‹ Prequel: Chicago City Lights
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I'll Be Right Beside You

No Turning Back

May 29th 2009
Even though she was leaving the next day for New York City, Evelyn had spent the day at her old office, gathering her things and being one of the guests of honor at a small surprise party her old boss had thrown. There was no denying that he was losing a great worker with Evelyn’s departure, and he wanted to make sure she knew her time at the paper had been appreciated. Phoebe was there, of course, near tears anytime someone mentioned Evelyn’s move. As Evelyn cleaned up the break room since every one else had to go back to work, Michael, the other guest of honor walked in, a small smile on his face.

“Hey,” He said quietly, helping her clear off the garbage from the table.

“Hi,” She responded, slightly nodding at him as a thank you.

“I can’t believe we’re both moving to New York.”

“Yeah,” She laughed. “I’m going back to school, though. You’re the one with the job at the Wall Street Journal.”

He seemed to gloat a bit, “Yeah, I am. How does your boyfriend feel about the move?”

Evelyn frowned, thinking of Ben, knowing that he was extremely bummed about her leaving, but at the same time he was being supportive. She wondered that if she told him Michael was going to New York, too, something she had just found out herself that day if he’d stop being supportive.

“He’s okay. I think he’s a little overwhelmed.”

“You mean losing in the Western Conference Finals and then losing his girlfriend, oh sorry, wife only a few days later.”

She frowned deeper, “He’s not losing me. We’re staying together, Michael.”

He laughed cynically, “Do you really think it’s going to work out?”

“It has to,” She told him. “And I don’t need your negativity.”

“I’m sorry,” He mumbled, looking down. “You know I like you, Evelyn. I have since I first met you, and I can’t help but feel like the two of us moving to New York City together is some sort of sign.”

She paused her cleaning, glaring at her now former coworker, “We are not moving to New York together, Michael. We are simply moving to New York at the same time, okay?”


She shook her head and threw the last bit of garbage away before leaving the break room and making her way toward Phoebe’s desk. Sitting on it, she looked down at her best friend as she finished up a phone call, realizing how much she was going to miss the playful brunette. As Phoebe put the phone down, she stared up at Evelyn with sad eyes.

“You do realize that if I wasn’t completely and hopelessly in love with Niky, I’d move out there with you, right?”

“I know,” Evelyn laughed. “But you are in love with Niklas, and he’s in love with you. And you’re going to Sweden with him in just a few weeks, and you’re going to have a blast. I’ll hardly be on your mind.”

“I’m going to miss you so much, babe,” Phoebe cried out, standing from her desk and wrapping her arms around Evelyn. The two girls stood there for a few minutes, silently crying as they hugged each other, as if they hadn’t done enough crying the night before at the going away party the team had thrown for Evelyn.

“Oh my god,” Phoebe sighed, wiping her tears. “This is the last time I’m going to see you for while.”

“I know,” Evelyn frowned. “But, nothing’s going to change, Phoebe. We’re still best friends.” She nodded, hugging Evelyn again. “I need you to stay strong, girlie. You need to keep Ben in line for me once the season starts. And you need to make sure Adam doesn’t do something stupid, and if he does, you need to keep Kita from killing him.”

Phoebe laughed, “Oh gosh, so many responsibilities.”

“You can handle it, I know it. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Now, go before I cry again!”

With a final hug, Evelyn grabbed her purse and said a final round of goodbyes to her former coworkers and boss before walking toward the elevator. Taking a deep breath, she stepped on and pressed the button for the lobby, watching as the doors closed and Michael stood there grinning at her. Glaring at the wall of the elevator, she quickly walked the few blocks back to her and Ben’s apartment, to find him packing some of his own things for his trip to Ottawa to see his family.

When he heard Evelyn walk in, he immediately stopped what he was doing and walked up to her, wrapping her in a tight hug. She winced against his chest, unable to even comprehend how bad her heart was hurting. Leaving Ben was possibly the hardest thing she had ever done. The summer together they had planned together had quickly fallen through. First Ben would be spending a few weeks in Ottawa, not having seen his family since the previous summer when he and Evelyn had spent only a week up there. Of course, Evelyn couldn’t be mad at that. It was his family.

