Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Story!

I'm feeling all winter-y and I bet my favorite concussed captain could use a little hug. So a Crosby story is next on the block...

Taking Off

I hope you'll check it out - you guys rock t and as always, your comments are the best part of writing this stuff.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chapter Ten [the end]

Callie twisted herself into Jon’s arms. They had burrowed under the covers the moment they got home and stayed there till they were spent. She laid her head on his chest and felt his breathing lighten. They’d barely said a word since leaving the arena except to make sure they were taking care of each other. The cityscape below offered a faint glow as Jon twisted a strand of her hair and spoke into the near darkness.

“Should we talk about getting married?”

Callie squeezed in closer. “Jon,” she said in a warning tone. “What’s the hurry?”

He shrugged, moving her too. “No hurry. But I’m thinking about it.”

Callie lifted her head and met his eyes, which shone with that trademark intensity despite the low light. A smile twitched at the corner of his lips, making him the perfect mix of the boy she’d always known and the man she knew she’s spend the rest of her life with.

“When we’re 25. I will marry you when we’re 25.”

“What if I win another Cup first? Can we do it then?” He was serious, as always.

“Okay,” she gave in happily. “25 or the Cup, whichever comes first.”

He kissed her lips softly. She opened her mouth to his, only to be surprised when he rolled onto his other side, turning his back to her.

“What are you doing?” she laughed.

“Need my sleep. Winning the Cup twice in a row is hard work.”


I was thinking about taking this story farther, but this seemed like a natural ending.  Sorry if it's surprising.  Puppies and cupcakes, right?  Everybody likes a happy ending?  I just couldn't bring myself to mess them up anymore.  So they all live happily ever after... the end. 

Thanks for all your comments - this was a really fun one to write.  New story coming soon, after I do some one shots.  Keep an eye out for them at (One) Shot Through the Heart.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chapter Nine

A/N: Jon will play tonight vs. Los Angeles - welcome back!


Callie felt like crap at work all day. The sun had woken her sharply, her corporate apartment seemed soulless and depressing. She planned to order in lunch and spend the time looking at apartment listings online. It was nearly 11 AM when her phone desk phone rang, asking her to pickup a delivery at reception. She was so out of it she wondered if she’d called out for food already and forgotten.

On the front desk was a huge bouquet of flowers: tiger lilies and mums and roses mixed together. The receptionist was smiling like someone should be happy to see such a beautiful surprise. Callie just set her lips and exhaled.

Now they’ll all think the new girl is a bitch, she told herself, carrying the vase to her desk with a pissed off look on her face.

She wasn’t expecting the card to be hand-written. It stopped her heart, a single tight squeeze, to see her name in Jon’s writing. She hadn’t seen his writing in years, not since they’d traded notes under the pillow at his parents’ house. Tears burned at her eyes and it was a full minute of blinking before she was able to read the paper inside.

I love you. I’m sorry that happened but it’s over, like I promised. Please, Callie. Call me.

His writing was a little shaky by the end. He hadn’t signed it.

Callie wanted this to be over – she wanted to call him and hear his perfectly good explanation and then run as fast as she could to wherever he was. But she was getting crazy again, heart leading the way. It could be the right direction, or it could be the same path again. But she would have to do something.

Her apartment search was half-hearted at best. She emailed three places and made a list of open houses being held the coming weekend. But every neighborhood or landmark reminded her of things Jon’s teammates had recommended so she closed the browser and kept working

At four o’clock, Callie needed a break. She took a wrong turn and had to circle the same block twice, partially because she was new and also because she was spacing out. She stopped into a Starbucks to get her bearings – at least the things on the menu were familiar. She ordered a tall mocha.

Oh shit, she thought instantly. Standing at the other side, waiting for her order, was Tara.  Callie spun and hurried toward the front door. Too late.

“Callie!” She knew the voice was the same from last night. Heels were clicking across the floor behind her. “Callie!”

