Status: In Progress

The Icy Lens


Abby awoke early Tuesday morning, quietly leaving the bed as James slept. He once again hadn't been sleeping well, so once he did fall asleep she wanted him to stay that way. As she stood in his shower under the hot water, the events from game three plagued her mind. Everyone seemed to lose control of their tempers very quickly in Philly. Letang fought Timonen, causing both of them to be ejected early in the game. Crosby fought Giroux, and even cool-headed Sullivan got into the scuffle. But things really got ugly when Martin was taken out, and Asham took it upon himself to land an illegal hit in retribution. Even James had lost his cool, targeting two players, one of them was Giroux. Then to make matters worse, when Crosby lost his cool again he went after Hartnell, causing Adams to intervene and take the instigation penalty.

The team knew Asham and Adams were suspended, but James's suspension was up in the air. He hadn't said much after his phone conference with Brendan Shanahan, other than he just had to wait and see. That night he had been quiet, which she expected considering the black cloud that was hanging above his head. Abby had offered to give him space, but he had surprisingly wanted her to stay with him overnight. Right as she finished washing her hair, she heard the door to the bathroom open and a figure move to open the shower door. "You started without me," he said while stepping inside. "You were sleeping, I didn't want to wake you," she said quietly.

He embraced her in the shower and forced a smile. "You don't have to tiptoe around me Abby," he said, "Whatever happens, happens." She leaned into his bare chest as the hot water poured over their bodies. "I know but," she began to say before he kissed her. "It's OK," he said in a low voice. But it wasn't OK. He was facing suspension, and with as unpredictable as the suspensions were who knew for how long, especially since two hits were being evaluated. His left hand clasped the back of her head as he kissed her again, while his right hand traced the side of her body. "I can do this," he said trying to relieve her doubts, "after all I have you to help me get through it." She nodded and said, "OK, but just promise me that you will talk to me if you need to." He nodded and pulled her close to him. "I will, but enough with the talking, more kissing."


Practice was tough, but all the players came in with an attitude of staying alive. No matter what, they had to win in Philly tomorrow night. Matt was announced as being a game time decision for the next day, which was the best news she heard all day. After the media firestorm in the locker room they all had little time to get ready before taking their flight back into the city. It was an awkward flight due to every one's nerves, but their attitude's were focused on winning once they arrived. After they landed it was the typical whirlwind of going to the hotel to unpack, then proceeding to staff meetings ensued. As soon as she was finished, there were whispers in the hallway that a decision had been made, and her first instinct was to go to his room. But as she made her way down the hallway, Kris intercepted her.

"Abby you should really just go to your room, he's in there with Coach" he said while stopping her in her path. She nervously gripped the bracelet he had given her and said, "How bad is it?" He exhaled slowly and said, "Asham got four, Neal got one." Her heart sank in her chest as she continued to grip the bracelet. Kris turned her around and walked her back towards her room and said, "He's lucky, with his previous fines and suspension it could have been much worse." The words echoed in her mind, and she knew it was the truth, it could have been worse. But she still couldn't help but feel upset over the situation. "Where is Matt," she asked changing the subject. "He's doing a light workout downstairs to try and loosen his shoulder," Kris said, "That's why he wanted me to keep an eye on you." She shook her head and said, "I don't need anyone to look after me you know." Kris laughed, "I know, but he evoked the Bro Code."

Just as they reached her door she felt her phone buzz, and looked down to see the new text message. / I'm fine, only one game. Going to hang out in my room. Love you, and don't worry. / She paused for a moment, almost forgetting Kris was there as she wrote him back. /If you need, me, You know where I'm at. Love you too./ She hit send and shoved her phone back into her jean pocket. "Neal?" he asked. "Yeah, He said he wants to be alone," she said while nodding slightly. "That's probably for the best," Kris said reassuring her, "He cares a lot for you, I'm sure he doesn't want to accidentally take it out on you." She nodded and said, "I know, I was sort of expecting this." He leaned against her door frame and asked if she was OK. It took a few minutes of convincing, but he finally left her to be alone in her hotel room.

It was hard to stay away, it took everything not to rush to his room. But she knew she had to respect his wishes. If he needed her, he would come. Matt came to visit and they talked about him playing the next day. He assured her that he was ready, and this time she actually believed him. She told him he had the fire back in his eyes, so he had better come back with a bang. Eventually he left, and she finished up a few work e-mails before heading to bed. She knew tomorrow was going to be hard, no matter what the game result was.


Abby was sleeping until she heard the sound of her phone ringing at one in the morning. "Hello," she answered without looking at the Caller ID. "Open your door," she heard James say on the other end. She walked over to her door and cracked it open, letting him come inside as she hung up her phone. "Sorry, did I wake you," he asked. She stood there in her pj's and yawned while nodding. He stood there for a moment before saying, "I wanted to come sleep with you tonight." She was barely awake, but knew it was against team rules. No family, girlfriends, or wives on game nights -- they could both be in big trouble if they were caught. "But..." she began to say. "Shhh, I'm going to sneak out in the morning, Besides It's not like I could get into any more trouble" he said in a whisper, "I just, I need you."

She had promised him that if he needed her for anything to let her know. And if this was what he needed, well it was worth the risk. She smiled softly, taking his hand not saying another word. Abby changed her alarm time before crawling under the covers in her king sized bed, and he laid down beside her. She could tell he was nervous and upset but she just couldn't bring herself to say anything. Instead she let her actions speak for her. As he lied on his back, she shifted her body sideways. Abby nuzzled her head against his chest and wrapped her arm around him. She could hear his heart pounding, but then after a few minutes it started to slow. He moved his neck in over to kiss the top of her head, before laying back down on the pillow. It didn't take long for him to fall asleep, and once she heard him faintly snore she was finally able to close her own eyes.

