The days began to pass by in a blurry haze. So much was going on. And I felt like such a grown-up, too, having to deal with these new experiences that only true adults had to deal with, like new jobs, moves, and the holiday jitters.
First, I had to talk to Mario. I waited for him in the privacy of the owner's box at the Igloo, watching as Sidney was on the ice in sweats and sneakers doing some puck handling. It was mesmerizing to see, and I was sucked in. I watched Sid the way he watches the puck during a game—with blinders on, focused on nothing else.
Which is why when Mario walked in, I was startled. "I seem to be getting into a habit of frightening you," he said with a chuckle.
"I need to pay more attention when I know you're going to be around," I quipped back. I was suddenly nervous.
"Let's not beat around the bush, shall we?" He asked, motioning for me to sit in a chair. Mario was very direct; he told me exactly what the position would pay, what the benefits were, and what would be expected of me. "Best of all," he persuaded, "is you can pretty much pick your own hours. You should set some definite hours to be in the office so we know when to reach you, but you'll be doing a lot of one-on-one work with the players, so you'll be working around their schedule. As long as you put your time, your forty hours a week, you can work when you want. You'll have a lot of freedom."
"I'm not going to lie, Mario. This sounds amazing." If I had had any doubt about whether I wanted this position, those questions flew out the window. I couldn't have negotiated for a better salary or more incredible perks.
"I'm glad to hear you're as excited about this as we are," he told me with a smile. Mario was so reassuring. "With the holidays coming up, I figure you can start after New Years. Why don't you stop in some time during the first full week of January? I believe the team will be returning from a road trip around that time."
"Sure. That's perfect," I told him. That would give me plenty of time to get everything straightened out before beginning my new position. And enjoy the holidays.
"I just have one question for you, Mario," I said tentatively.
"I'm worried about taking this position since I'm dating Sidney."
"We don't have a policy about interoffice relationships or player-personnel relationships, either. You don't have anything to worry about." I nodded and took his answer for what it was, but I was worried what everyone would think: that I got this job because of who I was dating, not because of what I was capable of doing. "Are you going to stay up here to watch the game tonight?"
"Oh, no, I'm going to watch from the family and friends section. I haven't seen the girls in a while, so I have some catching up to do."
"I'm glad you'll be working for us," he said simply, shaking my hand and sealing the deal. I was giddy with excitement. "And I'm sorry if I caused a riff between you and Sidney. I didn't know you hadn't told him yet, and then he played in Thursday's game after he said that he need to stay with you."
I thought about that argument with Sid, how I had lied to him, then how I had withheld information—which, to some people, would be just as bad as lying. "No, it was fine," I said, still feeling a little guilty.
The girls were waiting in their seats when I found them and told them my good news. They were excited for me, of course, but they were excited also about what this could mean for Sidney and me.
"Just another step closer to domesticated bliss," they told me.
"Will you stop," I laughed. "I'm not worried about that, and Sidney isn't either. We're just going with the flow. So don't try to pressure me into anything."
"Pressure? No, we'd never pressure you," Véro said slyly.
"Bullshit," I chuckled. "You've been up to no good the whole time I've known you, from Diesel 'til now. Pushing me and Sid together. You won't be happy until I'm dressed in white and you're in whatever ugly bridesmaid dress I pick out for you."
A smile cracked her face in half. "You'd make me a bridesmaid?"
I couldn't seriously talk about this anymore. Véro was as close as possible to be being a bridezilla without having an engagement ring on her finger. We didn't broach the subject again as we watched the Penguins pummel the Panthers. It appeared that the team was back into the swing of things.
After that was sorted out and my future with the Pens was cemented, I had to quit my legal assistant position. As glad as I was for my new job, and as happy as I was to leave that hellhole, I was sad to say goodbye to my coworkers. They were good people, and I would miss them.
The first person I told was Steve. "I just want to give you a heads up, before I talk to the boss, that I'm putting in my two week's notice."
"Very funny, Noelle. You've said that a lot in the year and a half that you've worked here."
"Steve, I'm serious," I said. He looked up from the folder on his desk. "I know you won't believe it, but Mario Lemieux offered me a position with the Pens. I start in the beginning of January."
Steve was speechless. "How are you going to tell the boss?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I wrote up a resignation letter, and I figure I'll go into his office, give it to him, and tell him."
"You can't leave. Not like this. February is going to be a bad month. I can't handle this on my own."
"I'm sorry, Steve. You guy will hire someone to fill my position." I knew that was a lie, something I was making up to make him feel better. No one stayed at this place for very long. I was just another example of the revolving door that was this job. "Besides, you can't expect me to turn this down."
"What are you doing for the Pens?"
"I'm the Director of Player Communications and Media Relations," I told him, swelling with pride. Mario was right: long titles really did make you feel important. "Working with the players, teaching English to the ones who need to learn it, and media coaching. When do you think I should tell the boss?"
He tilted his head to the side. "Now's as good of a time as any."
I nodded and grabbed my resignation letter, and walked to the boss's office. He was sitting at his computer, doing whatever he does when he's alone in his office. I never figured that out, as long as I had worked there.
I cleared my throat and knocked on his door. He jumped and turned. "Noelle? Do you have something to go over?"
"No," I told him. I cleared my throat, strode into his office, and held out the letter. "I'm giving you my notice. I've been offered another position."
He took my letter from his hand and scanned it with his eyes. It was a standard letter; I'd pretty much copied it from some website. "Is there anything I can do to get you to stay?" I didn't expect this, for him to bribe me into staying. "Offer you more money? More vacation? If you need more time off to deal with your grandfather's passing, you can take it."
"That's very generous of you, sir, but this new job is just more up my alley."
And that was that. He dismissed me from his office, and the countdown to my last day began. But not without its detriments. I got stuck with the shitty cases, since there was no use in trying to appease me. I wasn't going to be around long term, so I was given the work that no one else wanted to deal with it. And there was a lot of it, too. I had a feeling that these were going to be the busiest two weeks I'd ever spend in that office.
Sid and I agreed to worry about my move to Pittsburgh, and all that entails, after Christmas. There was only so much stress we could handle at once. When I'd get home, exhausted from work at the end of the day, I hated to think about packing my things into boxes, to either be taken to Sidney's—and my new—house or to be put into storage.
I was worried about how I would fit into Sid's, into his house and his world, now that I would be there full time. Before, I was a transplant. I was inserted into his house, filled with his things, completely on his terms. This was going to be completely different. We'd get to see each other's habits, with no escape. All his superstitions and quirks, and all my neuroses would be in full view. I was concerned about how we'd handle it, and the more I thought about it, the more petrified I became.
There was one thing, one thought that kept me going through the mess, and that was Christmas. We'd have three blissful, wonderful days to ourselves to celebrate the season. Well, between all the traveling, it would probably end up to be more like two days of relaxation. And we wouldn't be by ourselves. His family would be there, and not just the three Crosbys I had met so far. There would be grandparents, cousins, and also all his Cole Harbour friends that he said he was so excited to introduce me to.
Now that I thought about it, Christmas didn't seem to be so relaxing, after all.
My Favorite Five (2015)
2 years ago