Hey guys, I know I haven't been updating much lately, but I haven't gotten any writing done on any of my three stories since school ended. I have however been working on two one shots. One is about Andrew Orpik, the brother of Penguins' defenseman Brooks Orpik. That one shot is currently posted and it would mean a great deal if you guys checked it out and commented. The other one shot is about Eric Godard and should be posted in the next few days. In the mean time please enjoy this chapter, comments are greatly appreciated.
“We should get going to we can make it to Val-d’Or before midnight.”
“Okay,” Nikki said reaching for her bag.
“I’ve got it,” Kris took the duffle bag and started for the parking lot and the car. “I know it’s little but it gets the job done.” He opened the car door and put Nikki’s bags in the back.
“C’est mignon ,” she said with a smile.
“I’ll be sure to tell Luc, it’s his.” When they were both in the front seat Kris started the car and the music blasted. “Sorry,” Kris said, quickly turning it all the way down.
“It’s okay, is that Journey?” Nikki reached to the center console and turned the music back up.
Kris nodded with a smile on his face as ‘Any Way You Want It’ played and Nikki sang along. In English of course. ‘She likes Journey,’ he thought to himself. When the song ended and a slower, softer one began they talked about the flight and school that day.
Kris was ecstatic that Nikki was visiting. He had missed her so much over the past two months. Although she would be in Canada with him for five days that five days wouldn’t be enough. Saying good-bye to her the first time was head and he knew that this time would be even worse.
“So are you hungry?” he asked at around seven.
“Kind of, yeah.”
A few moments later they pulled off the highway and soon were in line at a McDonald’s drive-thru. “Probably not what you were expecting when you got to Canada, but it’s quick.” After ordering their food Nikki went to pull some of her new Canadian money from her pocket. “Put the money back, I’ve got it.” Kris said pulling his wallet from his back pocket.
“No it’s fine, it’s my mom’s money anyway.”
“I’m buying you dinner,” he said in a stern, yet sweet voice. “Put the money away.”
She slid her wallet back into her pocket as Kris turned to hand the money to the woman at the window. Nikki couldn’t help but smile. ‘Don’t think too much of it,’ she told herself. ‘He’s just a friend, friends buy each other stuff all the time.’
Kris was also having thoughts like this. ‘Obviously she doesn’t like me as more than a friend,’ he told himself as they waited to pull up to the pick-up window. ‘She was going to pay for her own food, sign of just friendship. But there’s nothing wrong with just being friends,’ he assured himself as their meals were handed through the window.
If only they knew what the other was thinking, and how far off from the truth they really were. Neither had stopped smiling since they made eye contact in the airport. But of course neither had noticed.
Although they had talked every night for the last two months they still found things to talk about for all five hours of the trip. It was just passed eleven when they got to Val-d’Or and they were pulling p to the apartment building within ten minutes. “Home sweet home.” Kris shut off the car and took the key from the ignition. “Well at least during the season.”
After grabbing Nikki’s bags from the backseat Kris led her to the second floor, three bedroom apartment He led her to her room, the guest room. It was a small room with a twin bed and a small dresser with a mirror attached. “I know it’s not much but we don’t have very many people stay with us and it’s better than the living room couch.”
“It’s fine, thank you Kris.”
“No problem. I’ve gotta be up for morning skate, I’m sure you’ll want to sleep in, but you can help yourself to whatever you find in the fridge.”
“Okay, goodnight Kristopher.”
“Goodnight Nicolette,” Kris pulled her into a hg and didn’t want to let go. Nikki didn’t want to leave Kris’ arms either but after a few seconds they both felt that they should let go.
Kris smiled while closing the door to the hall and went to his room, exhausted from driving for ten hours. He had barely gotten into bed and pulled the covers over himself before he was sleeping peacefully.
Nikki finally found her pajamas at the bottom of her bag and once she had changed from her jeans she realized just how tired she was from her trip. She crawled into bed and Kris’ scent was still on her t-shirt. She smiled as she drifted off to sleep.
When Luc and Kris woke up the next morning they got ready for morning skate and Kris left a note for Nikki. Skate was set to start at ten so the two best friends left at nine fifteen , allowing themselves to get to the arena and suited up before their coach called them to center ice.
Nikki woke up at ten-fifteen and it took a moment for her to remember where she was. ‘I’m in Kris’ guest room,’ she thought to herself and smiled. “I’m in Canada,” she said out loud this time. She laid back in bed for a few more minutes before finding her way to the kitchen she had passed the night before. On the counter she found a note written in Kris’ neat hand-writing.
Luc and I are at morning skate and should be back before noon. Help yourself to anything you find in the fridge. There’s clean towels in the bathroom at the end of the hall, so you can shower whenever you want. Just make yourself at home. And Luc can’t wait to meet you later. See you soon.
Of course the note was in French and Nikki smiled.
She decided that she would shower than then find something to eat. She went back to her room, picking out an outfit and finding the bathroom at the end of the hall. After pulling the shower curtain closed she found the perfect temperature and just let the water run over her for a moment. She turned to the small shelf where a bottle of Sauvé extra volume sat. “So this is how he gets his hair like that,” she smiled.
