Chapter 1: MAY
You’d been by his side every step of the way for three years, and instead of celebrating your three year anniversary tonight, instead of sharing laughs and kisses over the candlelit dinner you made for the both of you, you’re completely blindsided by a statement you thought you’d never hear your boyfriend say.
“I don’t think this is working anymore.”
You’re stunned, silverware clattering to the table and jaw dropping as you stare at him, wide eyed and tears threatening to fall.
You can’t find the words to say - can’t manage to ask why or what the fuck that’s supposed to mean.
He’s looking right at you, and his face makes you feel like this isn’t affecting him at all. Like he didn’t just drop a bomb on you during your anniversary. Like you didn’t slave over your stove for the last two hours for him just so he could call this quits.
“What do you mean?” You finally manage, keeping your voice as even as possible.
He sighs, running his hand through his curls. “I just don’t think I’m in love with you like I used to be.”
Your heart is beating so loud you feel like it’s going to rip you apart from the inside out. You start to go through your brain, picking at every memory you have to see if maybe you missed something - if you neglected how he was feeling or if he gave you hints and you just never picked up on them.
Nothing comes to mind.
Even last night, when you both went to a bonfire with friends, he seemed so happy - his arm stayed around you, he kissed your temple and gave you his jacket when you got cold. And when the guitar eventually ended up in his lap, he played a love song, his eyes looking into yours the entire time. He told you he loved you and said he’d see you tomorrow when he dropped you off at your place.
How in any of that were you supposed to know that this wasn’t working out anymore?
Was he faking it? Was he putting up a front so you wouldn’t be able to tell? Was he just trying to grin and bear it until the cable snapped and he had to let go?
You can’t sit here, tethered to your chair by the weight of his words.
You move to stand, but your thigh ends up shaking the table. He reaches out to stop you, but his hand ends up knocking over your wine glass and spilling the red liquid onto the white skirt of your favorite dress, the one you wore on your first date.
He’s immediately mumbling out an apology but you don’t hear it - you don’t know what he’s sorry for. You head for the kitchen counter, hands coiling around the edge to try to brace yourself, steady your breathing and focus on the cool marble instead of the sweat starting to form at your hairline.
You hear him stand from behind you, but he doesn’t make a move to come closer.
“Why.” You manage out.
“Why don’t I love you like I used to?”
A weak laugh leaves your throat. “Sure.”
He’s quiet, and for a minute you think maybe he’s playing a prank on you. But then he says “I don’t know. I don’t have a good answer.”
“Well find one.” You say. “If you’re breaking up with me on our anniversary, then I need to know why.”
He sighs, the angry sigh he uses when he doesn’t feel like fighting. “Well, we’ve been dating for three years and we haven’t moved in together yet. I feel like if I really loved you, I would’ve asked you.”
You turn your head slightly, seeing him over your shoulder in your peripheral view. “We didn’t move in together because you said you were always on the road during the season for away games and didn’t want me to be at your place alone.”
He shrugs. “If I loved you, I’d want you there anyway. Don’t you think?”
You drop your head back to the tile, trying to lose your anger in the patterns. “Anything else?”
“I don’t miss you as much as I used to when I’m away on roadies. When you’re not at my games, it doesn’t matter to me like the way it did before.”
“And I feel like I don’t really care if we don’t talk every day, because I know I could not speak to you for a week and you’d still be there anyway.”
“That’s what I’m supposed to do.”
“No it’s not.”
You sigh, trying to keep the tears at bay. “Sure.”
“And I think that you need someone better.”
You round on him then, a fire in your eyes that make him take a small step back. “That’s not your decision to make.”
“It is.” He nods. “I can tell I’m not the right person for you, and I can see it in the way I’ve been treating you-“
“I didn’t even notice-“
“And if I was still in love with you, if I thought we had a chance, I wouldn’t be breaking up with you on our anniversary.”
That does it.
You can feel the first tear fall, then the next, and the next, and you can’t look at him anymore.
You move past him toward the dinner table where you blow out the candles and grab the corners of the table cloth, wrapping everything up - dishes and all - and throw it into the trash.
“What are you doing?” He asks you, reaching out and you rip your arm away.
“Don’t touch me.”
You head for the door, grabbing your phone and purse from the couch and keys off the hook, slipping on flats.
He comes out of the kitchen and into the hall and stares at you. “You’re leaving?”
“I’m not staying here.”
“But…this is your house?”
“Well you don’t look like you’re leaving anytime soon.” You say, leveling him with a look.
You throw the door open and head down your front steps out to your driveway, and you can hear him stumbling behind you to grab his things and slip on his shoes.
You barely make it to your car when he appears in the doorway, yelling your name. “You said you wanted to know why. I’m trying to tell you and you’re running away!”
“I’m not running away Shawn, you are!” You yell back, yanking your car door open. “Nothing you said is making any fucking sense.”
You can see his nostrils flare before he slams your front door behind him extremely hard. So hard your door looks like it broke by the sheer force. Next door, you see your neighbors lights come on, knowing they’re probably going to come out in any second and threaten you to quiet down. But you couldn’t care any less.
“It makes perfect sense!” Shawn says, approaching you.
“No it doesn’t.” You say. “You’re making this decision for yourself and not thinking about me at all.”
“I’m trying to-“
“Is there someone else, Shawn?”
He flinches, the expression on his face reading shock and hurt at your accusation. “What?”
“Is there? Are you telling me all this because there’s someone else and you feel like I can’t handle the truth?”
Shawn’s face falls into an angry frown. “You think I’d cheat on you?”
“No. But I also didn’t think you’d dump me on our anniversary. I guess anything’s fair play now.”
He’s quiet when he says. “I would never cheat on you. I told you why this wasn’t working out, and now you’re accusing me of cheating?”
“What the fuck else am I supposed to-“
He backs away from you without another word, heading toward his car and climbing in, tearing away from your house at an angry speed.
You’d never seen him so upset, never seen him storm away like that.
You manage to take an inhale and you realize you’ve cried a little more. When you look up, you see your neighbors standing on their front porch, looking at you with a sad expression, leaving no doubt that they didn’t just hear everything you and Shawn just said.
You get into your car, sparing yourself any further embarrassment as you drive away. Where you were going, you had no idea - you’d always run to Shawn in situations like this, but that wasn’t an option anymore.
So you drove, hoping to find an answer.
Chapter 2: SEPTEMBER
Two weeks after Shawn broke up with you in May, the Rangers fell out of the running for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and you were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing Shawn was going away to Toronto for the off season.
You hoped him getting that much further from the cup maybe gave him an ounce of a sense of the pain you were feeling, but in the end you didn’t care how he felt. You didn’t care if he was happy or if he was sad. You were so angry with him it was pathetic.
Immediately after Shawn left, you’d moved out of your little home in Brooklyn and moved with your twin brother Madison into a two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. You grew your hair out and changed your daily routine because you felt like it. You bought new clothes, got a new job, and tried to move on with your life.
Key word being ‘tried.’
Shawn texted you in late June with no warning. It was a picture of Aaliyah wearing the dress you’d bought her for her Christmas the year before. She was smiling with both her thumbs up. He sent it with the caption saying “She finally found an occasion to wear it. You were right, she loves it.”
You didn’t respond.
In mid July, he left you a drunk voicemail around 3am telling you that he was at a bar in London Ontario with his Team Canada teammates Mitch Marner and Travis Konecny and “what was the name of the story about the three brothers from Harry Potter?” Mitch took the phone from him, yelling out an apology before the message cut out.
You didn’t respond then either.
He called you in August, on his birthday, and you almost answered, but you had a feeling you knew what it was about, and you kicked yourself for it.
Before you broke up, you’d ordered a custom made Armani watch for him that would be delivered to him at his family home in Toronto on his birthday. You paired it with a brand new three piece Armani suit he could wear for games.
With everything going on post break up, you forgot to cancel his presents, but also, you didn’t even think to do it. It was something you genuinely wanted him to have. But the fact that Shawn tired to reach you seven times that day made you feel like maybe you should’ve cancelled them.
“Thank you for my presents.” His voicemail said. “They’re amazing. I can’t thank you enough. I’m wearing the watch right now, and I don’t have to put on the suit to know it looks great.” There was a pause, and you heard Shawn inhale shakily before he said. “I’m coming back to NYC next month to get ready for training camp. If you’re around, I’d like to go out for a cup of coffee, or maybe go to lunch? Let me know.”
You wanted to delete that message, but you couldn’t bring yourself to do it.
Then suddenly it was late September, and you panicked every time you went out with friends or for drinks after work, praying you’d be able to avoid Shawn as much as possible. The Rangers’ practice facility was in Tarrytown, and Shawn lived in Tribeca, but you still didn’t want to deal with seeing him.
They had preseason games coming up, and their home opener was two weeks away. You’d gotten a text from Brady Skjei earlier this morning, asking if you would be there so his girlfriend would have a friend to sit with in the boxes.
You weren’t totally sure if he knew that you and Shawn weren’t dating anymore, or if anyone from the team knew.
One night for dinner, you and Madison were at Bubby’s with his girlfriend Gina and your friend Taylor, when your brother elbowed you kind of hard in the side.
You cursed, turning to him with narrowed eyes. “What the fuck, Mads?”
He gestures toward the front of the restaurant, where the terrible three lingered as they waited for a table. Kevin, Brady, and Jimmy didn’t seem to notice you, but you couldn’t help the fear deep in your chest that Shawn was only minutes behind them.
“Do you want to leave?” Gina asked, ready to stand and get the check.
You shook your head. “No. Who cares? Bubby’s is a well loved public establishment. We can all occupy the same space.”
They all gave you blank stares. “Yeah, as nice as that is,” Taylor says, already flagging down the waiter, “We’re gonna box this up and leave.”
It takes seven minutes to get your food in boxes and to take care of the check, and Madison’s ushering you out as quickly as possible. You can’t help the frequent rise of your heart in your chest as you pass Kevin, Brady, and Jimmy - the latter of which looks up just as you’re leaving, and you hear him call your name.
Madison ushers you toward the subway station, but something tells you to turn around.
You look over your shoulder and see Shawn getting out of an Uber, ready to walk into Bubby’s. He doesn’t see you, too busy looking at his phone, but the quick glimpse you get of him is enough to have you matching pace with Madison, trying to calm yourself as you turn the corner, the image of Shawn already engraving itself into your brain.
He looks good, because of course he does. He got a haircut, gained some muscle in the off season, even looks like he got some sun.
You hate how much you’re still attracted to him.
It’s not till later that night that when you’re getting ready for bed that you get a text from Shawn.
Jimmy said he saw you at Bubby’s, was it you?
You ignore it, brush your teeth and apply your moisturizer when another text comes in.
You could’ve stayed. Me and the guys would’ve been happy if you joined us
Again, you don’t answer. You shut off your light and climb into bed, choosing to scroll through Instagram a little when you get another text.
How about breakfast soon? My treat. I’d love to catch up with you.
You scoff, locking your phone and shutting your eyes, trying not to let him get the best of you.
“Do you think I should go on a date with Davey?” Taylor asks, her voice hopeful.
You grab a chia pudding cup and the sweet potato quinoa salad, handing Taylor the same before getting in line. You shrug at her question. “I mean why not? He’s cute, isn’t he? And he asked, so say yes.”
Taylor’s about to reply, but she’s cut off by the sound of someone calling your name from behind you.
When you turn, you try your best to keep your composure, trying to appear unbothered or unaffected by Chris Kreider - Shawn’s ‘mentor’/older brother figure since he made it to the Rangers roster - approaching you on your lunch break.
“It’s good to see you.” He says, and you give a small smile in turn.
“Nice to see you too, Chris.” You say. “How was your off season?”
“It was good. I missed you at the summer barbecue though. Shawn said you were sick?”
You hear Taylor inhale as she turns to face the cash register, trying to inch her way out of the conversation.
So Shawn didn’t tell his teammates. You think, making a mental note to yourself.
“Yeah,” you say. You don’t know why you’re lying for Shawn. Don’t know why you didn’t just call bullshit and tell Chris the truth. “Stomach bug from some fish and chips.”
Chris laughs, and you two ease into nonsensical small talk while you pay for your lunch and he pays for his. Taylor saves you when she says, “C’mon, still gotta walk back to the office.”
“Oh shit, sorry. I didn’t realize you were on lunch break.” Chris says. “You’re coming to the home opener, right?”
You begin to stutter out a response, but Chris doesn’t catch it as Taylor hauls you toward the door. “Yeah.” You eventually say, even though you’re definitely not. Even though you got the tickets to the home opening game that Shawn mailed to you back at the beginning of this month.
“See you then!” He calls, and you manage a smile and a wave as you end up on the sidewalk.
Why didn’t you tell him?
You stare at the iMessage that pops up on your laptop, dismissing it immediately with “Mark as Read” as you try to focus on your work. You’ve got an hour left and you want to finish as much of your in-basket as possible so you’re not drowning in it come Monday.
You open another excel sheet, the data blurring when another iMessage comes in and you groan.
You didn’t have to lie for me
You open up your iMessage window and type out a reply.
I didn’t do it for you.
You immediately erase it, and send Why did you lie in the first place? instead.
Shawn’s quick to get back to you.
Can we meet for dinner tonight? I’d really like to talk about this in person.
Can’t. Busy. You say.
Oh come on He replies. Then a succession of messages come in from him.
I understand if you’re upset
But I just genuinely want to talk to you
I’m sure you have questions
And I have answers
You sigh. Typing out I said I can’t. before closing your laptop, using the last few minutes of your day to pour yourself a cup of shitty coffee from the break room.
Madison shoves the pizza box toward you and you grab another slice, putting it on your plate next to your breadsticks while you queue up the next episode of Iron Fist.
“I can’t believe they cancelled this show.” He says, and you nod in response, taking a sip of your seltzer water.
“I wish it wasn’t so good.” You say. “In any other case I wouldn’t watch it.”
Madison opens his mouth to respond when your phone vibrates loudly on the coffee table. He peers at it then gives you a wide eyed look.
You raise a brow, taking a peek at it yourself and your heart drops when you see Shawn’s name on your screen.
Another one comes in seconds later. You moved and you didn’t tell me?
You went to my house? You reply, hand shaking.
I just wanted to talk to you. You weren’t going to come to me so I thought I’d go to you
You should’ve called. You said.
Shawn’s message comes back like a slap in the face. How could I when you barely answer me? You would’ve turned me away.
You start typing out another reply, but the next texts you get from Shawn stop you.
Did you move because of me? Because we fought at your house?
Your old neighbor says I broke your front door when I slammed it that night
He said that he and your dad grumbled the whole time they had to fix it for you
I didn’t know, I’m so sorry
Where are you? I just want to see you.
You lock your phone, swallowing down the guilty feeling you didn’t expect to have.
Chapter 3: OCTOBER
The sound of skates and sticks against ice and the smell of popcorn and hotdogs and beer are sensations you never expected to experience again.
You’re not sure what compelled you to actually go to the Rangers home opening game, but here you were, sitting in a box next to Brady Skjei’s girlfriend Gracia, who hands you a frozen rosé slushie with a knowing look.
“Drink up if you wanna get through this night unscathed.” She teases, before sipping on her own drink.
She’d texted you earlier in the day begging you to go to the game. You didn’t tell her about you and Shawn breaking up, but she managed to figure it out on her own. She noticed your lack of posts with him on Instagram, and assumed you were fighting, but when you refused to come to the game, she knew right away.
“I don’t go to Brady’s games when I’m mad at him.” She had told you over the phone. “But you always go to Shawn’s home games. If you’re not going tonight for him, at least come to keep me company. And then you and I can hang out and drink afterward so I’m not sitting by myself at the bar while Brady abandons me for Jimmy.”
You take down a large sip of your drink, trying to focus on the activity on the ice as the period hits the halfway point.
They’re playing the Devils tonight, and so far they’re 1-0, thanks to a goal from Zuccarello early in the first. You watch as Miles Wood tries to check Shawn into the boards, but Shawn escapes him at the last second, sending Miles into the glass as Shawn skates away with the puck toward Schneider. Shawn finds that tiny opening and shoots, but it goes off the post.
Chris manages to catch it, batting it down to the ice with the blade of his stick before he sends it back to Shawn, who snipes it past Schneider’s blocker and scores.
The crowd goes nuts.
There’s that familiar feeling of pride and excitement in your heart that you can’t help but give in to, and you stand along with the rest of the Garden, cheering for Shawn as you watch his teammates congratulate him as he skates past the bench.
You can feel Gracia eyeing you in your peripheral, and you don’t look at her. “Don’t say it.”
She laughs. “I don’t have to, you already know what I’m going to say.”
You sit back down, and for some reason, you can’t wipe the smile off of your face.
