The sunlight was pouring through the window to his right and hitting him directly in the eyes. Alex, blinked a couple of times, getting his bearings, before looking down. There, curled against him, her face on his chest, and even a little drool lying there, was Maggie. This was the third straight night she had spent at his house. It had been almost two weeks since they met and Alex had to catch a flight tonight to Carolina for a three game road trip.
For the first time in his life, he wasn’t excited about an away series. They’d had that away game the week before, but this was an actual road trip. He was going to be gone for five days. Staring down that the sleeping woman in his arms, he didn’t want to leave his bed let alone the city. What were they going to do if they weren’t in each other’s company? He’d talked to a couple of the married guys on the team, seeking their advice in matters of the heart. Billy had been the one that had really helped him.
At the optional skate on Monday, Alex had managed to pry himself away from the warm bed and warm body that had kept him awake all night. He showered quickly, washing the smell of all-night sex off his body. There was nothing he could do about all of the marks, but at least he didn’t smell like he’d been fucking all night. He’d stumbled into the locker room looking like a homeless person, dressed in the first clothes he’d grabbed, and Billy had clapped a hand on his shoulder.
“So when’s the date boy?”
“Date for what?”
“For the wedding?”
“Please! This is just the honeymoon stage of our relationship. There are no wedding bells in the future,” Alex replied with a nervous laugh. How did Billy know that his thought shad centered around that already? It wasn’t like Alex didn’t know that it was a crazy idea… but he couldn’t help himself. If they weren’t having sex then they were talking. He felt like he knew more about her than he knew about his own mother.
“No son, in a honeymoon stage you’d be making goo-goo eyes at one another across the room, calling each other silly pets names, and you’d write her poetry or something.”
“Well, she does call me babe from time to time. And she doesn’t like poetry.”
She did however, love music. Mainly country, but every once in a while they had one of their iPods docked and a song would come on that she loved that was another genre. The first time it happened, he was stunned as she sang all the words to Hotel California. Alex was pretty sure he fell in love with her as she used the remote control as a mic and sang from on top of his couch cushions.
“You don’t make goo-goo eyes either. I’ve noticed. You may look at one another when the other isn’t watching, but it’s more than gooey mush that’s pouring out of your eye sockets. Trust me, I’ve been there.”
“Come again? You’ve gone through what I’m going through?”
“Damn skippy! And I’ve got a great marriage and you don’t think the stork brought those four kids of mine do you?.” Whoa, didn’t see that coming.
“No, my other wife and kids! Yes Kara. Met her in a coffee shop on my way to a game. She didn’t even know who I was. We clicked right away, stayed in my bedroom except for food and my games for three days, got married two days later.”
“That’s insane! You’ve got to be like the exception to the rule man! I mean, I’m thinking I’m in love with her, not that I wanna marry her.”
“Ha, you don’t think so… I have a theory. Let’s play a game. First answer that pops into your mind.”
“Ok,” Alex said warily. He wasn’t sure where Billy was going with this, but he tried to clear his mind so that he wasn’t thinking of possible answers to the unknown questions.
So there they sat, down on the side of the rink, backs to the boards, and Billy peppered him with inane questions for five minutes. Then he’s snuck in ‘do you love her’ and Alex had just blurted out yes. He’d tried to deny it, tried to blow it off, but Guerin had just leveled him with a look of don’t-try-that-with-me. As the second round of questions came in, Max and Staalsy had joined the two of them, listening to the two of them banter back and forth. When the question of marriage came up, Alex found himself smiling as he said yes. Billy laughed as the other two had looked on, shocked.
“Very good. Now you just need to find out how she feels about you and the possibility and then make sure you invite me to the shin dig after the ceremony!”
Now, two days later, Alex was debating on what to say to Maggie before he left. Did he tell her he loved her? Did he wait until he was gone and he called her? What does a guy do in this type of situation? He was ninety-nine percent positive that she was in love with him, but he had no idea what her thoughts on a two week courtship would be. He ran his hand over her hair, watching her stir. She wiped a hand over her mouth and then looked down.
“Dammit, I drooled on your again! You’re just too comfy for your own good!”