She found her way back to the kitchen in a pair of jeans and Sidney Crosby t-shirt and smelling of Irish Spring. She looked through the refrigerator for a few minutes before deciding to make scrambled eggs. Once the eggs were made and everything was cleaned up she went back to look for ketchup, she was a true Pittsburgher.
“Did you find something to eat?” Kris asked when he got home.
“Yeah, I used the last of your ketchup though.”
“You Americans are odd,” Luc said with a smile.
“No, it’s a Pittsburgh thing,” Nikki smiled.
“Oh, Nikki this is my best friend Luc Bourdon, Luc, Nikki James.”
“Nice to meet you,” Luc said with a heavy accent.
Luc and Kris went to take their pre-game naps after being wished sweet dreams by Nikki. Nikki sat down on to watch some TV until the boys woke up. Flipping through the channels she saw the beauty of Canada. She looked out the living room window for the first time and saw that it had snowed over night and was lightly snowing then.
When Kris and Luc woke up they made pasta for dinner and Nikki was happy to see that not only could Kris play hockey, but he could cook too.
As it got closer to game time Nikki got more and more excited about seeing Kris play again. She was also excited to be able to wish him luck in person again. Kris was also excited for the same reasons. Nikki had wished him luck before every game for the last two months and he appreciated it. But good luck in a text wasn’t as good as having her say it to him and actually watch the game.
Opening face-off would happen at seven o’clock so the Foreurs and their guest arrived at Centre Air Crebec at five-fifteen. It reminded Nikki of one of the many “arenas” in Pittsburgh. Kris led Nikki to the locker room and introduced her to all of the guys who were there. As always she wore a Penguins’ hat, but that didn’t stop the guys from staring.
When it was almost time for the players to take the ice Nikki found her seat. The arena was small compared to a professional hockey arena, only seating a few thousand, but it was enough for this junior hockey team.
“I see why you like her,” Luc said to Kris in the locker room.
Kris was still smiling from when she had whispered good luck and give him a hug. He didn’t know what it was about her, her smile, her kindness, or her love for hockey. Whatever it was Kris couldn’t stop thinking about Nicolette James. He did somehow push the thoughts of her to the back of his mind though when they took the ice.
During the pre-game skate most of the seats behind the Foreurs bench were empty. One special one though was occupied. Nikki sat happily a few row behind the bench and was excited to see Kris skating again. Kris looked up to Nikki flashing a smile and she returned it. She motioned for him to go back to warming up and took her camera from her hoodie pocket. She took pictures of all of the Foreurs as they passed the bench and she seemed to take a lot more pictures of Kris and anyone else.
As the seconds ticked off the clock above game time drew closer and Nikki’s excitement grew.
The Foreurs wore white with yellow and green on the shoulders and logo in the center. The Oceanic wore blue. Kris and Luc were out as part of the starting line-up and Nikki sat on the edge of the seat.
Rimouski scored first but Val-d’Or came back to win the game three to one. One of those goals had been scored by Kris in the second period. When he tickled the twine he celebrated with his teammates before finding Nikki’s smiling face in the crowd.
“Kris!” Nikki said excitedly after finding her way to the Foreurs’ locker room. “Great job, you too Luc.”
Both guys smiled, accepting hugs from Nikki before showering.
The ride home was short and was spent discussing the game. Both Kris and Luc had played extremely well and Nikki was glad that she got to see Kris play again. The entire time Nikki had been with the two guys they spoke French and she found it relaxing.
After arriving back at the apartment the three friends sat around talking about Pittsburgh, hockey, and anything else that came to mind. The next day was an off day because it was Christmas Eve so they stayed up late talking. At around one-thirty the two guys decided that they should probably get some rest.
“Goodnight Nikki, night Kris,” Luc said getting up from the couch and starting for his room.
“Night,” Kris and Nikki said in unison causing Luc to smile.
“We should probably get to bed too,” Kris said getting up from the couch. Nikki nodded with a smile as Kris reached out his hand to help her up. Kris quickly let go when she was standing, although he certainly didn’t want to. Nikki wouldn’t have objected and when he let go she was upset.
‘He doesn’t like me like that,’ she told herself. ‘We’re just friends.’
Kris stopped at Nikki’s door and pulled her into a hug. “Bon huit, Nicolette.”
“Bon huit, Kristopher.” When finally released from his grasp she reached for the door handle. “Bon huit.”
Kris smiled and started towards his room as Nikki entered her room and slowly closed the door, not wanting to look away from Kris. Eventually she did though when Kris got to his room. Nikki sat down on the bed, well the bed that she was using and let her thoughts take over. ‘Who would have thought that learning French would have such a pay off? Six years of studying was definitely worth this.’ She smiled as she though this. Almost the whole time she had been there they had only spoken French, and she was glad. Learning French was what got her there. And as much as she enjoyed hearing Kris speak English, French just rolled off his tongue. The accent was really what got her and she couldn’t help but smile every time he spoke.
Soon those thoughts drifted into dreams of actually being with Kris. He kissed her cheek and held her close, exactly what she wanted in real life.