Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chapter 7-Carolina Comfort

"Are you going to be okay by yourself when I'm at practice," Eric asked as he packed his gear.

"I'll be fine, I have a couple of phone interviews for jobs at daycares in and around the city."

"Cam and Cody need a nanny, maybe you can work for them for a while if you can't find anything."

"I did it before and got paid well, so why not do it again, right?"

"That's not what you went to school for though, right?"

"No, I went for Mass Communications. I worked at the MSG network in NYC."

"Use me as a reference, you'll get any job," Eric replied smiling.

"Thanks Eric but I kind of wanted to get the job on my own."

"Perfectly understandable, use me though if you can't find one or are having trouble," he said glancing at the clock, "Shit, I have to go, I'm going to be late. I'll call you!"

"Have a good practice," Cheyenne said kissing his cheek.

"Good luck," Eric smiled hugging her, "I'll be back around dinner."

Cheyenne locked the chains on the door when Eric left. They arrived in Carolina yesterday and Cheyenne already felt at home.

Eric's house was bigger than she expected. It was too big for one person, Eric told her that his ex had wanted a big house, so he bought it. It was decorated very well, Linda's doing. Everything matched from the furniture and carpet to the pictures hung around the house.

Cheyenne finished her interviews and was waiting for Eric to come home. Meanwhile at the RBC Center, Eric was training with Tuomo, Cam, and Chad.

"Rosey, Staaly here got himself a girlfriend," Tuomo said, his thick accent making Chad wonder if he heard the young Finn right.

"She's not his girlfriend," Cam cut in defending his best friend and captain.

"Wait, STAALY YOU GOT A CHICK AND DIDN'T TELL US," Chad yelled across the rink.

"She's not my girlfriend, just a friend that needed a fresh start."

"Look at those eyes," Tuomo said smirking, "Staaly's in love!"

"Fuck you," Eric laughed.

"Who is she," Rosey asked.

"She's a good friend of Marc's," he began, "She hasn't had a great life and long story short, her dad beat the shit out of her and tried to kill her mother."

"So, you're the handsome prince that came on a horse to save her but instead of a horse, you saved her on your tractor," Tuomo joked causing Rosey and Cam to laugh.

"Seriously," Eric asked, "You're a douchebag."

Cam knew Eric loved her, Eric told him everything earlier in the summer and when he picked Eric and Cheyenne up at the airport, he saw how well they fit together.

"Have you told her how you feel," Rosey asked as they skated a lap around the rink.

"Yeah I have, countless times actually, but she's not ready for a relationship."

"Take her for a nice dinner, act like there's nothing to eat in the house and show her how you feel," Tuomo said.

"Who the hell are you," Rosey asked, "Dr. Phil?"

"I kind of look like him, don't I," Tuomo joked looking at his reflection in the glass.

"You're a dick," Rosey replied crosschecking him lightly into the boards.

"You know what, Tuu, you're right," Eric spoke up, "Maybe I need to show her."

"I say take her to dinner tonight," Cam began, "Then ask her to the 'Meet the Canes' ball thing"

"We sound like pussies," Rosey said, "We sound like straight up fags!"

"Aw Rosey, don't talk about yourself like that!"

"Suck my dick, you Finnish fucker!"

Cam and Eric laughed as Tuomo challenged Rosey to a shootout to settle the silly argument, "Guys," Eric said stepping between the two men, "Both of you are assholes, you're fighting over advice about MY personal life."

"Sorry," they said in unison stopping to think about how stupid their argument really was.

Cheyenne lay on the couch and watched chick flick after chick flick after she finished her phone interviews before she fell asleep waiting for Eric to arrive home from his training session. Eric fumbled with the keys as he opened the door to his house. He was used to it being empty and it didn’t feel like home to him but now that Cheyenne was there it felt more like home than Thunder Bay did now that Eric was only there in the summer.

“Cheyenne,” Eric called out getting no response, “Cheyenne, are you home?”

Eric chuckled as he heard the soft snores coming from the couch in the living room while the disc menu for Legally Blonde played on the flat screen TV. Grabbing the remote from the coffee table, he shut the TV off and picked Cheyenne up and carried her to the bedroom.

“Eric,” she asked groggily.

“Yeah, it’s me,” he replied kissing her forehead, “Get some sleep.”

“What time is it?”

“Almost three o’clock.”

“Can we go out for dinner tonight? I’m kind of sick of staying in the house.”

“Yeah that’s fine,” Eric replied quickly feeling his heartbeat speed up a little bit, “I’ll wake you up in like an hour or two so you can get ready.”

“Okay,” Cheyenne replied above a whisper before she turned her back to him and fell back asleep.

Eric headed to the bathroom to take a much needed shower. He had showered at the arena but he was finally getting a chance to make Cheyenne his tonight and he felt like a teenager going on his first date all over again.

Tucking the white button up shirt into the black dress slacks, Eric left the top three buttons undone. Going into his closet to grab the black dress shoes that he hadn’t wore since last season, he sat on the bed putting them on before spraying on the cologne his mother had gotten him for Christmas last year.

He shook Cheyenne awake and she groaned but then smiled when took in his appearance, “You look nice,” she said as she sat up rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.

“I’m taking you to Second Empire downtown, you’ll love it. It’s in the historic Dodd-Hinsdale House, it’s a piece of history in Raleigh.”

“I take it that I need to dress-up a little.”

“It’s a five star restaurant, jeans won’t fly there,” Eric joked.

“Eric, you really don’t need to be spending all that money on dinner. I’m fine with a dollar double cheeseburger and some fries from McDonald’s,” Cheyenne scolded.

“Hey, I owe you a nice dinner after what happened in Thunder Bay when the Jolly Green Giant and Carrot Top invited themselves and it turned into a family thing, consider this our first date.”

Cheyenne felt the butterflies in her stomach start fluttering faster than they ever did before and she tried to cover the blush but it didn’t go unnoticed by Eric, “Why are you so nervous around me all of the sudden? I told you, I’m not going to hurt you.”

“I know you won’t hurt me,” Cheyenne began, “I’m just nervous about this whole first date thing, I don’t want this to ruin our friendship. I know you like me and I know that you know I like you but what if things change and we realize we are better off as friends.”

“I’m pretty sure friends don’t feel fireworks and sparks when they kiss each other,” Eric replied.

Cheyenne smiled slightly before kicking him out of the room so she could take a shower and get dressed. Wrapping her body in a towel, she rummaged through her closet trying to find a dress or something dressy to wear from her belongings that Marc had sent from New York.

Finally settling on the purple and black dress that she forgot she had, she laid everything out on the bed as she put her make-up on. After finishing her make-up, she curled her hair and pinned it to the side. She was ready in no time and she walked downstairs and noticed Eric was watching a preseason Carolina Panthers game.

“Eric,” she managed to get out as her nerves overtook her.

He quickly turned the television off, standing up from the couch. He hadn’t seen her yet as he searched for his keys on the coffee table.

“Try the kitchen counter,” Cheyenne laughed and Eric finally looked up at her. Eric felt his chest tighten and his jaw drop at the sight of her, he’d never seen her dressed up like this. He thought she was beautiful before but standing in front of him right now the way she was made him speechless.

“You, wow Cheyenne, you look, wow,” he managed to get out swallowing the lump in his throat, “You’re beautiful.”

Cheyenne felt her cheeks blush again as Eric headed off into the kitchen, “FOUND THEM,” he shouted and Cheyenne laughed. Cheyenne heard the refrigerator open and she was confused as to why Eric wanted food when they were going out to dinner.

“These are for you,” he said pulling the bouquet of orchids from behind his back, “I got them while you were in the shower, I remember overhearing you telling Marc they were your favorite flower.”

“Wow,” Cheyenne smiled taking the bouquet from Eric’s hand and smelling them, “They’re beautiful, thank you.”

“Not as beautiful as you,” he said moving closer and Cheyenne felt her breath hitch in her throat.

“Er-Eric,” she stuttered.

“I’m sorry, I promised no kissing or touching,” he replied backing away defeated.

Eric grabbed her hand and lead her out of the house and to his car. He opened the door for her and she smiled at how chivalrous he was being, he wasn’t like any other man she had dated and she couldn’t help but feel safe whenever he was around.

“Have you been to this restaurant before,” Cheyenne asked as they drove down the highway.

Eric looked over at her before turning his eyes back to the road, “Once with the guys,” he said, “It’s pretty good.”

Cheyenne and Eric pulled into the restaurant and Cheyenne gasped at the looks from the restaurant outside, “This is really cool,” she said as she removed her seatbelt, “It’s really Southern looking, I love it already and I haven’t even tasted the food yet.”

Eric took her hand and led her up the steps into the chic restaurant, “Hello and welcome to Second Empire,” the host began, “Do you have a reservation?”

“Staal party of two,” Eric smiled.

“Right this way,” the young man smiled as he lead them to a table towards the back of the restaurant, “You’re server will be right with you.”

“This is really nice!”

“Have you ever been to fancy restaurants before?”

“Marc took me to Sean’s restaurant once but that’s not five star.”

“No shit,” Eric laughed, “Look who the damn owner is. He’s such an asshole.”

“He was always nice to me, so I don’t have anything bad to say about him but from what I’ve heard he’s a dickhead.”

“Yeah, he’s as fake and as gay as they come.”

“He’s not gay.”

“The fuck if he ain’t,” Eric whispered, “The man carries purses and owns women’s clothing and has admitted to possibly being gay.”

“No way,” Cheyenne gasped, “Are you serious?”

“I’ll show you the video on YouTube when we get home, it’s pretty funny.”

“I will never be able to look at him the same way again,” she laughed and Eric smiled.

“He’s in denial, I told Marc to literally watch his ass.”

“Eric,” Cheyenne scolded and he smirked as the waitress made her way over to the table.

After she took their orders, Eric reached over the table and grabbed Cheyenne’s hand, “So now that we’re on a date and all and we’re getting to the point of being more than friends, I need you to be completely honest with me.”

“About what?”

“Your relationship with Marc and how you guys met.”

“Oh God,” Cheyenne hesitated, “I’m not sure you’d be able to handle the story.”

Eric suddenly felt guilty for asking the question and immediately wished he could take it back but his curiosity got the best of him.

