He hadn't slept at all. Every time he closed his eyes he saw Rob kissing her and it made him sick to his stomach.
How could she? After everything that happened, how could she?
He got out of bed still shaking his head. Obviously she was more forgiving than he was. If she forgave Rob...maybe...she could forgive him?
UGH! He was sick of thinking about this. He got up, threw on some clothes and headed for the rink.
He shot pucks for an hour and a half. He skated so hard his lungs felt like they were going to explode out of his chest and he needed to throw up. After bowing to the porcelain gods, he changed and headed for the gym. Practice wasn't enough, he needed to punish himself more.
An hour later he could barely move. He'd had enough for the day. He went to the locker room and showered and threw on clean clothes. He grabbed his bag and headed for the door. Rounding the corner he plowed right into someone. Without looking up he said "Sorry man."
"No problem Kris."
He looked up to see the person he ran into was Rob Taylor. Kris cracked a half smile and continued on his way.
"Oh hey Letang, I owe you a pretty big thank you."
"For what," Kris asked turning around to face him.
"For breaking Brie's heart man. You shooting her down opened up the door for me so...thanks. By the way, can I just say what the hell were you thinking dude? She tells you she loves you and you fucking shoot her down? What is wrong with you?"
"How do you know that?" Kris asked trying to hide the hurt in his voice.
"She told me all about it on our date last night."
As if he wasn't hurt enough, the news of this date and the fact that Brie would tell the guy Kris hated most about their personal business was crushing.
"I don't need to explain myself to you. You wouldn't understand it even if I did. You have NO idea what it means to be selfless," Kris said, turning to leave.
"Yeah, well she's a great kisser! I can't wait to find out what else she's good at!"
Kris saw red! He dropped his bag and his hand was around Rob's throat holding him against the lockers before either of them realized what was happening.
"If you touch her; if you so much as lay a finger on her I will kill you with my bare hands," Kris growled tightening his grip before finally letting him go. Rob dropped to the ground gasping for air as Kris left the locker room.
Brie sat on her swing in the old oak tree just staring off into space. She rested her head against the strong rope that had supported her for so many years. It was the first time she'd been back on the swing since last summer.
"So many memories," she whispered to no one in particular. "So many dreams."
The swing and the old tree were the keepers of her secrets. Those leaves held every detail of her life in confidence. She had spent countless hours telling secrets and planning her future beneath those strong branches. A future that no matter what, always had Kristopher in it. Brie had always wanted to work with children; no, for children. There were so many kids in the world that needed someone to stand up for them; be the voice that they didn't have. That's what she was planning on doing with her degree in social work. Help the kids that really needed to be helped. Kris always wanted to play hockey of course. They spent countless hours on that swing planning how their future was going to play out.
"No matter where I play, you can come too. It doesn't matter what city I'm in; there will always be kids that need your help."
"I want to be some place warm; not like here. Florida? California? Texas?"
"Brie I want to win the cup, not get a sun tan! Those places don't have winning hockey teams. What if I end up playing for the Habs? We could stay right here."
"Great," Brie grumbled. "You know I want out of here Kris. We've been here our whole lives and it's the same shit all the time. Everybody knows your business. I want to go some place new, where no one knows us. Start a whole new life."
"I don't think there's anything wrong with this life."
"That's because you don't care about anything as long as you're playing hockey."
"That's not true. I care about lots of things."
"Well...you. I want you to be happy. And I want you to be with me wherever I am so on draft day when Montreal drafts me I'll say "Sorry guys but my best friend doesn't want to live here anymore and since we're a package deal, can you just draft somebody else?' Would that work for you?"
"Asshole. Just shut up and give me a push!"
Brie cracked a smile at the memory of that conversation. She could probably think of a million more that were similar.
'How the hell did I get to this point' she asked herself. 'Where did everything go so wrong?'
"You told him you loved him you fucking idiot! That's where it all went wrong," she said out loud.
Little did she know that it was more that the leaves that heard her
"I'm so stupid! I should have never told him! At least we would have still been friends. Now we're...nothing. I lost my best friend and the love of my life in one foul swoop! God I wish I could just take it back! I wish those words had never left my lips. I would still have Kristopher in my life instead of this gaping hole in my heart. I don't know what to do. I don't know how I get over him."
The tears began to flow freely now and she dug a hole in the dirt with the toe of her shoe.
"God, I'm so pathetic! It's been a year Brielle, you have to get a grip! Move on; he sure has. You don't think he's up in Val d'Or pining away for you do you? But how? How do I tell my heart to stop hurting? How do I fill the void he left? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO GET OVER HIM????"
She closed her eyes to try and stop the tears but it didn't work. Brie put her head back against the rope and used her toe to move the swing around in little circles. Maybe if she kept her eyes closed the last year would disappear.
She kept her eyes closed, hoping the movement of the swing would soothe her the way it always had; but this time it wasn't working. She was about to give up when she felt a sudden calm wash over her entire body. She couldn't explain it. She had no idea where it came from, but for the first time since leaving home she felt...calm...peaceful...at home. She felt warmth on her shoulders that she was sure she was imagining until a small jolt of electricity ran through her body. There was only one person's touch that could make her feel that way. His.
Was it possible? After all this time, could he be...?
'Don't do it' she told herself. 'Don't open your eyes. It will ruin everything!'
She didn't have to open her eyes to have her questions answered. Three words answered them for her...
"Need a push?"