn't know if Annie would be alive when I got home. And then she got so skinny, you could feel almost every bone in her body. Even though she was eating more food than she had ever eaten in her life. In the end she could hardly stand up and she was in so much pain. Sidney, I don't think I'm strong enough to go through that again," she whispers.

"You are strong enough. Caitlin, you are the strongest person I know, and right now Bran needs you. You always say to live in the moment," I say stroking her hair.

"I know, it's just... with Annie, I had to make the decision to put her down. Sidney, that was the hardest decision I have ever made," she whimpers.

"But she died in peace, didn't she?" I ask.

"She didn't even make it in time. She died an hour before we were going to take her to the vet. “

I could almost see the images passing through her brain as she remembered the past event. This would be devastating to her. I knew how much Bran meant to her, he was her partner. He was the “man” that it seemed like I could never be, her other half.  I sit there with her in my arms, her tears wetting my shirt, but she never makes a sound except for the occasional sniffle.  I find myself wishing that it was me that she had found out about, not Bran. How could I tell her I cheated on her now, when she was in so much pain? I couldn’t. I would just have to try to forget the event ever happened, I couldn’t remember most of it anyway.

“Shhh… everything is going to be ok my little warrior. You’ll see,” I say planting a kiss in her hair and hugging her more tightly against me.

August 21, 2009 at Friday, August 21, 2009 , 9 Comments

Chapter 68: Sickness Part 1

Call me when you get there,” I mumble against his lips.

 “Mmmhmmm,” he says deepening the kiss.

 He was leaving again for until Friday for the first pre season game against the Blue Jackets.

 “I should probably go,” he says breaking away and looking at his watch.

 “Play well, but don’t put everything you have into it… it’s only preseason and I don’t want one of you boys to miss most of the season like Gonchar did a few years back,” I sigh.

 “Yes mom,” he grins, “Oh, and just a heads up the boys are planning on coming here when we get back.”

 "YES! I’ll dust off the poker chips for them,” I smile leaning into to press another kiss to his lips. He hesitates for a moment before relaxing and putting his arms around me.

“I need to go,” he says picking up his hockey bag and slinging it over his shoulder. I walk out to the car with him and he turns to me before hopping in the car.

“I love you,” he says suddenly extremely serious and a look of worry passes his face.

“I love you too,” I smile. He had been telling me that a lot lately, not that I was complaining but it seemed like something was bugging him.

He smiles weakly and presses his lips to mine for one more kiss before he gets into the car.

I let out a sigh, looking at Bran and Finn who were by my side. I had seen him for a week and he had to leave again. I should have went up to Nova Scotia to see him, I could have found time some how. I really was hoping I could go up for his birthday, but it ended up being one of my busiest weeks. I had called him that day and apologized like crazy for not being there. He said it was fine, but I knew he was upset. Oh well, can’t do anything about it now. It’s not like he was going out with the guys and getting laid every night anyway. He was just relaxing and fishing.

I bend down and pat Finn on the head before turning to Bran. I felt his neck. He still felt swollen, actually more swollen than before and that worried me. You could actually see that his neck hung down a little more.

I sigh and walk into the house biting my lip. I pick up the phone and dial the number.

“Hi, this is Caitlin Shaw, I want to make an appointment for Bran… he’s had some swelling in his neck that I would like to get checked out.”

Sid’s POV

“Did you tell her yet?” Flower asks sitting down beside me on the plane.

 “No,” I sigh, “I figure I’ll tell her when we get back.”

"The longer you wait the harder it will be.”

“I know.”

I couldn’t tell her that I cheated on her, but at the same time I had to. This was big, and I didn’t want it hanging over my head for the rest of my life. We were moved in together so of course the thought of marriage had popped into my head. But marriage worked on honesty right? So how could I keep something like this from her. But at the same time it could permanently damage what we had. We didn’t fight very often and if we did it was small. Maybe it was because we were both so laid back and we seemed to understand each other so well.  But fighting was not something I wanted to get into right now. Ugh, I couldn’t make up my mind and I had no idea how to tell her. So I just kept putting it off. But Flower was right. I did need to tell her, I think.

Caitlin’s POV

The week seems to fly by, work was starting to slow down but I was busy with the pups and paper work that needed to be caught up. Anyway before I know it it’s Friday. Sid was coming home sometime in the evening and Bran had an appointment at 2:00.