The period ends with the Rangers maintaining their two goal lead, and you and Gracia get up to go and grab more food.
You’re waiting in line for pizza when you get a text from Madison.
You’re at the game, aren’t you?
You type back Was I on TV?
No, but the tickets Shawn mailed you are gone so I figured you went
At least I’m not wearing my Mendes 98 jersey
Hard to wear it when I burned it for you
Madison sends another text right as you approach the front of the line I’m not judging. Just have fun, alright? And text me where you’re going afterward if you’re going to the bar. I’ll be there if you need me to
We’re going to The Flying Puck. It’s a small group. Just Brady, Gracia, Jimmy, Kevin, Shawn, and the Shattenkirks
I’ll be there
The Rangers win 4-2 and the bar is completely crowded when your group walks in. You immediately want to back out, but Gracia shoves you forward and toward the reserved booth in the back.
Madison is already there, and he yanks you down next to him, caging you into the corner of the booth, which tells Shawn right away that he needs to back off.
Shawn, Kevin Hayes, and Kevin Shattenkirk head to the bar to grab everyone drinks while the rest of you hang back into the booth.
“They don’t know.” You whisper into Madison’s ear. “They don’t know Shawn and I broke up. Only Gracia does.”
Madison nods, appearing unphased. “Then this will be fun.”
You shove Madison out so you can go to the bathroom, stealing a moment for yourself to try your best to distance yourself from the group.
It doesn’t work.
When you come out from the bathroom, Shawn is standing two feet away from you, and he immediately catches your eye. You pretend like you didn’t see him - heart racing as you head near the front of the bar where there’s more people, using the opportunity to try to order food.
You’re not ready to face Shawn just yet. You and Gracia and Deanna took a separate car after the game, and even heading into the bar you were at the front of the group, while Shawn stayed at the back.
Seeing him the other night at Bubby’s was enough. Seeing him now, where you can’t really leave without others noticing - it was putting you in quite the predicament.
“Wanna tell me why you’re avoiding Shawn?” You turn and see Jimmy leaning against the bartop next to you, that blase look on his face as per usual. “Because if it has anything to do with why you snubbed me at Bubby’s, I think I have a pretty good idea.”
You flush red with embarrassment, praying the bar lights hide it. “I didn’t mean to snub you. I just-”
“Didn’t want to see Shawn?” He guesses, giving you that ‘I went to Harvard, I’m not stupid’ look.
You frown. “That obvious?”
He nods, sitting on the barstool next to you. “Which means that you two are either in a really big fight, or you broke up. And I’m pretty sure it’s the second one.”
“How’d you know?” You ask, flagging down the bartender.
He shrugs. “Well, you weren’t at the summer barbecue, and we haven’t seen you at all since he came back from Toronto, and he hasn’t talked about you like…at all. Other than asking us if you’d be here tonight.”
You order a basket of wings, fries, and Jimmy tacks on a couple of vodka cranberries before handing the bartender his card. You thank him, and he shakes his head. “You don’t have to. And I promise that I won’t tell anyone else. I won’t tell Shawn that I know you guys broke up.”
“I…” You’re slightly stunned, but you place your hand on his arm, squeezing gently. “Thank you.”
“I am sorry though.” He says. “I feel like you deserve better anyway, especially if the break up was bad enough that you felt like you needed to isolate people from your life who love you whether you’re with or not with him.”
He gives you a hug, then grabs his drinks and heads toward the rest of the group.
You’re still waiting on your food when you feel a tingle of electricity trace up your spine, and you automatically know you’ve been caught.
You turn to Shawn, lifting your head a little as if to say ‘hey’ in return. He idles up beside you, keeping his eyes on the rows of bottles.
He quirks a brow up in surprise. “Thanks.”
“You guys are gonna look good this year.”
Shawn chuckles a little when he says, “You say that to me every season.”
“And I always mean it every season.” The bartender finally comes back with your food, and you’re about to grab the little baskets but Shawn beats you to it, sliding them out of your reach as he crowds into your space a little.
“Why didn’t you text me back? Or call me? I tried to reach out during the off season, and you just…never got back to me.”
“I don’t have a reason, Shawn.” You say - that’s a lie, you know it, you were trying to get over him.
He can tell you’re lying, too, but he doesn’t call you on it. “I want a clean slate.”
You blink, then frown. “What?”
“I want to start over.”
You shake your head, reaching for your food but he intercepts again. You sigh in frustration. “I can’t give you that.”
Visibly, you can see he’s upset by your response, but he nods anyway. He grabs your basket of wings and fries, and holds them out to you, but you don’t take them.
“What is it, Shawn?” You say. “Why do you want a clean slate?”
He sighs. “I just want you to be in my life - I just want a chance to be your friend, if you’d give it to me.”
You take your food from him, finally, but you shake your head, looking up at him for the first time, looking him in the eyes. “I’d need to think about it, Shawn.”
The off season gave you time to think about you - just you - so you don’t know that you want the same thing he wants.
“A lot’s changed.” You tell him, which is mostly true.
He frowns. “What are you saying?”
“Do you want to be friends, Shawn? Or do you want to get back together? Because I have to be honest. Friends, I can work towards. But getting back together? I don’t know if I can do that right now.”
Chapter 4: NOVEMBER
You’re furious and worried all at the same time.
Half of you is crying with fear, preparing for the worst, the other crying out of frustration that you’ve even been put into this situation.
You were literally about to head to bed when you got the call, a nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital saying you were needed because you were listed as the next of kin.
You were still listed as his next of kin.
Even after he broke up with you and you assumed he wanted nothing to do with you, he either didn’t remember you were his next of kin and that’s why he forgot to change it, or it was deliberate and he didn’t see an issue with leaving it.
But you did.
You gave your name to the nurse at the desk when you came in before Greg from Garden security gave the A-Okay for you to follow him to where Shawn was being held.
You managed to suck up the tears by the time you reached his room where he was still being evaluated, still in his gear and his skates.
The nurse looked like she was trying to listen to his lungs, holding his jersey in one hand while she used to the other to keep the stethoscope under his gear.
“Lungs sound fine.” She says, looking up at her attending. “We need an X-Ray and a CT to be sure.”
The attending nods. “Prep him. He’s gonna have to get rid of the gear, but do it carefully. If his ribs are broken, we don’t want one of them to puncture his lungs.”
You spot Dr. Kelly, the Rangers’ team doctor and raise a brow. Greg waits until the hospital staff and Dr. Kelly leave before turning to you, whispering.
“Shawn got hip checked by Conor Sheary. He flew pretty high. Landed on Reinhart’s stick pretty hard before he hit the ice. Stick didn’t even break. He had a hard time breathing at the rink, Kelly wanted to make sure it wasn’t a broken rib or a punctured lung.”
You nod, and Greg leaves to give you both alone time. That’s when Shawn turns his head to look at you, one side of his mouth quirking up in a small smile.
You approach the side of his bed cautiously, looking down to where his side is still exposed to you, a large bruise forming on his skin.
“What are you doing here?” Shawn asks. Ah, you think. So he just forgot.
“I’m still listed as your next of kin. So the hospital called me.”
“Oh.” He says, then holds his hand out, palm up. “Well thank you for coming.”
You don’t take his hand. “Why am I still your next of kin? Why didn’t you change it?”
Shawn frowns at you. “Who would I change it to?”
“I don’t know, maybe not your ex-girlfriend? Your mom, maybe. Or your dad. Hell, I’m pretty sure Geoff would qualify too.”
“Sorry if being here is a bother,” he spits. “Not like I’m hurt or anything.”
You sigh. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just…you broke up with me. Yet, you’ve been acting like it’s the other way around.”
“I just want to talk to you about it. Is that wrong?”
“When I don’t want to talk about it? Yeah.” You say, taking a step back. “What do you expect Shawn? You said you didn’t love me. I wasn’t just going to stick around and wait for you to change your mind.”
“I tried to reach out, to explain” He says. “All off season, I tried.”
You huff, shaking your head. “Well maybe I didn’t want you to try.”
That silences him.
The nurse comes back in, and they tell you to wait outside while Shawn gets X-Rays. He looks at you as he’s being carted away, and he reaches out to touch your hand, the nurse stopping so he can say what’s on his mind.
“You don’t have to stay.” He says. “You can go home. I can call Brady, or Zucc, or Kreids. They can come get me.”
You shake your head, resigning. You may not know where either of you stand, but situations like this - Shawn getting hurt during a game - they’ve always been your worst nightmare. Even if you wanted to - which you didn’t - you know that if you left him here alone, you’d regret it forever.
You squeeze his hand in turn. “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be in the waiting room.”
It’s almost five in the morning when the hospital discharges him, having made the agreement that Dr. Kelly will monitor him as much as possible and return him to Lenox Hill if needed.
Shawn’s going to be out of the lineup for the next three to six weeks for his three bruised ribs, and because of the pain and trouble breathing, he also may need respiratory therapy. But above all, he need someone to be with him at all times until he’s out of the woods.
That someone meaning you.
It wasn’t like there was any other option. Dr. Kelly had a whole roster of players, none of Shawn’s teammates would be attentive or careful enough with him, calling his mother would be too much worry for her and stress Shawn out, and all of Shawn’s other friends were in Toronto.
Which left you as his only option.
You help him into the car Greg called for him before climbing alongside Shawn in the backseat, helping adjust his coat around his shoulders. Someone from the equipment staff had come to take Shawn’s gear and exchange it for the change of clothes he had at the rink, trying to make him a little more comfortable.
“You don’t have to stay with me.” Shawn says as the car starts to drive.
You’re already typing out an email to your boss letting him know you weren’t coming in that day when you say “Of course I do.”
The car stops by your apartment first so you can grab a few changes of clothes and toiletries, and Shawn thankfully falls asleep, unconscious and unaware of your new address.
You wake him once you get back to his place in Tribeca, the doorman helping you get Shawn inside and to the elevator. When the two of you make it to his floor, you grab his keys, opening the door to his place and helping him onto the couch before grabbing his things and bringing them inside, shutting and locking the door behind you.
He groans. “Oh no.”
You raise a brow. “What?”
“Nothing I just feel so gross. I didn’t even get to shower.” He says. “But I’ll be fine. Thanks for uh…helping me out.” He laughs at your flabbergasted look. “What?”
“I can’t just leave you here. They put pain meds in your system before you left the hospital, and they wouldn’t release you unless I agreed to be here for you.”
Shawn stares at you blankly. “So…what? You want to stay? When at the hospital you were yelling at me for leaving you as my next of kin?”
You groan. “Look Shawn. Granted, this isn’t what I wanted, sure, but I’m not just going to abandon you. Not when I made a promise to Dr. Kelly.”
He shrugs. “Alright. I’m not complaining.”
“We have to come to an agreement though.” You say, crossing your arms over your chest. “This is not so we can get back together. This is just so you can recover then get back on the ice. Nothing more, nothing less. Deal?”
He holds out his hand, shaking with the air. “Deal. Now can you help me to the shower? I can take care of the rest, but I just need to get there.”
The first few days of helping Shawn are rocky. He keeps forgetting about his ribs and tries to do things like he’s independent, like do his work outs, move around normally, and reach for things on the top shelf - the latter of which you ended up having to do a lot of, climbing on top of his counter, so now there’s one of his dining room chairs permanently in the kitchen for you.
You have to monitor his medicine intake, and you help him with his breathing exercises - just to make sure his lungs are fine.
It’s weird for you - you’re not used to being in his space like this, or taking care of him like this. Shawn had been hurt before, but that was when you were practically each other’s shadows.
Now, you had to carve time out of your daily routine to come and see him - something you hadn’t done since completely changing your life after he broke up with you.
It was new and familiar all at the same time, and you didn’t know how to feel about it.
Last night, Shawn was in the kitchen and you were in the living room putting his KT Tape away when you heard a glass clatter to the floor and break, before Shawn groaned in frustration.
He had stomped off in anger to his room, slamming the door shut and then you heard the water in his shower running.
You quietly cleaned up the broken glass, vacuuming his kitchen floor for all the invisible pieces before you knocked on his door, telling him you were leaving.
You wanted to stay and make sure he was alright, and you could tell he wanted you to do the same, but you weren’t his girlfriend anymore. It wasn’t your place.
And Shawn could always tell you to stay if that’s what he really wanted.
Tonight, you promised you’d bring him takeout for dinner in an attempt to cheer him up. You grabbed his favorite Chinese food, cursing yourself silently as you remembered his order down to the last detail.
You let yourself into his building. His doorman, Jonah, smiles at you as he holds the door open.
“It’s good to see you around here again.” He says earnestly. You smile, too emotionally drained to pretend anymore.
When you let yourself into Shawn’s apartment, he’s laying on the couch on his good side, his injured side covered in his heated blanket.
“Did you ice it this morning?” You ask, forgoing the pleasantries as you set his food on the coffee table.
He sits up slowly, and you automatically move to help him. He nods at you when he’s upright, carefully reaching for the bag. You put your stuff down on the loveseat before heading into his kitchen to grab drinks and plates.
When you come back out, Shawn’s already going at his egg rolls, and you shake your head. “I really hope Coach Quinn doesn’t kill you for eating all this stuff.”
“Well are you gonna tell him?” Shawn asks through a mouthful. You roll your eyes, grabbing the beef with broccoli and putting some on your plate along with white rice.
The two of you eat in silence, and Shawn puts on the Rangers v. Flyers game. It’s thirteen minutes into the first, and about three minutes after you tune in, Travis Konecny scores a goal.
Shawn frowns when you accidentally let out a little “whoop,” staring at you with feign hurt. “Since when are you a Flyers fan?”
“Since when do you pout when your friend scores a goal?”
“It’s against my team.”
“You’re not on the ice, are you?”
Shawn narrows his eyes. “Obviously not.”
“Then go Flyers” You say, waving your hand around with mock enthusiasm.
Halfway through the second period, the food is gone and Shawn’s quietly snoring, head resting on his hand that’s propped up on the arm of the couch. You take the time to clean up, throwing containers away and loading up and running his dishwasher before you wake him gently.
“Shawn, maybe you should go to bed.” You say. They warned you his medication would make him drowsy, which is why he could only take it at night. You help him off of his couch and toward his room, making sure he got into bed okay before you said a quiet goodbye and went to leave.
You’re stopped in your tracks in his doorway when you hear him say “Thanks for your help baby.”
You look back at him, but he’s already out. You leave without another word, refusing to acknowledge the way his words made you feel.
You’d spent all this time getting over him, you weren’t going to let it be all for nothing.
Chapter 5: DECEMBER
Shawn’s due back to return to the ice in the last three games before Christmas a couple weeks from now, and you can tell that while externally he’s been pacing himself, you can tell that inside he’s bouncing off the walls with anticipation.
Helping Shawn recover has been strictly routine. After he called you “baby” that one night, you’ve only come over when asked, trying your best to put distance between you both again. So far it had been working, too. He’d only asked you over to help with breathing exercises, when he wanted to work out but needed help, and when he took his medication - just to make sure he was okay afterward.
He’s also definitely been feeling better. He doesn’t get as angry or as frustrated as he did at the beginning, and he also seems to be dealing with your limitations well. He hasn’t brought up the break up, hasn’t tried to make unnecessary small talk with you, just let you come and go as you please.
You’re about to leave work to meet up with Madison and Gina for dinner when Shawn’s contact pops up on your screen.
You hear some rustling over the phone before he comes on. “Hey. Are you busy right now?”
“I was about to go to dinner. Why, do you need me?”
Shawn hesitates. “Uh…I mean if you already had plans then no, I’ll be fine.”
“What were you going to do?”
“Dr. Kelly said to try yoga. So I was going to, but I don’t really know what to do? And I remember that you do yoga, and-”
“I used to do yoga.” You correct him.
Shawn pauses, clearly caught off guard. “Oh.” He says quietly. “Right, well, uh…I figured you’d know more about it than I would, and maybe you could help me try a few things?”
You raise a brow. “You mean yoga positions?”
He hums. “Sure. Simple ones, obviously. Our physical trainer gave me a list of suggestions.”
“Why don’t you call them to help you, then?”
“Because they don’t exactly make house calls.” Shawn says, a bit short. “If you don’t want to help, I get it.”
You sigh. “Can it wait until after dinner? I’m meeting up with Madison and Gina.” And you’re not invited to join You think.
Shawn must get the hint, because he sighs. “Sure, yeah. I can wait till you’re done.”
You knock on Shawn’s door, a little agitated that you agreed to help him do yoga right after dinner.
When he opens the door, he’s in his Bauer long sleeve he usually wears for games and sweatpants that cling to his muscular legs. He gestures for you to come in, and you let out a little “oh” of shock at the living room.
His couch and loveseat are pressed against the wall to make room for two yoga mats on the hardwood floor, already laid out along with a yoga block on each mat.