“I’m sure I can handle it, I do take hits from men bigger than me,” he reassured Cheyenne with a smile.

“We met at Sean’s restaurant, I was in there drinking away my sorrows after a beating from my dad. Marc came in and he bought me a drink and we drank until we were drunk. He offered me a ride home and since we were both in no condition to drive, he hailed a taxi. Instead of me going home, we went back to his apartment. One thing lead to another and we always tell people nothing has ever happened between us but that night we slept together. We both woke up the next morning and that’s when Marc saw my bruises. We realized we were better off as friends because there was no connection between us at all.”

Eric sat back in his chair not saying anything, he was expecting that maybe they dated and didn’t work out but remained friends but never in a million years did he expect that they had slept together.

“I’m sorry,” Cheyenne said apologizing.

“Why are you apologizing, you don’t have anything to be sorry for. The past is in the past.”

“I feel like I let you down thought because I’m not who you thought I was.”

“You didn’t let me down, I’m not getting up and running leaving you here, am I?”

“No,” Cheyenne replied fiddling with her thumbs.

“Hey, no nerves tonight,” Eric joked.

“You make me nervous.”

Eric reached across the table and laced his fingers with hers, “At least you’re not nervous in a bad way.”

Cheyenne smiled at how true it was as the waiter brought their food. After dinner, Eric drove the short drive to the Oak View County Park, a small pre-Civil War era farmstead.

“Wow Eric, look they have carriage rides,” Cheyenne said pointing to the horses as they walked by them.

“Want to go on one?”

“Did you even have to ask,” Cheyenne smiled as Eric pulled out his wallet and paid the guy at the gate.

The next carriage pulled up and Eric helped Cheyenne get in before he followed close behind sitting next to her. Wrapping his arm around her waist, he pulled her close to him and kissed her temple.

Cheyenne looking at Eric sideways and smiled before she nestled in close to him. Cheyenne immediately let all the worries she had about a relationship with Eric fade away as the carriage drove them around the historical site.

“What are you doing on Thursday night,” Eric asked suddenly breaking the silence.

“Nothing, why?”

“Coach M is having a cocktail party at one of the hotels downtown and I kind of hoped that you’d go with me.”

“Eric, isn’t that like testing the waters of going public with something we’re not,” Cheyenne stated, “We’re not even a couple.”

“I know,” Eric stressed trying not to let Cheyenne know that he was slightly disappointed with her answer, “Everyone has a date except some of the rookies and I really wanted you to go with me.”

Cheyenne suddenly felt guilty and wrapped her arms around Eric’s waist, “Okay, I’ll go.”

“Really,” Eric asked.

“Yeah, it gives me an excuse to go shopping.”

“I’ll ask Cody if she’ll go shopping for a dress with you, she likes to shop.”

“Okay,” Cheyenne smiled suddenly realizing the carriage ride was over.

Eric helped her down the small step and to the car. When they got home, Cheyenne changed her clothes and walked out into the living room. Eric was sitting on the couch without his shirt but was still in his dress pants.

“Do you always sit half naked in your dress clothes,” Cheyenne joked sitting down next to him.

Eric looked at her and smiled, “Only when I have pretty girls in their pajamas walking around my house.”

“Do you use that line on all of the girls you bring home?”

“I don’t bring home any girls, I’m not like that at all. I don’t sleep with girls without being in a relationship or close to them. My mom didn’t raise me like that.”

“I know,” Cheyenne replied leaning over to kiss his cheek but Eric turned his face towards her to say something and their lips connected. Neither one of them pulled away and they both continued to get lost in the moment of how the world around them suddenly didn’t exist. Slid picked Cheyenne up never breaking the kiss and he laid down flat on his back on the couch with her on top of him.

She ran her hands over his chest and he let out a low growl against her lips. Eric ran his hands under her shirt and she shuttered at his touch. They were testing each other’s boundaries to see how far they would let each other go.

“I thought you didn’t sleep with girls without being in a relationship,” Cheyenne mocked as Eric’s hands cupped her breasts.

“I don’t,” he whispered against her lips, “You’re mine.”

“I don’t hit homeruns on the first date,” Cheyenne said as Eric’s lips connected with her neck and she moaned as he found her weak spot.

“Too bad,” he said sitting up with her on his lap. He wrapped his arms around her waist hugging her to him, “Give me a chance, please Cheyenne. I know you don’t want a relationship but you’re all I think about when I go to sleep and you’re the first thing I think about when I wake up. You have no idea how bad I want you to be mine officially. I’ll never ever hurt you, I’d rather die than have someone hurt you again.”

Cheyenne wiped away the tears that had fallen from her eyes and she leaned her forehead against Eric’s, “Okay,” she whispered before giving him a kiss, “You have your chance.”

“That’s all I wanted,” he whispered smiling before wrapping his arms tightly around her. He gave her another kiss and they both smiled at each other before Eric leaned back so that he was sitting with her in his arms. They both fell asleep that night in that position on the couch, Cheyenne was the first one to go to sleep but Eric stayed awake thanking the Gods above that he was given his chance. For the first time since he came to Raleigh, it finally felt like home and he found comfort in knowing that Cheyenne was the reason.

The circumstances as to why she was there weren’t exactly the best but Eric accepted them because the woman he loved was laying in his arms.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chapter 6-Under the Light of a Neon Moon

Cheyenne sighed in defeat as she threw the covers off of her body, it was hot and sticky in her room since her air conditioning vent seemed to be blowing hot instead cold air. The heat wasn't the only reason why she tossed and turned from the minute she laid down.

Sighing to herself, she stood up from the bed in the guest room and made her way down the hall. She opened the door to Marc's room and saw him sound asleep. Not wanting to wake him like she normally did since he had been travelling back and forth to New York, she fought with herself about whether or not she should go to Eric giving the situation the two of them were now in.

Swallowing her pride, she looked through the crack and saw the glare of the television and Eric propped up on the pillows watching re-runs of a Canadian TV show.

She knocked and pushed the door open, "Hey, you awake," she asked stepping further into the room.

"Yeah," Eric replied turning his head towards her, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, just hot. My vent in my room is blowing hot air and the heat is unbearable. Besides, I couldn't sleep anyways knowing you were probably mad at me."

"Come here," Eric said sliding over and patting the spot next to him, "I'm not mad at you, I could never be mad at you."

"I just thought that you were mad at me for bailing on you by the lake, it' just like I said, I didn't come here this summer for a relationship and you've been such a great friend that I don't want to push my luck!"

"I understand," Eric replied brushing the sweatsoaked hair out of her face, "I'm okay with how we are for now."

Cheyenne smiled and laid her head back on the pillow, "You're really watching re-runs of MVP?"

"I like it, what can I say?"

"I liked it too, it sucks there was only one season and they cancelled it."

"Damon reminds me of Max Talbot."

"The Russian goalie with the Russian mafia connection reminds me of Sergei Kostitsyn." 

Eric laughed, "So funny yet so true."

"This room is freezing, I'm staying here from now on, you sleep in the sweatbox."

"I'll have my dad look at it in the morning, it may just need a new thermostat."

Cheyenne felt her eyes getting heavy and let out a yawn. Eric was about to say something when he heard her breathing go steady. He placed a kiss on her cheek and shut the TV off before he pulled the blanket over them and fell asleep with Cheyenne in his arms.

Cheyenne was the first one awake the following morning and she carefully removed herself from Eric's arms. She walked downstairs to the kitchen and saw Jared and Jordan goofing off at the table with Marc yelling at them while Linda was cooking. Hank was outside mowing the lawn.

"Good morning Cinderella," Jared said.

"Prince Charming still sleeping," Jordan asked.

"Assholes," Marc muttered.

Cheyenne laughed and sat down at the table next to Marc, "So Cheyenne, when are you marrying my brother," Jordan asked.

"Shut up," Cheyenne blushed, "Eric and I are just friends."

"Cheyenne and Eric sitting in a tree," Jared began.

"K-I-S-S-I-N-G," both he and Jordan said in unison making kissy faces at her.

"Knock it off children," Marc said.

"What are you boys talking about," Linda asked.

"Cheyenne was sucking face with Eric last night," Jared said.

"So, everyone makes-out with someone they like or love," Linda replied, "Your father and I still do it."


"That's gross!"

"Come on mom, really?"

Cheyenne laughed at the reactions of the three Staal boys before she stood up from the table to go get something to drink. She grabbed the carton of orange juice and sat it on the counter, she reached into the cabinet for a glass and realized she couldn't reach it. 

Before she could turn around to ask one of the boys or Linda, she felt an arm around her waist and lips on here temple, "Good morning," Eric said handing her the glass.

"Same to you," Cheyenne replied smiling.

Linda and Marc sat staring at them with smiles on their faces, "Boys, go help your father," Linda said to her three sons.

"How come Eric doesn't have to help," Jared whined.

"Him and Cheyenne haven't eaten yet and you three have, now do as you're told," she scolded and they groaned in defeat. "You two eat up," Linda began again, "I'm going to do some gardening while your brothers help your father."

Eric and Cheyenne ate in a comfortable silence watching out the window in amusement as Jordan chased Jared around the yard with a garter snake.

"They're idiots," Eric said finally breaking the silence.

"They're funny though," she replied laughing as Hank chased his sons like they were two years old while Marc stood there looking like he was questioning his family's sanity.

"So, I've been thinking," Eric began.

"About?" Cheyenne asked.

"The detectives don't want you going back to New York and neither Marc nor myself want you here by yourself, so I was thinking that maybe you should come to Raleigh with me."

"I don't know, Eric! I've lived in New York since I was ten."

"Cheyenne, New York isn't safe for you anymore."

"I know," she whispered.

"So, it's settled then," Eric asked, "You'll come to Raleigh with me and live with me while everything gets straightened out?"

"Yeah," Cheyenne replied, "I'll come with you."

"Good because this week I have to head back for a training session that Cam and Tuomo planned and I was wondering if you wanted to come? I could show you around and you could look for a job."

"Yeah sure, why not? Can we go to the beach?"

"It's a little bit of a drive but yeah sure, we can go to the beach."

"Great," Cheyenne replied smiling, "Eric, I can't tell you how grateful I am for your family this summer, especially you and Marc."

"We're here for you," Eric replied smiling reaching over the table and rubbing his thumb over her knuckles, "I'm grateful I got to know you and have you as a friend."