I took him to a vet I had been going to for years. Even though it was over an hour away, I trusted the vet and knew the whole clinic well.

We walk in and I tell the vet techs we’re here. I’m nervous as hell but trying not to allow Bran to pick up on it. But of course he does. He nuzzles my hand as we wait in the waiting room. He lifts my hand and it flops back onto his head.

"I'll be ok bud. Everything is going to be ok," I tell him; I know he doesn't understand but it's more of a comfort to me then to him. I was afraid that it was something serious, but I kept telling myself that I was working myself up over nothing. It was probably just something that antibiotics could help him fight off.  I had a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I tried my best to ignore it.

"Caitlin, you and Bran can come in this room," I hear one of the vet techs call from one of the two rooms.

"Alright let's go Bran," I say taking a deep breath and getting out of the simple wooden chairs.

We walk in the room and the tech asks for my description of why Bran is there after taking his temperature.

"Well, I recently felt a little swelling in his neck and his glands are pretty swollen. And they have grown in the past week. So I just wanted to come in and check it out," I sigh.

"Is there anything else? Lack of energy, not eating?" she asks writing things down.

"No not really. I mean he's been hanging back a little on our jog, but other than that, nothing," I say.

"Alright, his temp is normal so that's good. Dr. Cameron will be in soon," she says closing the folder and walking out the back door.

I sigh and wait patiently, looking at the various charts that I had seen multiple times before.

A little later the door opens revealing a rather tall man in his 60s. He had white hair and a lab coat on, holding Bran's file.

"Caitlin, good to see you," Dr. Cameron says shaking my hand.

"You too Dr. Cameron," I smile.

"Caitlin how many times have I told you, call me Bruce," he sighs shaking his head with a smile.

"Sorry," I smile back. 

"Well Bran, how is our most noble dog doing?" he asks receiving a tail wag from Bran as he pets him. "What seems to be the problem?"

"Well, I noticed Bran's Sub-mandibular lymph nodes have been a little swollen lately, and I just wanted to see if anything is wrong," I state.

"Caitlin, I tell you this ever time you come here. You should really be a vet, you're more than qualified. Alright, let's see," Dr. Cameron says feeling Bran's throat, "Mmmhmm, I see what you mean. Has he been eating?"

"Yeah, he's been eating fine. But he's still lost a little weight. And he has been kinda hanging back on the jog."

"Mmmhmm, I see," the vet says feeling that back of Bran's legs and where his front legs begin, 

"His popliteal lymph nodes feel a little swollen too. I'm going to take some blood and see how everything is. The results should come back in about 15 mionutes."

"What do you think it is as of now?" I ask, dreading the answer.

"Well, I don't think you really need me to tell you that. It could be that he just caught a bug and is trying to fight it off, or it could be cancer. I won't know until I run these tests," he says darkly, "Let's just hope it's the first one." He says leaving the room.

"Yeah, hope," I say looking out into space. In my gut I know what it probably is, but I pray that it’s not.

I pet Bran as I wait for the reply, subconsciously chewing my lip nervously as I run my fingers through his coarse black fur.

About 20 minutes later Dr. Cameron walks back in. His head low, from his body language I know my worst fears are about to be confirmed.

"Well, we got the test results back and it's..." he sighs taking off his glasses not able to meet my eyes.

"Yeah, I thought so," I reply quietly holding in the tears.

"It's lymphoma, Caitlin, Bran does have cancer," he says, he looks at me briefly and I can see that his own eyes are looking a little misty.

"It is extremely rare for a dog so young to get it. We usually don't have dogs getting it until they're at least 8. It's very rare for a dog that is only 6 to get it."

"So rare that it’s happened twice," I murmur.

"Twice?" he asks looking at me.

"Yeah. When I was younger I had a Border Collie that developed lymphoma at 4,"I sigh the tears threatening to fall, as I think back to Annie and what she had gone through.

"I'm sorry," he says, "But you do have options. We could do chemo and Bran could be cancer free."

"With lymphoma that is such a low probability and even then it comes back soon after. No that's not an option. I have seen dogs going through chemo. They are tired and weak. Bran would be miserable. I won't do that to him."

"But you could add time to his life," he tries to insist.

"Maybe a year at most, I know how it works Dr. Cameron, lymphoma is not an easy cancer in dogs," I shake my head.

