Chapter 79: Battered Hearts

I stare at my hands, they were small and rather dainty looking, like a woman’s hands ought to look. But they were dry with small cuts and cracks in the back, showing the toll the cold weather had on my sensitive skin. I flipped them over on the dark wooden table, my eyes scanning over the scars and rough calluses that had come from the battering they had taken while I worked. I had never had the lily soft hands of other girls, but I was proud of my strong hands. They showed that I worked hard. Now as I looked at my weathered hands, I couldn’t help but think that my heart was even worse looking. Calloused, scared, with deep cuts that may never heal completely. My heart had been battered and weathered more than my hands had. But like the thin silver band I wore on my right ring finger, there was a glimmer of something more. Hope, strength, perseverance told me that not only could I move on from all of this, I had too.

I look across the old wooden dinning room table to the red urn. Finn and Hawkeye slept at my feet while the rest of the dogs slumbered down in the living room. My grandparents had left for Pittsburgh to take my Aunt and Uncle back to the airport for their fight home to Kentucky. On the way, they were making stops to other relatives’ houses to visit, being that the flight didn’t leave until 8 PM. They left me there so that I could burry Bran by myself, even though my Grandma didn’t understand why I wanted to be alone. Luckily my Granddad knew and was able to convince her to get out for the day.

I could hear the grandfather clock’s slow methodic tick and a subtle chime goes off, telling me it was 10:00 and I had been sitting here for an hour. I sigh… It was time.

I get up from the wooden chair and make myself walk across the small kitchen to retrieve my winter coat and fingerless gloves. I go into the backroom, passing under the doorway that had mistletoe hung from the top a year ago. I grab a small garden shovel from a cluttered shelf and head back into the dinning room. I gingerly pick up the red urn and head to the door. Finn perks up and immediately jumps up to follow me.

“No Finn, stay. I’ll be back soon.”

He looks at me with a sad expression

“We’ll go for a walk later, Bud,” I smile weakly at him, "I have to do this alone."

I push open the door to be met with a wave of cold air. It’s not that cold outside, but the wind bites into you, lowering the temperature. The sky is a gloomy gray, the clouds threatening to snow. I take a deep breath letting the cool air run into my lungs.

“Not yet. Soon, but not yet,” I whisper aloud. The snow would be here soon, but not today.

I begin the short walk up the steep rocky hill, stepping over the occasional branch and kicking away small rocks. I make it to the entrance of the Field. I stand and breathe deeply, taking in the sights and sounds of the winter barren field, just as I was taught. The chatter of the cardinals off in the thicket, the scolding of the chickadee overhead. I had been to many places that I loved, many that were more beautiful than here. But this place, this place held a calm and so many memories. I walk over to the right, to the place that seemed to hum with memories. Small piles of rocks lay in different places, marking the final resting places of various four-legged friends. I turn to the left, into a grove of trees where my two best friends lie, or at least their earthly shells did. My eye fill with tears just thinking of all the heartache that I had endured in this spot. I knew these were just bodies that was in the ground, that they themselves were elsewhere. And sometimes, sometimes it felt like they were still around.

I kneel down between and above their two graves and did a small hole as deep as I can, but the shallow bedrock prohibits me from digging too deep. When it is as big as it needs to be, I pick up the red urn, laying it gently in the bottom of the hole.

“Goodbye Bud,” I whisper before I begin filling the hole back in. I knew that that wasn’t him, not anymore. It was just a part of what he was, it felt as though he was right beside me watching me, nudging me, to try and make me feel better.

I finish and place a few rocks on top of the ground, marking the place where I had lay my best friend to rest. I get up, brushing off my knees, and stand there in silence. A sharp wind comes through the bare trees and bites sharply into my skin. I sniff and pull my coat tighter around me, keeping me warm so that I can keep my child warm as well. My hair has a mind of it’s own as it whips around in the wind, but in the coldness comes feeling. I can feel the three of them beside me, waiting patiently until I too join them one day.