Callie got outside and went left – then instantly realized she should be going right. But she couldn’t turn around. She hesitated a step and it was enough.

“Callie! Wait, please.”

With a sigh Callie faced back toward the store. Tara wore a black business suit and shuffled up in her expensive high heels. Out of nowhere, she smiled.

“I wouldn’t be much good in a chase today,” she conceded. Callie was very confused – hadn’t this girl caught Callie and her boyfriend cuddling last night, obviously well acquainted and on their way back to bed any second? Why the hell is she smiling?

“I’m sorry about last night,” Tara said.

“No, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, I felt horrible when I realized…,” she tried.

“Callie...,” Tara was interrupting then she stopped. “Wait. When you realized what?”

“That you and Jon were obviously a lot more serious that he led me to believe. I had no right to be there anyway, but he lied to me and then you came in and, Christ, you have a key! That’s serious! I’m so, so sorry. And for what it’s worth I hope you dump his ass because I for one am never speaking to him again.”

Tara put a hand out to catch Callie’s arm as she was ranting. It made Callie draw in a breath and try to get herself under control.

“Stop. Stop before you make yourself sick. Here, sit down.” Tara gestured to the Starbucks against the window. Callie couldn’t believe she was being invited to coffee by the woman whose boyfriend she had slept with. “Callie, I know all about you.”

That shut Callie up.

“Let me just tell you all this before you really make up your mind, okay? Jon told me about you. Probably most of the story. At first it was kind of weird, him talking about another girl, but I could tell that he really missed you. And I thought it was sweet – young love and all that. Last night when I saw you… I thought you were some puck slut or something. That’s why I freaked out, I thought Jon had gone off the Kaner diving board and starting picking up bunnies while I was away.”

Callie was perfectly still.

“Jon and I are not… were not serious. We had fun together but we were more friends than anything. Well, not just friends, you know what I mean but we were not in love. I thought that maybe someday I could fall in love with him, because who wouldn’t want to? But that was a long way off. I could scream and throw things here because I’m the woman wronged but that would really be a lie.”

She paused for a moment to sip her coffee.

“Now don’t get me wrong. I was pissed last night and I still don’t take kindly to Jon dumping me without so much as a moment’s notice. That sucks. But Callie, he did it because he loves you. I have spent maybe three months with Jon and we were never exclusive. Even so I knew he would never bring home a stranger or anything like that. Jon is not that guy. The only thing I ever worried about was you.”

Callie put her head in her hands as Tara kept talking.

“I met Jon after the Olympics but before the Stanley Cup. By last summer he literally had every single thing in the whole wide world that he wanted – except for you. And I knew that. What does that tell you about how much Jon talked about you? I don’t think he even realized he was doing it, since I know he wasn’t calling you. But he should have. He wanted to.”

“But you have a key! And your stuff is in his closet!”

Tara shrugged – she wasn’t happy, but she wasn’t mad either. “I left some stuff there. And I only have a key because he needs someone to check in when he’s on the road, water the plants and stuff. He didn’t want to hire someone, so I said I would do it. I can see how it looks weird but it really wasn’t anything important.”

Callie picked at her nails. “But still, I should have left when I saw your shoes. I shouldn’t have done anything until I knew he’d talked to you.”

“That would have been nice, for me,” Tara said, but she was making a tiny smile. “But the minute Jon told me who you were I understood what had happened. He lost his mind to have you back, Callie. He practically lost it missing you.”

The barista from inside came out, carrying Callie’s coffee. “I think you forgot this, miss.” She took the cup and rolled it between her palms.

“What should I do?” she asked, still disbelieving that she was now asking relationship advice from the woman she’d just ousted.

“Do you love him?”

Callie nodded yes.

“Then go let him make it up to you.”

Tara hugged Callie goodbye, thinking that she better have the best fucking boyfriend in the world next time around because she’d just earned it.

