Monday, May 30, 2011

Chapter 5-No Excuses

"She really left," Brooks Laich asked as the guys sat around the table at the club after a hard fought victory over the Philadelphia Flyers

"I don't know what to do anymore, I give up. Honestly, I fucking do. I brought Danielle out here to look for schools and a doctor. I wasn't going to let her work, I was going to take care of her like we were together but she told me she didn't want to give up her life in Pittsburgh."

"It's your kid though; you deserve to be a part of its life."

"Everything was going great after we got to know each other. I honestly thought she'd stay, I wanted her to. I got so used to her being there after games, cooking for me and hugging me when we had a rough loss."

"You're rambling man," Brooks laughed, "You like her."

"No, I don't. She's my baby's mother, nothing more."

"Then why have you shot down countless pieces of ass tonight. The old Mike would be out of this club in a heartbeat with the first chick that came up to him but tonight, you're in a daze. Now you're rambling about Danielle, you like her."

"I hate that you're right," Mike sighed taking a sip of his drink.

"You need to talk to her again."

"How am I supposed to talk to her when she's ignoring my calls and text messages?"

"We literally have 5 days off between games. That never happens and since we won tonight we won't have practice until morning skate on Friday."

"I don't get it."

"Mike, I'm telling you to fucking go to her. Tell her everything, hell fucking talk to her family if you have to. Just don't leave until you have answers."

"You're right," Mike replied, "I'm going home to call her mom."

"Do what you have to do, let me know how it goes."

"I will, thanks man."

Brooks shook Mike's hand and Mike left the club to head home.

"Hello," Shelley answered.

"Mrs. James," Mike said.

"Who is this?"

"It's Mike!"


"Danielle's friend," Mike replied unsure what he should call himself.

"Oh! Hey honey, sorry it's late and I didn't recognize your voice. Is everything okay?"

"I'm sorry to be bothering you right now but something's been bothering me and I need to ask you about it."

"What's wrong?"

"Has Danielle said anything about moving here?"

"She just told me what I already knew, why what happened?"

"She told me that she refuses to move here with me because she doesn't want to give up her life. I know it's selfish of me but I want her here. I even told her I'd put in for a trade but she told me no and she won't move. Every time I try to talk to her, she changes the subject and then she just sweeps everything under the rug.”

“Do you want me to talk to her,” Shelley asked.

"I'm packing now to come up there to talk to her. I have a couple of days off and I'm not leaving until everything's settled."

"Should I tell her that you are coming?"

"No " Mike replied quickly, "I'm afraid that if she knows I'm coming, she will try to avoid me."

"What time should I expect you here?"

"I'm leaving now, so I should be there at about eight since I'll stop on the way and rest," he said glancing at the clock on the wall that read quarter to one in the morning.

"There's a key in the mailbox, just go to the guestroom and sleep there but keep the door shut."

"Thank you, for everything Mrs. James."

"You better start calling me Shelley or else I'll deny my grandbaby," she joked causing Mike to laugh.

"Have a good night, Shelley."

"Be careful driving her, be safe."

"Will do, bye."

Mike ended the phone call and checked the weather so he knew what car to take. It had become full out winter on the East Coast, therefore, Mike decided that he needed to take the Escalade to Pittsburgh since snow was forecasted for both Arlington and Pittsburgh.

Grabbing a couple of hoodies and t-shirts from the racks in his closet, Mike put them in an overnight bag along with boots and jeans before heading out into the living room. Mike shuffled through the cabinets for his thermal coffee cup before turning on the Keurig coffee maker to brew a cup of coffee in order to keep him awake on the road.

After driving for what felt like hours, Mike finally stopped at a rest stop just outside the Pittsburgh city limits.

He called Shelley and let her know he'd be arriving shortly. The sun was coming up over the city skyline and it slightly disappointed Mike that DC didn't have skyscrapers since no building was allowed to be taller than the Washington Monument.

Mike parked on the side street where Shelley told him to so Danielle wouldn't see the luxurious SUV that she had grown used to driving in Arlington.

Mike grabbed his bag from the backseat and made his way over to the house. He reached into the mailbox and found the keys. He noticed that the purple Pontiac sunfire was gone which meant Danielle was at work.

"Hello," Mike called out down the hall, "Anyone home."

"In here," Shelley's voice called out from the dining room, "Are you hungry?"

"A little bit," Mike replied, "I couldn't eat, I'm kind of nervous."

"Everything will be okay, honey," she replied, "How about you go take your things upstairs and get settled and I'll make you some breakfast?"

