Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chapter One

The same image flashed through my eyes again and again as I helplessly watched my best friend fall to the ground with the part of the ceiling that collapsed on top of her. At first, I thought Hailey was going to be okay. She looked a little confused at first, probably a broken leg, but I thought she was fine. I continued running towards her as she struggled to get up, but then became horrified and screamed as another part of the ceiling fell and hit her in the head which knocked her out cold. I continued shouting her name as I, along with many of the workers present, surrounded her and desperately pulled the tiles and beams off of her body.

Waiting five minutes for the ambulance to come felt like an eternity. I didn’t know what to think. She looked so lifeless. I constantly fought with my head about even thinking about the ‘D’ word. No, not my best friend. Even though she couldn’t hear me, I held her hand the entire time and pleaded her to wake up or to do something to let me know she was still here. To my surprise, she wasn’t bleeding anywhere. I could already see bruises showing on her arms, hoping that nothing major was broken. A worker checked her pulse multiple times. She was still breathing. I silently prayed to God asking Him to not take her away yet and for her to just be okay.

She has so much ahead of her. She’s only twenty-two. Every time Hailey was around, I was always laughing until I cried. She always had this weird sense of humor with sarcasm, but it made everyone fall over. Her beauty was incredible. She wasn’t where you look at a girl and automatically think ‘Bitch’. Her type of beauty shined compassion and kindness towards any person. It was only when you really got to know her that the crazy side of her came out. The most important thing to me about Hailey was that she always listened to you. She would never zone out or look somewhere else if you were talking to her. She always kept eye contact with you and did her best to offer advice and even threw a little comic relief in there.

And here she is, unaware that she is currently being strapped to a stretcher to take her to the hospital. The medics were doing their best to try to regain Hailey’s consciousness. And all I could do was stand and watch…helpless.

I cried harder and cursed my mother’s phone call about when she can come visit next, how my job is going, when Marc’s going to propose; blah, blah, blah. If my phone didn’t ring, I would have been standing right there with Hailey and could have pulled her out of the way in time. Or at least I could have switched places with her and not feel as guilty as I do right now.

As the medics finished strapping her to the stretcher, someone asked who needed to be contacted to know she was going in the Emergency Room.

My eyes widened. Sidney was at practice and had no idea what was going on.

“I’ll take care of it,” I yelled through my tears. “Can I ride with her?”
One of the medics nodded, “No problem at all. She needs a good friend right now.”
‘Some friend you are,’ my mind took over. ‘If you were even a decent friend, you’d be in that stretcher, not her.’

I tried to calm my fears and tears down. I had to call Sidney to let him know what was going on. But my fears only got bigger. How was I supposed to tell him that his wife was being taken to the hospital? How was I supposed to explain what happened to him? “Well, uh, you see, part of the ceiling just gave out and Hailey happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Yeah, that would work. I can definitely see a lawsuit coming out of this.

I took a deep breath as I dialed Sidney’s cell phone number. As I followed the medics to the ambulance, I looked at my watch, the boys should be done with practice and interviews by now. But as I called him the third time, I still got his voicemail.

“Damn it to hell, Sid! Answer your fucking phone!!”

The tears started to fall again as I climbed into the right side of the ambulance and reached for Hailey’s hand again. I looked down at her engagement ring and wedding band and decided that I should take them off just incase something would happen to them in the ER. I dug through my purse and found an empty box and placed the rings inside. I know she would be so devastated if something happened to them, and I couldn’t bear to see my friend in even more pain.

I tried Sid’s cell one more time before I finally gave up and called someone who should answer his phone. He knows better than to ignore me.


Disco Dan knew better than to have me practice my shots. He knew that I had that pretty much mastered and that I wouldn’t consider this a punishment for my tardiness. So instead, I’m still skating back and forth across the rink for what feels like the hundredth time non stop. My legs and feet were gonna hurt like hell later, and every time I passed Coach, he would smirk as I silently begged him to tell me to stop.

I knew I only had myself to blame…and Hailey. I grinned as I thought of how she was going to take care of me tonight in return for going through this drill. She’s so tempting, I couldn’t help myself. If she had just let us continue this morning, at least I would have been a little okay with this. But no, the woman’s gotta follow her schedule on time.

Yet, she does everything for me at the same time. When I was little, the rare times I was running late to practice, my mom would just hand me a couple of pop tarts and send me on my way. Now, I get a cooked breakfast ready to go. She helps look after the house, does my laundry…minus my gear. She said that that was a creature of my own that I needed to take care of. We would go to local cafĂ©’s and restaurants at times just to get away, but most of the time, we teamed up and cooked together. Cooking as in she gathered all the ingredients and added stuff to it to make the meal better while I stirred something simple or just watched water boil.

