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

I'll Be Right Beside You

Back to Real Life

Evelyn stared down at the rings on her left hand. She couldn’t help it. It was something she had been doing a lot of in the past thirty six hours, ever since she had become Mrs. Ben Eager. And it was probably silly, but she didn’t think she would ever get sick of hearing that title. It was her proudest moment to date; more important than the title of ‘high school graduate’ and ‘college graduate’ combined, as vain as it sounded. Feeling a little cold, she pulled her sweater tighter around herself as she and Ben walked from their apartment to Phoebe’s apartment, where a few members of the team and their significant others were gathering for dinner.

They had quite literally just gotten back from Las Vegas an hour before, after spending a little over a day there. Sure, it was a quick trip and the traveling was chaotic, but it was completely worth it as far as either was concerned. Ben was about to enter the most exciting time of his career. In just two days, he would be entering the playoffs with the rest of the Blackhawks, taking on the Calgary Flames in a first round match-up. And yes, while it was exciting, it was also stressful, but knowing he had Evelyn at his side as his wife, well, it just made everything seem better.

“You cold?” Ben asked, as Evelyn wrapped her arms tighter around her middle, also noticing the cool, but not quite cold April wind had picked up a bit. Nodding her head, Evelyn felt herself being pulled into Ben’s arms as they kept walking. Instantly, she felt warmer with just one of his giant arms wrapped around her shoulders.

Snuggling into his side, she noted they were almost at Phoebe’s place and they should come up with a way to tell everyone just where they had gone and what they had done. Apparently, the only people on the team who knew what Ben had been planning were the coaches and management. He had had to ask them if it was okay to disappear for two days before the playoffs started, anyhow.

Reaching Phoebe’s apartment building, Evelyn pressed the buzzer. When she heard Niklas answer with a half laughing, “Who is it?” she burst into her own fit of giggles. “It’s Ben and Evelyn! Let us up! It’s getting cold!” As soon as they were buzzed in, Evelyn was inside the lobby, nearly closing the door before Ben had a chance to enter. Following her to the elevator he made a comment about her already leaving her husband behind. Evelyn shot him a look, but moved to wrap her arms around him.

“Seriously,” She started. “How are we going to tell them we got married?”

He shrugged, “We wait until someone notices the rings?”

Evelyn laughed, wondering how long that would take. She knew Phoebe already suspected Ben had proposed. She had sent countless text messages and left tons of voicemails asking for the reason Ben had simply whisked his girlfriend away at such short notice without telling anyone. So, really, Evelyn knew her left hand was going to be looked at the minute they entered.

Opening Phoebe and Niklas’ door, Evelyn and Ben saw everyone already there. Kita and Adam sat on the couch talking animatedly with Cam Barker and his girlfriend, Aimee. That had really surprised Evelyn. Cam and Aimee were late for everything, and even though Ben and Evelyn had just gotten off a plane an hour before, somehow she still expected to be at Phoebe’s before Cam and Aimee.

Aimee had been the first to notice Ben and Evelyn, sending a greeting their way. Upon hearing of the latest arrival from her spot in the kitchen, Phoebe came barreling through the door, immediately wrapping Evelyn in a hug. “Where have you been?! You haven’t answered any of my calls, my texts…” Evelyn laughed, pulling away from Phoebe to send a hello toward Niklas and the other couple that had been in the kitchen, Jonathan Toews and his girlfriend, Kara.

“Well,” Evelyn started, glancing at Ben. “We kind of have something to tell you guys.”

“You’re engaged?!” Phoebe guessed, excitedly. “I knew it!”

“Well, we were,” Ben stated with a laugh.

Were?” Kita demanded, a look of bewilderment on her face.

“Yeah, we were,” Evelyn repeated. “Ben proposed Sunday night, but we were only engaged for a couple hours… Until we got married.”

Adam, who had been taking a sip of his beer, choked on it and sputtered the liquid all over himself. Looking at Ben with wide eyes, he smiled sheepishly at everyone in the room. Kita rolled her eyes and threw a napkin at her boyfriend before standing up and running to Evelyn, along with Aimee, Phoebe, and Kara, wanting to know every detail. Evelyn laughed and glanced at Ben, shoving him away from herself and telling him to sit with the boys.

The girls moved into the kitchen, where everyone sat around the table and waited for Evelyn’s story. She sighed happily and started with what had happened after she and Ben had left the game that Sunday. She told everything from him driving her to the airport, to the trip he had planned behind her back, to the Elvis Chapel, to everything that had happened at the hotel. The hotel stories of course had elicited a fit of giggles from all the girls prompting Ben to groan from the living room, knowing full well what Evelyn was telling her friends.

When she had recounted everything, she looked around the table to see everyone beaming at her, all except for Phoebe. Evelyn’s best friend was smiling, yes, but it wasn’t the full out grin the other girls had. Biting her lip, Evelyn asked her friend was what wrong.

Phoebe sighed, “It’s stupid and selfish.”


“It’s just, ever since me and you became best friends I imagined me at your wedding and you at mine as each other’s maids of honor, you know?”

Sighing, Evelyn put her hand on top of Phoebe’s, “I know, Pheebs, but you’ve also known all long that eloping has always been my dream wedding. I never wanted the huge wedding with hundreds of guests.”

“But not even your family and closest friends?”

