‹ Prequel: Chances Risked
Sequel: Life's Chances

The Three C's

Chapter Sixty Four

A few days had past, the boys and I were now in Nashville and I was excited to see an old friend, James Neal, I knew that he was upset about his trade to the Predators, I also knew that a lot of people, me being one of them, that were surprised by the trade. The game was the next night and we were at our hotel, I had just gotten the text from James that he was downstairs, I ran towards Pat’s room, Jon opened the door, he looked like he was going out.

“Where are you off to?” Jon asked and I smirked and snuck into the room, seeing Pat getting up from his bed.

“Hey babe,” he said and I walked over towards him and kissed his cheek.

“I’ll see you later,” I said and Pat nodded his head.

“You’re not coming out with us?” Jon asked and I shook my head.

“No, Nealer and I are going to dinner, I hadn’t seen him since summer and I wanna know how his transition was,” I said and Jon nodded his head, “See ya, guys.”

“Bye Mags,” they said as I walked out of the room, down the hall and to the elevator, I went to the lobby and saw my old teammate leaning against a pole.

“James!” I smiled and he looked up and smirked.

“There she is!” he laughed and I ran over towards him and jumped him, wrapping my arms and legs around his neck and waist, “Oh, it’s good to see you, Mags.”

“I know, it’s really good to see you too,” I said as he let me drift to the ground and I looked up at him, “Where are we going?”

“My place- I still don’t know where anything is here,” he said and I laughed and nodded my head.

“You managed to find a place here?” I asked and he nodded his head.

“Yeah, I’m rooming with Del Zotto,” he said and I stopped in my tracks and looked at him, “What?”

“Seriously?” I asked and James nodded his head, “I hate that guy.”

“He’s not so bad- A little full of himself sometimes, but not too bad,” he said and I scoffed, “Come on!”

James wrapped his arm around my shoulder and walked me out of the hotel and I let out a laugh when I saw his bright red Ferrari in the fifteen minute parking zone, “You’re seriously a little kid in an adult body,” I said and James flashed me a smirk and we got into his car. It took a little while to get to his place, it was a nice house in the fancy part of Nashville. He told me that some country singers lived around him, and with him being a country fan, he was a little excited about that, “You meet Fisher’s wife yet- He’s married to Carrie Underwood, right?”

“Yeah, I met her once- She’s really hot,” he said and I let out a laugh.

“She is pretty,” I said and then got out of his car when he pulled into the driveway.

“I know a like ten minutes down the road more, Kenny Chesney used to live in the one house,” James said and I smirked. We walked up to the door and James opened it and let me walk into the house first, “Looks like he’s not home.”

“So how do you like it here?” I asked as I looked around, the house was pretty nice, but it looked lonely, there was nothing on the walls and barely any furniture.

“Not really, I miss Pittsburgh,” he said and I sighed, looked at him sadly and nodded my head, “I still don’t get why-“

“I know,” I said and walked over towards him and hugged him, “Looks like Mario wanted a new team all together- Bylsma, Shero, Orpik, Niskanen, you- they-“

“I know,” he muttered and I looked at him, “But here? Fuck, I’ll never win a cup here!”

“You don’t know that, James,” I said and he looked at me.

“I’d rather have been sent back to Dallas- Anywhere is better than here?!” he said and I scoffed.

“You could have been traded to Buffalo- Or to the Panthers,” I said and James looked at me, we smirked and then laughed a little.

“You’re right, that would have been an insult if I’d had been,” he said and I smirked and nodded my head, “It’s really good to see you against, Mags.”

“So where’s Mags?” Kruger asked as the guys and I were out at dinner.

“She went out with James Neal- Wanted to see her old teammate,” I said and the guys nodded their heads.

“You’re not worried?” Shaw asked and I looked at him.

“About what?”

“They’re alone- He might put the moves on here-“

“He’s not gunna put the moves on here- They’re just friends,” I scoffed.

“So were you and Maggie,” Sharp said and I looked at him, “When she was still dating Letang- She would go out with you when she came to Chicago- Sorry, but I’m with them on this one.”

“You don’t trust Maggie?” I asked and Sharp shook his head.

“No, I trust Mags- I don’t trust Neal,” Sharp said and I sighed.

“Now you’re making me worry,” I growled and then pulled my phone out of my pocket. I went into my contacts and to Maggie’s name, creating a new text message and then staring at the letters, debating if I should check in with her.

“I’m sure she’s fine,” Jon said and I looked next to me, “It’s Maggie- You love her, she loves you- Neal knows that- He’s not going to do anything. Besides! Didn’t he call you when that baseball player was flirting with her- You dropped everything and went to see her!”

“He did,” I said and then sighed.

“See, he knows- They’re just friends.”

“But Sharpie’s right-“

“No,” Jon said and looked at me, “The difference now is that Neal’s not in love with her like you were when she was dating Letang.”

“So should I check in?” I asked and Jon shook his head.

“Not yet at least- They’re fine.”

‘…Neal better not do anything- I’ll kill ‘em…’ I thought as I put my phone on the table and did nothing but stare at it, still debating with myself about calling or texting her.

“I can’t believe you didn’t unpack, James!” I laughed and looked around his room.

“I guess there’s just some hope that Pittsburgh will call me back,” he said and I sighed and placed my beer bottle on his dresser and walked over towards the boxes in the corner of the room, “It’s not going to happen- Is it?”

“I’m sorry,” I said and James sighed and nodded his head, “Mario’s never going to trade Sid, and he wants a team centered on Sid’s talent.”

“What about Geno?” James asked.

“I don’t know, I’d like to say that he’s like Sid- But Geno doesn’t play like he used to,” I said and looked at James, “Granted he’s still a hell of a lot better than me, but, it’s just a name- Hate to say it, but it’s the same with Flower too.”

“Marc’s good until we get to playoffs,” James said and I nodded my head.

“But again, he doesn’t play like he used to- It’s just a name now,” I said, “And soon that’ll be me too.”

“The Marshall name’s gunna live on- Throughout anyone in the NHL,” James said and I gave a small smile, “You’ve got Dana out there now, I know you’re gunna have baby Troy in skates soon- If you don’t already.”

“He’s already in skates,” I giggled and James smirked.

“Something tells me that there’s always going to be a Marshall in the NHL,” James said and I sighed.

“Maybe not always.”

“You never know,” James said and then walked over towards me.

I turned around and opened his unopened box and saw memorabilia from different achievements in his life, “You should really put these out.”

“There’s no one to look at them- Other than me,” he said and I looked at him.

“You’re the one that really looks at them,” I said and he just looked at me, “Maybe remembering how you were back then, might help you get off of this team, maybe go to a better team- If not back to Pittsburgh.”

“So just by putting this stuff out, I’ll get better?” James laughed and I sighed.

“No, but it might help motivate you,” I said and James sighed and plopped onto his bed, “Remember what I told you guys on the ice- My last day as a Penguin.”

“No, what?”

“Make sure you give me a challenge,” I said and James looked at me and smirked, nodding his head and then sighed, “That refers to whatever team you’re on, Nealer,” I walked over towards him and sat down next to him, laying my head on his shoulder and feeling his on top of mine, “I don’t want you to have an easy loss.”

“Hey now!” he yelled and I laughed as he playfully shoved me, “I’ll kick your ass, Marshall!”

“I’d like to see you try, Neal!”