“It’s ok, I love being drooled on,” he chuckled. She beamed a smile at him and Alex forgot to breathe for a second.
“Funny hot shot. You want me to go cook us up some grub?”
“I’d love that. But first, I need to talk to you about something. It’s pretty serious, and I don’t know how you’re going to handle it.”
“Wow. Well… uh, do it quick like a band-aid and let’s just get it over with.” Alex watched her reach down over the side of the bed. She popped back up with his t-shirt in her hand. Throwing it on, she turned toward him, a look of fear and apprehension clearly written all over her face.
“I’m in love with you.”
“No, that’s what I’m waiting for. What’s the problem?” Alex stared at her, confused.
“There is no problem!”
“I see. And when did you come to this conclusion? We’ve only known one another two weeks.”
“I know! And I’m not trying to freak you out. I blame Billy! I don’t know how you feel about me, and I have no idea where we would go from here. But… I love you.”
“Why do I love you?”
“No, why is the sun hot… yes, why do you love me!”
“Smart ass… I love you… I love you because when we lose a game, you never let me stay in a bad mood. You make me breakfast every time you spend the night, even after the numerous times I’ve told you that you don’t have to or offered to help you. You always smile and say ‘It’s because I want to,’ and it makes me want to kiss you senseless. Whenever I wake up and you’re in my arms, I forget to breathe, I’m that happy that you’re here. We have the most hilarious conversations about the most random things. I honestly can’t wait to have an honest-to-god fight with you because the make-up sex is going to be phenomenal! I’d love it if you could be the last person I see every night, but away games put a damper on that. You know that as a hockey player I can’t always be there when I want to. But you don’t make me feel like my job is a job. When I’m playing, I’m doing it for the sport and for the cheers from the fans, not the money. And you don’t like me for my money. In fact, you’ve yelled when I spend any money on you. You drink my juice out of the carton and then put it back, knowing that one of the guys may want some.” He took a deep breath. “I know that some of those reasons may seem stupid, or not well thought out, but I’m kind of winging it here. I’m literally giving you the things that are popping in my head right now, and I think I’ve started to ramble so I’m going to shut my mouth and take a breather.”
Alex leaned back and closed his eyes. There was a fear that when he opened his eyes she was going to be gone.
Just look dude, you won’t know until you open your eyes.
She was still there, and there was a very intense look on her face.
“I love that you whisper against my hair when you think I’m asleep. I love that you suck down frozen drinks and then complain about brain freeze when you know it’s going to happen. It makes me smile when you call me after a game that I’m not at just to tell me how it went, especially when you know I was watching. I love that you let me drink right out of the carton. I love that you know that a relationship isn’t all feather comforters and rose petals and you want to deal with that. I love that you stole my phone the other day to call my mom and make sure I wasn’t allergic to anything because you wanted to surprise me with dinner. I love the way you get all flustered around the guys when they pick on you about me. And I refuse to let you buy me things because I don’t want you to think that I’m just with you for your money. I love it when you mouth along with movies that you’ve obviously seen way too many times. Mainly, I just love you.”
Alex watched her take a deep breath and he wondered if it was possible to explode with happiness. If it wasn’t, he was sure that he was going to be the first person to prove that it was.
“So, where do we go from here?”
“What did Billy suggest?”
“Oh… well... ummm, we didn’t get that far.”
“Liar. You obviously talked about it all. So what did he tell you?”
“He told me a story about a man and woman, very similar to us, and what happened to them.”
“I bet he loves telling that story. He looked proud as a peacock when he told it to me yesterday.”
“You talked to Billy?”
“I did. I had some thoughts that were jumbled in my head, and I wanted the opinion of Kara, but Billy was the one who answered the phone, and before I knew it, I had spilled all my feelings out. Then he told me their whirlwind story, and he asked me what I planned to do about it.”
“What did you tell him?”
“I told him that when you were ready to talk about it, I would be. And we’d decide from there what we were going to do.”
“And what is that?”
If she loved him, and didn’t think he was crazy, could it be that she was as insane right now as he was, and that she thought a lifetime together would be plausible?
“Let’s go to the courthouse.”