Jon left Callie another message at lunch. His stomach ached to think that he’d fucked up the second chance he’d been waiting so long for. He was getting desperate, even debating going to her office and trying his luck. But he was afraid to push too hard, and he had a game to think about. So he went to the rink at the usual time and tried to clear his head for the night’s matchup against Philadelphia.

“Any luck?” Sharpie asked the second he walked in the door. So much for clearing his head. Jon just said no and started stripping off his suit.

“She’ll come around,” Pat said, low enough so it wasn’t broadcast to the team. “I mean, you two go way back. She’s not going to disappear without at least letting you explain yourself, right?”

“I hope so, man. And I hope she does it soon.”

Callie could only think of one thing to do. It was almost five and Jon would already be at the arena. She didn’t want to talk on the phone, she wanted to see him but there would be no way to do that before game time. She at 5 PM she clocked out, ran home and then took a cab to the United Center.

At the box office she bought a single ticket for the lower bowl and disappeared into the crowd of Toews jerseys filing into the arena. The security guard gave her a big smile.

Her heart beat like a drum. There was a reason they called this place the Madhouse on Madison – it was jumping already, 40 minutes before game time. A beer did nothing to release the knot in her stomach and she looked around like she might be waiting for someone, trying not to feel awkward at a hockey game by herself. Ten minutes until the warm-up skate.

I should have asked her to come tonight, Jon thought. In his message at lunch he’d only asked her to call him. Maybe if she could be here, if she could see me skate she’d remember everything good about us. But he hadn’t and it was too late now.

The team filed out of the locker room and through the tunnel. As usual, the house was packed and rocking, a sea of red and white jerseys. People were lined ten deep at the glass on their end of the ice and Jon circled so fast that it took three passes for him to see it.

Jonathan Toews, will you be my prom date?

Bench side, at the hash marks, the sign was pressed to the glass just above the boards. And right behind it in a Winter Classic jersey with a C on the shoulder, was Callie.

Jon nearly fainted. Guys were zipping by at warp speed and he was stock still in the middle of the zone, staring at her. The other thousands of people must have thought he’d never been asked out before. Risking his life amid his teammates flying past, he skated right to the glass. She had a small smile on her face, not the huge grin he would have preferred but he was in no position to argue. Her hair was dark and full as it fell over the jersey – his jersey – which hid her body with such volume that it was a sin. But he loved it.

“Hi,” he said loudly. If nothing else she could read his lips. The entire crowd was staring at them.

“Hi,” she said.

“When’s the prom?” People around her were snickering.

“After the game.” She didn’t move, just looked at him seriously like he’d better know this was his only second chance.

“I’d love to,” Jon said. People near her started clapping.

“See you there.” It was another small smile, but it made Jon’s heart sing. Then Kaner bumped him from behind, smooshing him against the glass and making the crowd laugh.

Jon skated right over to the bench and sent an equipment guy to find her. He had to know where she was sitting. The guy jogged off as Jon checked to make sure Callie was still standing at the glass. She knew better than to leave now.

“We could bring her down to those seats,” Duncan pointed to the two seats between the team benches that people could only get by donating to charity, “wait till you’re at that end then put you two on the Kiss Cam.”

“Can she sing the National Anthem?” Sharpie butted in.

Kaner said it best, of course. “Just hijack the lucky seat drawing. Section 115, row 9, seat 17, will you marry Jonathan Toews?”

Callie’s heart pounded as she unrolled her sign. There was a chance that Captain Serious would be so focused he might not see it. But she had to try – both to call him out and let him know he was forgiven. The moment his eyes found the sign she felt it like a tractor beam, and the look in his eyes as he came toward her was unmistakable. I love you, she thought, hoping he could somehow feel it in the air.

Everyone around her at the glass wanted to talk after Jon skated away. She played it off like she was as amazed as they were her sign had worked. As time expired on the warm-up skate, a couple of the guys she knew came over to give the boards a bump where she stood. Good luck everyone, she said silently.

