So what my father said was true and the league was looking into letting the organizations decide who could be romantically involved with players and who couldn’t. I didn’t know how I felt. I liked having Jack home, with me, every night. I liked it a lot, but I also knew he was a hockey player and that’s where he should be.
I was also a woman who knew that things were trickier out on the road, and sometimes shit just happened, and I trusted Jack, but he was home with me now, and everything was so perfect, I didn’t want it to change.
I was selfish. I was so selfish it wasn’t funny. I was being selfish even as the Blizzard were in a tailspin spiraling toward the abyss. My brother hadn’t scored a point since Jack left and the rest of the team wasn’t any better. They needed Jack, but so did I.
I was so confused. I knew what I wanted and I also knew what was right, but what was the answer. Jack was happy either way, so he was no help. Ugh why did this have to be this hard?
I saw Miss Alvord’s little performance on television, but was it real, or was it a stunt? I didn’t trust her, but the benefit for Haley’s family was a good idea, so I would concede that, but I still didn’t trust her.
I was warring with myself so much I didn’t hear Jack come in. I did feel it though when he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. “Careful,” I said. “Someone might come in.”
“Then they can turn around and leave because I am not selling tickets.” I giggled at him.
“I see that proposal that my dad talked about is in front of the league office in Toronto. What do you think will happen?”
“Don’t know, not going to worry about it.” He said kissing my neck.
“Jack, would you play again if the league would let you?”
“If I could play and have you, then yes. I would never play again though if I couldn’t have you at the same time. I’m never giving you up Maddie.”
“You always say the right things.” I said letting him nuzzle my neck. Then, just like always, my phone beeped. The message was clear, “turn on the television to the Hockey Network Channel.”
I did. Jack never stopped nuzzling my neck and I let him. The image on the screen was not what I was expecting, it was Mr. Green. I turned up the volume and we listened.
“For every fan that buys a We Are Buffalo shirt and signs up for the Haley Mills Run, they will get a free ticket to Friday night’s game. At the game I will have a special announcement to make, so please, buy the shirt and sign up for the run. All of us in Buffalo need to support each other, so let’s start with this.”
Then he was gone and the two announcers were discussing what his announcement would be and if it was hockey related. Jack, being Jack, never stopped nuzzling my neck. “Down boy,” I said giggling.
“Did you just order me like a dog?” He asked mock offended.
“Yeah Odie, now be a good boy now.” I said with a finger waving at him.
Uh oh, he got that smile. That was the smile that meant run, and run fast. I didn’t get far before he had me tied up in his arms. He was being um naughty when both our phones beeped.
We both stopped and grabbed our phones and the message was simple “My office nine AM.”
“Well, I guess we are in trouble.” I said looking around for a camera.
“Damn, and things were just starting to get good. I thought I could clean your desk off.” Jack said and I looked at him and my perfectly formed mess that I knew where everything was.
“You wouldn’t have,” I stammered.
He gave me that look again but this time I made it out the door and down the hall before he caught me giggling the whole way.
“Jack you could be playing again as early as Friday.” Mr. Green said for the second time but I was still tuning him out.
“Sorry, I’m busy Friday” I said and I was.
“Jack, the fans need something to be excited about, what could be more important than getting back on the ice?”
“Haley Mills,” I said and his face fell.
“That’s right, her last treatment is Friday isn’t it? I agree Jack that is more important.” Mr. Green said and for once in my life I actually agreed with management. It made it harder for me to say the next part.
“Sir, with all due respect, I won’t give Maddie up.”
“Jack, we should talk about this. I know how much you love hockey.” Maddie tried but I stopped her.
“No, I mean it. I am not going back to Hockey as long as I can’t have you.” I said and I must have been convincing because instead of arguing with me she just nodded her head and smiled.
“I’ll figure something out, but I want you back on the ice.” Mr. Green said running a hand through his hair. He could never be a poker player because that was his tell every time he was nervous, but I wasn’t going to tell him. Hell, we might play poker sometime. I thought smiling.
“I’ll play if I can still be with Maggie, in public,” I quickly put in. I didn’t want o go back to hiding our relationship, and I wouldn’t.
Mr. Green sighed and picked up the phone. “Sandy, get legal up here in my office as soon as they can run up the stairs.”
I smiled and he smiled back. “You’re a tough negotiator Jack.” Mr. Green said smiling back at me.
“You think he’s bad, wait till his contract comes up and you have to deal with his agent, me.” Maddie said standing up. “If we are done, we are going to go visit Haley while we are in town.”
“No, go, I got enough to deal with. Both of you tell her I am thinking of her.” He said and we both nodded and headed out.
“I will not give you up,” I said taking her in my arms as soon as we were outside the office.
She giggled. “I think you just made that perfectly clear to one of the richest men in the country. Don’t worry, I won’t ever ask you too. Now let’s go see Haley.”
“You can play Hockey again,” Haley asked excited.
“Well they have to figure some stuff out, but pretty soon I can, but I already told them that I won’t play until you are through with your treatments and doing better.” I told her. I didn’t want her to feel like I was abandoning her.
“Did you hear that Mom, Eric will be good again?” Haley said excited and we all laughed, even Maddie, although she winced at the same time.
“I don’t know about that, but I don’t think it will be long before we will be playing together again, if not this year, probably next year.” I said.
“Why not tomorrow?” she asked with pleading eyes.
“Because munchkin,” I said tickling her, “your last treatment is tomorrow.” I said as she giggled. She seemed to be in pretty good spirits.
“Maddie, can you get Jack to play on Friday?” Haley asked.
“Nope, I can’t, because I will be standing right here next to him. We are both going to be here for you tomorrow, and before you try changing our mind you should know he is a stubborn mule.”
She smiled again even though I am a mule apparently. “Haley I am going to get in a workout tonight so that when I can play I will be ready again, but we will be here early tomorrow to sit with you and be here when they start.”
“What time is the game?” Haley asked.
“Puck drop is at seven thirty. Do you want to watch the game in here together?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know if I will be hungry for popcorn.” She said smiling.
“I bet we can come up with something. I mean it is your last treatment, maybe ice cream or something?” I said looking at Haley’s mom.
“You’re all spoiling her,” she said but she wasn’t upset.
“What’s your favorite princess, I will get a big tub full?” I said.
“I like vanilla,” she said smiling.
She was a cute little thing. “You got it, Maddie, don’t let me forget, big bucket of Vanilla ice cream. We’ll all have to eat it fast before it melts. I am so going to get a brain freeze.”
“At least it won’t hurt long, you have a small brain.” Maddie said and then she and Haley started laughing. I acted hurt and they laughed even harder.
“You two are just too sweet. Maybe I will eat all the ice cream myself,” then I did the mature thing and stuck my tongue out at both of them. Of course they both just laughed at me and stuck their tongues back out at me. Yup a professional hockey player and a general manager of a hockey team were sticking tongues out at each other.