"You don't have to do that. I'm okay until lunch."

"Shut up and let me cook."

Mike laughed thinking about how much Shelley sounded like his mom, "If you insist," he replied causing her to laugh.

"Dan went to the store down the street to get cigarettes, he'll be back shortly. Make yourself feel at home."

"Thank you!"

"No need to thank me. You're welcomed in this house anytime."

"Which room is mine?""

"Top of the stairs, first door on the left."

Mike smiled grabbing his bag before heading upstairs to the guest bedroom. He placed his bag on the bed before taking his shoes off, suddenly realizing he hadn't removed them at the door like his mother taught him growing up. Making a mental note to apologize to Shelley later, he walked across the hall to use the bathroom.

On his way back to his room, he noticed the room right next to his must have been Danielle's. He remembered that she told him she liked the color pink, which made the only pink door in a sea of white stand out.

Mike let curiosity get the best of him and he slowly opened the pink door. He couldn't help but laugh as he saw the single red t-shirt among a sea of Pens jerseys with his name and number on the back. He looked around and saw pictures of Danielle and Kristi laying poolside with the girl he had been introduced to at Christmas as Jamie.

He gulped as he saw the Famous Stars and Straps bikini Danielle was wearing. He only saw her in jeans and t-shirts, he wished he remembered them sleeping together.

"Mike," Shelley said, "Food's ready."

Mike snapped back to reality and shut the door to Danielle's behind him.

"What a surprise," Dan said shaking Mike's hand as he entered the dining room, "What are you doing here?"

"I needed to come convince Danielle to move to Arlington since she refuses to."

"Why? She really has no reason to stay here, we already told her it was okay."

"Something about school, you guys, and work."

"I do not understand that girl sometimes," Dan said as Shelley placed a plate of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and toast in front of them.

"Coffee or orange juice," she asked Mike.

"Orange juice, please?"

Shelley poured him a glass and went back into the kitchen to clean up while Dan and Mike made small talk.

"What time does Danielle get off of work," Mike asked.

"I think five o'clock," Dan replied, "I'm not sure, why?"

"I was thinking you guys could go away for the weekend while Danielle and I settle this. I think it'd be better if you two weren't here that way she has no way out of this."

"Dan, Carol and Tony were just talking about going to Seven Springs for the weekend, why don't you give Tony a call and see if they left yet?"

"We could use the break," Dan said smiling, "You and Danielle are more than welcomed to come up after you get everything settled."

"I plan on not leaving here without her."

Dan smiled while grabbing his phone out of his pocket to call his brother and sister-in-law to tell them they'd be joining them after all. Mike sat five, one hundred dollar bills on the table.

Dan handed them back to him but after Mike insisted he foot the bill after everything he and Shelley were doing for him, Dan gratefully accepted the money; thanking Mike more than once.

Shelley and Dan were packed and ready to go by two o'clock. Mike was in the game room shooting pool to keep him occupied until Danielle got home.

Mike was ready to head up the steps to the kitchen when he heard the front door open and Danielle's voice calling out to her parent's that she was home.

Mike decided to make his presence known as he quietly ascended up the stairs. The door to the hall closet was open and Mike stood behind it while Danielle hung up her coat.

"MIKE, HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE," Danielle yelled startled as she clutched her chest.

If this was any other day but today, Mike would laugh at the shock but he was here to take care of business and that is just what he planned to do.

"Well, since you won't return any of my phone calls," he began, "I called your mom and explained everything to her, so she invited me here to talk some sense into you."

"Fuck you," Danielle spat, "I don't owe you shit."

"You're right, you don't owe me anything but you do owe my child a father and me no excuses as to why you won't move to Arlington. Your parents are okay with it; Kristi agreed to move down to keep you company so she could get closer to Nicky and you could have a friend and a piece of your life there, but you keep giving me bullshit reasons as to why you won't move. I like you, Danielle. I like you a lot, not just because you're pregnant with my baby but you treat me like a normal guy and not Mike Green the hockey player. You make me laugh and I smile all day long thinking of you, I invited you to DC over New Years to get to know the real you, the same way you broke down the real me by walking into my life. I can be myself around you, I don't have to throw my money around or flash my cars because none of it matters to you. I don't want to live alone in that house knowing you aren't there because I'm just as scared as you are. I'm not letting you walk out of my life, Danielle."

Danielle stood there too shocked to move as Mike stepped forward and took her hand in his, "Please come back with me, we'll teach each other not to be scared. You're not alone in this situation, I'm here and I want it to stay that way but Dani you got to meet me half way."

