Sequel: Take My Love

We Don't Have Forever

Lace up, Princess

“Will I see you at practice?” Sidney asked me as we walked back towards the athlete lodging. He had curfew and I was drinking too much. Ever the gentleman, he made me start drinking water and take a long walk around the village with him until he had curfew, just to make sure I was okay to be alone. I think he forgot how much we Canadians can drink when we really want

“Yeah…I’ll be there.” I said, sending him a quick smile. He smiled back and awkwardly waved as he walked into the building. I sighed a little bit and started walking back towards the family lodge when I heard someone shouting my name. I turned and my jaw dropped as the person grabbed me and hugged me tightly.

A former friend and old teammate, Meghan, was here in Sochi. I knew she had made the Olympic team but I didn’t think I would be running into her. She started talking about how excited she was to see me and that the team would be so happy to hear that I was here. Somehow in this one sided conversation, I had agreed to stop by their practice. It was before the Men’s team and gave me time to prepare to be around my family again. I hadn’t played hockey in years…not since my accident. I found it hard to even watch Jon play at times because of how badly I missed it. But I did miss my friends.

We said goodbyes and she ran off again and I continued back to my room. I climbed the stairs, not feeling comfortable with the elevators they had. I unlocked the door and slid into the room, kicking off my shoes. I saw Kylee was fast asleep but her light was still on. I shrugged a little bit and turned the light off, climbing into bed and falling asleep rather quickly.

My alarm went off early, prompting me to shut it off quickly. Kylee was still fast asleep as I got up to shower and get ready. Even when I got dressed, she was still knocked out. I wrote her a quick note and left, heading down to the ice rink. I walked in with ease as I flashed my pass and found my way to the rink to sit and watch the practice. I watched them practice; feeling a bit of depression hit me as they ran drills. I had that opportunity once, years ago…and it was all ruined in a split second. The whistle blew, ending their time a lot sooner than I expected. I checked the time; they still had an hour of practice time left. Maybe they were going to do some off ice stuff.

“Hey!” I heard Meghan shout, coming up to the glass. I went over and smiled a little, waving at her. She grinned and pointed to my old team sweatshirt that I was wearing. “Do you remember what size you wore?”

“Uhh….yeah, we used to share. Just my skates were a size smaller than yours.” I said, looking at her funny. She grinned more and skated off, waving to me. I was going to leave when an Olympic worker came up to me and told me to follow them. I was slightly confused and thought maybe something had happened to Jon but then they lead me to the locker room, where Meghan was waiting, a bag at her feet. She picked it up and threw it towards me, tapping it with her stick.

“Lace up, princess, meet me at center ice!” She said loudly, laughing as she hobbled off, as quickly as her skates would allow. I stared at the bag and then slowly unzipped it, seeing a Stars De Montreal jersey and all the pads I would need. A pair of skates were shoved in as well. I sighed, staring at it all for a moment before giving up and taking off my hoodie, putting on the pads and getting geared up.

I laced up the skates as tightly as I could, remembering how when we were kids, I always made Jon lace them for me because he was the best at making them tight. There was no helmet for me but I shrugged it off, it was just Meghan and I. I hobbled out and stood at the door to the ice, looking at the freshly cleaned surface. She smiled when she saw me, skating over and handing me a stick just one of the team goalies came out, padded up and taking her spot.

“Come on, Toews! Show me that you’ve still got it!” She said with a smile, skating away towards center ice. I took a deep breath and took my first hesitant step onto the ice for the first time in four years.
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