“I miss you,” I whisper, my voice cracking as tears pool into my eyes.

I stand there for only a few minutes longer before the cold gets the best of me. I take a deep breath, composing myself again. I cross my arms over my chest, holding the warmth and myself in. I turn to go back down to the house, make that cup of tea that my great-grandmother would make to everything better. But I find someone standing in my way. In jeans and a winter jacket he looked cold, but the way he was looking at me, those eyes burned into me. I literally gasp at the sigh. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone up here, let alone the man in front of me.

“What are you doing here?!” I ask, the question coming out inadvertently as a growl.

Sid’s POV

“What are you doing here?!” she growls at me.

I had to choose my words wisely. I knew she was trying to put up a strong front, but I also knew that she was terrified. Her eyes didn’t have the red color they had when she was mad, no. She couldn’t hide it. Her eyes told everything about her, and even though she tried to hide it with a glare, her big doe eyes told me she was looking to escape.

“I need to talk to you,” I start, keeping my distance and not backing her into a corner.

A few moments pass as she tries to look at everything but me.

“Caitlin, I’m sorry.”

Her eyes fall on me then and I can see the red in them as her temper slowly builds. Apparently I hadn’t chosen very wisely.

“You’re sorry?! I haven’t seen you in months, and the best you can come up with is 'I’m Sorry'?!?!” she says stepping closer to me, her voice rising with every word.

“I know that that doesn’t fix anything. But there isn’t much more too say…” I say shrugging my shoulders, as she gets closer.

“Of course saying you’re sorry isn’t going to fix anything! Sid you slept with Victoria when we were together. Then you tried to blame it on me not being there! And after 4 months all you have to say is ‘I’m sorry.’ You drove an hour and a half to say ‘I’m sorry?’ Fine. You said it, excuse me…” she says pushing passed me and beginning to walking down the trail.

“Would you just listen?!” I say grabbing her by the arm and making her look at me, her eyes warning me not to push too much, “Caitlin, I can’t undo what I did. I made a mistake, a huge mistake, but I can’t turn back the clock. I should have told you as soon as I got back. I shouldn’t have blamed you for any of it when you found out. Hell, I shouldn’t have drank so much and got myself into this mess in the first place. But I did, and all I can do is apologize. I know that doesn’t erase anything … ”

“Damn right it doesn’t …” she snaps.

“. . . but I can’t do this. I can’t not have you in my life, because it’s killing me. The only thing I have without you is hockey. Before that was enough… but now... now it’s not. I need you back in my life. Because I’m sick of coming home every night with the same ache in my chest and feeling like I’m not a whole person without you. Something is missing from my life… you’re missing from my life,” I say looking her in the eye, begging her to forgive me, to understand and just come home.

“What the fuck do you expect me to do? Just up and leave my job? Move back to PA and do what? All my clients are at different trainers, Sid. I have a life back in Utah. I have a job, a house…” she says beginning to rant.

“… And a boyfriend,” I say darkly.

She looks at me confused, trying to decipher what I just said as if it’s from a foreign language.

“What?!”

“When I came up to Utah, I saw you and your boyfriend hugging on the porch,” I find myself saying through gritted teeth.

“What are you talking about? The only person that was there was…” she begins and then suddenly it’s as if a light bulb turns on, realization dawning on her. “You mean Mike? Mike isn’t my boyfriend. Mike is one of the vets I work with, he was helping me … well with Bran,” she says sadly, looking at the ground.

“So he’s not your boyfriend?” I ask, hope seeming to stream in from the dark clouds.

“No, Mike is married and has kids. He’s just a friend,” she shakes her head slowly, before whipping it back up to look at me, “Not that it should matter to you, nor should I have to explain myself!”

“Look…” I sigh, trying to get her to calm down again.

“No you look Crosby,” she says in a growl, “I haven’t seen you in four months. I can’t just drop everything for you.”

“Well who’s fault is that?! I just walk into the house one day to try and make things better with you and I find that everything is fucking GONE! Do you know how badly that hurt? To realize that you just gave up on me? You didn't even leave a note, I had to go to Beth to find out. You left on your own,” I shout.

