The Ice-ing On TopbyMugsyB©
So here's the final chapter in Sean and Amelia's story. I wrote it after the Stanley Cup finals in 2009 so if you haven't already figured out who the player is, you might be able to figure it out now.
It came as a huge surprise to Amelia; not because it hadn't been on her mind, but because he did it jut as the playoffs were starting. She thought he would be thinking of nothing except making it all the way to the final round. Instead he shocked her one night before the end of the regular season as she walked into their apartment.
"We need to move," he announced abruptly in the place of a simple 'hello.'
She merely quirked an eyebrow at him before giving him a peck on the cheek. "Why?"
"This place is tiny!" he complained, waving his arms at the stacked boxes along one wall; he still hadn't unpacked his stuff.
She laughed, moving past him to set her purse and laptop case on the kitchen table. "That's just because you're used to that palace you were living in with your boss."
Sean wasn't listening to her. He stalked off down the hall and disappeared. She could still hear him, complaining about this room, that room, and saying, "How the hell are we supposed to manage with one bathroom?"
Laughing, Amelia trailed after him, trying to catch up. She reached the bathroom but he was already gone from there, and she heard his voice to her left, in the bedroom.
"And where the hell am I supposed to fit this now?" he demanded.
She turned the corner and stopped dead in her tracks. Sean was kneeling in the middle of the room, holding a small, dark blue, velvet box. He grinned like a fool and Amelia had difficulty breathing all of a sudden.
"Fit what?" she asked when she could think again.
"Come here," he told her, his own voice husky.
She obeyed, pulled by the intensity in his hazel eyes. She crossed the room until she was standing in front of him. He frowned a little, cocking his head to one side and studying her hands.
"Hmm, actually, it might fit here," he murmured as he reached out and grasped her left hand. He gently tugged her trembling fingers towards him as he flipped open the box with his other hand. Then he was sliding a brilliant diamond and gold ring on her left ring finger.
"Perfect fit," he declared.
Amelia stared at him, his face blurring before her as her eyes filled with tears. He smiled at her, his hand closing warmly over her fingers.
"Do you like it?" he asked.
With a sob, Amelia fell to her knees and threw her arms around his neck. "I love it!" she bawled. "I love you, Sean!"
He chuckled, holding her close and kissing the side of her face. "Should I take that as a 'yes' then?"
She drew back so she could look in his eyes. As she brushed away her tears, she grinned at him. "I don't recall hearing a question," she replied.
Laughing, he took hold of her shoulders and pushed her back. "You have to get up," he ordered, pushing at her.
With another laugh, Amelia got to her feet and grinned down at him. He cleared his throat, made a show of checking his breath, and rubbed his hands together as though to warm them. Amelia laughed again and gave him a nudge with one hand. Grinning, he caught her hand in his and pressed a hot kiss to her palm that sent a tremor throughout her entire body.
"Amelia Clarke, will you marry me?" he asked, his face serious at last, and his beautiful hazel eyes shone earnestly.
Feeling her eyes tear up again, Amelia knelt before him. She drew his hands to her lips and kissed his knuckles. Then she met his eyes and nodded, unable to speak when she saw the love and desire in his gaze. Giving a loud 'whoop' of excitement, Sean yanked her into his arms and rained kisses on her forehead, nose, eyes and cheeks. Then their lips met and both of them sank into the kiss.
Amelia had tears running down her cheeks but she didn't care. She wrapped her arms around Sean and kissed him back, pouring all of her love for him into the embrace. He rose to his feet, hauling her against his body. They tumbled together onto the bed, clothes flying off at an alarming rate. Sean's warm hands slid over Amelia's body and she threw her head back with a moan, arching into his embrace.
A long while later, they lay quietly together, sprawled across the mussed up bed. Sean held Amelia against his chest, running his palm up and down her bare arm. She shivered, turning her head and nuzzling his broad chest with her nose.
"Were you serious about moving?" she asked.
He chuckled, the sound warm and vibrant under her cheek. "Would you rather stay here?"
She shrugged one shoulder. "It's not so bad."
They fell silent again for a moment. Then Sean spoke up. "There really isn't enough room."
"We've been getting along fine in here for months," she replied.
"What about the family?"
