Always One More 10

Her cell phone rang and she was glad that it was Liam on the other end.  She had programmed the number into the phone and put his name there so she could deal with the call when it came in.  If the call had come when Chris was sitting right there she would have let it go to voicemail.  It had been a tense few days in the house and while she'd managed to avoid really talking about Chris which hadn't escalated the situation, she hadn't liked spending most of her time on the far side of the house from Chris.  If he was in the living room she was in the TV room and when he was watching TV she'd be upstairs.  Her hand shook as she pressed the button to answer the phone.  "Hello?"

A laugh came over the line.  "Hello there Miss Hockey."

"Hello," she said and looked towards the TV room door.  Chris had disappeared in there earlier to watch a movie and she now heard the X-box running some war game.  She could hear him firing whatever gun was on the game and from the silence from him otherwise, he seemed to be doing well at the game.  He normally started to swear if he started to lose.

"I'm running late," he said bringing her back to her phone conversation, "I had to stay late at the hospital and I'm just on my way out to the arena now.  I would offer to pick you up, but I'm not sure where you live and-"

"It's ok," she said, "I know where the arena is.  I'll meet you there.  Out front?"

"Sounds perfect," he said.  "You'll have to excuse the clothes I have on.  I'll warn you now that hospital green shirts do nothing to bring out my eyes, but that's all I've got with me right now."

"No troubles," she said, "I'm going casual tonight also.  Hockey games always get chilly anyway."

"Well I'll see you in a bit then," Liam said.  She could hear his alarm on his car being turned off then the sounds of him getting in and shutting the door filled the air.  When he started up the engine she thought that she needed to get going too.  If he was leaving that part of the city now he probably would beat her to the game.

"Ok."  Dani sighed and went to grab her keys.  If she left now she wouldn't hit traffic.  She'd hoped he'd call her and tell her that he was running late.  Having him show up at the house wouldn't be good.  "She you."

"I'm leaving!" she called out into the house.

"Ok."  Chris didn't get excited at all about it.  She thought that he would have at least come out to say good-bye, but he didn't.  He'd been holed up in front of the television for days now and had basically been ignoring her, so she took the hint and did her own thing.

"There's food in the fridge if you want it," she explained then moved towards the garage.  She leaned to tie her running shoe then checked her jeans one last time before pulling her t-shirt down and putting her baseball hat down a bit.  She would have dressed up for this outing, but that would make it too much like and date and that was the last thing she wanted.  She wanted the date, more than she probably could even admit to, but she couldn't outwardly appear that way or she would get herself into major trouble.

*****

Going to the Seals game was like being a celebrity, but in a whole new way.  When she and Chris went to events there was always security with them.  That evening they met at the main entrance to the arena and were left to do whatever they wanted.  Even though they seemed to be anonymous, everyone in the whole place seemed to know Doc.  The nickname caught her a few times and she had to look around to see if people were talking to her or to him.  The thought of having the same nickname made her laugh.

He walked along with her, not holding her hand, but guiding her along in his own way.  He was definitely a gentleman.  He opened doors and paid for her drink and when they were finally seated and a few people came over to say hello to the doctor she laughed more about the name.  "What's caught your funny bone?"

She loved the way he spoke.  He tended to be very formal with her yet his tone seemed to be familiar.  "My--"  She stopped herself when she realized what she was about to say.  If she mentioned Chris aloud she knew it would totally mess up the relaxed way that they were with each other.  She didn't want to hide him, but being without Chris for the night seemed to be the vacation she needed.  "My friend's call me Doc."

"They do?" he asked.

"Yes," she said, "My last name starts with an R so I'm D-R.  So I'm Doc."

He rolled his eyes a bit and with a sarcastic tone smiled as he spoke to her.  "Very inventive."

She snuggled down into her chair to watch as the players came onto the ice.  "It's better than actually BEING a doctor and being called DOC."

Liam patted her leg and jabbed her playfully with his elbow as he leaned towards her.  "You're a clever girl.  Bravo with the sarcasm."

Dani put her drink up to her mouth and tried not to feel too uncomfortable about his hand being on her leg.  Instead of saying some comment about what he'd done, she turned towards the ice again and watched.  It had been a while since she'd been able to see lower level hockey.  The minor leagues were great for action and for discovering new talent.

Her mind reeled with story ideas as soon as the game started.  She hadn't worked in a few months and suddenly felt the need to get back into the swing of things.

"I have to apologize," Liam leaned to speak with her during the line up introductions.

"For what?" she asked.