The best thing that she knew how to do was to love me and accept me for who I am. Ever since I met her, my mind’s never settled down. It doesn’t help that she has a hell of a body, but her personality and spirit is what really pulled me to her. She always seems to have this sense of hope and joy in whatever she does. For me, she’s helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. During my high ankle sprain, losing the Cup Finals in 2008, and just calming me down whenever my nerves got to me about how I was playing. Even though we’ll only be married for a year in June, I have no doubt that she is the best thing that ever happened to me.

“All right, Sid, I think you’ve had enough of skating back and forth,” Dan finally called out. “Let’s work on your face-offs. They’re a lot stronger and quick, but you still get caught up sometimes.”

I breathed heavily as I slowly skated towards him. Even though I’d still be here for a while, I couldn’t help but be anxious about getting home to Hailey. The rest of the day would be done for me after this practice. All I wanted to do was hold her, watch a movie, and just relax. Granted other activities will fall into place, but it works for me.

“You focused? You ready?”

I nodded as I bent down and waited for the puck to be dropped onto the ice. I watched it like a hawk and once it hit the ground, I jumped.


I turned around to see Flower coming towards me on the ice in his tennis shoes. He had this panicked look on his face. As he slid towards us, I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. What could possibly be going on that couldn’t wait until I was done? And then I thought of the prank that the guys pulled on TK the other day about how Sports Illustrated was waiting in the locker room to do an interview on him. The guy’s pride was so high that he believed them and walked into the locker room only to be thrown into the hot tub that was filled with jello and whipped cream.

I smirked. So he thought he was gonna fool me, huh? I’m not so easy to trick.

“What’s up, Flower? Is everything all right?” Disco Dan asked.
He grabbed my wrist and started pulling me, “We need to get you out here now! Hailey needs you!”
I pulled my wrist away from him, “Nice try, Flower. But Hailey’s at the arena working everything out for the bar with your woman. So whatever prank you have pulled up your sleeve…why don’t you use it on Max? He never gets pranked.”
“I’m not fucking around here, Sid!” Marc said as he looked distressed and defeated as he threw his arms up. “Dude…,” he struggled to get out and looked as if he was choking up a little.
I started to panic. “What the hell’s going on, Flower? You’re scaring the shit out of me..”
“…Hailey’s in the ER right now…unconscious.”

I didn’t wait for him to continue as I hurriedly skated off the ice and into the locker room. I was taking off my practice jersey and everything else that I could while I walked to my stall. I felt like I was gonna be sick. I didn’t even notice who was watching me as I threw my gear everywhere and putting back on regular clothes. Hailey’s unconscious? What the fuck happened in the last two hours? She was fine this morning. Nothing seemed to be bothering her. So why was she in the hospital?

As I put on my hat and grabbed my keys, I didn’t even realize how heavily I was breathing until I felt a firm hand grab my shoulder.

“Ain’t no way in hell you’re driving right now. I’ll take you,” Bill Guerin said as he held out his car keys and directed me to the parking lot. He kept his hand on my shoulder the entire time, and I felt another hand grab onto my other shoulder.

I turned my head, and Flower gave me a weak smile.

“What’s wrong with her?” I whispered.
He shook his head, “I honestly couldn’t tell you. Vero called me screaming and crying, and all that I heard was that Hailey was being sent to the ER and that she wasn’t responding.”

I winced in pain as I followed Billy to his car. I climbed in the passenger seat, and Flower got into his own car to follow us to the hospital. It would take us a half hour to get there. What if that wasn’t enough time? What if I got there and…

I lowered my hat and cried silently. Once I arrived at the hospital, I had to be strong for Hailey…for my wife. So I might as well let it all out now.

“It’s gonna be all right, kid,” Billy said as we left Southpointe and headed towards downtown. “No matter what happens, it’s gonna be okay.”

But I felt that gut feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t gonna be okay. That I wasn’t going to get let off the hook that easy. I had to hear the whole story about what happened in order to really understand what this could mean for Hailey…for us. I leaned my head against the window, and I couldn’t help but flashback to our wedding vows.

..Till death do us part. God, not yet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


March 2011

“Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?..”

I groaned as the alarm from my cell phone blasted my favorite song (for the moment at least) throughout the bedroom. Not moving my head from my pillow, I blindly searched for the phone and shut the alarm off. I then continued to bury my face in the pillow until I felt my husband’s arms sneak around my waist from behind me. He then proceeded to kiss that weak spot on my neck.