Alex’s mind spun around wildly, his thoughts all twirling together. Had she just suggested that they get married? He thought about it for a moment. He saw her wrapped in his arms, his ring on her finger. He saw her in the stands cheering for him, his jersey trying to cover her protruding belly. There were no crazy forms to fill out since they were both American. All they needed were a couple witnesses. And he had the perfect ones picked out.
“I have morning skate, and then we have a little time to kill before we hop on the plane. We need witnesses. And I know who to ask. I’m gonna go call Billy. You go… do whatever it is that a bride should do on her wedding day.”
“I don’t know what that is… I’ve never been a bride, crazy!”
They both started laughing and Alex pulled her close for a gentle kiss.
“Are you sure you wanna do this?”
“I feel like it’s right. I can’t explain it, but I feel like we’re making the craziest decision of our lives, and that it’s going to turn out ok… Does that make sense?”
“Just about as much as anything else! Ok, I gotta make that call.”
Alex ran down his stairs and grabbed the phone off the counter. He searched for Billy’s number and hit Send. He answered on the second ring and Goose couldn’t keep the excitement out of his voice.
“I’m getting married!”
“What? Oh, yeah! I’m getting married! And we’d love it if you and Kara would come with us today and be our witnesses!”
“You’re sure about this? You’ve both thought it through?”
“Nope! Well, we talked about it; we know that we’re in for a crazy ride, but… to quote her… ‘It just feels right.’ I can’t explain it any better than she can, but I’m in. One hundred percent.”
“Well, if you’re gonna do this, then we’re gonna do this right. You know that none of the guys will want to miss it. I have a plan. I’ll send Kara over to your place in thirty minutes, I got some planning to do. Grab your favorite suit and make sure you get to the arena when you normally would!”
And with that, the line was dead. Alex heard the shower running upstairs, so he bounded back up the steps and stuck his head in the bathroom.
“Mags? I’m gonna go talk with Billy about some stuff. He’s sending Kara over here to help you. I’ll see you after practice, ok?”
Maggie popped her head out from behind the shower curtain.
“Okay! I’ll see you soon!”
Alex started to walk away until he thought of something very important. He stepped into the bathroom and pulled the curtain aside.
She screamed and jumped around, glaring daggers at him.
“Jesus Alex… trying to give me a heart attack?”
“No, I just forgot to tell you something.”
“Oh? And what is it that you forgot?”
“I love you.”
He watched her face change, the smile of contentment blooming on her face. Taking a couple steps over to him, she ran a hand down the side of his face before placing a chaste kiss on his lips.
“I love you.”
Alex planned on turning around and walking back to his bedroom. But his feet seemed rooted to that spot. And Maggie still had his face in her hands. He knew he should leave, knew it was the right thing to do, but when her hand came down and pulled him by the waistband of his boxers… Alex pushed them down over his hips and stepped into the shower. He had some extra time to kill anyway, it wasn’t like he didn’t know his way to the arena.
Maggie was smiling at him as she dropped to her knees and took him in her mouth. He loved it when she did this, but he was more in the mood for slow, languid sex in the shower than a blow-job. So he pulled her arms up, bringing her flush against him. Then he spun her around and bent her over, watching as her hands went to the tiled wall of the shower stall. He heard her plea of ‘fuck me’ and they both groaned aloud as he pushed inside of her. As the water ran over her body and dripped into the tub, some of the droplets spilled down her back and Alex closed his eyes, the noise of their wet bodies connecting with each thrust making him grasp her hips.
She turned her head, looking back at him with smoky eyes as he pounded against her. He could feel her tensing up now and then around his cock and watched her bite her lip, trying to stifle her cries of pleasure. Maggie started moaning as she got closer to a climax and when he felt her walls tighten around him, Alex let go with a few more bone-jarring thrusts as he roared her name. She screamed out his a second later and then he was pulling her up, standing behind her as he slipped free from her pussy. Alex leaned back against the opposite wall and kept her against him. Then he grabbed the washcloth from the rack beside them. He squirted some of the body wash she loved onto it and lathered it up before sliding it over her body, paying special attention to her breasts and the vee between her legs. She took over and ran the soapy material over him, and they both rinsed under the spray before turning the water off and toweling each other dry.
