Coasting Down Memory Lane;
“You’re never home!” Sidney had shouted at Riley one day when she arrived home at 2:30am. She was working two shows for the time being while the company searched immensely for another sports analyst. She was also doing some written work for a newspaper that showed interest in her and offered a safety net in case things didn’t work out in the end at Sports Guide.
After a month of long hours spent everywhere but home, many stressful cases of writer’s block, and continual bickering with the one she loved Riley was drained. She felt as if everything she’d put so much effort and care into would crumble in front of her own eyes at the wrong word said or the wrong action. To make matters even worse, the Penguins were in a slump and out of a playoff spot. Luckily they’d showed some signs of turning around in the past few games but Sidney still had his frustrations and doubts and did not always keep them where they belonged: on the ice.
There’d been hateful things said, tears shed, and even some things thrown when one of their disputes had heated up. Still, Sidney and Riley tried their damndest to plough through their disagreements and frustrations and remain together – where deep down, they were they’re happiest.
There was one way Riley had found ways to keep her temperament intact and even relax, a little. Her friend, co-worker, therapist at times, peacekeeper, and saviour Brett Sharpe was her only sense of sanity. He’d made her laugh when she’d thought of strangling others, helped her finish articles on time when she was up to her ears in them, sat quietly and listened while she spilled her fears, stresses and problems, held her back when she set after an intern who’d rubbed her the wrong way, and offered her a drink when she’d really needed one. He was one of the reasons why she kept going back to work extra hours when they’d asked her, she enjoyed his company.
One morning in early February Riley awoke to the sound of her alarm. Looking outside she saw that it had snowed, yet again. She rolled out of bed trying to be quiet so she wouldn’t wake Sidney. She frowned when she realized that it was still dark outside, that’s depressing, she thought.
After her shower she wandered towards the kitchen to get some coffee. Soon after Sidney emerged from their room showered and dressed. “Morning,” he mumbled as he made a beeline for the coffee machine. “So, what time did you get home last night or should I say early this morning?” he asked in a sour tone.
Here he goes again, she mused, we can’t even have a nice breakfast. “Early this morning,” she said. “I got home at about one.” Anger flashed across his features. Riley tried to hide her smile by taking a gulp of her hot coffee.
He walked over to her and took the mug of coffee out of her hand and placed it on the counter. “You’re going to wear yourself out – No, I’m not finished,” he said as she opened her mouth to protest. “I also miss you; we never spend any time together anymore.” Moving in closer, Sidney leaned down to kiss Riley sweetly on the lips. His arms wrapped around her waist and her arms flew up behind his neck, he was just about to deepen the kiss when a horn honked from the driveway. Sidney cursed while Riley laughed, kissed him one more time and left.
“How’s everything?” Brett asked once Riley climbed into his truck.
“Everything’s good, how about you?”
“Good, good.” Brett was quiet for a moment while they were stopped at a red light. “So, you’re only doing one show today?”
“Yeah, it’s such an oddity.”
When they arrived at the TV studio Riley was told right away that Cheryl wanted to speak with her. I swear if they ask me to fill in for more people I’m going to go insane, Riley thought on the way to the producer’s office. The door was open but Cheryl was facing the other way, so Riley knocked and took a few steps forward, hesitantly.
“Miss Jacobs,” Cheryl greeted politely.
“Mrs. Namara,” she replied sweetly.
“How are you this morning, Riley?”
“I’m good, thank you, how are you?” Riley answered, biting her lip to stifle a yawn.
“Oh, I’m good. Don’t worry I wanted to speak with you because I have good news,” Cheryl added quickly when she saw nervousness in Riley’s eyes. “One, I’ve found people who will take over the extra shows you’ve been so graciously covering. And two, my niece just moved back into the city – she just graduated from university – and has agreed to write for you. So now all you have to do is read it, isn’t that great?” Cheryl said, excitedly. “You’re one of my best journalists I’ve ever had so I figured that you would deserve this more than anyone – but don’t tell them that.”
Riley stood there, frozen and silent. She had so many thoughts running through her, so many things she wanted to say. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This meant her hours would be shortened and she could spend more time with Sidney. No, I want to write and research! I don’t want people doing it for me… She’d picked a career in journalism because she loved to write not sit in front of a camera and look pretty.
“Thank you so much, Mrs. Namara.” Riley said when she could finally find her voice.
“You’re welcome!” Cheryl said in a sing-song tone. “Ah, well, I shouldn’t take up any more of your time; I believe you have a show to film?” She said looking at her watch.
“Yes. Uh, thanks again.”
“It’s my pleasure, like I said before, you deserve it.”
The rest of the day passed without much excitement, a laugh here and there but nothing to tell others. Riley was able to leave at 4:00pm. She wore a smile the whole time while Brett drove her back to her house. He pulled up in front of Riley’s driveway. “That’s a nice vehicle you got there,” he nodded towards Sidney’s Range Rover. “Why don’t you drive yourself?” Brett joked.
Even though Riley didn’t care too much for small talk at the moment, she was too excited to tell Sidney about her day, it was hard to not smile at Brett. “It’s not mine,” she grinned. “It’s my boyfriend’s.”
She expected to see his smile fade when she mentioned that she had a boyfriend and was pleasantly surprised when it didn't. He cared for her, a lot, but as a good friend and co-worker. “Ah, well, tell him I approve of his taste in cars. Anyway, see you later, Rye.” She waved and he drove off.
When Riley walked in she was expecting to hear the TV on since Sidney was home. She laughed when she saw him come barrelling down the stairs. “Keep your coat on, we’re going out.” He slowed his pace as he approached Riley. He placed his hands firmly on her waist and she on his. He gave her an innocent kiss for a few seconds then deepened it. He pulled away a moment later and gazed into her eyes. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured. “Come on, let’s go!”