“Since when do you own those?” You ask, pointing to them.
Shawn flushes red, taking your coat from you to hang up. “I bought them today. The girl at lululemon said they were sturdy.”
You raise a curious brow at him. “Why’d you buy them at lululemon?”
He heads toward the mat as he says “I remembered something you said last year.”
That thoroughly ends your line of questioning.
You help him with his breathing exercises first, knowing that if you don’t, he might not be able to keep up with a full set of yoga. While he’s breathing into the tube, you look over the sheet of yoga positions his physical trainer left him, all of them familiar to you, which makes you feel a little better about teaching him.
When he’s done, you both head to the mat and Shawn mirrors your footing and posture as best as possible.
You start with simple sun salutations, leading into tree, child’s pose, and downward dog, before getting into the first recommended position.
You ease Shawn from downward dog into cobra pose, standing from your mat to make sure Shawn doesn’t injure his back or further injure his side. You help him back into downward dog, before helping him walk up into a standing position.
When you ease him into triangle pose, you can tell that’s when he starts struggling with stretching his side. You can see it in his face, so you immediately place your hands on him gently, helping him up so he isn’t bending so far over.
Only, his shirt rode up a little, exposing his side, and your hand ends up lingering on his bare skin for a second too long.
Touching him, and him being touched by you, makes you both feel something. You stare at him, and Shawn looks right back at you, a flush rising to his cheeks as he slowly rises, resuming a normal standing position.
It’s only then that your hand falls from his side, and he frowns.
“I, uh,” you start. “Sorry. Can we take a break?”
You back off before he can protest, and head to his kitchen for a glass of water.
Shawn follows you, and he can sense that maybe this was a step too far - asking you to help him like this. He can tell you’re about to tuck and run, so he tries to say something, anything to maybe ease the tension, make you stay a little longer.
“How was Thanksgiving with your family? Did you and Madison have fun?”
You don’t look at him when you grab a glass from his cabinets, then the Brita filter from his fridge, pouring yourself a glass of water. “It was nice, yeah.” You say.
This is too close. Too intimate. You think. You try to wrack your brain for excuses you can make to get out of here as fast as possible when Shawn takes a step closer, resting against his kitchen island.
“You guys going back to the pond for Christmas next week?”
“How’s your mom doing? I miss her sweet potato pie. Think she’d make one for me if I asked?”
His statement takes you by surprise, and you choke on a sip of water, coughing hard. Shawn curses, coming up behind you to gently tap and rub your back. “Are you okay?”
You shy away from him and his hand, whispering “I’m fine” before you turn to the sink.
“Hey,” he says softly, trying to make you face him, but you shrug his hand off of you, and he takes a step back. “What’s wrong?”
You scoff, turning to look at him with a frown. “I just…I think I have to go.”
“What?” He says, standing a little straighter. “Why? What’s wrong?”
“I can’t do this.” You say, and you move to leave, but Shawn blocks you in.
“No.” He says. “What’s wrong? You can’t just keep running away from me. I’m not going anywhere. You’re going to have to talk to me eventually. We’re going to have to talk about us eventually.”
You groan, trying not to scream out loud with frustration, and spin back toward the sink, trying your best not to cry. You drop the glass into the sink, sighing deeply as your brace your hands on the counter, trying not to crack.
Here goes nothing.
“Why did you break up with me?” You ask, trying to keep your voice steady.
“Because I wasn’t ready.” Shawn says, honesty dripping from his body. “I wasn’t ready to give you what you wanted.”
You don’t look at him. You keep your eyes on the wall in front of you because you know if you look at him, you’re going to break. “And what did I want?”
“Me.” He says. “You wanted me. All of me. A future with me. I know you did, because I wanted it to. And I still do. You wanted to move in together, to get married, have kids, buy a house outside the city with a dog and a yard and an apple tree and a mailbox the kids could paint until they were too old to care about it.”
The tears fall from your face, and you squeeze your eyes shut, trying to keep your breathing steady, trying to focus on his words.
“You wanted all of that, and so did I. But I could tell you wanted it a lot faster than I did. And you were so much more mature, you still are. You’re the type of person who’s ready to go, ready to hit the ground running and I’m not. So when I was away and you would tell me that you missed me, or I’d find that shirt - that I said I didn’t need, but you knew I did anyway - packed in my suitcase, or a snack and water in my backpack with a sticky note - I didn’t care. I didn’t care because I took advantage of it all, advantage of you.”
Shawn takes a step forward, trying to give you space but also wanting nothing more than to just look you in the eye and finally be able to tell you the truth. “We both know I’m shitty at communicating. We both know I can’t tell you what I feel when I’m feeling it. I see how damaging that is now.”
He takes a risk by resting his hand on your shoulder, giving it a soft squeeze. “I loved you. I still love you. I just felt like I wasn’t at a point in my life where I could love you the way you deserved. But that doesn’t invalidate the fact that I still loved you. I tried to be what you wanted, but I wasn’t. And when I knew that, when I looked at you and heard this voice that said you were too good for me, I knew it was selfish of me to know that I didn’t deserve you and still keep you around. I had to let you go. I thought it was the right thing, but being away from you this off season showed me that it wasn’t the right thing. At all.”
“I’m sorry.” He says, a finality to it all. “I’m sorry that it took all of that, all of my stupidity, all of this pain you went through for me to realize that even if I’m not the man you deserve, that doesn’t mean that I can’t at least try to work harder. To try to be the man I know you deserve, the man you can look at and be proud to say that you’re in love with.”
“That’s just it Shawn.” You say. “All you had to do was tell me how you were feeling. I told you, no matter what it was, how hard of a truth, I’d be there to listen to you. To understand, to unpack it with you. And you just…you iced me out.”
You finally look at him, tears in your eyes and you can see how much it pains Shawn to see you this way. “You iced me out and I didn’t have any other choice but to accept it as what you wanted. But you were what I wanted. Who I loved, who I was proud of.”
Shawn’s hand slowly falls to his side. “Past tense?” He looks like you just ripped his heart from his chest. “Are you…are you over me?”
Tears fall from your eyes. This is the first time in a long time you’re being honest with one another again, and it makes you feel like shit that it’s in this context. “I don’t know Shawn. I really don’t know.”
Chapter 6: JANUARY
The fireplace crackles from beside you as you curl up further under your throw blanket, pulling your mug of hot chocolate closer to you as you tried to relax, looking out onto the pond.
You and Madison had escaped to your family’s so-called winter home on Cobbetts Pond in Windham New Hampshire. The lake had frozen over and the snowfall had been particularly heavy the past few days as a way to ring in the New Year.
You had woken up early, sleep escaping you after tossing and turning during the night. You’d been restless since you last saw Shawn nearly three weeks ago. Your heart had been heavy in a way it hadn’t been since he first broke up with you, and you hadn’t been able to escape that feeling.
Since your vacation from work had started, you’d been trying to unpack your feelings, trying to figure out how you felt about everything that Shawn had told you, the truths he finally managed to let out, and wondering exactly how those things were making you feel.
It was driving your brain into the ground.
Your attention is drawn from the pond when Madison pads into the little sunroom, rubbing his eyes and giving you a little wave when he sees you.
“Want breakfast?” He asks. “I’m gonna pick up Gina from the Manchester airport in a couple hours, but I was gonna eat first. You’re welcome to some of my waffles.”
You shrug, moving your throw to the side and taking your mug of hot chocolate with you as you follow Madison into the kitchen.
He grabs the different pans and utensils while you grab the ingredients from the fridge, along with the waffle batter your mom made last night.
The two of you work in a silent tandem as you made sunny side up eggs, your mom’s famous cinnamon apple waffles, bacon, and maple sausages.
The routine was familiar to you both now, especially after living together again for the past months. You and Madison had always been close - being twins was one thing, but you’d both helped the other through your fair share of difficult times, and instead of being at each other’s throats like your parents feared, you managed a great friendship and relationship as siblings that had only remained strong the older you got.
You and Shawn got together about a month before Madison and Gina became a couple, so the relationships both had developed in similar fashions over time, except yours ended and theirs kept going.
Madison had been uncharacteristically quiet about the whole Shawn situation since the hockey season had begun again - even after the bar, Shawn’s injury - none of it got a reaction out of Madison, and you were starting to wonder just where his head was at.
“Mads?” You begin. He hums in reply, and you figure you’re just gonna go for it. “Two questions.”
“If you ever felt like you weren’t the man that Gina deserved, or that you didn’t deserve her, what would you do?”
You see him thinking out of the corner of your eye as he grabs the last of the bacon from the pan, placing them on your plates. “I guess I’d feel like shit, but I would want to like…figure out how to change, you know?”
“You wouldn’t break up with her?”
Madison blanches. “Fuck no. She’s my girl. Whether or not I deserve her I still love her. I wouldn’t just break up with Gina. I’d figure out how to make myself better. Plus, she’d tell me if I needed to get my shit together.”
Now it’s your turn to hum, mulling over his words. He raises a brow at you in suspicion. “Why?”
“Next question.” You say. “Why haven’t you told me how you feel about Shawn? About how all this is unfolding now?”
He sighs. “I knew this was about him.” He hands you your plate and you both settle into the barstools around the kitchen island. “Truthfully?”
“Bible.” You say, and he groans.
“I fucking hate when you say that.” He says. “I haven’t said anything mostly because it’s none of my business, but I also don’t want to say things that make you feel like you can’t come to me about it because of my personal feelings about him.”
You blink in surprise. “You…what, were you creating a safe space?”
“Yeah.” He says. “I heard about it in a podcast. If I say how I feel about Shawn, it might make you feel like you can’t talk to me because my reaction would be one you don’t need. And I don’t want that. We’re on the same level, dude. I want you to know you can always come to me about stuff, no matter how I feel about it personally.”
The two of you were never good at “aw” moments, so you nudge his foot with yours in thanks. “Is that why you asked the first question? Is that why he broke up with you?”
You nod, and he sighs. “He told me before we left for Christmas. He also told me that he still loves me.”
“Holy fuck.” Madison says, trying to swallow his food without choking on it. “He does?!”
“And did you say it back?”
You shook your head. “I told him I didn’t know how I felt.”
“No wonder you weren’t as excited about coming here as you normally are. You’re all…angsty.”
You scrunch up your nose. “I am not.”
“You are. I can tell because you were looking at the pond all moody and shit.” He says, gesturing with his hands. “Well how about you come with me to grab Gina? Get out of the house, and out of your head for a bit.”
You shrug in resignation. If you didn’t agree, he’d make you do it anyway.
You’re in the middle of Target with Madison and Gina when your phone starts to vibrate with a phone call.
You don’t answer.
Five minutes later your phone rings again, except this time “Jimmy Vesey” pops up, so you answer it reluctantly.
“If this is a trick-”
“It’s not.” Jimmy says. “Shawn called you to warn you, but I’m calling to give you the bad news with no warning.”
Your heart starts to race with panic, and Madison can see the change in your eyes. Him and Gina step toward you, concerned when you ask “What is it?”
“We’re going on a cabin trip up North. You get back in a few days, right?”
You frown. “Yes? How did you-”
“Don’t ask me questions, just listen to me. When you get back, we’re all going skiing and snowboarding up north ‘cause we have a bye week. We got this huge like twenty person cabin and we wanna make it like a big thing. So we needed one more person to fill up all the rooms, and you’re our golden quota maker.”
You groan. “No Jimmy, absolutely not!”
“Too bad. I already paid for you.”
“You did what?!” Over the years you came to love Jimmy like a brother. But right about now you were ready to shove another tooth in his stupid lip. “Jimmy that’s not fair. You didn’t even ask-”
“Because you know this isn’t up for discussion.” He says simply, and it makes you want to scream.
“You just want me there to fill a bed so you get your money’s worth?” You ask, offended, stepping away from Madison and Gina before they chime in.
There’s a pause, and you can tell you’ve kind of hurt his feelings when he says “No. I want you here because you’re my friend and I haven’t seen you in an entire summer, and now because of your stupid ex boyfriend you’re avoiding the friends you made through him and I feel neglected as fuck.”
You pause. You didn’t even think it was possible for them to even care about you outside of Shawn. You also never thought to sit back and realize that yeah, you’d made genuine friendships with a lot of the guys. Jimmy, Brady, and Kevin were the terrible three, but they’d welcomed Shawn to New York with open arms and did the same to you.
Their girlfriends, even those who had come and gone, had been nothing but friendly to you, and Brady’s longtime girlfriend, Gracia, had been such a good friend to you over the years. Chris had been Shawn’s mentor, but Chris had also been an influence on you, too.
You didn’t even think about the fact that forgetting Shawn meant forgetting the rest of them.
What Jimmy said to you at the bar after the home opening game resurfaces in your mind.
“I feel like you deserve better anyway, especially if the break up was bad enough that you felt like you needed to isolate people from your life who love you whether you’re with or not with him.”
“Jimmy.” You say. “I’m sorry. I never meant to make you feel that way.”
“Oh, I know.” He says, using his ‘I went to Harvard’ voice. “I know you wouldn’t do it on purpose, but you’re still doing it, and this is my revenge. You’re coming on the trip, you’re gonna enjoy yourself for five days, and you’re sharing a room with Shawn.”
You stop dead in your tracks. “I’m what?”
“See you when you get back. I’ll email you the reservation. Meet at my place, we’re getting a bus and leaving from there.”
You’ve got your back to Shawn as you unpack your suitcase, putting your thicker winter gear in the little closet of the room beside Shawn’s things that are already hanging. He’s on the other side of the room, sitting in the little chair by the window scrolling through his phone. The rest of his clothes are still in his suitcase.
If you were together, you’d unpack it for him. But you’re not. So his clothes stay where they are on the floor by his feet.
The entire drive up here you remained silent in the car, keeping your headphones in as you listened to podcasts and soundtracks to broadway musicals to pass the time.
You wanted to interact with everyone, but sitting right next to Shawn made it a little hard. He was pressed against you in the crowded van, that was definitely not a bus like Jimmy said it was. You two hadn’t spoken since the incident at his apartment before Christmas. You hadn’t even seen him since then.
After you told him you didn’t know how you felt, you left, nothing left to be said between either of you. You clearly ruined whatever expectations he may have had, and he threw you a total curveball by telling you he still loved you when you thought for sure you were over him.
And you spent every day since then questioning yourself, questioning if you were really over him. Or if it was all a front.
You continue to move around the room - putting your clothes in the drawer, your toiletries in the bathroom, lining your shoes up near the door - anything to occupy you from actually interacting with Shawn.
But that quickly runs out when you finish unpacking faster than you originally planned.
Shawn can tell that you’re looking for something to do, and he clears his throat from his spot on the chair. “Do you want me to sleep on the couch or something? I don’t mind.”
You sigh, keeping your back toward him as you ruffle through your backpack. “Don’t be ridiculous, Shawn. Sharing a bed with you isn’t the end of the world.”
He scoffs, then says quietly “You don’t make it seem that way.”
You catch it though, and roll your eyes, turning to face him. “Is this how you’re going to be for the rest of the trip? I can leave if I’m going to be a problem for you.”
“I just don’t want you to feel like you have to be with me when you don’t want to be with me.”
You narrow your eyes. “So what, just because I don’t think I’m in love with you anymore, suddenly I’m not allowed to be here?”
Shawn goes to reply when Jimmy pops his head in, telling you all that the group is leaving for the slopes and to get dressed.
You grab your things and head into the bathroom, slamming the door behind you, effectively shutting Shawn out.
If this was how the trip was going to be, you were not looking forward to it at all.
The group had been on the slope for most of the afternoon, the sun high in the sky above you all. The snow was gorgeous and weather in perfect condition, and you were slightly sweaty, but the exposed skin of your cheeks still burned with the cold, nose running behind your mask. You had to admit you were having fun, and you’d been snowboarding alongside most of the group, but the longer you stayed out the more exhausted you were becoming.
“I think I’m gonna do my last few runs then head back to the cabin.” You told Jimmy, and he nodded, motioning for you to go ahead and that he’d follow you.
You head down the slope again like you’d done a dozen times since you’d been out, but this time, you lean too far and end up falling, hitting your head on a patch of snow that had solidified into ice at one point in time. You feel it bounce off the ice, the impact still rattling you through your helmet.
You immediately wince, moving to sit up, but Jimmy is at your side in a second. You hear the chorus of worrying exclamations from your friends, who all surround you not a moment later.
“I’m fine.” You say. “I’m wearing a helmet.”
Jimmy laughs. “You know damn well that doesn’t mean shit.” He says. And of course it doesn’t, you’re talking to the kid who plays hockey for a living and got a tooth lodged in his lip. “You’ve gotta stay down for a sec, okay?”
You groan, shutting your eyes as a wave of dizziness kicks in for a split second as you try to sit up anyway. Jimmy sighs, gently pushing you back down.
