Status: Work in progress...

Brave the Storm

Chapter 2

It had been a week since Eric and Kailyn had their first initial meeting. She had kept up pleasantries with Eric to keep him and Coach Kirk happy. She was also introduced to her second line mate Jeff Skinner. Despite her insistence to keep the team at a friendly distance, she couldn’t seem to keep the young baby faced forward with a bushy mop of curly brown hair at arm’s length. He was too child-like and innocent for her to not want to take him under her wing and look out for him.
Today was the day Kailyn had decided she had ignored her captain enough to make the message that this was a business friendship clear. They would bond and make sure they had chemistry on the ice, but she wouldn’t let him get too close to her that she would get hurt if the organization decided to screw her over also. In addition, this helped her keep her attraction for the handsome captain at bay. She feared if she spent too much time with him, she would fall prey to her same mistakes and have to start over yet again.

After practice Kailyn went home and finished unpacking and then took her boxes to the garbage outside. She changed into jeans and a tank top revealing her upper body muscles that had been molded from years of hockey and working out. She then decided to read Jane Eyre after eating some take out that had been delivered to her.

At six o’clock there was a knock on her apartment door. She book marked her page and set the book on table beside the couch where a lamp was also. She didn’t go to the door right away; she instead tried to mentally prepare herself for her second one on one encounter with her team mate. She wanted to convince him that she was going to be okay and that she would bounce back any day. When she felt she was ready, Kailyn walked to the door, opened it, and saw Eric leaning against the door frame. “Hey Kai.” he greeted.

She stepped aside and let him cross the threshold into her pent house apartment. He looked around and saw that it was very organized and well furnished. The Canes organization did a great job fixing her up with a great apartment. It was the perfect size for her. It had two bathrooms, a living room, and three bedrooms for when someone needed a place to stay and also when Sidney, Jon, or Zach came to town for a game. She had started making it homier by putting pictures on the side tables and she hung up a couple wildlife paintings. Her Quebec Major Junior League framed jersey and trophies went up as well. “This is a nice place you have here.”

She led him to the kitchen and got him a beer from the fridge. She used the bottle opener on the granite counter next to the fridge. She handed his beer to him and took a sip of her own. “Thanks. The Canes people hooked me up. It’s a nice place. A little bit big for what I need, but nice nonetheless.”

He nodded as he rubbed the back of his neck in what seemed to be a nervous habit, “Uh my brother is playing for our farm team and they are going to be on TV soon. Would you mind if we watched?” Eric asked.

“Sure we can watch in the living room. I’ll just whip up some dinner. Make yourself at home.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that. I could just go and pick up some food.”

“That’s all right. I’ll be fine cooking. I will just make some spaghetti.” She went into the kitchen and started heating the sauce. She made it as fast as possible and made some noodles. She put both portions on plates with forks. She then took it into the living room. Eric was sipping his beer and watching the pregame. She handed him his plate.

They both sat on the couch silently eating and watching the game. By the second period the dishes had been put in the dishwasher and they were both yelling at the TV screen. They had just witnessed Jared, Eric’s younger brother, score an amazing goal, “Holy shit Eric! Your brother is awesome. Not to wish anyone injury, but I want him to be brought up! I want to play an NHL game with him!”

Eric chuckled, “I want to also but they won’t bring him up.”

“That’s bullshit! Do they even watch the farm team games? I want to go support him one day before our season starts.” Jared was a force to be reckoned with on the ice and given the chance to play with his brother; Kailyn believed the youngest Staal could shine as bright as his older brothers.

“We can go to one. I’m sure Jared will be happy for the support. I daresay you will be a hit with the minor leaguers,” Eric smirked. There was no reason to deny that Kailyn was beautiful. She had long blond hair that was perfectly straight. She also had piercing blue eyes that reminded him of his brother, though they were a lighter color than his. She was tall and she had a perfectly toned body that came from years of playing hockey. Any guy would be crazy to turn her away.

