I walked into the Bell Centre on February second holding my son in one arm, his baby bag over my other shoulder. I had him all bundled up in the Penguins jersey Sidney had gotten what seems like forever ago, along with a black and gold touk to cover his gorgeous, soft, dark hair. I was simply wearing an old Nordiques sweatshirt of Marc's and jeans. I wasn't too big on dressing to impress lately.
I carefully walked down the stops to the seat Carey had gotten for me, setting the bag by my feet and standing at the glass as everyone came out for warmups.
"Look! C'est ton pere," I said softly, turning him slightly so he could see Sidney skating around on the ice. I watched his big hazel eyes widen as he let out an excited noise, making me giggle.
Carey skated by with ease and waved. I still couldn't believe he convinced me to come to this game.. But he promised me everything would be okay and go smoothly, as well as the fact that my presence wouldn't be known to any of the Penguins, so I gave in. I looked cross-ice and saw my brother, disappointed that I couldn't hang out with him.
Marc-Andre motioned to Kris, who tapped on Sidney's stick with his own. Once he had his attention, Kris pointed to Marc, who mouthed, 'come here'. Sidney began towards my brother, his back to me, and as my heart raced, I shot my brother the most threatening look I could muster.
He shrugged, ignoring my glares and saying whatever he did. Sidney simply nodded and went back in line with the guys, unphased by whatever Marc had apparently said.
When warmups ended and people began to settle into their seats, a pair of middle-aged women and their husbands sat to my right.
"Awh, is that your baby?" the blond one closest to me asked, and her red headed friend laughed.
"Why else would she have him? He's adorable, by the way."
"He's got the wrong jersey on though," one of the husbands chuckled.
"Thank you," I grinned, quickly glancing up at the scoreboard to check the time.
"What's his name?"
"How old is he?" the women queried like every woman I encountered did.
"Oliver, and he's almost six months old."
As soon as the first puck dropped, Oliver began to wriggle around, so I reached into one of the pockets of my bag and grabbed his pacifier. He immediately settled down, and the women beside me were in awe.
"Pacifier and hockey make Ollie a very happy little boy," I told them, "I'll probably have to walk him around in between periods, but that's okay."
The game finally ended, it was 2-4 Habs, and a man in a suit approached me.
"Miss Fleury, would it be possible for you to come with me please?"
"Am I in trouble?" I asked cautiously, quickly glancing down at my sleeping son.
"No, no.. You'll see," he told me, so I carefully got up, grabbed my bag and did as he said.
When I realized where I was headed, I began to get nervous.
"We're not going to the dressing rooms, are we?" I asked and the clearly older man looked at me with a look of surprise. I guess no one had ever seemed unwilling to go down to where the players are.
"Mister Price wanted me to come find you.."
"Oh, okay," I nodded.
I met up with Carey, who smiled when he saw me and Oliver.
"Hey, how's the little guy? I haven't seen him since All Star weekend! He's gotten so big.."
Yeah.. Carey had invited me out to the All Star games. He thought that Oliver should experience his first games in his hometown, and seeing as it was the one hundredth anniversary of Montreal.. I couldn't say no.
"Just watching you guys play wore him out," I laughed, and Carey quickly led me into a room that I had no desire to be in.
"Je te deteste," I hissed at Carey as he left, closing the door behind him and leaving me and Oliver alone with the majority of the Pens.
"Woah," I heard Jordan let out since he was the closest to the door.
"Um. I didn't plan on coming here," I explained, trying to keep from freaking out.
"I know. That's why Price and I got you here," Marc-Andre told me as he buttoned up his shirt, then shut his mouth as soon as Sidney walked in from his post-game interview.
I took one look at him, briefly making eye contact before whirling around and leaving the dressing room, walking down the hall I came through earlier.
"Aubrie, wait!" Tyler's voice rang out, so I stopped and leaned back against the wall.
"He wants to talk to you," he said quickly, "You have no idea how much."
"Then why are you here and not him?"
"He's kinda in shock."
"Well when he wants to come out, I'll be right here.."
"Ok. And congrats, by the way," Tyler smiled, "Your brother told me his name. Good choice."
"I knew he would.. Thanks for being such a great friend when I needed one."
"No problem," he nodded, then disappeared into the dressing room.
I put my bag on the ground and sat against the wall, pulling my knees up and resting Oliver's back against them so he was reclining in my lap.
Minutes later the door opened and Sidney walked out in his dress pants and shirt with his tie hanging loosley around his neck.
"Hi," I nodded awkwardly.
"Is that-" he began, sitting beside me almost hesitantly.
"Yeah, this is him," I said as I gently slipped off his touk and smoothed out his hair.
"I- He's perfect," Sidney muttered, staring at this little boy he'd never seen before, but felt as if he already knew.
I looked down at this tiny person, then a sudden rush of total attachment came over me and I knew I would never want to leave him.
"What's his name?" I asked, knowing we had never decided on one name officially, "I don't think any of the ones we talked about really fit with Fleury, unless you picked a different one."
Aubrie shot me a glance then looked back to our baby, fixing the hem of his jersey that I definitely recognized.
"His name is Oliver. Oliver Kennedy Crosby," she told me, and I couldn't help but smile.
"My favourite name," I said as I gently stroked his little hand with my thumb.
"I know.. Mine too. Tyler helped me make up my mind. He was my window to Pittsburgh while I've been here. Hence, Ollie's middle name."
"It fits him," I nodded.
"I know you probably hate me," she said quietly and I averted my attention from Oliver to Aubrie.
"I don't hate you.. I probably should, but I don't. I'm hurt that I've missed out on so much already.. Like, I don't know when his birthday is or whether he's a good baby or a total tyrant." I was so curious about this boy and I couldn't wait for him to wake up.
"August eighth, and he has his good days. Then there are those nights when I don't get sleep at all. Oh-" she cut off as Oliver began to move and I watched in awe as his eyes opened sleepily and he began to stretch.
"Hey Ollie, mon petit ange. Look who's here. It's your daddy," she said in that nurturing tone I always imagined her having.
"You should have seen how antsy he got whenever you skated by. It's like he knows who you are," Aubrie giggled, "Do you want to hold him?"
I suddenly tensed up, unsure of what to do or say. Of course, I had read the baby books so I knew what to do, but actually
doing it was the scary part.
"For sure," I nodded and Aubrie carefully set him in my arms; his head nestled securely against my bisep as I focused on being gentle.
I stared down at Oliver, who stared up at me with his oddly big, bright, greenish hazel eyes and I saw a flash of a camera go off. I looked up to see Aubrie and her digital camera and she shrugged.
"For you to tape up in your stall at Mellon," she explained, and I smiled thankfully.
"Can I introduce him to the guys?" I asked and Aubrie nodded, grabbing her big bag and making sure I kept a hold of Oliver as I got up.
We walked back down the hall and into the dressing room, drawing the attention of everyone in the room, immediately quieting their laughs and conversations.
I took a few steps into the center of the unfamiliar dressing room, a huge smile on my face.
"Hey guys, there's someone you all need to meet," I announced proudly.