And good luck they had. The Hawks got 2 in the first period, one by Sharp and one by Seabrook. Callie could only imagine what the electricity in the building must feel like to the players – she was amped up beyond belief just sitting in the crowd. She’d been approached by a staffer and given him her seat number. As predicted, she saw Jon looking for her more than once.

In the second period, Jon caught a breakaway coming out of the penalty box. The whole place was on its feet before he crossed the blue line. When he put the puck over Bobrovsky’s shoulder, Callie thought she might actually explode.

I’m here! she wanted to yell. And I totally fucking saw that!

She totally fucking saw that, Jon said to himself, searching the crowd again. He was on the bench, listening to the goal announcement.

“Nice one, Tazer,” Kane yelled from a few seats down. “Someone should dump your ass every day!” The clock couldn’t run down fast enough. When the buzzer finally sounded, the Hawks won 4-2 and Jon was climbing out of his skin.

“Will you go get her?” he asked the same equipment guy. Then he hurried to the room to get the interviews over so he could shower and change.

Twenty five minutes later, almost all the press were gone. Jon was buttoning up the front of his shirt.

“Out time or alone time?” Duncan asked.

“I think alone time,” he was answering when the locker room door opened.

Callie got three steps inside and stopped dead. Her hand flew to her face, covering her nose and mouth. “Oh my God!” she yelled. “It smells like the ass end of hell in here.” She looked at Jon over her makeshift gas mask. “I’ll be in the hall!”

He pulled his coat on, laughing.

Callie had wanted to be all dramatic and run in and kiss Jon in front of everyone. Like in a movie, right? No such luck – there would be no opening of her uncovered mouth in that room, ever. No matter how much she loved him.

Two minutes later, that dark brown head of hair came out after her. His suit was gray with a light blue shirt and dark blue tie. He wore it very, very well. It reminded Callie of the times he had to wear suits for games in high school, the way he’d always looked like a little boy playing dress up. Well he was a man now.

“Callie, I’m sorry,” he said, stopping just inches from her.

“I talked to Tara today.”

“What?! How?”

Callie fought the urge to touch him. Some things needed to be said first. “Ran into her at Starbucks. Actually, I tried to run away from her. But she caught me. And then she explained the situation and defended your honor. I was expecting a latte in the face.”

Jon breathed out in a whoosh. Tara had heard about Callie and the way she’d given up without a fight last night had told him that she knew even more than Jon had ever said. He silently thanked her for being a better person than he was.

“She said that she always knew you loved me, and that I was the one thing she could never hope to compete with.”

“She was right.”

Callie was so close. “Jon, this whole thing has a lot to live up to. I’ve been dreaming about it for so long, I’m afraid real life will mess it up.”

He moved another half step in. “You are the only thing I have ever wanted.”

She lifted her lips for the kiss, the international symbol of giving in. If it was going to be messy, then let it. They had handled so much already. If all they really wanted was this, then they could make it work.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chapter Eight

Jon was interviewed (along with his mom - too cute for words) at the game in Anaheim today and said he hopes to be back in the lineup tomorrow.  That's why we love hockey players - you're back from a 2-week injury in 6 days.  Tough guy.


Sunday morning passed with Jon and Callie hiding, making up for lost time. Jon wondered how he ever could have thought he was past this, ever imagined he was over her. Callie veered wildly between heartbreaking relief and the knowledge that she might not be able to walk for a few days.

Jon resisted the urge to join Callie in the shower and took the time to place the phone call he’d promised: to Tara. He didn’t want to break up with her over the phone; he may not have been in love with her but she was still a nice person. She deserved at least a face-to-face conversation, especially if it would be their last. Her voicemail said she was traveling all day – Jon was so caught up in Callie’s surprise appearance that he’d forgotten Tara was out of town for work. He left a message that he wanted to see her, hung up and hurried in to catch the end of Callie’s shower.

She smiled up at him – he was an absolute Adonis, perfect body and a perfect face. Beneath the warm fall of water she kissed him, promising herself she would do this as many days as possible. Then she leaned forward, hands splayed on the tile, and let Jon take her again. When they finished they had to start getting clean from the beginning.