“Oh man, I don’t think I am ready for that,” Kailyn said uncertainly.

Eric shrugged, “It’s your fault for being hot. They are going to have a field day and I am going to have to lay down the law.”

Kailyn found herself blushing at Eric’s words. “You can’t be serious. I’m obviously not that great.” She couldn’t meet his caramel eyes and felt her heart speed up when he paid her that compliment. Her cheeks were surely a new and unwanted wanted shade of crimson. He should look in the mirror and see what the girls had to be saying about him. He had what looked like soft blond hair that tinted red on occasion giving him a unique hair color. His eyes always displayed his kind personality. He was tall and wasn’t overly muscled. He was completely toned and Kailyn thought her line mate was extremely ravishing.

Eric gave her a disbelieving look, “Kailyn I have known you for only a little while and I can tell you are kind and considerate. You are shy but that is totally okay. You are incredibly modest and just all around a good person. You are great. You just have to let yourself be again.”

Kailyn blushed even darker at his kind words. He was so sweet. She couldn’t understand how he knew that much about her already. Mike had never cared to boost her self esteem like Eric was doing right now. Eric was completely different from Mike. He was patient and encouraging. She felt more comfortable with him in the first few days than she had ever felt with Mike. He was just so unbelievably easy going. “I’m working on it.” Her phone suddenly rang making the pair jump and quit their mini staring contest. Kailyn got the phone out of her gym bag that was by her bedroom door, looked at the caller ID, and answered the phone with a snarky, “What?”

“Well hello to you too Lyn,” said an all too familiar voice.

“I’m busy what do you want?” She asked harshly. She had no desire to talk to him at all. What the hell was he thinking calling her? It wasn’t like they were going to be friends. Just as she started developing a good mood, he had to call and ruin it.

“I just wanted to see if you got in okay and see if you were adjusting,” he reasoned softly.

She mentally cursed at how much his voice was affecting her. She could practically feel herself melting into the wall at the mere sound of his voice. She seriously needed to get a grip and let go of her bond with him. “I’m perfectly fine Michael and I do not need you checking up on me because if I remember correctly YOU booted me off the island.”

“I thought it would be easier for you so you didn’t have to see me every day. You know, distance makes the heart grow fonder and all of that. I don’t want bad blood between us,” he pleaded from the other side of the line.

“Well maybe you should have let me decide what affects my life. I’m not your concern anymore and I don’t need you checking up on me. Now I have to go.”

“Why?” he complained.

Did he seriously think he could have his cake and eat it too? She was not going to let him sweet talk her ever again or fool her into thinking he cared about her. At least that was what her brain trying to tell her while her heart was having a hard time agreeing with her brain. “I have company Mike.”
“Who is there with you?” he asked curiously. She could tell from his tone that he figured it was Sidney and he was preparing an argument to keep her on the phone.

“My new captain if you must know,” she spat. She was clearly by her tone telling him that she was establishing loyalty to her new team. She hoped it would piss him off. He knew that Eric was pretty popular around the Carolina girls. She sincerely hoped he would feel as betrayed as she had for him wanting to explore his options.

“What the hell is Staal doing there? Tell him to get the fuck out of your apartment. You let him in your pants from the first day. He doesn’t get to have you Lyn, only me.” Mike growled. She knew she definitely hit a sore spot.

“You don’t have any right to order me around. Fuck you and goodbye.”

Before she had a chance to hang up he threw back a cocky comeback, “You wish I would fuck you, don’t deny it Lyn.” She could practically see his smirk. “No matter whom you try to replace me with. It will always be me you call out for.”

“Go to hell,” she hissed trying to resist how his statement made her feel. She hung up her phone and attempted to throw it but Eric was in front of her in what seemed like a heartbeat. He had her arm by the wrist and gently took her phone from her.

