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

I'll Be Right Beside You

"I hate that you have to travel."

Monday morning came around and Evelyn’s alarm clock went off at seven AM. She rolled over and slapped her hand on the clock, pressing the ‘snooze’ button. She half expected to find Ben on the other side of the bed when she rolled over, but he wasn’t there of course. The team had left the night before after the win against the Flames.

Evelyn had been in attendance, as always, sitting with Patrick Sharp’s soon to be wife, Samantha. And like every time Ben got into a fight, this time was like all the rest; Evelyn spent the entirety of the fight wincing and shrieking at every hit Ben took, and every one he gave, too. Also as usual, Ben caught Evelyn’s gaze as he was ushered into the penalty box, giving her a wink subtly.

She smiled to herself at the thought and managed to drag herself out of bed, shuffling herself into the bathroom, where she took a cool shower, wanting to wake herself up. She had been at the UC until the team actually boarded the bus and headed to the airport. It was nearly midnight after she got back to her and Ben’s apartment

She dressed herself in a silk robe as she walked into the kitchen, where a half a pot of coffee was waiting for her, freshly brewed, thanks to the high-tech coffee maker Ben had bought her for Christmas. Of course, Ben had been the one to figure out how it worked, but Evelyn was pleased that she didn’t have to make her own coffee. The miracle machine did it for her.

She stood in her large walk-in closet sipping her coffee, trying to figure out what she wanted to wear. Most mornings, she’d have Ben tell her what to wear, not because she needed his approval, but she liked to wear what he liked. The sexiest, but still work-appropriate, clothes were always her favorite to wear, because she knew he’d be thinking about her in that outfit all day, and he couldn’t wait until he got home just to see her take it off.

When she had finally decided she was wearing - a grey, fitted pencil skirt, a silk, dark purple blouse, and purple stilettos – she quickly put them on and went about her routine. Her long and curly brown hair was loose over her shoulders and her makeup was light. She slipped into her black knee length coat, put on her gloves and hat, and grabbed her purse. When she stepped into the cold winter wind, her legs immediately began to freeze. Sometimes, Evelyn wished she was still in Arizona. But when she thought of Ben, she laughed at how stupid that idea was. So she settled for wishing she was back in college and could get away with sweatpants.

She was halfway through the ten block walk from her and Ben’s apartment when she stopped at a coffee cart, grabbing her second cup of the morning. She and Ben had moved in together only two months before. They would have moved in sooner, but both realized that their apartments were small. Evelyn’s was all she could have afforded as a college student, and Ben’s had been a hasty lease, having unexpectedly been traded from Philadelphia to Chicago.

Their new apartment was in the heart of the Gold Coast, one of downtown Chicago’s richest neighborhoods. Their apartment was on the fifteenth story of their building and from their bedroom, which faced Lake Michigan; all they could see was open sky and water.

When she finally walked into work, her phone buzzed as she stepped out of the elevator and into her office. She smiled down at Ben’s words, I miss you. Kaner says he does, too. Rolling her eyes, she put her purse into her desk drawer and turned her computer on. Her coat was hung up on the coat rack, and as she waited for her computer to load, she headed to the break room, grabbing a donut.

She laughed at herself when she thought back to when she told Ben that if she kept eating crap three meals out of the day, she was going to be as big as a house. He had only shrugged his shoulders in response and told her, without missing a beat, that he’s just have more of her to love. It was little things like that, said so nonchalantly as they shared a bowl of ice cream and watched a bad reality TV show that made Evelyn fall for him all over again.

Evelyn stood in the break room, eating her donut and drinking her coffee, when her coworker, Phoebe walked into the small room. The equally as young writer smiled and nudged Evelyn in the arm. “Your boy had a pretty damn good game last night.”

Evelyn grinned, “I hate when he fights.” But Phoebe only scoffed, “You know you think it’s sexy.”

They shared a laugh as Evelyn sent a text back to Ben, telling him he missed him too. Making sure she sent Kaner her love, she hid her phone in her back pocket as their boss came into the room, grabbing himself a cup of coffee. “Morning, girls,” He said, smiling at the two of them. Evelyn and Phoebe smiled back as he continued. “Michael Saunders is coming in, in a few minutes. I need you girls to show him how things are done around here. He’s very important to this newspaper, girls.”

With that, he left the room. Evelyn and Phoebe shared a look, “I told Ben about Michael. He thinks it’s bullshit.” Phoebe laughed, “It is.” Evelyn smiled, “He said he’d kick some ass if I asked him to.”

“Ben would kick some ass, even if you didn’t ask.”

Evelyn only nodded her head and followed her coworker out of the break room, taking a seat at her desk which was right next to Phoebe’s. A majority of their days were spent gossiping and talking, mostly about hockey. Phoebe had grown up loving the sport, something Evelyn could not say about herself. The Chicago native had helped Evelyn understand the rules of the game since Ben didn’t have the patience to teach her. (They had tried that once. Ben had gotten frustrated when Evelyn couldn’t understand the difference between hooking and slashing. He walked away in a huff and told her to look it up.)

They started on their work for the day as they talked, but twenty minutes into it, the elevator doors dinged, signaling the arrival of someone. It seemed the whole office turned to look at the newcomer they had all heard about, the newcomer they all hated without even knowing. He had been offered a job that most of them would love to have, after all.