Danielle pulled her hand away and wrapped her arms around Mike's waist, "I'm so sorry," she cried as he wrapped his arms around her.

"Shh," Mike said running his hands down her back soothingly, "It's okay, don't cry. I didn't mean to make you cry. God, I'm so sorry."

Danielle squeezed him tighter and Mike lifted her up as he walked towards the living room and sat down on the couch. Danielle curled herself into his chest and Mike held her to him not letting go.

"Mike," Danielle whispered.

"What," he asked placing his cheek on her head as he traced her arm with his fingers.

"I'll move to DC on one condition."

"What's that?"

"You promise me I never have to wear a hideous red jersey."

"I can't promise you that after seeing my jersey hanging in your closet," he joked and Danielle smacked his chest, "I'm being serious Danielle, please come back with me."

"Okay," Danielle agreed pulling away from Mike. She slowly leaned her head down towards his and Mike met her half way quickly claiming her lips with his.

It was nothing like New Years Eve when they had no choice but to do it at midnight. This kiss was soft and sweet and it left them both wanting more but if this new direction in both of their lives was going work, they needed to move things slow with no excuses.

"Go get changed," Mike said breaking the kiss.

"Why? Where are we going?"

"Your parents rented a cabin this weekend at some place called Seven Springs and they invited us to go as well but we weren't allowed to come up until we reached an agreement."

"I'd rather stay here," Danielle replied, "I've had enough of my parents for a while."

"Snowboarding isn't a good idea. for me right now anyways but come on go get dressed anyways, I'll take you out to dinner."

"Are you asking me out?"

"Obviously," Mike laughed.

"Don't laugh at me or else I won't move anywhere."

"No excuses, Danielle, no excuses," he said and that's exactly what he meant.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chapter 4-Take a Chance on Me

"Danielle," Mike called out opening the door but got no response. He was returning home from a four game road trip and he just needed someone to talk to.

Of course he had plenty of people to talk to on the team but Danielle was a woman and she didn't turn serious situations into sexual innuendo.

"Danielle," he called out again, "I'm home."

Mike hung his keys on the hook by the door where he saw a note hanging where the Escalade keys hung.


Kristy and I went to look at schools and jobs, I should have asked to borrow the truck but you didn't answer your phone. When I come home we need to talk. There's pasta salad in the refrigerator and I bought you a case of Heineken because it's green =).

I'll be home soon.

xo Danielle xo

Mike smiled and put the note on the counter in the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, he saw the pasta salad with green noodles next to the Heineken and he laughed.

Sitting down at the counter, he took a bite and he had to resist the urge to growl, the pasta was the best he ever had. Danielle was starting to spoil him with all of the cooking she did.

A voice pulled him from his thoughts and he smiled when he turned around and saw Danielle in one of his sweatshirts.

"Nice shirt," he said with a mouthful of food.


Mike smiled and swallowed taking a drink from the beer can as he stood up from the stool and gave Danielle a hug.

"I missed you," he said squeezing her lightly.

"I wish I could say the same about you," Danielle replied smiling causing him to roll his eyes.

"Did you find a school," he asked.

"I think I'm going to do online classes, that way if people find out about me I won't be the center of attention."

"I barely know you, so how are they going to know who you are?"

"You're Mike Green, people in China know who you are."

"Oh yeah cause General Tso loves hockey."

"Mmmm speaking of General Tso, that sounds so good right about now."

Mike laughed, "So Chinese tonight for dinner."

"God that sounds amazing but you just ate."

"I'm always hungry," Mike replied, "How about I order takeout and we talk."

"Sounds good to me."

Mike grabbed the menu out of the drawer and ordered the food while Danielle changed.

"45 minutes," Mike said when Danielle came out of her room.

"That's fine," she replied smiling sitting down on the couch.

Mike sat next to her and turned on the TV, "What do you want to watch?"

"Let's watch Crybaby!"

"What's Crybaby?"

"It's my favorite movie of all time, it's an old John Waters movie with Johnny Depp and Rikki Lake."

"Johnny Depp, oh God no."

"I don't think he's hot, although put eyeliner on him and he's smoking."

"Jesus Christ," Mike laughed, "I've never saw that one."

"I have it in my suitcase, I brought it with me."

"I was going to say, I don't have that one."

"Freaking classic," Danielle said standing up suddenly, "I'll go get it."

"It better be good or we're watching Wedding Crashers."