"Well there are always steroids," he sighs, "But once you begin steroids you can't opt for chemo, it doesn't work after taking them. But it could put the cancer in remission for awhile, and we have seen very good results with it."

"Yeah, let's do that," I sigh.

"Alright, I'll put him on Prednisolone and then he'll have to take an antacid with it so it doesn't eat away at his stomach," he says writing it on Bran's file.

"Right," I say swallowing tears.

"I'm very sorry Caitlin. I know how much Bran means to you and how close you two are," he says shaking his head leaving the room.

"Yeah," I reply as Bran puts his head on my lap, sensing my sadness, "Alright Bran, let's go home."

I stop at the front desk to pick up his meds and pay before we leave. I keep it together through the hour and a half trip home to Pittsburgh.

I let Bran out of the car and we walk into the house where my pack senses my distress and leaves me alone. I walk up to my room, the tears beginning to fall from my face. I fall onto the bed in sobs. I needed to be alone and grieve for awhile, thankfully Sid was on a road trip.

"How can this be happening again?" I say aloud as sobs rack my body.

As I cry I think of Annie and what she had gone through. I was there with her until the very end. Her journey from diagnosis to her death plays over and over again like a horror movie stuck on repeat. I sob into my pillow knowing that there is nothing I can do.

Bran has lived his life to the fullest. Saving countless people and probably dogs from death. He helped me get through some of the toughest times of my life. He was my partner, what would I do without him? Keep living, that's all I could do. But I knew that our life could not change because he had cancer, and I knew that Bran didn't want it to change. He would go on jogs like always until he no longer had the energy to run, he would stay with the other dogs and be my second in command until he would step down, he would sleep with me when Sid was on road trips, and he would go to work and be with me until the day he died.

I cry knowing that in a few months at best, Bran would die.

at Friday, August 21, 2009 , 8 Comments

Chapter 67: Coming Back to Me!

“Alright boys. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” I shout running into the office where the two dogs were laying and I grab the stack of folders. I run out of my office into the lobby the two dogs following behind me as I shut everything off and set the alarm up. I get to the car and open the back so that Finn can jump in, and then the passenger side so Bran can hop in, before I hop into the drivers seat.

I look at the glowing green digital clock, 5:30. He was suppose be home in 15 minutes. I wanted to leave at 4:00 to be home, but well that didn’t happen.

I pull into the driveway and let the two dogs out before running up to the door. I open the door to the rest of my pack and allow them out while I run up the stairs to quickly shower and change so I didn’t smell like sweat and dog anymore.

I take what is quite possibly the quickest shower of my life before changing into orange shorts and a Penguins shirt. It was actually a Letang t-shirt, but well… I didn’t have a Crosby one. Why didn’t I have a Crosby one? Ah, no time to think get dress.

I ran coconut milk leave in conditioner through my hair before combing out my chestnut locks a little. I applied some mascara and was just about to reach for flip-flops when I heard the dogs barking outside. I looked out the window and saw a silver Range Rover parking in the driveway. I squealed with delight. Fuck shoes, it’s summer.

I run down the steps and out the door, feeling the warm cement on the sides walk beneath my bare feet. The dogs were swarming around the car; Maggie was in the middle of it all, while Finn and Ty hung back a little. They probably didn’t remember him; after all they hadn’t seen him in over two months.

He gets out of the car with and pushes past the dogs, a grin on his face. I laugh and jump into his arms, pressing a kiss hard against his lips to which he responds to eagerly, each of us smiling into the kiss. He pulls away resting his forehead on mine, looking into my eyes grinning. God I missed those hazel eyes.


“Hi,” I laugh back at him, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” he laughs, putting me down. “So how was work?”

“Long, I got home an hour later than I wanted to,” I sigh dramatically, linking my fingers with his.

“Hence the wet hair, eh?” he smiles bending down to kiss my cheek, “You smell like coconut.”

“I always do,” I laugh.

“Yes, well… I missed the smell,” he states as we walk into the house, “And what’s with the Letang shirt?”

“I don’t have a Crosby on, just the jersey you gave me, but it’s too hot to wear a jersey,” I laugh, “It was before we started dating.”

He immediately goes to the couch, pulling me onto his lap.