Michael Saunders casually walked off of the elevator, a long coat over his black suit and a briefcase in one hand, a coffee in the other. He smiled widely, his perfect white teeth showing. Evelyn and Phoebe shared look; everything about him was perfect. He was young, twenty eight at the most. His hair was so dark, almost black, and it looked like the perfect mix of styled and messy. He smiled at Evelyn and Phoebe and they both gasped, the most beautiful pair of green eyes staring at them. His pale skin was smooth and his body, muscular.

“God damn,” The two girls heard another coworker, Irene breath out. Michael only grinned again, asking where he could find the boss. Evelyn felt herself pointing in the direction of her boss’s office, but she was too busy staring at Michael to be sure. He thanked her and walked away, leaving Evelyn to quickly turn and look at Phoebe, identical expressions of shock on their faces.

“Holy shit.”

It wasn’t until lunch time that Michael emerged from the boss’s office. He took a seat at his assigned desk, across the large and open room from where Evelyn and Phoebe sat, for which they were thankful for. They could get away with staring without getting caught, and then they could gossip about all they saw.

Shaking her head, Evelyn ate her lunch slowly, texting Ben. He answered her quickly, telling her he had just gotten out of morning skate, and he had the rest of the day to himself. The couple texted for the full hour Evelyn had her lunch break, and while on most days, she’d text Ben all day, she actually had work to finish that day. When she told him she’d probably be at the office late, he made her promise to call him when she was leaving. That way, he could talk to her the whole time she walked home by herself.

Evelyn agreed and was grateful for the comfort he gave her. He was so protective of her, but not over-protective. Ben constantly told her that he wanted to take care of her, make sure she was safe, that nothing would ever happen to her, and Evelyn could only smile and kiss him, thanking him for being her body guard.

And like Evelyn thought, she was at the office late. It was almost nine when she was ready to leave, having pulled another twelve hour day. (Though, it was something she only did when Ben wasn’t home.) Phoebe was still there, too, as well as their boss and Michael. As if he couldn’t get anymore perfect, he had a great personality to back up his amazing looks. It seemed their boss could tell the two girls were a little smitten, but he didn’t say anything. He just laughed it off.

Who cared if the girls thought he was attractive? Evelyn had Ben and if she didn’t, she would never start a relationship with a coworker. It would only lead to trouble, which is exactly what Phoebe’s line of thinking was. The four of them walked out of the building together, Phoebe and their boss grabbed a cab together like they did every time they stayed late. They lived in the same part of town, after all. Evelyn pulled her phone from her pocket, ready to call Ben when Michael asked her if she was walking. She nodded her head and started doing just that.

“I have a car. I can give you a lift?”

“It’s alright, really. I’m just a few blocks from here.”

“It’s freezing out.” And it was. Fate would have it that she shivered as soon as Michael said those words. He grinned and motioned for her to follow him toward the sleek, black Mercedes parked along the curb. She climbed in and settled into the comfortable leather seat, smiling as Michael immediately blasted the heat. She gave him quick directions to her apartment and they reached the high-rise apartment building within minutes.

“Wow, nice,” He commented. Evelyn shook her head, “Yeah, I can’t believe I live here either.”

He laughed, “Not to be inappropriate, but how do you afford it, working at the paper?”

“I don’t. My boyfriend does.”

Michael nodded, as Evelyn climbed out of the car and hurried into the building, yelling a thank you back to him. When she was safely and warmly tucked inside of her and Ben’s place, she quickly called him. As soon as he answered he said, “You’re just leaving now?”

“Actually, I’m home already - ”

“Lyn, I told you to call…”

“I know, but I didn’t walk. I got a ride from Michael. He stayed late, too.”

“Who’s Michael?”

“The new guy.”

“Ah,” Ben sounded. “How bad is he?”

“He’s not,” She told him. “It’s impossible to hate the guy.” Ben laughed and mumbled a ‘that sucks.’ They spent the next hour talking, until Evelyn couldn’t stop yawning long enough to continue the conversation. Ben laughed and told her to go to sleep, and she tried to tell him that she didn’t want to if he wasn’t there with her.

“At least you can have some peace and quiet. I hate being roomies with Boley. He won’t shut up.”

Evelyn heard Dave Bolland yell in protest in the background, and she laughed. “I miss you,” She told him. “Babe, I’ve been gone for twenty four hours…”

“I know,” She sighed. “I hate that you have to travel.”

“Me too,” He agreed. “Now go to bed. I love you.”

She told him the same and quickly changed into pajamas and washed her face of her makeup. She crawled into bed and put the TV on, wanting to watch a little news before she passed out. As she laid there, her stomach growled, and she realized she had never eaten dinner. She shrugged from her spot in the bed, and rolled over to Ben’s side of the bed, snuggling into his pillow and quickly falling asleep.
♠ ♠ ♠
You guys make me SO HAPPY. After one chapter I have 16 comments and 40 subscribers. (I'll pretend that the subscriber to comment ratio isn't ridiculously terrible, just this time, okay?)

I would loooove to get the same amount of comments this chapter, too. In fact,
I won't post the next chapter until I get 12-15 comments. Kay?

So, subscribe & comment, please!