“Mmm, time to wake up, baby,” he said.
As much as that feeling of weakness threatened to give in, I was too tired to play games. “No..more sleep..good dream,” I replied.
“Why do you need to dream about me when I’m right here?”
“Who said I was dreaming about you? Robert Pattinson was about to turn me into a vampire until the damn alarm went off.”
Sidney rolled me onto my back and pinned my arms against the bed so I couldn’t move. Not that I would want to anyways as my greedy eyes gazed upon his shirtless upper body. Out of all the girls in Pittsburgh and Canada, it still amazes me that I’m the one he chose to spend the rest of his life with. How the hell did I get so lucky?

Before, I was just an ordinary, independent girl born in Pittsburgh. I was certified in event planning not only in Pittsburgh, but around the country as well. My name was out there, but not where you could easily point me out on the street like I was Paris Hilton or something. And then, I met Sidney through being hired by the Penguins organization to help plan out their big events like the Skates and Plates dinner. After first meeting with him and the team in 2007, loud-mouth Max Talbot shouted as I exited the meeting room, “Captain just found his soul mate!” I ignored his comment, but I couldn’t help but notice the obvious as Sidney tried his best to impress me. Needless to say, his polite manners and charm got to me and now I’m stuck with him.

“I still don’t see what the big deal is about him,” he said. “He plays a vampire. So what?”
“I still don’t see what the big deal is about you. You play hockey. So what?”
I could tell he was getting irritated as his eyebrows narrowed, “You married me.”
“I did?” I asked as checked my ring finger. “Huh, you’re right. Someone must have gotten me way too drunk or paid me pretty well to marry someone like you.”
“Goddamnit, woman. Why do you treat me like this?”
I propped myself up on my elbows as our faces were just inches from away. “’Cause I love you,” I answered with a kiss. It eventually became passionate as he gently pushed me back down against the mattress. My hands explored the back of his neck as I tangled my fingers in his messy curls and continued to slide down his shoulder blades. Just as I felt his hands slowly begin to take off my tank top, I grabbed his wrist.

“Sid, as much as I really want to do this right now, we have to stop.”
He grunted in my neck as he continued, “We have time.”
I turned my head towards the clock on my nightstand that read 10:23 A.M.
“You have practice in half an hour.”
His head immediately looked at the clock, almost hitting me along the way. “Shit,” he mumbled as he scrambled out of bed and began to search through his drawers for clothes.

I couldn’t help but laugh at him, despite the warning look he gave me, as I headed downstairs to make him a quick breakfast. Granted I had to be at the Energy Center at noon, but I knew better than to get in his way when it came to hockey. I quickly made two breakfast burritos and wrapped them in foil knowing that he needed to get to Southpointe as soon as possible. Just as I finished packing his breakfast (I sound like such a mom), I heard footsteps racing down the stairs and through the hallway as he entered the kitchen.

“Your breakfast is in the bag,” I said as I pointed to its location on the island.
“Thanks, babe,” he replied as he opened the refrigerator, grabbed the carton of milk and began drinking from it.
“There’s a reason we have glasses, y’know.”
He continued to wolf down a third of the carton as he stopped to put it away, “I know. But that means one of us would have something else to clean.”
“Yeah, now I gotta clean out my mouth twice as much when I eat cereal,” I teased.
“I don’t see a difference between us kissing and that milk carton.”
“I don’t wanna taste you when I’m eating my Cinnamon Toast Crunch!”
“Yum,” he replied as he wiggled his eyebrows.
I playfully smacked his butt, “Get going. You’re already gonna be late.”

Sidney grabbed his breakfast as we both walked towards the door to the garage. I watched as he carelessly slid on his shoes, put on his jacket, and grabbed his keys off of the hook on the wall. For a moment, we just stood there looking at each other. It was as if he was trying to search in my eyes for an answer that he didn’t know. He took a deep breath and sighed.

“Are you all right?” I asked, a little worried that he wasn’t tell me something.
He smiled, “Yeah, I’m fine. I just…I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to just soak up this moment with you.”
I rolled my eyes and blushed at the same time. Sappy romantic. Nevertheless, I closed the space between us as I wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my face into his chest. The smell of his cologne made me feel safe as I looked up at him.

“You sure you don’t wanna come to practice?” he asked as he stuck out his lower lip.
I shook my head, “I have to go finalize how the bar is going to be set up at the Energy Center. Plus, Vero’s coming with me, so that would leave me stuck with Geno’s girlfriend.”
“I thought you guys were best friends,” he joked.
“Yeah, and I thought Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana were two completely different people,” I raised my eyebrow at him.
He laughed, “All right, all right. So I’ll see you when you get home?”
“You can count on it.”
We leaned towards each other as we kissed. A few moments later, we stopped as Sidney kissed the tip of my nose and my forehead before letting go. “I love you, Hailey.”
“I love you, too.”

