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

I'll Be Right Beside You

Hardest Thing

Evelyn smiled lightly at Ben as he walked toward her. The area around them, where the other Blackhawks’ wives and girlfriends stood waiting on their men to get off the plane from Detroit, was eerily silent. It could have been because the Hawks had just lost two games at Joe Louis Arena, putting them down zero games to the Redwings’ two in the Western Conference Finals, but it wasn’t. Instead everyone had their mouths shut and their eyes on the young couple, wanting to see how they interacted. Everyone – no doubt – knew they were going through a little bit of a problem, and that Ben had left for Detroit on bad terms.

Keeping his bag hoisted on his shoulder, he leaned down slightly to press a light, short kiss to Evelyn’s lips. She smiled a bit more, trying not to look at everyone around them, but it was hard when she knew they were staring and studying she and Ben’s every move. She fixed the messenger bag that was over her shoulder, locking her eyes with Ben and silently asking him if he was ready to leave. When his smile, the crooked one she loved so much, spread across his face as he nodded slightly, she grinned. She couldn’t help it. She loved his smile.

Ben reached toward her and put his large hand on the small of her back, beginning to lead her away from his teammates and their friends. They walked through the airport silently, not touching, but standing so close they were almost touching. Every so often, their fingers would brush against the other, and their eyes would meet. It was something so simple, and even though they were in a bit of a fight, one would say, it was comforting to Evelyn. When they got toward the exit of the airport, the amount of people around them increased. Evelyn felt Ben grab her hand, keeping her close to him.

“Afraid you’ll lose me?” She turned to him, laughing a bit as they continued to walk toward the exit.

“Yeah,” He said, keeping his eyes ahead of him. “I am.”

Evelyn frowned and said nothing else as Ben pulled her out of the door, the bright sunlight and the warm breeze hitting them. This was the first time in the year and a few months they had been together that they were having problems, and Evelyn knew Ben was a little bit mad at her, or at least mad enough that a few kisses and a quickie wouldn’t fix it.

“Ben Eager!”

The couple stopped, both recognizing the voice that had called Ben’s name as the voice of a child. Looking to their left, they saw a small family piling out of a taxi, the littlest boy and the one who had called out to Ben, wearing a Blackhawks tee shirt. He held an ecstatic look on his face as Ben knelt down to him and extended his hand, “Hey buddy.”

The little boy couldn’t have been more than four years told, Evelyn decided. She watched in amusement as he put his tiny hand inside Ben’s and shook hands with him. “I’m James…” He said, still clearly in a awe. Until he spun on the spot and yelled, “Oh my gosh, dad. It’s Ben Eager!”

“What?” The dad said, coming out from behind the taxi to see his young son talking to two strangers, but then he realized that one of the strangers was in fact Ben Eager. “Oh. Wow. It is Ben Eager.”

“Hey,” Ben laughed, sticking his hand out to shake with the father as well, as the mother and their daughter came around to see what was going on. Evelyn kept her eyes on the little boy, James, who was bouncing on the heels of his feet looking like he was going to pee his pants.

“You’re my favorite!” He suddenly yelled out in the same volume he had used to call his father.

“Really?” Ben asked, making Evelyn burst into giggles, but he ignored her.

“Yeah!” James continued. “All my classmates like Kane, Toews, or Sharp, but I say no to them. I like the Ben Eager. You fight a lot!” The whole family laughed at his little explanation, and Ben decided that this kid was his favorite person. Ever. No questions asked. Ben loved James, plain and simple.

As the family talked with Ben, Evelyn stood patiently at his side, his hand still holding hers. She looked down at James to see him looking up at her. She smiled and waved a little, causing the young boy to blush and put his hands to his cheeks in embarrassment.

“Is this your girlfriend?” James asked, looking up at Ben with wide eyes.

“Evelyn’s actually my wife,” Ben corrected, smiling down at the little boy.

“Oh,” He said and paused. “She’s very pretty.”

Evelyn, James’ parents, and his older sister laughed at the boy and the look on Ben’s face. Was a four year old really trying to steal Evelyn from him? He had to laugh and shake his head. James was still his favorite. The family finally headed into the airport with a few autographs and pictures, including one where James was punching Ben. They left with a ‘good luck’ and a ‘Redwings suck’ before they went on their way.

As Ben pulled out of the parking lot, Evelyn in the passenger seat, she turned to him, saying “You’re going to be the best dad one day.” He looked over at her as he stopped at a red light, shrugging. She continued, “Seriously, Ben, you are.”