They cleaned the kitchen for Linda and got ready for the day.

"Eric," Cheyenne called out down the hall.

"Yeah," he said poking his head out of his bedroom door.

"Can we go shopping?"

"Yeah sure, why?"

"My bathing suit's ripped, I must've ripped it last night when I jumped in the lake."

"Okay, give me ten minutes," Eric smiled.

"Alright, I'll meet you downstairs."

"Where are you going," Marc asked as Cheyenne stepped into the hall.

"Shopping with Eric, why? Do you want to come?"

"I would if I wasn't so tired from flying back and forth to New York, so, maybe next time. I need sleep!"

"I'm proud of you, Marc," Cheyenne said kissing his cheek.

"Are you ready to go," Eric asked grabbing his keys out of his pocket.

"Yeah, let's go!"

"Have fun on your date," Marc said smirking and Eric flipped him off.

"What did he say," Cheyenne asked.

"He told us to enjoy our day," Eric lied smiling, "Are you hungry? Want to go get some lunch?"

"No, we just ate breakfast, so maybe dinner?"

"Sounds good," Eric agreed getting in the car. 

"What's the best store around here to get a bathing suit?"

"Not sure! I know there are a couple of tanning salons that have them if you want to look there."

"I can tan too."

"You go tanning?"

"I used to," Cheyenne replied, "I stopped going a couple of summers ago. I believed it would help fade bruises!"

Eric took a deep breath and reached over for Cheyenne's hand, "Try not to think about that anymore, you're starting over! Raleigh is a fresh start for you."

"I could use a fresh start!"

"Alright, we're here!"

Cheyenne noticed they had pulled into a shopping center, "I'm guessing Ozone is where we're going."

"Pretty ridiculous name if you ask me?" 

She let out a laugh and followed Eric into the shop. 

"Holy shit, it's Eric Staal," the girl behind the counter said nudging the other girl.

"Hi," he laughed.

"What can we do for you two today,"
one of the girls asked.

"She's going to tan and buy a swimsuit!"

"Bed four is clean," the girl who recognized Eric said, "You can pay for your session when you pay for your swimsuit. Do you need any lotions or anything?"

"I'm good, thank you," Cheyenne said grabbing a towel, "Eric, I'll be right out."

"Take your time," he replied, "I'm going to grab a coffee next door, do you want anything?"

"Just a water!"

"I'll be back," he said standing up, "See you in ten minutes!"

He walked out of the shop and the two girls behind the counter giggled, "You're so lucky," one gushed.

"Lucky," Cheyenne asked.

"You're dating one of the Staals!"

"Eric and I are just friends!"

"Friend, boyfriend, whatever he is, you are lucky!"

"Thank you, I guess," Cheyenne said walking into the tanning room.

Cheyenne laid in the tanning bed and closed her eyes. When she closed them, all she saw Eric's face. Smiling to herself, she was suddenly happy with going to Raleigh.

Getting dressed, she walked out and saw Eric waiting for her. 

"All of our swimwear is right behind you," the girl behind the counter said.

"Eric, you can go wait in the car if you want."

"I'm okay here, it doesn't bother me."

Cheyenne browsed the racks and didn't see any she liked, "Why are they all so slutty?"

"Slutty is the new sophisticated, I guess," Eric joked.

"This one's cute," Cheyenne said holding up the New York Yankees bikini.

Eric gulped and nodded his head in agreement, "It has shorts."

"I like it," Cheyenne said grabbing her size, "I'm going to try it on."

Eric sat down in the chair outside of the dressing room and ran his hands through his hair. He didn't feel lonely anymore and for the first time in a long time, he felt as though he could finally be himself.

The door to the dressing room opened and Cheyenne came out fully dressed, "Eric, are you okay," she asked.

"I'm fine," Eric lied giving her a small smile! 

"Where are we going now?"

"Let me ask you something," Eric said, suddenly stopping in his tracks opening the door to the car and placing his hands on the roof, "When was the last time you went out?"

"Like on a date?"

"Yeah, like on a date!"

"Almost two years," Cheyenne whispered ashamed.

"I know we said we'd wait until we were friends for a while before we'd try dating but Cheyenne," Eric began before he sighed and looked at her facial expression.

"...but what, Eric?"

"How about we go back home, you get dressed up and I take you out? No kissing, no touching, just us getting to know each other!"

Cheyenne looked at him like he was crazy, "Er-Eric," she stuttered, "I don't know."

"I promise, no funny business. Just trust me, please," he pleaded.

"Okay," she agreed, finally giving in.

Eric smiled and they got in the car and drove back to the house! 

Cheyenne put her bag in the guestroom and started going through her suitcase looking for something to wear on her date with Eric. Thinking about the word date scares her but gave her butterflies at the same time.

"Come in," Cheyenne said when there was a knock at the door.

"Hey," Eric said smiling slightly as he stepped into the room.

"What's wrong," she asked.

"My asshole brothers invited themselves to dinner then my mom abd dad did too, so I guess we'll have to go out some other time," Eric replied, "I'm so sorry! I was really looking forward to it."

"It's okay," Cheyenne said smiling, slightly relieved.

"We're leaving at 5 so you have time to take a nap or go swimming in the lake if you want."

"I'm going to call the hospital and see how my mom is."

"Okay," Eric smiled kissing her forehead, "Once again, I'm sorry!"

"Don't worry about it, everything happens for a reason."

Eric shut the door behind him and Cheyenne grabbed her cell phone and called the hospital in New York.

Out in the barn, Eric was taking his frustrations out on the unwanted lawn decorations by practicing slapshots.

"What the hell has gotten into you," Marc asked coming through the door.

"Jordan and Jared, they're my problem!"

"What happened?"

"Bozo and Frankenstein decided to invite themselves out to dinner with me and Cheyenne tonight!"

"You grew balls and asked her out," Marc joked.

"Not like, 'Hey be my girlfriend,' but like a test run to see how things would go between us."

"Aren't mom and dad going tonight to," Marc asked.

"Yeah, but they didn't know anything about the did and the two dickheads did."

Marc laughed, "If it makes you feel any better, I'm going too, so you won't have to worry about killing them."

"I'll try not to," Eric chuckled slightly.

Dinner was over quickly and by the time everyone got settled at home, it was late. Cheyenne laid in bed and as usual couldn't fall asleep. 

She looked at the clock and saw that it was close to midnight. She climbed out of bed and put her flip flops on and headed downstairs. Grabbing Eric's keys off the table, she headed out the door and locked it behind her. 

She took a flashlight from the porch and headed down the dark path that lead to the lake. She slid out of her flip flops and put her feet in the water. 

Lying back on the dock, Cheyenne stared at the stars in the sky. She closed her eyes and tried to image a time when she was happy before she came to Thunder Bay. 

She felt someone beside her and she panicked and went to get up to run when an arm stopped her, "Don't be scared, it just me," Eric whispered.

"I-I'm sorry! You scared me!"

"I'm sorry," Eric said laying on the dock beside her, "Nice night, eh?"

"I love how you can see thousands of stars, it's so beautiful."

"Not as beautiful as you!"

"Everything is so open and so free and doesn't have to hide," Cheyenne said ignoring Eric's comment, "I wish I could live here permanently instead of temporarily."

Eric sighed reaching out to put his arms around her waist, "You can live here, you don't have to go back to New York, ever. Marc and I will even find a place for your mom to stay if she wants to move out of the city too. Marc and I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe. I-we love you Cheyenne."

Cheyenne pulled her head back and slowly leaned her head up towards Eric. She took a deep breath before she put her lips to his.

Eric suddenly froze, unsure of what to do. He kissed her before but now she was kissing him. Quickly snapping out of his thoughts, he brought her closer and tighter to his body, kissing her back.

He slowly leaned her backwards until her back was on the dock and he was hovering over her. Eric was surprised when Cheyenne never broke this kiss. Slowly inching his hand under her shirt, he carressed her sides and she gasped into his mouth. 

Without thinking, his hands inched slowly towards her breasts, "Eric," she said pulling away, "I'm sorry!"

"It's okay, I got carried away, I'm the one who should be sorry. Maybe we should head back in, you're shivering and I don't want you getting sick."

"Can we stay out here a little bit longer, please?"

Eric nodded his head and removed the sweatshirt he was wearing and handed it to Cheyenne, "Thank you," she said smiling, "But what about you? I don't want you getting sick either."

"I'm fine, I have a longsleeved shirt on," Eric said smiling while wrapping his arm around her waist and they stared at the lake in silence.

With everything that had happened to them, neither one of them noticed Hank and Linda sitting on the back porch of the house that over looked the dock. 

"We raised a fine young man," Hank said.

"I've never seen him like that with anyone before," Linda replied, "He cares about her a lot, he owes Marc big time."

"Which one of my immature little brothers are romancing a girl on the dock," Marc asked stepping out of the patio door.

"Neither of them," Hank replied, "We're watching Eric and Cheyenne."

"What," Marc asked wide eyed with a huge smile, "No way?"

"She came out first then Eric came out about five minutes ago," Linda replied and Marc sat down on the steps.

"He owes me big time!"

"Oh my goodness! She just kissed him," Linda gushed and Marc and Hank both turned their heads to see them kissing.

"Oh God, now it's porn," Marc groaned covering his eyes when he saw Eric slip his hand under Cheyenne's shirt.

"I think it's time to go in the house," Hank said reaching for the door.

"She just pulled away now they're talking."

Marc and Hank laughed as they saw Eric wrap his arm around Cheyenne's waist.

"I guess next summer we're having a Staal family wedding," Marc said.

"Don't get too far ahead of yourself, Marc," Linda replied, "They're just friends!"

"I was her friend too but I never touched her like that, he loves her."

"I know he does, alright let's go get some sleep."

The three Staals headed into the house while Eric and Cheyenne remained outside. Cheyenne fell asleep in Eric's arms and he picked her up and carried her back to the house.

He placed her in her bed and kissed here forehead, "Goodnight Cheyenne," He whispered turning the lamp off next to the bed.

He stood up to leave but was stopped when be felt a hand on his shirt, "Stay," she asked, "Please?"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chapter 5-Everything Changes with Just One Kiss

Cheyenne and Eric were the only ones home. Marc went back to New York to sign his contract extension and would be home later that night. Summer was halfway over and that meant that Cheyenne had to go back to her far from perfect life when in New York when it was over.