I watched him open the door to the garage as he walked to his beloved Range Rover. Which, can I say, is the ugliest car I’ve ever seen. The man has millions in his bank account and this is all he has to show for a car? As he got into the driver’s seat, he paused before closing the door. “Don’t cause too much damage with Vero today.”
I snorted, “Who said that we were going shopping?”
“’Cause I know you two.”
“So I spend a couple hundred today…it’s my account, it can afford to gain some extra breathing space.”
He smiled and shook my head at me as he closed the door, “See ya, babe.”

I folded my arms as the garage door opened. He slowly backed out of the garage and the driveway. I waved goodbye one last time as he hit the gas to make it to Southpointe. I closed the garage door and looked at the clock on the stove that read 10:45. He’d be at least fifteen minutes late for practice. I grinned as I headed upstairs to get ready for the day. When you were late for a practice, Disco Dan went easy on you..until the rest of the team was done. Then, he made you complete ridiculous drills until you were laying on the ice begging him to stop.
I wasn’t too worried about it. I know I’ll have to make up for him being late tonight.


“And right here is where we plan on building the stage. There’s even going to be a small backstage area for people to come out of the curtains to make it feel like a real show.”
“We could even bring in a couple of acoustic sets if we wanted to,” I replied. “Would that still be compatible with the speakers we’re buying?”
“Certainly, Mrs. Crosby. Those speakers can blast anything you hook it up to.”
I nodded, very impressed, “Well, it sounds like you guys have wasted no time putting this place together. Everything looks good to me so far. I appreciate your efforts.”
The gentleman in charge of the construction company nodded, “Not a problem. Feel free to continue looking around. Just remember to keep your hard hats on.”

I thanked him as he wandered away to check with a group of workers. The karaoke restaurant and bar was almost finished. All we had to do was pick out a menu with the hired chefs, build the stage, and wait for the furniture to be delivered. With the new arena not even a year old, Mario had his own restaurant inside the arena. However, he wanted a place for fans who didn’t have tickets to feel connected and have a fun place to go to watch the games. He asked me for my advice, and I thought that karaoke would be fun. It gave everyone a chance to enjoy themselves before or after the games. And even though it was connected to the arena, you didn’t need a ticket to the game to get in. There was a door that entered the arena where fans could check in with their tickets as well as a door that led outside. We asked the rest of the team how they felt about it, and they were pretty excited. A lot of times, a big group of us would head out to a karaoke bar a half hour away from the arena after games. Granted that they probably couldn’t come here every game night, it’d be an alternate place to go. Most of their singing sucked, but there were a few surprises in the group like Bill Guerin. Who the hell would have known?! And then there’s some guys that just won’t sing a song unless they get a little drunk like Sidney. I shook my head and laughed as I thought about the time he sang, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. The boy could not hit a single note in the entire song, yet he stood there singing proudly with a beer in his hand. That may have been the only night I wish I had divorce papers in front of me.

“This place is gonna look so awesome!” Vero said as she stood next to me.
“Yeah, I can’t wait to see it finished. The booths are gonna be so sweet!”
“Forget the booths! I can’t wait until we’re singing up there!” Vero pointed towards the part of the restaurant where the stage was going to be built. “Can you see us now? You, me, Heather, and Kelsey singing a little Spice Girls and Britney Spears.”
“Oh, I already told Mario that we will be the first people up on that stage singing ‘Wannabe’! Gotta kick it off in style!”
“Yes!” she pumped her fist in the air as her cell phone rang. Vero hurriedly rummaged through her purse to find her phone. “It’s my mom, I’ll be back,” she replied as she answered her phone and walked away to another section of the restaurant.

I walked towards the tape where the stage was being built. It seemed that everything was going according to plan with the place, and I was really excited to open it up to the public. I walked inside the tape and looked up at the ceiling as I turned around in a circle and stood still in the middle of the ‘stage’. I daydreamed as anyone did about performing in front of a huge audience with a standing ovation at the end. Even though I was firmly established in my career, it didn’t hurt to dream, right?

Just as I was pretending to bow and thank my audience, I heard a screeching noise above me that followed with a sound that sounded like something was about to crumble to pieces. As I stood up, I saw Vero’s eyes get insanely wide as she ran towards me.


I didn’t even have time to react to Vero’s warning as I felt many heavy pieces crush my body which knocked off my hard hat. I was blindsided for a second, but I was soon sent to complete darkness and silence as I felt something hit my head.

“…I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now…”