Status: just getting started.


Family Ties.

Her entire life Mollie Holden had been a stickler for punctuality. In fact, her father's lifelong saying to his children had been "to be late was to arrive on time" so the entire Holden family was notorious for being early to everything.

However, on this particular occasion Mollie was almost annoyingly early.

Forty-five minutes early to be exact.

She had sat in her car in the parking lot for almost twenty of those minutes, but that had only made her more nervous. So after checking her reflection in the rearview mirror for the umpteenth time Mollie stepped out of her car, straightened her dress and marched into the building.

She now sat in a large empty room holding only a long table with places set for ten guests. The 9 other chairs were empty and for fifth time since she'd sat down Mollie checked her phone for the time.

7:09, she still had 21 minutes until the others were set to arrive.

Below the time on her iPhone Mollie saw a few unread text messages.

MOM: see you at dinner, are you nervous?

Was she nervous? Of course she was nervous! She wasn't just having dinner with her family, or just the Lemieux's, she was having dinner with them both and their guests for the evening, the entire Crosby family.

Yeah, that part made her nauseas not just nervous.

In 20 minutes she'd face for the first time in two years all four Crosby's at once.

And for the first time since they'd started doing whatever it was that they were doing, Sidney and Mollie would face Nathalie and Mario. Who of course would notice the difference in the way they acted towards one another in a matter of seconds.

No longer full of hostility, just infatuation.

The message below her mother's made her smile.

TAYLOR CROSBY: I can't wait to see you!!!

Mollie couldn’t wait to see her either, it had been too long since she'd snuck off to one of the younger Crosby's hockey games hoping and praying neither Troy nor Trina would be there. And it had been far too long since they'd had to keep their conversations on the down-low.

While she pondered on Taylor's text a new message rolled in. Mollie's eyes scanned the line of letters before quickly tucking her phone in her purse that sat on the floor beneath her chair. She took one last deep inhale and sat up straight in her chair. Breathing out she heard footsteps, as the sounds grew closer she began to make out a male voice.

Was it her father? Or Mario? Did all of the "adults" ride together? Or maybe it was Sidney.

The single door pushed open and the girl breathed a deep sigh of relief, "Oh thank God, it's just you."

Staring at his older sister from the doorway Pierce Holden shrugged his shoulders, "Yeah, it's just me. Why are you here so early?"

"Nerves I guess. How was your shift?" Mollie asked as Pierce placed his coat on the back of his chair.

"Boring?" He slid into the seat moving the place card with his name on it. "We need another snowfall, I've run out of bones to fix."

"Gross, is that why you're here so early too?"

The man shrugged again in his navy suit jacket, "More like Dad would be disappointed if we weren't on Holden Time."

"I guess that's true." Mollie smiled and then she heard it.

More voices and the sound of heels clacking on hard wood.

There was Mario's deep bellowing laugh and her father's rough chuckle, sounds she'd recognize anywhere.

Which meant the heels then belonged to her mother and Nathalie.

Then she heard it, the third male voice.

It was so similar to Sidney's, only a tad deeper and if possible more Canadian. It was 100% Troy Crosby, and just the sound of his voice awakened the butterflies in Mollie's stomach.

Time was up and it was time to face the music, and without Sidney at her side.

As soon as the group appeared in the room Renee called out to her children, "Well, look who's early? They really are yours, El."

"Hi, mom." Pierce said as he rose from his chair, his sister followed suit coming around the table to greet the six guests who had just joined the party.

Mollie hugged her mother, father, and the Lemieux's before she became face to face with Trina and Troy. She had run this scenario down in her head so many times but she still wasn’t sure how it would go.

As Trina stretched out her arms towards Mollie her dark eyes that mirrored Sidney's went glossy, "Oh my girl," Mollie stepped forward into the woman's embrace, "we have missed you so much."

Mollie felt her throat drying up despite her eyes welling, this family meant so much to her. "I've missed you too, all of you."

