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.