"OH MY GOD, I love that movie too," she squealed causing Mike to laugh.

Danielle threw the DVD in Mike's lap and he put it in the DVD player as she curled up on the couch with a blanket.

"Move your legs," Mike ordered.

"Why, I'm comfortable."

Mike lifted Danielle's legs and put them on his lap as the movie began.

Danielle was enjoying the opening scene where Crybaby and his gang are getting TB vaccinations when the door bell rang.

Mike grabbed his wallet out of his pants and walked over to the door. He paid the delivery guy and walked into the kitchen.

"What do you want to drink," Mike asked.


Mike grabbed two bottles of water and headed into the living room with the food.

"I paused the movie so you could see the whole thing."

"Thanks," Mike said handing her the take-out container of lo mein and the tin of chicken.

"What'd you get," Danielle asked.

"Sweet and sour chicken and fried rice, why?"

"Want to share? I'll give you half of mine for half of yours."

"Fair trade," Mike replied smiling as Danielle slid down to the floor and placed her food on the table. She patted the spot next to her and Mike joined her on the floor as they swapped food.

They ate in silence enjoying each other's company while watching the movie.

"You honestly know every song in this movie, don't you," Mike asked.

"I love this fucking movie."

Mike laughed and put his arm around Danielle's shoulders.

"I want you to stay," Mike admitted, "I'm used to you being here already and I don't want to miss anything with the baby."

"I'm going back to Pittsburgh in a couple of days for a doctor's appointment. You have a game here that day, I wanted you to be there but it's the only day that I could get in, I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Mike said, "Just call me when it's over and let me know how it goes. You're staying though, right?"

"I haven't decided yet, Mike you don't understand how hard this is. I'll be giving up everything I've known my whole life to come lie here."

"I can ask for a trade to Pittsburgh if that's what you want. I'll do anything to make this whole thing work."

"You're not asking for any trades, I want this to work but DC's not in the cards for me right now."

Mike didn't say a word and Danielle sighed, "I'm sorry, Mike."

"Just forget it," he replied coldly standing up, taking the empty containers with him.

"Mike, come on talk to me what's going on?"

"Nothing, Danielle, just drop it."

"I'm not dropping anything, Mike. I deserve to know why you suddenly decided to go psycho."

"You piss me off."

“I piss you off,” Danielle laughed sarcastically, “Come on Mike, let’s not go there.”

Mike rolled his eyes, “What do I do that could possibly piss you off? I could kick you out of my life and never see my child but I was a man about it and I stepped up to the plate to be there for you and our baby.”

“I’m not going to argue with you,” Danielle replied going to her room and slamming the door.

“Danielle,” he called out sighing, "Fuck!"

Mike kicked the trash can by the counter knocking it to the floor, running his hand over his head he walked down the hall and knocked on Danielle's door.

"Danielle," he whispered, "I'm sorry."

"Go away," she replied and Mike heard stuff being thown.

Opening the door slowly, he realized she was packing, "Where are you going?"

"Home," Danielle replied not looking up from the dresser, "I don't want to here anymore."

"Danielle," Mike sighed walking over to her, grabbing her wrist gently, "Don't go."

"I have a life in Pittsburgh, Mike. I need to get back to it."

"I had a life too before I came here. I know how hard it is leaving the only home you've ever known but Danielle, we need to make a life together for our baby. You don't even have to live here with me, just stay in town. I want to be here for you during everything. I want to be a normal father."

Silence fell between them as Mike dropped Danielle's hand from his grasp. Danielle went back to packing and Mike hung his head in defeat walking out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Danielle slid to the floor and let the tears fall. This is not how she imagined her life at 21 years
old. She always said she'd be married with a career before she brought another human being into the world.

Standing up, Danielle took a deep breath and walked out of the room. She needed to take the high road and swallow her pride to end this once and for all with Mike.

Mike was sitting on the couch watching the end of the movie. Danielle noticed he had a sleeve tattoo for the first time.

"Since when do you have a sleeve," she asked placing her hands on his shoulders.

"I got it last summer."

"I never noticed it before."

"Are you serious," Mike asked.

"I never saw it," Danielle replied running her fingers over Mike's bicep, "It's hot."

Mike laughed, "Are you hitting on me?"

Danielle blushed, "I'm sorry, I said that out loud."

"Come here," Mike said holding his arms open.

Danielle walked around the couch and sat down on Mike's lap.

"I'm sorry," she said breaking the silence, "I'm trying to get used to everything and I'm taking it out on you."

