Status: just getting started.


Pandora's Box.

If cardboard boxes could tell stories, the one sitting in the middle of Mollie Holden's living room had quite the tale to tell. It wasn't all that large or old but it sure did hold a lot of history.

The history of Mollie and Sid.

Every single item was full of memories and told it's own story.

"What do you mean by, it's us?" Sidney asked as he reached over half crawling his way to Mollie on his knees to peer inside the box.

One look at all of the picture frames, hockey pucks, t-shirts, jerseys, and ticket stubs he knew what she meant. Everything staring back at him was a bit dusty, some things broken, but all was full of nostalgia.

"The day I finally came home after it all happened, I went on a rampage and threw everything that reminded me of you into this box." Mollie's voice pulled Sidney from his trance as his finger twirled a hockey puck around reading the white tape wrapped around it. "Vancouver 2010" was what it read and Sid knew it was the puck he'd given her from the Olympics.

He sat back still holding onto the puck, "Can we go through it?"

She nodded and reached in pulling out the first picture frame one with cracked glass, careful not to cut herself Mollie brushed off the thin layer of dust. "Holy throwback," she turned the frame to show Sid the photo inside.

He smiled snatching the frame from her hand, "This was such a good Christmas."

"It was, your mom was so happy to have you home." Sidney nodded in remembrance running his thumb over the cracked glass. The photo inside the frame was one of he and Mollie standing in the middle of a tree farm the year they had gone to his home country of Canada for the holidays. Thanks to the NHL's lockout in 2012 the two were able to spend a rare Christmas with Sid's family.

It was their second official Christmas as a couple and they were incredibly happy just being together. Mollie was nearing the end of medical school, and although the league was a mess Sidney was doing all that he could as a player and an advocate for the sport to get back to playing professional hockey.

They were young, dumb, and in love.

In the photo the snow was coming down softly, the trees were glistening white and Sidney had Mollie slung over his shoulder like she was the best tree of the bunch. They were bundled up in scarves and boots but the warmest part of the photo were the smiles on their faces. "You were so excited to cut down your own tree. Until you got sap on your favorite boots."

Molly rolled her eyes, "Those boots were never the same, smelled like freaking pine for months."

Sid's mom, Trina had taken the photo while Taylor and Troy laughed beside her and part of Mollie wondered if the woman still had her copy displayed somewhere in their Nova Scotia home.

Sidney's laugh brought her back as he laid the frame down on the white rug that covered the dark hardwood floors. Sidney took a sip of his water as he waited for Mollie to pull out the next item slowly she rummaged through the box. When her hand remerged this time it was a handful of hockey pucks, each with a piece of white tape around the edge with Sidney's chicken scratch scrawled on them. "I can't believe you kept all of these."

"Well, some guy just kept giving them to me. So I figured they would be worth something someday." Mollie winked tossing a puck his way and leaned back against the couch. When he caught the puck Sidney turned the black circle in his hands, "Stanley Cup Final - 2009" was written around the edge.

Mollie watched as Sidney turned the puck around in his hands time after time holding her glass of wine tight in her hand. This night had just gotten incredibly weird.

"Even better than that puck is this picture," Sidney's voice joked and Mollie turned her head back toward the man who was showing her a surprisingly unbroken frame. One look and the memories of that night came flooding back. From the final seconds of the game, to watching Sidney hold the Stanley Cup above his head for the first time, and the fateful moment when he picked Mollie up off the carpet by the waist and skated her around the rink.

They weren't even dating in that moment or the picture but Mollie still loved it so much.

There they were standing on the ice of The Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, families still scattered around them but Mollie remembered feeling like they were in their own little world. Behind her with his hideous playoff beard Sidney was holding the Stanley Cup above Mollie's head and Mollie with her short little arms was pretending to hold the cup up herself.

That memory was one of her favorites from that incredible summer with Stanley. "I never did hold the Cup by myself, I was always too afraid to drop it."