“I owe you a date,” he said, finally pulling a shirt over the chest that transfixed Callie. He insisted it be at one of his favorite Chicago places, so they went to the original Pizzeria Uno and over a red and white checkered tablecloth put away the biggest pizza Callie had ever seen. It was so easy to talk and laugh with Jon – not Captain Jonathan Toews, just her Jon. She wiped a streak of sauce from his lip and licked it off her finger.

Jon told Callie everything he could think of. If she wanted to know him now then he would happily oblige. She had lots of questions and comments, and then she gave her the story of her last 5 years as well.

“Boyfriend?” he asked. It was only fair – she knew about Tara.

“Eh. A couple, but no one special. Nice guys though.”

“So you weren’t saving yourself for me, pining away in some dorm room? Sleeping in your underwear and a Hawks t-shirt?”

“Those are totally my pajamas,” she poked at his arm. “In fact, I probably have 5 Toews shirts and jerseys. It’s quite a collection. Some of my friends thought I might be obsessed.”

Jon tilted his head. “You didn’t tell them about us?”

Callie shrugged. “My close friends, yes. But I didn’t want to go around advertising to people that were used to be a thing. Everyone in LA name drops like crazy and everyone assumes they’re lying. Plus… it sounded kind of sad. My old boyfriend is a super famous hero athlete and here I am, wearing his jersey and watching him on TV in my slippers. All I needed was a cat and a tower of old newspapers to complete the picture.”

“Did you ever…,” Jon couldn’t finish the question that had been burning in his mind.

“Yeah, I did. You remember that the Hawks didn’t come to LA your first season, and the next season it was when I was in Singapore. But last year I was there, in my Winter Classic jersey, screaming my head off.”

He’d stopped eating. “I wish you’d called.”

“I thought about standing at the glass to see if you’d recognize me.”

“I would have died.”

“I could have made a sign, ‘Jon will you be my prom date?’ But there were like ten of those already.”

They finished eating and Jon hailed a cab to Navy Pier. Hand in hand they walked around the tourist attraction, the weather still unseasonably nice. Jon insisted they ride the Ferris Wheel for the view, but they saw nothing. Callie put her legs across his lap and kissed him the entire time.

They were always touching. It wasn’t urgent or desperate, they weren’t ripping each others’ clothes off even though they each thought about it a few times. Instead they were just being together, relaxed and happy. It felt like they would have forever.

Callie didn’t protest when Jon suggested dinner at his place. Instead she steered them into a market and bought all the food they could carry. She’d peeked around his kitchen and found that half the utensils and supplies still had their tags on. In the condo lobby, the doorman greeted her by name, making Jon squeeze her hand.

Jon followed Callie’s instructions and helped make baked salmon, tarragon mushrooms and wild rice pilaf. It wasn’t as much work as he’d expected, probably because Callie kept taking things away from him.

“I can actually eat this,” he said. “Very healthy. You could cook here all the time, you know.”

Callie laughed. “I only cook when I’m hungry; otherwise you’re on your own.”

Dinner was delicious. Callie even bought the right bottle of white wine to go with the fish, something she claimed to have learned in California. Jon knew she was savvy, but she’d also become quite sophisticated in their time apart. He was glad to see she’d clearly been enjoying herself in Los Angeles. He complimented her endlessly on the food, insisted on clearing the table and then poured two more glasses of wine and joined Callie on the couch.

He wanted to her to stay the night again. She’d have work in the morning and he had practice, so they wouldn’t get the chance to stay in bed together, but he didn’t want her to leave. Ever. It was nearly 9 PM and they were watching Get Him to the Greek on InDemand. He thought when the movie was over, maybe he could offer to drive her to her place to pickup clothes for the next day.