Eric still wasn't acting like himself towards her and his attitude was even cold with Marc. Cheyenne blew it off at first thinking it would blow over but after two weeks, she couldn't take it anymore and she made it her mission to get to the bottom of it.

"Good morning," she greeted a half awake and groggy Eric.

"Hi," he replied impatiently and sat down at the table.

Rolling her eyes at his behavior, Cheyenne took a deep breath before she asked the question that she had been bugging her for two weeks.

"Eric," she began, "Did I do something to you?"

Eric's head snapped up and his brown eyes met hers, "Do you always kiss your best friends or just Marc," he snapped.


"Oh, don't play dumb Cheyenne," Eric said rolling his eyes, "I saw you two kissing in New York. How long did you two think you could lie to this entire family about not being together?"

"I'm not in any way, shape, or form interested in Marc," Cheyenne replied defending herself, "He's my best friend and like the brother that I never had."

"The last time I checked, it was illegal to kiss family like that," Eric said sarcastically.

"You're impossible," she snapped, this time she was ready to kill Eric if she needed to, "He was caught up in the moment and kissed me, just ask him. That was the first time it ever happened, he apologized and I accepted because I don't want to lose him and so help me God Eric, I've only known you a month and I don't want to lose you either."

"I'm sorry," Eric began as guilt set in, "I'm so sorry, you're not going to lose me."

"I've had one serious boyfriend and he broke up with me before I moved to New York because I wouldn't have sex with him. I've never laid eyes on another man since then, because I thought all men would hit me and treat me like he does."

"I hope we changed your mind about men," Eric asked, "My mom and dad would kill me and my brothers if we ever laid our hands on a woman. Why do you think Marc and I are so protective of you?"

Cheyenne smiled and Eric put his arms out for her to give him a hug. She walked over to him from her chair and wrapped her arms around him.

Eric held her close to his chest and for the first time, Cheyenne noticed his lack of clothing. Eric was shirtless and just wearing Hurricanes basketball shorts.

"I hate to even ask you this but you said your ex-boyfriend dumped you because you wouldn't have sex with him, so I have to ask, does that mean you are...well, you know?" Eric whispered.

"A virgin," she asked, "Yeah I'm a 23 year old virgin, pretty pathetic, right?"

"Not pathetic at all, I wish I was still a virgin, the girl I lost it to was the biggest whore at my high school and I ended up being another notch on her bedpost."

"She lost out on one of the greatest men she would ever know."

Eric smiled at Cheyenne and before she could even register a thought, Eric's lips were on hers. She kissed him back and he pulled away pressing his forehead to hers.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, "I shouldn't have done that."

"We're both guilty," she replied, "I'm sorry for giving you the wrong idea."

"Wrong idea," Eric asked questioningly, "I've wanted to kiss you since we were in Minnesota. Cheyenne, I like you...I like you a lot more than I should."

"I like you a lot too, Eric, but I didn't come here this summer for a relationship. I need time to heal."

"I'm not rushing into anything, let's be friends and maybe someday down the line we'll try the dating thing."

"I'd like that," Cheyenne said smiling, "So, what's on the agenda today?"

"My parents, Jared, and Jordan went to buy groceries. Marc's on his way back now, which means you and I are picking him up at the airport and then we are coming back here for your first Staal family barbeque."

"Sounds great," Cheyenne replied, "I'm going to take a shower and I'll help you get stuff ready."

"Okay, take your time, we literally have all day," Eric laughed.

Cheyenne gave him a kiss on the cheek and headed back upstairs to her bedroom. Cheyenne felt butterflies in her stomach whenever she thought about Eric kissing her and sighed.

"Damn you dad for making me give up on love," she whispered as she stepped under the hot shower.

Eric had just finished showering and was standing in the mirror lathering his face up with shaving cream when the bathroom door swung open.

"Oh shit, I'm so sorry," Cheyenne said turning around covering her eyes. I forgot my toothbrush down here yesterday, "I'll leave you to finish."

Eric chuckled when he saw her blush, "Here," he said reaching out to her with the pink toothbrush in his hand. Cheyenne noticed the indentations in his hips as the white towel fell low on his waist and she gulped down the lump in her throat.

"Th-thank you," she stuttered.

"No problem," Eric smiled as she shut the door behind her. Laughing to himself he went back to shaving.

Cheyenne stood frozen outside the door when Jordan and Jared came running down the hall towards her.

"CHEYENNE," Jordan shouted, "I missed you!"

"Not as much as me," Jared said shoving past his brother to give her a hug.

"Jared Nicholas Staal and Jordan Lee Staal, leave the poor girl alone and come help your father with the bags," Linda said scolding her two youngest sons.

"Yes mom," they replied in unison before walking back down the hall in defeat.

"Mario and Luigi giving Peach a hard time again, eh?"

"You're one to talk Donkeykong," Cheyenne replied to Eric as he wrapped his arm around her waist.

Eric laughed and placed a kiss on her temple before heading down the hall to help his parents. After Eric and Cheyenne had left to pick Marc up from the airport, Jordan and Jared started talking amongst themselves about how Cheyenne behaved.

“She looked scared of us,” Jared said, “I wonder why.”

“I have no idea, why don’t you ask her?”

“What if it’s something bad?”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know, what if she’s like a Russian spy or something?”

“Russian spy, really Jared, really,” Jordan asked laughing, “Are you that stupid?”

“Fuck off,” Jared spat.

“Jared, watch your mouth,” Linda called out from the kitchen.

“Yes mom,” Jared replied.

“You’re such a fucking pansy,” Jordan said laughing, “A twenty year old pussy.”

“Kiss my ass.”

“JARED,” Linda shouted, “LANGUAGE!”

Jordan laughed as Cheyenne came through the door followed by Eric and Marc, “Mom, we’re back,” Eric called out and Cheyenne sat down on the couch next to Jared.

“Are you okay,” he asked.

“I’m fine,” Cheyenne said smiling.

“Are you sure because earlier you flinched when Jordan and I ran towards you, are you sure you’re okay?”

Cheyenne looked at Eric and Marc who both looked at her and nodded their heads, sighing, she turned to Jordan and Jared, “Maybe now is the time to tell you guys why I spend so much time with Marc and Eric.”

Jared and Jordan looked at each other before they sat down on the couch on each side of her, “What’s wrong,” Jordan asked looking at his two older brothers.

“Let her tell you,” Eric said with pleading eyes.

“I’ve been beaten from the time I was thirteen years old by my dad. I’m here this summer to get away from him and when Eric and I went to New York two weeks ago, it wasn’t because I missed Marc. My dad beat my mom near death and I had to go answer questions for the detectives and while I was there, I visited my mom in the hospital. I act weird around you two because I’m scared of every single person and thing I come across until I can learn to trust them.”

“Cheyenne,” Jordan said wrapping his arm around her shoulder, “We would never hurt you!”

“I told you it was something bad,”
Jared mouthed to Jordan before he gave Cheyenne a hug.

“You can trust us,” Jordan said kissing her forehead, “I mean we’re rough with each other but we will never be rough with you, we’re sorry if we scare you.”

“It’s fine,” Cheyenne said smiling letting go of Jared and hugging Jordan.

“Let’s just have fun tonight, okay,” Jordan said.

Cheyenne helped Linda get the food ready while Hank and the boys were outside setting up the tables and getting the grill ready. Cheyenne and Linda made small talk about Eric and Jordan winning the Stanley Cup and what it was like here in Thunder Bay.

After changing her clothes, Cheyenne joined everyone outside and the other members of the Staal family welcomed her with open arms. Marc and Eric stood next to each other drinking a beer on the deck looking at Cheyenne talking to their Aunt Brenda.

“She looks happy,” Marc said taking a sip of his beer.

“At least this will get her mind off of things for a while,” Eric replied, “When should we tell her she’s coming to Raleigh with me?”

“We still have two weeks before we have to even start thinking about leaving so we can hold off on it a little bit longer if we need to.”

“Eric,” a voice said and Eric closed his eyes praying to God he was hearing things. Taking a deep breath, he turned around and shuddered when he saw his ex-girlfriend Stephanie standing behind him.

“What the hell are you doing here,” he asked.

“I heard you were home so I decided to stop by and see you, is this a bad time,” she asked.

“We’re kind of in the middle of a family gathering, you know something you aren’t,” Marc snapped.

“Then who’s that,” Stephanie asked pointing to Cheyenne.

“She’s Marc’s girlfriend,” Eric replied and Marc was about to protest when Eric kicked his foot without Stephanie seeing.

“She’s not family,” Stephanie said.

“Yeah she is, as long as she’s with one of us, she’s family,” Eric said defending Cheyenne, “Stephanie, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave.”

“But I need to talk to you,” she whined.

“I don’t have anything to say to you, please leave.”

Stephanie pulled Eric by the shirt collar and pressed a kiss on his lips. Eric stood there shocked and Cheyenne looked up from the yard and frowned at the scene in front of her. Marc noticed the frown on her face and he smiled to himself, he knew this would happen with one of his brothers, he just didn’t expect it to be Eric she developed the crush on, he thought for sure it would be Jordan even though he was a couple of years younger than she was.

Cheyenne excused herself from her conversation and just stared at Eric in disbelief, satisfied with herself, Stephanie wiped her lips, smirked at Eric and walked out of the yard.

“You need to fix this,” Marc said to his brother as he pointed to Cheyenne who was heading off into the woods heading towards the lake.

“Fuck,” Eric mumbled, “Why do I always fuck things up?”

“How long have you liked her?”


“I know you like her, it’s written all over your face and she looked like her heart was shattered when she saw that bitch kissing you, so spill, what’s going on here?”

“Nothing is going on here, I kissed her earlier because we had a heart to heart conversation, she said something to me and I kissed her. She kissed me back but she told me she needs time to heal before she jumps into a serious relationship. I like her a lot and I’m willing to respect her wishes and I’ll help her heal if she’ll let me.”

Marc smiled and patted Eric on the back, “I’ve never seen her smile as much as she has been.”

“I guess I better go check on her,” Eric said setting his beer on the deck and taking off down the path that lead to the lake. He could see her figure in the fading daylight as he followed her down the path, “Cheyenne,” he yelled, “Wait up!”