“I had to leave! I couldn’t stay,” she shouts back at me.

“Yes you could have! We could have made this better four months ago, but no… ugh, you’re so goddamned stubborn!” I say in frustration.

“Oh please, Mr. Flexibility. I figured I get out of your way, being that my job got in your way so fucking much. I’m sorry I couldn’t be your trophy wife, Crosby, but I couldn’t do it. I worked too damn hard to get to where I am today, and I wasn’t going to drop it so that I could be the perfect hockey wife. Me leaving gave you a chance to find someone that Sidney Crosby needs. That will make appearance with you; go to your hockey games, and wait for you get home. I have better shit to do that make you dinner Sid, my job is just as important to me as yours is to you!” she says frustrated.

“I get that, I just… not seeing you for 3 whole months was hard," I try to explain.

"Oh and it wasn't hard on me? I told you that I couldn't make it up to Canada because I swamped at work, but that doesn't mean I didn't miss you," she snaps back.

"You may have been working your ass off, but I wasn’t. I finally had free time to spend with you and you couldn’t be there. Do you know how difficult it was, seeing all of my old friends with their girlfriends, fiancés, or wives, while I only had a picture of mine to show? I had the best prize of all and I couldn’t even show it off! I didn’t want you to be the perfect hockey wife, I didn’t want you to change and be the media savvy trophy wife that everyone thinks Sidney Crosby needs. I can think for myself, and I can choose who I want to be with for myself. I shouldn’t have gotten smashed that night, and I shouldn’t have slept with Victoria. But when are you going to realize that I don’t want what other people want, I want what I want. And you, being you is all that I wanted… all that I still want,” I say pulling her chin up so that she will look at me, tears beginning to pool in their chocolately depths “I have been miserable without you. I can’t sleep, hell I can’t even play without messing something up. I need you back in my life, Caitlin,” I whisper.

“Sid… I….” she says as if struggling with something, her lashes lowering to mask her tears.

She looks at me, her eyes scanning my face as I see her internally battle with a thought. She let’s out a sigh, closing her eyes and biting her lip. Before she takes a deep breath and gently grabs my glove-covered hand with hers. She gently places it on her stomach under her unzipped coat. My eyes widen in shock, my mouth dropping open as I look to my hand to confirm what I feel before looking up to her in shock. Her stomach is swollen… she’s….

“We need you in our lives too,” she whispers, a certain softness and fear to her eyes as they try to read me.

“We? … You mean you’re … you’re pregnant?” I stare at her, utterly shocked.

She bites her lip and nods her head, as I see tears begin to descend down her cheeks.

“You’re going to be a father, Sidney,” she whispers, her hands still on mine, which is still on her stomach.

“A … a father?” I say still trying to grasp the concept, “Are… you sure it’s mine?”

“Pretty damned sure. I’m 18 weeks pregnant, which tags the day of conception to around the time when you got home. And… well… and I haven’t been with, anyone else but you for…” she beings looking down at the ground.

"A father..." I whisper to myself, with a small smile.

A child, and she hasn’t been with anyone but me. My mind tries to slow down for a second as I try to internalize the facts. The woman I love is carrying my child and I was going to be a father.

“Look, I know I probably should have told to sooner, but I was afraid of how you would react and…” she begins ranting before I pull her chin up and crash my lips against hers, and explosion being created upon impact.

My hand coming to cup her neck and deepen the kiss as she steps closer into me, her stomach with the child inside, pressing against my abs. Her one hand still on top of mine as it settles on the top of her bump, her other one finding it’s way to the my neck, her fingers pressing against my skin when they find that my hair no longer curled out from under my hat. And much to my relief, I find her returning my kiss. Her lips moving against mine with the same fire and part almost instantly when my tongue gently strokes her bottom lip. It showed me that she did need me, just as much as I needed her. God had I missed her. I feel her hands suddenly come to my shoulders and push me back as she breaks away.