"Don't worry we dropped it a few times ourselves," Sidney confessed sipping his water a few inches away.

Mollie nodded with a grin, "Oh I remember, right into bottom of Mario's pool."

"That was quite the night." Sidney laughed and Mollie smiled reaching into the box for a framed photo that was taken from that night in particular. Just a few days after the Penguins had come home to Pittsburgh with the Stanley Cup in tow the Lemieux's threw a huge pool party for the team and their families to celebrate.

Long story short lots of booze was consumed, the Cup wound up floating in the pool, and Mollie woke up the next morning hungover and sleeping in a bed with both Stanley and Sidney.

"I look hammered." Sidney squawked as Mollie handed him the frame smiling to herself.

She shrugged drinking the last of her wine, "Oh you were. We all were, God we were drunk for weeks it felt like."

It was a snapshot of Sidney, Mollie, Marc-Andre, Vero, Catherine, and Kris with the Stanley Cup sitting in front of them. They all looked so young, so happy and no one would have know that the six of them weren't all couples. Mollie was all wrapped up in Sid's arms and that's the way it usually was with them. They were just too stubborn to admit that maybe they were in love with each other even then.

They continued to sort through the items; t-shirts from their vacations, different tournaments, and occasions, tickets to concerts, charity events, plays, and musicals from dates they'd gone on, and more photos, piles and piles of photos ranging from 2005 to 2013.

As Sidney took a look at one of the oldest photos in the pile Mollie heard him gasp, "Who took this?"

Mollie who had been texting a patient's mother looked up as he turned the photo towards her. Her mouth fell open as she realized what it was from she reached out and took the print into her hands as the memory came flooding back.

The very night they met.

It was August 2005 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh that was known for a few things.

Large houses.

Rich history.

And being the home of Pittsburgh Penguin Mario Lemieux.

As Mario's hockey career was slowing the family welcomed the future of the Penguin's dynasty into their home. Being the Captain of the team Mario offered to take in the newest draftee, a hockey prodigy, the so called "next one", a young 18 year old Canadian kid named Sidney Crosby.

So to welcome him to the team and to his family the Lemieux's did what they did best, they threw a party fit for royals.

That night was over 10 years ago now but it was embedded in Mollie and Sidney's minds forever.

He was broad and dark haired, dorky, stereotypically Canadian and a hockey player through and through. The same old Sidney but at that time he wasn't even "Sid the Kid" yet, he was just Pittsburgh's newest lifeline, someone to put the city's faith in.

Someone who could bring them a Cup.

And Mollie, well she was also dark haired, small in stature, however strong enough to carry her golf bag, yet dainty enough to wear flowers in her hair. Brilliant and beautiful, nerdy but nurturing. She was going to change the world and the Lemieux's let Sidney know that as soon as they moved him in.

If you asked Sid he'd tell you the first time he remembered seeing her during that backyard party in 2005 made his heart stop.

Then again, he was always one for being dramatic.

He'd go on to say that Mollie was sitting in the grass braiding Alexis Lemieux's hair, she had dandelions tucked into her own dark hair that cascaded down her back. With a smile so bright on her face it could have lit up New York City, her arms were wrapped around the little girl who was giggling and squirming.

He remembered standing there staring in her direction until he was interrupted by a weight on his shoulder, it was Mario's strong hand. The older man nodded his head towards Mollie, "Have you met her yet?" Sidney shook his head to which Mario smiled, "Well come on, you must meet our Mollie."

He then lead Sid through the partygoers to the grassy area where Mollie was now watching the younger kids run around. She was leaning back on the palms of her hands, barefoot in the grass the closer he got the more he noticed that she was indeed even more beautiful up close. She was squinting her green eyes, but her skin was golden brown, sun kissed with millions of freckles, her body was covered by a sundress and he could tell a bikini was tied behind her neck.

She sat up as the duo approached, stood when Mario appeared in front of her, "Mols, this is Sidney, I thought you two should have a proper introduction."