Cheyenne stopped in her tracks and stripped out of her sundress and jumped in the lake. She quickly resurfaced and leaned her back against the dock.

“Cheyenne,” Eric said removing his shirt and hopping in the lake beside her.

“Who’s that girl,” Cheyenne asked.

“She’s nobody.”

“It didn’t look like nobody when she was kissing you.”

“She’s my ex-girlfriend. Marc kicked her out and she kissed me trying to prove a point but when I didn’t kiss her back, she gave up and left. I like you Cheyenne, I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you, and I told you that.”

“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Cheyenne said, “I’m not staying here, I’m going back to New York.”

“You’re not going back there,” Eric sighed, “Cheyenne, you can’t go back there by yourself. You heard the Detective, it’s too dangerous.”

“It’s better than being here,” she replied, “You’re hot and cold with me.”

“Hot and cold with you, God damn it, Cheyenne,” Eric said wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her towards him. Placing his forehead to hers, he leaned down and captured her lips with his again. This time her back was to the dock and Eric ran his hands up and down her sides. Cheyenne took a deep breath when he pulled away and climbed out of the lake.

“Cheyenne,” Eric called after her, “Where are you going?”

“To think things through, please let me be by myself for a little while.”

“Promise me, you won’t leave for New York by yourself,” Eric asked.

“I won’t, I promise but Eric, please just let me breath.”

Eric sighed and ran his hand through his wet blond hair and leaned his back against the dock whispering to himself, “How can I let you breath when I’m falling in love with you?”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chapter 4-All that Matters

“Cheyenne, wake up,” Eric said shaking her.

“What time is it?”

“It’s almost noon,” he replied smiling as she wiped the sleep out of her eyes.

“Why would you let me sleep that long,” she asked looking at the alarm clock across the room.

“You’ve been up all night the past couple of nights with your nightmares that I thought I’d let you sleep straight through since you were fine last night.”

“Thanks,” Cheyenne said smiling.

“Are you hungry?”

“A little bit.”

“Want to go get some breakfast,” Eric said, “I mean some lunch.”

“Yeah, just let me shower and get dressed.”

“I’ll meet you downstairs.”

Eric shut the door behind him and Cheyenne got undressed. After she showered, she met Eric downstairs and greeted the Staal family.

They were all happy to see that she was well rested after a couple of rough nights in the house, Jared and Jordan still didn’t know her situation although she promised both Marc and Eric that she would tell them.

Eric and Cheyenne were laughing over their lunch at the local diner that Eric had gone to with his family from the time he was a kid.

“Have you thought about not going back to New York,” Eric asked as they finished their lunch.

“I have a job there, so I have to go back but trust me it has crossed my mind. Marc told me that I should move back to Canada but I can’t bring myself to leave him.”

“He’d always be there for you if you needed him just like he is now, it’s just he’d have to cross over the border.”

“Easier said than done,” Cheyenne said when her phone rang. Looking down at the caller ID she noticed it was a New York area code. Pressing the talk button, she immediately froze when she heard the voice of a New York Police officer.


“Is this Cheyenne Danielson,” the voice asked.

“Yes it is, may I ask who’s calling?”

“This is Detective John McKnight from the NYPD, we’re calling to let you know that your mom is in the hospital and your dad is currently under arrest for attempted homicide.”

“Oh my God,” Cheyenne said handing the phone over to Eric who took the call.

“Ma’am, are you there? Ma’am?”

“This is her friend, Eric, who’s calling,” Eric said taking the call for her.

“This is Detective John McKnight from the NYPD, we called to tell Miss Danielson that her mother is currently in New York Presbyterian Hospital in the ICU. Mr. Danielson has been arrested for attempted murder and is currently being held in lower Manhattan jail on $500,000 bond. We fear he may attempt to try and harm Miss Danielson next. We need her to answer a few questions for us, however, we cannot ask these questions over the phone therefore we need her here as soon as possible.”

“She’s currently with me in Canada but we can be on the next flight out.”

“Thank you, sir,” Detective McKnight replied, “Just tell her to come to the precinct on Broadway and ask for me or Detective Cleary when you get here.”

“Alright, I thank you for calling,” Eric said, “Have a good day.”

“He-he beat her until she was near death,” Cheyenne sobbed into Eric’s shoulder as he came and sat next to her. Eric called for the check and the waitress told him it was on the house and he helped Cheyenne to the car. Immediately calling the airport on the drive home from the diner, he booked the next flight to New York.

Cheyenne ran in the house to start packing causing both Linda and Hank to look at Eric with puzzled expressions.

“She got a call from the NYPD, her dad tried killing her mom and they think he is after Cheyenne now, so we have to fly to New York so she can answer questions.”

“Oh my God,” Linda gasped, “Have you called Marc?”

“We called him on the way over here, our plane leaves in an hour.”

“Go help her pack,” Hank told his oldest son.

Eric headed upstairs and helped Cheyenne pack before he packed his suitcase. Cheyenne was still in the guestroom waiting for him to finish. When he came back to the room, Cheyenne tried to give him a small smile but she immediately broke own. Setting his luggage against the door, he wrapped his arms around her and gave her a hug.

“Everything is going to be okay, I promise,” he said kissing her forehead, “I’m not going to let him hurt you. As long as Marc and I around, he will never hurt you, ever again, do you hear me?”

“You can’t promise me that, you have no idea what he’s capable of.”

“Cheyenne, look at me,” Eric said turning her face towards his, “I’m not going to let him hurt you.”

“We better get going,” Cheyenne replied looking at the clock, “We got to catch our flight.”

Cheyenne and Eric hugged Linda and Hank goodbye and told them that they would call them as soon as they landed in New York. Jordan and Jared were in the barn shooting pucks and had no idea what was going on.

Cheyenne texted Marc at the airport letting him know that their flight was now taking off. Marc knew the trip from Thunder Bay to New York all too well, so he knew when to pick her and Eric up at the airport.

Cheyenne and Eric were quiet on the plane, Eric didn’t know what to say and Cheyenne was still in complete shock that everything happened the way it did.

When they touched down in New York, Marc was waiting for them. As soon as he saw Cheyenne, he gave her a hug just like Eric did back in Thunder Bay telling her that everything was going to be okay.

Marc dropped Eric and Cheyenne off at the NYPD’s 34th Precinct in Manhattan. Cheyenne was immediately taken to Detective McKnight’s office.

“Miss Danielson, Mr. Staal, please have a seat,” he motioned for them to sit down, “So, Cheyenne how long have the beatings been going on?”

“For as long as I can remember,” she replied, “He first started beating me when I was four years old but I can remember him beating my mom all of the time. We thought it would be different when he got the job in the NHL and would be on the road all of the time but it just got worse when we moved to New York. I moved out when I was eighteen to go to college and he hated it. I ended up moving back because I didn’t want to leave my mom alone and he continued to beat me. I met Eric’s brother, Marc last year and started staying with him after my mom pleaded with me.”

“When was the last time you spoke with your mother?”

“I spoke to her last week on the phone and she said that he was out of town on business which happened to be in Minneapolis. Eric and I went sightseeing there and I saw him, I don’t think he saw me at the ice rink but I can’t be too sure. Other than that, it’s been about two weeks now.”

Detective McKnight looked at Cheyenne’s wrist where the visible bruise was and he asked her where else she had them.

“They’re pretty bad on her back and her stomach, she also had handprints on her neck that just faded,” Eric said.

“Miss Danielson, we need to take a couple of photographs so please sit here while I go get the Polaroid.”

Detective McKnight left the office to go grab the camera to take pictures of Cheyenne’s bruises and Eric grabbed her hand and held it in his, rubbing her knuckles reassuringly.

Detective McKnight returned and took the pictures that he needed and a couple extra just in case some didn’t turn out.

“Mr. Danielson will be under arrest until he posts bond and even when that happens, he will be under house arrest until further notice but until then, if you have any questions feel free to call me at the number on this card,” he said handing a card to Eric, “If I’m not in the office, leave a message. Miss Danielson, you may return to Canada if you wish. I feel you will be safer up there than you will be here. We will contact you with a court date. Would you like an escort to the hospital to see your mother?”

“I’d appreciate it, if you wouldn’t mind,” Cheyenne said smiling slightly.

“It’s no problem, I’ll grab Officer DiNardo and you’ll be on your way.”

Officer DiNardo drove Eric and Cheyenne to the hospital. When the nurse at the desk saw Officer DiNardo, she told him the room number that Susan Danielson was currently in.

As soon as Cheyenne saw the sight before her, she broke down crying once again and clung to Eric. Her mom’s face was black and blue and she had a bandage wrapped around her head with blood seeping through. There was a tube down her nose helping her breath and Cheyenne thought her mom looked helpless lying there.

“I never should have left,” Cheyenne said as Eric wrapped his arm around her waist. Marc came in a couple of minutes later and his eyes widened when he saw Susan lying there in the condition she was.

“Oh my God,” he whispered, “That son of a bitch. That piece of shit should be the one laying here right now.”

Eric nodded his head in agreement and Cheyenne kissed her mom’s cheek and told her to be strong before she headed to the nurse’s station where the doctor was standing. After being reassured that her mother would make a full recovery, Cheyenne left her phone number with the nurse in case they needed to contact her if an emergency should occur.

Officer DiNardo drove in front of Marc back to his apartment complex and made sure they got into the apartment safely before he wished Cheyenne the best of luck.

“What did the cops say,” Marc asked.

“He’s in jail until he posts bond and if that happens, he’s on house arrest until his hearing. Detective McKnight wants Cheyenne to stay in Canada until the trial because she is safer there than she is here,” Eric replied.

“I’ll be leaving in a few days so I’ll be home, make sure she never leaves your sight.”

“Thanks guys, I appreciate it a lot, would it be okay if I lied down for a while,” Cheyenne asked.

“You can sleep in my bed,” Marc said smiling as Cheyenne walked down the hall towards his room.

“I think she should stay in Raleigh with me when the season starts. The cops don’t want her in New York and she can’t stay alone in Thunder Bay so I think she should come to Raleigh with me.”

“I’d feel better knowing she was safe but let’s not hound her with this tonight, she’s been through enough,” Marc said.