Shaking her head sadly, Evelyn had to be honest, “I’m sorry, Phoebe. That’s just not me.”

“I know,” She sighed. “I’ll get over it. As long as you don’t, I don’t know, have a baby and never tell me or something.”

Evelyn laughed, “I promise not to do that!”

The mood inside the kitchen had gone from extremely giddy, to depressing, back up to extremely giddy. It was bi-polar for sure, but what could you really expect in a room full of five girls? Phoebe went back to cooking; all of the girls doing something to pitch in, whether it was setting the table or making salads, all the girls had a job. As soon as the food was ready, the boys were called in. Standing to the side, the girls let their men get the food first. It was safer for everyone involved that way, honestly.

After everyone had a plate full of food, the ten people (five hockey players and their girlfriends) sat down at the table, something Phoebe had just bought and was rather proud of. As she ate, Evelyn felt Ben’s hand grab her knee. Smiling at him, she pressed a small kiss to his cheek before going back to her plate of food.

After dinner, everyone gathered in the living room to talk, drink, and watch a movie. It was something scary, Evelyn knew, but what it was specifically she couldn’t determine. She wasn’t watching it, being a complete baby when it came to horror movies. The entire time she either had her eyes closed or her head in Ben’s chest, something that made the rest of the group laugh at.

“Whatever,” Evelyn laughed after the movie had ended and she and Ben were getting ready to leave. “If I had watched that whatever it was, I would be having nightmares for weeks. I’m not worried about being made fun of!”

With a final goodbye to everyone, Ben pulled Evelyn from the apartment. He knew she was fading, and fast. She was yawning every minute, and her eyes were getting heavy. All Ben wanted to do was get her home and into bed. She had been on the go non stop since Sunday morning, after all. Plus all the jetlag; it was enough to make anyone exhausted, let alone someone like Evelyn who immensely enjoyed every minute of sleep she got.

By the time they reached their apartment, Evelyn looked like she wanted to fall over. Once inside their lobby, Ben lifted his new wife up and put her over his shoulder, and for the first time, Evelyn did not complain. She was quite literally too tired to walk. By the time Ben reached their door, she was sleeping.

Walking into their bedroom, he set her gently on the bed, careful not to wake her up, though he seriously doubted he could. Sliding her high heeled boots and socks off, he threw them to the corner before sliding her jeans off of her as well. Along with the jeans, went her sweater until she left in her underwear and her tee shirt. Carefully putting her under the covers, Ben kissed her forehead before turning the light off and heading back out to the living room.

Grabbing the pile of mail from the counter, he sat himself in front of the TV to go through it. If he didn’t start then when he still had energy, it would be days before it was sorted through, especially with the first round series with Calgary just a day away. Throwing the bills to be paid in one pile and the junk mail into another, he was getting through it rather quickly. He was almost done with it when he got to a letter addressed to Evelyn. He frowned at her maiden name on the front of the envelope, as stupid as it was. They had only been married for two days, she hadn’t even filed for a name change yet.

Recognizing the return address on the envelope, Ben realized it was from CUNY, the school Evelyn had mentioned to him as her dream school. He couldn’t deny he was curious, but it was Evelyn’s mail and he didn’t want to open it. Throwing it to the table with the ‘keep’ pile, he noticed it had already been opened. Biting his lip, he knew he could get away with reading it, whether it was something important or not.

Pulling out he letter from inside, he read its contents quickly, frowning when he realized it was a reminder that Evelyn had been accepted to their school of Journalism, and if she was interested in attending, they had enclosed a schedule of their next three semesters. Ben frowned deeper. When had Evelyn even applied? Besides their initial talk about it (where Ben had said if she wanted to go to New York, she would, and where Evelyn had flat out said she didn’t want to) she hadn’t mentioned it again.

Putting the letter back into its envelope, Ben put it with the rest of the bills back on the counter and threw the junk mail away. More confused than ever, he sighed and walked back into their bedroom. Quickly undressing, he slid into bed beside his wife and pulled her still sleeping body into his. Kissing her cheek, he reached to turn out the light, before falling into a troubled sleep, deciding he would wait a few days to see if she brought her application and acceptance into CUNY before he would.
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Woo! I can't believe I'm at chapter 16 of this story already! I just want to say a few things, so please read this. To all the girls that comment on every chapter or almost every chapter, my love for you is unconditional. Your comments make me so happy! Honest.

That being said, the fact of the matter is that I have 108 subscribers on this story, and I average 17-20 comments a chapter. I honestly don't understand how there is around EIGHTY of you reading this story that don't comment. I really freaking don't, and it kind of upsets me. A lot. I'd absolutely love to hear from all of you.

This story is not over yet! In case you couldn't tell by the ending of this chapter, there is some major drama ahead. So, please please please give me your comments, thoughts, questions, concerns on the upcoming chapters! I want to know what you think!!

So, please comment!!

Also, if I can pimp myself out for a moment.... my other stories need more love, too. Maybe one of them tickles your fancy?
- If You'd Let Me, a new (probably) 3 part mini series I just posted featuring Tuomo Ruutu.
- Relentless, featuring Grady Sizemore. Another mini series, but it'll probably be around 10 parts.
- There Are Still Rules to Break is my second most popular story after Ben. It features Patrice Bergeron and has 11 parts posted already.
- and finally, my Chicago White Sox story, I Can't Fight the Way I'm Feeling.