“Well we’re going to have to do something about that,” he growls before his lips are on mine. His lips move quickly over mine before his tongue glides over my bottom lip. I quickly oblige and let him in, our tongues dancing together after 2 months of being apart. I had wanted to go up to Halifax, but I could never take off work. It seemed like everyday I was doing at least 4 sessions and I had been going in on Saturdays too. And when I wasn’t at work doing sessions, it was paper work, and training the puppies. I was working like… well like a dog, but now that school was starting for the kids everything seemed to begin to quiet down.

I pull away for air and nuzzle my nose into his neck, resting my head on his shoulder. I take a deep breath, inhaling his scent and let it out with a sigh. His arms wrap securely around me.

“Did you eat dinner yet?” I ask quietly.

“Nope, I was kinda hoping that you would make me some dinner,” he smiles.

“Alright,” I laugh, “what do you want?”

“Whatever,” he shrugs with a smile.

“Good, cause I have chicken marinating in the refrigerator.”

“So this one is Finn?” he asks pointing to the white pup.

“Yup, and the other is Tyko, but I have been calling him Ty,” I smile.

“How are they doing? With training, I mean.”

“Well, like I told you on the phone last night, they have been great so far! Luckily with the other dogs I don’t have to do as much training. For example, they are pretty much housetrained already. And Finn has been following Bran around everywhere. ..So how bout that dinner I’m starved!” I say quickly, I hadn’t eaten since 11:00.

He chuckles as I get off his lap and make my way into the kitchen.

“Hi, Maggie,” I hear him laugh; no doubt she was on the couch next to him.

I put a pot of water on to make some pasta to go with the chicken and get the bag of fresh green beans out of the refrigerator. I begin snapping the beans in the sink when a pair of arms find their way around my waist. I lean back against him as he places a kiss below my ear.

“I missed you,” he whispers.

“I missed you too, Sid,” I smile turning to kiss his soft pillowy lips.

Sid’s POV

“Ruff… Ruff…”

I inhale and go to move my arm but it is weighed down by someone. I smirk and look over to her side. She was pressed against me, her head on my shoulder and her hands splayed on my chest. Her long dark lashes were splayed out on her cheeks and her mouth was open ever so slightly.

I loved waking up to this, waking up to her. I can’t believe that I ever slept…

“Ruff!” Flash whisper barks a little louder pulling me out of my thoughts.

“Shh… Alright Flash I’m up, I’m up,” I whisper as I carefully get up.

I throw on my boxers that were in the door way and follow the trail of clothes we had shed last night after dinner down the steps. The dogs have all pooled around the door like every other morning in this house.

“Alright guys, out!” I say opening the door for the dogs to flood past me and outside.

I move over to the TV and turn it on to the news. But it doesn’t capture my attention and my thoughts drift back to what I had been thinking of previously. Should I tell her? I mean I was wasted when it happened, I could hardly remember the events of that night. But would she forgive me? I didn’t want to risk losing her. Should have thought that before it all happened. I didn’t know if I could lose her... again. It was just one drunken night of mistakes. But it was eating me alive not telling someone. I was meeting Army and Flower to talk about it today; I would just wait to see what they said.


I look out the door to see Hawkeye standing by the door wanting in along with half the pack. I sigh and let them in before heading up stairs. I walk into the room to Caitlin sitting up in bed, clad in my jersey. Her hair was tousled from sleep and her eyes had a look of lust in them.

“Good morning,” she says in a seductive voice.

I swallow quickly and cleared my throat,

“Morning. Nice outfit.”

"Thanks, there's this really hot Captain on the team that seems to know how to treat a girl right," she winks.

"Is that so?"


I move toward the bed, the closer I got the broader her smile grew. I crawl into bed and gently pressed my lips against hers. I went to pull away but her hand found the back of my head, her fingers threading through my hair and she presses her lips to mine harder. She pushes me down forcefully in the bed and straddles me. She kisses me again, her tongue finding it’s way into my mouth. She pulls away and moves her head so that her mouth is by my ear. Her hair tickles my shoulder as it was swept to one side.

“I want you,” she whispers into my ear, her lips barely touching it before she playfully nips my earlobe.

I groan at her bluntness as my hands travel up her thighs to her hips where I find that she was wearing nothing under the jersey. What the hell was she trying to do to me?!

Caitlin’s POV

He smacks the alarm again, his mouth never moving from mine. We were supposed to get up 20 minutes ago.

“Sidney, we have to get ready you have to meet Colby and Marc in an hour and I have to be at work soon,” I groan against his lips, before they travel away from mine.