“You’re right, we’ll do it when we have to. So, how’s the negotiations going?”

“They’re going great, I’ve been offered a five year contract worth almost twenty million.”

“Not bad, broski,” Eric said, “Congratulations!”

“Thanks,” Marc said, “I’m going to go change, I’ll be back.”

Eric sat down on the couch and turned on Marc’s TV where he settled on watching the Yankees vs. White Sox game.

Marc entered his room and found that Cheyenne was still awake, “Hey, how are you holding up,” he asked.

“I’m okay, I guess,” she said forcing a smile.

“Everything is going to be fine, I promise,” Marc said sitting on the bed next to her, “Just keep telling yourself that. You have my whole family here for you.”

“Thank you, it really means a lot that you all care about me so much but anyways how’s the negotiations coming?”

“I just told Eric that they offered me a five year, twenty million dollar contract.”

“Marc, that’s great, I’m so happy for you,” Cheyenne smiled.

Marc’s phone rang and he answered it knowing that was his agent, he came back in the room and jumped on Cheyenne who giggled, “My agent talked to the Rangers and the deal is final, all I have to do is sign it.”

“Oh Marc, I’m so happy for you!”

Marc bounced up and down on the bed next to her like a little kid. He was so caught up in the moment that he kissed her. Cheyenne laughed as Marc repeatedly apologized for being caught up in the moment.

Eric was walking down the hall to go to the bathroom when he heard the commotion coming from his brother’s room. When he peeked through the crack of the door, he didn’t understand the sense of jealously that overcame him when he saw Marc kiss Cheyenne.

Eric felt betrayed because Marc said they were just friends but the last time he checked, friends don’t kiss their other friends. Walking back towards the living room, Eric sat back down and finished watching the game.

Cheyenne and Eric flew home the next morning and Cheyenne couldn’t help but notice that Eric was acting weird.

“Eric, are you okay, what’s wrong,” Cheyenne asked.

“I’m fine,” Eric lied.

“Are you sure because you’re acting weird.”

“I said I’m fine, just drop it,” Eric snapped and immediately apologized.

“It’s okay,” Cheyenne smiled lightly trying to hide her frown.

“All that matters to me is that you are safe,” Eric said smiling through his jealousy.

She didn’t know what Eric’s problem was but she didn’t care at the moment because right now she had bigger problems to deal with and Eric’s sudden coldness towards her was not one of them although she did wonder just what was bothering him! He was perfectly fine in New York but now he was distant with her. Trying to think about what could possibly be bothering him, she sighed in defeat as the pilot announced that they would be landing in Thunder Bay shortly and to fasten their seatbelts and secure their belongings, too bad the seat belt couldn’t secure Eric’s insecurity about what was going on between his brother and Cheyenne.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chapter 3-Closer

"Marc, what's wrong," Linda asked her son as she walked down the steps into the kitchen in the middle of the night.

Marc sighed before he slid the phone across the table towards her.

"Honey, that's great... they want to extend your contract!"

"Cheyenne can't go back to New York."

"Marc," Linda sighed, "I know that you want to protect her but this could be a milestone for your career."

"Mom," Marc sighed, "You don't understand."

"I know, honey, I know but it’s only for a couple of days, right? She can stay here and Eric can watch over her.”

“The only one that knows about everything is Eric, she’s still unsure about Jared and Jordan.”

“Maybe you should talk to them about taking it easy with her so she’s not afraid of them.”

“I’m going back to bed, I have to get up in a couple of hours. Goodnight,” Marc said giving Linda a kiss on the cheek.

“Goodnight Marc.”

“Marc,” Cheyenne mumbled when she felt the bed empty next to her, “Marc,” she called out again.

“I’m here,” Marc said closing the door to the room Cheyenne was staying in, “Go back to sleep.”

Cheyenne turned on her side and fell asleep. Marc gave her a kiss on the forehead before he put his arm around her waist protectively and fell asleep.

The next morning, Eric, Jared, and Jordan were up first when they smelled Hank and Linda cooking breakfast.

“Eric, can you go wake up Marc and Cheyenne,” Linda asked her oldest son who nodded his head and headed upstairs.

Eric knocked on the door and got no response so he turned the doorknob and opened the door, “Cheyenne, Marc,” he said walking into the room.

He couldn’t help but let his jaw clench as he saw Cheyenne in his brother’s arms. He didn’t know why he had a sudden feeling of jealousy wash over him, maybe because he hadn’t slept with a female in his arms since his broke up with his girlfriend of little over a year.

“Marc,” Eric spoke louder and Marc finally woke up.

“What time is it,” Marc grumbled.

“It’s almost nine,” Eric said looking at his watch.

“SHIT,” Marc yelled running past Eric and down the hall to the bathroom.

“What’s going on,” Cheyenne asked rubbing her eyes as she sat up.

“I have no idea,” Eric smiled while laughing at Marc who was running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

“I completely fucking forgot that my flight leaves at eleven.”

“Flight,” Cheyenne asked confusedly.

“I got a text message last night from my agent saying that the Rangers have made him an offer to extend my contract and I have to go look at the terms before I make my decision so I’m flying back to New York for a couple of days.”

“I’ll go with you,” Cheyenne said standing up out of the bed.

“I don’t want you coming with me, I would love for you to come with me but I can’t take the risk of your dad finding you there so can you stay here?”

“But Marc,” Cheyenne attempted to argue but Eric cut her off.

“I’m here, Cheyenne, I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I promise.”

“Thanks dude,” Marc said slapping Eric on the back.

“Okay,” Cheyenne reluctantly agreed, “I’ll stay.”

“Mom and dad made breakfast,” Eric said, “It’s ready if you’re hungry.”

Cheyenne walked over to Marc and gave him a hug and kiss on the cheek before she walked out of the room, “Thank you so much for looking after her, it means a lot,” Marc said.

“I’m glad I could help,” Eric replied, “Now we got to keep her away from frick and frack.”

“I’m going to talk to her about telling them so she’s not scared when they mess around.”

“Isn’t that asking a lot of her though, I mean she barely wanted to tell me but she did.”

“She trusts you a lot more than she does them because you held her while she cried and comforted her, she knows she can rely on you and that you’d never hurt her.”

“Weren’t you supposed to take her sightseeing today?”

“Shit, I didn’t even think about that.”

“I’ll take her if you want, I don’t have anything to do. I know Jared and Jordan are going to slap pucks around all day at random objects in the barn so I’ll take her for you.”

“Do you mind,” Marc asked.

“Not at all,” Eric said smiling, “I’m going to eat and let you pack.”

Eric walked downstairs and sat next to Cheyenne who smiled at him. Eric smiled back and grabbed a pancake off of the stack in the center of the table.

“Eat while you can because Jared and Jordan tend to eat like pigs,” Eric joked and Cheyenne laughed as the two brothers yelled at their oldest brother.

“Dad, can you drive me to the airport,” Marc asked coming into the kitchen.

“Sure son,” Hank replied, “Where are you headed?”

“I’ll be back in a couple of days but I have to go look over a contract offer that the Rangers sent to my agent last night.”

“Is Cheyenne going with you,” Jordan asked.

“No, she’s staying here. Eric is going to look after her for me.”

“I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need a babysitter,” Jared said.

Cheyenne swallowed hard and tried not to let the youngest Staal’s comment get to her but before she could say anything, Marc spoke for her, “You have no idea what the hell she has been through so I think it’s best if you keep your smartass comments to yourself.”

Both Jordan and Jared looked at their brother with shocked expressions, “Dude, chill out we were only joking,” Jordan said.

“Maybe I should tell them so they understand,” Cheyenne whispered to Marc.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Marc reassured her.

“It’s not fair if Eric is the only one that knows.”

“My mom knows too,” Marc confessed.

“WHAT,” Cheyenne whisper yelled, “I can’t believe you told her.”

“I didn’t tell her anything, she figured it out when you reached into the cabinet yesterday while you were helping her do the dishes. She saw the bruises on your stomach and made me tell her, I’m sorry Cheyenne, and I know it’s your story to tell but she’s concerned about you because she really likes you.”

“It’s okay, Marc,” Cheyenne said giving him a hug, “Someone was bound to figure it out.”

“We’re sorry Cheyenne,” Jordan said, “We didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s okay,” she replied reluctantly returning his hug.

Jared also apologized and Marc grabbed his luggage, “Stay out of trouble and whatever you do, no hanging out with those two.”

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

Eric walked outside onto the porch where Marc and Cheyenne were talking, “I’ll take care of her, I promise.”

“Thank you, I know you will,” Marc said shaking Eric’s hand.

“Marc, are you ready,” Hank asked stepping out of the house.

“Yep,” Marc smiled, “Take care Cheyenne.”

Cheyenne gave him a kiss on the cheek as he walked down the steps to the car before giving a quick wave as they backed out of the driveway.

“Are you okay,” Eric asked.

Cheyenne turned to him with tears in her eyes and he wrapped his arms around her, “I’ve never been away from him for longer than one day.”

“You’ll be fine, come on go get dressed we’ll go see the city.”

Cheyenne smiled and walked into the house as Eric stared out over the large front yard. He smiled thinking about when he and his brothers were little and would wrestle around the front lawn. It’s funny to think that they were all grown now and achieved their dreams of being famous.

“Are you ready to go,” Cheyenne asked and Eric snapped out of his thoughts.

“Did you pack an overnight bag?”

“Overnight bag,” Cheyenne asked confusedly, “For what?”

“We’re going to Minneapolis and it’s six hours away, there’s no way we’re going to be able to drive back late at night because by the time we get there, it will be close to six.”

“Why can’t we just hang around here today, we can go to Minneapolis or Toronto some other time.”

“You don’t have to be afraid of me, Cheyenne,” Eric said standing up off of the steps, “I’d never hurt you or let anything happen to you. Just trust me.”

Cheyenne looked up into his pleading eyes and nodded her head as she walked into the house to grab her bag. Eric sighed as he watched her go up the stairs and he kicked the gravel in front of him. He vowed never to let anyone hurt her again.

When Cheyenne and Eric arrived in Minneapolis, they went to a hotel and booked a room for the night before they ate dinner and walked around the city when Eric smiled at the name of the building in front of him.

“Ice skating,” Cheyenne said, “Eric, I can’t ice skate.”