When she smiled at him Sidney felt like he was going to throw up.

Mollie did not have the same reaction.

She thought he was going to be arrogant, and egotistical like the rest of the young hockey players she'd met in her lifetime. Even if she thought he was cute him being the #1 draft pick didn’t help the stereotype Mollie was brewing up in her mind, but it all changed when Sidney opened his mouth.

He was sweet, shy, and soft spoken.

After getting their conversation flowing Mario left them be and that was where the mystery photographer found them. They were sitting side by side in vast the grassy area of the Lemieux's back yard, Mollie's head was turned up looking at the sky and Sidney was just looking at her. The copy of the photo was given to Mollie by Nathalie the day she moved into her dorm at Penn State and it was the one she kept closest to her bunk-bed that year and with her during all eight years of college.

18 year old Mollie had no idea how much that boy would mean to her 10 years later but somehow 28 year old Mollie was sure Nathalie Lemieux did.

"We look like babies," Mollie said handing it back to Sidney who agreed and placed the copy into the pile of frames, papers, pucks, and ticket stubs that had built up between them.

"I can't believe how much stuff you had," Sidney joked as he pulled out the remaining items from the bottom of the box.

"Well, we had a lot of good times, Sid."

Sidney nodded as he watched Mollie pick up one of his old shirts, "You really cleaned house, eh?"

"Oh yeah, and quick too. Hence the broken glass, I even threw out my sheets." Mollie swirled the remaining drop of red liquid around in her cup as she stared at the pile in front of her. Her green eyes popped up over at Sidney as their gazes met he looked away, maybe she shouldn’t have told him that.

"Mol, are we ever going to be okay?"

"Huh?" she asked as Sidney continued to avoid looking in her direction only staring at the mountain of memories.

"Is this how it's going to be, forever? You and me trying ignore everything we had going for us."

Here we go again Mollie thought to herself as she pushed her hair out of her face placing her glass on the table beside her sofa. "If you're asking if I forgive you, then yeah Sid I forgave you a long time ago."

"No, I'm glad you did but I'm asking if we are ever going to be able to get back to the way things were?"

"Sid, we're not the same people. Things, they've changed."

"Bullshit Mollie, we took a little break but I'm still the same person and you're still the girl I fell in love with."

She closed her eyes tight as he threw out the "L" word, she wasn't ready for this conversation.

"You may be the same, but I'm not." Her voice was soft and his head turned like a confused dog. "Cutting your hair doesn’t make you a different person, Mollie."

Mollie scoffed, "You think that in 2 years all I did was cut my God damn hair?"

"I wouldn’t know what you did, you left me high and dry."

"Quit saying that I left you!" Mollie's face grew hot a combination of the wine and her brimming anger.

"Well you did! Dammit Mollie, you decided it was over. You decided we were breaking up. And you decided to leave me in that parking lot and never even look back."

"Ughhhh," Mollie groaned rubbing her face, it was late, she was tired, and she was so not in the mood to fight with him. "I can't do this right now, Sid."

"No, we're doing this. Tell me why, tell me why you chose the easy way out."

Now she was officially fuming. Easy way out? She of all people took the easy way out? Nothing about leaving the man you were hopelessly in love with behind was easy. "Easy? You think that it was easy for me to leave you behind? All of those concussions have really made you lose your fucking mind."

His face was not amused with her joke, "That first month is Baltimore was the worst time of my life, I cried myself to sleep for weeks. Hell, I thought about coming home every day. Then I got a text from Taylor one night that had me in tears in the middle of the hospital cafeteria, Sid I was a complete mess. And you call that easy."

"My sister?"

She nodded, "She was concerned, said you weren't talking to anyone, that you were sad, angry at everyone, even lost almost and I felt so guilty." Mollie chewed on the inside of her cheek, "After that I started thinking about what would have happened if I had just stayed with you. I thought about giving it all up and coming home to you."