He shook his head, “I’m not going to be able to do it without you. I’ll be amazing at keeping the kids entertained and playing games with them, but I’m not going to be good at the… technical stuff. You can do that.”

“What technical stuff?” She laughed. “Dirty diapers, vomit, feeding, when they get sick, and when they get older and hurt themselves? That’s all my job?”

“Basically,” He said, his eyes still on the road, but she could see him smirking wide.

“You’re an ass.”

“I know.”

They continued their playful banter all the way to their apartment; it was something they did often and seemed to really enjoy. It was fun to pick on each other, honestly. The thing that surprised Evelyn though, was that the topic of their playful banter stayed on children and having babies. She knew she wanted to have a lot of children, and she knew Ben did too, but the fact that he was so openly talking about their lives together as parents only a month into their relationship was not something she expected, but she welcomed it.

When they got inside their apartment, Ben walked straight to the laundry room, dropping his bag to the floor. Evelyn watched him as he stared down at the bag, seriously contemplating starting the wash, but he shook his head and decided against it. “Fuck it,” He said, leaving the dirty clothes on the floor and walking toward their bedroom. Evelyn stayed in her spot, waiting to see if he was going to close the door and shut her out, but their bedroom door remained wide open.

She took her bag off, hanging it on the coat rack before making her way toward where Ben was.

“Hey,” She said quietly, sitting next to him on the bed as he lay down. “Can we talk?”

Ben unfolded his arms from underneath his head and sat up, letting out a deep breath as he waited for her to start talking. Evelyn twisted her hands together and bit her lip, trying to decide the best way to word what she was feeling. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past few days, Ben, but before I get to that, I need to apologize.”

Ben nodded a bit, his hands on his calves, his legs stretched out in front of him. Evelyn scooted closer to him, her hand grabbing onto his bicep, “I never should have kept anything from you. I tried to convince myself that I was just applying to see if I could get in, just for fun. I wasn’t going to actually go there.”

He nodded, and she continued, “But subconsciously I guess I always knew that if I did get in, I would want to go. And for that, I’m sorry. I should have told you from the start…”

“Yeah, you should have, Lyn, but I forgive you, okay? I do.” She smiled and leaned toward him, pressing a kiss to his lips. He smiled into the kiss, pressing his lips back against hers. But, he couldn’t fully get into the kiss, even though he was usually all for a make out session because he knew what it had the potential to lead to. He still didn’t know if his wife was moving to New York City, if she was leaving him, and that scared him. Putting his hands on her elbows, he pushed her away, giving her a pointed look.

“Oh,” She started. “Right. New York City.”

“Well,” He sighed. “Are you going?”

“I think this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to decide. I called everyone, Ben, trying to get some good piece of advise, but everyone kept telling me ‘follow your heart’, or ‘listen to your gut’. Well, you know what? They were fucking silent, so I had to go it alone.” Ben laughed, despite how nervous he was feeling. Evelyn was a character, that was for sure.

“I think if I don’t try, I’ll regret it. I might go there, hate it, and come right back home; home to you.”

“But…” He started.

“But, I could go there and love it. It could lead me to some of the biggest newspapers, or even TV and the highest paying jobs in the industry, Ben. You know how much I love journalism, but the paper I work at his barely even popular here in Chicago, which is the only place it’s sold. It’s a going nowhere job.”

She looked at him, a grimace on his face not like he was mad, but like he was in pain. She breathed in shakily, not being able to stop the tears that welled in her eyes as she said, “I’m going to New York, Ben.” She moved toward him even further until she was sitting on his lap. Grabbing his bearded face in her hands, she looked directly into her eyes. “This doesn’t change anything. I’m still your wife, and I’m still in love with you more than anything else. I just want you to know that. I’m just going to be in a different state for a while.”

He nodded, kissing her, telling her he loved her, too, but he couldn’t stop from feeling like his heart was breaking and he’d end up losing her. Holding her close against him, he didn’t say anything more. He just held her for a long while, realizing he needed to not let any moment he could be with her go to waste. He wasn’t necessarily a negative person, but when she said her going to New York wouldn’t change anything, he couldn’t help thinking that it would.
♠ ♠ ♠
The amount of foreshadowing in this chapter is almost ridiculous.
Juuuuust saying. ;D

Oh, hey, I have 113 subscribers. So, I'm going to say that I need at least 20 comments for the next chapter, which I've already started. It shouldn't be hard! I've gotten 26-28 comments on one chapter before! Okay, that's your challenge! <3

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