Coasting Down Memory Lane;
The Penguins went on to win that game and the next three against Montreal. Riley was back in the Sports Guide station to recap the series and the intense game four.
“Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price were outstanding through sixty minutes of regulation, sending game four into OT tied at zero.
“With three minutes left in overtime, Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby put himself and the puck past Carey Price. They would check it and there was no need to correct it. The Penguins sweep the Habs, four games to none.”
They went on to play the Boston Bruins in the next round. Unfortunately, their magic didn’t allow them to sweep another team. The series went to game six in Boston, where the home team lead it three games to two.
“With two-twenty left in the third, Boston’s Zdeno Chara sealed the deal for his team by ripping a laser from the blue line; ending the Penguins’ 2008-2009 Stanley Cup Playoff run,” Riley reported in a voice that never wavered, even though it broke her heart to have to recall that disappointing night.
Sidney had come home late and in a sour mood after that loss. Riley saw him the next morning asleep on the couch in the living room. He looked exhausted, even in his sleep. She knew that the regular season and especially the playoffs had drained him – physically, mentally, and emotionally. He wouldn’t be back to his old self for a good week or two.
Not until he got away from the hockey atmosphere. Like that would ever happen, she thought. He was never fully away from the hockey world.
Sidney stirred, groaned, and eventually opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was his girlfriend staring at him, eyes wide with concern. Under all of that worry, he noted, there was fatigue. He knew he probably didn’t look too great himself, either. And she’d be all over him for that, too.
What he’d really needed now was a relaxing summer. And Riley. With both he would hopefully be able to recharge for the next season. He made a mental note to ask her if she would care to join him for the summer in his home province, Nova Scotia.
But for now he needed to try and put it all behind him, the season was over and he needed to remember that. He didn’t want any tension between them, especially now.
There would be some, though. There was no escaping it. Tension was already growing between the team. Once the game had ended and they’d made their way back to the dressing room no one had said a word. What was there to say? But, they’d been through it before, he mused. This, though, would be the first time he’d get over it with a woman. With his girlfriend. Sure, during the last offseason there’d been women who he’d shared his bed with, but not one who he’d cared for so much. Not one he’d give up anything to keep.
This offseason would be something entirely different. In a way, he was looking forward to it.
“Good morning, love.” Riley said as she raced past the living room.
“Morning,” he said groggily. “You’re up and moving early.”
“Yeah,” she said, handing him a mug of fresh, hot coffee. “I’d love to stay and chat but I’ve got a meeting in twenty minutes.” She kissed him lightly on the lips.
“Oh, I don’t remember you mentioning anything about it.”
“I just got word about it an hour ago.” She fussed with her hair in the mirror. Looking at her watch, she frowned. “Brett should be here any minute now.”
“Brett’s driving you.” He didn’t know why it angered him.
“Hmm. Oh, yeah; we usually carpool to work together.”
“Ah, well.” He nodded. “Have you had any coffee yet?”
She unbuttoned the collar of her green blouse. “No, we’ll grab something on the way there.”
“I see,” he murmured. “Have I met Brett?”
His tone made her turn to face him.
“I don’t think so, no.” She tried to hide the suspicion in her voice by passing it off nonchalantly.
Just as he opened his mouth to speak the doorbell rang.
“That must be him…” Riley trailed off as she sauntered over towards the front door. As soon as she opened it she was greeted with Brett’s smiling face.
“Hey stunner,” Brett said, pulling her into a hug. “I got your regular on the way here.” He handed her a cup of hot coffee. “Now, if you don’t mind, could I use your washroom? There was traffic and a long line at Starbucks.”
“Thanks. It’s the third door on the left.”
As he headed off Sidney got up to stand next to Riley. He wanted a good look at Brett when he came back.
“He knows your regular, stunner?” he asked, with a brow raised.
“Err, yeah.” Normally she would’ve told him to take the stick out of his butt, but she realized that he was probably still irritable about losing so she let it go. “I’m not too sure of when I’ll be back, but I’ll call you if I’ll be any later then three, okay?”
“Yeah, all right.” He kissed her long and passionately. “I love you.”
Brett walked back towards the front door and saw Riley wrapped intimately around a young guy he took to be her boyfriend.
Riley looked over because she sensed him. She cleared her throat before speaking.
“Sid this is Brett, my co-worker and good friend.” She motioned towards him, smiled. “Brett this is Sidney, my boyfriend.” She kept the smile, bright and friendly, on her face even though she felt awkward.
“Nice to meet you,” Brett said, extending a hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Likewise,” Sidney said, and shook his hand.
“Well, we’d better go,” Riley said, and kissed Sidney one more time before heading out the door.
They walked down the steps to Brett’s car. The weather was warming seeing as it was approaching the last half of May. The flowers were starting to make their mark on lawns everywhere. More and more birds were spotted sitting on trees throughout the day.
As they drove, Riley started to let her thoughts wander. She thought about the summer and how she and Sidney were going to work that out. He would obviously be doing something. But what? Riley thought, pursing her lips. What did he do during the summer? Surely he wouldn’t stay in Pittsburgh. How much time would they spend together over the summer?
Better yet, what would she be doing over the summer? Hopefully not covering baseball, she thought with a wince. She really, really didn’t like the sport. She could, however, see if there were any openings at other stations…
“So,” Brett began, pulling Riley out of her thoughts. “Your boyfriend doesn’t really care too much for me.”
“What?” She was shocked. “How do you know? Of course he likes you, why wouldn’t he?”
“Well, he seemed pretty tense around me, and I could understand why.”
“Sid? He’s just tense because they got eliminated the other night.” She tried to brush it off – wanted to – but couldn’t. “What do you mean, you know why?”
“Come on, Rye, you can’t tell me you don’t know why.” He looked over and saw he bewildered expression.
“I actually have no idea what you’re talking about.”
He sighed. “Riley, you’re beautiful. Trust me, you are, you wouldn’t be on TV if you weren’t – it’s a very shallow business,” he added when she opened her mouth to protest. “Any man, especially someone like Sid, would be, let’s say, protective of you if you were their girlfriend.” He smiled at her embarrassed expression. “He’s head over heels for you, hun.”
She gaped at him. “You think he’s jealous?” She threw back her head and laughed. “Oh man, that’s hilarious; Sidney, jealous.”
“Uh, why do you find this so funny?” he asked, his brow furrowing.
“Because it’s so true. He won’t admit it but I know he doesn’t like it when I work with men. It’s funny because he’s the one worried about guys coming on to me. I should be worried about the girls that are offering to have his children.”
They walked into the station in good moods. They met up with some other people from the station and walked in together. The entryway was nice and open. The windows were large and situated everywhere, letting the beautiful sunlight shine in.
Immediately, they saw Cheryl, who was heading in their direction. The woman walked fast for being in heels. Oh crap, Riley thought as she looked down at her own feet. Yup, forgot to put on heels. She was standing there in her purple Converse. Blouse, dress pants, Converse.
“Good morning Brett, Riley, Julie, and Thomas.” Cheryl greeted warmly. “Can I speak to you for a moment, Riley?”
Cheryl led her over to the far wall of the building where a man stood in a dark suit watching her intently. He seemed to be studying her, judging her.
“Riley, this is Philip Andrews. He works for KDKA. He asked to speak with you.”