Callie was so, so comfortable. She was curled up against Jon, lying alongside his body to the inside of the wide couch cushion. It took her fifteen minutes to stop thinking about the bicep that supported her head and just as she focused on the movie, Jon shifted and his shirt rode up. The sliver of skin at his waist took another half an hour. She wanted to stay. She could go home quickly in the morning to change. Maybe he would invite her, or maybe he thought he didn’t need to. She figured they might fall asleep on the couch first, wrapped up together like the got to do this sort of thing every day.

“My mom is going to freak out when she hears about this,” Jon said, making Callie realize he wasn’t paying attention to the TV either.

“What will you tell her?”

“That her master plan worked and I am trying to get you back.” His hand stroked along her arm.

She nestled into him. “My mom will just say ‘I told you so.’”

They went back to the movie, and half an hour later they were cracking up watching Jonah Hill drink an entire bottle of liquor so Russell Brand couldn’t have any. It was warm and soft where they lay entwined in the low light. Callie could almost close her eyes and drift off even though it was barely 9 PM.

Jon felt more relaxed than tired. He was drowsy from the feel of holding her tight and the workout that she’d given him that morning. The thought of it made his whole body quiver. He knew know that what the guys all said was true: it’s different when it’s with someone you love.

They were both thinking about each other, about snuggling and sleeping and waking up to do it all over again tomorrow. So they were slow to react when a key scraped in the lock. Jon didn’t hear it at first, laughing at the movie. Then the door was open and Tara was standing there.

“What the hell?”

Jon jumped to his feet in a single motion. Callie was a little slower, rolling into the void he’d just left and having to lever herself up from the cushion. She wore jeans, flip flops and a borrowed t-shirt, but they’d still been in a compromising position.

“Tara!” Jon said.

They stood there for a moment, all looking at each other, not knowing what to do. Callie and Tara sized each other up – she had shoulder length blond hair and a pretty face plus a little more junk in the trunk than Carrie carried. She was definitely hot.

Tara regained her senses first. She simply gave Callie a dirty look and said, “The first night I stayed over, that’s the shirt he lent me too.” Then she marched through the apartment, presumably headed for whatever stuff she had left inside. Jon’s eyes pleaded with Callie to stay put then he chased Tara into the master bedroom.

Callie felt awful and angry. Obviously Tara was more important than Jon had let on – she had her own key for Christ’s sake! The look of shock on her face kicked Callie in the stomach. And worst of all, Jon had lied. Callie scooped up her bag and jacket and hustled out the door. He could keep her top and lend it to the next girl.

“See you soon, Miss!” the doorman called as she hurried past.

“Unlikely,” she said to herself.

“I’m so sorry, Tara. I wanted to see you so I could tell you. I… I didn’t think you’d come over.”

Tara came out of the closet, two pairs of high heels gripped tightly in her hands. Jon had never before noticed how sharp they looked – he took a step back. Her face was set with a look like he could eat shit and die.

“You asked me to come over. But I think you forgot to tell your date.” She shoved the shoes into her purse and went back to check for anything else. Her voice carried out to him. “Only you, Jon. Only you would fucking cuddle with someone watching a movie – that is your idea of cheating. Anyone else would have a regular one night stand with someone they can’t remember and fucking get it over with.” She reappeared with a t-shirt and a pair of her underwear. “You had us all fooled.”

He started to explain, but she was already in the hallway. “Wait, Tara, I….”

“You what, Jon?” She stopped dead in the middle of the living room and turned to face him. She was smaller by a foot but the moral high ground gave her quite a boost. “You what?”

“That’s Callie.”

It was all he said. All he had to say. The fight went right out of Tara and her shoulder slumped.

“Shit.” She closed her eyes.

“She called me three days ago and said her work was moving her here. Yesterday I saw her on the street. There wasn’t any time to tell you and I didn’t even know what to say….”