“She needs to get to the medic’s cabin.” You hear Gracia say.
“I can take her.” You hear Shawn say.
There’s a pause, then Jimmy intervenes and says “Maybe I should do it.”
“Why? Shawn’s her boyfriend.” Brady says. There’s a tense silence as Shawn and Jimmy don’t respond, and neither do you. “What?” Brady asks again. “He is her boyfriend.” Another pause. “Isn’t he?”
Gracia groans. “Brady, baby, just shut up.”
“I can take her.” Shawn says again, already reaching for you.
“I’ll go with.” Jimmy says. “You can’t bring her down by yourself.”
Together, the two of them help you up and toward the ski lift, where Shawn helps you out of your board before Jimmy makes sure you get in okay, then heads back to the group.
You can feel Shawn sitting beside you, and you keep your eyes shut for fear of anymore dizziness. “It’s okay.” He says, wrapping his arms around you, trying to steady you. “I’ve got you.”
Later that night, you’re all sat around the dinner table, tucked into steak and potatoes that the Shattenkirks whipped up for everyone.
You’re sitting between Shawn and Jimmy, and no one’s talking about the little incident from earlier on the slopes. It’s clear in the atmosphere now that people kind of know that you and Shawn broke up, but no one’s saying anything about it.
The medics said you didn’t have a concussion, but that you definitely needed rest and to be monitored just in case.
Shawn promised to watch you and take care of you until the rest of the group got back. Which you weren’t entirely thrilled about, but it panned out fine. He had helped you back to the house and out of your clothes and gear before leaving you to shower and change in the bathroom. When you came back out, he gave you as much distance as you needed.
Everyone came back not too long after, talking and watching TV around the fireplace before dinner started.
A dinner you were regretting being at.
Conversation was dull, like people were tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, and you were getting annoyed by it very quickly.
You wordlessly finish your meal, standing to guide your plate to the sink. You start to leave the kitchen, thinking the conversation was too busy for anyone to notice.
Until Chris said - “Hey, where are you going?”
You turn to the group, small smile on your face. “I’m just heading to bed early. I’m fine, I just think I’m exhausted from today.”
You head upstairs before anyone else can stop you.
Until you hear someone following you.
You make it to the room before Shawn does, and head to the bathroom without acknowledging him.
When you come out, Shawn’s got the pillows laying against the headboard, TV playing Harry Potter, and you frown a little as he hands you an ice pack.
“Shawn you don’t have to do all of this,” you said, taking it. You climb into bed gently, and he follows suit, staying on top of the covers as you get under them.
“Of course I do,” he said. “You’re hurt. Why wouldn’t I take care of you?” His hand replaces yours as he holds the ice pack toward the sore spot on the back of your head.
“Because you don’t have to?” You say, choosing your words carefully. “We’re not…I’m not your girlfriend? And I don’t necessarily feel the way you want me to about you.”
Shawn doesn’t say anything, and you turn your head to look at him. He meets your gaze after a second, face set into a frown. “That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to feel the way I feel about you. That I’m not allowed to still love you, and care about you, and be concerned when you get hurt, and want to take care of you. Besides,” he says, turning back to Harry Potter, “You took care of me when I was hurt even though you didn’t feel the way I feel. You still cared. So…now we’re even I guess.”
You purse your lips, trying to focus on the movie, but it doesn’t work. You also try to focus on the fact that you…kind of like the fact that Shawn’s taking care of you. That he cares enough to actually want to.
You start to doze off somewhere in between - Shawn’s body heat warming you while his hand holds the ice pack to you - and you can feel him gently trying to shake you out of it.
“Hey,” he says softly, lips brushing against the shell of your ear. “You can’t fall asleep, you might have a concussion.” The doctor’s said you didn’t, you remember, but it could still be possible.
Your eyes open, realizing you’ve got your head on his shoulder and that you’re thoroughly curled into his side, his arm around you while the ice pack rests between your head and the pillow behind Shawn’s arm.
You try to sit up, but Shawn presses a kiss to your forehead. “You don’t have to move, it’s okay. Just don’t fall asleep on me, okay?”
“Okay.” You say, sleepily. He chuckles, his body shaking you as he does.
“I mean it.” He says softly. “You can’t sleep.”
“I’m just tired from snowboarding.” You say. “Adrenaline.”
He squeezes you gently. “I know. But don’t sleep.”
You hum, trying to fight the sleep behind your eyes. Shawn isn’t helping either - he starts to absentmindedly play with the ends of your hair, twirling the still wet strands around his fingers before reaching up a little and running his hand through your hair, fingers scratching your scalp as he goes.
“Does your head still hurt?”
You feel him lean down and press a kiss to your temple, and this time, his lips on your skin wake you up, and suddenly you’re pulling away from him, trying to get out from under the covers.
“Wait,” Shawn pleads, trying to pull you back to the bed. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“It’s fine.” You lie, skin burning still from the contact. “I just need some air.”
“No,” he says. “What you need is to stop running from me.”
His words stop in you in your tracks, have you turning to face him with a frown. Shawn’s standing in front of you, his tall frame towering over you.
“I’m not here for you, Shawn.” You say. “I didn’t come on this trip for you. I came here for Jimmy.”
He raises a brow at you. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“In me being hurt by you, I’ve hurt my friends. Jimmy said so. I didn’t think that getting over you meant getting over them too.” You say. “I’m only here to rectify that.”
Shawn frowns. “You think I don’t see that? Let me try to make it better, too. Let me try to make it up to you.”
“There’s nothing you can do Shawn.”
“Like hell there isn’t.”
Before you can move, Shawn’s crowding you up against the closed door to your shared room, his hands cupping your face as he leans down to kiss you soundly, entire body pressed against you, legs slotting between your legs to ground you to him.
You moan involuntarily - you never thought about this part of your relationship that ended. You never thought about the way you missed his body, the way you missed his lips and his hands, and his never ending hunger for you. You can feel it in the arousal rolling off of his body in waves.
You get lost in the feeling of his hands all over you as he tries to take you in and strip you down all at once. Your hands take purchase on his shoulders, trying to hold yourself up in your lust crazed stupor.
His lips are warm and inviting on your skin, trailing hot kisses from your lips to your neck to your shoulder, where he playfully sucks a bruise. The feeling of his canines scraping against your skin has you arching into him, strangled moan leaving your lips as his hands roam lower.
Shawn’s hands shove your sweatpants down, and you feel him shaking when he get his fingers at the band of your underwear, pushing them down your legs. You take a second to kick the clothing off and to the side, allowing him to lift your leg around his waist.
He grinds into you, planting another hot open mouthed kiss to your skin as he shoves down his own sweatpants and boxers enough to free his cock before you feel it at your entrance, then he’s biting down on your neck as he presses inside.
You haven’t been intimate like this in months now that you realize it. The stretch of his cock is familiar, but one you haven’t felt in quite some time, and it makes you cry out, nails scraping down his biceps as he bottoms out, groaning so loud it makes his chest vibrate.
“My fucking god,” he says, breathing out a laugh. “I missed this. You’re always so tight.”
He takes another moment before he carefully pulls his hips back before pushing back in and you moan again, Shawn working up a steady pace. He’s so into it, so vocal, like this is your first time all over again.
He keeps praising how good you feel, how wet you are and how your bodies were made for one another. It’s desperate and needy and he’s got you coming around him in no time, but he doesn’t stop to let you catch your breath. He fucks you through it, face buried in your neck as you shake in his arms.
“Let me make love to you.” He murmurs. “Let me show you that I love you. That I’m sorry.”
You’re so far gone at this point that you can’t do anything but nod, and he places his hands under your thighs, lifting you up and wrapping your legs around him. He gently places you on the bed, brushing your hair to the side as he drops to his knees, parting your legs.
“Can I?” He asks, looking up at you from under his lashes. “Can I taste you? Please?”
You nod once, and he smiles, tongue lapping at you from your entrance to your clit, collecting your wetness on his tongue and he moans, wrapping his arms around your thighs before burying his face in your cunt, sucking and licking and curling his tongue just the way he knows you like.
“Oh my god,” you breathe out, one hand flying to his hair, propping yourself up on one elbow.
He’s completely eager about it, doesn’t let up until you’re coming hard, back arching off the bed and pressing his face further into you, and his hands lock around, taking everything you’ve got to give him until you’ve come down.
When he stands up, you realize both of you still have some of your clothes on, which you both quickly rectify before Shawn climbs onto the bed. You straddle his hips without a word, without thinking about what this will all mean in the morning.
Shawn lets out a desperate whine when you sink onto his cock and start working up a quick rhythm to make him come. He’s groaning your name underneath you, pulls you down to him then asks “Can I kiss you?”
You answer by pressing your lips to his, not trusting yourself to communicate with words as his hands fall to your hips. He braces himself on his feet and fucks up into you in a fast pace and then he’s coming, burying his cock deep inside of you, swearing and cursing but praising you all at the same time.
It’s a mixture of the sex, the alcohol, and the overwhelming feeling of being like this again with Shawn that instantly fills you with regret.
You don’t want to climb off of him so soon and make him feel like this was a mistake - which it is, it’s a massive mistake - but you also don’t want to just sit here on top of him.
You opt instead for waiting a little before getting off of him and heading to the bathroom, cleaning up in the shower, allowing yourself time to gather your messy thoughts and figure out what the fuck you’re going to say to him when you come out of the bathroom.
Shawn figures it out for you when you enter the room and he’s fast asleep, knocked out against the pillows, stark naked and the sheets and covers on the floor, soft cock resting on his stomach.
Regret fills you as you pull your clothes back on and head downstairs to the kitchen, hoping to have some alone time to think to yourself.
Except Jimmy’s leaning against the counter when you enter, a mug of coffee in his hand and another on the counter, looking at you with a raised brow.
Then you remember - Jimmy’s room is right next to yours.
Oh god. He heard you. He probably heard everything.
Jimmy slides you the extra coffee mug with a smirk.
“So.” He says. “What now?”
Chapter 7: FEBRUARY
It was all far too much.
Madison was staring at you, cheeks flushed red with anger and embarrassment as you took in the surroundings of your apartment.
Dozens of them.
Filling the floors, your coffee table, the couch and armchairs, the side tables, even the kitchen counter. Red, pink, white, yellow, orange, green, even some that were light purple, mixes of colors. They were everywhere and in larger and smaller dozens, and you barely even walked through the door before they were in your face with nowhere to go. No room to move.
Gina sat on one of the barstools at the kitchen table, picking at the petals on one of the bouquets as Madison continues to stew.
“He had all of these delivered to my office.” Madison says to you, trying to keep his voice steady as you shut and lock the door behind you.
“What?” You manage out, too stunned by all of it.
“Shawn!” He finally explodes. “Your stupid fucking ex boyfriend had all of these delivered to my office because he doesn’t know where you live since you moved and he doesn’t know where you work since you changed jobs. He wrote it all on a fucking “I’m sorry” card for me, and on one of the five cards he left for you he said how he misses you. And some other shit I didn’t read.”
You can’t even begin to process this. “What?” You say again.
“They’re for Valentine’s Day.” Gina offers. “But also a peace offering, I think it’s an apology.”
“Do you know what I had to do to get these home?!” Madison exclaims, gesturing wildly towards all the flowers.
Everything finally registers and you shake the daze away, putting your bag down at your feet and shrugging off your coat and boots. You make your way to the coffee table, grabbing the first card you see.
I never should have ruined our anniversary. I never should have told you that I didn’t love you, or that I didn’t want to be with you. I never should have doubted the power of us.
The nights we shared in last month were some of the best nights of my life. I know that it changed a lot for us. I know that trip changed a lot for us. Give me the chance to make things right.
You look around the room at all of the roses, then finally at your twin brother, who’s still visibly upset at the entire debacle. “I’m sorry he did this.” You say.
Madison shakes his head. “You’re not the one who needs to apologize. What I don’t get is why he’s doing this?”
“The ski trip.” You lie, and that seems to shut Madison up.
“I am never letting Jimmy fucking Vesey take you anywhere, everagain.” Madison tells you, pointing for emphasis before he weaves his way through the maze of roses to his bedroom.
Gina gives you a soft smile. “That ski trip clearly meant a lot to Shawn.”
You shrug, feigning innocence as you pick up a bouquet by your feet. “Not sure why.”
She laughs at you. “I think I know why.” You flush red, and she laughs again. “It’s fine. I won’t tell your brother. But maybe you should talk to him. Shawn, I mean. If he’s desperate enough to do this…then…” She trails off, giving you a playful smile.
You shake your head. “There’s no way. Not after…all of that.”
“There’s no harm in trying.”
“I slept with him, Gina.” You say quietly. “I slept with him the very first night, and then the rest of the trip was actually…bearable. But it was too much, just…it made me remember what he was like, what it was like to be with him. It made me remember how much I loved him.” At least you told her half the truth.
It wasn’t just that one night, it was that night and all the nights on the ski trip, but no one else needed to know except you and Shawn.
“What’s wrong with that?”
You frown, looking down at one of the bouquets, picking at the petals. “Remembering isn’t bad. It’s…wanting what I remember that’s the problem.” You say, and that part is wholly true.
You take a seat on the barstool, propping an arm up on the counter and resting your head on your hand. “After that night, the rest of the trip was almost like the break up never happened, or that we were trying to move past it. It was nice for a little, but I just…I knew it wasn’t real.”
Gina frowns. “What do you mean?”
“Gina, he left me because he wasn’t ready for a serious commitment. He wasn’t ready for all the future stuff, for what hethought it was that I wanted. And I mean…I did want all of that, but only when we were both ready. And when he realized that, that he was wrong, by then I’d already started trying to get over him. And when he came back to New York, I was over him. I’d moved on, even if I thought there was a small part of me that still loved him, it was never going to be the same.”
“Do you still think that now?”
“I….I don’t know. When he told me he was still in love with me before Christmas, I thought that there was no way that I could feel the same. After everything I went through with thinking that he didn’t want me, thinking that he and I were done and that I needed to move on, being in love with him again? That was something I couldn’t imagine.”
“And now…after the trip…I don’t know.” You gesture around to all the flowers. “I think I led him on. Made him think we were okay when we weren’t. When I’m not.”
Gina gives you a small smile. “But aren’t you? If you’re this caught up about it. Especially if you’re sleeping with him again. Aren’t you okay with at least the thought of giving it a try?”
You sigh, pulling your phone out of your pocket as you clutch the card in your other hand, Shawn’s offer for an arrangement fresh in your mind. “I don’t know, but I guess we’ll find out.” You sigh, pulling up your contacts and dialing Shawn’s number.
Shawn groans, laying his full weight on you as he thrusts his hips forward. His hands squeeze your hips and press you down onto him, trying to get himself as deep as possible inside of you, and you can tell by the stutter in his breath that he’s close.
“Baby can I-”
“Yes Shawn, please,” you say, grinding down, your clit brushing against his abdomen and you clench around him suddenly as your orgasm hits you like a freight train.
Shawn lets out this guttural noise as he buries his face in your neck, biting down on your flesh as his hips start to stutter, pressing inside of you so deep that you can feel his cock pulse as he comes.
You cry out at the pressure, clawing at his back as he pushes you into the bed, trying to make your bodies as close as possible as he rides out his orgasm.
When he finally calms down, he takes a second to breathe before rolling you both onto your sides, legs tangled together as he sits inside of you still.
Shawn reaches behind him to his nightstand and grabs the single rose you brought with you, a random one you picked from one of his many bouquets. He brings it between the two of you, running the silky petals from your nose, to your lips, resting them in the valley between your breasts before you take the stem from him, shaking your head at the wide toothed grinned he gives you.
“What?” You ask him.
He nuzzles closer to you, pressing featherlight kisses to your cheeks when he says “I wanna take you to Paris.”
You giggle. “What for?”
“Valentine’s Day.” He says. He props his head on his elbow so he can look down at you. There’s definitely a skip in his heart when he sees you, hair sprawled out on the pillows, eyes still hazy from your orgasm. “Next week.”
You frown a little. “Shawn.”
“Just hear me out.” He says, placing a hand on your arm. “We don’t have a game the day before or the day after. It’d be for a few days, sure, but I want to give you the most romantic Valentine’s Day gift ever, and what better gift than a romantic getaway to Paris?”
You shake your head, placing the rose on the bed as you push at his hips, letting him slip out of you as you get off of the bed. “No Shawn. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
You ignore the frustrated sound he makes as you slip your underwear back on, searching the pile of clothes on his floor for your bra and shirt. “Well why not?” He demands.
“Because Shawn, it’s not right. We agreed that this was just sex.” You say, finally finding your bra and putting it on. When you turn to face Shawn, he’s sitting at the edge of the bed, cock hanging limp between his legs, staring up at you with sad eyes.
