‹ Prequel: Chicago City Lights
Sequel: Make It Back to Me

I'll Be Right Beside You


January 2nd 2009
The petite twenty two year old had just gotten off of a grueling ten hour shift at work, covering a news story for a small independent Chicago newspaper. As tired as she was, she couldn’t go home. She had agreed to meet her boyfriend of a year for a late evening anniversary dinner. Sure, their anniversary wasn’t for another five days, but he’d be on a road trip by the time the actual date rolled around. He had insisted on celebrating early, rather than celebrating late. Evelyn smiled at his thoughtfulness as she saw him walk into the restaurant, shaking snow off of his knit hat and coat before taking them off and hanging them by the door.

“Evelyn,” He smiled, leaning over to give her a kiss before taking his seat.

“Hey, Ben,” She said softly, taking a sip of her wine.

“I’m sorry I’m late; traffic was terrible.”

“I don’t doubt it,” She told him. “This snow is out of hand.”

Ben laughed and agreed as their waiter came up to the table, getting their dinner orders. When Evelyn had moved to Chicago a little over a year ago, she never expected for her life to take the turn it had. She assumed that after she finished her last year of college, she’d go home to her native Arizona and make her life there. She barely even expected to make friends while in Chicago, having nothing on her mind but school. So, falling in love with a professional hockey player of all people had never been even dreamed of.

But, it had happened, and even though the couple had their ups and downs, neither regretted anything. The reason both worked so well together was because they were relaxed, laid back people by nature. (Though Evelyn’s reputation of a straight ‘A’ student and Ben’s as a fighter in the NHL might suggest otherwise.) As soon as they had met, on accident really, they had become best friends. Each thought it was funny – Evelyn more so than Ben – that if Ben hadn’t been so tired and so forgetful as to leave his wallet on a table at a coffee shop, they never would have seen each other again.

“What’s wrong?” Evelyn asked, noting how quiet Ben was being.

“Nothing,” He said. “How was work today?”

Evelyn shook her head, “I asked you first.”

“And I gave you an answer.”

“No,” She told him. “You told me a lie.”

He sighed, “Practice was such a downer today. Our coaches kept telling us that we had nothing to be ashamed about, but me and the guys, we still are.”

Evelyn gave Ben a sad look and grabbed his hand from across the table, “Babe, you guys played your game, the Redwings were just a little better. You’ve lost to them before.”

She knew it was harsh, but it needed to be said. It wasn’t like Ben to dwell on a loss.

“It was the Winter Classic, Evelyn.”

Narrowing her eyes, she told him not to talk to her that way. She was only trying to get him to see that a loss was something to learn from, to get over quickly. The whole team would need to get over it, because there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that at some point in the playoffs, the Blackhawks would meet their hated rival, the Redwings.

“I know you guys are disappointed, and so am I. Sure, the loss is fresh in your minds, but the fact is the game was yesterday. It’s time to forget.”

Ben knew she was right, but he stayed silent and only nodded. The truth was, the team, even though it was only January, was in the playoffs already. If they kept playing the way they had been, they could be third or maybe even second seed; they all knew it. Evelyn knew it, too. It seemed almost ridiculous to her, the amount of love for each and every man on the Blackhawks. In a way, they had become her family, since hers was all the way in Arizona.

Their waiter came, bringing them the bottle of wine Ben had ordered. Evelyn raised her hand and touched her glass to Ben’s. He smiled, “To us?” Evelyn laughed, “You’re so corny… To us.”

The couple smiled at each other from across the table, nothing needing to be said. She felt his foot nudge hers and she rolled her eyes.

“You never answered me.”


“I asked you how work was…”

“Oh, right,” She sighed.

Ben pulled his face together in a look of confusion, “What’s wrong?”

“They hired this new guy; he’s starting on Monday. Right now he’s just a writer like me, but the rumor going around is that he’s being trained to take over for our assistant editor, who’s leaving in six months; retiring.”

Ben nodded, “So, what does that mean?”

“It means that people who are supposedly next in line for promotions or raises aren’t going to get them, but this new guy is.”

“That doesn’t seem fair,” Ben stated.

“Yeah, especially since the promotion I was supposed to be getting won’t happen, then.”

Ben’s face lit up, “You were supposed to get a promotion?”