Maggie smiled as they both put on clean clothes and Alex smiled back and kissed her forehead before turning and finding his suit and heading out the door.
He drove to the arena and parked, taking a deep breath as he got ready for the insanity that was going to greet him the moment he walked into the locker room. Grabbing his suit out of the back seat, he wandered into the room, and what he saw shocked him to the core. There was a ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ banner above his stall, the guys were all in states of dress, but not for practice. No, they were all getting dressed in suits. Some of the WAG’s were there as well, and Alex was pretty sure he saw some of the kids running around.
“What… what’s going on guys?”
He stood there wondering what they were all doing when Billy stepped up from behind Brooks and Staalsy.
“We couldn’t just let you get married… not without everyone being here. In the short amount of time that she’s been around, we’ve come to love her like you have. Well, obviously not exactly like you have… but you get the picture. So, we decided that if you were gonna get married. We all wanted a front row seat for it.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re getting married here boy! I know that your family isn’t here, and I know that hers won’t be here either. So, we thought this would help. This is your second family after all. And everyone deserves their once-in-a-lifetime wedding.”
Alex was stunned. Sure, he was friends with all of the guys. They did things on off-days and stuff, but this… he never expected this. He was so touched. Sid stood over by the door, holding keys in his hand.
“C’mon Alex. We have approximately forty-three minutes to find you guys some wedding rings. Let’s go!”
“But… I just… I don’t… I’m stunned.”
“Be stunned later. Right now, the guys are gonna finish getting ready, you’re coming with me, and by the time we get back, Maggie should be here with Kara, and we can get this show on the road.”
They drove over to the other side of town and pulled up in front of a Jared’s.
“Now,” Sid started, “when we go in there, there will be one person helping us. No one else will be in the store. We’re going to keep this hush hush until after the ceremony at least.”
“You guys have thought of everything haven’t you?”
“You just wait.”
They hopped out of Sid’s car and walked in the store. An older man came over to them.
“Good morning gentlemen. Let’s find you what you need, shall we?”
Alex wasn’t too hard to please. He settled on a plain band, white gold. Simple, just like he was. As he stared at the display case for women’s rings though, he panicked. Sid noticed the look and put a hand on his arm.
“Deep breath. Think. What would she want in a ring? Would she want something big? Flashy? Small? Tons of stones? Close your eyes. Now, pretend that you’re doing this the old-fashioned way and not all at once,” Sid said with a smile. “You’re getting down on your knee to propose to her. What’s in the box?”
Alex took a deep breath and exhaled. He pictured himself as Sid had said. He saw her looking down at him, smiling. He opened the box as he asked her the question and watched her eyes light up. As she nodded and agreed, he slipped the ring on her finger. Focusing on that moment, he looked at the ring too. Then he opened his eyes.
“I’ve got it!”
He told the jeweler what he wanted, along with the size, and leapt in the air when he smiled serenely and told them he’d be just a couple minutes. He came back a minute later with two boxes. He opened the first one and Alex laughed. It was perfect. The second one contained the band that would go with it. He handed the man his credit card and two minutes later Sid and Alex walked out of the store. On the drive back to the arena they talked about how crazy this was. But Sid didn’t judge him, not once.
“You know. The first sign she ever made was for you,” he told his captain. He looked at Sid and the shocked expression on his face.
“No way! Really?”
“Yep. It was when we played Minnesota. You got into that fight. Remember?”
“Was she the ‘howl at the moon’ sign??”
“I had no idea. I remember that sign. It was the first time I’d ever really read a sign in the stands that didn’t have ‘Marry Me Sid’ on it. I thought to myself, ‘That’s unique,’ and I was actually amused by it. Most of the time I block everything out, but that one… it made me smile.”
“You should tell her that. You haven’t really got to talk to her like most of the guys.” Sid agreed, laughing when he told Alex to be careful though, if he let him talk to her too much, she might change her mind.
“I’m not worried about that. We’re too… connected.”
Sid nodded his head and Alex knew he was thinking about his own woman. She was at the doctor’s right now, had been sick ever since they got back from Vancouver, but she’d texted and said she’d be there. Alex knew he was concerned about her, but Sid never let anything show it was bothering him.
