A month and a half had past, and it was now January 15th. I haven't been alone with Sidney since I returned his jersey, and being around him was really awkward. We rarely spoke to eachother, unless it was to as how the other was doing. But it's weird hanging out with Gee, Jordan, and my brother, because Sidney's usually there too.
I'd been confiding in Henry, as well as Paul [Stastny] more and more as each day passed, but I didn't tell Paul about Sidney, exactly.
Marc's girlfriend, Veronique, came out last week for a three week visit, and she's been a real bitch to me. But that's not new, she always has been.
My boys made it to State, and their championship series starts on Saturday, it's best three out of four, seeing as its high school. So, today and tomorrow they're practicing with their Pens counterparts.
I was at the rink with my team at nine am sharp, so they can get ready and have a warmup before the others get there. I also needed to pair up the players, but that wouldn't take too much time.
The guys were on the ice by nine forty-five, and I had taped the lineups to the glass so they could see who their partner was. Then I went into the locker room to get my skates on, along with my jersey from Coach Therrien and the team.
The number 18 was on the back, along with A. Fleury, because it was an eighteenth birthday gift, as well as how many school records I broke in senior year, not to mention my number since I was little.
I grabbed a bag full of pucks after tying my hair up in a high ponytail, then made my way back to the ice just as Mark and Jordan arrived, along with the usuals; Gee, Jocelyn, my brother, Sidney, Erik, and some others.
"Okay. You all know your partners right?"
"Yes, CB," my excited boys yelled.
"Are we gonna show off today?"
"Of course!" they shouted.
"Good. Make me proud, and please, try to refrain from fighting. I'll penalize you if I see anything. Get it?"
"Good," I finished as the Penguins filed onto the ice, taking a quick warmup.
"Don't be shy guys," I nudged Jared to go towards Sidney, and for Casey to skate to Jordan. Eventually they were all paired up, so I went around taking pictures, calling penalties, and giving kudos or criticism.
During one of our breaks, Jared came over and sat on the bench with me.
"Yeah?" I asked, not looking up from my playbook.
"Sidney's been asking me a lot of questions.."
"Okay? He probably just wants to get to know you," I shrugged.
"Um, no. He's been asking about you."
My head snapped up, "What?"
"I've been trying not to answer.."
"No, don't worry. I'll talk to him."
I got up, not noticing the fact that I'd taken off my skates to redo the lacing. Sidney was a bit past center ice, across the rink from me.
I stepped onto the hard ice with nothing but socks on my feet.
Since I was used to it, I had no trouble walking over the slippery surface and over to the group of my kids and Sidney.
"Hey guys, you mind if I steal Sid from you for a few minutes?"
The group nodded, and I turned on my heal, walking to the penalty box with Sidney following closely.
He stepped inside, and sat while I stood, still on the chilled surface.
"Sidney, if you want to ask questions about me, ask me. Not an eighteen year old that I coach! Their minds need to be on hockey and their upcoming State Championship games, not what my favourite movies are. Okay? I invited you guys to come practice with them, because I thought you could help them focus on the tasks ahead. Apparently I was a bit wrong, because you're only distracting one of the team's star players!"
"I'm sorry. I really am. How about I take you out for coffee or dinner tonight," he offered quietly, sounding very genuine.
"Well I'm kinda busy if you haven't noticed. My team comes first during the season, like yours does for you. Okay? Try and understand that."
He opened his mouth to apologize once more, but I cut him off.
"I know. It's alright. You're a really sweet, caring, friendly guy. But right now you're coming off as a really big creep."
"Oh.." he hung his head.
"I'm not trying to be a bitch or anything like that, it's just these boys really look up to you, and need you to focus. Just talk to Jared. Answer his questions, show him new tricks. Just tell him how you cope with the pressures of games, and I'll be happy."
"I can do that."
"Good," I smiled, pulling him up, "now go on. You've got one more day of this."
Sidney stepped out of the box, skating over to Jared with an excited look on his face.
It was then I realized I was standing on ice in socks, and hopped up into the box.
"Um.. Help?" I called, and Sidney turned around, coming back after laughing at my distressed face.
"Got cold feet, eh? Good thing this isn't a wedding."
"Yeah, yeah," I rolled my eyes and he lifted me up bridal style, carrying me effortlessly to the bench.
"Thanks," I smiled after he set me down.
"No problem," he nodded, then ventured off to Jared, leaving me to relace my skates.
Now, watching the two teams scrimmage towards the end of practice was amusing. The score was three to one in favor if my team, the Golden Gophers. Acting as the referee, I tried my best to be fair to both teams, but they always tried to contradict my calls.
"Oh come on! That was an unfair check!" Jordan yelled, getting up in my face.
I glanced over his shoulder to Sidney, who was shaking his head. He'd become my extra eyes, and is being completely honest and reliable when it comes to this.
"Back off, right now or I'll put you in the box for ref interference," I warned, noticing I was cornered against the boards.
"That's bullshit!" he cried, getting even more worked up. Before he could say anything more, Sidney skated over, and shoved his shoulder in a friendly manner.
"Hey cool it man. It's just practice."
"Yeah, I know," he muttered, still glaring at me.
"Save your anger for the real thing, okay?"
"Whatever," Jordan shot one final look at me before skating off with Sid. When Jordan wasn't looking, Sidney turned around, sending me a quick smile, and I mouthed back a thanks.
Who knows what that kid would've done if Sidney hadn't have intervened. Truthfully, I didn't want to find out. "Okay, let's get playing!" I grinned, dropping the puck for Sid and Jared.
The Gophers won four to three in overtime, and then we all decided to go to a late lunch. Or, we thought about it. No one could agree on a place, so we all split up. But no one wanted to go to Qdoba with me.