“You and I both know it’s not ‘just sex’ for me.”
You shake your head again. “I told you, Shawn. You have to stop trying to win me back.”
“I’m not trying,” he says, standing. “I’m already doing it.”
You raise a brow, scrunching your nose up in slight anger. “You’re what?”
“You heard me.” Shawn takes you by surprise when he bends down, hands going under your thighs so he can wrap them around his waist. You squeal, hands instantly flying to his shoulders to steady yourself.
He’s giving you that shit eating grin you used to love so much, looking at you like he won the Stanley fucking Cup. “I don’t have to try to win you back. I’m already doing it. You trusted me enough to sleep with me again. You came over here tonight without me asking you to-”
“I did that to make sure you know how angry Madison is at you.” You laugh.
Shawn isn’t laughing though. “He wouldn’t be mad at me if you just told me where you worked, or where you lived.” He growls a little, nipping at your bottom lip.
He takes you by surprise by turning you and falling to the bed, making sure your landing is cushioned by not laying his full weight on you. He props himself up on his hands and knees, staring down at you as his curls hang from his head.
“You know where I stand. You know that I fucked up and I’ve spent every day since then regretting it, going over the thousand different ways I could go about trying to make it up to you. And slowly, I’m getting there. I can see it. I can see you fighting yourself, not sure whether you should be angry at me or fall for me. I get it, it’s fine. You can try to fight me, push me away all you want. But guess what?”
“What?” You say softly.
“I don’t care. I don’t care if you make me play cat and mouse, if you play hard to get, if you make me get down on my knees and beg you for your attention. I’ll do it. Because I love you. I love you and I want to take you to Paris and put expensive lingerie on you and wine and dine you and you can’t stop me.”
He doesn’t let you respond - he bends down to capture your lips in a soft kiss, fingers brushing hair out of your face so he can cup your cheek. “We’re going to Paris, okay?” He says when he pulls away. “Don’t fight me on it. Just let me do this, for us.”
You frown a little, but nod in agreement. He kisses you again once, twice, before sitting up on his knees.
“You can’t keep me away from you.” He says quietly, like he’s trying to convince himself more than he’s trying to convince you.
You were in a cab to the hotel in Paris Shawn had booked for you both. He arrived earlier this morning, but you convinced him to let you take a later flight, using work and your need to pack thoroughly as an excuse.
You also needed to convince Madison to let you go, since he was still extremely bitter after the whole roses incident.
The truth was that you didn’t really want to spend an entire flight next to Shawn, along with three whole days and nights, and an entire flight back. You also needed time to process everything Shawn had told you last week.
You’d spent months trying to hate him, to move on and get over him, and now this?
Part of you wishes you told Jimmy to shove his stupid ski trip and let you be, but now, part of you was wondering if you should thank him for it, especially since you were on your way to Paris because a boy thought you were worth spoiling for Valentine’s Day.
Madison told you to be careful, that this could be Shawn’s way of trying to sugar coat things to try to make you forget about how he left you with no explanation, how his own insecurities got in the way of everything else.
“Just because he dangles a trip to Paris in front of you doesn’t mean he didn’t break your front door by slamming it so hard because he was angry you couldn’t make walking away from you easier. One doesn’t cancel out the other.”
You tried your best to forget Madison’s words as you approach the hotel.
After a quick shower and changing into something more suitable for Parisian weather, you grab your purse, phone, and room key before heading out of the hotel and down the street.
Shawn had checked into your room earlier, but wanted to give you a moment to yourself, so he’d been out all morning “running errands,” as he said.
He told you to meet him in a cafe not far from the hotel, and when you walked in, you saw him seated at a table tucked into the corner of the place, against the window that looked out onto the street.
He’s wearing a light grey knit sweater and dark blue jeans with white sneakers, his long curls hidden under a “New York Rangers” beanie. His eyes are covered by those expensive Tom Ford sunglasses that he immediately removes when he senses you approaching.
When he finally sees you, he smiles. He takes in your black leggings, Chelsea boots, light pink sweater and tan peacoat, admiring the black beret you’re wearing.
“Hi honey.” He says when you get to the table. He makes a show of standing up, pressing a kiss to your cheek. “These are for you,” he reaches down to the seat next to him and comes back with a bouquet of yellow tulips in brown wrapping and secured with a light purple bow fastened into a ribbon.
You take them with a smile, and Shawn goes to pull your chair out for you, pushing it in gently when you’ve sat down. When he sits down, he leans forward, taking your free hand and holding it in his own. “Did you settle into the room okay?”
You nod, placing the flowers on the table beside you so Shawn can hold your other hand.
This moment is so cliche you could vomit - two lovers reuniting at a cafe in Paris, holding each others hands while the sun shines on them, winter air outside - but you’re trying to remember that it’s just you and Shawn.
It’s not that special.
You can tell by the look on his face that he’s happy that you’re here with him, and that he’s excited to see you, but the flush on his cheeks tells you how nervous he is. “I just wanna make this perfect for you. I have a lot of stuff planned for us.”
“That’s so sweet, Shawn, but…”
He frowns, squeezing your hands tighter. “But what baby?”
“What…what do you want out of this? Like, this trip. And tomorrow - Valentine’s Day. What do you want out of it?”
Shawn smiles softly at you. “It’s not about what I want. It’s about you.”
You pause. “But-”
“I told you about what I want. About all my plans for us and about what I want from us. But you haven’t told me what you want. So, that’s what we’re here to figure out.”
You sigh. You don’t know if it’s the jet lag or the overwhelming feeling all of this gives you, but the words come pouring out of you before you can stop them.
“I don’t know what I want. I only know what I know, and what I know is that I was over you, and now I’m feeling things that I did before, but it’s different now. It’s not the same.”
“Is it bad?”
You look down at the roses, at how handsome he is, and consider the many nights you two have shared in the last month. “No,” you mutter. “Definitely not bad.”
He smiles. “Well then what?”
“I just…I’m still having a hard time coping with what’s /happened/, so I don’t really know how to feel about what’s /happening./ I don’t know what I want exactly, but I wouldn’t mind trying something out.”
Shawn smiles at you, leaning across the table to kiss you soundly on the lips. “Great. Then we’ll start with enjoying Paris.”
That night, Shawn takes you on a date.
It’s a fancy restaurant that Shawn somehow navigates with the little French he picked up from his teammates on Team Canada.
After the cafe this morning you and Shawn went sightseeing, purposefully avoiding the Eiffel Tower because it was undoubtedly going to be crowded what with Valentine’s Day being tomorrow. Instead, you went to a museum, an antique store, and had lunch along the river before heading back to the hotel where the two of you took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner.
It’s been going well so far.
Between the great food, the wine, and the conversation, you were finally starting to feel comfortable with everything going on.
Until it feels too familiar.
There’s a couple who enters the restaurant and one of them looks like Madison, and suddenly his words are in your head again, screaming at you as you look at Shawn, who’s smiling at you like you just agreed to be his girlfriend all over again.
“Just because he dangles a trip to Paris in front of you doesn’t mean he didn’t break your front door by slamming it so hard because he was angry you couldn’t make walking away from you easier. One doesn’t cancel out the other.”
One doesn’t cancel out the other
You try to push down your anxiety. Try to push down that feeling.
Shawn worked hard to pull this off for you both, and you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
“Baby?” He says, reaching for you. “Are you alright?”
You laugh, taking a sip of wine. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired I guess.”
He smirks. “Well, maybe we can go back to the hotel? I did say I was buying you lingerie, and I bought a little something before you got here this morning. I think you’ll like it.”
A flush rises on your cheeks from his words.
“Maybe we could take a walk first? Get some fresh air.” You try to divert the topic, the idea of being intimate right now a little difficult to grasp. “I think the wine’s a little strong.”
He nods, standing and taking out his wallet. “Sure honey, let me just pay and then we can go, okay?”
When he leaves, you take a huge inhale of breath, reaching for your glass of water and downing it, trying to get a grip on yourself.
Realistically, there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing. What he’s doing. Shawn’s been a total darling - he’s done nothing but treat you nicely, and try to make you comfortable and feel…loved.
And that’s the problem, isn’t it? That’s all you wanted from him since he broke up with you, and you spent all this time being convinced that he didn’t love you anymore. Only to find out that actually, he did love you.
He loved you so much it terrified him and he ran because of it. He ran and screamed and broke your door on your anniversary because he loved you so much and was terrified that he couldn’t offer you a proverbial white picket fence future.
And you can’t just pretend he didn’t break your heart on your anniversary then acted like nothing happened.
You talked about this months ago, when he was injured. But youdidn’t talk about it. You didn’t say a damn thing, and you haven’t.
And Madison is right. One doesn’t cancel the other. Paris is beautiful, but what you used to have was beautiful too. You had to talk to Shawn about this.
But were you really going to do it the night before Valentine’s Day?
When Shawn comes back, you force a smile on your face as he helps you into your coat, takes your hand and leads you outside, taking a stroll with you under the streetlights.
He keeps you close, talks quietly about nothing and everything to distract you from your own thoughts. You start to retreat into your own head, and you don’t mean to ask the question right here, right now, but you need to know.
“Did you know that night? When you walked out? Did you know it was a mistake?”
Shawn stops walking altogether and it tugs you back a little. He’s staring at you blankly before hurt finally crosses his features. He takes his hand from yours, shoving it in his pockets.
“How many times do I have to apologize to you for what I did?” He asks quietly, but you can tell he’s fed up by the tone of his voice.
“I’m not asking you to apologize.” You say. “I’m just asking…did you regret it? When you drove away?”
Shawn nods. “Almost instantly. I was so mad at you, that you think I could cheat on you, but it made me realize that you only asked because that was the worst thing you thought I could do. When I told you I didn’t love you anymore, I could tell you didn’t buy it. But when you asked me if there was someone else? That hurt.”
He steps toward you, sighing. “I never wanted you to think it was your fault, and I can tell that you did anyway. And when I drove away that night, when I went home to Toronto, I fucking panicked. I went out of my mind thinking that I was doing the wrong thing, and I was. But I knew I ruined everything. To do it on our fucking anniversary…I knew you must’ve hated me.”
“I did.” You tell him, opening up about it for once. “I hated you. I thought if there was no sympathy in your heart for me, or what we had, that if things were so bad you had to end it on the day, then there was no point in wanting you anymore, or loving you. So I got over you.”
Shawn nods. “I deserved that.”
“I didn’t get why you reached out to me.” You told him, thinking of the countless phone calls and texts. “I thought you were playing around. That you were just stringing me along. So I ignored you. I moved, I changed jobs, I changed my whole life so that when you got back to New York for the season, you and I wouldn’t cross paths.”
“Look how well that turned out,” he teases, and you giggle. You actually giggle.
“I tried to resist you.” You say. “I tried to fight you, because I think deep down I’m still really mad at you. But I think above all, I still love you. And I’m scared.”
Shawn doesn’t hesitate to wrap you up in his arms, tucking you under his chin and holding you tight. You wrap your arms around his waist, burying your face into his chest. “I know you’re scared.” He says softly. “I know. I’m sorry, I wish I could change it, take it all back. But I can’t. All I can do is promise you that if you give me the chance to make us better again. And you can tell me everything, pour your heart out to me about it. I want to hear it. I don’t care if you talk my ear off for weeks about it - you can tell me everything. And I promise I’ll make it better.”
You nod, tears welling in your eyes and wetting Shawn’s shirt.
“I love you, honey. I’m sorry it took all of this to finally get me to give you Paris.”
Chapter 8: MARCH
Lemme rant here for a sec. So without realizing, the Rangers actually played the Flyers today (Nov 23rd, 2018 when I originally posted the chapter on tumblr) in what is probably the WILDEST fucking game I’ve seen between these two since Travis whopped the shit out of Brandon Pirri two years ago.
Also, TRAVIS GOT A GORDIE HOWE HAT TRICK! He scored a goal, got TWO assists against the Rangers, and fought Ryan Strome while looking HOT AS FUCK the entire time, and it was a SHUTOUT for Calvin Pickard, so there’s that.
I still love Jimmy and Brady and Kevin and Kreids (and Shawn I guess in this AU) but…Travis Konecny Owns This Ass™️.
You’ll understand all of my crazy mess when you’re done reading this chapter.
Also, happy post turkey day/shopping like crazy people day.
You honestly didn’t think you’d be able to pull this off.
You’re at a penthouse in some fancy hotel in lower Manhattan and the penthouse is wall to wall with players from the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers - two days ahead of their matchup at the Garden - accompanied by their significant others and dozens of friends.
It’s a joint celebration, the penthouse rented specifically to celebrate the birthdays of Travis Konecny and Brady Skjei. Travis’ birthday was a few days ago and he didn’t celebrate, and Brady’s was coming up in the next week, so Shawn had the idea to throw a joint bash, given that he was childhood friends with Travis and one of Brady’s best friends, and the guys from both teams didn’t completely hate each other.
For a penthouse party it’s not that bad - it’s definitely a classy affair thanks to the party planning skills of women (aka you and Gracia), but with a hint of that signature college fraternity presence that hockey players never seem to be able to get rid of - whether they went to college or not.
Shawn’s got his arm around you as you two sit on the couch mingling and talking with people like old times. The people who knew about your split have expressed their happiness at your reunion, and for those who didn’t know that you two broke up, they look at you and Shawn like you’re closer than ever.
You allow yourself to be happy with it, pushing aside the fear of getting comfortable only for the rug to be ripped out from under you.
The two of you remain on the couch for another moment before Shawn gets pulled into a game of beer pong. He presses a kiss to your forehead before he gets up, heading over to where the table’s been set up by the window.
You take that as your cue to refill your wine glass, and so you saunter over to where the wine sits at one of the high top tables near the kitchen. Jimmy’s already there, sitting on a barstool, on his phone and eating chips right out of the bag.
When you sit next to him, he slides the bag so it sits between you two, and you pour the both of you a glass.
“So I heard from Shawn but I didn’t hear from you - how was Paris?” He asks, taking a chip for himself.
A red flush creeps up your cheeks and you try to hide your embarrassed smile, thinking of the bright red lacy piece Shawn had bought for you that had been ripped to shreds. “It was fun.”
Jimmy sees the look on your face and scowls. “Forget I asked.”
You laugh a little, nudging him in the side. “Hey. I need your advice.”
He nods, taking a sip of wine. “Go for it.”
“I want to start over with Shawn. We talked about it in Paris, about trying again. But I’m scared, y’know?”
Jimmy nods. “I get it. I mean, I don’t know what exactly happened between you two, but I can tell it was bad enough. I just don’t know if this is one of those situations where outside intervention is going to work.”
“Big words there, Harvard.” You tease.
“It’s true though. I can tell you how I feel all day but you two have to figure this out on your own. Do you love him?”
You nod. “I do. I don’t think I really stopped, no matter how hard I tried.”
“And he loves you, obviously.” Jimmy points out. “So the two of you need to figure out what’s going on and then fix it. Work for something else.”
“Something else like what?”
“A fresh start, one that doesn’t involve a reality where he broke your heart, or one where you can accept it and move on.” Jimmy clinks his glass with yours as he stands to leave. “I’ll be back, I’m gonna go check on Hayesy.”
You nod, heading over to the makeshift bar in the kitchen where TK and Brady are. It’s tradition for the birthday boys to make drinks for everyone for a whole hour before they can join in the festivities themselves, but neither Travis nor Brady look particularly put out.
When they see you they both give a little smile and wave, and you saunter over, giving them both a kiss on the cheek and wishing them a happy birthday.
Brady nods thanks, then caps one of the bottles. “Well, that’s our hour up, Teeks.” He smiles, pouring himself a cup of jungle juice from the container near the stove. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find my girlfriend.”
When Brady leaves, it’s just you and TK in the kitchen. He hands you a cup of jungle juice, and you shake your head. “I’d better not. I’m two glasses of champagne and two glasses of wine in.”
Travis rolls his eyes, handing you the plastic cup anyway. “Spare me your boring story and drink. It’s my birthday and I want everyone to get fucked up.”
You roll your eyes. “I’m surprised you’re not already. Since when do you pour drinks without sampling them?”
He blanches at the memory of his nineteenth birthday. “Since I learned my lesson.”
The two of you laugh, and you lean back against the counter, taking a sip from your cup. Travis leans back against the fridge, facing you, stuffing his hands into his pockets.
You’ve known Travis since you and Shawn started dating. Travis, along with Mitch Marner and many others, played with Shawn on Team Canada and you quickly learned that Travis, Mitch, and Shawn were childhood friends - they played on various teams but managed to remain close throughout the years.
Travis has always been that friend of Shawn’s you felt understood you the most, who you were most like. Even if you two rarely saw each other during the year, whenever you did see one another again it was like no time had passed.