Pushing them apart Trina sniffled sharply, "Oh let me look at you, goodness you've gotten even more beautiful. Look at her Troy, she's stunning!"

Troy, who had watched the entire embrace smiled at the younger girl, "Hi sweetheart, how's my favorite Dr. Holden?"

Mollie smiled at the running joke between the three families that everyone had a "favorite Dr. Holden". "I am wonderful, how're you?"

She settled under his arm as he squeezed her shoulders, "Better than ever, my beautiful girl."

With eight out of ten guests arrived the conversation flowed around the room as they all waited for the Crosby children to show. Trina told them all they had gone to skate at the Penguin's practice facility hours ago and had promised they wouldn’t be late.

But alas here they were running behind.

Mollie sat back down at the table this time with only the seat to her right and across from her empty. She tapped the toe of her heel as time ticked by slowly, where were they?

"So, Mollie dear, how is your new practice going? Mario tells us you're quite busy." Trina inquired from a ways down the table.

"I am, I think I'm at around 200 patients or so. It's been great so far!"

"That's incredible, you two must be so proud of her?" The woman turned to Mollie's parents who nodded.

"We are very proud of both of them, Pierce is graduating from medical school in May." Renee told her grinning down at her youngest child.

Before anyone could question the man on where he intended to do his residency or if he had plans for a fellowship down the road the door of the room finally opened. Wearing sheepish smiles Taylor and Sidney Crosby slid inside meeting eight sets of eyes. Taylor, always the jokester turned to her older brother, "Yeah, I think they're going to notice we're late."

"Just a little, Taylor." Her mother scolded as those around the table stood to greet the new guests.

"Sorry Mom," the youngest Crosby spoke before meeting Mollie's gaze, "MOLLIE!!"

Stepping around the table Mollie walked quickly wrapping the blonde in a tight hug, "Hey, T."

"Oh my God, I missed you so much, Mols."

Mollie squeezed her tighter, "Oh you have know idea how much I have missed you, kid."

Behind the two girls Sidney watched the embrace, it was amazing to him to see how much his sister loved Mollie and vice versa.

Letting go of Taylor who skipped off to hug Renee, Pierce, and Elliott, Mollie looked up at Sidney, "You're never late, Captain."

"We lost track of time, it's been awhile since I've seen her." Sidney slid an arm around her shoulders hugging her tight.

"Me too, I've missed her." Not wanting to give their parents or the Lemieux's anything to speculate about Mollie backed out of Sidney's hug, "Come on, if we sit down maybe they'll finally bring the food."

Settled back in her seat this time next to Sidney and across from Taylor, Mollie felt herself relax a tad bit. She looked around the room full of people who she loved and considered all to be her family, she was lucky, even if this was the first time she'd seen them all together in over two years.

As the table filled with bowls, platters, and trays of food Mario stood at the head of the table. He cleared his throat, looked down at his wife who gave him her million dollar smile, then began, "As this year comes to a close Nat and I are so thankful to have all of you here together once again. It has been a great year, especially these last few months what with Mollie's return to the city and such a great start to hockey season. And we can only hope that 2016 brings even more good fortune to this family. So here's to a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

The group tipped their glasses to the head of the table as the man spoke, listening intently Mollie was drawn out as she felt a palm resting on her thigh. Slowly she moved her free hand under the tablecloth meeting Sidney's in a tangle of fingers.

He squeezed her hand twice looking at her from the corner of his eye, Sidney felt like he had his entire world in one room. She was back, they were kind of back together, his parents were here, his little sister, everything felt right.

But how long could they keep up the charade that nothing was going on between them?

The six "adults" in this room knew Mollie and Sidney better than they knew themselves, they would figure them out in minutes. Just the way they were looking at each other was a tell that something was up.

And without them knowing, Taylor was already hot on their tail.

