Nothing Gets Through Ch. 10

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Nothing Gets Through Ch. 10 © 2009 All Rights Reserved Lani curled up on the couch as she waited for Dom to come back with the wine. It was five days before Christmas, and the team’s schedule was going to get hectic. Lani was flying back to Hawaii the next day, and so they had decided to have a small Christmas celebration early. It was a good idea, Lani decided. By trading gifts early, it felt like so much of the pressure of the actual holiday was removed. They were both more relaxed—joking, teasing, and enjoying the season. I better enjoy it, Lani thought with a sigh, since the holidays at home won’t be much fun. Her brother was going to be there, and that always made things awkward. “What’s on your mind?” Dom asked as he sat next to her. He held out one glass of red wine and she took it. “Just family stuff.” She stared at the wine. “Tell me,” he urged gently. He wanted to know. The more time he spent with her, or thinking about her when he was traveling, the more he wanted to know, the good and the bad. “My brother will be there, that’s all.” She looked up. “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” He wanted to say ‘No,’ but he couldn’t look in those eyes and lie. So he settled for a loose version of the truth. “I have a few siblings. We’re not close.” “Jason and I used to be close,” Lani said, and Dom felt guilty at the relief that went through him when she didn’t press him. “Now he can hardly stand to look at me.” “He must be stupid then.” Dom kissed her forehead. “Any guy that can’t look at someone as pretty as you has his wires crossed.” As he’d hoped, that got a smile from her. “It’s just hard on my parents.” She sighed. “I mean, we don’t fight, or even kocaeli escort argue. There’s just . . . there’s just this stiffness all the time. If you ever want to see a textbook demonstration of a stilted conversation, watch the two of us.” “So what happened?” he asked gently. Lani stared at her hands for a moment. It was a hard thing for her to tell people, not that there were many who needed to know. Dom, she decided, should be one of those people. “My brother was a goalie, like I said,” she began. He nodded and idly played with the ends of her hair. “I went to games when I could, but I was in college, too, and so sometimes his schedule clashed with mine. They were getting into the playoffs, but I was snowed under with work and didn’t get to many games. The team was just flying, though, and Jason was doing better than he ever had before. He had consecutive shut outs, a low goals-against, all of that.” “Sounds good so far,” Dom said. “He joked that I was doing him a favor by staying away, that he’d never done so well when I’d attended,” she said. “Then they got into the NCAA playoffs and made it to the final four. He’d been the year before, and lost in that round, but it was great—they’d never been that far before. I was able to get to the game, the final four game. It all happened fast and I didn’t have time to tell him, so I thought I’d surprise him afterwards.” “Okay,” said Dom. Obviously the story didn’t end well, but he wanted her to tell it in her own time. “It was a tight game and both sides were taking those subtle, cheap shots. You know what I mean?” He nodded. “Anyway, there was this big collision in front of him and when it was all over, kocaeli escort bayan his knee was injured and they had to pull him. They lost the game.” Dom winced; he’d had close calls like that himself. “And,” she continued, “when he found out I’d been there, he blamed it all on me.” Dom stared at her. “You can’t be serious.” “Oh, I am.” She gave him a sad smile. “He was furious. He yelled at me and said it was my fault; said I never should have come to the game. He wouldn’t even see me for a few months until my mom told him it really hurt her and my father that Jason wouldn’t be in the same room with me. So he conceded on that point, for their sake. Now we get together and . . . don’t talk if we don’t have to.” “Your brother’s a jerk.” Dom was furious at this man he’d never met. “I mean, I know about superstitions. I know about wearing the same shirt or the same socks or eating the same meal or whatever before a game. But it’s never anyone’s fault that wasn’t on the team. If he couldn’t learn that, he never would have made it in the majors, anyway.” “I guess.” Lani was quiet for a moment. “Jason was good. Not as good as you, but better than most. He might have had a career at least as a backup, possibly a number one for the right team. Now we’ll never know.” “You believe him,” Dom said quietly, “don’t you? You think it’s your fault?” “Not really,” she said, “not intellectually. But for a long time I couldn’t help but think it would have been different if I’d stayed home, or watched on TV.” “It wouldn’t have made a difference,” Dom argued softly. “I know, I know,” she said with a sigh. “It’s just . . . he lost something he wanted so much, izmit escort and he blames me for it. I wish I knew how to make it up to him. I apologized for a long time until I realized it wasn’t helping. In some ways I’m mad at him, but I’m past that, too. I just want to put it aside so we can be a family again.” “Well, Christmas is supposed to help things like that.” Dom didn’t believe it, but it wasn’t a bad idea, and she needed the comfort of it. “Maybe this year things will change.” “Nice thought.” Lani changed the subject. “What will you do on Christmas? I hate to think of you sitting here by yourself.” “I won’t be,” he assured her. “Greg and his wife are having a big thing for anybody who can’t get home for the day. If I don’t go, they’ll hunt me down and drag me over, so I’ll go and save them the trouble.” He gave her a grin. “Karl’s bringing Dee.” “That little sneak!” Lani said with a smile of her own. “She didn’t tell me. I’ll have to give her a hard time about that.” “He really likes her, you know,” Dom said, slipping an arm around her and pulling her close. “I know,” she said. “Now we just have to convince Dee.” “You mean she doesn’t know?” Dom asked in surprise. Lani considered. “It’s more that she won’t let herself think that. She won’t get her hopes up.” She tilted her head to look up at him. “It’s a weird self-esteem thing, I guess, but Dee doesn’t think she’s good enough for him.” Dom snorted. “Well, she’s wrong. He’s not good enough for her.” It was a cardinal rule to harass one’s teammates off the ice, even if they weren’t around to appreciate it, Dom thought. He was only adhering to the code. “No one is,” Lani said in stout defense of her friend. “So, will you miss me?” Dom kept his voice light, but his stomach tightened slightly as he waited for her answer. “Nope,” she said, but he saw the twitch of her lips. “I’ll be on the beach with palm trees. I won’t miss a damn thing about this place.

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