He nudges your foot with his own. “Hey, you and Shawn doing alright?”
Of course he’d know. Him and Mitch were probably the only two people he thought to tell.
You nod. “We’re doing better.”
“Are you two together?”
You shrug. “It’s kind of complicated. We haven’t talked about it.” There’s a look that crosses Travis’s face and you shake your head with a small smile. “Oh no, keep your charm to yourself, Konecny.”
He raises his hands in mock surrender, cheeky smile on his lips. “Don’t know what you’re talking about hun.”
You kick at his foot softly, “Do you ever stop being such a troublemaker?”
“Depends,” he says. “Maybe when you stop being so beautiful I’ll stop causing trouble.”
To the outsider this would be a problem, but this is Travis, and you know he isn’t serious about snatching you up or taking you away from Shawn - Travis is one of Shawn’s oldest friends, and you know he’d never actually make a move on you.
But Jimmy wouldn’t really know that.
Jimmy, who is now standing in the entryway to the kitchen, who heard what Travis said.
You groan at the look on Jimmy’s face. “Jimmy it’s not-”
He shakes his head, glaring between you and Shawn. “I think you should go find your boyfriend.” Jimmy says to you, looking right at TK. Jimmy reaches for you, tugging you by the elbow and pushing you toward the living room, where you go and sit with Shawn on the couch.
You plop next to him with a huff, and Shawn laughs a little. “What’s wrong?” He asks, brushing hair out of your face.
“Jimmy’s overreacting. Travis was flirting with me - I mean you know how he gets, right? It wasn’t anything serious - but Jimmy all but banned me from the kitchen.” You roll your eyes, looking at Shawn to gauge his reaction.
Shawn just nods at you, “Yeah, I know how he gets.”
You raise a brow. “You’re not mad about it, are you?”
He shakes his head, plastering on a smile you know is fake when you see it. “No babe, I’m not.” Shawn says, before he kisses you on the cheek, then disappears.
You groan again, grabbing an unopened beer can from the coffee table in front of you. Great.
Jimmy won’t leave you alone for the rest of the night.
He’s by your side, hovering like you’re going to commit a crime any second and it’s getting annoying. You lose interest in the party altogether after a while, especially since you feel like you’re on trial with the way everyone is treating you.
Gracia’s too busy with Brady to hang out with you, and everyone else is paired up, playing beer pong, or in some sort of conversation. You’d go to Kreids, but Shawn’s been hovering by him since you told him about Travis, so that’s a no.
Shawn’s been off since you told him about what happened with Travis, like he’s angry even though he said he wasn’t. You even tried to kiss him when you brought him a new beer and he gave you his cheek, which, yeah, he was definitely mad.
Even Travis won’t talk to you, what with Jimmy’s hovering, and it’s gone from a good night, to you feeling like you’re being grounded.
You drank your anger away, finding solace in champagne and wine and the shitty beer someone brought, but it wasn’t enough. You were drunk, bored, and neglected, and you definitely didn’t feel like sticking around anymore.
So you leave.
You manage to ditch Jimmy with the excuse of grabbing a water, and instead grab your coat and little crossbody bag from the hall closet and leave the party without anyone noticing.
And it’s not until you’re in a cab halfway to your place that the texts and phone calls start to come in. You’re too drunk and fed up with the fact that everyone and their mother seemed to think you were the bad guy, so you ignore all of them.
Did you break up with anyone on your anniversary? No.
So what the fuck.
You manage to get out of the cab and upstairs to your apartment with little to no error, and you sigh when you find a note on the fridge from Madison. You decipher his scrawl that tells you that he’s staying over at Gina’s for the night, and you let out a little “whoop” to yourself, so you grab a water from the fridge to ease your dizziness, and your pint of Chunky Monkey, the container of chocolate frosting, and a chocolate pudding cup to curb your cravings.
You strip down to your bra and underwear in the kitchen before taking your little hoard of food to the living room.
The container of frosting has barely been touched when your phone starts vibrating incessantly from your bag, and you groan, leaning as far as you can without actually getting off the couch to grab it.
Jimmy’s face pops up on your screen and you groan, declining his call right away. Only seconds later, his face pops up and you resign, answering him.
“I just want you to know that your contact picture is you all bloodied in the mouth with your stupid tooth lodged in your ugly lips.”
It’s not really - his contact photo is a picture of the two of you eating pancakes at Bubby’s from last year, laughing with syrup dribbling down both of your chins - but you’re mad at him, so he doesn’t need to know that.
He huffs. “Thanks. Because that makes me feel good.”
“For someone who graduated Harvard you clearly didn’t learn how to take a fucking hint.” You say, dipping your spoon into the frosting container again.
“Stop fucking around.” He half-yells. “Shawn’s furious. You left without saying anything. Where are you?”
“At home.” You singsong.
“And where is that?”
You scoff. “I’m not telling you where I live.”
Jimmy groans your name in frustration. “Can you stop being such a fucking brat and fucking cooperate with me please?!”
“Why should I? This is your fault. Travis wasn’t doing anything wrong. And you know he didn’t mean anything by it. You’re the one who made something out of nothing.”
“It doesn’t matter, we’re playing them in two days.”
“So fucking what?”
“You know how jealous we get!” Jimmy exclaims.
“Oh yeah because Shatty gets real fuckin’ jealous when his wife hangs around you toads.” You spit, words slurring.
“That’s not very nice.” Jimmy says, genuine hurt in his voice.
You’re too tipsy to care. “You started this, Jimmy. Like you said. You clearly know how jealous you get. And now look, Shawn’s so jealous he’s upset at one of his childhood best friends.”
“Look fuck all of that, okay? He just wants to know you’re okay. Now where do you live?”
Without thinking, you rattle off your address to Jimmy then hang up.
The phone call leaves a sour taste in your mouth, so you leave your little hoard on the coffee table and head for your bathroom.
You manage to shower and change on your own with little to no error, and you’ve decided if you’re going to stay up waiting around for Shawn or whoever it is to show up at your door, you’re going to need more than just chocolate - so you order a pizza and queue up Netflix.
You’ve got Jo Koy’s comedy special ready to play up, grabbing another bottle of water from the fridge when there’s a buzz from the speaker on your wall. You press the button to let the pizza guy into the building, and you’ve got the tip change in your hand when there’s a knock on the door.
It’s your pizza alright.
And Shawn’s holding it.
You groan in disappointment, throwing the change weakly at his chest. “I fucking knew it was too good to be true.”
Shawn is unaffected, can tell you’re still a little drunk, so he grabs your money then steps into the space and shuts and locks the door behind him. You take the pizza box and saunter into the kitchen.
When Shawn comes in a few moments later, he pads into the space in his socks, hands in his pockets. There’s that look on his face you pointedly ignore as you take a bite of your pizza.
“What?” You ask around a mouthful. Shawn doesn’t respond, just takes a seat at a barstool and watches you. You don’t like his eyes on you, so you head into the living room and sprawl out on the couch, pressing play on the comedy special.
Only you can’t really enjoy it, because Shawn’s eyes are boring into the side of your head. You groan dramatically, resting your head on the back of the couch.
He sighs. “I wasn’t mad about Travis.”
You snort. “Bullshit.”
“Okay, maybe I was a little jealous, but can you blame me? I’m working my ass off over here to make sure you and I are good. He may be my best friend but I’m not sharing you with him.”
“I’m mad because you left without a single word to anyone and I panicked.”
“Dully noted.” You say, extending your hand out as you focus on the TV again. “Can you hand me another slice?”
You’re surprised when instead of a slice of pizza, you feel soft fingers intertwined with yours as Shawn places a knee on the couch beside you. His lips land on your fingers softly, before he kisses the inside of your wrist, your arm, pulling you closer to him as he places gentle kisses up your arm, shoulder, neck, before placing a sweet kiss on your lips.
You blink, dazed a little when he pulls away, him holding your hand to his chest as he takes a seat next to you. “My heart hasn’t stopped racing since I figured out you were gone.”
And that…makes the alcohol catch up to you very quickly, emotions flooding you all at once. “Shawn, I-”
“My idiot friends don’t bother me. I mean did I get a little jealous? Yes, but I know he can’t make you feel the way I can. And what really bothers me is that when I couldn’t find you, when no one could find you, and I had no idea where you were going because I didn’t know where you lived, or where you worked, I had no clue as to where you and I absolutely refuse to lose you again.”
He cups your face in his hands, resting his forehead against yours. “I know you’re a little drunk, and you probably won’t remember this in the morning. But you can never change the way I feel about you. You’re mine. And if anything happens to you - be it Travis and his stupid fucking charm or worse - I don’t know what I’d-”
You surge forward, pressing your lips against his, pulling him to you by fistfuls of his sweater.
He makes a noise of surprise before reaching under your thighs and pulling you until you’re straddling his waist. His hands roam your body, and it’s then you remember what you’re wearing. You’ve got on sleep shorts with no underwear and a cropped tank with no bra - the easiest things you could put on in your condition.
Shawn moans when he finds you bare under your shorts, hands slipping down the fabric and grabbing a fistful off your ass in each hand. With each passing moment, your kisses become more heated, more desperate.
“Come home,” he says against your lips. “Come back with me.”
“Why?” You murmur, nipping at his bottom lip. “I have a perfectly good bed.”
He chuckles. “If you want to, then yeah, sure.”
You show him how much you want him when you snake your hand between the two of you, rubbing your palm against his hardening cock, swallowing his moans in a kiss. He gathers your hair in his hands behind your head, tugging a little to expose your neck.
“You’re driving me fucking crazy.” He says, kissing the exposed area. “I can’t get enough of you.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” you say, hissing a little when his teeth bite at the skin. “You can have all of me.”
Shawn takes full advantage of your words, wrapping your legs around his waist as he stands. “Which way?”
You gesture toward the open door of your room, and attach your lips to Shawn’s neck as he carries you through the threshold.
He’s about to rid you of your shirt completely when you hear the front door opening, and you immediately place your hand on Shawn’s arms, pausing his ministrations.
He’s already stopped though, looking at you with a raised brow. “Is that-”
“Yeah,” you breathe out. “Madison. But he’s not supposed to be home.”
You hear your twin brother call out your name, followed by “why are your clothes in the kitchen?!”
You groan, motioning for Shawn to stay put as you rearrange your clothes and head into the living room.
“What are you doing home?” You clear your throat, trying to keep your voice even.
Madison raises a brow at your slightly disheveled state, eyeing the pizza box on the counter. “I forgot my phone charger and Gina didn’t have an extra. Why are you-”
He’s cut off by whatever has him narrowing his eyes, and you’ve got a pretty good guess as to what he’s looking at.
Your heart falls to your stomach. Shawn! Why couldn’t you just stay in the room?!
“Shawn.” Madison deadpans. “I see.”
“Madison I-” He raises his hand, effectively silencing you and looking angrier than you’ve ever seen him before.
“No, no I get what’s going on. So things with the two of you are all hunky-fucking-dory now, huh? Good enough that he’s allowed to know where we live now.”
“Madison, you know your sister means the world to me, and I-”
Madison scoffs. “You love her, huh? You love her so much you broke her fucking heart?”
Shawn narrows his eyes. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh don’t I? I don’t know what I’m talking about? Maybe you don’t know, Shawn. Do you know how many nights I had to watch her cry? How many times I had to haul her ass out of bed so she didn’t spend another dreadful day wishing you didn’t walk out?”
You can’t believe this is happening right now. “Madison stop, Shawn and I-”
“Are clearly doing just fucking fine despite everything you did to try and erase him from your life.” Madison spits.
Shawn is ready to say something he’ll probably regret later, but he thinks better of it. “I’m going to go.” He says quietly. He wraps soft fingers around your hand, leaning down and kissing you gently on the forehead. He squeezes your hand before he leaves, slamming the door behind him.
You wince, and Madison laughs. “If he broke another fucking door I swear-”
“Madison stop.” You plead.
He rounds on you then, fury in his eyes. “Are you fucking kidding me? You’re taking his side now?! After everything?” He gestures wildly, stepping closer to you. “I supported you in trying to figure out your feelings, but this? Letting him back in like this. I can’t support this.”
“Mads, I don’t understand, what-”
“I’m telling you that you need to choose. Either get back together with him and go back down the same fucking rabbit hole, or listen to me, your twin brother who knows you better than anyone.”
“Madison! I can’t just-”
“Yes you can! And the fact that you think you can’t, the fact that you have to even hesitate is bad enough. I watched you through all of this, took care of you. He broke your heart and stomped it into the ground because of his own insecurities! I don’t care how much you love him, I don’t care how much he loves you - nothing is going to make me forget how badly he hurt my sister. So you can go and be with him if you want, but if you do, I want no part of it.”
Chapter 9: APRIL
He wished this was an April Fools Joke, wished that you didn’t break his heart the first day of the month. But no matter how badly he wanted to wake up from this nightmare, he knew it was reality.
Shawn knew. He knew deep down if it came to it, you would never choose him over Madison - Madison, your twin, your literal other half, the exact same person you were in male form - because Shawn could never compete with your family, and he never expected to, or wanted to.
It still didn’t make any of it easier - for either of you.
He knew that you were doing it out of respect for Madison, but that there was also some part of you that was doing this out of respect for yourself. Shawn knew that no matter how hard he tried to fix things, how many apologies, romps in bed, trips to Paris, soft kisses in the morning and deep kisses at night - none of that was going to erase the fact that he hurt you.
Shawn didn’t even argue when you told him that you needed to take a step back from what was going on.
“I’m not giving up on us, I’m just...we need to back this up a little.”
“What does that even mean?” He pleaded.
“It means that he’s right, Shawn,” you told him. “Madison is right. No trip to Paris or wild night in bed is going to erase the fact that you left me without a reasonable explanation. You made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, like every day of the three years we spent together was for nothing, like I was nothing to you if it was so easy for you to walk away.”
It took everything in him not to break down and cry.
Everything wasn’t enough.
There were tears in his eyes when you said “I love you Shawn, I don’t think I ever stopped. But I have to figure out if loving you means not loving me - if wanting to be with you again means that I have to act like I didn’t do absolutely anything I had to in order to get over you. I know you want this to be some fairytale ending, but it’s not. Not when you walked out on me on our anniversary and told me you didn’t love me, when really, you loved me so much it you didn’t know what to do anymore.”
When you kissed him goodbye, he wrapped his arms around you and pulled you tight, gripping you in his hands like he was clinging to his last shred of hope. He kissed you with everything he had left to give you, digging down into the deepest parts of himself to give you even more if he could.
He was breathless when you left, shutting his door quietly behind you - all Shawn could think about was the contrast between the quiet and soft way you walked out, and the angry and brutal way he slammed your door when he walked out on you - before he broke down and cried.
In his heart, Shawn knew he couldn’t blame Madison for holding his anger against him. Brother to brother, Shawn could tell that if the same happened to his younger sister he’d probably react the same way.
That didn’t mean he couldn’t still hate every minute he spent away from you, waiting for you to come back to him.
But he couldn’t let this get the best of him. The Rangers were doing good - heading toward a promising Stanley Cup Playoff run, he was earning a point in nearly every game, they had the California road trip coming up - and he needed to keep his head in the game.
So he took a page out of your book, pushed his heartbreak to the side, and while he wasn’t trying to get over you, he was all about trying to move forward, waiting for the day you’d come back to him.
It had been two weeks since you told Shawn that you needed some space, that you had to take a step back and think about everything, and you’d felt more isolated in those two weeks than you had in your entire life.
You had no one to turn to, and you’d never felt so alone.
You’d made your choice, and as angry as you wanted to be at Madison for blowing up instead of just sitting you down and talking to you, you knew that he was right, that he was only telling you the truth.
That didn’t mean you couldn’t still be upset with him.
You only took a step back so you could try to re-evaluate the situation with a clear head. But Madison knew that when faced with an ultimatum like that, you would always choose him, because he’s your literal carbon copy. But you were still in love with Shawn, and if Madison couldn’t accept that you still loved Shawn, then he couldn’t accept you.
By default, you didn’t think you could go to Gina for help, and you definitely couldn’t go to your parents for help either - Madison was their favorite child, and he no doubt told them about every bit of your business with Shawn. Besides, after the damage Shawn did to your front door, and your heart, your parents weren’t his biggest fan.
So your family in general was a no go.
You didn’t feel like talking to Brady or Gracia, Kevin wasn’t going to take you seriously, and you didn’t trust Jimmy anymore to help you deal with things, especially because Madison never would have found out if you didn’t leave the party, and you wouldn’t have left the party if Jimmy didn’t make something out of nothing. You weren’t that close to any of Shawn’s other friends or teammates either, so that was another no go.
Your friend Taylor wasn’t very good at dealing with a problem on this scale, and all of your other friends who were options were only good at listening for their turn to talk, not actually listening to a word you had to say.