“What kind of Canadian are you,” he joked as they walked into the indoor ice rink, “I’ll teach you, come on.”

Cheyenne took his hand and he lead her to the rink, “Remind me to kill Marc for leaving me with you.”

“You’re not going to kill him, you love him too much.”

“I thought you said that you couldn’t skate,” Eric said as him and Cheyenne skated side by side.

“I’m Canadian, it’s a natural thing, I guess.”

“Be honest, it’s because of your dad, isn’t it?”

“He never let me skate although I knew how and if he caught me skating, he’d beat me.”

“Cheyenne, I am so sorry. I’m sorry for bringing it up.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it, you didn’t know.”

“We can do something else if you’re uneasy about it.”

“Hey Eric,” Cheyenne said.

“Yeah,” he said turning to look at her.

“You have to catch me first,” Cheyenne giggled as she took off around the rink with Eric chasing her. Suddenly coming to a halt, Eric plowed into the back of her and she fell face first to the ice.

“Holy shit,” he said immediately sitting up pulling her to him, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said smiling, “No harm, no foul. I’ve taken a lot worse.”

“Why did you stop like that,” Eric asked.

“My dad is in the hockey rink next door, I saw him, Eric, we have to get out of here.”

Eric immediately helped her up and they skated over to where their shoes were, “Cheyenne, are you sure it’s him?”

“I’m pretty sure I know what my own father looks like,” she said slipping into her shoes.

Once they left the rink, Eric cursed himself for putting her in harm’s way. He should have known listened to his gut when it told him to stay in Thunder Bay.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Cheyenne smiled, “Let’s just get some sleep.”

They arrived at the hotel and Cheyenne took a hot bath before she changed into her pajamas that she had packed and she walked into the room. Eric was laying in bed watching TV when Cheyenne climbed into bed.

“Goodnight Eric,” Cheyenne said shutting the lamp off.

“Are you mad at me,” Eric asked.

“I’m not mad at you, Eric.”

“Goodnight Cheyenne,” he said turning off the TV. Cheyenne fell asleep first and Eric laid in bed watching her. He was angry with himself for putting her in harm’s way, he was almost asleep when he heard her crying.

“Eric,” she cried, “Eric!”

“Shh! I’m right here,” he said crawling in bed next to her, “Another nightmare?”

“Don’t leave me, Eric,” she cried.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said kissing her temple reassuringly.

Cheyenne immediately fell asleep and Eric kissed her forehead one more time before he too fell asleep. Eric hoped that Cheyenne could soon shed her fears, he just hoped he could get to know who she really was before the summer was over and not the person behind the scars she was hiding.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chapter 2-Summertime and the Living is Easy...right?

“So, Cheyenne, tell us more about you,” Linda said as the family all sat around the picnic table in the Staal’s backyard.

Cheyenne shifted in her seat and Marc wrapped rubbed her back for reassurance earning a curious glance from Eric and Jordan.

“You don’t have to tell them everything,” Marc whispered and Cheyenne nodded her head.

“I’m from New York City, my dad is a scout for the Rangers. I met Marc while waiting for my dad inside Madison Square Garden one night after a game.”

“A scout, really,” Hank asked.

“Yeah,” Cheyenne replied trying to force a smile. It was clear to Marc that Cheyenne was scared around Hank and his brothers. It took a while for her to warm-up to the guys on the team so he could only imagine how long it would take for her to warm up to his family.

“What about your mom,” Linda asked.

“She’s a nurse at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City. We moved here from Kelowna, British Columbia when I was fourteen.”

“You never told me you were Canadian,” Marc said smiling.

“Well, you learn something new every day, don’t you,” Eric replied earning a laugh from his brothers.

“Cheyenne, honey, want to come in the house and help me get more food,” Linda asked.

“Sure,” Cheyenne said smiling as she stood up and followed Linda into the house.

“Dude, what’s wrong with her?”

“Drop it Jordan,” Marc warned.

“Are you sure you’re not dating because you are awfully protective of her,” Jordan asked.

“God damn it Jordan,” Marc snapped, “No, we are not dating. I have a reason to be protective over her, once you get to know her and she tells you why then you will understand, until then just sit there and shut the fuck up, got it?”

“Cool it guys,” Eric said.

“Watch it boys, your mother won’t be too happy with how you’re talking to each other.”

“Who wants more food,” Linda announced coming out of house and the boys cheered.

“You okay,” Marc asked Cheyenne.

“Yeah, I’m fine, thank you,” Cheyenne said kissing his cheek.

Jordan, Eric, and Jared were too busy stuffing their faces to notice so Marc gave her a hug and kissed her forehead.

“Cheyenne, why haven’t you eaten everything on your plate,” Hank asked.

“I’m not very hungry. Marc and I ate before we got here.”

“Oh for Christ sakes, will you eat everything on your plate. I hate when people don’t finish their food,” Eric began, “DUDE, WHAT THE FUCK,” he shouted as Marc kicked him under the table.

“ERIC, WATCH YOUR MOUTH,” Linda warned, “Marc is still a baby and there’s a lady in this house.”

“Baby my ass,” Eric laughed and Cheyenne excused herself from the table and went into the house.

“Congratulations, you scared the poor girl away,” Linda said.

“You’re a real douchebag,” Marc said, “I told you not to say or do anything that would make her uncomfortable but you of course went and did it anyways.”

“Maybe you should go apologize,” Jared suggested.

“Eric, go apologize to her, please,” Hank asked.

“Fine,” Eric growled and Marc stood up to go with him.

“Marc, let your brother do it alone,” Linda said.

“But mom,” Marc began before he was cut off by Hank.

“Don’t argue with me, Marc.”

“Fine,” Marc said sighing in defeat as Eric walked into the house.

Cheyenne was standing at the kitchen sink doing the dishes that were in the sink and didn’t notice Eric walk in the house since her back was to the door.

“Cheyenne,” he began and she dropped the glass that she was drying causing it to shatter all over the floor.

“Oh my God, I’m so so sorry,” she said immediately dropping to her knees and cleaning up the chards on the floor.

“It’s okay, here let me help you,” Eric said walking towards her and she tried to hide the fear that overcame her.

“It’s fi-fine, I got it,” she stuttered.

“I’m sorry for scaring you but I came in here to apologize to you for yelling at you out there,” Eric said squatting down in front of her and gathering the glass chards in his paw like hand. Cheyenne flinched when she felt a shock as Eric accidentally touched his hand with her own. They both stopped and looked at each other before they began cleaning up the mess.

“Thank you,” Cheyenne said trying to force a smile. She attempted to stand up when she slipped and lost her footing on the kitchen rug and fell into Eric.

Immediately tears sprang to her eyes and she wiped them away, “Cheyenne, are you okay,” Eric asked genuinely concerned.

“I’m fine, I promise,” she lied as he let her go and she went back to doing the dishes in the sink.

“Are you coming back outside, once my mom and dad go out…Marc, Eric, and I are going to light a bonfire down by the lake and you’re more than welcomed to come.”

“Thank you but it’s been a long day and I think I am going to get some sleep. Marc said something about going ice skating at the rink where he used to play hockey tomorrow.”

“Oh, okay, goodnight,” Eric said walking towards the door. He turned around when he opened the door and smiled at Cheyenne, “I’m really sorry and I didn’t mean to scare you. You don’t have to be afraid of me or anyone in this house for that matter.”

With that being said he shut the door behind him and made his way back over to his family, “Is she okay,” Marc said asking as soon as Eric sat down.

“Yeah she’s fine, she broke a glass while doing dishes and I helped her clean it up.”

“She’s a guest in this house, she doesn’t need to be doing our dishes,” Linda said standing up collecting the uneaten food and the dirty plates before she made her way into the house.

“I broke a glass,” Cheyenne said tying up the garbage that was in the corner, “I thought I’d take the garbage out so no one got cut.”

“You put that trash bag down, that’s why I have four sons. They are more than capable of doing dishes and taking out the trash. You are a guest in this house, let them do it.”

“I’m sorry,” Cheyenne turning around to put a plate in the cabinet above the stove, “Natural instinct, I guess.”

Linda faked a smile as she let her eyes travel down the bruises that were on Cheyenne’s abdomen when her shirt rode up from her reaching for the cabinet. Linda knew Marc knew something that he was hiding for Cheyenne’s sake. It all made sense to her now why he was being so overprotective of Cheyenne, someone was abusing her.

“There’s no need to be sorry, honey,” Linda said smiling when Hank entered the kitchen.

“Cheyenne, I hate to steal Linda away but we are going to visit some family in town and we’ll be back later tonight. Are you going to be okay all alone with the boys?”

“I’ll be fine,” Cheyenne said smiling as Linda hugged her and followed Hank out of the house.

“Are you alright,” Marc said later on that night as Cheyenne was getting ready for bed.

“I’m fine, your family seems really nice, especially your mom.”

“She has her moments where she’s annoying,” Marc said laughing, “Sorry about Eric, he just doesn’t think before he speaks sometimes.”

“It’s okay, he apologized, no harm done.”

“I just want you to trust them and not have to worry about saying the wrong thing to set them off.”

“I’m fine Marc,” Cheyenne said wrapping her arms around him giving him a kiss on the cheek, “Now go out there and enjoy the fire with your brothers.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come,” Marc asked.

“I’m tired and besides I want to call my mom and check on her.”

“Okay, goodnight Cheyenne,” Marc said giving her a kiss on the forehead.

“Goodnight, Marc.”

Marc shut the light off and Cheyenne pulled her phone out to call her mom.

“Hey honey,” Diane said greeting her daughter, “How’s Thunder Bay?”

“It’s great, Marc’s family is really nice.”

“I know, I met them when he was drafted.”

“Are you okay,” Cheyenne said, “Where’s dad?”

“He’s still at the office, don’t worry about him Cheyenne. You’re in Thunder Bay, he can’t hurt you.”

“I know he can’t hurt me but he can hurt you mom,” Cheyenne said wiping the tears away from her face.

“Get some sleep honey and call me tomorrow, I love you.”

“I love you too,” Cheyenne said hanging up the phone, “Please promise me you’ll be okay.”

“I’m fine, honey, I promise, get some rest.”

“Bye,” Cheyenne said ending the call when she turned around and saw Eric in the doorway.