"I'm sorry too," Mike replied, "I shouldn't have yelled at you."

"At least we're getting along, it could be a lot worse."

"Scott thinks we're together," Mike smiled, "He said we're too close to be friends."

"It's not helping that we act like a couple like of someone walked in right now they'd think that."

"Have you ever considered it," Mike asked, "Like have you ever thought about what it'd be like if we were?"

"Honestly, no!"

Mike's doorbell went off and Danielle stood up to answer the door.

"Look what I buy you," Ovi said shoving the DVD case into Danielle's hand, "Mike, s'okay we watch, right?"

"Sasha, I hate you but you love Gaga like Ovi does and since you're here with him," Danielle said to the young Russian, "You can watch too."

"Gee thanks," Alex Semin laughed.

"I'm going to get my ear plugs," Mike joked walking into his room.

"You two okay," Ovi asked.

"We're fine," Danielle replied smiling as he put the DVD in the blu ray player.

"This will work in here, yes," Alex asked.

"Yeah, it will work."

"I was going to say, I need to see Gaga."

Danielle laughed as the intro of "Dance in Dark" began to play. Mike returned with a DC Shoe Company hoodie and he sat down next to Danielle.

"SILICON," Ovi yelled.

"SALINE," Sasha yelled.


"Why, God, why," Mike asked looking at the ceiling, "What did I ever do to deserve this?"

"Shut you face Mikey," Sasha said as Ovi and Danielle stood up dancing to Just Dance.

Mike looked at Danielle dancing with two of his friends and teammates and he smiled lightly before Scott Hannan’s words echoed in his head.

"Her having your baby is a beautiful thing, just remember that. I know you two aren't together and you're manning up to be a father but don't let her or that child walk out of your life because you'll regret it."

Danielle looked up at Mike who smiled at her as she and Ovi started doing the dance moves from the song. She fit in perfectly here, he just wished she stay and take a chance on something that wasn’t familiar to her. He was willing to do it and he understood her reasons why she wouldn’t do it, he just hoped Danielle would change her mind.

Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try
Take a chance on me

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chapter 4-Auld Lang Green

Danielle woke up in the morning and darted for the bathroom. Mike heard her up and walked into his guest bedroom and saw her on the bathroom floor.

"Hey," he whispered crouching down next to her, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Danielle whispered smiling slightly, "It's the morning sickness, it passes eventually."

Mike cringed as Danielle turned her head and threw up. Grabbing her hair, he held it back and rubbed her back comfortingly.

Danielle leaned back and Mike sat down next to her putting his arm around her hugging her to his side, "Get dressed, we'll go get some breakfast."

"You have practice."

"SHIT," Mike said standing up, "I forgot!"

Danielle laughed, "You're an idiot."

Mike laughed too and put his hand out to help her up, "Take a shower, you're coming with me."

"I look and feel like shit today, there's no way in hell I'm coming."

"Okay, you can stay here and get some sleep. I'll be back later."

Danielle gave him a small smile and turned the hot water on, "I'll call you if I need anything."

"Tomorrow's the New Years Eve party and I know you're worried about your hair and stuff so if you're up to it later, I'll take you to the salon and we'll get one of those trial things. That way you can decide of you want to do your hair yourself or have them else do it."

"Sounds good."

"I'll let you take a bath, I'm going to go get ready for practice."

Mike smiled giving her a hug before shutting the door behind him. Danielle looked at herself in the mirror as she got undressed and took in her appearance.

"Sweatpants kind of day it is," she whispered taking her clothes off before climbing in the hot bath.

Mike sat in his stall at Kettler Iceoplex with his head against the wall, He was the first one there and he enjoyed the quiet that surrounded him.

He shut his eyes trying to clear his head. He didn't understand why he wasn't mad at Kara. He had every reason to be, right?

She was pregnant with his baby because he foolishly slept with her while drunk. He should have denied the baby wasn't his but he trusted her word. She was a hardworking college student who paid her own bills by working full time while going to school and Mike could tell by the two days that he spent with her family that she was an all around good person.

"Hey Mike," Scott Hannan said entering the room, "How are you?"

"I'm doing okay," Mike smiled, "How are you?"

"Not doing too bad," Scott smiled, "How's your friend?"

"She's doing okay, she wasn't feeling well this morning. Morning sickness kept her up and she's at home sleeping."

"Her having your baby is a beautiful thing, just remember that. I know you two aren't together and you're manning up to be a father but don't let her or that child walk out of your life because you'll regret it."

Mike sighed, Scott's words sinking into his mind.