“Yeah, senior writer… Nancy, the current senior writer should be becoming assistant editor, but if the rumors are true…”

“That’s bullshit.”

“That’s business.”

Ben laughed and nodded as their food came. They spent the rest of their dinner making small talk, not wanting to talk about ‘heavy’ things while they ate. It was Friday and Evelyn wanted to forget about work until Monday. Unfortunately, by then, Ben would be on a road trip, and she’d have to deal with her gripes by herself. One of the things that had surprised her most about her boyfriend was the fact that he was a great listener, and he loved to talk just as much.

When they had finished three courses, including a shared desert (though, Ben had eaten most of the tiramisu) Ben paid the bill. Evelyn stood from the table and started to walk to the coat rack by the door, when Ben grabbed her hand, “Whoa, whoa, whoa… You wore that to work today?”

Evelyn rolled her eyes and looked down at her black, wide leg dress pants, her tight red sweater, and her red pumps, “Don’t start.” Ben shrugged as they stood in the foyer of the restaurant, bundling themselves up. “I’m sorry, I just don’t want any men looking at my woman.”

“That wasn't primitive at all…”

Ben grabbed Evelyn around the waist and threw her over his shoulder as they walked out into the cold, windy weather. Thankfully, it had stopped snowing while they had been in the restaurant. Evelyn squealed, “Ben, people are staring!”

He faked gasped, “Not at my woman!”

She laughed when he finally set her down, standing her on a bench along the perimeter of Millennium Park. Evelyn put her hands on her hips after she adjusted the hot pink beret on her head, glaring at her boyfriend. He only laughed and lifted her off of the bench, pulling her into a hug, “I love you.”

She smiled up at him, “I love you, too. Are we heading to Burr’s?”

“If you want to, though I could think of another way we could spend the night…”

Evelyn burst out laughing at the way Ben’s eyebrows wiggled across his forehead. Grabbing his hand, she hailed a cab and quickly pulled him in after her, giving the driver’s Adam Burish’s address. Ben frowned and sighed dramatically, making Evelyn laugh. “Ben,” She whispered. “Later, baby.” He grunted and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the seat until they pulled to a sudden stop in front of Burr’s condominium complex.

When they reached Adam’s door, they could hear that most of the team was already there. They were that fucking loud. The whole ‘party’ if you could even call it that, turned to look at Ben and Evelyn when they walked in.

“Hey!” Sharpie smiled, his arm around the shoulder’s of his long time girlfriend, Samatha. “If it isn’t the anniversary couple!”

Evelyn laughed as she and Ben took off their coats, gloves, scarves, and hats, “Our anniversary isn’t until next week.”

“We know,” Burr sighed, putting his arm around Evelyn. “Ben told us you were celebrating tonight, so we wanted to as well.”

Evelyn turned to Ben and he shrugged, “I have no idea.”

“Here,” Patrick Kane said, handing Evelyn an envelope. She looked at him curioiusly, “What is this, Kaner?”

“It’s from all of us,” Jonathan Toews said. “Open it, guys!”

Evelyn looked at Ben and opened the envelope, pulling out two slips of paper. Her eyes widened when she realized they were not just slips of paper; they were two plane tickets for Wednesday, January 21st to Hawaii. Ben stared at all of his teammates, “Seriously?”

“You leave almost right after the game against the Blues. Enjoy your All-Star break, Ben, and you too, Lyn.” She was still too in shock to respond to Burr. She looked up at all of the guys and the girlfriends of some of the guys, “You guys are incredible.”

Ben smiled down at Evelyn and pulled her into a kiss, “It kind of makes my gift to you look lame.” She laughed, wrapping her arms around him, “Mine too.” He laughed, too, and kissed her again, ignoring all the shouts and hollers from his teammates.
♠ ♠ ♠
I don't even know what to say to you all. Last time I checked (right before posting this) I had eleven subscribers before a chapter was even posted. It really really really makes me want to cry out of sheer happiness. It means SO MUCH.

Chicago City Lights has been my most popular story to date with amount of subscribers, readers, && comments. I really hope I get the turn out on this one, too. I have a lot of stuff planned for this one, so make sure if you haven't already subscribed that you do so.

This is for every single one of you who ever commented on Chicago City Lights. I hope you still love Evelyn and Ben as much as I do!