Sidney pushed himself up off of the hard living room floor, crossed the short distance and sat behind Mollie on the couch. "Go on."

"And then I realized what's done was done, you hadn't come after me and I wasn't going to come running back to you. I needed some space and I needed to do what I came to Hopkins to do. So I made a few cosmetic adjustments for myself, and I went on with my life. Without you, and it was so weird. Eight years was a really long time to suddenly not have someone."

"Without me." Sidney reiterated throwing his head back against the sofa.

Mollie adjusted herself looking up at Sidney from where she sat on the floor, "And then about a year later I met him, and everything changed." She watched him physically tense up at her words, his lips pursed, jaw locked tight. "His name is Jonah, he's a doctor too."

"Mollie, you really don't have to tell me this."

She pushed herself up and sat down on the couch beside him, "I do, because it's important."

"Jonah was a huge change for me, with him everything was easy, fun, and new. I didn’t have to worry about who saw us out or what people would think of my outfit, I could just be Mollie the nerd who loves to golf. I wasn't just Sidney Crosby's girlfriend, I got to be me and it was refreshing."

Sidney hummed, "So this is all my fault?"

"No Sidney," Mollie paused cocking her jaw wondering if she should say what she was thinking. But it was how she really felt so she continued, "for once, it wasn't about you at all."

"So getting away from me, and dating some new guy gave you a new lease on life?"

Mollie curled her legs under her body trying to get through to him, "Sidney look at me." He finally turned his head and looked at her for the first time since their conversation had shifted this direction. "Do I look happy to you?"

"Yeah? I guess, I mean you still look like my Mollie but with shorter hair."

She smiled, "I have never been happier with my life than I am right now, Sid. And you want to know why I did it all?"

He nods, "So that I could get here on my own. I wanted to be happy on my own for once in my life I didn’t want to just be Elliot's daughter, that rich kid from Pittsburgh, or Sidney's girlfriend. I wanted to be happy as just Mollie the pediatrician who worked her ass off to get where she is."

"And you are? You're happy now?" Mollie taking a giant leap of faith reached out and grabbed one of Sidney's hands, the most physical contact they'd had in a long awhile.

"I am. I'm so happy with everything Sid, I'm home, my career is right where I want it, and well I kind of have you, at least you're back in my life and it just feels complete. This is where I'm supposed to be, this is home."

"Well, I'm happy for you. Mol, all I've ever wanted was for you to be happy and I think that's why I didn't come after you. At least part of it anyway, I had already ruined one of the happiest moments of your life and I felt like and ass and I just didn't want to hurt you anymore. But I guess I did anyway, it was a lose lose situation. "

They sat there for a moment not looking at one another, no words, just holding hands in silence before Mollie finally spoke. "For the record, I never loved him like I loved you."

Sidney squeezed her hand lacing their fingers together. His eyebrows wrinkled in the middle as his brain processed what she had just said. The past tense of that almighty 4 letter word.

"I take it that means you don't love me anymore?"

"Sidney, I am always going to love you." Mollie admitted with a smile.

With that information Sidney felt like jumping off the couch with a fist pump, and yelling from the rooftops, but he sensed a but coming. "But?"

Mollie exhaled, "But, we have to move forward, there's no going back to the way things were."

"Then let's move forward Mollie, because I sure as hell can't move on from you."

Spinning her body around Mollie threw her legs across Sidney's lap, "Is that how you're going to ask me out, Crosby?"

"Squirt, will you go on a date with me?" Sidney asked.

She shrugged, "I'll think about it."
♠ ♠ ♠
So I have been trying to write the follow up to this chapter for a month. I have NOTHING. I am having SEVERE writers block and I just can't seem to top this chapter.. So I'm sorry guys but HOME is going on hiatus for a bit until I find my motivation and settle into this semester (which may kill me, Nursing School is NO JOKE ya'll). So bear with me and I hope I'll be back to tell the tale of Mollie and Sid soon. xoxo - A