"Is she coming to the party tomorrow?"

"Yes she is, I haven't asked her to come to the game yet."

"Tell her to come, my wife wants to meet her."

"I'll let her know, thanks Scotty."

"For what?"

"Not judging me, I guess. Not everyone around here is thrilled with my actions."

"It's not their business, you're doing the right thing by stepping up to the plate and accepting your responsibility. No one has the right to judge you! People are going to talk about the both of you but you can’t let it get to you. No one’s perfect.”

“You’re right,” Mike sighed, “I just, I don’t know. I’m scared but then I have moments where I feel anxious because I’m having a baby, weird right?”

“I know how you feel but do what you can do to protect Danielle from the criticism. She doesn’t deserve it just like you don’t and whatever you do, don’t let her go back to Pittsburgh. I know she’ll fight with you because she doesn’t want to leave her family but you have to prove to her that she isn’t a burden to you and that even though you two aren’t together you are her friend and will take care of her and be there for her. She has all of us who will support her, Ovi is dying to meet her.”

“He found out she loves Lady Gaga and he went apeshit.”

“Oh my God, keep them away from each other,” Scott laughed before Ovi came in the room followed by Alex Semin.

“Where Danielle,” Ovi asked.

“She didn’t feel like coming, she’s having bad morning sickness.”

“That’s too bad, she come to game tomorrow though?”

“I haven’t asked her yet, I’ll try to get her to come. If not you can meet her at the party.”

“You bring her?”

“Yeah, I figured since she was coming down to get a taste of what life here is like and to look for schools that I’d ask her to go besides Kate has a boyfriend now.”

“She not pretty, never knew why you like her in the first place. She thought you were douche bag.”

“If it isn’t the pot calling the kettle black,” Mike thought to himself before he rolled his eyes and smirked, “Fuck off Ovi.”

As the locker room filled with techno music and fist pumps, Bruce Boudreau came in, “Alright you fucking shit bums, listen up. You are going to work your fucking asses off today and I don’t get a flying fuck if you fucking pass out. Too many fucking turnovers are occurring in the neutral zone and we need to fucking get our shit together. Do you understand me?”

“Yes Bruce,” the guys said in unison.

“Good, now get your fucking shit and get the fuck out on the ice.”

“If I had a shot for every time he says ‘fuck’ when he talks, I’d be fucking drunk off of my ass,” Brooks said and everyone laughed.

“Bruce Boudreau drinking game,” Ovi laughed, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Mike just shook his head and walked out of the locker room behind Brooks. Practice seemed to go on for hours and when it was finally over, Mike took a hot shower. Signing a few autographs and posing for a few pictures with fans, Mike headed home.

“Danielle,” he called out as he opened the door.

He got no answer and he went straight to her bedroom where he found her sound asleep. Gently sitting down on the bed, he shook her, “Danielle,” he whispered.

“Hey,” she mumbled smiling, “What time is it?”

“It’s almost five.”

“Did you just get home?”

“Yeah, Bruce killed us today since we lost last night. Something about ‘too many fucking turnovers.’”

Danielle laughed as she sat up, “I think I’m going to do my own hair tomorrow, I’m not up to going to a salon today.”

“You look better,” Mike smiled, “Are you up for going to dinner or do you just want to order take out?”

“Want me to cook?”

“You cook?”

“My mom taught me when I was little, I love to cook.”

“You don’t have to if you don’t feel well.”

“I feel a lot better now, I told you it goes away. That’s why they call it morning sickness.”

Mike laughed and Danielle smiled, “Okay, just don’t try to poison me.”

“I’ll only poison Sasha.”

Mike noticed Danielle’s stomach was starting to form a bump and he had to resist the urge to put his hand on her stomach. It was still early but he wanted to see if he felt something. He had read online that the baby didn’t start moving until the fourth or fifth month.

“What do you have in the kitchen?”

“I think I have steak and chicken, not sure.”

“Which one do you want?”

“Make whichever one you want, I’ll eat whatever.”

“Okay,” Danielle replied getting out of bed and throwing her hair up in a ponytail before leaving the room to head into the kitchen.

“Use whatever you need to use, I’ll go get more if we need it,” Mike said coming into the kitchen. Danielle looked in the freezer and saw two steaks.

“Do steak salads sound good to you?”

“Yeah, there should be a bag of fries I stashed in the freezer when the guys came over last week.”

Danielle dug around and found them, taking a two sheet pans out of the oven, she turned it on as she placed the steaks on one and the fries on the other.