You thought things were going good, that you and Shawn were finally moving past this terrible thing neither of you seemed to be able to directly address in full, but it came back to bite you in the ass - hard - and you wished you could just rewind to when this all started to feel a little bit easier.
Feeling like you had no one to turn to but yourself, you left.
You left New York and ran to the only place you felt like you’d be able to find someone to listen.
Shawn, Jimmy, Brady, Chris, Kevin, Adam, Brett, Brendan, Ryan, Neal, and Cody were all packed onto the couches, loveseats, and recliners in Shawn’s living room, each waiting for their turn to play against one another in Fortnite on Shawn’s massive TV.
Their noise, constant chirping and bickering, smelly feet, and incessant need to clean out Shawn’s fridge and pantry of food would normally get on his fucking nerves, but today? He appreciates the commotion, it keeps his head full of things that aren’t you.
But nothing seems to actually stop him from thinking about you. He can’t get you out of his head.
He wonders if you’re thinking about him, if you’re thinking about calling things off, if he really messed things up when he walked out on you almost a year ago. He never meant to hurt you, never meant to let his pride get in the way.
Shawn accepts that clearly that wasn’t the case. His pride did get in the way, and he did hurt you, badly. He hurt you because he was selfish and scared of his own shadow and didn’t know how to tell you that without his own ego getting in the way. He’d been with you for three years, and he trusted you so deeply, but he still had trouble communicating to you the more serious things that went on in his mind.
Shawn remembers the moment he realized he loved you so much it made him jump out of his skin.
He just woke up one morning and saw you laying next to him, naked, lying on your front and head turned away from him, your hair flowing out around you messily in different directions. You were snoring lightly, back rising and falling with every breath.
The sheets were bunched up under your butt, and he admired the curviness of your body, could still see the swell of your breasts even though they were squished against the mattress, and he just...he stopped breathing.
Something about the moment was so natural, so right, made Shawn feel like he could wake up to this every morning for the rest of his life and he was so overcome with love he thought his heart might sink through the floor with how /heavy/ the feeling was.
Not a bad heavy, a good heavy, like his heart wanted to anchor his mind, body, and soul in this moment, like he wanted to stay right here and remember this for the eternity that he felt like he could love you for.
He watched you sleep - watched you toss and turn and he felt like a total creep when he realized he’d been staring at you for at least twenty minutes, but he didn’t want to disturb you.
It was another ten minutes before you woke up for real at the sound of both of your alarms, and the two of you went about your morning routines, getting ready for the day.
He got dressed to go to morning skate, and you got dressed for work.
All through morning skate his mind was on you. He moved robotically, tried to focus on what he was doing but it was no use. Even during video review, he could barely even pick up on what staff and Coach Quinn were telling him.
He showered, changed, took a cab back down to his Tribeca apartment, but stopped halfway through because he saw a storefront out of the corner of his eyes.
The next thing he knew, he was in a jewelry store and had a ring in his hand, ready to just say fuck it and buy it and then...then it was like he snapped out of a trance.
He said “thank you” to the jeweler, left the store, and got in another cab and went home.
Shawn nearly threw up when he finally got in the safety and privacy of his home.
Commitment made it real.
You’d both brought up the future before. Shawn had even said offhandedly a few times “when we get married” or “when we have kids” and he meant it with all his heart.
Except he realized, deep down, that he was ready for those things. He was about to buy you a ring with no second thought and if he put a baby in you tomorrow he wouldn’t even be that bothered.
But he wasn’t ready for those things. Not really.
He’d been with you for three years after meeting you the April right before he started his rookie season for the Rangers.
He bumped into you before the draft, having been called for an interview with the Rangers. He was leaving the Garden when he bumped into you as you were coming out of the Subway, and something just pulled him to you. He followed you to the Starbucks across the street and tapped your shoulder as he stood behind you in line.
Shawn introduced himself, said he was thinking of moving to the city for work later that fall and wondered if you could recommend him places he needed to check out, or things he needed to do while he was in town.
The two of you talked in that small Starbucks for almost two hours, and Shawn went back to his hotel with your phone number burning a hole in his pocket.
The rest of the month he was bouncing back between playing for the London Knights, and any chance he got he made the excuse to be in New York for a meeting with the Rangers, or just to see you. The travel nearly wore him down, but he couldn’t get away from you.
A month later he asked you to be his girlfriend. He thought you’d turn him down, and was more than shocked when you said yes.
“Wait, really?” He asked. “You will be?”
You giggled. “Why not? You’re funny, you’re sweet, and you’re easy on the eyes.”
He’s thankful no one was around to see him blush. “You’re not so bad yourself, honey.”
That August, he moved to New York for rookie camp, and when he made the roster that September, you helped him move in. You knew he was there for hockey, but not to play. He moved in with Brady Skjei, Kevin Hayes, and Jimmy Vesey, who’d already been there for a year.
Settling into his life, into his world was so easy. He wishes things stayed that way.
And now, nearly four years later at 21, he can barely even cook a decent meal without the smoke alarm going off. He’s got hockey for most of the year and when he is in town and not on a roadie, he’s away at the rink, or at games, or napping. Shawn’s good with the babies of his teammates and family members, but he doesn’t know the first thing about raising one, or what it takes to be there for a pregnant woman.
It was all he wanted - was to be with you, now and always - but he was scared of having it. He was scared of giving you a future he couldn’t keep up with.
You were both still so young. How could you be married? Have children? How could Shawn want those things when both of you were still growing up, when you were doing so well in your career and he was doing well in his?
He’d feel terrible if he tied you down, held you back from having a life. As a hockey player he was busy, his mind was elsewhere more than once, he had terrible hours, and he could be traded at any second when his contract was up. You had a great life in New York, one he didn’t want to mess up just by being in it, by being someone you loved so much you’d do anything for.
You were so amazing, and he’d do anything for you, anything to make you happy and help you succeed, help you have that white picket fence dream you always wanted.
Even if it meant being without him. Even if it meant taking himself out of the equation.
He was terrified of not being who you thought he was that he became that very fear.
And now he was paying for it.
No matter how much noise his teammates made in his apartment, it never drowned out the sound of you yelling at him.
“I’m not running away Shawn, you are!”
A soft hand brushed the hair off of your face, quietly murmuring your name. “Wake up, I made breakfast.”
You open your eyes slowly, adjusting to the bright sunlight, before you see your grandmother.
The crinkles by her eyes are emphasized when she smiles at you, her graying hair in a messy bun atop her head. She smells like lavender and sage - a telltale sign that she’s been tending to her windowsill garden.
With a soft nod, she pats your head gently before turning and shutting the door behind her.
You stretch your limbs before climbing out from under the layers of quilts, sitting on the edge of the bed.
You’ve been at your grandparent’s house in Syracuse for the last two days, and when you showed up on their doorstep unannounced and with tear stained cheeks, they didn’t question you.
Your grandmother brought you inside and toward the guest room while your grandfather - still 6’2”, 220 and working their farm every day - carried your suitcase inside.
You were always closer to your grandparents than Madison was, and though your mom was their only daughter, she barely spoke to them lately unless it was an emergency, birthday, or a holiday.
They’ve always been there for you, always allowed you and Madison and your parents to conduct your own lives and promised they’d be there for you if you needed them for honest opinions, and that was exactly why you came.
You sit down to breakfast with her, and she gets you talking. After a few minutes, she levels you with a look that tells you it’s time to talk. With a deep breath, you finally open up to your grandmother, sobbing into your cup of tea at the kitchen table as you recount everything - starting with the night of your anniversary, all the way until now. She listens to you cry, rubs your back, and as you finish your story, taking in shaky breaths, she sighs.
“Oh my little pea.” She says softly. “Your heart’s been through so much.”
“I love him,” you reply. “But I don’t know if I can keep loving him if I don’t tell him how he made me feel.”
“Why haven’t you told him?”
You shrug. “I guess because I didn’t want to reopen the wound. He’s done so much to make it right, but I feel like if I address it, he’ll be upset.”
Your grandmother shakes her head. “If he really loves you, he won’t be upset. He’ll take what you say and your feelings to heart and work his ass off to actually make it right, and to continue to make it right.”
You sigh, burying your face in your arms. She rubs your back in soothing circles. “You need to go to him, little one.”
You look up at her in disbelief. “Why?”
“Because you need to talk this out. And you both need to understand that it’s okay to love someone, but not if it means compromising who you are. Him with commitment, you with your feelings on...well, all of this.” She gently brushes your hair back, wiping your tears. “I get that you love him and want to be with him but you need to start over. You understand his fear, but it wasn’t right for him to take those things out on you and have your relationship suffer.”
You nod. And she smiles. “Sweetie, you love him, but you need to talk about this. You two have got to learn to communicate better, and then maybe the two of you can start over slowly instead of just going back into the swing of things.”
“Thank you Gram.” You say, and allow her to pull you into a bone crushing hug.
“You’re welcome,” she says. “What are grandmother’s for?”
Chapter 10: MAY
You feel dead on your feet, dragging your weight down the hall as you lug your suitcase behind you, backpack heavy on your shoulders. You grab the spare key from under the mat and let yourself in, leaving your suitcase and backpack by the door.
After a nice hot shower, you throw on a worn shirt and boyshorts you manage to dig out from your suitcase and make your way to the bedroom, where you’re slightly surprised to find Shawn’s bed empty.
You were way too tired to argue with Madison when you got back from Syracuse, so you decided that going straight to Shawn’s place was the better choice. The late time on the clock makes you think he’s out with the boys, so you just say fuck it, climb in bed and fall fast asleep.
When Shawn gets home two hours later, at one in the morning, he’s got a dopey smile on his face, body warm from all of the whiskey and tequila that Mika shoved down his throat in celebration of Shawn getting a hat trick in game four against the Pens. They’re in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Shawn’s using the game as a chance to keep himself busy, keep himself distracted from you.
Except, when he gets home and sees your things scattered all over his living room, his heart starts to race a mile a minute. Part of him wonders if this is another one of his dreams, if his drunken stupor is creating this illusion of you being back with him, but when he stubs his toe on your suitcase he realizes that this is definitely real.
And when he sees you sound asleep in his bed, he knows for sure he isn’t making this up.
He’s so happy to see you he lets out an inhumane noise, jumping up and down in excitement but stopping when you begin to stir. Part of him just wants to wake you up and kiss you senseless, but he can see from the deep set in your eyes that that’s probably not a good idea.
Plus, he smells like the bathroom floor of a bar.
Shawn quickly showers, scrubbing himself clean before slipping on a pair of briefs and climbing in next to you. When he wraps his arms around you and pulls you tightly against him, you make a little noise, and he hushes you, kissing you on the shoulder.
“It’s alright baby.” He says. “You’re okay. Go back to sleep.” And because he can’t help himself, he says “I love you.”
You stir, adjusting in his arms. “I love you too, Shawn.”
He falls asleep with the biggest smile on his face.
You wake up to soft humming in your ear and legs tangled with yours.
You stir slightly, twisting in Shawn’s arms and giving him a sleepy smile. He keeps humming, a love song you haven’t heard in awhile, and then peppers kisses all over your face. You giggle, squirming out of his grip.
He whines a little when you leave him to pee and brush your teeth, but he idles in the bathroom not long after to do the same thing. You sit on the bathroom counter while he rinses out his mouth, then smiling softly when he grins at you after he washes his face.
Shawn starts humming again as he pats his face dry with a towel, tossing it into the corner and stepping between your legs, placing his hands on your hips.
The smile on his face is so wide you can’t help but laugh, pressing a kiss to his nose. “What’s gotten into you?”
“I’m just happy you’re here. Happy you picked me.” He says, emphasizing it with a soft kiss to your lips. You let him do it, let the kiss linger for a second before his words finally register in your brain.
Softly, you push him away from you. “What? What are you talking about?”
“You chose me.” He says with a grin, like it’s obvious.
You shake your head. “No Shawn, I didn’t choose you. I chose myself.”
He looks bewildered and heartbroken. “What do you mean?”
“I mean this is it, Shawn. This is the end of the line for what we had.”
His eyes widen, and he takes a step back from you, his hands falling to your knees. “You’re breaking up with me?”
“No no no,” you say, grabbing his hand and pulling him back. “I mean that this is me saying we’re moving on. Everything that happened before, everything we went through, everything you were scared of - we’re moving on. I want to do this Shawn, I want to be with you, but only if you want that too.”
“I do.” He insists, crowding into your space. “I really do.”
You smile. “Shawn, I need you to understand. Madison was right. What you did…the way you did it, it sucked. And I know you’ve apologized, but are you really sorry you did it? Or are you sorry that it hurt?”
He looks down, staring into your lap. “Both if I’m honest. I know that I can’t, but I wish I could take it back. And if I could go back in time and do it over again, I’d do it in a way that wouldn’t hurt you.”
“What about actually telling me how you feel when you feel it?”
He looks up at you, frowning. “I couldn’t have told you that. Not…no. I couldn’t.”
“You couldn’t have told me you were feeling scared? Or that you felt I wanted things you weren’t ready for?”
“I know you wanted those things. I want them too, I just-” He says, and you put your hand over his mouth.
“Listen to me, honey.” You say. “I know. We’ve been over this. The future we imagine and both want but you weren’t ready for. You still could’ve told me. You should have told me. About your fears. If you thought things we moving too fast you should have said something to me. If you love me, if you trust me, you should be able to communicate with me. We have to talk these things out and if we don’t, how do you expect us to work through those things?”
Shawn shakes his head, hanging his head in shame. “You don’t understand.” He says quietly. “I almost bought you a ring. I was ready to just go all in with you, and then…I just panicked.”
His admission makes your heart race. “What?”
“I woke up one morning and you just looked so damn beautiful. Nothing was out of the ordinary, I just saw you and I knew you were it for me.” He looks up, cheeks flushed as he confesses. “It was after my morning skate. I was on my way back here and I saw the shop. I picked out the ring, I had my card out and I just…I didn’t do it. I left without it and all I could think about was how I wasn’t ready to be what you needed me to be. So I thought breaking up with you would be the best thing to do.”
There’s a small pause as you take in what he said. You had no idea he had done those things, but regardless, it’s in the past. You cup his face in your hand, trying to bring his attention back to you.
“Shawn.” The firmness in your voice brings his eyes back to yours. They’re a little watery, but genuine nonetheless. “This is why we have to communicate, okay? You can’t like the things you’re afraid of control what you do. If you had just talked to me about how you were feeling we could have worked it out. I don’t want to make any major decisions if we’re not on the same page.”
“I didn’t want to take advantage of you anymore.”
“You weren’t though.” You said. “Everything I did for you was by choice. Because I love you and I wanted to do it. If I felt like I was being taken advantage of I would’ve said something.”
“I understand.” He says. “I am sorry. Really. I get that lying and doing the most drastic thing wasn’t the best idea. I know it was wrong and I wish I could take it back. And I know I don’t deserve you, or a second chance. But if you’ll let me, if I can, I want to try to be better for you.”
You smile softly. “I think we can work something out.”
He sniffles a little. “I don’t want to be this guy, but I don’t know what I’d do without you. You mean so much to me…I’m just not ready to let go of us. I suck at showing it, but you’re it for me.”
You kiss his nose. “I know Shawn. You’re it for me too. But if we’re going to do this, we have to start over, okay? We have to do this better. Talk to each other, be honest, all of that. I want this to work, but only if you promise me that you’re going to be open with me.”
He nods. “I swear.”
“This is the end of the line, Shawn.” You say firmly. “I mean it. No more lying, no more shitty communicating, no more not talking to each other. Okay?”
“End of the line.” He nods. “Okay.” He opens his mouth to say something, then shuts it. You giggle a little.
“What is it?”
“Can I kiss you now?” He asks, sheepish.
You grab him by the collar of his shirt and pull him to you, capturing his lips in a heated kiss. The suddenness of it all stuns Shawn, and he braces himself on the counter, hand on either side of you as he drinks you in, pressing his body as close to you as possible.
With a deep sigh, you turn the key in your apartment door and walk through, shutting it behind you when you see Madison sitting on the couch, XBox controller in his hand.
He nearly drops it when he sees you, but manages to reign it in, keeping his expression hard and bringing his eyes back to the TV.
“Did you have fun with Gram?” He asks, condescending. When he looks at you again, he does a double take at the lack of baggage in your hand. “Where’s your things?”
You shake your head. “I’m not staying here, Madison. I’m not coming home until you cut the shit and let me live my life.”
Madison tosses his controller to the side, staring at you angrily. “Is that so?”
You groan. “Look. I love you, you know I do. I also get that you’re being my brother and trying to protect me, but you can’t tell me who I can and can’t be with, and you can’t make me choose between you and Shawn, because you know that’s not fair.”
“How is that not fair?” He scoffs.
