The Letter


LILLY: Hey, we're still meeting for coffee before class, right?

Olivia sighed, dropping her phone in the cup holder of her car. It was early - way too early for her body. Her father was in the process of completing a six-game road trip with his team. Which meant for two weeks, Olivia had to look after her siblings. It wasn't that she didn't love her brother and sister - she adored them. She was just exhausted. Juggling nursing school and a job were stressful enough, but for her father, she occasionally added on the sister-mom title.

Her little sister, Emily, came bolting out the front door with her backpack on, with Leo straggling behind. The two entered her car, ready for school. "Buckle up, please."

Leo, the ray of sunshine who was definitely not a morning person, leaned his head on the cool window and closed his eyes while his older sister backed out of the driveway. The youngest, Emily, was a bright girl and enjoyed getting up for school, however, one present fact had her bursting at the seams on this chilly morning.

"Daddy comes home tomorrow, right, Livy?" the blue-eyed girl asked, staring at her sister from the back seat.

"Yeah, Ems. He'll be home when you wake up for school tomorrow," Olivia said, looking in the rearview mirror.

"It's about fucking time," Leo grumbled from the passenger seat.

"Potty mouth," Emily glared at him.

"Yeah, watch your language," Olivia scolded. "I agree, though. It was an unnecessarily long road trip."

Olivia pulled up to Emily's junior high, parking. She turned around to blow Emily a kiss. "Have a good day, blondie. I'll be here to pick you up after school, okay?" Emily nodded and ran into the school.

"I wish I had her energy," Leo said, finally sitting up in his seat.

"Me too. I could use a double dose of whatever that kid's on," Liv said, pulling away from the curb.

Olivia and Leo drove in silence for a few minutes towards the high school. "Oh, I have hockey after school today, by the way," Leo announced.

"Oh, okay. Do you still need a ride home or no?" his sister asked.

Leo pursed his lips. "Can I let you know?" Olivia nodded. "Just don't let me know too late. I don't want you to have to wait in the cold for me."

Olivia pulled up in front of the high school she attended only two years prior. Shithole.

"Aye-aye, Captain. I'll see you later, sis." Leo exited the car, making his way inside.

Olivia puffed out air, picking up her cell-phone to dial her best friend's number. As she pulled off the curb, the ringing filled the car. "Helloooooo?"

"Hi, Lil. I just dropped Leo off so I'm on my way now. What shop were you thinking?" Olivia asked.

"NEO's sound good? Their pastries make me feel things, ya know?" Olivia wrinkled her face at her friend's exaggeration.

"I'll be there in 10. See you soon." Olivia hung up and made her way downtown.


"How are you feeling?" Lilly Tanner asked her friend. She was well aware of how bad this time of the year was for the Russo's. Olivia was exhausted and it was written all over her face.

"Tired beyond belief, but you know that. Also extremely stressed about this Microbiology midterm." Olivia said, sipping her scolding coffee.

Lilly threw her head back and groaned. "I completely fucking forgot about that. When is that? Next week?"

Olivia chuckled low. "Try tomorrow, Lil," the redhead's eyes looked like they were going to pop out of her head.

Lilly picked at her pastry. "Just think, only three more months of this stress."

"For you, maybe. You know I'm going straight for my Master's," Olivia said, only making herself more stressed at the thought.

"Personally, I think you deserve a year off. Find a job, have them pay for the Master's," Lilly told her friend. "I think you've worked your ass off since junior year of high school to get where you are. Not to mention all the family-stress that's been thrown at you from the side. You need a break... a vacation or something."

Olivia listened half-heartedly. Her stress had been non-stop since she was ten-years-old. She spent years holding her father up after her mom's death. She spent years busting her ass in school while also playing babysitter because her dad was off playing hockey to keep her and her siblings going.

And now all she wanted was her degree. She just wanted to change the world one patient at a time.

"I have an idea!" Lilly burst out like she'd had an epiphany. "Your dad has a game on Thursday, right? Why don't we go? We can get sick seats and get drunk while watching the Leafs probably get the crapped kicked out of them by Washington! But the booze will make up for it, yeah?"

Liv processed the idea for a moment, looking up at Lilly under her eyelashes. "It would be a nice reliever after the Micro test..." Lilly smirked at her friend triumphantly.

"Besides, you know I'll take any chance to see my fellow ginger Freddie," Lilly said.

Olivia rolled her eyes. "For the last time, he's nearly 30 and too old for you,"

"Pah," Lilly waved her hand. "Age is just a number, sweet Livy."


After two classes and a long, brutal lab, Olivia made her way home with her younger sister alongside her. "Leo had practice?"

"Yeah, baby," Liv said, stopping at a red light. "What should we have for dinner tonight?"

Emily turned her head to look out the window. "We should throw a welcome home party for Dad," the 11-year-old said.

Olivia raised her eyebrow. "It was only two weeks, Em," she continued home. "He might be too exhausted for a party."

Emily rolled her head in her sister's direction. "Yeah, right. Dad's a party animal," she said.

Olivia snorted. "You are not supposed to know that."

"Can you just think about it? I think Dad would enjoy it. We could invite the team. They're his family, too." Emily pushed her sister.

Olivia pulled into their long driveway and parked the car. "Tell ya what," she shifted her body toward her sister. "Let me text Morgan. I'll get a feel from the team and see what they think, okay?"

Emily exhaled, satisfied. "That's all I ask." she exited the car without waiting for Olivia. Liv laughed watching her baby sister stomp up the steps to their home. "That girl is too smart for her own good."