“I’ve never seen steak baked before.”

“It keeps the meat juicy and hey it’s healthy for the three of us.”

Mike smiled at the word three as he grabbed his vibrating phone out of his pocket. He looked at the screen and saw he had a text from Ovi.

Did you ask her to game?

Mike deleted it instead of replying and sat the phone on the counter in the kitchen, “Want to come to the game with me tomorrow? It’s in the afternoon. The party is from nine to two so we’ll have plenty of time to come back and get dressed.”

“What time is the game?”


“That’s fine,” Danielle replied, “I’d love to go, just don’t expect me to wear red.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Mike laughed, “Guess who we’re playing?”




“Keep guessing.”

“Los Angeles?”


“SHUT UP,” Danielle shrieked, “YES, I CAN WEAR MY SHARP JERSEY.”

“You have one of those?”

“I have Sharp, Toews, Keith, Kane, and Versteeg but he’s a Flyer now.”

“You’re going to meet my teammates wearing a Blackhawks jersey?”

“Mhm,” Danielle replied smiling and Mike laughed rolling his eyes.

“I knew you’d be happy that we were playing them, I remembered you said that they were your second favorite team.”

“Thanks,” she replied washing her hands before placing the pans in the oven, “How do you want your steak?”

“Medium rare.”

Danielle shivered, “That’s disgusting.”

Mike just shrugged with a smile on his face as he walked into the living room and turned on the TV. Mike settled on the news to kill the time before an important game for the Caps to watch came on. The Penguins were playing the Islanders and it was sure to be one hell of a game especially after the brawl the season before but the Capitals were battling for first place in the East but the Penguins were sitting there comfortably with a three point lead.

“Pens vs. Isles tonight,” Mike called out, “Want to watch it?”

“Why would you even ask that question?”

Mike laughed as he replied a simple, ‘Yes, she’s coming,’ to Ovi before he shut the phone off and sat it on the coffee table. He started to smell the food cooking and it smelled great. Danielle came in and handed him his bowl of salad ten minutes later with the fries and the steak on top of it along with cheese and croutons before she headed back into the kitchen. Mike followed behind her to get the salad dressing out of the refrigerator and a bottle of Perrier water.

“Salad dressing,” Mike began, “The only thing that isn’t green in my fridge.”

“LAME,” Danielle sang causing him to laugh as she pulled her steak out of the oven and sat down at the counter cutting it to put in her bowl that already had the fries and cheese on top of it.

Mike sat on the couch eating his salad while Danielle sat at the counter, both of them eating in a comfortable silence. When they were finished, Mike helped Danielle clean the pans and bowls before the game came on.

The game was a bloodbath just like Mike had predicted and he laughed at Danielle screaming, “KICK HIS ASS ENGO,” to Derek Engelland who was battling with Trevor Gillies, “TAKE THAT GILLIES, YOU FUCKING PUSSY!”

“Potty mouth much,” Mike chuckled.

“Take his fucking knee out from under him when you play the Islanders, I hate this prick.”

Mike laughed again when the buzzer sounded and the Pens won by seven goals.

“They kicked their asses in more ways than one,” Mike said, “Damn, they’re tough this year.”

“Get used to it Green, they’re winning the cup.”

“I love how you’re pregnant to a Capital and you still despise us.”

“Loyalties lie, Mike,” Danielle chuckled standing up from the couch, “Goodnight.”

“Going to bed already,” Mike asked looking at the clock, it’s only nine thirty.”

“I have to get up early tomorrow to go the arena with you, I know you guys wake up at the ass crack of dawn on early game days and I need my beauty sleep.”

“Goodnight, I’ll wake you up in the morning.”

“You owe me breakfast assclown,” she laughed running her hand over Mike’s hair and he wanted to grab her wrist and encourage her to continue doing it since he found it relaxing but he already felt things between them felt like they were together even if they weren’t and he didn’t want to push it.

The next day Mike woke Danielle up and took her to breakfast before they headed to Verizon Center to get ready for the game. Danielle wanted to sit in with the crowd and Mike agreed to it. Danielle voted not to meet the team and Scott’s wife until the party because she left early to go home since she started to get sick. Mike gave her his keys and had Nicky drive him home.

The Caps lost their fourth game in a row to the Blackhawks and Mike took note that when they played them again in Chicago before the season ended to ask Danielle if she wanted to go. When Mike arrived home, Danielle was in the shower and his suit was laid out neatly over his bed with a new tie that Mike assumed she had bought so it matched her dress.