Before she knew it, her alarm was going off at 4AM. She dismissed the alert and whispered, "You need to sneak out before the others wake up." Abby ran her fingers through his hair before kissing him softly on the lips. "I know, but I don't want to leave." Abby smiled and said, "I can't have you get into any more trouble mister, we need you back for game five." His lips frowned as he said, "If there is a game five." She shook her head adamantly and said, "No, There will be a game five. I can feel it. Just believe." She kissed him again, this time with passion in order to give him hope. He leaned up in bed and slipped on his shoes to leave. She moved behind him, hugging him from behind. "Don't give up yet," she whispered, "Please promise me."

"I won't, but only because your kiss was pretty convincing." She started to giggle, but quickly covered her mouth. They had to be quiet, she didn't want anyone to wake up. They moved slowly to the door, and he opened it carefully after stealing one last kiss from her lips. He snuck down the hall and went back to his room, seemingly undetected. As Abby quietly closed her door and went back to bed, she hoped that her intuition was right. Not only for his sake, but for the sake of the entire team.


When Matt scored the second goal for the team, she knew something was brewing. Matt made another clean shot, which went into the net after bouncing off Crosby's backside. The crowd was in uproar, but it was ruled a good goal. Then the game just exploded into a lopsided match up. Letang,Sullivan, and Dupuis each got a goal. Staal had a hat trick and Malkin sealed the deal with the tenth goal of the game.The tides had changed, and they were leaving to head back to Pittsburgh for game five.

As she got onto the plane the mood was a complete 180 from the last flight. People were talking, playing video games, laughing. She took her normal seat on the plane and pulled out her laptop, beginning to re-size photos and clean them up so that once they got on the ground they could update the website. She was listening to music as she worked her magic in Photoshop for a good half hour, quickly reaching the end of her photo roll. She hit save and closed the program, only to have someone grab her hand. "Sorry, I didn't see you sat down," she said with a smile. "Oh I've been here for a while, just didn't want to interrupt." Abby closed her laptop lid and said, "You'd never interrupt me."

James grinned and said, "So I guess I need to admit that you were right." She winked and said, "When am I ever wrong?" Matt turned around and said, "When she is wrong, she won't admit it." She glared at him and said, "Nobody asked you!" Matt glared at her back before saying, "Can't say I didn't warn you Neal." She rolled her eyes as he laughed and took her hand "It's OK, Anyway I'm glad you were right." She leaned her head on his shoulder and said, "So am I."

"Lazy, You better be ready to work now you have to play game 5," Geno said from behind, "Just no fights, no matter how much Giroux looks at Abby." James laughed and said, "Don't Worry G, I'll be squeaky clean, like your playoff beard." Abby giggled slightly and said, "That wasn't very nice." Geno laughed and said, "It OK Abby, at least mine's better than Sid's." She shook her head as the teasing continued the entire flight, nobody was safe, not even her. It was nice to have everyone happy again, it felt more like the regular season than the pressure of the playoffs.


Matt sat on the couch as Abby wrapped a cold compress onto his shoulder, just like before. He was sore from playing, but he claimed he wasn't in pain. He just wanted the ice to numb his sore muscle. She knew better, but at least he was following the advice of the doctors. "All done," she said as she finished up. Matt moved as if he had a chill and asked, "Are my lips blue yet?" James finished his beer and said, "Nah, they look more purple." Abby glared at both boys and said, "Not this again..."

Matt laughed and said, "Well now that I'm colder than an ice cube, I'm going to bed." He stood up, taking a few steps from the couch saying, "Oh, And if you two have sex, well, just don't make noise OK? I'm right down the hall." She shook her head and threw a pillow at him, that he luckily dodged before it hit him square in the face. He laughed and told them both goodnight before heading to his room. She rolled her eyes and said, "You see what I have to deal with?" He smirked as he finished his beer and said, "Well you can always move in with me. At least then you'd have your own closet instead of stealing my clothes." She stuck her tongue out at him and said, "I don't bother bringing any because you won't let me keep them on." He shrugged and said, "..and that's a problem?"

She cleaned up the empty bottles of beer and the pizza box before they walked back to her room. Once inside she changed into a short red nightgown before sitting on her bed. This time he was staying with her for a change. He stripped off his shirt and pants, crawling into bed just wearing his boxers with a grin on his face. "Why don't you ever bring lacy things like that over to my place?" Abby shook her head and said, "Probably because it would last about 15 seconds on me." He shook his head, "No, I could work around it." He was definitely himself again by the number of comments that evening, so she'd put up with it for now. She snuggled next to him under her comforter, feeling relieved to be home.

She was seconds away from falling asleep when he said, "Abby?" She turned her head to him and muttered, "hmmm?" He kissed her neck and then whispered into her ear, "Thank you." She smiled and said back softly, "For what?" He kissed her neck several more times before saying, "for everything." Then it registered, he meant for helping him through the suspension. She felt warm inside, hearing him actually say he appreciated her. It was the little things that he did, like this that made her love for him grow even stronger. "You would have done the same for me," she said before giving him a kiss on the lips. "You know you look really hot half asleep," he said with a grin, "But out of respect for Matt, I'll be good....tonight." Abby smiled and turned onto her side, playfully grabbing his arm and pulling him into her from behind, "Well then you can at least hold onto me till I fall asleep," she said, "and in return I'll bring something lacy tomorrow." He wrapped himself around her and said, "You've got a deal babe."