Coasting Down Memory Lane;
The weeks had flown by so quickly that it might leave some dazed. Christmas with the families had been wonderful. Everyone cracked up when Riley had handed Sidney a top-of-the-line GPS system with specific locations all ready programmed in. Another round of laughter erupted when Sidney had mentioned to Riley that he booked two spots for an all-day spa and she asked if he would be accompanying her. He made it very clear that she could bring anyone she wanted with her – except him, of course – suggesting Kaylan and topping it off by rolling his eyes.
New Years had been interesting as well. Both families, the Crosbys and Jacobs’, stayed until the third of January. When it came to the countdown and the obvious kiss everyone crowded together in a large party room that was rented and decorated for this occasion. They kicked the New Year off all together; the Jacobs’, the Crosbys, the Lemieuxs, and the entire Pittsburgh Penguins hockey organization – and their families, too.
Sidney pulled Riley closer to him, if that was even possible, when the countdown hit five and continued all the way down to ‘Happy New Year!’ With his hand on the small of her back and Riley on her tip toes the two were lost in their own world as they shared their first kiss of the New Year.
One chilly morning in late January Riley was getting her coat on and trying to find her keys as she was making her way out the door on her way to work. Sidney had already left for the morning skate; he had to arrive earlier than everyone else because he had three interviews to do beforehand. Riley turned around after locking the front door and was instantly hit in the face with the bitter cold winter weather. She rushed over to her car with her arms wrapped tightly against her chest, holding her coat tightly shut.
Once in her car she stuck the key in the ignition anxiously waiting to hear the wonderful sound of her car’s engine roaring to life. That didn’t happen. In fact, nothing happened at all. Throwing the driver’s side door open, jumping out, and slamming it shut Riley hurried to get inside her warm house. “Stupid piece of junk...” she muttered.
She waited in her living room tapping her foot at the speed of light. A few minutes later she saw a big black SUV pull up in her driveway and honk its horn. She was out the door in a flash.
“Really Marc, thank you so much for this,” she said sweetly as she climbed in to his massive vehicle.
“It’s my pleasure,” he replied in that adorable accent of his.
“We were coming this way anyway,” Max said with a smile.
“Oh well, I appreciate it no matter what,” she said politely.
“So, where exactly are you going anyway?” Max asked, eyeing her from head to toe.
“To work,” she said with a laugh.
“Dressed like that? No wonder you got the job,” he smirked.
“Excuse me? I got the job because of my journalistic work.”
“Max, she’s on TV every morning. She has to look good,” Ryan Whitney intervened shaking his head.
“Yeah but… Sid’s a lucky man.” Max said.
Once Marc and the guys dropped Riley off at the studio she walked right in and immediately texted Sidney. ‘I’m going to need a ride after work. I’ll explain later.’ A few minutes later she received a text back, surprised that it was from Sidney. After all he should be doing an interview. ‘All right, I’ll come get you after practice.’ After reading that she laughed a bit to herself, thinking that he probably snuck his phone in to the interview and was quickly texting away while the reporter looked in another direction. ‘Thank you. Love you <3’ she wrote back quickly. ‘Love you too, more than you’ll ever know’ he wrote back.
A few more days passed and Riley was keen on getting a new car since she had lost all hope in ever reviving her Mustang. After searching the internet for days she finally found a car that caught her attention, the 2009 Volvo XC60. One problem though, it would not be available in the United States until March. So she continued to look for something that she could at least settle for. That was when she came across the 2007 Jeep Patriot.
After deciding that the Jeep would do she and Sidney set out several days later to lease this vehicle. Test driving it was interesting; Riley tried to see how fast she could get the Jeep to go – Sidney flipped. They were told that they could pick up the car in a few days.
“Okay, seriously, I cannot wait until you can finally drive yourself to work again,” Sidney spat one morning while on the way to the station with Riley.
“Oh that is real mature, Sidney.” Riley fired back.
“You’re music is absolutely dreadful,” he said, shaking his head while glaring out the windshield.
“It is not!” Riley gasped.
“Yeah, it really is,”
“And what would you prefer?” Riley glowered at him.
“Anything but this,” he said, motioning his hand towards the car’s speakers.
“Fine, how about this then,” Riley said as she changed the CD that was currently in the stereo.
“This is worse,” he said as he reached over to turn the music off.
She smacked his hand away. He whipped his head around to glare at her.
“What is this?” Sidney asked in a calmer tone.
“’She Left Me’ by Go:Audio. And before it was ‘If You Run’ by You Me At Six.” Riley answered.
The day that Riley got her Jeep she was practically glowing. She had deeply missed not being able to drive herself anywhere since she didn’t have a working car and Sidney wouldn’t let her drive his Range Rover. She had made sure to bring along her collection of CDs. She put in a random disk without looking and burst out laughing as soon as the music started. Sidney stared at her like she was crazy.
“Can I ask what is so funny?” he finally asked after watching her laugh for a good solid minute.
“Do you remember Matt Camalleeri?” Riley asked, still laughing.
“Um, no?” Sidney looked at her, bewildered. “Oh! Wait, the kid who was obsessed with snowboarding and skateboarding?”
“Yeah, him,” she had calmed down but she still had a huge smile lighting up her face. “Well when he tried to teach me how to snowboard he played this song over and over again and he kept saying, ‘this song just makes you better’
“Anyway, it didn’t. I sucked out loud. Seriously, I don’t know how people do it; their feet are basically locked in to the board and you’re going downhill at a terrifying speed. But he believed so deeply that the song would make me a better snowboarder that now this song just cracks me up.” Riley finished with a quiet laugh.
“What song is it?”
“‘How We Do’ by Mount Sims.”
The days that had once flown by were now slowing down to an unbearable pace. Maybe it only seemed that way to Riley because Sidney was gone on a four day road trip. He called whenever he could but Riley still felt like it wasn’t enough. Of course she’d never tell him this because, a) it would make him feel bad about his career that he loves so much, and b) it would make her sound needy and dependent on a man, something she worked so hard against.
So to pass the time one night, Riley went out for a late night drive. She took some back roads and such mainly to avoid the downtown part. While she was driving and signing along to her music she saw something lying on the side of the road. Her gut was warning her to keep on going and to not get out but she did the opposite.
Getting out gave her a closer and clearer view on the mysterious figure that now looked to be dead on the side of the road. It was a small, innocent puppy. Immediately tears welled up in her eyes as she ran over to the poor animal. With her hand just inches from the body she hesitated wondering if it would be safe to touch it. It was too dark for her to see much of anything so she ran over to her car to get a flashlight and a blanket.
As she approached the puppy again, this time with a source of light, she gasped aloud; the poor dog that looked to be a young Rottweiler that had been kicked numerous times and maybe even stabbed. Instinctively, she unfolded the blanket and began to wrap it around the abused dog when its head shot up but didn’t have enough strength or energy to bite.
Riley rushed to get the dog in her Jeep and then raced to the nearest animal hospital. As she drove down the dark side road she wondered how many places would be open late on a Thursday night. She also wondered if the dog would even live long enough for a professional to examine it.