I moan as he finds that one spot on my neck to make me squirm. I couldn’t help but give into his mouth as it worked and I tilt my head giving him more room to work with. He lets out a throaty chuckle at my response and I can feel his lips turn up in a smirk against my skin.

He ceases his task and moves so that his arms are on either side of me pressing into the soft mattress and holding him above me. His lips hover over mine, barely touching them.

“Well then I suppose we should stop for now, eh?” he says in a throaty voice. I can feel his hot breath against my lips, driving me insane.

“We should,” I say licking my lips and glancing up at him.

He is at such a close distance that I can see the gold flecks in his smiling eyes framed by dark lashes. I look back down to his bee-stung lips that played in a crooked smile. I bite my lip, trying to resist temptation, but some how my hands have a mind of their own and one travels around his neck. My fingers play with hair on the back of his neck.

My other hand moves down his neck, and across one of his bare broad shoulder, the skin smooth under my touch and slightly sticky from the sweat of our recent good time. It travels across his collarbone before descending down his muscular chest. I could feel the muscle packed tightly to his ribs, before my fingers rand down his abs, feeling the grooves of the individual muscles.

“Caitlin?” he mumbles in a husky voice.


“You’re driving me insane,” he whispers holding himself in check. I knew he was waiting for me to make a move.

I smirk looking up at him only to have his hazel eyes burn into mine, my breath catching in my throat and my stomach does a summersault. It somewhat amazed me that he still had that affect on me, the same effect he had on me when I first ran into him on the beach 5 years ago.

My hand travels up his forearm and over his biceps, feeling the hard muscles shift slightly under my touch as he kept himself steady above me. My hands both come to his broad shoulders and I look up into his face again, the air between us was heavy and thick. I pull myself up and lightly touch my lips to his before I feel him press his against mine. He lowers himself, pressing me into the plush mattress. Our lips move slowly in unison as we savored the moment. It seemed like time stilled, every thought seemed to fly from my head. At that moment nothing mattered, I would be content to be here, kissing Sidney Crosby for the rest of my life, but of course the alarm had to go off insisting that I get out of bed and get ready.

I shift underneath him, trying to escape. But he holds me tight not letting me move, and connecting his lips with mine again. I’m certain that if that alarm weren’t blaring next to the bed I would be a puddle. I try to move again, my lips still connected to his. They were addicting

“Just push the snooze,” he mumbles against my lips. As his fingers trace my inner thigh, making it so that I couldn’t see straight. Before I can respond, two of his fingers ease inside of me teasing me. His mouth coming to meet mine again to muffle my moan.

“We already did 3 times,” I groan my fingers my fingers raking down his back at the feeling of him hard against my thigh and his fingers moving inside me. My hips grinding against his hand, pushing his fingers in deeper as his thumb moves on my clitoris, sending additional waves of pleasure through my body.

“Oh, Sidney,” I moan breathless as he finds that spot that almost puts me over the edge. I throw my head back relishing in the immense pleasure that is building up and bite my lip to muffle a scream. I’m losing my ability to think, the alarm becomes louder but it seems to add to the pleasure. His mouth moves over to my breast, hot tongue sweeping over its swollenness before he takes it into his mouth.

"Oh my God," I moan breathlessly my back arching up into him, begging him to continue "Sid please"

"What do you want babe?" he growls, "Tell me what you want?"

"You. Oh God, Sidney, fuck me," I moan my hands twisting in the sheets.

He stops his sucking, as I’m about to climax, his mouth coming to mine for a brief moment before he whispers

“Let’s make it four,” taking his fingers out of me suddenly and slamming his hand down on the alarm clock. Before I can protest he thrusts into me, making me scream with pleasure. What the hell, make it four!

Sid’s POV

After quite the eventful morning we finally managed to get dressed. She left before I did with all of the dogs. As soon as I got in my car, the memory of why I was meeting Colby and Marc came back to me and I let out a groan. I pulled into the small coffee shop that no one knew about and saw Colby and Marc sitting in the corner booth when I walked in.

“Hey guys have a good summer?” I ask cheerfully sitting down across from the both of them.

“We’ll talk that shit later, what’s up Sid?” Colby asks me seriously.

“What makes you think something is wrong?” I ask.

“Because we’re your best friends, “ Marc continues taking a sip of whatever hot beverage he had gotten.