"What family? Both our families are back in Canada," she said and shifted so she could prop herself up on the bed beside him. "I mean, it'd be tight if anyone came to visit but..." she broke off when she saw the look on his face. "What?"
"You do realize you just agreed to marry me?" he asked with a smirk.
"Yeah, I think I caught that," she replied as she rolled her eyes and poked him in the chest with a finger.
"Generally when people get married they think about starting a family together?" he went on.
She blinked and nodded. "Right. Kids. You're thinking about how kids will fit in this place."
As he nodded and watched her face. She glanced around the messy bedroom to the hallway beyond where she could see the corner of one unpacked box. "I suppose we'll need a bigger place then."
He nodded again and pulled her down for another kiss. "I'm sorry to leave the job to you for now, but I'm going to be a little..." he paused, waving one hand in the air as he searched for the word.
"Preoccupied?" she suggested with a laugh. "Busy? Too obsessed with something else to even think about your poor, overworked fiance?"
Laughing, Sean pulled her close and sealed his lips over hers to keep her quiet. She sighed happily as he released her and relaxed her head against his shoulder, keeping her eyes on his. His warm palm slid up and down her bare arm again and she felt her skin rise in little goosebumps.
"Do you mind?" he asked.
"That you'll hardly see me for the next couple months. Hopefully for a couple months."
She shook her head with a frown. "You're asking if I mind that you and your team are heading into the playoffs? Sean, I'd be pissed if you tried to spend too much time with me over the next few weeks. You need to focus and not worry about me."
Chuckling, he pulled her against him and she half-fell, half-slid onto his chest, their sweaty bodies sliding together. "That's what I love so much about you, Lia. You're so honest and real."
"Well, I try," she replied casually and smiled at him. "Seriously, you don't need to worry about me. This is a huge deal. I understand and I agree with your need to concentrate on the game."
"Thank you, Lia," he murmured, pressing his lips to her cheek.
"Why did you even do this right before the playoffs?" she asked a moment later, propping herself up against his chest to look into his face. "What if I'd said no? Wouldn't that have had a negative impact on your game?"
He shrugged. "It might have but I was pretty confident of your answer."
She laughed and relaxed against his chest again, tucking her head under his chin. She stretched with a sigh and was gratified to feel a responding stiffening of his parts beneath her.
"I just can't believe you'd take that kind of chance at this time of year," she went on, shifting against him again and hiding her smile when he stifled a groan.
"What chance? I know you're wild about me," he said, his voice husky. "I mean, you practically stalked me for two months before we first hooked up."
"Oh!" she exclaimed, sitting up and pulling her body away from his rapidly hardening cock. "I did not stalk you! If anything, you were following me around to all those coffee shops, trying to get me to talk to you!"
Sean laughed and rolled over, dragging her body under his. She glared half-heartedly up at him as he pulled her under him, pinning her to the bed with his body weight. Not that she minded. She loved the feeling of his taller, broader form resting against her. She bent her knees and shifted so that he slid between her thighs, bringing their hips together. Sean sucked in his breath and his pupils exploded. Amelia felt her heartbeat quicken as she dragged her hands up his sides until she was holding his shoulders.
"I think we should just say that we were mutually stalking each other," he whispered.
"I can agree to that," she replied, her voice husky now with her desire. God, how she loved this man; this young man who had stolen her heart over a latte less than a year ago.
Without another word, Sean lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her soundly, his tongue tangling with hers. All thoughts of who had stalked who fled from her mind and she surrendered to his scorching kiss, the heat of his hands and the rigid length of him.
While he hadn't lied to Amelia when he'd said he was confident about her answer to his proposal, he hadn't told the entire truth either. Yes, he'd been fairly sure about her response, but after all his planning and ring shopping, when the moment had come, he'd lost all confidence. When she'd stepped into the bedroom and seen him kneeling on the floor, the look on her face had nearly stopped his heart. She'd cried and said she loved him and finally said 'yes' when he asked her outright.
He carefully extricated himself from her arms following their multiple celebrations and rose from the bed. Quietly he slipped into some boxers and wandered out into the apartment, closing the bedroom door behind him. It was still early in the evening, not quite nine, and he wanted to call his parents before he went to sleep. That is, if he could even get to sleep. His body was thrumming and his heart was still racing from the exhilaration. Now he had marriage to a wonderful woman and the most exciting playoff series on the continent to look forward to.