They chatted for the rest of the drive, Alex trying to figure out what else was going to happen, Sid not giving anything away. They pulled into the lot and jogged back into the locker room. Everyone was ready now, suits all around. Even the equipment manager was dressed up. Alex tossed the jewelry bag at Billy and got ready. He was fixing his tie when he heard a yell and he turned around as Billy threw a golden tie at him. Not asking why, he switched ties and then they all shuffled out to the rink. Alex was speechless again.
There was a carpet the led from the locker room entrance to where the net would be, and then it ran up to center ice. There were chairs set up on larger carpets on either side of the make shift aisle, facing the zamboni doors. Everyone was taking a seat, facing a podium. He noticed there was a crew from FSN, and Dan Potash was waiting at the podium, beckoning him over. The bewildered look must have been hilarious because Potash was laughing as he leaned against the podium.
“Hey Danny… what are you doing in all of this?”
“Well, I got a call this morning and thought at first I must’ve still been dreaming. Turns out, I wasn’t. So I listened once again to what Billy was telling me, and we decided to come in and do video and photography for you. There’s behind the scenes footage of both you and your bride. She’s finishing up right now, and after giving us all a tongue-lashing, she let Billy’s wife and Vero help her get ready. So, I believe that your wedding is going to start any minute now. I’m hoping you’ll let me use the footage to make a short Pens report before the game tomorrow. Are you ready?”
Alex could only nod his head as he thought about what his teammates had just gone through to make this happen. He felt stupid, but tears were blurring his vision. Billy came to a stop beside him and handed him a piece of paper.
“Just a little something that you’re going to need,” the older man said with a wink.
Alex opened the folded paper and scanned the words scribbled down in multiple handwriting styles. He let out a laugh and looked out into the crowd, his teammates nodding or smiling back at him.
“Does she have one too,” he asked Billy.
“Oh, just wait until you hear hers.”
He was going to ask just what Maggie’s said, but Max stepped up to the podium and grabbed the mic from its stand.
“Alright ladies and gentlemen. Are you ready to witness the most miraculous thing on earth? Goose here is going to get married! I believe if everyone is in their seat then we can get this show on the road. Okay? Good. Hit it maestro!”
Alex looked up as he heard a familiar song playing over the organ.
They even brought him in for this?? I’ve changed my mind. I love my teammates more than anything.
He smiled as the notes rang through the near empty arena. It was that one that you always hear at weddings. The one about a cannon or something. But it was normally reserved for bridesmaids. He looked at everyone, then noticed that Max was still standing up there, front and center.
“Max,” he whispered. “Go take a seat man.”
“I can’t, I’m the one doing this wedding.”
“WHAT?!” Even in a harsh whisper, Alex knew his point got across.
“Don’ worry mon ami. It’s all legal. You just relax and wait for your blushing bride to come down the aisle.”
“Shhhh, look, it’ starting,” Max said as he pointed toward the door to the ice.
Vero stepped out onto the carpet and a simple gold dress with a black bow. She was smiling at everyone and walking down the aisle toward them. Alex looked over at Marc and saw the goalie’s huge smile as V walked past him and winked. As she got close to the podium he saw Billy’s wife Kara come out next, her dress identical to Vero’s.
How and where did they manage to get matching dresses so at ten o’clock in the morning?
He heard the music change and saw everyone stand up. The problem with that was that he couldn’t see Maggie now. He stretched up, trying to get a glimpse, but he couldn’t see a thing. And then she was there, walking down the aisle toward him. Alex felt like he’d just been checked hard into the boards. He forgot to breathe. He could do nothing but stare as she walked closer, her arm linked with his coach’s. She was gorgeous. She was timeless. She was wearing a black dress. Only Maggie would throw conventional right out the window. As she came to a stop beside him, he had to fight to tear his eyes away from her. She looked up at him with a crooked smile.
“I hope you aren’t mad about the dress. I know it’s black, but it’s got gold everywhere, and to me… it was appropriate.”
“I love it. Besides, nothing else about this is normal anyway!”
They both laughed until Max shushed them with a finger against his lips. A camera flash went off to the right and Alex knew that was going to be a funny photo for them to keep.