“You’ll regret throwing that later,” he told her simply before gathering her in his arms.
Kailyn rested her head against his chest and clenched the back of his shirt in her fists as she held on to him for dear life. She breathed in the comforting smell of his Axe cologne. Despite her best efforts, she felt herself shaking and quietly crying into his chest. She felt terrible. She missed Mike so much. She wanted to hate him, to hate his guts with everything she had in her being but found it impossible to bring herself to do so. She had given him the greatest gift she had, herself, and he had tossed her to the side so carelessly in search for a newer version.

“Don’t cry Kai please don’t cry. He’s not worth the tears or the pain. I need you to be strong for me. You have to show him you don’t need him and show him what a huge mistake he made in leaving such a wonderful woman. You are so much better than him and its time he saw it. I’m going to build you up so high he’s not going to even recognize you anymore, I promise. You are going to know how beautiful and amazing you are when I’m through with you.” Eric was rubbing soothing circles into the small of her back while his other hand was at the back of her neck, keeping her close to him. He hoped holding her would soothe her broken heart somehow. He was willing to do anything to heal her.

“I hate this,” she told him softly. She refused to let him go. It felt like he was the only thing keeping her from falling to pieces. She knew that a captain’s job was to be there for his teammates and pick them up when they fell, but this was above and beyond the call of duty. She was grateful she had someone here with her. She didn’t want to be alone at this moment. She felt so low.

“I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Just be strong and know your team is behind you and we aren’t ever going to let anyone fuck with you ever again. Just hold on, it has to get better sooner or later. He’ll get what’s coming to him. He will have hell to pay when we play him, I can promise you that. The whole team is gunning for him.”

Kailyn let out a small chuckle as she pictured the whole team skating after Mike who was desperately trying to get away. It did wonders for her mood. She hoped the team would be there to back her up. She knew they would be Eric would make sure of it. She just wanted them to accept her without having the giant elephant divorce in the locker room.

“Atta girl,” he encouraged. He was glad to see that she was perking up a little. He didn’t want to see her in that much pain ever again. He swore to himself that he would do whatever was in his power to keep her happy. She deserved it. He slowly released her from his embrace and wiped the tears from her eyes.

Her watery blue ones met his caramel and asked a single word, “Stay?”
He nodded without a second thought. He wouldn’t dare think of leaving her like this. “I’ll always be here for you, I promise.” He just hoped like hell that he could keep that promise.
She excused herself to the bathroom to get cleaned up and Eric put on a chick flick for them to watch in hopes it would improve her mood further. She came back in a pair of sweatpants and a T shirt. She had some sweatpants for him as well. “Here are some of Sidney’s clothes. They will be a little short, but you are just going to have to sag them or something. I thought they were more comfortable than jeans.”

“Thanks Kai.” He quickly changed in the bathroom before joining her on the black couch to watch the movie. Halfway through Eric felt Kailyn snuggle up closer. He looked over at her and saw how tired she was becoming. “Why don’t you lay your head in my lap and stretch out?” he offered.
She smiled at him gratefully and did just that. Eric ran a comforting hand through her soft blond hair, relaxing her into his lap. It was then she decided to throw her rule book out the window. He had proven himself tonight by dealing with her in her emotional state. Most impressive of all, he did it with ease and finesse that Kailyn was slightly baffled by.

She was surprised by how gentlemanly Eric was and how good he was treating her. She went from being in such a shitty situation with Mike and the Capitals to a pretty good set up where she had a side kick who followed her around ready to make her laugh whenever she needed it and a captain ready to give her anything she needed whenever she asked. Life was pretty good excluding her broken heart and shambled life because even though they were doing everything in their power to get her to like them, she still didn’t know whether she should trust this team or not. There was just one thing, she made her first mistake and her first chink in her armor, and she was starting to trust Eric Staal.
♠ ♠ ♠
I would have had this up last night, but my brother took my laptop to skype his girlfriend.... Any constructive criticism is welcome!