Yes, life was good.
"Hi, Dad," he said into the phone when his father picked up on the other end. "I didn't wake you, did I?"
"Of course not," his father replied. "We're just helping Tara make some cupcakes for her school's bake sale tomorrow." Tara was Sean's younger sister; she was almost thirteen.
"That sounds like fun," Sean replied, feeling the familiar tug of homesickness. He had long ago dealt with being so far from his family, but every so often he was sad about missing things; simple things, like baking cupcakes for Tara's bake sale.
"It's messy," his father said with a laugh. "What's up? How are you and Amelia doing?"
Sean loved that his family had accepted Amelia so readily. She'd met his father early on in their relationship since he tried to travel to as many games as he could. Sean's mother and sister had both spoken with Amelia over the phone several times and they exchanged emails regularly. Sean had yet to meet any of Amelia's family, but he also spoke with them over the phone as often as he could.
"We're good," he replied to his father's question. "Amelia's asleep right now."
"Asleep? What, is she sick?" His father asked and laughed. "It can't be later than nine."
"Yeah," Sean agreed, glancing at the clock on the stove. "Hey Dad, can you tell Mom to get on the other phone?"
"Sure," he replied and his tone told Sean he already knew something was up. "Hey, Tanya, pick up that phone over there!"
Sean waited patiently until he heard the click and his mother's voice greeting him. "I have to tell you guys something," he said.
"Oh, lord," his mother breathed. "You're not quitting the team are you?"
Laughing, Sean shook his head. He didn't get a chance to respond as his father took care of that for him.
"Yeah, Tanya, he's quitting the week before playoffs start," he said and Sean could almost see his father rolling his eyes.
"No, I'm not quitting," Sean said and took a deep breath. "I asked Amelia to marry me tonight and she said yes."
There was a split second of silence and then Sean's mother screamed. He yanked the phone away from his head and rubbed his ear with a grin. When he put the phone back to his ear, his mother was still exclaiming in excitement and his father was trying to calm her down. He eventually asked Tara to take the phone from her mother.
"Hi, Sean," came Tara's voice. "I miss you."
Sean's eyes stung with sudden, unshed tears. "I miss you too, kiddo," he replied. "Did mom and dad tell you?"
"Uh, yeah, I kind of figured it out," she said in the typical 'duh' tone appropriate to her age. "I'm glad you found someone so cool, Sean. She writes awesome books."
Sean laughed and nodded. "Yes, Amelia is very cool."
"I think you gave your mother a heart attack, Sean," his father piped up then. "Congratulations, son. We couldn't be happier for you."
"Thanks, Dad. I'm happy too. And relieved that she said yes."
His father laughed. "As if there was any doubt."
"Maybe a little," Sean replied.
"Sean, Amelia has settled in your team's city and traveled with you to away games more than I have," his father said. "I'd say it was a sure thing."
"Either that or she was networking," Tara added and laughed.
"Tara!" Sean heard his mother exclaim in the background. "Give me the phone."
"Talk to you later, Sean!" Tara said before handing the phone over. "Say 'hi' to Lia for me."
"Will do," Sean agreed and smiled when his mother got on the phone. She proceeded to tearily tell him how happy and excited she was for him.
It was nearly a half-hour later when Sean managed to bring the conversation to a close, agreeing to have Amelia call them the next day. They all said 'good-bye' and his parents wished him good luck in the playoffs, as well. As Sean hung up the phone and headed back to the bedroom, he shook his head.
I don't need luck anymore, he thought as he paused in the doorway to watch Amelia sleep. I have everything I need right here. Then he smirked to himself. Although the Stanley Cup would certainly top it all off nicely.
With that, he crossed the room and climbed back into bed with the love of his life.
After three house viewings, Amelia had just about had enough. It was two weeks after the proposal, Sean was on the road in the team's first playoff series and she was driving around town with the realtor, checking out different neighborhoods. She realized quickly that this wasn't something she wanted to do on her own.
