Room for More(90)

By: Beth Ehemann


Yesterday, Andy called and told me he had a contract offer for me, but he wouldn’t tell me from what team. I had no idea if I was still going to be Minnesota Wild’s goalie next year or a Florida Panther. He didn’t want to tell me over the phone, so I was going into his office to meet with him.

Today is also Kacie’s birthday. She’s turning twenty-five years old. She’s the most mature and selfless twenty-five-year-old on the planet. When I scroll through Facebook, most of the girls I went to high school with are still pretending to be drunk airheads to impress a guy or posting stupid selfies of themselves in their bathrooms. Kacie has been a single mom for years, though she doesn’t call herself that anymore. Between me and Zach, who has been spending more and more time with the girls lately, she’s anything but alone. She passed her exams with flying colors and has been working in the labor and delivery unit of Roger’s Memorial Hospital since shortly after she graduated. She works three twelve-hour shifts a week, and while that’s been a huge adjustment for us, we’ve gotten good at going with the flow.

And thank God for that because I had no idea what was going to happen at this meeting with Andy. He told me to come by at nine o’clock. I looked at my phone.

9:12 a.m.

I was stalling. I really didn’t want to hear that the Wild was letting me go, and the last thing in the whole world I wanted to do was give Kacie that news on her birthday. But we’d promised each other: no more withholding information. And we hadn’t. Not so much as a blip on the radar in the eight months since our Hell Week, as she called it.

Before I rolled out of bed and dragged myself to Andy’s office, I shot my girl a text.



MORNING, JENSEN.



Diesel hopped up and curled into my side, giving me another excuse not to get out of bed yet.



K: GOOD MORNING TO YOU, MURPHY.



LISTEN, I WAS THINKING… I’VE GOT A LOT OF ERRANDS TO RUN AROUND HERE. I’M PROBABLY GONNA COME UP TOMORROW INSTEAD OF TODAY, OKAY?



I laughed out loud in my bedroom. “Holy shit, D. She’s going to be so pissed.” A second later, my phone beeped.



K: REALLY? TODAY? YOU HAVE TO RUN ERRANDS TODAY?



YEAH. I’D LIKE TO GET THEM OVER WITH. WHY? DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING GOING ON?



K: UMMMM…



I couldn’t let her suffer anymore.



JUST KIDDING. I’M COMING UP. OF COURSE I WOULDN’T MISS MY GIRL’S BIRTHDAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY.



K: YOU JERK! I THOUGHT YOU REALLY FORGOT!



NOT ONLY DID I NOT FORGET, I ALREADY PLANNED OUT OUR EVENING AND ASKED YOUR MOM TO BABYSIT.



I didn’t like lying to her, but I had been working too long on her surprise and I wanted her to think we were going out tonight after we all took her to dinner.



K: YOU DID? WHERE ARE WE GOING?



CAN’T TELL YOU THAT. IT’S A SURPRISE.



K: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?



YOU STILL HAVE THAT BLUE DRESS THAT YOU WORE TO THE CHARITY BANQUET LAST YEAR?



K: NO, BUT I CAN BORROW IT FROM LAUREN AGAIN. WE’RE GOING SOMEWHERE THAT FORMAL, HUH?



NOPE. WE’RE GOING SOMEWHERE TOTALLY CASUAL, YOU JUST LOOK SMOKING HOT IN THAT DRESS.



K: YOU’RE A PAIN IN THE ASS.



THE BIGGEST. I’LL BE UP IN A FEW HOURS.



K: OKAY. CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU. I LOVE YOU.



I LOVE YOU, MORE.





“Well, look who decided to show up.” Ellie smiled at me as the elevator doors opened. “And only an hour and a half late.”

“Sorry.” I grinned back. “Is he in there?”

She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Yep. Go ahead in.”

The door to Andy’s office creaked as I opened it. He looked up from his computer and leaned back in his chair when he saw me, clamping his hands behind his head.

“I know, I know. Shut up.” I threw myself down on the leather couch across the room from him.

“I didn’t say shit.” He chuckled.

“No, but I could feel you thinking it.”

“I’m actually impressed.” He looked at his watch. “I figured I probably wouldn’t see you before noon.”

“I’m heading up to Kacie’s after this.” I picked a football up off of his coffee table and flipped onto my back, tossing it straight up in the air. “Stop fucking around. Give me the news.”