"I shouldn't have been so--"  He sighed.  "So--"  He coughed.  "I'm a doctor and having that healing touch thing really gets away from me.  I didn't mean to give you a fright."

"Give me a fright?" she asked.  "I wasn't frightened."

"Well I apologize for making you uncomfortable."

She nodded and turned her attention back to the game.  She didn't want to talk about it.  Her mind was caught.  Between West Orlando where Chris was hanging out in front of the X-box and East Orlando where Liam was sitting next to her enjoying the game, she didn't know where she should be.


He let the phone ring until the machine come on and the voice on the other end filled the room.  He was in the middle of a game of X-box with both the dogs at the edges of his lap on the couch with him and was too comfortable to move.  If it was important he could call them back, but if it was a telemarketer he wasn't about to get up to answer things.  He should have taken the cordless phone into the TV room, but he'd forgotten.

"C man," Justin's voice came out calm and clear.  "I'm on my way over.  I know you're there."

"Shit," he sighed out and moved towards the phone to see if he could grab the call.  He didn't want him at the house.  He'd avoided the guy for the last few days and wasn't about to force himself into hanging out with him.  His cheekbones couldn't take it.  He'd not gotten a black eye from the punch Justin gave him, but he still couldn't sleep with that side of his face down onto the pillow due to the soreness.

The fates weren't on his side.  He got to the phone after Justin hung up.  Thinking that maybe he could still cut him off and keep him away from the house he immediately redialed Justin's phone.  He wasn't sure if Justin just knew him well enough to know that he'd call back and tell him not to come, or if something happened to his phone, but either way Justin didn't answer when the phone rang five times.  It switched to voice mail.

Instead of leaving some lame message he hung up the phone then ran to use the restroom, take his pills then it was time for a soda and some dinner.  He wasn't going to worry about Justin.  If he came over and was rude, Justin knew his mother would hear about it.  He'd not called to tell her about the fighting in the hospital, but he would have if he hadn't been so upset about the way that things were going between him and Dani.  He wouldn't have tattled.  He would have explained to Justin's mother that something was wrong with the kid and he needed her to come back and talk to her son.

The knock at the door startled him.  He'd gotten into the mindset of making himself dinner and when he stepped away from the water that was going to boil soon for pasta he saw Justin was already entering the house.

"Adding breaking and entering to your assault skills?" Chris asked and turned around and went back to the kitchen.

"Dude," Justin said coming in.  He called a paper bag with him and set it on the counter when he got into the kitchen.  "I came over to try to apologize.  I would hope that you'd be mature enough to handle a conversation with me."

"If you get out of hand," Chris laughed,  "I'll just smack you around a little."

"Chris," Justin sighed, clearly annoyed with the joke.

"What?" Chris said and moved to pour the pasta into the water.  He turned back around.  "Want pasta?"

Justin nodded.

"Sit down," Chris said pointing to the stools next to the breakfast bar.

"I brought beer," Justin said and took a six pack out of the bag he'd brought with him.  He set it on the counter and tapped the cans, making a clicking noise with his hand.

"What are you going to drink?" Chris said stirring the pasta before he put the top on the pan and moved to get out the jar of pasta sauce that he knew was in the fridge.

Justin threw him the middle finger before he grabbed one of the cans from the plastic holder.  "Funny Kirkpatrick."

"So what brings you over?" he asked.

"I wanted to talk to you about what happened with Tegan."

"You know what?" Chris said, "I don't really want to talk about it.  You were upset about Tegan and you let your temper get away from you and I totally understand.  If it was my kid I'd freak out too."

Justin lowered his eyes and opened his beer. "I shouldn't have taken a swing at you though."

"Joey would have done the same thing if had been any of his kids," Chris said, "Really it's ok."

"Well I'm sorry anyway."

"Thanks for telling me," Chris said.

Justin sat there in silence for a long time then finally asked, "Where's Doc?"

"At a hockey game," Chris said immediately.

"For work?" Justin asked.

Chris sighed, "I'm not sure.  I just know that she got invited the other day and decided to go."

"Hmmm," Justin said.

"Hmm what?"

Justin rubbed his chin and sighed.  "You don't know where your live in girlfriend is?"

"Why do you say that?" Chris asked.  "Is there something you're trying to tell me?"

Justin shook his head.  "I saw you guys a while ago and knew something was up between you, but Mere mentioned something the other night that you and Dani were still going back and forth on a few issues."

"Not that I know of," Chris said.

"You sure?" Justin asked.


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