Tara released the death grip on her bag and let it drop to the floor. Jon had told her about Calllie, about his high school sweetheart, the one that got away. She’d always thought it was such a nice story even if it didn’t have a happy ending. She and Jon had been seeing each other late last season, then he called her again when he came back to Chicago. He was loyal like that; didn’t need a lot of variety, just wanted something stable. Tara wished that one day maybe Jon would talk about her the way he talked about Callie. He obviously still loved her, even after so long. The only difference was that Tara hoped to still be around to hear him.

“Shit. I thought she was a fucking puck bunny, not the goddamned love of your life,” she threw up her hands. Now that Callie was back, Tara knew there was no way she could compete with that.

“We haven’t seen each other in five years and I didn’t know if….” He sat on the back of the couch with a thud.

Tara opened her eyes. The confused, sad look on his face said it all. “Well you know now,” she said. She scooped up her things from the floor and dug into her purse. A tiny thwap landed next to Jon: she’d tossed his spare key onto the couch. Then she left.

Jon stayed there, the hard back of the couch digging into his thighs like penance. He had done things in the wrong order, gotten swept up in Callie and now she’d seen something terrible. Something he never meant to happen. She would think he was an asshole now.

He called her five times before she turned her phone off.

Callie sat on the hotel-grade carpet in her bedroom and cried. From such a high to such a low in a single day. She berated her heart for not listening to her brain – he’s different now, he’s a star, he can do whatever he wants. Tara obviously thought she was more than a casual date, and Callie had willfully ignored the clues: anyone who leaves multiple pairs of big-night-out shoes in a guy’s closet has been there a lot of times. And she’s coming back.

Fucking figures, Callie told herself. Never should have called him. Should have left it alone. At least I’d have my old Jon to remember.

Her phone rang incessantly. She turned it off one second before she would have thrown it out the window, then climbed into bed and stared at the wall until she finally passed out.

Jon went straight to bed, knowing sleep would be a long time coming. He contemplated going to Callie’s apartment – there could only be one Oakwood on Silver – and relying on his famous face to get him in the door. But he remembered how stubborn Callie could be and knew it would be another mistake to add to the list. If she was going to hear him out, she would need time to cool off first.

In the morning, he called her first thing. No answer, but this time he left a message.

“Please Callie, call me.”

At the morning skate, he had trouble keeping his head in the game. This is just a rough patch, right? An argument when she finally returns my call and we could move on? But Jon had lost Callie before and so the fear was already woven into his DNA. To have her back for a single day and lose her again would be the cruelest fate.

“Jon… Jon!” Sharpie waved a hand in front of his face, snapping him out of it. “How was yesterday? Callie seemed pretty happy with you.”

Jon whipped a shot at the net, missing high with enough force to scuff the glass. “I fucked up. I didn’t have a chance to talk to Tara and she showed up last night, while Callie and I were…”

“She caught you having sex with someone else?!” Pat’s voice got very loud, very quickly.

“No! Thank God. We were just watching a movie but we were all tangled up on the couch and it was pretty fucking obvious what was going on.”

“What did Callie do?” Pat asked the right question. Not ‘what did Tara do?’ because ultimately that wasn’t the point. Jon felt bad about that but it was done. Callie, he hoped, was not.

“I had already told her about Tara, and that I would end it. I was so wrapped up in Callie being there that I didn’t do it right away. Then she left. Tara came in and immediately started getting her stuff and Callie just left without a word. Won’t pick up the phone.”

“Wait, how did Tara get in?”

“She has a key.”

Pat sucked in a breath like he was in pain. The realization hit Jon like a piano falling on his head.

“SHIT. She thinks Tara had a key!”

“Uh, Tara did have a key.”

“But, no… she waters my plants when we’re on the road and stuff – she volunteered for it. The co-op has to approve the person and they sure as shit weren’t going to approve Kaner. Fuck. Callie thinks Tara had a key like ‘you’re my girlfriend, here’s a key to my place.’” Jon put his foul smelling glove right over his face. “She thinks I lied to her.”

Pat smacked Jon on the leg with his stick. “Better do something about that.”