I wish we hadn't given our notice at the apartment, she thought as the realtor took her into another secluded suburb. She and Sean had two and a half months to find something; almost as long as the playoffs would last, if the team did well. He'd helped her pack as much as they could before the start of playoffs and she'd repeatedly told him it was fine that she was doing this alone for the most part. Now she was seriously regretting that decision.
Oh well, she thought with a sigh and followed the realtor up to another open house. If we have to live in a hotel for a little while, and keep our stuff in storage, it'll be all right.
"Now this area is very nice," the realtor said, her voice breaking into Amelia's thoughts. "Very exclusive."
Amelia fought to keep from rolling her eyes. She'd heard the realtor say that so many times that it was beginning to lose meaning. If all these areas were so exclusive, why were there thirty of them?
"It's nice," Amelia agreed, looking around as they crossed the street to the narrow driveway leading up to the open house.
Every lot on the block had a thick screen of trees and shrubs out front and she saw several that had gates at the end of the driveways. To her, this all seemed a bit excessive but she also knew that anywhere Sean lived, with or without a wife, would require this sort of environment. She'd long ago accepted his stardom and she knew it would always be a part of their life. She still sometimes had a hard time dealing with the side effects of that stardom.
"This house has been on the market for some time," the realtor went on as they walked up the driveway. "I'm not saying you should put an offer in, but you could get a good deal."
"Really?" Amelia said, just making polite conversation. In her own mind she was wondering if it would be bad taste to switch realtors, and find someone less... pushy. The realtor had suggested, in one way or another, that Amelia and Sean make offers on just about every house she'd seen.
It was a pleasant house with a well manicured yard and nicely maintained exterior. Inside was spacious without being cavernous, even without any furniture inside. There were large windows, plenty of room for air circulation, and a big open kitchen that joined the great room on the main floor. Upstairs, there were four bedrooms, one very obviously styled as a nursery. At the sight of the sunny yellow walls and the Noah's Ark theme painted overtop, she felt her face grow warm and her stomach did a strange backflip.
I turn thirty in four months, she thought and had to leave the room.
She couldn't shake the strange feeling as they continued to walk through the house. She didn't hear a single word the realtor said about this feature or that feature. All she wanted was to get out of there and away from all of it.
"Listen, Hilary," Amelia said. "I don't think I'm up for looking at any more houses today."
"Oh, all right," Hilary replied and she seemed surprised. "Perhaps we could use a break. Can I interest you in some lunch and after we could check another couple I have in mind for you?"
"No, thanks," Amelia said with a tense smile. Her stomach was too twisted in knots at the moment to even think about food. "I think I'm ready to just go home for the day."
Hilary tried to convince her again in the car but Amelia was having none of it. She thanked the realtor and promised to call to set up another time later as she left the car and ran inside the apartment building. Even inside her familiar apartment, Amelia couldn't shake the feeling that had hit her after seeing that nursery. She paced around the small, mostly packed up space, gnawing on her fingernails. After a while, she sat on the couch and turned on the TV, hoping to distract herself some.
She came across some game highlights from the previous several nights. She didn't need the updates - Sean had called her several times a day since the playoffs had started - but she found the cadence of the sports shows relaxing. Gradually, her heart rate returned to normal and she wasn't feeling as sick to her stomach.
Later, as she watched Sean's game on TV, she wondered if maybe she'd eaten something bad and it just happened to hit her as she was in that house. It was an extremely thin theory but she liked it and ran with it, hoping it would help her to get to sleep that night. Unfortunately, her team lost and she spent most of the night worrying about the next game.
She dreamt that night about animals circling her in pairs and yellow walls closing in around her.
Sean hated losing. So did the rest of the team. They were far from being eliminated from the series but all the same, losing sucked. In the locker room, the mood was subdued but no one was terribly upset. They knew they still had a great chance to win and they were leading the series two to one.
"We'll get them next time," Max said to Sean as they changed out of their gear.
Sean nodded and tossed a grin at his teammate. "You're just going to have to start pulling your weight around here, Max."
Max laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. They joked and talked with the other guys on the bus on the way back to the hotel. Sean and Max were sharing a room and after settling in, Max got a call, leaving Sean alone in the room a few minutes later. With a smile, Sean picked up the phone and called home.