Olivia made her way inside, plopping on the couch next to her dog, Lady. "Hi, mama," she scratched Lady's head. "Have a relaxing day to yourself?" Lady wagged her tail at the girl, stretching and jumping off the couch. Olivia followed the dog to the sliding glass door, letting her outside.

Emily had already settled herself in the den, watching her cartoons. Olivia figured she would keep her promise to her little sister so she scrolled through her contacts until she reached Morgan Rielly's name. She sent him a quick text asking his thoughts on having a party here.

And much to her dismay, Morgan Rielly had relayed the same feelings Olivia's pre-teen sister had, so here she was at 8 o'clock at night in a grocery store with her father's emergency credit card buying everything she would need to have the team over.


The next evening, Olivia and Lilly exited their Microbiology classroom in silence. As they exited into the cold air, Lilly finally spoke. "That test totally fucked me,"

Olivia snorted. "Maybe if you didn't have short-term memory loss, you would've remembered to study."

"Whatever," Lil grumbled. "I'm just gonna go home and change and then I'll be over for the party."

The two girls said their goodbyes and got into their respective cars. Due to the big-mouthed men on her father's team, the party being thrown was on Anthony Russo's radar. He wasn't mad, though, which Olivia appreciated, considering this party was thrown for him and funded by him and his credit card.

When she arrived home, it was dark and there were already cars in the street outside her home. She opened the door into the large foyer, hearing loud male voices coming from deeper inside the house. Emily peeked around the corner of the kitchen, beaming at her sister. "You're home!"

Olivia laughed, removing her coat and shoes. "I see you three got the party started without me," Liv said. "Is there a lot of boys here?"

Emily nodded. "Some are in the den playing games with Leo and the others are in the kitchen with Daddy," Emily told her before disappearing back into the kitchen.

The front door opened behind her, startling her. Her eyes landed on a few familiar faces. "Liv!" Morgan Rielly yelled, opening his arms to her. Olivia rolled her eyes at the man, but still entered his embrace. Three others had entered with him, but the only one she could put a name to was the resident ginger goalie, Freddie Andersen. She said hello to the three as her best friend burst in, hitting one of them with the door.

"Oh, Jesus, I'm so sorry," Lilly said, fussing over the boy who just laughed at her.

"It's fine," he told her.

"Uh...Leo is in the den with some of them playing NHL and Dad is in the kitchen. There's plenty of food and drinks, please help yourselves." The three hockey players nodded, venturing into the large house.

"The one I hit was cute. What was his name?" Lilly asked, smirking. Olivia shrugged. "I didn't get it," she also hadn't asked. "Let's go eat."

The two girls entered the kitchen where her father was standing by the island with a group of his players glued to the story he was telling. She kissed her father hello, which he had to make a scene out of.

"My baby," he placed a sloppy kiss on her cheek. "You guys know my daughter, Olivia, right?" Olivia wiped the slobber off her cheek.

"Liv, this is Mitch, Kasperi, Tyler, Willie, and Auston," he introduced them all.

Auston. That's the one Lilly hit with the door. He was very cute as she'd said before. The name clicked for her now, the Leafs prodigy 1st overall pick. He'd also followed her on Instagram a few nights prior, and Mitch did, too.

"How'd your test go?" she heard her father ask, breaking her out of her thoughts.

"Uh... it went well. I studied a lot so I'm hoping for an A." she told him.

"Where do you study, Olivia?" Mitch asked, making all the boys turn their attention to her.

"I go to the campus Downtown for nursing. I'm in my last semester now," she said, smiling.

"That's sick," Tyler said. "Are you excited? Where do you wanna work?"

She hated these types of questions. She got them from her family every holiday, but these boys were newbies so she'd engage in the conversation. "I'm kinda stoked, yeah. I've been dreaming about being a nurse since high school. I think I wanna work in a hospital, but I'm open to anything. Beggars can't be choosers, and all of that, ya know."

Her father came over and handed her a beer, leaving her to the boys of his team. "Nurses are like superheroes," Auston said, softly. Olivia sipped her beer, keeping eye contact with him.

"Exactly. Nurse make hospitals a lot more bearable, well, at least most of them do. I wanna be able to do that for people." Olivia said fondly, making Auston turn his lips up.

A big body came up next to her, with a child hanging off his shoulder. "I believe this belongs to you," Morgan said, pinching Emily's arm.

Olivia chuckled. "Put me down!!" Emily yelled at the man, banging on his back. "Alright, alright, Em,"
Morgan placed her on her feet. "Now promise to stop hitting me." He held out his pinky. Emily stared at it for a few seconds, making Morgan sweat. Finally, she grabbed his pinky, interlocking it with hers.

Morgan stood up, rolling his eyes at Olivia, making her shrug at him. Emily scurried off into the den, where all of the guests had gone to, leaving Morgan and Olivia alone. "I don't suppose you've seen a redhead with lots of freckles, about ye-high?" Morgan laughed, pointing to the den.

Olivia followed him in but stayed in the doorway. Several men were yelling at the TV screen that NHL18 played on. Lilly was against the wall chatting it up with none other than Freddie Andersen, the sneaky bitch.

Liv let her eyes wander around the room. Her siblings and father were smiling from ear-to-ear and that's all that really mattered to her. Her best friend, despite going against her wishes, looked happy speaking with the Leafs' goalie.

As her eyes moved across the room, she caught onto warm chocolate brown ones staring right back at her. Maybe she could be happy tonight, too.
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yeah I swear I'm on crack today I've somehow updated all my stories and BUSTED a 2k word chapter for this story but I think it's because I was super excited to get this one going. ANYWHOOOO enjoy!!!