“Mes amis, nous sommes réunis auj-- What am I doing?? My apologies. Ahem… Friends, we are gathered here today to witness this amazing, stupendous, miraculous, never-thought-it-would-happen,” Alex coughed loudly.
“Oh, right,” Max grinned. “Marriage is a sacred vow. It’s promising that through good and bad, love will conquer all. That even when it seems like you can’t go on, together you will find a way to make it out of whatever fix you’re in. I don’ do these things often, so I don’ really know what else to say.”
“Max,” Maggie interrupted, “you’re never at a loss for words.”
Everyone laughed at that.
“Well, in this instance, I am. So, this morning we all came up with one thing that you should promise to one another and we split them up onto two papers. Alex has his, and this ma chère, is for you.” Max handed her a paper similar to the one Alex had in his pocket. “Please read them, as vows you promise to make to one another.” They both looked down at their papers and Alex heard Maggie gasp. He looked up and saw her blushing.
“What’s wrong,” he whispered.
“I can’t say a couple of these! They’re… they’re things that only those guys could think up! And they’re dirty!”
“Oh, I have a couple like that too. You know they won’t let us continue until we’ve read them though.”
“I suppose you’re right. Let me go first then!”
Maggie started reading from the list, garnering laughter, hollers, whistles and applause before she got to the final promise. Alex watched her place a hand to her chest and saw a tear fall. She looked up at him with a smile.
“Finally, I promise to go wherever you go. As a wise man once told me, amidst all the insanity of life, standing by the man you love is the most rewarding thing in the world. Through trades, waivers and contract negotiations, I’ll help you pack up everything we own and then unpack it in whatever new city you’ve been assigned to. Because it’ll always be home as long as we’re together.” Alex brushed another tear away from her cheek and bent down to kiss her. Max stopped him with a grunted ‘uh-uh’ and Alex glared at his teammate.
“I believe you have some things to read before we get to the kissing part,” he told him with a grin.
So Alex did as he asked and read each message on the list, eliciting chuckles and hoots of laughter as the guys cheered for the information they’d imparted. The last one on his list had him almost in tears with laughter. Last week he’d invited Flower and Vero over for dinner and a movie with he and Maggie. They’d watched Juno, and he found himself enjoying the movie. Marc must’ve been the one to write this. He cleared his throat as he glanced at his teammate who just smiled hugely at him.
Yeah, it was him.
“Movies sometimes come up with the most immortal quotes to help you live life. So, with no further ado, remember this. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.”
Maggie burst into a fit of giggles, along with the rest of the crowd taking part in this life-altering moment. She took hold of his hand and squeezed it, both of them smiling as Max started speaking again. The rings were passed, and as Maggie’s eyes sparkled as he slid both of them on her finger, he knew he’d picked correctly.
Maggie burst into a fit of giggles, along with the rest of the crowd taking part in this life-altering moment. She took hold of his hand and squeezed it, both of them smiling as Max started speaking again. The rings were passed, and as Maggie’s eyes sparkled as he slid both of them on her finger, he knew he’d picked correctly.
“And now, in front of all these witnesses, and by the power vested in me by the state of Pennsylvania, I happily pronounce you man and wife. That’s it, non?”
“Max,” Alex growled.
“Okay, okay… you may now kiss the bride.”
With a smile on his face Alex pulled his new wife toward him and kissed her silly. He felt her melt against him, her body pressed tightly to his as her arms wound around his neck. It took multiple throat clearings before he could pull himself away.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the new Mr. and Mrs. Gooooooossseeee,” Max yelled into the mic and he laughed as the rest of the guys echoed low yells of his nickname like Max had done as they all clapped. As the wedding recessional played, Alex and Maggie walked down the aisle together while giant black, yellow, and white confetti pieces were thrown from every side. They stayed at the end of the carpet and talked to Dan Potash for a couple minutes, they’re happiness literally bursting at the seams. He asked them a couple questions for the segment and wished them all the happiness in the world.