He would have only a week in New York with her before he had to make it back to Chicago for the second annual Blackhawks Convention, something each and every player as well as each and every fan was looking forward to. After that, he had another three weeks to himself before training camp. So, very easily their summer together had turned into four sporadic weeks together. Not that Evelyn could complain; she was the one who was moving. Ben was just doing what he could.

“Ben,” She started, but he cut her off.

“Don’t go.”

Don’t go? Evelyn suddenly felt like the wind had been knocked out of her at Ben’s very simple and straight to the point request. She looked up at him, a pained expression on her face on her face that matched Ben’s that she started up at. He was chewing at his bottom lip nervously, his large hands holding onto her shoulders, keeping her in place. It would be so easy for her to stay, for her to forget school, to not worry about being jobless, but that wasn’t her. Closing her eyes, she felt a few tears slip out from behind her eyelids as she shook her head.

She could feel Ben let out the breath he was holding and his hands drop from her shoulders. She opened her eyes to see him looking away from her, trying to turn himself away from her. She felt even worse as she grabbed onto his arm and made him face her; Ben was lightly crying, something she had never seen him do. It wasn’t much, just a few tears, but it was enough to break her heart even more than it already had been broken.

“I have to go.”

“No, you don’t, Evelyn. Fuck school, fuck New York, okay? Stay here, with me.”

She winced when he kicked the coffee table, sending the wooden table halfway across the living room. She sighed, “I wish you would have voiced your opinion earlier instead of pretending to be happy for me, Ben.” Evelyn couldn’t stop the sudden anger she felt. She had obviously been stupid to think that Ben was supportive of her and what she wanted to do.

“Would it have changed anything?” He asked, his voice eerily quiet. “If I had said from the start that you shouldn’t go, would it have changed anything?”

“I…” She paused, thinking. “No, it wouldn’t have. I need to do this, Ben. It doesn’t mean I love you any less.”

He shook his head, “Yes it does, Evelyn. Why can’t you just be happy here, with the way things are. You’re my wife, and I’m losing you to some city and some school.”

“It’s not just some school, Ben. We’ve been over this a million times. It’s been my dream since I was little. What if I asked you to quit playing hockey for me, would you?”

“Yes, I would.” She stopped her pacing, her eyes snapping up to meet his as he stared directly at her, an unreadable expression on his face. “I would, because I love you, and you’re more important to me than anything.”

She winced, “Ben…”

“And you’re not willing to give up going to New York for me.”


“Evelyn! For fuck’s sake, say something else!”

“I have to go to New York.”

He practically growled, pointing to the suitcases next to the door, the rest already in Evelyn’s car, “Then go! There’s your stuff. Why prolong it, Lyn. Go now.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“I do. I don’t give a shit anymore.”

Evelyn looked at him, waiting for him to say something else, anything else, but he didn’t. Nodding her head, she turned toward the two suitcases by the door. Walking to their bathroom, she grabbed her bag of already packed toiletries before shoving them into one of the suitcases. Opening the door to their apartment, she turned to give Ben a final look, a final pleading look, but his back was to her and he was making his way towards their bedroom, or she guessed, his bedroom.

She closed the door behind her, lugged her suitcases to the elevator, and made her way to the parking garage where her car was waiting for her, already packed up with all her things. Throwing the final two suitcases into the backseat, Evelyn hopped into the passenger seat, not being able to believe that she was leaving that night instead of the following morning and that she was leaving the way she was. She didn’t want to think about it, really.

The thought that she and Ben could possibly be over made Evelyn sick to her stomach. She sat in the parking garage for close to twenty minutes, waiting for a call, waiting for him to come after her, but he didn’t. In reality, she was the one that needed to call him, go back to him. Pulling the car into reverse, she backed out of her spot and made her way toward the exit of the garage, pulling onto the unusually quiet Chicago streets, leaving the city she had fallen in love with behind, but more importantly, leaving the man she had fallen in love with, too as she made her way to the jungle known as New York City.
♠ ♠ ♠
The end!!
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