“Ok, well… Caitlin never came up to Halifax. I saw her for the first time in over 2 months yesterday,” I start staring down into my coffee.

“Whoa! Bet you had fun last night,” Army grins.

“Yeah,” I chuckle, thinking of last night, and then again this morning.

“Well you really can’t blamer her Sid. She does have a job, I mean she runs her own business that can’t be easy,” Flower reasons.

“I know, but I still wish she would have come up,” I sigh.

“And…?” Colby draws out.

“Well… ok. It was my birthday and the guys up home took me out drinking and to some club. Told me that we were all having fun for my birthday that I wasn't going to mope at home waiting for my girl that wasn't coming. Normally I wouldn’t have gone, or I guess I would have but I wouldn’t have drank so much… I don’t know,” I say stirring my coffee, “but I had talked to Caitlin that day and she had told me that she wasn’t going to make it up there at all before I left. I had been kind of hoping that we could come home together and I’d show her around my home a little. And of course I was kind of hoping I could see her on my birthday. That being said I was a little pissed and disappointed, so I drank a little more than I should have.”

“Come on Sid you didn’t call us down here at 11:00 to tell us you got wasted one night… Oh God, Sid. You didn’t,” Colby says, his eyes suddenly widening.

“What did you do?” Marc asks confused.

“Well… I honestly don’t remember. I remember dancing with her a little and then the next thing I know I wake up next to her in my bed,” I whisper.

“Oh, Sid,” Marc groans putting his head in his hands.

“Shit, did you tell Ace?” Colby asks.

“No, you two are the only ones that know. I don’t know if I should tell her or not.” I shake my head.

“No” “Yes” Marc and Colby say at the same time.

“You don’t want to mess up what you have with her, she just started trusting you again with her heart. You can’t tell her something like that,” Colby says.

“But Ace runs on honesty, she might be pretty pissed at you but she would get over it after awhile. You can’t not tell her, and the longer you wait the worse it gets,” Marc points out.

“Ugh, well that was helpful,” I groan, I already knew all that.

I was leaving for a preseason game in a week, I would tell her after that.

Caitlin’s POV

“Good boy Bran!” I sigh cupping his head in my hands and scratching under his chin. We had just had our first training session with a dog aggressive, food aggressive yellow lab. No one was bitten so I think we could call it a success.

I frown as I feel Bran’s lymph nodes in his throat, they seemed to be a little enlarged. My mind immediately panics, but I brush it off, it was probably just a bug he was fighting off.

“What’s a matter kid, you fighting off a cold?” I smile at him, before planting a kiss on his head and walking to the lobby with him right behind me.

In the pit of my stomach something told me that something wasn’t right, but I pushed it away. If he wasn’t better in a week, I’d take him to the vet.

August 16, 2009 at Sunday, August 16, 2009 , 8 Comments

Chapter 66: When I'm Gone

I wake up with my head pillowed on his shoulder and his arm wrapped securely around me, this was a normal occurrence, but I never tired of it.  I look over to the clock. 6:30! Why the hell am I up?! I have no idea why, but I was up. Maybe it was the anticipation to get the puppies today. I don’t know what it is but I was up and I really wanted to go for a walk. I crawl out of bed and throw on some jeans and a t shirt with a pair of running shoes, Bran watching me from his place at the end of the bed.

 “Come on Bran, let’s go for a walk,” I whisper.

He follows me out of house and into the back yard. I take in a deep breath, taking in the cool, but humid morning air.

I begin to walk down the path in the woods that eventually lead to a stream. As I pass tree after tree my mind begins to wonder.

Sid would be leaving in a few days and going back to Nova Scotia. I knew he wanted me to go with him, but I just couldn’t leave work. I couldn’t close down the business during the busiest season.  I loved Sidney and I really did want to spend the summer relaxing with him, but this was my dream. I had always wanted to become a successful dog trainer and although I was pulling my hair out sometimes because it was so stressful, I never stopped loving my job.

But two months was a long time to be apart. Granted we were apart often when hockey season was in full swing, but not for two months straight. Sid kept bugging me about coming to Halifax with him and just taking a few days off, but with the way things were looking, it didn’t seem possible. With this trip, I was already missing a week and with such a busy time, I didn’t know if I would be able to take off more time.  But I’d survive. I could handle being apart. I was never really alone when I had my dogs. 