“I’m pretty sure your owner approves too,” came a voice behind them. Mario stood there with his wife, the two of them with big smiles. Alex hadn’t seen them in the chairs, but he gladly shook his boss’s hand and chuckled as Maggie threw her arms around him, thanking him for helping to make this all possible. “Oh, I didn’t do anything but agree to let them do this. That group of hockey players did all of this.”
As they chatted for a few more minutes, neither of them noticed some of the guys sneaking behind them to form a tunnel of sticks similar to that of a military wedding. Mario looked up and Flower nodded at him. So he congratulated them one more time and then Alex and Maggie turned to see the guys all smiling at them, their sticks crossed in the air.
Maggie linked her arm with his, and they walked through the makeshift tunnel. Johnny and Flower were the final two and as they walked past, both goalies dropped their sticks and whacked each of them on the ass, a roar of applause coming from the crowd behind them.
After getting back into the locker room, Alex sat in his stall and pulled Maggie down onto his lap. Everyone came in behind them and it felt the Stanley Cup celebration all over again. There was champagne all around, along with finger sandwiches and giant cookies shaped like sticks, pucks and jerseys. Alex wondered how they were able to do all this, but then he decided it was best not to ask. As he held Maggie against him Max came over with the marriage certificate for them to sign. After they dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the lone ‘t’ they shared another kiss.
“It’s official now. You’re stuck with me forever. Are you sure about this Maggie?”
“Nope. But it’s the right thing, I know it is.” She leaned in close and whispered, “It’s like the medal game dear husband, and I’m callin’ it now. A long happy life for us. Wow… I have a husband.”
“And I have a wife.”
They laughed as the guys made toasts in their honor, some of them meaningful and others bringing blushes and voracious laughter all around. All too soon it was time for everyone to head home to pack for the trip. Alex felt bad that he wouldn’t even be able to spend his wedding night with his bride, but she just smiled at him and told him ‘this is the price of a hockey wife, I’ll be waiting when you get home.’ Coach motioned for him to step over for a private word as everyone was gearing up to leave. He kissed Maggie’s knuckles as he jogged over to Dan.
“Bring her with you. We got you guys a separate room at the hotel in Carolina. It’s not the perfect answer and it’s a one-time chance. But we talked it over with the head honchos… and if you guys are ok with this, and you can promise me that it won’t affect your play for the worse… then this road trip can be a sort of honeymoon for the two of you. And we’ll make sure you two are on a different floor in Jersey and Tampa. Go see what her answer is Goose.”
Alex was stunned. He’d never expected anything like this. He walked back over to Maggie and told her what they had talked about. Dan watched her face as it dawned on her that she’d be with them all for the road trip. Then, he laughed as she picked up the skirt of her dress and ran toward him, leaping into his arms.
“He won’t be any worse for wear. I won’t do anything to cause problems for him. And you have no idea what this means. No idea at all!”
“Just go home and pack up your bags. Goose knows what time to be at the airport,” Dan told her with a stern look. Then he laughed and knocked her chin gently with his fist.
Alex smiled down at her when she nearly skipped back over to him.
“The guys aren’t going to see me as a bad luck charm or something will they?”
“Depends on how we play tomorrow.”
“Oh god… I don’t know if this is smart!”
“It’ll be fine. Let’s go get packed wifey!” Maggie laughed and poked him in the chest, mumbling something about being called wifey but he just grabbed her arm and pulled her against him, silencing any protests with a kiss meant to steal her breath away. When he lifted his mouth she sucked in a ragged breath and he just chuckled.
Then they walked out, hand-in-hand, and headed out to the car. The final surprise awaited them there. His vehicle was covered in black and yellow crate paper, a ‘Just Married’ sign over his back window. As Alex pulled out of his spot, the clanging of cans made them both jump.
Bursting with laughter once again they drove to his house and he thought about what had transpired today. These guys were his family. Sure, his parents weren’t there to witness what had happened, but he had the greatest group to share the day with him. He smiled at Maggie and thought about the long road they had ahead of them. She predicted a long life for them. She had told him that with the same amount of certainty as the game prediction. He captured her hand in his as they entered the garage at his… their house.
“I love you Marguerite.”
“I love you Goose.” With one more quick kiss they jumped out of the car and went inside to pack.
I hope you all enjoyed that*