Mike took a shower himself and when he had finished getting ready, Danielle was putting her shoes on with the door to her bedroom open. She was wearing a black dress with a red ribbon around the waist, that explained the all black outfit and red tie she had laid out for him. Her hair was tied back in curls and was off to the side. She had smoke colored eye shadow that looked black and Mike noticed it made her blue eyes pop.

“You look great,” Mike complimented and Danielle smiled.

“Thanks, you too,” she replied, “Are you ready to go?”

“Yeah, we have to take pictures first when we get there, is that okay?”

“That’s fine.”

They arrived at the Jefferson Hotel in DC in Mike’s Lamborghini. Mike insisted he take it since the weather was somewhat warm and it was a “special occasion.”

Mike gave the keys to the valet and put his arm out for Danielle to take as they headed inside.

Ovi smiled when he saw Mike and Danielle coming towards him, “Mikey,” he said, “You make it.”

“Alex, this is Danielle, Danielle this is Alex,” he said introducing them.

“I know who she is,” Alex smiled with his toothless smile before hugging Danielle, “I remember you from camp, you funny girl who told me she was Pens fan and would be disowned if people knew she there.”

Danielle laughed pulling away, “I’ll be disowned when people find out I’m here too.”

“Smart choice having baby with Mike, he very responsible.”

Danielle laughed turning to Mike who looked like he was ready to strangle the Russian, “You’re a dick.”

Both Alex and Danielle laughed before Brooks Laich came out of the ballroom where the pictures were being taken.

“Ah, you must be Danielle,” he said extending his hand, “I’m Brooks, nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you too,” Danielle replied, “Oh my God, that’s John Carlson.”

Mike looked behind Brooks where the young defenseman was, “Yep that’s him.”

“I’m sorry; I’m a little star struck. I watched him win the gold for the USA at the WJC and he’s one of my favorites.”

“Hey guys,” he said with a smile coming over to them, “Are you the only ones here?”

“There are a few others in the room getting their picture taken. Why we’re getting professional pictures taken at a private party, I have no idea,” Brooks said and Mike put his arm around Danielle’s waist without realizing it. She jumped at the sudden contact making him realize what he had done, “I’m sorry,” he whispered, “I didn’t realize it.”

“It’s okay,” she replied, “I’m not going to yell at you.”

Mike just smiled as he introduced John to Danielle. Danielle seemed to get along with everyone and she impressed Scott and his wife, Kristina who held their son Gage.

Gage reached his arms out for Danielle who took him and held him for a little bit, “She’s a good girl, Mike,” Scott said as he looked at Danielle who was sitting at the table with Kristina while Gage crawled out of Danielle’s arms and into his mother’s lap, “Definitely a keeper if you decided to go down that road.”

“I’m still trying to get to know her; we haven’t had much time since we came back since we’ve been playing.”

“Get to know her then make your decision, what’s the worst that could happen?”

“I don’t want her thinking I’m just with her because we’re having a baby.”

“Take it slow, that’s all you have to do. It’s worth a try.”

For the second time in two days, Scott was right. As the party wound down and the clock got closer to midnight, everyone was either dancing or sitting around talking. Danielle was talking to Mike who was taking Scott’s advice and getting to know her.

“Ten seconds,” Ovi yelled. Everyone counted down as the TV played the ball dropping.










“HAPPY NEW YEAR,” everyone yelled before kissing their dates. Mike looked at Danielle who looked up at him shyly.

Mike leaned forward and placed a light kiss on her lips. It surprised him when she returned it and he wrapped his arm around her waist, “Happy New Year,” he whispered.

“Thanks,” she replied blushing and Mike immediately felt guilty for kissing her. This was going to make things awkward between the two of them.

“Are you ready to go,” he asked and Danielle nodded before the two of them slipped out going unnoticed because everyone was too busy dancing celebrating the New Year.

Danielle pulled out her phone and called her family back in Pittsburgh to wish them Happy New Year and Mike wished them one in return as well.

“No wonder we haven’t seen Nicky all night, look,” Mike pointed to the young Swede who was fixing his tie and his disheveled hair. Kristi was right next to him and Danielle laughed.

“It’s nice to know she told me she was banging him.”

Mike laughed, “Oh God, look out Nicky got a girl.”

Danielle and Mike laughed as they got in the car and drove back to Mike’s house. Danielle had a big decision to make. It was either staying in DC or going back to Pittsburgh but New Year means new things and Danielle was willing to try a new life in the nation’s capital.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?