Marc's stay in Cape Breton was definitely not a happy one, daily he thought of all that he had lost; the girl that he had been with for three and a half years and loved more than anything, his hockey career included, a group of guys that he had become great friends with, and a best friend. He talked to Kailey when he could, at least every other day. It was harder though being away from her, she was nearing the end of her senior year, school projects and her own hockey games were occupying her time, as well as time with her boyfriend, but she always made time to talk to her Canadian friend.
Marc was glad that she had Jared, he could see that they really did love each other. One good thing about being so far away from them was that he didn't have to see them together and to be hit with pains of jealousy. He missed Vero. He wished that he could hold her in his arms again, just one more time. More often than not she haunted his dreams. Night after night he awoke drenched in sweat after reliving her last seconds on earth. He still loved her and missed her presence in his life, but he wished that dreams like those would come to an end, it was hard enough to live through it once.
The end of April approached and tonight was the last chance for the Eagles to win to continue on in the playoffs they were down three games to one to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens . He had talked to Kailey that morning while she was on her way to school. She had wished him luck and said that she missed him but their call was short lived because she arrived at school.
Marc was in the locker room suited up for the game other than his mask, he was in net tonight. The game went by so fast he didn't remember most of it. All he remembered was the puck being dropped for the opening face-off and in no time the final buzzer was sounding and he was making his way to center ice for the handshake, the Eagles had lost, he was done with hockey until training camp in September.
"Marc!" His coach called down the runway after the handshake line had died down. He turned to face him, but when he tried to speak no sound left his mouth. "Get showered, GM wants to see you."
Marc nodded and headed to his stall, shed his gear as quickly as possible and headed to the showers. He let the warm water run over his body and ran his fingers through his long hair. 'I let the team down and now the GM wants to talk to me about how much I suck.' Normally he wouldn't think like this, but since January he hadn't been the most optimistic person. He snapped himself out of the negative thinking and quickly dried off and threw on his street clothes before heading toward the team offices and into the GM's.
"Have a seat," the older man behind the desk said. Marc sat down in the comfortable chair across from his boss, he was worried as to what was going to be said next. "How'd you like to play some more hockey, son?"
He had started to apologize for his poor play that night and then realized what the older man had said. "Huh?"
"Wilkes-Barre is about to start the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, since you're done here, how would you like to play a few games for them?"
Marc was stunned, to say the least, he had played horribly that night yet his boss as well an AHL team wanted him to play more. "I would love to."
"You leave Friday morning, better pack," he said with a smile.
All Marc could say was, "Thank you." Friday, it was Wednesday night, he needed to spend the entire next day packing and research Wilkes-Barre.
When he arrived home he pulled his phone from his pocket without thinking and called Kailey, like he did after every game. "Hey Marc, how'd the game go?"
"Hey Kailey, not so well, we're done for the season."
"Aw, I'm sorry. Looks like I'm down to only one team to cheer for, did I tell you, the Baby Pens are going to the second round?"
"You didn't, but I did hear from someone else. How far is Wilkes-Barre from Pittsburgh?"
"About five hours, why?"
"I'm flying in on Friday and would love to see my favorite American."
"Wait, you're going to be in Wilkes, why?"
"Playing I guess, so would you want to see me?"
"First thing tomorrow I'm conniving my mom to let me skip school, I miss you Marc!"
She sounded so excited, he was too, he really did miss her. "I miss you too Kailey. I should get some sleep so that I can pack and do some research tomorrow. I'll see you Saturday."
"Okay, bye Marc."
"Mom, I'm a senior and I haven't skipped school at all this year, would I be able to skip on Monday and Tuesday to go to Wilkes-Barre for the weekend?" She said too fast for her mom to say anything.
"Why do you want to go to Wilkes-Barre?"
"Marc's going to be there."
"Okay, you can go."
"But mom I haven't seen Marc in three months. Wait, did you say I can go?"
"Yes, now go to school."
Kailey practically jumped up and down, grabbed her bag from the floor and went outside to wait for the bus. On the way to school she told her friends what would be happening the next day. Jared was upset that his girl was going to drive five hours to see another man, but he hid it. He knew that even before Vero's death that Kailey and Marc were great friends, but that event had changed both of their lives.
Friday night Kailey packed for the weekend and went to bed, she was surprised that she was actually able to sleep. The next morning she threw her bag into the back seat of the car, set her GPS, and was off to see her best friend in Wilkes-Barre. When she arrived at the arena she saw someone getting out of their car and walking towards what she guessed was the players entrance. "Excuse me, maybe you could help me?"
The man was tall, had curly brown hair, and a big nose. He smiled, his smile was crocked, he was adorable. "What can I do for ya?" Canadian.
"I have a friend who's supposed to be getting here today to play for you guys, well I guess you guys, are you a Penguin?"
"I am, Colby Armstrong. Who's this friend?"
"Ah, goalie. He's supposed to be here for the skate, why don't you come inside and wait for him."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure, now come on."
"Thanks, oh by the way, my name's Kailey Schwartz."
Colby smiled, he was adorable. There was no way he was that much older than her. "Oh crap, I left something in my car, be right back." A minute later Colby returned to her side with a McDonald's bag. All Kay could do was smile.
Kailey and Colby made their way to the locker room where Colby introduced her as, 'the goalie's friend'. She could tell that he was a jokester. After talking to the guys for a few minutes the door opened and in walked a tall man with dark brown hair and a huge hockey bag, someone Kailey knew and although she wouldn't admit it, loved. "Marc!"
"Kailey," he said dropping his bag to the floor. They met in the middle of the locker room and embraced in a long awaited hug. "It's good to see you."
"You too Marc."
He would never say it out loud, but it felt good to be back in her arms.