“I can’t do this,” she says breathlessly, taking a few steps to distance herself from me.

Caitlin’s POV

His hazel eyes were the widest I had ever seen them, and for once in his life, it seemed that Sidney Crosby had no idea what to say. Not that I could blame him, but he couldn’t have held in the surprise on his face if he wanted to.

“A … a father?” he says in utter shock, “Are… you sure it’s mine?”

I chuckle, ‘was I sure it was his,’ of course I was sure.
“Pretty damned sure. I’m 18 weeks pregnant, which tags the day of conception to around the time when you got home,” I say unable to hold the twinge of sarcasm from my voice. “And… well… and I haven’t been with, anyone else but you for the last year…so” I say, unable to look him in the eye and admit that he was the last person I had had sex with in a while.

“Look, I know I probably should have told to sooner, but I was afraid of how you would react and…” I begin to say to try and explain the situation, when suddenly; he tilts my chin up sending butterflies racing through my stomach.

I don’t even have time to think because is lips are almost instantly on mine making me see a spectacular show of fireworks. Those big pillowy lips that I had craved almost as much as the hazelnut coffee I wasn’t allowed to have, were pressed against mine in a mind blowing and searing kiss. That kiss had an immense amount of passion in it, making any doubt in my mind about him still wanted me to instantly vanish. His hand came to the back of my neck as he deeps the kiss, sending a tingling sensation to hit all the way down to my toes. His other hand lays under mine, on top of my stomach where our child is. My hand seems to have a mind of it’s own as it find its way across his broad shoulders and to the back of his neck as I find my brain has quit functioning and I am returning his kiss. There was no doubt that we hadn’t lost the spark between us, I don’t think it will ever be subdued. His tongue finally glides across my lower lip, begging to deepen our kiss. I find myself quickly obliging and letting him in to have his tongue explore my mouth and tangle with mine. God I missed him.

Then suddenly, for some reason, my brain switches back on. I couldn’t do this, not after what he had done to me.

I push him back as I pull out of the kiss, stepping back to distance myself from him.

“I can’t do this,” I say still breathless from the kiss, “We can’t just pick up where we left off.”

“But,” he begins to protest, his lips swollen from our steamy kiss.

“No. We can’t. I can’t just let you back in Sid. I’m not sure if I can be with you again, you have hurt me too many times before.”

He sighs, shaking his head.

“You’re right, I have. But, please, just give me one more chance,” he says his hazel eyes pleading with me as another wave of cold air bites into me and making me shiver.

I wanted to, but could I?

May 10, 2010 at Monday, May 10, 2010

8 Comments to "Chapter 79: Battered Hearts"

Well I think that was an excellent reunion, but she needs to trust him to let her back into her (and the little one's) life. I was super happy to see this on my dashboard tonight :) it's been too long.

this was amazing!!! i can't umtil more

I was very excited when I saw that you updated. It kind of made my night so much better (especially after the pens lost) I loved the update. and I hope she can forgive him.... THE BABY NEEDS IT'S DADDY!!!

So happy to see an update!! Glad she told Sid about the baby. I can only imagine how hard it is for her. She loves him but it will be hard to get over what he did to her. Can't wait for more!

I agree, they need to work things out if possible for their family, but it would be hard to just pick up where they left off. She has to learn to trust him again.

Posted by Kate ( May 11, 2010 at 12:13 PM )

Loved the chapter - it was such a nice reunion, and totally believable because Caitlin didn't just jump back into things with Sid. That being said, I do want her to learn to trust him again, and soon!! I want Sid to be there for her and the baby.
As usual, can't wait for more! :)

I think Sid needs to use some persuasive skills to convince Caitlin they can get right back into it(;
baby time baby time baby time baby time!
I'm so excited for the baby:D
Yay!!!
What can I say? All babies make me go "awwwww". Loved this chapter and can't wait for the next one

GAH!!! Of course you can Caitlin!

Oh Aeryn I'm so glad to see an update! :D

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