Good news, I can reach my documents again! Thank you everyone for putting up with the delay and a special thanks to the anonymous poster who gave the wonderful advice on my dilemma.
But here is chapter thirty-seven!
Coasting Down Memory Lane;
On the way to the arena Riley filled Brett in on her news. He was thrilled for her and assured her that they would definitely keep in touch once she left SG.
When they pulled up Riley noticed that there were several other cars in the parking lot. She thanked Brett and made her way into the arena. This may be the last time she reported for the Penguins, she thought sadly.
As she walked in she was immediately greeted by one of her closest friends on the team, Jordan Staal.
“Hey, Rye,” he said and pulled her in for a big hug.
“Hey, Staalsy,” she replied. “Have you seen Sid?”
He pulled back. “Yeah. Last time I saw him he was in the dressing room with Mario. If I were you, though, I’d go check around the rink area. It’s pretty tough being in the dressing room still.”
“I know. Look, Jordan, you and the rest of the team did amazing all season. I mean you started off kind of lousy and you made it into the playoffs. I think that is definitely something to be proud about.”
“Yeah,” he smiled. “Riley?” he said as she began to walk off. “He’s taking it pretty hard. Like, harder than everyone else.”
She closed her eyes for a minute before turning back. “I know. He’s trying not to show it around me, but I know.” She touched his arm. “He’s going to need more than just me. He’s going to need his friends.”
“I’ll be there for him.”
“I know you will.” She smiled. “Thank you.”
Riley walked off to find the love of her life. On her way there she ran into Mario and he quietly told her where she could find Sidney.
Turning a corner, she saw him.
He stood there, his back to her, leaning on the boards, facing the ice. His shoulders were slouched, his forehead resting against the glass. He stood there dressed in dark jeans, a grey t-shirt and a black sweater. He didn’t move the slightest inch.
She walked up behind him, silently, and wrapped her arms around him. She felt him tense as she rested her head against his back. They stood there like that for a few silent moments. He then turned in her arms and wrapped his own around her, whispering, “I can’t do this alone. I need you.”
Her heart broke.
“I’m here for you, baby.” She tried to make it as soothing as possible. “I’m always here.”
She was angled in a way where she could see an entrance way. There she saw a young, naïve-looking journalist who obviously got to do some summer report about the Penguins.
She saw him just as he saw her. When his eyes veered toward Sidney, they lit up. Knowing that Sidney was in no way ready to talk to a reporter, she shot him a death glare. He retreated.
“Let’s go home,” Riley said a few minutes later. “You don’t want to be here.”
They went home and Riley saw him relax slightly. She knew that he still found it hard to be at the arena – and she couldn’t blame him. Even though she’d never been interested in many sports, she knew what it was like to be so close to something and then have it taken away.
Over the next few days Sidney had gone to the arena to clean out his stall and chat with the guys before they all headed their own ways for the summer. It would be hard to not see these guys for a few months but she knew that he would desperately need the break.
Sidney was going out to lunch with a few of the guys and had asked Riley to join but she politely declined. She had a meeting with Cheryl and Philip Andrews from KDKA. Riley also wanted Sidney to spend his last few days before leaving for the summer with his friends.
She’d left half an hour after he had and tried to calm herself throughout the short drive. There’s nothing to be nervous about, she told herself. No, she wasn’t worried about the job so much. She was nervous about what she would do all summer without Sidney. Riley didn’t think that she could spend two full months without him.
She pushed the questions out of her mind the moment she walked into the station. There was a show being filmed, Brett was hosting. He slid a cool glance at her then back without missing a beat in his report. Talent, Riley thought, just oozed out of him.
“Good morning, or shall I say afternoon, Riley,” Cheryl said, hurrying over to wrap Riley in a motherly hug.
“Good afternoon,” was all Riley could get out before Cheryl was pushing her into the meeting room.
The meeting room had several windows that let in the beautiful summer sunlight that shined over the long, elegant oak table. In the room there were twelve dark, leather office chairs. The walls were painted a soft brown and sconces were set every few feet from each other. There were some plants located around the room, too.
Her gaze slid quickly but softly across the room and she saw, sitting in one of the leather office chairs, Philip Andrews. He was dressed, again, in a dark suit that almost matched his skin tone. He had a few sheets of paper set out in front of him but Riley assumed that he wouldn’t look at them once. He sat, back straight, smiling warmly at Riley.
“Good afternoon, Riley.” His voice was deep, professional.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Andrews.” She wasn’t sure what she should address him by. But she opted for the respectful one seeing as he outranked her. “It’s nice to see you again.”
He smiled then got down to business. “I assume that you’ve thought about the offer we talked about last week.”
“Yes, I have. But first, sir, I must thank you for this opportunity. It’s something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid.” Riley threw a smile at both him and Cheryl. “Now, about the job offer, I’ve chosen to accept it and leave my current one behind at Sports Guide.”
“I’m happy to hear that. Now, of course, you will not start off at KDKA at the top of the food chain. You may decline the position if you don’t approve of the position you will be assigned.”
She nodded. “Understood, sir.”
“Good,” he said swiftly. “You will not work sports. We want you to try out the locals. By that I mean plays, concerts, events and so on. It’s not such a popular area but if you work hard enough, I believe that you’ll excel quickly at KDKA.”
“I am aware that your boyfriend is a hockey phenomenon, which is why I didn’t automatically assign you the position of sports – I like you too much to have the other reporters pick you apart.”
Since she’d kept quiet he continued.
“It isn’t the most popular thing, like I said before, but it pays better than what you were getting here.” He shot a glance at Cheryl, eyes full of laughter. “Do you have any questions?”
“Just one: when do I start?”
He laughed. He answered her as he began to shuffle the papers into his briefcase. “You start in September.”
“Riley, you deserve this more than anyone I know.” Cheryl said when Riley handed her the final report she’d written about the Penguins. “You think you don’t, but you do. I’ve never seen someone so determined, so focused at what they do as much as you are. You’re a natural, Riley, embrace it.”
“Thank you. It just feels so soon, you know? I mean, I’m twenty-two years old and I’ve already had people say I’m one of the best. It’s just… wow. What do you want me to do from now until September?”
Cheryl laughed, sweet and innocently. “Take the summer off, Riley. Spend it with your boyfriend.”