Maybe this time apart would be good. I would never admit it to him, but it was kind of scaring me how fast we were moving. I mean, we had been together for about 6 months and we had been living together for 3 months, 4 months? I had lost count; my mind was still a little fuzzy from the lack of coffee. We had been moving fast and what scared me the most was that I caught myself wanting to move even faster at times. Sometimes I would look at Beth and her family and catch myself thinking of me and Sidney with our own family.  I had never felt this way before, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to get married or have a baby. Yes, someday I did, but right now? I wasn’t sure. 

I arrive at the stream and let out a content sigh at the sight of the fog lying on top of the stream water. The sun was still coming up giving the scene a soft glow. The birds were beginning to wake up and could be heard singing as they searched for their breakfast.

I find a good spot to sit down under a tree, Bran lying next to me putting his head on my lap. My hands find their way through his thick black fur. It was times like these I really treasured, just me and Bran. No other dogs, no other people, just me and my other half enjoying a peaceful moment together. I sigh and lean my head back against the coarse bark of the tree. With the puppies coming, this would probably be the last moment for a while that Bran and I would have alone.


I look back with a smile as they crawl around in the back, Bran laying down and watching them. We were headed back to the cabin to get everything together, and we both agreed to go on one last hike before we left. I honestly don’t think I have stopped smiling since we pulled into Brian’s driveway. I paid Brian $100 each for them, which was a happy medium. Being that Brian was just going to give them away to a shelter but he got $200 instead, and I was getting champion racing blood for a very cheap price. After seeing them though…. Sid didn’t seem exactly thrilled, but he kept his mouth shut anyway.  I told him they were part wolf, I don’t know what he was expecting. 

We pulled into the driveway of the cabin and I immediately hopped out of the car to let them out. I open the door letting Bran out and the one pup (the one that was all white) tries to follow suit and jump out of the car.

“Whoa… hold on there kid. You’re not big enough to do that yet,” I chuckle, picking them both up and setting them on the ground.

I had learned that both pups were males. Sid had pointed out that Maggie would still be the only girl at home.

We walk into the cabin and the puppies follow us, the white one seeming to take to following Bran.

I laugh as the puppies wrestle a bit before completely crashing; after all they had a pretty long day. I knew that they would better adapt leaving their mother with having other dogs around, especially having each other.

I walk into the bedroom to pack, Bran following me as the little kids slept on. I get out my suitcase and start packing it. I found that Sid and Anna packed more stuff than I probably would have. Having to go at the last minute when SAR called made me a light packer. We packed in silence, I sensed that something was bugging Sid.

“Hey are you ok?” I ask from across the bed.

“Yeah, fine,” he mutters.

“Yeah, it really sounds like it,” I chuckle.

“it’s just…”


“I just can’t believe you got two more dogs, like you really need another one,” he sighs shaking his head.

“Sid, I told you, the shelter would have put them down.”

“It’s just… you said that you couldn’t come with me, yet you have time for two puppies?”

“Sidney come on. You know why I can’ t go with you. I need to work, and the puppies will fit in with my work schedule. But I can’t pick up and leave for the summer,” I sigh shaking my head.

“Whatever,” he mutters.

“Look, I’m sorry I can’t spend the summer with you, but …” I begin.

“I know, I know.  This is your job too, taking care of dogs that no one else will take,” he says walking out of the room.

I sigh and shake my head. I’ll admit I didn’t really think of how this would affect Sid when I said I would take the pups, but this was part of my passion. I thought he of all people would understand that.

Normally, yes I would get upset. But I just got two puppies and today was my last day in Alaska and I’ll be damned if that’s going to bring me down. So, I just put it in the back of my mind, no doubt it will come up at a later time.

The puppies run ahead of us chasing each other, before the one gets the upper hand and pounces on the other. They both fall onto the dusty path rolling around. Bran simply walks over them as we keep moving on. I laugh and let out a sharp whistle to get their attention. I see them both perk up at the sound, looking for where it came from.

“Come on kids,” I shout and they both come running.

I chuckle as they run past me. I look up to Sid who is next to me just looking off in the distance.

“Look,” I sigh, “I’m really sorry that I didn’t ask you about the puppies first, but Sid you have to understand that this is part of my job. And I’m really sorry that I can’t come up with you to Nova Scotia, but I said I would come up for a few days if I could.”

He sighs and looks over at me with a weak smile, “I know.”

