"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.
“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.