“What would you do if I made you choose between me and Gina?” Madison goes silent. “Exactly. You would hate me if I made you choose, you know that. So how is it okay for you to do the same to me? You can be mad at Shawn for what he did, but the decisions I make about my relationship are my decisions, not yours.”
He narrows his eyes. “I take it you’re telling me this because you’re back together.”
“We’re working on it, yes. And if you’re my brother, if you’re trying to do what’s best for me, then let me be an adult and work on it myself. And if I need you, I will ask you for your help.”
Madison doesn’t say anything. He reaches beside him and picks up his controller again, resuming his game.
You sigh. “Fine. I tried. I’ll just grab some clothes and I’ll be out of your hair, and you can call me when you’re ready to talk to me.”
Without another word you head off to your room, grabbing a large duffel bag and start grabbing clothes to stay at Shawn’s. Your suitcase full of lounge clothes wouldn’t get you through work, so you pack as much as you think you need without it being too heavy or having to make another trip.
When you come out, Madison is still on the couch playing his game. You pass him completely, heading for the door without another word.
It’s not until you hear the little sniffle that you stop in your tracks, turning to Madison who looks like he’s about to cry.
You drop your bags and go to sit next to him, and he immediately pulls you into a hug. He sighs deeply, tears falling silently onto your shoulder. “I’m sorry. I don’t like it right now but I’ll come to terms with it eventually. I just want the best for you.”
“I know Mads, I know.”
“I’m not crying. I just don’t like fighting with you.”
You laugh. “Okay, whatever you say.”
“I respect your decisions.”
“I know. And I respect yours.”
“You’re still not allowed around Jimmy Vesey.”
You chuckle a little, patting Madison on the back. “I don’t know how well that’s gonna work.”
“Well it was worth a shot.”
Eventually, he pulls away, smiling softly at you. “Does that mean you’re going to come back home? Because we’re almost out of groceries and you know I hate going alone.”
“No!” Jimmy exclaims, taking your menu away. “Don’t order a mimosa! The mimosas here are eleven dollars.”
Shawn rolls his eyes, shoving a glass of water into Jimmy’s hands as he takes your menu back, handing it to you. “Good thing you’re paying for it then.”
“Why am I paying? It’s not even my turn?” Jimmy grumbles in response, throwing a glare in your direction.
You respond with a sweet smile of your own. “Because you’re a troublemaker and you owe me.”
“What? I’m the one who helped you two get back together. If anything you owe me.”
Brady slaps Jimmy over the back of his head with menu. “Just shut the fuck up and figure out what you want.”
Bubby’s is crowded for a Tuesday afternoon, probably due to the warmer weather, and you’re sat in a corner table near the front of the restaurant with Shawn, Jimmy, and Brady. They’ve got a day off between playoff games, and with all the stress of Round Two you decided it would be good for them to take a much needed break on their day off.
Today’s also your would-be four year anniversary with Shawn, and while you both felt like you should be doing something with just the two of you, in the end you thought better of it. Besides, why celebrate something that you both didn’t want to think about anymore?
A waitress comes by and takes your orders, and Brady makes a thing of telling her that it’s all going to be on one bill, and that the bill will be going to Jimmy. Jimmy grumbles a little, but you can tell when he gives you his pieces of bacon instead of keeping them for himself that he’s not mad at you.
In fact, you know he’s not mad at you when after he pays, he goes to the bathroom and comes back with a Bubby’s mug for you, a dopey smile on his face.
After brunch the plan was for the two of you to join Jimmy and Brady for some shopping, but when you leave, Shawn tugs you in the direction of his apartment instead, waving a quick goodbye to Jimmy and Brady, who seem to be in on it, because they don’t bat an eyelash at your departure.
Shawn’s got your hand tight in his the entire way, and only lets go once you’re back in the safety of his apartment, door locked behind you both.
“Shawn?” You ask when he starts to bounce a little.
“Just…sit at the counter, okay? I’ll be right back.” You take a seat on one of the barstools at his kitchen island, watching as he disappears down the hall to his bedroom with a curious smile.
When he comes back out, he’s wiping his hands on a pair of sweat-shorts and he heads straight for the freezer, pulling out two tubs of your favorite gelato. You take the spoon he offers you and you both dig in after Shawn sits down. You eat in a comfortable silence, but Shawn keeps glancing at you every five seconds, the small box burning a hole in his pocket.
“Alright,” you say, licking your spoon. You’re at a good stopping point - you’ve put a decent dent into your tub - so you ask “What’s going on?”
“What?” Shawn asks, pretending to not know what you’re talking about.
“You only break out the not-diet-plan-approved-gelato when you’ve got a lot on your mind. So what’s going on?”
Shawn makes a small noise, before he shoves his hand in his pocket, sliding the box along the counter to you. He doesn’t take his hand off though, tells you “I just…I told you I was going to get it before, and that I didn’t. Well, the other day I went back to the place and they still had it? So I bought it. Because I still think you should have it, because you deserved it in the first place, but I plan on buying you another, so don’t get too attached.”
The confusion on your face has him lifting his hand off of the box, revealing it to you and you gasp a little.
“You don’t have to open it.” He says. “I just…I should’ve bought it when I had the chance. I know we’re moving on from that and what not, but I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else having it. Not when you deserved it from the start.”
You stare at it a little, then quietly, you ask “You’re going to buy me another?”
Shawn raises a brow, a small smile playing on the corner of his mouth. “Yeah, I plan to.”
Wordlessly, you open the box, slipping the ring onto your left ring finger before picking your spoon back up, dipping back into the gelato. Shawn doesn’t say anything either - nothing really needs to be said, you both know where this is going - so he just presses a cold, wet, and sticky kiss to your cheek before digging back into his own tub.
Chapter 11: JUNE
You’re so fucking beautiful.
Shawn can’t stop looking at you.
He woke up to pee almost an hour ago, but when he came back, you had turned onto your back, hair spilling around you in messy tendrils and your face at ease, peaceful in your sleepy state. Your mouth was parted slightly, breathing coming out in soft.
It wasn’t hard for him to make out your naked silhouette from under the sheets, and he admired the way the fabric rested around the swell of your breasts, your curves, dipping slightly between your thighs.
Shawn wanted you so badly, but it would have to wait until later tonight.
Quietly, he sits next to you, brushing stray hairs out of your face and pressing a soft kiss to your forehead.
You manage to stir awake almost immediately, and when you open your eyes, Shawn kind of loses his breath a little.
“Baby?” You ask after a minute, giggling at the look in his eyes.
He shakes his head, trying to focus when he realizes you’ve caught him staring at you, and he holds out his hand. “Wanna shower with me? Then we can go get breakfast before our flight to Boston.”
You raise a brow at him in suspicion. “Are we just showering? Or no?”
“Yes, I promise, no funny business.”
You stare at his hand a beat longer before you take it, and Shawn helps you out of bed, steadying you as you limp to the shower.
Once you’re both clean, dry, teeth brushed and clothes on, you and Shawn head out of his apartment and down the elevator toward the garage, climbing in his car toward a diner. You’ve already got your suitcases stored in the boot of his jeep, ready to head straight from his Toronto apartment to the airport.
(He removed his hockey bag last night, stowing it away in the guest room on purpose, wanting to put the fresh wound of being knocked out in Game Seven of Round Two of the playoffs by Sidney fucking Crosby.)
You were both catching a flight to Boston to stay at Chris Kreider’s house. He was having his annual summer barbecue for the Rangers at his house, but he invited you and Shawn over a couple of days earlier to hang out with him and his new girlfriend, Sage. Chris was like a big brother to Shawn, so there was no way either of you could say no.
Admittedly you were nervous, because you missed the barbecue last year, and everyone eventually found out why, but these were Shawn’s teammates who you’ve known for awhile now, along with their significant others, so why wouldn’t you agree?
Throughout breakfast, Shawn keeps knocking his feet against yours, hooking your ankles together at one point because he needs to keep touching you. He smiles around bite of waffles and sips of his coffee, just admiring the way that the sun hits your eyes, and when you take care of the bill for your meal, Shawn slips a napkin in your direction, his phone number and name written on it alongside a poorly drawn heart.
At first you want to roll your eyes at his corniness, but in the end you find yourself in a fit of giggles, and stuff the pocket into your shorts.
His affection doesn’t let up the entire way to the airport - not in the line for airport security, not as you wait at the gate, and when you’re on the plane you have to convince him not to drag you into the bathroom to join the mile high club, and you tuck his blanket around him so he doesn’t try anything funny at your seats.
Shawn is downright antsy when you land in Boston, only mildly toning it down when you make it outside to the curb where Chris is waiting in his car. After putting your luggage in the boot, Shawn joins Chris in the front seat, giving you time to relax in the back all by yourself.
The two of them talk their usual - hockey, video games, books, upcoming charity events - throughout the half hour drive to Chris’ house in Boxford, and when you arrive, it’s well into the evening.
After a quick dinner with Chris, the three of you head your separate ways, you and Shawn heading off to your room for the week. You both shower separately, you going last, and when you come out, choosing to remain naked, Shawn - also naked - holds his arms out, body exhausted from the travel, beckoning you to cuddle with him.
You climb into his arms without a second thought, and he winces, brushing your hair to the side with a huff. “Get your spaghetti hair out of here.”
You snort. “My what?”
“Your hair feels like wet spaghetti,” he teases after a yawn. “Cold, wet strands.”
“Glad to know you think so.”
He smiles, pulling the blankets so they rest over you, reaching to the bedside table to turn off the light. You settle against him, burying your face into his chest.
“I love you.” He murmurs. “Till the end of the line.”
“I love you too,” you respond, pressing a kiss to his chest. “To the end of the line.”
There’s something tickling your naked back, and it takes you a little while to wake up from your nap and identify the source as Shawn’s lips. You’re lying on your front, sheets pooled around the backs of your thighs, your right leg propped to the side and arms tucked under your pillows.
The further down your back Shawn gets, the longer his kisses last, and soon they become open mouthed kisses against the skin of your ass, his teeth nipping here and there, then soothing the area with his tongue.
It’s not long before his hands join in, fingers scratching gently down your back, gripping handfuls of your ass and kneading the skin. He takes his time, letting the minutes pass as he showers your skin with heated, open mouthed kisses, little nips and licks, hands working in tandem and massaging your ass in his large hands.
Gently, he parts your cheeks, and you feel him shuffle down the bed before his warm breath fans across your exposed heat. You feel a tentative swipe of his tongue from your clit, to your entrance, giving a teasing little lick to your asshole which makes you squeal, flinching away from him.
He growls playfully, fingers digging into your hips and pulling you back to him, his lips and tongue immediately latching on to your pussy, sucking your lips and clit into his mouth with a satisfied moan.
You moan quietly into the pillow, allowing Shawn to push your bent right leg up and closer to you, giving him more access. He takes a deep breath, inhaling your scent as he licks you up, getting a full taste of your wetness and sucking your clit into his mouth, pulling at your lips and making you squirm, inadvertently moving away from his face.
He whines low in his throat, gripping your hips roughly and pulling you back again. “Stop taking it from me. I’m not done.” He licks you again for emphasis, tongue flat against you. “I haven’t tasted you in so long.”
“But we has sex the other night.” You remind him, since he was acting like he hadn’t seen you in months.
Shawn hums. “That’s too long, baby.”
“Isn’t Chris home?”
He shakes his head. “Went to the gym. Said he’d be gone awhile. You’re all mine.” His tongue slips inside you and you keen out, pushing back into his face. He lets out a long moan, hands pushing your hips down so he can smother his face with your pussy, tongue lapping at your wetness with eager licks, his lips and tongue making the most obscene noises.
He starts to move you up and down his face, and the friction against his stubble and brushes against his nose have you shaking through an orgasm in no time, Shawn lapping eagerly at you.
You think for a second once he’s cleaned you up he’d let you go, but instead, he brings one hand under you to flip you on your back, throwing your legs over his shoulders and wrapping his arms under them, joining his hands on your lower abdomen, locking himself in place as he continues to lick you up, tongue dragging up and down your folds.
You start to shake from the overstimulation, pushing gently at his head. “Shawn, baby wait, I’m too sensitive.”
He kisses you once, pausing to say “But I’m hungry, honey.” As if that’s enough of a justification, but your further protests are immediately halted when his mouths returns to you, sucking your clit into his mouth hard, brushing his tongue against it, adding to the pressure.
You’re coming again in seconds, shaking against him, back arching as you lift off of the bed, but Shawn keeps his arms around your middle, anchoring you to the bed, not letting you escape him. He takes in all you have to give him, moaning at the taste, his moans sending vibrations against your skin that have you cooing out his name, thighs locking around his head.
It drives Shawn crazy, and he can’t get enough. Your release has him grinding his hips into the mattress to seek some relief for himself. You just came twice and he’s desperate for more, wants you to keep moaning and crying out for him. Something wicked ignites inside of him, and he can’t help himself - he needs more from you, wants you to come until you’re breathless, till the only thing you know is his name.
He thinks “fuck it,” and while you continue to spasm, he sits up and back on his haunches, thumb rubbing gentle circle on your clit to keep you in a high, spitting into his hand and slicking up his cock before he pushes your legs to the side, wrapping them around his waist as he slides into you, taking his time as he fills you to the hilt.
The sudden fullness of him makes you scream, coming again under him in a daze, and Shawn comes down on top of you, cradling your head and burying it into his neck, allowing you to moan and bite at his skin to keep yourself sane.
He’s given you three orgasms in under twenty minutes and you’re completely spent, but judging by the urgency in his thrusts, you know he’s not anywhere near done with you. His pubic bone brushes against your clit and you can feel another orgasm building.
Shawn can feel you getting tighter, getting wetter, closer to your peak and he moans your name into your ear, placing his full weight on you as his hips push into you. “Baby,” he whines desperately, “please come for me. Come again for me.”
The pressure of his cock deep inside of you and his friction against your sensitive clit sends you spiraling, eyes squeezing shut, tears streaming down your face as your mouth opens in a silent cry, body shaking under Shawn as he wraps his arms around you, holding you tight to him as he trembles himself. “You get so fucking tight for me when you come,” he growls, capturing your lips in a hard and fiery kiss. “Feels like your pussy’s sucking my cock deeper inside of you. You want more baby?”
You answer in incoherent mumbles, raising your hips to meet his a little, and Shawn brushes the hair out of your face, presses another kiss to your lips in an attempt to get you to focus, but it’s no use.
He woke you up with his mouth on you, barely giving you a chance to breathe before he decided you’d come for him over and over - there’s no way you can think coherently right now, now like this.
Thankfully for you, it’s not long before Shawn starts to lose it, moaning your name as his thrusts speed up, getting deeper and more aggressive. He changes the angle, sitting up to place your thighs on either side of you, legs resting over his shoulders. He places one arm on your thigh, gripping it tightly, wrapping the other behind your head, keeping you close to him. He buries his face into your neck, sucking a hickey into the skin as his hips stutter, punched out moans coming from his mouth.
“M’ gonna come honey,” he manages to get out. “Gonna come deep inside you, make you mine, yeah?” All you can do is nod, whining out his name, and that seems to do the job.
He groans out, low and deep, pressing his hips inside of you and you feel as he comes, cock pulsing inside of you. You can tell it’s a lot, judging by the way you feel it start to leak out of you.
After you both take a moment to gather yourselves, Shawn sits up and pulls out slowly, taking the time to watch his cum drip out of you and onto the bedsheets. He rubs soothing circles into your calves, praising you quietly.
Your head lolls to the side, feeling sated, when you start to giggle, bringing your hand up to cover your eyes.
Shawn raises a brow at you, tickling your side playfully. “What is it baby? What’s so funny?”
You lift a finger, pointing it lazily at the floor to ceiling window of the guest room. “Window’s wide open.”
He blinks, taking in the fact that yes, the curtains are pulled back and the sunlight is leaking in through the glass, displaying the mid morning state of Chris’ backyard.
“Well would you look at that.” He murmurs, smile wide on his face as he takes in the sight of you.
The sunlight coming in catches on the ring on your finger, the one you haven’t taken off since he gave it to you last month. Despite the fact that it’s not the real one, you still wear it anyway, and he loves that you love it that much, loves that you can’t wait until he gets you the real one.
Or, more like gives it to you.
He already bought it, the ring he wants to propose to you with, has it in his backpack, but he knows it’s not time to give it to you just yet. Not that you haven’t earned it, not that you don’t deserve it, but he wants you to feel better about the two of you, feel like this is definitely what you want. He wants you to be ready, wants you both to talk about it first before he just drops down on one knee.
But at the barbecue the next day, in front of everyone, completely on a whim because he can’t stop looking at you without wanting to hold you close, he says “fuck it” to all of that.
Shawn drops down on one knee anyway.