“I really am sorry that I can’ t come home with you for the summer.”

“I understand,” he sighs pulling me into a hug, “It’s just I’d like for you to see my home and where I grew up, just like when I went with you for Christmas.”

“I will come and see you. And when I do, you can show me all your favorite places,” I mumble into his shoulder before kissing the underside of his jaw.

“Good,” he responds.

We walk through trails in the dense wooded areas, and it reminds me of how much I miss living in the woods. Don’t get me wrong I love Pittsburgh, but living in the suburbs just couldn’t compare to living in the woods. Oddly enough, I missed the excitement and nervousness of knowing there was a bear around the neighborhood. The coyotes howling was a treat I missed in the suburbs, granted you rarely heard the coyotes in the woods, but still.

The pups ran around ahead of us and Bran stayed next to me, loyal as always. I took in the sights of the tall pine trees and the smell of the cool water from the stream. The sound of an owl from far off told me that it was sometime in early evening, we should probably head back. But I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay in the woods and run bare foot like I did when I was a kid, jumping over the prickly pine cones and dodging sharp acorns. I wanted to go swimming  in the frigid, awakening coldness of the creek.(which if you are from western PA is pronounced "crick" :) ) I missed living in a place like this, something I hadn’t realized until just now.

“We should probably get back,” Sid says quietly, “ The plane is supposed to come in a couple hours.”

 “Alright, let’s go,” I sigh.

We go back to the house and get everything in the car, Bran now having to share the back seat with the pups. I’m about to step into the car when I hear the sound of a wolf howling far off in the distance. It’s not long before more join in as the sun creeps closer and closer to the horizon, streaking the sky with purples and pinks. I take a deep breath in one more time before getting in the car.

The plane ride went smoothly, it was really long but it went smoothly. Although I would miss the beauties of Alaska, I was glad we were finally going home.

Sid’s POV

“Ruff, Ruff…”

“ugh, Flash…” I groan, not even opening my eyes.

“Alright Flash, I’m up,” Caitlin mumbles into my shoulder

I feel her side of the bed shift as she gets up and throws on my t shirt from on top of the dresser, that had been thrown sometime last night.

“Ruff… Ruff…”Flash barks more urgently.

“Alright, let’s go!” she says as she walks out of the room. Then it hit me, I was leaving today. This would be the last time until I came back in September that I would wake up to Flash barking. About half an hour later, I hear her walk back through the door and climb into bed again. Her head pillows on my shoulder as her one arm finds my chest and she presses flush against me. She lets out a sigh.

“I’m going to miss this,” I state quietly.

“me too,” she whispers, her voice wavering ever so slightly.

I bend my head down capturing her lips with mine in a tender kiss.


“Call me as soon as you get there,” she says looking up at me with teary eyes.

“I will,” I smile. I just looked at her for a minute. She was clad in a dark green tie dye shirt, indigo shorts, and running shoes. She had to go to work soon. Her hair was down and it had air dried in subtle waves that had an auburn sheen in the sunlight. Her big brown eyes had tears that were threatening to fall. She bit her lips and tore her eyes away from mine for a minute her long lashes sweeping to her cheeks as she looked down and took a deep breath, composing herself. When she looked back up the sadness was still evident in her eyes, but she had a better sense of control. Bran leaned against her side, always her constant companion. He had come with her because she was going straight to work. I was glad she brought him; he would be the one taking care of her when I was gone. Honestly, I was jealous of him, he was her partner, not me.

 The intercom comes on announcing the final boarding call.

 "Well… I guess I will see you…” I begin. I had no idea when I would see her. I hoped she would come up soon, but with Caitlin you never know.

 “Yeah,” she sighs smiling weakly at me.

I press my lips against hers and feel her arms snake around my neck. Her fingers tangle in my hair and she presses close against me. I pull away, dreading that I had to do so and rest my forehead against hers, looking into the chocolaty depths of her eyes.

“I love you,” I whisper.

“I love you too,” she whispers back.

I press my lips against hers one last time before turning and handing my ticket in.  Just before I walk down the runway I look back, She stands with Bran sitting next to her, her hand on his head as she bites her lip. Bran stares at me with those piercing blue eyes and I silently tell him to take care of her when I’m gone.

August 15, 2009 at Saturday, August 15, 2009 , 6 Comments

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Discovering...Love? by AS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.