From her seat across from the two of them Taylor saw the way Mollie and Sid were speaking to one another as if the last two years had never happened. Mollie was laughing at him, they were joking with one another as she leaned into his arm that was slung around the back of her chair. She saw Sidney tuck a strand of Mollie's hair behind her ear and most of all she saw the way he was looking at her mouth. Hanging on every word that came out of it, fixated on the way her lips moved.

Breaking up their conversation Mollie pushed her chair back from the table, "Excuse me, I need to use the restroom."

Across from her seat Taylor perked up pushing her seat back as well, "Oh yeah, me too."

As the two girls walked down the hallway towards the ladies room Taylor linked her arm through Mollie's, "So you and Sidney are awfully friendly these days."

Stiffening Mollie tried to devise an excuse for herself but she truly had nothing. Nor did she really have anything to hide. Of all the people in their lives those in that room would be the happiest if she and Sidney were to get back together. "Yeah, well we just figured being friends would be best if we're going to be in the same city."

"Uh huh, so you're just friends?" The shorter blonde questioned as they pushed through the glass door of the restroom.

Mollie leaned against the door of a stall as Taylor eyed her trying to get her to crack, "T, listen it's complicated."

"Okay? You're adults, and I'm sorry but you're not getting any younger."

The brunette scoffed, what was this an intervention? "Trust me kid, I fully understand that I'm almost 30."

"And you're 'single', so maybe you guys should just cut the crap and get back together." Mollie shook her head pushing open the door of the stall.

"Do you actually have to pee or did you just follow me in here to harass me?"

Taylor smiled as she leaned against the sink, "I am just voicing my opinion."

"Whatever." Mollie mumbled as she entered the stall, she listened for the door to open and close before doing her business. When she exited the stall Mollie expected to be alone but was met with the face of yet another Crosby.

"Did you get lost? The door says Ladies Room." Mollie questioned as she washed her hands looking in the mirror as Sidney stood behind her.

Sidney slid his hands around Mollie's waist as she dried her hands turning her around to face him, "I'm not lost, I found you didn't I?"

"It's not finding someone if you know where they went. And this is the last place you should be, Sid."

He shrugged, "Well, I can't do this," he pecked her lips once keeping Mollie close, "out there, so I decided to take the risk."

"People are going to see you leave this bathroom," Sidney kissed her once again keeping her worry at bay.

"Calm down, Mols. I locked the door, you leave first I'll wait a few it'll be fine."

"Okay, I've been in here forever, let's go." Mollie tried to move but her hips were locked in place, two giant hands gripping them through her skirt. "Sid, come on."

"Not until you kiss me."

Mollie rolled her eyes, "You're lucky you're cute."

She kissed him, he kissed her and when they pulled apart Mollie couldn’t help but laugh. "You might want to rub that lipstick off before you go back out there."

Sidney looked in the mirror his eyes wide and lips slightly painted pink, "That would be one way to tell them."

Ripping a piece of paper towel off Mollie wiped his mouth, "We have nothing to tell them."

"Right," Sidney hummed as she aggressively rubbed his lips.

Tossing the towel in the trash Mollie checked her own reflection, deemed it suitable, then turned to face Sidney. "Wait a minute or so."

She unlocked the door checked the hall and strutted off leaving Sidney in the ladies room by himself. As he re-locked the door and counted to 100 Mollie returned to the table placing her clutch on the table she caught her mother's gaze, "Are you okay, sweetheart?"

"Oh, yeah. I just got a call is all, it was a patient." Mollie lied through her teeth hoping her mother would buy it having been married to a physician herself for 30 years.

Renee hummed to herself keep her lips tight as she returned to the conversation her husband was having with Trina and Troy. Mollie slid herself back into her seat picking up a fork she stabbed at the piece of cake that had been left in front of her. Feeling eyes on her she looked up meeting the questioning stares of her brother and Taylor. Pierce leaned in on his elbow, "You alright? Do you have the flu?"