“You’re still awake,” Eric asked.

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep.”

“Well, it’s your first night in a strange house with people you’ve never met in the bedrooms around you.”

Cheyenne laughed and Eric made his way toward the bed, “Who were you talking to on the phone?”

“My mom, just making sure everything was okay back in New York.”

“I was the same way when I moved to Carolina, I think I called at least ten times a day until finally I got used to being away from home.”

“I’m only here for a couple of months, not a lifetime.”

Eric laughed, “Since you can’t sleep, why don’t you come outside with us?”

“Eric, why are you up here?”

“I was worried about you that’s why I came up here, Marc said you weren’t feeling well.”

“I’m fine, just tired.”

“Come on, come outside with us for a little bit. Getting some fresh air may make you feel better.”

Cheyenne smiled and grabbed her flip flops from the side of the bed and followed Eric outside. Marc smiled as he saw Cheyenne following close behind Eric, it was nice to see that she opened up to him a little bit more and didn’t seem as afraid of him as she was.

“Boys, we’re back,” Linda said coming around the side of the house, “Marc, can I talk to you?”

“Yeah sure,” Marc said following his mom into the house.

“Who is beating Cheyenne? I swear to God it better not be that wannabe drag queen teammate of yours.”

“How did you know she’s being beat?”

“Marc, I saw the bruises on her stomach, please tell me who is beating her.”

“I don’t want to tell you about this, it’s her story to tell, not mine.”

“Marc, please tell me so we can assure her that she can trust us, I won’t tell your father or brothers but please tell me what is going on.”

“Her dad beats her, he has been beating her from the time she was ten years old. I try to protect her but when she goes home to get her stuff, he beats her.”

“Oh Marc, it’s not your fault,” Linda said hugging her son, “From now on, she will live with you in New York and here in the summer, that’s final.”

“But mom,” Marc began.

“Don’t ‘but mom’ me Marc, she’s your best friend and that makes her family.”

Later that night, Cheyenne woke up shivering and calling out for Marc. Eric heard her screaming and since he was in the room right next door, he was there first.

“Cheyenne,” Eric said walking over to her, “Shhhhh! It’s okay.”

“Eric,” she cried into his bare chest as he wrapped his arms around her. Marc came into the room and smiled at his brother who rolled his eyes before Marc knelt down in front of Cheyenne.

“What’s wrong, Chey,” he asked.

“I had a nightmare, Marc, it was so real.”

“What happened,” Eric said, “If you’re not comfortable telling Marc in front of me then I’ll leave.”

“You can stay,” Cheyenne said between tears, “Marc, I had a dream he killed her.”

“Oh my God,” Marc said wrapping her up in his arms and placing her in his lap.

“Who killed who,” Eric asked.

“I had a dream my dad came home from work and killed my mom before he chased after me and then he killed you both for trying to protect me.”

“Why would he do that,” Eric questioned.

“Because he beats me and he beats my mom,” Cheyenne said and Eric looked at Marc stunned.

“Oh my God,” Eric began, “Cheyenne, is that why you are afraid of us?”

Cheyenne nodded her head and Eric leaned over and brought her into the middle of him and Marc, “Cheyenne, look at me,” he began and she looked up slowly, “We are not going to hurt you, I promise.”

Cheyenne wrapped her arms around him and Marc rubbed her back, “Do you want me to stay with her and you can get some sleep,” Eric asked.

“No Marc, don’t go,” Cheyenne said reaching for him. Eric let her go and stood up from the bed to go back to his room.

“Thank you,” Marc whispered and Eric nodded his head before he gave Cheyenne a kiss on the cheek and headed back to bed.

Eric laid in bed that night vowing to put his career on the line to protect not only his brother but Cheyenne as well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chapter 1-Welcome to Thunder Bay

“Hello,” Linda Staal said answering the phone.

“Hey mom,” the voice of her second oldest son said from the other line.

“Marc, how’s my baby?”

“I’m fine mom,” Marc laughed, “Are Jordan and Eric home yet?”

“They just got here not too long ago, Jared is on his way back right now. When are you coming home?”

“I’m actually sitting in the airport right now waiting for my flight to be called, listen mom, is it alright if I bring a friend home,” Marc asked unsure.

“Sure honey, is this friend one of the guys from the team? I hope it’s not that guy who wears the women’s clothes, your brothers hate him,” Linda rambled.

Marc couldn’t help but laugh at his mom, “No mom, it’s not Sean, it’s actually a girl that I met a couple of months ago outside of MSG. She’s having a rough time with her parents right now and needs to get away for a while, is it okay if she comes to stay with us for the summer?”

“Oh honey, that’s no problem,” Linda beamed, “I didn’t know you were involved with someone.”

“I’m not, mom, she’s just a friend,” Marc said sighing, “I just don’t want her here by herself, it’s not my place to tell you why she’s coming back home with me but she just needs to get away.”

“I understand completely, honey,” Linda reassured her son, “I’ll give your father and your brothers a warning so they can behave themselves with another female in the house, you know how they get.”

Marc laughed as he looked up at Cheyenne who was walking towards him from the Starbucks in the airport, “Hey mom, I have to go, our flight should be leaving any minute now. I will call you when we land.”

“Okay honey, I love you, have a safe flight.”

“I love you too mom, bye,” Marc replied ending the call on his Blackberry.

“Did you tell her I’m coming home with you,” Cheyenne asked.

“Yeah I did, she’s completely cool with it. She said it’ll be nice having another female in the house since it’s always been just her in the house with five males.”

Cheyenne laughed as their flight was called, “That’s cool, I guess,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders.

“Chey, she’s going to love you, I promise. You don’t have anything to worry about,” Marc said putting his arm around her waist and giving her a kiss on the forehead.

Cheyenne just smiled as they boarded the plane bound for Ontario, they were driving to Thunder Bay from the airport since there wasn’t a direct flight to Thunder Bay.

Marc and Cheyenne didn’t say a word to each other the entire flight from New York to Ontario, Cheyenne and Marc both fell asleep fifteen minutes in and woke up just in time to fasten their seatbelts for the landing at Toronto Pearson International.

“Chey, we’re here,” Marc whispered to Cheyenne as she slowly sat up from the passenger seat.

“Sorry, I slept so long, I didn’t mean to not keep you company,” she replied in a worried voice.

“It’s okay, Cheyenne,” Marc said rubbing her arm reassuringly, “You were tired, there’s nothing wrong with being tired.”

“DUDE, MARC’S HERE,” Jared shouted from the chair behind the fire that was currently burning in the Staal’s backyard. Eric and Jordan were in the house getting beer while Linda was cooking dinner and Hank was in town doing errands.

“Who’s the chick with Marc,” Eric said to Jordan who shrugged his shoulders as they looked out of the kitchen window.

“I think mom said it’s a friend from New York that he brought with him because she got into a fight with her parents or some shit like that, honestly I have no fucking idea,” Jordan replied.

“Jordan Lee Staal, watch your language,” Linda said scolding her son.

“Yes mom,” Jordan replied defeated and Eric laughed.

“Eric, stop laughing at your brother,” Linda warned and Eric rolled his eyes as Jordan chuckled low enough for only him and Eric to hear.

“Fuck you,” Eric hissed and Jordan opened his beer and headed out into the backyard where Marc and Cheyenne were now currently sitting with Jared.

“Eric, can you please be nice to your brothers and Cheyenne while you’re home this summer? I don’t know what her situation is but Marc asked me to ask you and your brothers if you could be on your best behavior in front of her this summer.”

“Really,” Eric asked, curiosity was getting the best of him.

“Don’t say that I told you anything, I promised Marc I wouldn’t.”

“I’m not going to say anything but I wonder what’s wrong with her.”

“I don’t know, just try not to fight with your brothers and make her feel welcomed here, please,” Linda asked her oldest son.

“I will, mom,” Eric smiled at his mother before he gave her a kiss on the cheek and walked outside to join his brothers and Cheyenne.

“Hey Eric,” Marc said hugging his brother.

“Hey man, how are you?”

“I’m good, just glad the season is over, it feels good to be home.”

“It really does, the season dragged on forever this year because of the Olympics and whatnot.”

“Eric, this is Cheyenne, Cheyenne, this is my brother, Eric,” Marc said introducing his brother and his friend.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Eric said smiling sticking out his hand.

Cheyenne threw Marc an unsure look causing him to just nod his head. She shook Eric’s hand and smiled, “Marc has told me so much about all of you guys and how proud he is of each of you, it’s nice to finally meet you in person.”

“So, Cheyenne, what brings you to Thunder Bay,” Jared asked and Cheyenne immediately tensed.

“I just needed to get away from the city for awhile,” she lied, “So Marc asked me to come here for the summer with him, I’ve never been anywhere but New York so it’s nice to finally just get away from it for a little bit.”

“That’s cool,” Jordan said and Eric couldn’t help but catch onto to the fact that Cheyenne was lying.

“Out of all the people in New York, you chose to be friends with this asshole,” Eric said pointing to Marc while trying to lighten the mood.

“Oh, fuck off, bro,” Marc fired back laughing and Cheyenne smiled.

“You can tell you guys try to hate each other but you all will be there for each other no matter what, it’s really nice that you show your love for each other,” she said and Eric felt his heart flutter with her words.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them for years,” Linda said coming out of the house carrying a tray of food, “But no, I’m just their mother, what do I know?”

The four brothers rolled their eyes at their mother and Eric just stared at Cheyenne as she followed Linda into the house.

“Dude, you’re staring,” Marc said nudging Eric causing him to break out of his trance.

“What’s wrong with her,” Eric asked?

“It’s not my place to tell you, maybe she will once she gets to know you and she learns to trust you, she will tell you everything. It took me a while just to get her to trust me.”

“She isn’t comfortable around us, is she,” Jordan asked.

“She looks afraid to even say anything in front of us,” Jared asked, “It’s almost as if she thinks if she says the wrong thing we are going to hit her or call her stupid or something.”

“Just let it go,” Marc warned his brothers as Cheyenne returned helping Linda carry the food.

Eric couldn’t help but notice how nervous Cheyenne got as soon as Hank came home from running his errands. Like Marc said she just needed time, but Eric was determined to get to know her better. She was like a puzzle to him and he was dying to put her together.