"No I do not have the flu, I got a flu shot and I'm fine. It was a phone call, y'know how it is."

Pierce nodded, "So you got a phone call?"

Mollie nodded taking another bite, "Interesting considering your phone has been sitting here the entire time."

"Shit." She mumbled as all the blood in her body rushed to her face. Mollie squeezed her lips together so tightly keeping her screams at bay she was sure they were pure white.

Before Pierce or Taylor could dive in and twist the knife any further Sidney sauntered back into the room. Mollie silently prayed that no one would question his absence in the way they had done her.

Things did not go as she hoped.

"Everything okay, son?" Troy asked as Sidney rounded the table to his seat next to Mollie. "Yeah. Sorry I took so long, ran into a couple fans out there."

Of course, the best excuse in the book and the one that he and Mario always got away with using.

All the way at the other end of the long and elegant table Mollie could hear Nathalie's unamused hum.

This was bad, very bad.

Mollie hadn’t blatantly lied to her parents or the Lemieux's since she was a teenager.

Since she had filled liquor bottles with water to appear she hadn't drank the true liquid.

Since she had snuck out of the house to see her old high school boyfriend, Aaron.

Since she had lied to them about dating Sidney the first time.

This wasn’t a feeling Mollie enjoyed. She wanted to tell everyone that maybe, just maybe there was a chance she and Sidney were falling back in love. She wanted their families to be back together in every sense of the word. But she also didn’t want to get their hopes up, and most importantly she didn’t want to get her hopes up.

With the conversation dwindling and the night growing old the table was cleared and coats were called for. The elders of the table left with less questioning than Mollie imagined, only assuring they'd see all four of the kids at the Lemieux's actual Christmas party in a few days.

As Mollie hugged Sidney's mother goodbye the woman whispered into the young girls ear, "I know he won't let go this time."

"I hope not." Mollie let out in shock of the depth of their goodbye.

Taylor grabbed at her next as she struggled to recover from Trina's truth bomb, "Please tell me you're coming to Sid's game tomorrow?"

The brunette looked at Sidney from the corner of her eye, he gave her his signature smirk. "Well, I wasn't planning on it. But I am free."

"Perfect, we still have a lot to catch up on." Taylor winked at her before scooting out the door with her parents and Pierce.

Shaking her head Mollie reached for her coat Sidney was offering her, "What was that all about?"

"Oh just your little sister meddling in our love life. The usual." With her pea coat settled on her shoulders Mollie turned to Sidney who rolled his own eyes.

As the pair walked through the back of the restaurant and out into the bitter Pittsburgh cold Sidney admitted, "This would be easier without our families, eh?"

With the push of a button Mollie started her car before turning back to him, "But who are we without our family? They made us."

"They make us crazy." Sidney muttered his breath hanging in the air of the cold.

Placing her gloved hands over his reddened ears Mollie leaned up pressing a warm kiss on his lips, "It's worth it, now get home your family is waiting on you."

"Sure you don't wanna come with me?"

Sidney wiggled his eyebrows earning himself a swat to the chest. "Yes, because that wouldn't be suspicious at all."

"What about when they're gone?"

Mollie felt a warm flutter in her stomach, "Maybe when they're gone. Now, you need to go."

Sidney kissed her one more time pushing his luck until Mollie bit his lip and pulled away. "Okay, fine. See you tomorrow?"

She opened the door to her Audi feeling the warm heat wafting out hitting her bare knees, "Yes, tomorrow and the next day. I'm not going anywhere, Sid."

"Perfect. Goodnight, Mols." He watched her slide into the driver's seat waiting until she was settled before shutting the door.

Behind the dark tinted windows Mollie leaned her head against the black leather steering wheel. It was warm against her forehead as she groaned giving herself a quick pity party. "I am so screwed."
♠ ♠ ♠
family, can't live with them, can't live without them. ;)
leave me some love, xx - a
ps. 2 posts in a month?? wow go me.